Partners

Are Accountants Planking at Work?

If you’ve been paying attention, you’re familiar with the lamest Internet meme since last year’s bros icing bros – planking.

Planking is a “game” that involves people laying face down in normal to not-so-normal places and then having a friend take their picture while the planking is occurring. It’s been going on for a couple of months now but right out of the gate it was abundantly clear that planking was STUPID. Not stupid in the sense that “you can die while doing it” stupid but more so, “you and your friends are idiots” stupid. Despite this, people are “crazed” with it because, obviously, they are losers. And maybe racist.

ANYWAY, I bring this up A) it’s a fairly slow news day and B) a friend of a friend of GC emailed us the following query:

This is kind of a random idea but when watching this video, http://youtu.be/vQNTN8Z8AJY, I was wondering if accountants are planking at work, especially at Big 4/Big Regional firms like on copiers, partners’ desks, etc and have captured them in a video or in pictures. Even though I think the concept is kind of lame, I think about doing it every day including planking inside of one of the partner’s convertible which he leaves the top down all day. I would love to see if anyone has any great planking poses at work.

Yes, I am really bored at work and my mind tends to wander (a lot).

No problem friend of a friend, it’s summer and you’re a CPA, so boredom happens. Here’s the video in question:

Quite the montage of planktitude, isn’t it? Someone even took the opportunity to plank during Carmageddon which resulted in “Plankmageddon” (obv).

But back to our reader – even though I’m against planking in a general sense, I would not oppose planking inside a partner’s convertible. Especially if you emailed the picture to us. Of course you would have to take great precaution to not be identified but it may be worth the risk. And that goes for the rest of you. If the clock seems to be moving backwards at any point this summer, you should consider planking and then sending us the pictures. I’ll put forth a few conditions for scoring:

Planking on a manager’s desk – 100 points.

Planking on a partner’s desk – 500 points.

Planking on the office managing partner’s desk – 1,000 points.

Planking on the client’s conference table – 1,000 points

Planking in the lobby with your firm’s sign in view – 1,000 points

Photo of the office managing partner planking on his/her desk – 5,000 points.

Planking on a partner’s [insert luxury car here] – 5,000 points.

Of course this is not meant to discourage creativity on your part. If you have other suggestions, please offer them up below along with the points to be awarded. Happy planking.

Promotion Watch ’11: Grant Thornton Admits 26 New Partners and Principals

Apparently everyone’s email at the Purple Rose of Chicago is broken because I had to learn about this from a press release.

Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, one of the six global audit, tax and advisory organizations, admitted 26 new partners and principals to the firm, effective August 1. These partners and principals are based throughout the firm’s offices across the country.

Partners and principals admitted to the firm are thought leaders upon whom the firm relies to provide personalized attention in serving clients. These professionals have demonstrated consistently their extraordinary ability to understand and meet the needs of client companies and industries. They have also demonstrated long-term leadership in the accounting profession and the community.

“These professionals have demonstrated extraordinary client service, driving value for the dynamic firms we serve,” said Stephen Chipman, Grant Thornton’s CEO. “These leaders exemplify Grant Thornton’s mission of making a difference – to our colleagues, our clients, our profession and our communities.”

It’s also strange that no one from GT has dropped any news regarding compensation discussions as this is about the time we should start hearing it or sayeth comments from the last post on the subject. Anyway, give the new partners a slap on the back or at least a nice note.

Ernst & Young Auditor Wants to Give a Partner an Earful About Comp Even If He Receives a ‘Very Generous’ Raise

Last week, we tried to get the ball rolling on Ernst & Young compensation rumors and while some may chalk up the lack of chatter to “PwC sticker shock,” others claim this is simply standard operating procedure. If you remember last year, eventually Ernst & Young reported some impressive raises that kept pace with P. Dubs but one of Turley’s troops is expecting the worst this year and would like to give a partner a piece of his mind. Unfortunately, he isn’t sure how to do it:

Hello,

By way of introduction, I am a loyal reader of going concern as well as a big four slave in the audit practice. Slavery had begun four years ago at EY and with all the compensation talk going on at other big four firms, I can’t help but to think –

What is a tactful way of telling a partner during the comp talk, “well thank you for that oh so very generous double digit percentage raise (assuming if it’s even double digit), but I am still unhappy because even after this supposed raise, you are still not paying me jack for the amount of contribution and commitment that you demand from me.”

As noted above, I’m a second year senior from an east coast office and my base is still not breaking mid-60s. Seriously, what the f___?

I will be forever grateful if you post my question up for discussion. Thanks so much!!!

Yours,

Angry EY audit senior

There are various directions we can take here so I’ll try to cover a few options before turning it over to you all.

A. Start off with a variation of, “Look, I’m an ungrateful, bitchy auditor. I also have unrealistic expectations and an inflated notion of my self-worth. I’d really appreciate an explanation as to how you can reconcile these traits to this paltry 10-15% raise.”

B. Continue with the slavery narrative.

C. Start questioning leadership at every turn, from challenging Andrew Cuomo to rumored twisting of Senators’ arms. “If this is the type of firm your running, yada yada yada.”

D. Simply ask if E&Y’s raises will beat PwC’s.

Now you may not think these are “tactful” ways to have this conversation but he did sign, “Angry EY Audit Senior.” If I tried to reason with this person, I’d be doing him a disservice. And when is honesty ever not tactful? If you sugarcoat your frustration, the partner will assume you’re a pushover like everyone else. My guess is most partners want you to give it to them straight. If you’re a performer (and something tells me you think you are) than this partner doesn’t want to lose your talent.

Having said all that, not everyone can muster up the courage to ditch the filter in these meetings. If you’ve got better more practical ideas than what I’ve listed, feel free to bestow your sage advice below.

Promotion Watch ’11: BDO Admits 13 New Partners

Jack Weisbaum is letting a baker’s dozen join the club, although with the new national heads recently announced, there’s an new extra layer between the newbies and the most interesting accounting CEO in the world.

Here are the lucky 13:

John Barkmeyer (Orange County – Assurance), Doug Bekker (Grand Rapids – Tax), Elliott Binder (San Jose – Tax), Sofia Blair (New York – – Assurance) and Mike Campbell (San Francisco – Tax), Demetrio Frangiskatos (New York – Assurance), Nania Gopal (Orange County – National Assurance Office), Mike Hottel (Washington, DC – Assurance), Joel Mitchell (Chicago – Tax), Stathis Poulos (Raleigh – Assurance), Jennifer Quaglino (Woodbridge – Tax), Chris Tylka (Chicago – Assurance) and Andy Zaleski (Detroit – Tax).

Congratulations and stay thirsty, new partners.

[via BDO]

Comp Watch ’11: Sit-downs at PwC Starting This Week

From the mailbag:

Any rumors on PwC comp going around yet? Partner discussions are supposed to start this week and go through next.

After all the discussion around PwC’s new compensation structure one may have thought that was enough to keep people talking for months. Fortunately, plenty of mini-BoMos out there are anxious about this year’s compensation adjustment and since the fiscal year ends next Thursday, it’s not a wonder. Sooo, if you’ve been (un)fortunate enough to have your little money chat let everyone know how it went. Don’t spare the details: office, level, practice, etc.

Promotion Watch ’11: PwC Admits 136 New Partners

Last year, we learned about new partner promotions at the House of Moritz the first week of June. This year, we had to wait for a press release from the Denver office to get issued before we heard anything about it. Now, I’m not mad (although Adrienne probably is) just disappointed. If you forgot how to get in touch with us, it’s a simple as clicking email us or on our names in the margin. Regardless, we got on the horn and managed to get the whole scoop.


136 new partners admitted firm-wide, representing all PwC service lines.
–53 new partners in Assurance,
–50 in Tax,
–32 in Advisory and
–one in Internal Firm Services.

The new class of 136 is 53 more than last year, so that clears a few extra spots out of the parking lot at senior manager. The promotions bring the total count of partners in the States to over 2,300.

So a hearty congratulations to all the new PwC partners. No doubt you’ve worked and worked and worked for it. We just hope emotions were kept in check at any celebrations.

What Do We Make of the Headcount in Deloitte’s Los Angeles Office?

Our tipster had this to say, “No wonder they are getting rid of PSW [Ed. note: he/she is referring to this], there are more partners than junior staff! Where the hell is the leverage model? This is beyond completely ridiculous.”

Posted on the Green Dot’s internal interwebs:

Did you know?

The Los Angeles office represents 55% of the PSW region in terms of headcount:

Los Angeles Headcount
Partners, Principals, and Directors 195
Sr. Managers and Managers 407
Senior/Senior Consultants 304
Staff Consultants 188
Junior Staff/Analysts 141
Client Service, Admin, and Other Support 271
TOTAL 1506

Technically, the combination of “Staff Consultants” and “Junior Staff” exceeds the PPD number although that but that puts the ratio of 1.69 staff for every PPD. I’m no expert but that could be considered low. It’s safe to say there are a few big engagements in L.A. that demand more than 1.69 staff people which probably leaves the small jobs shorthanded. Anyone in Deloitte L.A. (or anywhere else for that matter) feeling the pain because of this? Let us know in the comments.

Deloitte Partners Get Some Pointers on What to Say Re: Bonuses, Compensation

As was mentioned on Tuesday, rumors around Deloitte’s compensation are starting to surface. This likely means partners are fielding questions from anxious employees about raise, bonuses and if they’re considering any part PwC’s new compensation structure. Of course, not everyone is comfortable discussing personal financial matters with Gen Y types, so TPTB have floated some talking points to the partners so they might reduce the number of awkward moments.

Question: What can we say to our people about this year’s compensation?

As we are in the process of closing our books for FY11 and completing our financial plan for FY12 over the next several weeks, we have not finalized the overall Deloitte or AERS compensation – both for [bonuses] and FY12 base compensation. Deloitte and all of the major audit, advisory, and consulting firms participate in Mercer and similar compensation surveys and use this information as a key benchmark for determining competitive compensation. We also continue to differentiate performance (and move AERS Advisory to a more incentive based pay mix). We do our best to be above the survey midpoint of the aggregate of our competitors’ with regard to compensation and make adjustments as necessary (as evidenced last year).

We will continue to implement our Rewards and Recognition program which is significant. We are confident that we will be rewarding our professionals in a way that recognizes their contribution and efforts over the past challenging year and the increasing performance expectations we all face looking forward. We also stay very abreast of what our competitors’ actions and claims are and, if appropriate, make adjustments based on factual information.

When speaking with your teams, please consider the following key points:

• We continue to monitor the marketplace and pay at or above market. The compensation scenarios we’re modeling will ensure that we maintain, and likely improve, our position relative to our competitors on a total cash basis this year.

• We are confident our [bonuses] will be at or above last year’s levels, which were the highest in the history of our organization.

• Our merit pool will provide for market based compensation for all of our professionals and appropriate pay differentiation on the basis of individual performance. Our people continue to tell us this is important to them, we owe it to them, and we will deliver on this commitment this year.

• We know that our people have worked extremely hard this year and we will do whatever it takes to ensure that they are rewarded accordingly. We have a number of options on the table but frankly we don’t have the year-end numbers in yet so it’s still too early to make those decisions.

BREAKING: Big 4 Firms Compete for Talent

For those not previously aware:

A talent war is among the top concerns for both the accounting profession and their corporate clients, says Jim Henry, managing partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in San Francisco. Even as the nation struggles with persistently high unemployment, those with the right skills and credentials are in demand. “We’re seeing a hot market for those with the relevant skills,” said Henry. “It’s a sign of the economy improving over the last 18 months.”

Since this is a BizJournal publication we hit the paywall but can presume that Diego discussed PwC’s successful competitive poaching campaign (which included picking up James Draper in San Fran).

Accounting firms battle to attract the best talent [SFBJ]

PwC Snags Another KPMG Partner

Is PwC offering these partners a lifetime supply of Girl Scout Cookies or something?

Ellen Rotenberg will join PwC to head up the Banking, Capital Markets and Insurance group as a tax partner in New York. She was most recently the National Tax Leader for Banking and Finance at KPMG. Prior to that position she did a stint in KPMG’s Washington National Tax Practice.

If you’re keeping score at home, this is the fourth KPMG partner/principal to join PwC since February (that we know about). Kinda makes you wonder if Tim Flynn is really retiring. [PwC]

New Leadership Appointment Causes Unrest Inside Deloitte Advisory

As we’ve discussed, there has been a bit of controversy around the leadership election process at Deloitte. We first reported this news to you in January with a follow-up story on the candidates, the sorry turnout that was expected, and finally the news that the three candidates had been elected to their respective positions.

Today we have more controversy from inside the house of D but this time it is from a sub-group in the Enterprise Risk Services (aka Advisory or “ERS”) practice. There have been a number of recent leadership appointments within ERS but one in particular that caused a Deloitte partner to reach out to GC. This individual belongs to the Security and Privacy Practice (“S&P”) which consists of approximately 80-90 partners and has been recognized as one of the “12 leading global information security & risk consulting service providers” by Forrester Research Leader for their expertise in this area, according to the Deloitte website.

According to our source, the issue that has caused concern amongst many partners in the S&P group is that the new leader does not have extensive experience in the Security & Privacy area. Our source explained to us that a recent theme inside the firm has been “leading from the front” best encapsulated by leaders like Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and others who lead based on setting an example. The feeling of the S&P partners is the most recent appointment is based more on cronyism rather than qualifications and past performance.

The leader of the ERS group who makes the appointments is Owen Ryan, a Deloitte veteran who has held several leadership positions at the firm and has led ERS for the past 2-3 years. Our source told us Mr. Ryan has run the advisory practice creating an environment of cronyism and nepotism by appointing individuals, including family members, closest to him and that this appointment in S&P has partners saying this is the latest example of “the emperor having no clothes.” S&P supposedly has many qualified partners who have held leadership positions in the past who could lead the group but were passed over. This has many of them worried about what will become of their reputation as a top service provider in the area and how clients will perceive this appointment.

We spoke to a former Deloitte partner who worked in the Securitization and Structured Products Group (also part of ERS) who confirmed these allegations of nepotism and cronyism. “I wouldn’t go so far to extrapolate what occurred in our group to others,” the former partner said, “but that was certainly my experience.”

Despite this, one insider who is familiar with the leadership at Deloitte described Mr. Ryan as a “results-oriented businessman” who is cognizant of how “his decisions will reflect on him.” This source further told GC that “[Mr. Ryan] would not compromise the potential success of the ERS group by appointing someone to a leadership position who wasn’t qualified.”

Mr. Ryan’s no-nonsense style has manifested itself into some interesting behavior. Our original source told us that he takes attendance at ERS partner meetings and fines individuals $20 for using their BlackBerrys or speaking to neighbors during them. Our source said the money collected goes to charity.

Mr. Ryan did not respond to our voicemail requesting an interview.

The concern in S&P is understandable; an outsider leading a niche group would rankle the feathers of the most laid back partner. However, these decisions are rarely made in a vacuum and Mr. Ryan has his own superiors to report to. The other aspect to consider is the difference between technical leadership and what one source called “visual” leadership. There are many partners capable of leading a practice based on technical merits but the vision and flexibility needed to keep a group progressive in a fast-paced market does not always accompany technical expertise. Quite simply, if the leadership appointments that are made on Mr. Ryan’s watch do not prove successful, he will certainly be held responsible, but there is a lot of concern that the reputations of many of the firm’s best service lines may suffer in the process.

Woman Insists She Didn’t Rip Off PwC Because She’s a Bad Person But to Hide the Fact That She Was Having an Affair with a Married Partner

When banging your boss, there are certain precautions one must take to ensure that the affair is not discovered. In the case of Angela Tilling, who was jailed for £33,000 in expenses fraud, she claimed “her behaviour was an attempt to prevent John Minard’s wife spotting suspicious payments on his credit card.” Mr. Minard admitted that he had sexual relations with that woman (that’s what I keep hearing in my head) but denied that they had “full intercourse.”

Of course smut isn’t the only part of this story. We learn that Angie reportedly “conned” P. Dubs into spending “£50,000 celebrity appearance at a Christmas party in a bid to boost her popularity,” among other expenses that weren’t kosher. You see, it appears that Angela wasn’t too good at making friends, so she threw around a bunch of the firm’s money so people would think she’s the bee’s knees.

“Some of the money was used to provide entertainment for others because what this lady craved was the respect of others.

“She liked to be the centre of attention, providing days and nights out. She is a lonely lady who bought the friendship and affection of people with whom she worked. It was not salted away for a rainy day.”

The court heard Tilling falsely claimed £2,183 expenses for a 47-head staff lunch at Birmingham’s Hotel Du Vin on December 7, 2004 and £2,146 for a company hotel conference in June 2005.

She blew a strict £25,000 budget when organising the company’s Christmas party on December 22, 2005, fraudulently transferring two £29,375 payments to cover a celebrity guest’s £50,000 appearance fee.

Tilling also falsely claimed a £15,000 payment by lying that she had paid the sum as a deposit to secure the guest, who the prosecution and booking agency refuse to name.

She was also paid a further £5,581.25 in bogus expenses on October 17, 2006 and £3,706 in June that year for Solihull College support staff.
In December 2007 she fraudulently claimed £2,225 for 60 theatre tickets at Birmingham’s Hippodrome – another company outing she organised.

It was all for love.

PricewaterhouseCoopers PA jailed over expenses fraud [Telegraph]

PwC Partner Has Mixed Feelings on the Royal Wedding

As you may have heard, there was a wedding today in London. It just so happened that this little event landed smack-dab in between Easter and May Day which has resulted in a lot of extra time off for our friends across the pond. While the majority of people are using this alignment of holidays to take long vacations or extended benders, a few people still have to get some work done. The good news is that with so many people away you can enjoy elevator music in solitude, whistle in the john and lose the pants behind the desk in one’s office and not feel anxious that someone could walk in at any time.

The bad news, as one PwC partner explained to the Journal, is that the lack of subordinates can sometimes hinder productivity:

“I am being super efficient while everyone is away, but I keep running into the fact that people I need to get a hold of are not here,” said Hemione Hudson, a partner in the banking division of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in London.

PWC’s London offices would normally have more than 2,500 people passing through on a given day, says Ms. Hudson, but this week, there have been far fewer. Many employees took the opportunity to get away after a busy audit season, she says. That’s meant quicker elevators and no lines for coffee, she says.

Among those remaining behind are her boss, PWC Senior Partner, United Kingdom Ian Powell and “many of the executive board.”

Still, “it’s not so great for business’ bottom lines,” Ms. Hudson points out. April has felt like a very short month, even for those working throughout, she says.

Makes you wonder why people feel pressure to work so much, doesn’t it?

U.K. offices find pros, cons to holiday week [WSJ]

McGladrey Suing Three ‘Rainmakers’ Who Defected to JH Cohn

That, according to a report in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal:

At risk are millions of dollars, the company’s reputation and the entire health care practice now led by a Minneapolis partner, according to a lawsuit recently filed by the accounting, consulting and tax firm against the three rainmakers who went to New York-based J.H. Cohn. Bloomington-based McGladrey and the former partners said they’d rather not discuss the dispute. Public records show that McGladrey is seeking a federal court order to keep the partners away from their clients

And unfortunately, that’s all we know. The MSTPBJ is behind a paywall (and my publisher is currently not springing for a membership) so we can’t really tell you much more than that. But we do love a good Benedict Arnold story, so we called around and are anxiously awaiting both firms to call us back. In the meantime, if you’re in the know get in touch or discuss below.

Why Would Fourteen Baker Tilly Partners Give Up Equity for Salary?

This one’s a stumper.

Accountancy Age reports that 14 Baker Tilly partners are giving up their equity stakes to go on salary including “international CEO Geoffrey Barnes, head of IT advisory Richard Spooner, and six partners from the London office.” A spokeswoman told AA that this is simply a change in “remuneration” and the fourteen individuals would remain partners and there “would be no change to client services.”

Riddle me this partners out there: why would a person with an equity stake go back to being a senior manager (i.e. in terms of the compensation structure)? Something doesn’t compute there. Since we’re dealing with the international CEO and head IT advisory, maybe there’s some kind of political or solidarity motive here but the Accountancy Age report is skimpy and its editor Gavin Hinks admits that there isn’t much to go on and gets to speculating:

The big question people are asking is what does it mean? Or does it mean anything at all? There are a number of reasons a partner’s status might change. They may simply no longer want the risk of being partner. The firm may believe profits are too diluted and want fewer partners.

I personally don’t buy the first motive. If they were sick of the risk, why not just leave the firm? There are plenty of jobs out there with better compensation packages. Diluted profits is a little more plausible but the international CEO and head of IT advisory? Why would they opt out? Since the partners in question made this decision themselves, it’s unlikely that this was a punitive measure but perhaps BT had a little bit of an internal email scandal, they were given a multiple choice form of punishment and this was the least severe option? I’ve really got nothing better at this point. People with theories that are slightly above the crackpot level are invited to share.

PwC Lands Another KPMG Partner; Steven Tseng Joining Transfer Pricing Practice

This just in – more competitive poaching from P. Dubs.

PwC US announced today that Steven Tseng has joined PwC US as a partner in the firm’s Transfer Pricing practice. Tseng will relocate to China in June to focus on helping multinational companies with their transfer pricing planning in China and the Asia Pacific region. Tseng will also take the lead role for tax and transfer pricing planning for companies seeking to transform their value chain globally, in particular in Asia.

Tseng joins the firm from KPMG, where he was the Asia Pacific Regional leader for Global Transfer Pricing Services (GTPS) as well as the partner in charge of GTPS in China and Hong Kong. Prior to this role, Tseng was partner in charge of Financial Advisory Services for KPMG in Finland.

This latest pickup follows the firm snagging Tom Henry last month. Rumors have it that there will be more but the question is, who’s next? John Veihmeyer? Keep us updated if you hear anything.

How Bad Are the Odds of Making Partner at a Big 4 Firm?

If you’re a (senior) manager at one of the Final Four horsemen of the accounting firm apocalypse, you may have asked yourself this very question. A reader recently dropped some quantitative analysis on us, writing, “I tried to step past anecdote and see how bad things really were.” This is specifically for the audit practice and is fairly large office, so adjust your expectations accordingly.

Using commonly available data from my firm, I decided to create a quasi-statistical analysis of the likelihood of senior managers making partner in the near future.

There were, as of the date I pulled this data, 843 senior managers in our audit practice. It’s too time consuming to divide these among starting classes, so I’ve made the following simplified assumptions:

Tenure:
9 year – 30% of the population, or 253 senior managers
10 year – 25%, or 211
11 year – 20%, or 169
12 year – 15%, or 126
13 year – 10% or 84

Let’s consider half of year 11 and all of year 12 and 13+ to be “in the pipeline”. That’s 295 senior managers competing for a given number of partner/principal/director (“partner”) spots.

Our tipster used a sample of approximately 200 partners (out of an assumed total of ~1,000) to conclude that approximately 14% of them would retire in the next five years (assuming 30+ years with the firm, mandatory retirement at 62) and assumed a 6% growth rate (which he/she admits, is on the aggressive side).

Here’s an extrapolation of open spots based on turnover and growth:

1,000 partners x 14% turnover = 140 partners turn over due to attrition, or 28 partners per year
1,000 partners x 6% growth = 60 partners per year, ignoring compounding

84 new partners sounds like a lot of partners. That’s because it is. Those in the know put our planned crop of partners at ~50 for 2011. At best, you’re looking at 1 in 4 of those high performing senior managers making partner, based on our assumptions. More realistically, it means that 1 in 6 can make partner.

Maybe you’ll take those odds, maybe you won’t but like we said, if you’re working in an office that is a fraction of the size in our tipster’s pattern, your odds could be worse depending on the situation in your office. Our tipster continues:

These odds are much worse than anyone is willing to admit, and simply making promotion a war of attrition by extending the partner track to 15 years isn’t going to do much to clear up the pipeline, since very few senior managers are going to find an opportunity that presents the chance of making $300k plus within 2 or 3 years. The situation gets even more grim for senior managers in their 9th and 10th year, who have a huge backlog in front of them and a glut of peers who were hired in the SarBox days of senior managers leaving for 30-40% raises and expect the same in their own careers.

Experienced seniors and new managers should very carefully consider the extended consequences of this data, and what it’s going to look like in 7-9 years when they are trying to make partner. The days of 15% growth in our industry are over and aren’t coming back, and the reality is that many Big 4 senior managers simply are not employable in industry at their current salary levels. Think through your career decisions in the coming 18 months very carefully.

As we’ve discussed, the firms know full well that not everyone has the goal of becoming a partner but if you do have partner ambitions, you’re in a pretty select group. The problem is, the odds still seem to be against you. Now with busy season winding down and three of the four firms closing in on fiscal year-ends, this year’s performance (and prospects outside the firm, depending on how promotions fall out) will be weighing heavy on the minds of many.

How Can a Prospective Intern Relate to a Partner During an Interview?

Welcome to the International Women’s Day edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, an accounting major at UI and prospective Big 4 intern is having trouble relating to partners in his interviews. Can we help this future coffee gopher come up with some better ice-breakers?

Recently been fired? Need a contingency plan? Worried about backlash? Email us at [email protected]Sigh:

Hi GC,

I am a junior majoring in accounting at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign set to graduate in May 2012. I am in the process of applying to our school’s MAS program to get my 150 hours to sit for the CPA in the state of New York. Last fall, I had an office visit with PwC in NYC for their Summer 2011 Audit Intern. I was not given the job. A few weeks ago, I interviewed for Deloitte for their Winter 2012 Audit internship in NYC as well. I moved onto the second round but my second round interview was a 30 minute phone call from a partner. I thought the interview went well with him but I was not given an offer. I am now 0/2 in second round interviews with the Big 4. What am I doing wrong? I read somewhere about the facial hair article that partners generally do not come into contact with associates much and I am only interviewing for an internship. How can I connect with a partner who seems disinterested in interviewing college kids? I connect easier with HR and managers that do first round campus interviews but it’s hard for me to establish rapport with a partner. I do have another office visit scheduled in mid April for NYC EY-FSO so maybe the third second round interview will be the charm. These are the questions I usually ask managers and partners:

• Where did you see yourself 5, 10 years down the road when you first started?
• Did you take it step by step or did you know you wanted to become a partner?
• What has been your most rewarding moment or biggest accomplishment here?
• What are your plans for the next 5 years and what about the firm’s goals?

[Thanks!]

Dear Intern with no Ice Breakers,

Rather than complain about your lack of partner relations, you should simply be thankful that you’re not a grad assistant at UI. Since you didn’t ask for perspective I’ll let your lack of gratitude slide and address your query directly. Here goes.

You listed four questions that you ask of managers and partners and frankly, they’re terrible. They are trite, predictable and shallow. Plus they’re nearly identical, as they all are related career path. There are other things to consider, after all. Partners and managers want to know that you’ve really got something going on upstairs, not if you’ve read all the listicles on the Internet that have job interview tips. Also, partners are human (well, most of them) so asking them strictly business questions make you seem stiff and impersonal. If you can demonstrate an ability to relate a partner on a personal level, he/she will see you as a team player and someone who has interests outside accounting. You do have interests outside accounting, don’t you?

If you don’t have interests outside accounting: A) GET SOME and B) ask a question that isn’t about career path. What about work-life balance or volunteer opportunities sponsored by the firm or studying for the CPA exam and working OR what he/she likes best about their job? ANYTHING other than re-asking the question you just asked.

So next time you go into an interview and it comes time to ask a partner or manager questions, ask a diverse set of questions. If your questions are one a single track, your interviewer will think your brain is on a single track.

Which Accounting Firm Has a High-Ranking Partner Whose Hooker Habit Got Him in a Bit of Trouble?

Actually, there might be a few of them but we’re talking about a very specific instance. A partner with a hectic international travel schedule got taken to the cleaners by his wife after she discovered that he was keeping company on the side while on his business trips, including the aforementioned hookers. And as luck would have it, some of the court documents found their way into our inbox. We’ve clipped some of the juicy parts for you:


It should be noted that this particular situation took place a number of years ago and proceedings were still being wrapped up fairly recently. Now, the hookers angle is especially salacious (which we like) but what does a situation like this say about the pressure that many globetrotting partners are under? The firms demand a lot from their top leaders and a lifestyle of high pressure and international travel can wear on a person. If whores on the cheap happen to be in close proximity to your hotel…well, it’s not inconceivable that some partners may want to blow off some steam. Landing an exotic piece of tail to help you cope with the stress while traveling on business may be a lot of fun but if you have a wife and kids and home, that’s where things get can complicated, and in this case expensive, as the following indicates:

And we didn’t even mention the possibility of the spreading around the clap. No one wins there.

How Would You Vote on the Deloitte Leadership Candidates?

Last month, we shared with you the concerns of a Deloitte partner who has a lot of issues with the processes around electing the firm’s leadership. As the partner explained it to us, “The elected individuals are the Chairman, the CEO, and a CEO ‘Alternate.’ The CEO ‘Alternate’ is there in the event that the CEO elect is also elected as the Global CEO (which will typically happen).”

Recently, we were able to confirm the candidates and thought we’d share them with all of you since some of you might not be aware of who they are:


Punit Renjen, for Chairman of Deloitte LLP (Current CEO of Deloitte Consulting)

Barry Salzberg, for CEO of Deloitte LLP (Current CEO of Deloitte LLP)

Joe Echeverria, for CEO Alternate (Current Managing Partner of U.S. Operations)

What’s not immediately known is when Deloitte partners will be voting “Yes or No” on these candidates. One of our sources speculated that the vote could be as early this week.

In our previous post, we learned that the partners vote up or down on these candidates as a group as the partner in our last post explained “The partners get to vote ‘YES or NO’ on the ‘slate’ of candidates that is advanced.” Since we know a lot of you out there in Internetland are Deloitte employees but not partners, we thought we’d get your perspective on this slate of candidates and whether you would give them a “Yes” or “No.” And since the comments box allows for further explanation, feel free to elaborate on your vote. We know of one person who will be voting no.

A message left with Deloitte spokesperson Jonathan Gandal was not immediately returned.

Earlier:
Deloitte Partner Encourages Brethren to Take Back Their Firm

PwC Picks Up Thomas Henry from KPMG; Will Lead Global Incentives Practice

This could be what PwC’s Talent Leader was talking about she said that poaching, “[Has] always been a place we like to stay competitive.”

Mr. Henry, a tax partner who has spent more than 25 years in public accounting, most recently at KPMG, has extensive experience in all areas of state and local taxation. He is best known for his work in the credits and incentives space, both domestically and worldwide. His experience in maximizing global incentives for large multinational corporations in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa will enable both US-based and non-US-based multinational companies to benefit from his counsel when entering into economic incentives negotiations.

Thomas Henry Joins PwC US To Lead Global Incentives Practice [PR Newswire]

Partner Shows Amazing Restraint After Former Colleague Calls Him a Thief and a Liar

Sometimes when there is a dispute among partners of an accounting firm, things can get a little ugly. Sure there’s the sleeping with the other’s spouse/pool boy problems that crop up from time to time but that’s nothing compared to a situation when there’s actually a business reputation, financial considerations and possible federal criminal charges at stake.

Such is the case involving a former tax director at TCBA Watson Rice LLP with the firm’s managing partner. Patrick Largie tasked with preparing the firm’s 2009 tax return and when he got to the “Other Deductions” (line 20, for those of you scoring at home) he noticed a suspicious $1.8 million figure. After investigating further, he determined the amount was ‘inaccurate and false’ that could possibly bring “an IRS investigation and possible criminal charges.” As a result, he brought it to managing partner Bennie Hadnott’s attention. Hadnott didn’t feel it was anything worth raising a fuss over and demanded that Largie sign the return and go on his merry way.

Largie refused and was promptly fired. And yes, of course he sued. But Bennie Hadnott is treating the lawsuit much like he treated the $1.8 million Other Deductions – it’s NBD:

Hadnott labeled the claims “a nuisance lawsuit” and said the dispute was going into mediation on February 4.

“You get those filed all the time,” he said. “You can’t control what people go out there and do. We filed an answer to that, but there was no merit to it. He got mad because he was terminated with cause. People get emotional and go out there and try to sue the whole world, which he did. You have no control over people going out there and filing actions like that.”

So, despite his former colleague sullying the fine TCBA Watson Rice name and also accusing him of misappropriating $500k through bogus loans, Hadnott won’t have it, is taking the high road even though he could make Largie’s life difficult:

Hadnott hinted that Largie’s lawsuit came in retaliation after the firm learned of his actions and dismissed him, but he declined to elaborate on the firm’s claims. “I can really prosecute him for smearing our name, but we are just trying to be cool about it,” he said. “We don’t want to drag him through the mud.”

Other than the part where you make him look like a perfectionist, litigious, asshole crybaby, his name should be just fine.

Partner Sues Firm over Termination [AT]

PwC Partner Says His Lack of Whiteness Stifled His Pay; Sues Firm

Ahhhhh, the race card. Just when you think it’s maxed out, another swipe is attempted.

Dunstan Pedropillai, is a partner in PwC’s London office who early in his career was labeled ‘a rising star’ and a ‘star performer’ is suing the firm because, he claims, he doesn’t fit in with the ‘collegiate club-like corporate culture.’ Simply put – his lack of whiteness and Britishness is holding him back. But things weren’t always this way, it seems. The firm reportedly went out of their way to admit him as a partner a year early in 1997. Everything was going swell until he returned from Japan in 2001 when all of a sudden his non-pale face, seemingly, started affecting his career:

‘The original culture of the firm is an extremely strong collegiate club-like corporate culture which has its roots in Anglo-Saxon male culture, which is the major composition of the firm.’ Of his return from Japan, he said: ‘It was as if they had already formed a view that I was not a ”member of the club” or that in some way my face did not fit. The firm felt they could not put me in front of blue-chip top tier clients – they felt as a non-white I didn’t look right.’

Of course it was entirely possible that Dunstan was slipping a bit:

By 2003 his rating at the firm had dropped to the bottom level available for a partner. In 2004 he received a bad appraisal for dating a colleague, Marina, now his wife, without revealing the seriousness of the relationship to his boss.

So we all know that dipping your pen in the company ink, while potentially tricky (not to mention common), is NBD and Dunstan was ultimately given a pass on this but still wasn’t satisfied and that’s when decided to threaten the firm with a suit. This was received rather coolly by PwC, who reciprocated with their own threat to fire him if he went ahead with the lawsuit slapping. He called P. Dubs bluff (apparently he still has his job) and now PwC is taking the gloves off, saying that Dunstan just started sucking and he should be thanking his lucky stars that he still has a job and his £933,480 salary:

Suzanne McKie, representing PwC, said the firm denied that Mr Pedropillai’s career stalled because of his ethnicity and put it down to his ‘poor people skills’. She said that the poor global economy meant Mr Pedropillai’s unit grew only marginally, and that two of his white peers were made redundant, while another, who had returned from working abroad at the same time as Mr Pedropillai, had been forced to move to Australia because there was no work for him in London. She said the £100,000, or 12 per cent, pay cut received by Mr Pedropillai last year was roughly in line with the eight per cent salary drop received by partners across the board and that he had a low role grade because he refused to accept any negative feedback.

£1million accountant who blames racism for limiting his pay [Daily Mail]

Blog by Wife of PwC Partner (aka Chief Spending Officer) Details Failed Attempts at More Frugal Lifestyle

Times are still tough for many but few take to the blogosphere to share their tales of coupon clipping, pics from staycations and scouring the racks at Filene’s Basement. One person who felt the need to share her frugal efforts with the masses is Lisa Unwin, the “Austerity Mum” and wife of PwC’s head of consulting in the UK, Ashley Unwin. How tough have things been at Casa de Unwin? Well, it all started when the couple purchased a house in East London that reportedly cost ‘squillions,’ and Ms Unwin thought that maybe a more modest life was in order:

Musing on how to cut the cost of family holidays she suggests forgoing private helicopter flights or cancelling that half-term break in the Maldives in favour of returning to your weekend home in the French Alps.

The closest her family comes to the wartime notion of make do and mend is for the husband to have his designer Berluti shoes resoled – at a specialist cobblers on Bond Street, she reveals.

Now that’s sacrifice! However one thing her “Chief Spending Officer” husband wasn’t able to give up are his handmade shirts:

“Not even Prada is good enough any more, can’t recall why,” she reveals.

Then, there’s the ankle-biters:

[H]er two children – nicknamed the “diva-in-waiting” and the “smallest man with the biggest attitude” – have come to believe it is normal “to have a seat that turns into a bed if you’re on a flight for more than three hours”.

For her part, Ms. Unwin was thinking about going back to work (she’s a former Deloitte communications director) but there were conditions:

Claiming she would “love” to go back to work, she bemoans how the cost of childcare makes it impractical. “It would need to be something that I could do between the hours of 10 and two – well, actually 11 and two three days a week to enable me to go the gym,” she concludes.

Sadly, Ash wasn’t so keen on the attention the blog was getting, “Mr Unwin is understood to be acutely embarrassed by the disclosures and she has now agreed to take down the blog.” Lisa is looking for ‘another way to write’ but our guess is a freelance gig with Going Concern is out of the question. Even still, the offer stands Lisa – email us.

Moss Adams CEO Denies Grant Thornton Merger Rumor in Email to Partners

In reaction to our post yesterday about the rumor of Grant Thornton and Moss Adams being united in wedded CPA firm bliss, Moss Adams Chairman and CEO sent an email to MA partners yesterday afternoon. The email, sent to us earlier today, let the partners know that no one is out of the loop, “[L]et me start by assuring you that you did not miss a partner call, a partner memo or any other such communication dealing with this.”


Mr Anderson also wrote that he has spoken to Grant Thornton, “Since we last had the all partner webinar, there have been no substantive discussions with GT – I say no substantive discussions because I have been at an AICPA major firms meeting where I not only had casual discussions with the GT leadership team, but I had similar discussions with the leadership of most of the 30-50 largest CPA firms in the country, exclusive of the Big 4.”

So you can interpret things like, “no substantive discussions with GT” and “casual discussion with the GT leadership team” how you like but Mr Anderson made himself a little clearer near the end of the email, “I can absolutely assure you that while we have had discussions with a large number of firms (of all sizes) over the past 12 months […] there are currently no negotiations under way with any firm regarding merger. But I can also tell you that I and other [Executive Committee] members will be talking to some west coast firms over the next several weeks.”

Moss Adams has not responded to our most recent request for comment. Grant Thornton sent back our carrier pigeon with it’s head cut off (very Chicago), which is the closest thing resembling a response that we’ve ever received from the firm. We’ll keep you updated.

Deloitte Partner Encourages Brethren to Take Back Their Firm

As previously discussed, making partner at a Big 4 firm is no small feat. It takes years of work, some political savvy and luck. When you finally get a seat at the big table, you discover that everything leading up to that point was simply the beginning. Now that you’re calling the shots, you have big responsibility, be willing to resist temptation, and try to keep employees happy. Not an easy task but that’s why they get paid the big bucks, right?

But forget all that. Partners, as we know, are owners. They have an equity stake in their firm and have a say in how the firm should be run. Or do they have that say? One Deloitte partner, a twenty year veteran of the firm, reached out to us recently to express their concern about the upcoming election of new leadership at the Green Dot:

I’m an audit partner with Deloitte. Don’t want to bore you with the fact that I love the firm, and I am a die-hard D&Ter. But, all firms have their faults, right? Even Deloitte. While we tout and sell “Good Governance” strategies – our own governance process is severely BROKEN.

What many may not know is that Deloitte has an election year happening in 2011. Yes – Sharon Allen is off to retirement [Ed. note: PARTY! – Oh sorry, this is serious], and so is Jim Quigley. No tears for them…they have very rich retirement packages that will keep them wealthy for decades to come.

We’ve already been through our “Nominating Committee” process, where all the partners are able to be interviewed by committee members and submit nominations of individuals that they would like to see in different leadership roles. The elected individuals are the Chairman, the CEO, and a CEO “Alternate.” The CEO “Alternate” is there in the event that the CEO elect is also elected as the Global CEO (which will typically happen).

We’ll jump in here to make a quick point: our tipster reiterated to us that (s)he loves Deloitte and the motivation for reaching out to us is due to his/her commitment to the firm. (S)he even admitted that reaching out to GC seemed odd but clarified it to us this way, “It is akin to someone that loves their country and wants to improve upon it because we know we have the right to speak out and improve our country. Right now, our election process at Deloitte is broken.”

ANYWAY:

The thing that angers many partners – but few voice this concern – is that the Nominating Committee Process and the “election” of the Firm’s leadership is a farce. The “independent” Committee comes up with their recommended candidates after hearing the soundings of the partners. I should add that Committee is selected by the Board and Management. There is no “election” to approve the Committee. Then the Committee comes to a conclusion on ONE set of recommended candidates, and the Board approves that recommendation (shocking). Then, the partners get to vote “YES or NO” on the “slate” of candidates that is advanced. This “election” occurs in late February/early March. The leaders must be installed in June. So what if the partners said NO? What would the leadership team do then?? Guess what – they don’t care! Because they know the partners always say YES! It is so painful. And nobody is willing to challenge this process. Because – you have three camps of partners. (1) the camp that doesn’t care and never will because it “doesn’t affect my daily life; (2) the camp that is so rich in the number of units they have, they wouldn’t upset the apple cart because they make too much money to want to risk it even though they know it is wrong, and (3) the younger partners who fear retribution of having their “heads cut off” for speaking up.

Jumping in again – we spoke to a former Deloitte partner, who confirmed the broad details of the process and also the widely-held notion that the election process is a “farce.” This former partner also confirmed this is a feeling held by many partners, especially the freshly minted ones. In addition to the fear of retribution, he said that younger partners also feel apathetic, being of the mindset that the “nominating committee won’t listen to me” and they are being given “lip service” by leadership. Further, for many young partners, simply joining this exclusive club is exciting enough that few pay attention and, oh yeah, they have TONS of work to do. As for the “gray-haired partners,” our source confirmed their attitudes as well, saying that there would be little motivation to speak up when they are “riding out their careers” or have a lot vested with the firm already.

Getting back:

The thing is that these leaders represent our firm, manage our firm, and control our collective destinies. They also rig the elections. And they then tout, continuously, the importance of the “Sense of Partnership.” The truth is that Deloitte is not run like a partnership. Yes, the partners have capital at risk, we are owners of the “Firm.” But, we are not appropriately represented. We lack a true collective voice. We keep quiet for the “good of the Firm.” And, we are now going to embark on a new “BOLD LEADERSHIP” move that is being done to passify all the various interests of our firm (Consulting, Audit and Tax). The thing is – we don’t attempt to have our partners select the BEST leaders – but simply the leaders that a select few believe fit a set of criteria that are BEST for us ignorant partners. It’s a bit like the government telling us what is good for us.

It angers me. And, I wish that I could wake up every Deloitte partner and have them realize this. But – if I did this – I’d likely be fired. So, I’m sending this to you to see if you can help WAKE up our Partners!! They should VOTE NO to the nominating committees recommended leaders. We need to take back our firm, much like the American voters took back our country.

[Signed,]
An anonymous Deloitte partner who cares deeply about our Firm and our culture.

Our “anonymous Deloitte partner” speculated that 75% of partners share his/her feelings on this. What’s been the catalyst to all this frustration? Well, the former Deloitte partner we spoke to said that it’s a partly the nature of the governance process itself but it has been made worse by how leadership handled layoffs and the economic crisis during 2008-2009. As you may remember, Deloitte leadership admitted that the May ’09 layoffs were handled poorly last spring, however, morale amongst partners remains extremely low.

Just to add a few more things from the “anonymous Deloitte partner” – when we asked about the details of the nominating process, the response we received was that while it was a “cordial” and that the partners that serve on the committee feel as though they are doing “God’s work,” but ultimately it is a “falsehood.” The former Deloitte partner confirmed this, who told us he had a friend who served on the nominating committee who joked with him about flying around the country, “listening to crap,” throughout the exercise.

When we asked about the firm’s leadership considering a more democratic process (i.e. partners are nominated by vote), that doesn’t appear to be on the table because another firm does it that way, “In situations where our CEO has been asked about the process, Barry Salzberg stated that our firm doesn’t want a divisive culture where certain partners get their feelings hurt in a race for the CEO spot or other positions. ‘That’s not part of our culture. That is what PwC does, and we don’t want to do that.’ ”

Stepping back from all this (we realize it’s a lot), if we were a run-of-the-mill Deloitte partner, it be pretty difficult to see this as an equitable process. As we said at the outset, being a partner means having a say in how the business is run. Granted, when you’re talking about a firm as large as Deloitte, there has to be centralized leadership but wouldn’t you want a direct voice in determining who that leadership is and not simply up or down on a list of names handed to you? It sounds like a lot of partners at Deloitte are feeling shut out of this process. Maybe some don’t care but many new and aspiring partners probably do (Millennial attitude and all) and this lack of true representation will certainly make some think twice about their long-term careers with the firm.

Ernst & Young Partner May Have Known This Lehman Brothers Bankruptcy Situation Was Going to Get Worse

This was in January 2009 after the shit had hit the fan and E&Y’s partner on Lehman, Hillary Hansen, may have had an idea of how cozy she was going to get with bankruptcy examiners, the NYAG, SEC, PCAOB, etc.

Skip ahead to around 17:00 (you have to go to the website to watch) where Hansen says, “We audit Lehman Brothers, unfortunately,” to sparse chuckles.

Zero Hedge makes the case against E&Y (Hansen being the main culprit) in excruciating detail and thinks FSO might be down for the count:

[W]e are confident that (again, with the assumption that we live in some semblance of a sane/ration world), E&Y’s Financial Services Office is done (even despite such ironically apropos warnings on the firm’s website as “Top six liquidity risk management challenges for global banks “), and quite possibly the entire firm. Integrity is the number one currency for an auditor, and just like Anderson, E&Y’s just went out in a puff of green-colored smoke.

Deloitte’s Sharon Allen Will Be Having a ‘Big Party’ to Celebrate Her Retirement

Sharon Allen has spent 38 years at Deloitte. Doing the math on that, it probably feels more like a millennia. Accordingly, Ms. Allen has decided to hang up her green dot and chillax in Pasadena (Q&A with Accounting Today and we’ve picked out some of the highlights, including yes, a par-tay.


For starters, Sharon is a closer!

It’s a good time to leave when you’re on a high. I feel very confident in future leadership and the direction of our organization, and I think it’s just absolutely the right time to turn the reins over to others and proudly watch them continue to lead the firm in a good direction.

There will be a retirement rager, natch.

I’m going to have a big party. Yes.

Retirement will involve quality time with the hubby (but not so much that he goes nuts) and leading the Village People.

First of all I plan to spend a lot more time with my husband, family and friends, but of course there will probably be a limit on how much togetherness he can stand.[…] I have already committed to becoming the chairman of the board of the national YMCA board, which is an organization I’ve been involved with for over 25 years. I’m sure I will find ways to keep productively busy.

In case you weren’t aware, she doesn’t have a Y chromosome.

I am proud of many firsts that are in front of the titles I have carried. I was fortunate to be the first woman to become an office managing partner, the first woman to become a regional managing partner, the first woman to be elected to the board at Deloitte, and that’s been some years ago now. But I have to say my proudest accomplishment, I believe, was to have been elected as the first independent chairman of Deloitte’s board of directors. We separated our chairman and CEO role and created a full-time independent executive chairman of the board. It is an elected position by our partners, and I was very proud to be elected to that role. I always say, “Oh, by the way, I’m a woman.” It’s a very important distinction for me.

She’s more like you than you think – she got passed up for a manager promotion because her supervisor was clueless!

[P]erhaps one of the most important challenges that I had as I was coming up through my career also turned out to be one of my best lessons. That was when I was about four years into the firm and I expected an early promotion to manager, and I was passed over for that promotion. Interestingly, as I walked into my supervisor’s office and clicked off all the reasons why I thought I should have had the promotion and had earned it, he kind of sat back in his chair and looked at me and said, “I didn’t even know you did all those things.”

What about this boys club mentality?

I do think that there still is an underrepresentation of women in senior leadership in business generally and certainly in the board room of corporate organizations today. I do believe that organizations need to examine how they are recruiting, how they assure women are proportionally given the best assignments.

You know, back in the day, we basically had to come to work in drag.

There is a very big difference between today’s women and women of my era when I started in the profession because, in those days, honestly, you almost had to pretend there were no differences. I came up in the business world of wearing a suit and a little bow tie and trying to dress like the men and, of course, fortunately, men and women both can acknowledge the difference and benefit from that.

Leave Sharon your well wishes (or food and entertainment requests) below and if you get invited to this party, email us the pictures.

KPMG Partner Who Missed $1.9 Billion Error Having No Problem Blaming Others

Apparently it’s auditor punishment Monday. Or Tuesday, if you’re Down Under:

A lead KPMG auditor who only learnt about a $1.9 billion [about USD $1.88 billion] error in his audit of Allco Finance Group through a report in BusinessDay was benched for nine months by the corporate regulator yesterday.


To be completely fair, it sounds like it may have been a tricky audit:

Christopher Whittingham, a KPMG partner, led a core team of 20 audit staff that signed an unqualified audit report on the notoriously complex accounts for Allco for the year ended June 30, 2007.

Or was it?

The error detected by BusinessDay involved the 2007 accounts classifying $1.9 billion in liabilities owed by Allco as non-current, telling investors they fell due more than a year later. The liabilities were, in fact, current liabilities, meaning they were due within the year. The amount of current liabilities is a significant issue for shareholders when considering whether a company can meet its debts when they fall due.

Whatever the case may be, Mr Whittingham shouldn’t sweat it too much:

[T]he Australian Securities and Investments Commission released an enforceable undertaking with Mr Whittingham, which included a nine-month suspension, a $10,000 fine and 10 hours of professional education.

Well, at least he’s taking responsibility for his mistake and isn’t pointing his finger at anyone else or making excuses, right?

Mr Whittingham said he had relied on managers for aspects of the audit, the error had no bearing on Allco’s collapse and he had reissued its accounts the day after he became aware of the error.

Oh.

Regulator suspends senior KPMG auditor [Sydney Morning Herald]

Earlier:
(UPDATE) PCAOB Gives Ernst & Young Manager the Charlie Rangel Treatment

(UPDATE 2) SEC Charges Deloitte Tax Partner with Insider Trading

~ Update includes clarification of partner’s employment status and statements from accused’s attorneys via MarketWatch.

~ Update at circa 7:20 pm ET includes statement from Deloitte

If you thought all this insider trading fun was just for hedge funds you would be sorely mistaken. Deloitte seems to have another case of a partner who can’t seem to control himself when he gets some insider info. Earlier this year, former Deloitte Vice Chairman Tom Fla> shelled out $1.1 million to settle charges with the SEC.

This time around, it’s still a family affair – husband, wife, wife’s sister and brother-in-law job – and it went overseas:

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a former Deloitte Tax LLP partner and his wife with repeatedly leaking confidential merger and acquisition information to family members overseas in a multi-million dollar insider trading scheme.

The SEC alleges that Arnold McClellan and his wife Annabel, who live in San Francisco, provided advance notice of at least seven confidential acquisitions planned by Deloitte’s clients to Annabel’s sister and brother-in-law in London. After receiving the illegal tips, the brother-in-law took financial positions in U.S. companies that were targets of acquisitions by Arnold McClellan’s clients. His subsequent trades were closely timed with telephone calls between Annabel McClellan and her sister, and with in-person visits with the McClellans. Their insider trading reaped illegal profits of approximately $3 million in U.S. dollars, half of which was to be funneled back to Annabel McClellan.

The UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) has announced charges against the two relatives — James and Miranda Sanders of London. The FSA also charged colleagues of James Sanders whom he tipped with the nonpublic information in the course of his work at his London-based derivatives firm. Sanders’s tippees and clients made approximately $20 million in U.S. dollars by trading on the inside information.

So not a bad haul. The kicker is, Annabel was also employed at Deloitte, working in the London, San Jose and San Francisco offices. The McClellans provided information to the Sanders on several companies including Kronos, Inc., aQuantive, Inc. and Getty Images.

The SEC brass gave their standard scolding. First, Enforcement Chief, Robert Khuzami, “The McClellans might have thought that they could conceal their illegal scheme by having close relatives make illegal trades offshore. They were wrong.”

And San Fran Director Marc Fagel, “Deloitte and its clients entrusted Arnold McClellan with highly confidential information. Along with his wife, he abused that trust and used high-placed access to corporate secrets for the couple’s own benefit and their family’s enrichment.”

But the real story here is the second instance of insider trading charges against a Deloitte partner this year. The firm successfully sued Tom Flanagan back in January but you have to wonder if there isn’t some flaw with the firm’s internal oversight. Not long after the Flanagan suit, we reported on the 475 reprimands for internal noncompliance in 2009. Those reprimands did not mention insider trading specifically but over 200 of them were related to independence violations. Pattern? You can weigh in below.

Anyone with any knowledge on this story is invited to get in touch with us. as it is not clear if there has been any internal repercussions yet. Messages (including voicemail, carrier pigeon and morse code) left with Deloitte have not been returned (see statement below).

UPDATE: McClellan’s attorneys are not amused by the SEC’s little stunt:

Lawyers for Arnold McClellan denied charges Tuesday by the Securities and Exchange Commission that the former Deloitte Tax LLP partner was involved in a big insider trading scheme. “Arnold McClellan denies the SEC’s claims and will vigorously contest them,” Elliot Peters and Christopher Kearney of Keker & Van Nest LLP said in a statement on behalf of McClellan. “He did not trade on insider information, and there will be no evidence that he passed along any confidential information to anyone.” McClellan “had no financial incentive to commit the actions alleged,” the lawyers added. “He is a conscientious, law-abiding professional with a 23-year unblemished track record of client service at Deloitte to prove it. We will see the SEC in court.”

And just to clarify, McClellan is no longer with Deloitte, leaving the firm in June of this year. Deloitte spokesman Jonathan Gandal emailed us the firm statement (see below) still hasn’t returned our call (busy day, right?) but managed to give a statement to and was quoted by Reuters, saying that he was “shocked and saddened” by the allegations and “If the allegations prove to be true, they would represent serious violations of our strict and regularly communicated confidentiality policies.”

UPDATE 2: Here is the full statement from Deloitte:

“We are shocked and saddened by these allegations against our former tax partner and members of his family. If the allegations prove to be true, they would represent serious violations of our strict and regularly communicated confidentiality policies. Deloitte is committed to safeguarding non-public client information and has cooperated with the SEC throughout its investigation. The SEC does not allege any wrongdoing by Deloitte in this unfortunate matter.”

Complaint_Deloitte

KPMG Partner-cum-Poet Resists Urge to Create Verse on His Blackberry

Believe it or not, employees of Big 4 firms possess talents that have nothing to do with elaborate spreadsheets, coffee and bagel consumption or fantasy football.

A perfect example of this would be Arun Kumar, a “battle-tested” partner in KPMG’s Silicon Valley office. Mr Kumar is a poet, who recently published a collection of 39 poems entitled “Plain Truths.” And regardless of his almost certain reliance on his BlackBerry, he manages to set it aside for the sake of his art.

Kumar, a partner at accounting and consulting giant KPMG, knows another kind of poetry. A poetry of nature and relationships, of whimsy and wisdom, a poetry of words that can be written on planes or between planes or in the quiet of the evening, but never, ever, on a BlackBerry.

“A poem, for me, is visual,” Kumar says at his Mountain View office. “Seeing it is quite important, so I can’t imagine — on a BlackBerry it’s not the same.”

So not only is Kumar a man of professional integrity, he also is one of artistic integrity, resisting the eyestrain and temptation to double-thumb inspiring words on to a 2.5 inch screen that may or may not be lost after he drops it one too many times.

But even more surprising (and disappointing) than his commitment to his craft, is Kumar’s ability to avoid penning poems related to his job. “Most [poems] are far removed from his work,” the article states, despite the undeniable muse that is life inside the House of Klynveld.

Arun Kumar, of Silicon Valley s KPMG office, finds poetry on the human side of the ledger [Mercury News]

(UPDATE) Ex-Grant Thornton Partner Gabriel Azedo Arrested in Spain

~ Updated includes statement from Grant Thornton International in final paragraph.

The South China Morning Post is reporting that former Grant Thornton partner, Gabriel Azedo was arrested in Spain, citing “people with knowledge of his detention.”

Gaby was on the lam for over year and has allegedly stolen HK$91 million (around USD$11.7 million) from those close to him, although one of his alleged victims doesn’t see this as a half glass full situation:

Yesterday one of his alleged creditors, racehorse owner Archie da Silva, said: “I don’t know whether to be happy or not. Just because he has been arrested doesn’t mean we will get our money back. It could be a very tedious process to get him back to Hong Kong.”

Arch’s concerns about bureaucratic nightmare that is extradition seem to be well-founded, as the article explains that getting Gaby back to Hong Kong really isn’t going to be easy:

“There is no bilateral agreement between Hong Kong and Spain but a transfer under multilateral treaties the two jurisdictions are signatories to, or under provisions in Spanish domestic law, are two areas that can be looked at,” the person said.

However, it is likely extradition could involve a lengthy legal and diplomatic process because Hong Kong has no Surrender of Fugitive Offenders Agreement with Spain.

Another officer linked to the case said: “It’s really up to Spanish authorities to decide whether to hand over the man to us. They could ignore our request as there is no legal obligation for them to hand over Azedo.”

We contacted Grant Thornton International to see if they wanted to comment but have yet to hear back. It goes without saying that this story is pretty strange/intriguing so, we’ll continue to follow the developments.

UPDATE, circa 10:45 am ET: A Grant Thornton International spokeswoman provided us with the following statement regarding the matter:

“We understand from media reports that Gabriel Azedo has been arrested in Spain and that he may be the subject of extradition proceedings to Hong Kong. He was a member of the global leadership board of Grant Thornton International until his dismissal in October 2009. Immediately following his disappearance, Ms. Angela Gardner, a close relative of Mr. Azedo, filed a lawsuit in Hong Kong against Grant Thornton International Ltd but this was subsequently dismissed by the Hong Kong court.

While the situation is highly regrettable for the individuals concerned, this is now a matter for them and for the Hong Kong courts.”

Garden Stater Needs Help Choosing Between Ernst & Young and Deloitte

Welcome to the “Thank Tim Flynn It’s Friday” edition of Accounting Career Couch. In today’s post, we have soon-to-be Big 4 employee wringing her hands over which firm to choose in New Jersey – Ernst & Young or Deloitte. Will the wrong decision put her career on the path to ruin? [effect]

Looking for career advice? Is your integrity being challenged? Need ideas on how to woo an unresponsive accountant addicted to love? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll help you chase down the love of your life (or recommend a good lawyer).

Back to our Garden State go-getter:

I have received an offer for a full time position at both Ernst & Young and Deloitte, NJ offices. I am coming right out of college and would like to get input on which one to choose. Both of them are really great and I like the people at both places- although I can say that I felt better taken care of with Ernst & Young (they had partners calling to extend the offers and made many follow up calls to make sure they get all your questions answered.

I have been going through some company reviews for both, and it seems to be that the major complaint for EY is the salary raises and the limited opportunities for career advancement (I would like to know if this is accurate information). As per Deloitte, the main complaint seem to be the long hours- which is expected for a Big 4, however career advancement seems to be very good. – once again I would like to know if this is accurate and if it is true that career advancement is better at Deloitte than it is at EY.

I would really appreciate your help as I need to get back to these companies within a month and it is a very large decision to make.

Dear Jersey Girl,

Our knowledge about the Garden State amounts to a just a few things:

1. Medford and Byram Township seem like nice places to be from.

2. The Nets suck.

3. Pretty much anything from The Sopranos.

4. No matter how convenient it is in reality, we don’t like taking the PATH.

None of these points help you. What we can tell you is that effort made by the E&Y partners may be the tie-breaker. If everything between the two firms seem the same and the E&Y partners won big points with you, that’s who you should choose.

Now. Your concerns in the other two areas are a little unfounded. First – Ernst & Young’s most recent salary increases were better than Deloitte’s until the recent mea culpa by the Green Dot Gang so if nothing else, they’re staying competitive.

Secondly – we’re not sure what you mean by “limited opportunities for advancement” but E&Y is a huge firm with plenty of opportunities. Plus, if you want something to happen, you’ll make it happen. Doors don’t slam shut just because you choose one firm over another. Plus, the path to partner is long with a big parking lot right in front of it.

As far a long hours are concerned – this has been covered ad nauseam. You’re working lots of hours no matter what. This should not be a decision point.

As far as the specifics about the offices across the Hudson, we’ll leave that up to the peanut gallery. Help the girl out.

Former KPMG Chairman Walter Hanson Passes Away

Walt was elected chairman of Peat Marwick at 39 and served in that role until he retired in 1980.

We weren’t aware of this but the firm actually has a “Walter E. Hanson Award” that recognizes “a KPMG partner for delivering exemplary client service, providing visionary leadership and displaying the highest standards of integrity.”

So while Walt’s name isn’t in the lobby (and thus, no Warhol treatment) this award sounds pretty good. The firm’s press release is after the jump.

WALTER E. HANSON, FORMER KPMG CHAIRMAN, DIES AT 84
First Chairman of Peat Marwick International

NEW YORK, Oct. 28 – Walter Edward Hanson, former Chairman of KPMG, died after a long illness at his home in Newport Beach, Calif., his family has disclosed. He was 84.

During a career at KPMG that spanned more than 23 years, Mr. Hanson, who died Sept. 24, was widely regarded and admired for his business insight and determination by both his colleagues and clients. He became the first Chairman of Peat Marwick International in 1978.

Mr. Hanson joined KPMG in 1957 as a partner in charge of its transportation practice, later as partner in charge of the New York office, and was elected Chairman of the U.S. firm at the age of 39, serving in that role from 1965 until his retirement in 1980.

He was born on Oct. 17, 1925, in Adelphia, N.J. After serving with the U.S. Naval Air Corps, he graduated from Lafayette College in 1949. He became a certified public accountant and joined the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway Co., where he rose to the position of Vice President and Comptroller.

Numerous academic and civic honors were conferred upon Mr. Hanson. He served as a member of the Board of Trustees at Lafayette College for 18 years, nine of those as Chairman. In 1984, the firm established the Walter E. Hanson/KPMG Peat Marwick Professorship of Business and Finance endowed chair at Lafayette. In June 1977, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Lafayette. In 1979, the Citizens Union of New York City presented him their Distinguished Service Award.

Mr. Hanson served for 15 years as a member of the Board of Governors of the United Nations Association of the USA. He was a member of the Advisory Council of both the Harvard Business School and the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He also served as a member of the Board of Visitors of the Graduate School of Management-UCLA and Duke University Business School.

Following his retirement in 1980 from KPMG, he served as a member of the Boards of Directors of many companies, including CIGNA Corp, Fidelity Investments, Chesebrough-Ponds, and Insurance Company of North America. Mr. Hanson was founding Chairman of the Maritime Center in Norwalk, Conn. In 1983, Mr. Hanson was awarded the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the profession’s highest honor.

Commemorating Walter Hanson’s contributions, KPMG created the Walter E. Hanson Award in 2003 to recognize and honor a KPMG partner for delivering exemplary client service, providing visionary leadership and displaying the highest standards of integrity.

Mr. Hanson was one of America’s top sailboat racers. He raced for many years on Long Island Sound and along the East Coast. He twice won the Marblehead-Halifax Race and was the Northern Ocean Racing Circuit winner. In addition, he was a member of the New York Yacht Club and served for many years on its Board of Trustees.

Mr. Hanson is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, children Katharine (Greg Hurray), Elizabeth (Edward) Lawlor, and Barbara (Samuel) Maropis; grandchildren Jeffrey Hurray and Matthew, Abigail, and Casey Lawlor; a sister, Emma Freeman and brother, Irwin.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association and/or Lafayette College.

About KPMG LLP
KPMG LLP, the audit, tax and advisory firm (www.us.kpmg.com), is the U.S. member firm of KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International.”) KPMG International’s member firms have 140,000 professionals, including more than 7,900 partners, in 146 countries.

Former Big 4 Employee Has Some Thoughts on the Motivation Behind Becoming a Partner

For many of you in public accounting, the idea of becoming a partner in your firm is either a career aspiration or a thought that borders on lunacy. A few might fall in between those two spectrums but if you ask most people, they’ve got a pretty definitive answer on the “do you want to be a partner?” question.

Awhile back we received a message from a former Big 4 rank and file who had some thoughts on the matter:

When you enter Big 4 as an associate, the assumed goal is to make Partner. This seemed like a great goal at first, kind of like making it to the 12th grade in high school, or getting a degree (or two) from a good college. Or maybe even being voted in as the President of your sorority or fraternity. Take your pick. It’s the culminatied work, dedication, a little luck and a dash of favoritism from the Powers on High. However, the more I worked in B4, and the more I saw the “pyramid” continue to rear its ugly shape, I became appalled that anyone could WANT to be Partner.


We’ll just briefly chime in here to say that equating high school graduation to making partner is a bit of stretch (and we let a lot of things go). We know lots of people that graduated high school that could barely operate velcro sneakers.

Back to the rant:

The obvious reasons why someone would want to make Partner? Money, fame, money, power, money. Let’s be honest, it’s pretty much just for the money. But at the cost of what? More often than not: a tough family life (perhaps divorced, an affair or five, missed family dinners), working on the weekends, hardly seeing your kids due to work (e.g. weekend working, wining and dining clients, etc), and – the part that disturbed me the most – the fact that you are making your money from the “blood, sweat, and tears” of the miserable little minions working til all hours of the day and night for YOUR profit. I honestly don’t think that I could ever, in good conscious, become a partner, knowing the levels of stress I (directly or indirectly) put on my little “worker bees.”

Okay, time to jump in – to insinuate that partners (and aspiring partners) are simply motivated by money is silly. For starters, most partners will never pull down the salaries that the Jim Turleys and T Fly of the world are pulling down. Secondly, there are plenty of people working in public accounting – believe it or not – that really enjoy the auditing/tax/advisory work they do. If this is something an individual is aspiring to do long-term, having some skin in the game (“your profit”) is a worthwhile goal.

As for as personal lives go – more than 50% of human beings that get married end up getting divorced, so that’s weak and most partners (at least in our experience ) are not the lady-killer/man-eaters that you describe.

Continuing on:

Perhaps it is this mentality alone that makes me wholly unfit to ever be a partner or even a C-suite bigwig. Perhaps being a female I see the dog-eat-dog corporate world at a level that is far too emotional and compassionate.

But then again, who knows? Perhaps, hypothetically, by the time I finished the long uphill journey to Partner, clawing my way to the top, I would be so engrossed by the money and power that I wouldn’t have the time or space in my thoughts to think of the “little people” that were making my money-making factory churn. I would be immune to their complaints, responding with, “Stop your whining. We’ve ALL been there before. Just keep putting in your time, and everything will turn out okay.”

“Engrossed by money and power”? Now we’re getting ridiculous. This is public accounting, not an über-competitive hedge fund or the hallowed walls of the U.S. Capitol.

Once you make partner, the struggle is just beginning. Being at the top of the totem pole for an individual team might seem like a powerful spot but it’s anything but. The politics reach a whole new level when you make partner that most of us can’t even imagine. So, while you may think that partners consider staff and managers “little people” many of them probably feel like little people as well. Plus, they have significant (and sometimes grossly unrealistic) expectations placed on them, so any pressure you’re feeling, they’re likely feeling it as well.

Partners are still human and they have to make hard decisions that affect people directly and most of them are consciously aware of this. How each of them handles that responsibility is obviously different but you make them sound like soulless robots and that’s simply not the case.

So what’s the motivation, partners? If our reader is right, then proceed to tell us your stories of fame and fortune (yachts, trips to Monaco, et al.). But if you want to set the record straight then we invite you to level with the haters out there.

Earlier:
The Partner Track: Open Thread

PwC Partners Providing NY Employees a Way to Avoid Travel, Family for Thanksgiving

As the days shorten, leaves fall and men waste hours in front of the talking box, it can only means one thing: The Holidays will soon be upon us. This also means that lots of traveling and family time – two things that can make the holidays a less-than desirable time of year.

Luckily for PwC employees in New York, two partners have opened their hearts and homes (not literally) so that you may avoid those two nuisances entirely:

To the People of the New York Metro Practice:

The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday break provides us with a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the company of family and friends and to reflect on all we have to be thankful for. However, we recognize that some of our people may be far from home (such as our people who are on tour from various other PwC offices) or may just not have somewhere to spend Thanksgiving Day. If you don’t have plans, Tim Ryan, Assurance Leader and Bill Cobourn, Sectors & Markets Leader will host (along with their families), a special Thanksgiving Day meal.

We would like to invite you and your friend, spouse, significant other, or children — and we can all celebrate this special day together. As some of you know, Tim has six children–so there will be fun for both adults and children. This festive meal will be held on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 25) in the afternoon at a Manhattan venue to be announced. To help us plan for this event, please indicate your interest in attending using the link below. If you respond “yes” we will follow up shortly to provide additional details.

Please recognize that if you already have plans for the holiday, you are not being asked to change them.

This unprecedented display of generosity is quite welcome considering past behavior by some partners in other cities but we do have questions:

1. Is there a short list for the “Manhattan venue” and will attendees be allowed to vote on the locale?

2. Will the “kids table” consist of non-partners as well as kids or will all the adults be allowed to sit together regardless of title?

3. What’s the “saying grace” situation? Also, will there be assigned seats or is it going to be like boarding a Southwest flight?

4. Will table manners be of the Judith Martin or Emily Post persuasion?

5. What’s on the menu? Is going to be the typical fare or are we going non-tradish? Is it catered or are Tim and Bill going cheap and making it potluck?

6. Open bar?

7. Are certain topics of conversation off the table? Examples may include but are not exclusive to: A) The new logo B) AIG C) Deloitte’s ascension to #1.

8. Will there be an open call for entertainment or is the pianist from DC going to step up again?

You have to agree that all of the above are important but are we missing anything? If you’ve got more questions, leave them below.

There Are Some Cranky McGladrey Mofos in Minneapolis

Last week McGladrey announced the promotion of 21 lucky ducks to the big kids’ table. Mining the comments, you would find some indication that even with the 21 newbies, the number of partners is probably a net negative due to “laid off and departing partners.”

We received a tip recently that seems to echo these thoughts, telling us that a number of managers and partners have left the Minneapolis office, including a “head partner.”

We asked around and discovered through another source that this “head partner” was a gentleman by the name of Will Roche, a veteran of the firm:

I am not saying but just saying no one in is happy in Minneapolis. Will Roche was forced out after 34 years

And through another non-McG source we were able to confirm that Mr. Roche is no longer with the firm. So! Maybe it’s a simple case of out with the old, in with the new at Mickey G’s? If that’s the case, is C.E. Andrews next? Dude is pushing 60. Discuss below.

PwC Partner Desperate for Courageous Pianist Has Prayers Answered

It was only yesterday that we learned about a PwC partner that was thrown a curve when their regular pianist up and cancelled for a Monday night fiesta. The partner, not wanting to disappoint/disgust his guests, challenged everyone he knew to find the stones to stand up and say, “Yes, I play piano and I am courageous and I will dazzle your guests and be ‘well fed’ in the process!”

Frankly, we had our doubts this would get pulled off. Fortunately for this partner and his guests, a small miracle occurred:

. . . and the answer is, we’re courageous and talented! I received quite a few offers from people willing to play or with ideas on friends or relatives who could possibly help us out. More importantly, we received a number of replies from people simply stating that they wish they could help out and that they wish they had maintained their piano studies. So, what should we make of this little episode in our lives here at PwC? First, it is a reminder that at PwC we act like family and help each other out.

Second, it is a reminder that we have many courageous people who are willing to step up to a challenge. In a later note, I will highlight some of the individuals who responded and volunteered. In today’s note, I simply want to highlight the contributions of Craig Wilderman, the individual chosen to play last night. Craig played beautifully despite the fact that he hasn’t been playing regularly in recent times. Craig displayed an ability to jump from music genre to music genre — he was actually quite impressive. Perhaps the final message I have for you today is that when you can steal a moment or two away, it is probably a good idea to rekindle old passions and hobbies. I believe that Craig found sharing his piano talent with us last night to be very personally rewarding as well.

First, how annoying would it be to read the emails from “people simply stating that they wish they could help out and that they wish they had maintained their piano studies.” Save it people. What you’re really saying is, “I can’t play a lick but I would if I could and I thought you should know that!” You’re wasting the man’s time. He needs talent, not your bullshit excuses about how you quit when you were a junior high.

But luckily there was a real hero in the mix. We did some snooping around and found a Craig Wilderman on LinkedIn who is in the vicinity but his keyboard talents are not anywhere on his profile. We felt confident that we had our man and we tried shooting him an email to get the scoop on 1) songs played – did he take requests? 2) the hottie situation 3) was he, in fact, “well fed” 4) what form the “external gratitude” has taken so far.

But the most important question for Craig is, is he considering leaving the confines of his cube to go on the road to provide his talents for other partners desperate for in-home talent at a modest charge? It sounds as though he could make a run at it but maybe he just needs some encouragement. We say, go for it Craig. We can’t bankroll you but are more than happy to provide moral support.

PwC Partner, Not Wanting to Disappoint Guests, Has Open Call for Courageous Pianist

When you become a partner at a Big 4 firm, there are many unexpected challenges that you will face. You may have a trusted senior manager quit in the middle of busy season. You may discover that someone who you thought was your best friend is actually primo inventory from the jerk store. And if you’re really unlucky, you may get bombed at a happy hour (allegedly!), then slug a couple people (allegedly!), kiss a couple more (allegedly!), not remember a thing, claim that you were roofied and have a stranger call you up out of the blue and ask you about it.

Anyway, we’ve been informed of another bitch of a situation that can arise when you become partner – when the entertainment for your little soiree cancels on you at the last minute:

From: [redacted]
To:
Cc: [redacted]
Date: 10/04/2010 01:24 PM
Subject: Are you courageous or just talented?

All —

I am having an event at my home tonight and my normal pianist has canceled on short notice. This is a test of the courage of you as a group of people.

I know someone is out there in our midst who in their spare time is a really good pianist. I would be eternally thankful if those of you to whom this note applies, would volunteer to help me out tonight. I know we hire people with many talents — the question is — do you have the courage to display them? The event is from 6:00 – 9:00 PM in McLean. You will be well fed. If you are interested, please contact [redacted]. Hopefully we’ll get more than one taker, and we will figure out who we should use.

The fact of the matter is, my event this evening will survive the lack of a pianist. What I am really trying to figure out is what we as a people at pwc [Ed. note: nice usage of the low caps!] are made of.

Thank you,

Jesus. Talk about a conundrum. And since Big 4 partners don’t pull down the kind of dough that could afford them a short-notice call to Elton, Harry Connick, Jr., or even a cheap Liberace impersonator, throwing a line out into the employee talent pool was the only option this partner had.

Unfortunately, since this opportunity was on such short notice, anyone with the necessary skills that is now just learning about it is SOL. With any luck however, you can volunteer your services as a solid pinch-hitter for future reference. God knows how that comes in handy.

Presumably you don’t have to be the next Mozart but if you can pull off some singalongs such as “Piano Man,” “Friends in Low Places,” and “Sweet Caroline” that will go a long way to nailing down that “eternal” gratitude (for a future event of course).

Promotion Watch ’10: McGladrey Names 21 to Partner/Managing Director

Cake and punch all around, natch. And if you’re lucky, pictures with your McGladrey-sponsored golfer of choice.

Oct 01, 2010 – MINNEAPOLIS (October 1, 2010) — RSM McGladrey, Inc., and McGladrey & Pullen, LLP, leading providers of assurance, tax and consulting services under the McGladrey brand, recently announced the promotion of 21 employees to partner/managing director roles, effective Oct. 1.

“Our new partners and managing directors have demonstrated the power of truly understanding our clients’ needs and proactively contributing to their success,” said C.E. Andrews, president and COO for RSM McGladrey. “They display the firm’s core values of relationships, excellence and integrity every day in their interactions with clients, potential clients and with one another. It’s a pleasure to recognize their significant contributions.”

“These employees have consistently proven their ability to gain a deep understanding of our clients’ businesses, aspirations and challenges,” said Dave Scudder, managing partner and CEO of McGladrey & Pullen, LLP. “They have used this understanding to develop innovative insights and expertise unique to each client and industry that we serve.”

The complete 2010 class of partners and managing directors includes:
Name Line of Business Location
Donnovan Maginley Assurance Florida
Doug O’Connor Assurance Illinois
Linda Dehner Assurance California
Steve Gradl Assurance Minnesota
Tasha Kostick Assurance California
Wes Getman Assurance Atlanta
Allison Egbert Assurance Boston
Kevin Vannucci Consulting Connecticut
Brian Holmes Consulting Illinois
Lawrence Levine Consulting Illinois
Dean Nelson Consulting Boston
Diego Rosenfeld Consulting Boston
Rob Frattasio Consulting Boston
Greg DeVino Tax Florida
John Majer Tax Florida
Tay Reeder Tax Georgia
Phil Wasserman Tax New York
Brian Blacklaw Tax Illinois
Mindy Cozewith Tax Georgia
Rebecca Sheridan Tax Texas
Jim St. Germain Tax Boston

McGladrey Announces New Partners and Managing Directors [PRLog]

Experienced Associate Concerned About New Hires’ Salary; Is Having a Sit-down with a Partner a Good Idea?

Today in accountant avarice, a youth took a cut prior to their start date last year and now wonders if this year’s crop will be raking in more. Will bringing injustice to a partner’s attention help?

Have a question about your career? Need help crafting the perfect prose in an email to your firm’s CEO/Managing Partner? Are you a firm thinking about getting a makeover but don’t know where to start? Send us an email to [email protected] and we’ll give the best free advice you can possibly find.

Back to our accountant in the poor house:

I work at a regional firm for about one year now. Prior to my start date my offer was reduced due to the economy. After recent discussions with the partner, I was told that I will be getting a “raise” but even after the bump, my new salary is below my original offer amount. Is there any chance, new hires coming in can make more than I, because my revised offer seems below market and I think my firm will be offering higher salaries to the new hires to remain competitive? Also, should I bring this up to the partner’s attention because I don’t think that they know my salary has been reduced and how would I go about doing this?


First, before we answer your question more directly, we should point out that worrying about what other people are making at your firm will drive you crazy. But because of the world we live in, knowing whether a co-worker is making more or less than us is a God-given right, we understand your desire for this knowledge.

As to whether the new grasshoppers at your firm are making more than you, we suggest checking out our salary thread from late last year, our map that shows salary by region and this year’s Big 4 starting salary thread to give you an idea where you fall on the scale.

But the short answer is, yes, it is possible that your first year associate is making more than you.

Now, what to do about that exactly? Well, before you scream at the cruel and unusual universe for being completely unfair to you, do your research and get a really good idea of what you think you should be making. Nothing will get you thrown out of a partner’s office faster than, “I need a raise because I said so.”

But market research may not be enough. You’ll need to demonstrate to the partner getting your pitch why you’re a valuable resource for the firm and point to specific accomplishments that support your argument. As a second-year associate, that can be a pretty tough sell.

What have you accomplished in the past year? Are you making it rain? Are you a trusted go-to on anything and everything for your clients? Are you involved advancing the firm’s brand and culture and mentoring other colleagues to do the same?

Partners like to hear about all that stuff because A) it gets their blood boiling in the nether regions and B) it means that you care about making them (i.e. the firm) more money and advancing its reputation.

So yes, you can bring your concerns to a partner but be prepared to sell yourself all over again because it’s a “what have you done for me lately?” situation.

Wife of Ex-Deloitte Partner: Porn-extortion Plot Saved Our Marriage

[caption id="attachment_17969" align="alignright" width="260" caption="The happy couple. SOURCE: Jeff Day/NYP"][/caption]

Remember back in May when we told you about Steven Klig, the former Deloitte tax partner-cum-lawyer who attempted to extort his ex-lover with a sex tape? Klig was merely looking for some additional nude pics of his mistress after she broke it off and when she didn’t comply, Klig started with his devious-randy plot.

Klig thought to do some of his blackmailing while on vacation with the wife in kids at Disney World, which is especially creepy considering he would have been drowning in happiness.

Well, Klig is to be sentenced on Friday after pleading guilty in May to illegally accessing a computer network to threaten his mistress. Yesterday he had a whole host of people singing his praises, including his wife, who told the judge that this whole situation has turned things around for them.

In court papers filed yesterday, Steven Klig’s wife, Ellen, said she “thought our life was over” when six FBI agents showed up at their Great Neck, LI, home last year and arrested her hubby for extortion.

“Instead, it was just beginning again. I got my husband back and my children got their father back,” she wrote to Manhattan federal Judge John Koeltl, who will sentence her husband Friday.

Ellen — who said Klig had “withdrawn from our family” due to job-related stress — noted that they’ve been seeing shrinks “individually and as a couple,” and “really work at keeping the lines of communication open.

“As a couple, we have rebounded to the point that after 20 years of marriage, we renewed our wedding vows and our commitment to each other and to our family,” she wrote.

Oh sure lady. Blame Deloitte! It’s bad enough that they have to take shit from the likes of Marin County California. But now you’re saying your marriage troubles were the fault of a firm that is going to (supposedly) create a quarter of a million jobs and the arrest of your husband for plan he concocted in order to get his rocks off are what turned it all around?

Even Klig himself claims that he was somewhere in between mild-mannered tax attorney and something out of a David Lynch film:

Klig — who has never revealed if he actually had the sex tape — blamed his shameful scheme on a sleep disorder, saying, “I really have no explanation other than I strongly believe . . . I was in a world that existed somewhere between insanity and sanity.”

Several former Deloitte co-workers also penned missives in support of Klig, who left the firm in disgrace after his arrest.

Former colleague Monte Jackel wrote that he “heard no mention of any misconduct of any type on Steve’s part . . . until the story broke in the New York Post.

“I was truly shocked at the allegations . . . but view them as out of character with the Steve Klig that I knew then and know today,” Jackel wrote.

The guy in between, well, who’s to say?

Lusty lawyer bust turned marriage around [NYP]

Promotion Watch ’10: KPMG Admits 58 New Partners in U.S.

Despite the Irish blowing it against Michigan, John Veihmeyer managed to compose himself and still allow a few more lucky girls and boys take a seat at the big table.

Congratulations to Our New U.S. Partners

A Message from John Veihmeyer and Henry Keizer 8:56 AM ET, September 15, 2010

We are proud to announce our 58 new partners in the United States!

Through their passion for quality and unyielding commitment to integrity and outstanding service, these new partners are role models for high performance within our organization.

Their dedication to the highest standards of technical excellence, professionalism, teaming and relationship building has helped us make great strides in achieving each of our strategic priorities. And their continued leadership will be essential in capitalizing on the opportunities ahead.

Each of these women and men strive every day through their support and mentoring of fellow professionals to make KPMG an Employer of Choice. They have unique perspectives and experiences – 38% of this year’s new U.S. partner class are women and ethnic minorities. In addition to their diverse backgrounds, over half have worked in more than one office — many on global assignments — and almost 1 in 5 have worked in more than one function. These impressive individual accomplishments exemplify that KPMG truly is a “great place to build a career.”

The significant contributions that these outstanding individuals have made to our firm would not have been possible without the encouragement of spouses, family, friends, co-workers, and mentors, so we also want to thank all those who have supported our new partners through their careers.

Congratulations again to all of our new U.S. partners. Our partners across the firm are proud to welcome them into the KPMG partnership.

Breakdown by practices
Audit: 24
Tax: 12
Advisory: 21
Office of General Counsel: 1

Congrats to all the new partners!

KPMG Pleased That Premature Audit Sign-offs Weren’t on Failed Audits

If you’re the partner on an engagement and you know, deep down in your plums, that the numbers are fine, you probably get pretty anxious to sign off on this bad boy. You want to go on vacation or a golf date with Phil or – if they’re lucky – spend some time with the family. With that in mind, it’s not so unusual that he/she might jump the gun a little and slap down the Johnnie Hancock before all the work gets done.

Unfortunately, as anyone studying for the audit section of the CPA exam will tell you, this is against the rules.


But hey! If the numbers are hunky-dory, there’s not much cause for concern and everyone has a good laugh:

In the case of KPMG, the FRC’s Audit Inspection Unit looked at 15 audits and found that in three cases the auditor’s report had been signed too soon. Significant changes were subsequently made to the accounts in one case.

Paul George, director of auditing at the FRC’s Professional Oversight Board, which includes the AIU, said the early sign-off problem was not limited to KPMG: “It is a profession-wide challenge to some degree.”

KPMG said it accepted the AIU’s comments. “We are pleased to note that in no case did they think that the audit opinion we issued was incorrect,” said Oliver Tant, head of its UK audit arm.

See? It happens everywhere! Plus, it’s not like accounting and auditing are based on rules that anyone takes that seriously, anyway.

Okay, sure signing off early on 20% of the audits sampled sorta looks bad but at least the numbers weren’t wrong. It would be really awkward to explain that.

Watchdog raps KPMG over early audit sign-off [FT]

Ex-Deloitte Partner, Son To Shell Out $1.1 Million to Settle SEC Insider Trading Charges

Last we had heard of Thomas Flanagan, Deloitte had just taken him to the woodshed, successfully suing him for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and breach of contract related to Tom’s insider trading activities of Deloitte clients.

Now it’s the SEC’s turn to get in on this sweet action. The Commission charged Flanagan and his son, Patrick Flanagan for insider trading of Deloitte clients including Best Buy, Sears, Walgreens and Motorola.

Why Flanagan, the 38-year veteran of Deloitte and Vice Chairman of Clients and Markets, who thought that in the twilight of his career, the best move would be to engage in some insider trading is still a mystery. Since he was presumably pushing 60, one couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps his memory was going and he just totally spaced the independence thing.

But actually, no. Turns out, Tom Flanagan is just a liar:

According to the SEC’s complaint, Thomas Flanagan concealed his trades in the securities of Deloitte’s clients and circumvented Deloitte’s independence controls. He failed to report the prohibited trades to Deloitte, lied to Deloitte about his compliance with its independence policies, and provided false information to Deloitte’s personal income tax preparers about the identity of the companies whose securities he traded.

Flanagan & Son will be paying over $1.1 million in disgorgement and fines for their little stunt. And Robert Khuzhami had a little reminder for anyone else out there that thinks they can get cute, “Flanagan’s insider trading violated one of the most fundamental rules of public accounting. All audit firms should learn from this unfortunate episode and employ vigorous controls designed to ensure compliance with the SEC’s auditor independence rules.”

SEC Charges Former Deloitte Partner and Son With Insider Trading [SEC Press Release]
SEC Complaint Against Thomas Flanagan and Patrick Flanagan [SEC Complaint]

A PwC Partner’s Scribbled Notes Helped Save Joe Cassano’s Hide

Back in April, the DOJ and SEC passed on filing criminal charges against the man everyone perceived to be the cause of the financial apocalypse, Joe Cassano.

The Journal digs into a few of the details behind the failed pursuit of criminal charges against JC and we first learn that PwC’s audit team wasn’t rve when they were poking around AIGFP:

Auditors at PricewaterhouseCoopers, AIG’s accounting firm, felt Mr. Cassano was evasive when they asked questions as the housing market weakened that year, according to people familiar with the matter. Tim Ryan, a PwC auditor, was concerned about requests for collateral from Goldman Sachs, which had purchased AIG’s derivatives contracts. He believed the requests were an indication the value of the swaps needed to be lowered and that further collateral calls were likely, people familiar with the matter said.

In interviews in 2008, Mr. Ryan told prosecutors he sometimes couldn’t get straight answers from Mr. Cassano when he asked him to justify how AIG accounted for the swaps, these people said. Through a PwC spokeswoman, Mr. Ryan declined to comment.

Okay, so Cassano was a prickly guy. That’s no surprise, especially since the lion’s share of people that have to deal with auditors, dislike them based purely on spite. Regardless of that factoid, it irks auditors to no end when they have to deal with an uncooperative client.

Cassano’s attitude was noted by prosecutors and this led them to believe that maybe he was withholding information from PwC and the AIG brass about the shitstorm that was growing at AIGFP:

“Why would he do that?” said Jim Walden, one of Mr. Cassano’s attorneys. Mr. Cassano had no reason to hide key facts because he knew the year-end audit was approaching and the unit’s books would be examined.

“He was smart enough many times before” in surviving prior problems, Mr. Pelletier retorted. “He thought he could pull a rabbit out of the hat” and turn things around.

In meetings spanning several weeks in Washington, the defense team rebutted the prosecution’s allegations, presenting a version of events that portrayed Mr. Cassano as repeatedly disclosing bad news to his bosses, investors and PwC.

The defense team didn’t know it at the time, but its efforts helped focus prosecutors’ attention on an obscure set of handwritten notes in their files, found scrawled on the bottom of a printed spreadsheet.

Prosecutors had seen the annotations, which were made by a PwC partner at a meeting with Mr. Cassano and AIG management a week before the key December 2007 investor conference. But the strange hieroglyphs from the world of financial derivatives were hard to decipher and ambiguous enough to support several readings.

Some of the broken phrases that could be made out: “Cash/CDS spread differential,” “need to quantify” and “could be 10 points on $75 billion.”

At this point, prosecutors knew that the jig was up, regardless if started out as a good jig or not. As much as they wanted to pin the near death experience of the financial world on this one shifty (and easily unlikable) guy, they couldn’t. The fact that no one that was at the meeting in Dec. ’07 could remember anything, “According to people familiar with the matter, no one at the meeting—including the author of the handwritten notes—recalled Mr. Cassano disclosing the magnitude of the accounting adjustments he was preparing to make,” certainly didn’t help matters. Especially since, for all we know, the partners’s chicken scratch could have been a recipe for pineapple upside down cake.

And after failing to nail Matthew Tannin and Ralph Cioffi back in November of ’09, the feds could hardly go to trial on such shaky ground. Sigh. OH well! Can’t always catch the (perceived) bad guys!

A Set of Scribbled Notes Helped Scuttle AIG Probe [WSJ]

Which Big 4 Firm Is Getting Extra Anxious to Sign Off on Audit Reports?

In this morning’s roundup we linked to the Accountancy Age story that reported the Audit Inspection Unit in the UK found that “Auditors have also been accused of altering documents before handing them to regulators and putting cost savings ahead of quality,” but also “The report also found some cases where partners signed audit reports before the audit was complete.”

Obviously this is no good but since the report was relevant to the FTSE 100 (and the report doesn’t name names), we just figured that this was just a blanket statement about the Big 4. However, over at FT Alphaville, Tracy Alloway shared a clipping from the report that got a little more specific:


“This issue appeared to be more prevalent at one major firm.” Okay! So one firm has a few extra partners that have itchy trigger fingers. This obviously begs the question of “which firm?” If you prefer to play the numbers, here’s the latest breakdown of the FTSE 100 we can find: PwC – 41; KPMG – 24; Deloitte – 20; E&Y – 17 (we realize the numbers don’t add up to 100, take it up with Accountancy Age).

But this is America, so we’ll put it to a vote:

Lots of Appointing Going on at KPMG Today

Namely Jim Liddy the new Vice Chair – Audit; Tom Duffy – National Managing Partner – Audit; Scott Ozanus Vice Chair – Tax; and Jeff LeSage National Managing Partner – Tax.


And on such a grand occasion, John Veihmeyer gets to say lots of nice things about all these guys even though at least one of these guys is probably gunning for his position.

Jimbo: “Jim Liddy has a remarkable record of providing deep insights to financial service clients and companies in other sectors about their businesses and growth strategies, and is a proven leader. I’m confident that with his intense focus on audit quality, Jim will build on the strong audit practice that Henry Keizer created over the past five years to help ensure KPMG’s continued success.”

Tom: “As the newly named national managing partner – audit, Tom Duffy will team with Jim Liddy to lead our audit practice. Tom has considerable industry experience and a proven track record of delivering audit quality and exceptional service to our clients.”

Scottie: “We’re looking forward to Scott’s leadership during this important period for our tax practice and KPMG’s clients – as companies cope with legislative and regulatory changes, and seek clarity in complex challenges related to transfer pricing, restructuring, renewable energy and a variety of other areas.”

Jeff: “As the new national managing partner – tax, Jeff LeSage will team with Scott Ozanus to lead tax, bringing global tax experience, industry insight and outstanding client service skills to this important role.”

Congrats gentlemen. Not sure if these particular positions get you 18 with Phil or not but we’re sure they are sweet gigs all the same.

KPMG Appoints Jim Liddy Vice Chair – Audit [PR Newswire]
KPMG LLP Appoints Scott Ozanus Vice Chair – Tax [PR Newswire]

KPMG Partner Thinks It’s Really Unfair That Audit Firms Keep Getting Sued

You know what sucks? Getting sued. Ask Bill Michael, KPMG’s UK head of FS. He’s pretty sick and tired of all the sue-happiness going on in the world today. Sure, the financial crisis nearly destroyed the world as we know it but dammit, blaming auditors is downright ludicrous. Why? Because it’s unfair.

Bill Michael, UK head of financial services at KPMG, attacked what he described as “unfair”, “deep pocket” lawsuits which pay “little or no attention to the balance of responsibility between auditor and management”.

“We operate in a highly litigious environment where the balance of risk and reward has driven us to a world of caveats,” said Mr Michael. “Any corporate failure or financial loss invariably carries with it the risk of suing the auditor.”

Right. Because in law school they teach future litigators to “pay attention to the balance of responsibility between auditor and management.” Supposedly Bill Mike would like everyone to start respecting the Big 4 business model and leave them alone to do their work. Because in case you hadn’t heard, this is a life and death matter for accounting firms, you know:

“I can tell you, we are acutely aware of risk management and its consequences from both an individual and a firm perspective.

“You only have to look at what happened to a great firm like Arthur Anderson after its audit of Enron,” said Mr Michael. Arthur Anderson was eventually cleared after its audit of the collapsed energy trader, but the accountancy has already folded as a result.

He also criticised the “enormous rewards for failure” in the banking industry, drawing attention to the way some of those responsible for the collapse of major firms were able to move to other banks or hedge funds.

“The risk-reward relationship is not only lop-sided; it impairs our ability to provide broader observations,” said Mr Michael.

Describing the sometimes tense relationship between accountants and the firms they are auditing, he said that each review often started with the premise of “we don’t trust you”.

So in other words, get your witch hunt on with the banks and hedgies but leave us the hell alone. Nobody likes us the way it is.

Litigation culture is ‘unfair’ warns KPMG accounting head [Telegraph]

(UPDATE) Promotion Watch ’10: Grant Thornton Admits 22 New Partners/Principals

From a voracious reader of Stephen Chipman’s blog:

GT just announced the admission of 22 new partners/principles notably 5 from NY, 5 from Alexandria and 3 from NC – 9 from audit 3 from tax and 3 from advisory


Yes, we realize the numbers don’t work but we’ve confirmed the details we’ve got. We hear there’s an email floating around out there so if you’ve got it handy, fire it our way.

We also heard that comp news has finally gone out so kindly report below or shoot us the details.

UPDATE – July 14, 2010: We received a copy of Stephen Chipman’s email which we’ve presented here for your reading pleasure.

Internal distribution only
Partner/Principal Admissions
One of the highest and most visible forms of demonstrations of stewardship within a partnership come thorough admitting new partners and principals. This represents a critical underpinning for our continued vitality and success. It is within this context that we are pleased to announce the following individuals will be admitted to the Firm as partners or principals, effective August 1, 2010.

Having outstanding partners and principals is an important differentiator for our Firm in our ability to serve our clients with distinction. Each of these professionals has demonstrated their dedication to making a difference – to our clients, to our profession, to our communities in which we live and work, and to our Firm. Their commitment is reflective of personal responsibility, sacrifice, and accountability which we now pause to recognize.

Please join us in congratulating them on this significant recognition of their contribution and in wishing them continued success as partners and principals of Grant Thornton.

Stephen

And here’s a further breakdown of the promotions by service line:

Global Public Sector – 5
Transaction Advisory Services – 2
Corporate Tax – 2
Audit – 9
Corporate Advisory and Restructuring – 2
Corp. Strategic Federal Tax Services (can some demystify this acronym?) – 1
State and Local Tax – 1

And by city:

Alexandria – 5
NYC – 4
McLean – 1
Kansas City – 1
Cleveland – 1
NY – Melville – 1
Charlotte – 2
L.A. – 1
Raleigh – 1
San Diego – 1
Denver – 1
Atlanta – 1
Wisconsin (Milwaukee?) – 1
Chicago – 1

Congrats to all the new partners and principals at Grant Thornton!

(UPDATE) PwC Houston Happy Hours Still May Not Be Safe

It’s been a couple of weeks since we reported on the alleged incident at a PwC happy hour that involved a drunk (or roofied, depending on who you ask) partner who made his fondness for an associate known only to follow it up with a knuckle sandwich (we’re picturing a right cross).

Well, we decided to check in with a source down in H-town to see if there was any blowback from this whole situation.

I heard that PwC wasn’t going to do anything because of his client relationship and only offered the guy the chance to get off the job.

Well! Not exactly what we expected hear and we decided to check things out. Through a friend of capable means, we were able to verify the partner’s employment with the firm.

So then we emailed PwC spokesman Jon Stoner again about the incident but we have yet to hear back. Then we called the partner-in-question and left him a voicemail, asking very nicely to call us back. So far, he hasn’t returned our call but there isn’t any evidence by his greeting that he has left the firm.

So…you can see the conundrum here. What are Houston assurance associates going to do if they can’t drink beer on company dime without fearing a punch in the mouth (and possible getting an unwanted tongue down their throat)? Spend their own money? God forbid. If you know more about this, get in touch.

UDPATE: Just a few more details to share with you – we’ve heard from multiple sources that there were multiple kissing incidents at the happy hour. So while it sounds like more love (albeit unwelcome) was being spread than violence, that doesn’t mean you should be risking the invasion of your personal space for a few cocktails.

BDO Does Some Ribbon Cutting, Opens Raleigh, NC Office

More good news out of B to the D to the O as the firm announced today that it is opening an office in Raleigh, North Carolina (full press release after the jump). This will be the 39th office in the U.S. and fourth in North Carolina. The firm also has eight affiliate offices in the state.

In the process, the firm managed to pick up former Ernst & Young audit partner Michael Dannar (a refugee perhaps?).


The good times at BDO have been aplenty lately as the firm just admitted five partners on July 1 and was given a mulligan on the Banco Espirito lawsuit. Oh and don’t forget that the firm fka BDO Seidman is celebrating its 100th birthday all year.

No word if there will be cake or freakishly large scissors at the celebration but nevertheless, it’s good to see some expansion in the Tar Heel state for a change.

BDO USA, LLP EXPANDS NORTH CAROLINA PRESENCE WITH NEW RALEIGH OFFICE

Chicago, IL – BDO USA, LLP, one of the nation’s leading professional service organizations, has announced an expansion of it’s presence in North Carolina with the addition of a new office in Raleigh. The Chicago-based firm, which now has offices in 39 cities around the country, had previously serviced clients in this market through its Charlotte practice. Pending a move to permanent office space at 5430 Wade Park Boulevard in August, the new practice, which will have approximately 15 staff, will be temporarily located at:

BDO
5410 Trinity Road, Suite 310
Raleigh, NC 27607

The Raleigh business community will now have more direct access to BDO’s full array of services which include assurance, tax, risk advisory, financial planning, business restructuring, litigation and fraud investigation services. Michael Dannar, previously with Ernst & Young, has joined the firm as a partner and will assist in serving the firm’s assurance clients in Raleigh and throughout the southeast. Mr. Dannar has significant experience working with colleges, universities and other non-profit organizations.

“We have been working with clients in Raleigh for a number of years now and the time is right for us to establish a permanent presence. This new office will enable us to better serve our clients in this growing market,” said Jack Weisbaum, CEO of BDO USA. “We are also happy to welcome Michael Danner to the partnership. His knowledge of the market will be a valuable resource to our firm.”

BDO SEIDMAN FACTS:

• BDO is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding in 1910.
• BDO represents companies ranging from Fortune 500 multinationals to closely-held private businesses.
• BDO had $620 million in revenues in 2009 (6/30/09). Over the past four fiscal years, the firm has averaged double digit growth (10.2%).
• As an independent member of BDO International Limited (the fifth largest global network of accounting firms), the firm can leverage the resources of more than 1,000 member firm offices in 115 countries around the world.

ABOUT BDO USA

BDO is the brand name for BDO USA, LLP, a U.S. professional services firm providing assurance, tax, financial advisory and consulting services to a wide range of publicly traded and privately held companies. For 100 years, BDO has provided quality service through the active involvement of experienced and committed professionals. The firm serves clients through 39 offices and more than 400 independent alliance firm locations nationwide. As an independent Member Firm of BDO International Limited, BDO serves multi-national clients through a global network of 1,138 offices in 115 countries.

BDO USA, LLP,a limited liability partnership, is the U.S. member of BDO International Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, and forms part of the international BDO network of independent member firms. BDO is the brand name for the BDO network and for each of the BDO Member Firms. For more information please visit: www.bdo.com.

Comp Watch: Sit Downs Starting at Deloitte; Anxiety Over Raises Picking Up

Lots of news this week on the compensation and promotion fronts with Grant Thornton, KPMG and PwC all making announcements or soon-to-be making announcements (that we’ve heard; are you holding out on us, E&Y?).

The latest out of Deloitte is that the discussions are starting (although maybe not today since it sounds like most are off) but the news on yay or nay on promotions is starting and now the anxiety around comp will increase over the next two month:

The year-end ratings and promotion decisions have been approved by National; so the process of communicating both to Deloittians is starting…At a high-level, I heard that promotions this year were tough – that being said, plenty of people made it through. For the most part, people are now waiting to hear about comp – scheduled for communication the last two weeks of August.

We did hear one rumor about the number of new partners expected, “at a recent partner meeting, it was announced that there will be more than 60 new PDPs nationally, with more than 10 being in the Northeast,” so you can toss that around your meat-ingestion fest this weekend if you so choose.

Discuss your epic/tragic news re: your new promotion if you’ve received word and keep us updated on the comp rumors.

Promotion Watch ’10: BDO Names Five New Partners

Fresh off their win last week in a Florida Appeals Court, BDO announced the admission of five new partners today in a press release (in full after the jump).

The new partners are Joseph Carr (Chicago – Tax), Anthony Lawrence (Grand Rapids – Assurance), Hoon Lee (San Francisco – Tax), Bryan Polozola (Dallas – Assurance) and Julie Valpey (National – SEC) and they get their big chairs effective tomorrow.

Congrats to the new partners and remember to keep the celebration under control.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

BDO USA, LLP, ADMITS 5 NEW PARTNERS

BDO USA, LLP, IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THAT 5 NEW PARTNERS HAVE BEEN ADMITTED TO THE PARTNERSHIP, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2010.

Chicago, IL– BDO USA, LLP, is pleased to announce that 5 new partners have been admitted to the partnership, effective July 1, 2010. Two of the new partners are in the tax practice, two are in the assurance business line and one is in the national SEC group. BDO is a leading national professional services firm providing assurance, tax, financial advisory and consulting services to private and publicly traded businesses.

“I am very proud to welcome each of these very deserving individuals to our partnership,” said Jack Weisbaum, CEO of BDO USA. “A key to success in our profession is a commitment to recruiting, training and retaining superior client service professionals. Each of these new partners has excelled in their specific technical area while providing the highest level of client service.”

The newly elected partners include: Joseph Carr (Chicago – Tax), Anthony Lawrence (Grand Rapids – Assurance), Hoon Lee (San Francisco – Tax), Bryan Polozola (Dallas – Assurance) and Julie Valpey (National – SEC).

About BDO USA
BDO is the brand name for BDO USA, LLP, a U.S. professional services firm providing assurance, tax, financial advisory and consulting services to a wide range of publicly traded and privately held companies. For 100 years, BDO has provided quality service through the active involvement of experienced and committed professionals. The firm serves clients through 38 offices and more than 400 independent alliance firm locations nationwide. As an independent Member Firm of BDO International Limited, BDO serves multi-national clients through a global network of 1,138 offices in 115 countries.

BDO USA, LLP,a limited liability partnership, is the U.S. member of BDO International Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, and forms part of the international BDO network of independent member firms. BDO is the brand name for the BDO network and for each of the BDO Member Firms. For more information please visit: www.bdo.com.

Accounting News Roundup: Bank Tax Scrapped; Deloitte Cleveland Names New Managing Partner; What’s the Future of Internal Audit? | 06.30.10

Financial-Rules Redo Passes Major Hurdle [WSJ]
Who knew that lobbyists could be so effective? “Democrats initially proposed the $18 billion tax on the nation’s largest banks and hedge funds to cover the cost of expanding gof financial services, among other things. But the small number of Republicans crucial to the bill’s passage balked at the fee, which was added at the last minute to the legislation.

With more than a year’s worth of work in the balance, Democrats ditched the levy on Tuesday. Instead, they agreed to offset the bill’s costs by winding down early the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program and assessing a more modest fee on banks through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.”

Volcker Said to Be Disappointed With Final Version of His Rule [Bloomberg]
If you go to the trouble of getting your name on the rule, with specific ideas in mind about what said rule entails, you’d be pretty upset if lobbyists hacked up to the point that it’s hardly recognizable. Plus octogenarians are probably used to getting their way.

“Volcker, the 82-year-old former Federal Reserve chairman, didn’t expect the proposal to be diluted so much, said a person with knowledge of his views. He’s content with language that bans banks from trading with their own capital, the person said.

‘The Volcker rule started out as a hard-and-fast rule on risky trades and investments,’ said Anthony Sanders, a finance professor at George Mason University School of Management in Fairfax, Virginia. ‘But through negotiations, it was weakened and ended up with many loopholes.’ ”


How Not To Look Desperate When Looking for Your Next Finance Job [FINS]
Because we know there are plenty of you out there.

Deloitte names Craig Donnan managing partner in Cleveland [Crain’s Cleveland]
Cake party? Mr Donnan takes over for Pat Mullin who has been the managing partner of the office since 1999.

The future of the internal audit profession [Marks on Governance]
“If we are to be relevant, chief audit executives (CAEs) have to refocus on providing assurance regarding how well management identifies, evaluates, responds, and manages risks – including the controls that keep risk levels within organizational tolerances.”

The Problem With Unreported Income [You’re the Boss/NYT]
The problem being that if you’re going to have one helluva time selling your business if a decent portion of its revenues are unreported.

“Legal and moral issues aside, there is only one way to view unreported income when it comes time to sell the business: forget that money ever existed. If you can only manage what you can measure in business, then the same holds true for what you can sell.”

AIG hires ex-Lehman lawyer as compliance head [Reuters]
As long as AIG doesn’t ask about arcane accounting disclosures, this should work out fine.

Crowe Horwath Audit Partner Uses “The Tax Department Is on Another Floor” Defense

Auditors and audit firms have few options when it comes to defense strategy when they are sued for missing a fraud. If fraud occurs and an auditor partner claims to know everything that one should about his/her client, then the partner was probably in on it. That’s a little tricky.

However, if fraud occurs and the partner claims that he/she had no knowledge of any unscrupulous activity, then that means the audit sage is really just a two-bit glad-hander that couldn’t tell a debit from a credit.


And that appears to be the case of William Brizendine, a Crowe Horwath partner, who is claiming that he didn’t know about the relationship between executives of Peoples Bank of Northern Kentucky and Bill Erpenbeck who were engaged in scheme that artificially inflated the purchase price of model homes. Brizendine claims that he couldn’t possibly known that his client was involved with such a shifty character A) the bank’s execs didn’t tell him until after the shit hit the fan and B) this Erpenbeck character’s name only came up on the tax returns and why on Earth as an audit partner, would he look at those?

The bank’s lead attorney, Ron Parry, tried to establish that Brizendine was in a unique position to expose the fraud before it became large enough to take down the bank. Parry said auditors had to be aware of the business relationship because they also did the taxes of the company Finnan and Menne created with Erpenbeck.

[…]

Brizendine claimed he didn’t know of the relationship because he was just involved in the auditing of the bank and that JAMS tax returns were done by the tax department on another floor of the company’s offices.

Parry was able to show, however, that JAMS tax documents were sometimes sent directly to Brizendine. Brizendine claimed he never looked at those documents since his department didn’t prepare taxes.

Brizendine also admitted on the stand that he was the person who brought in the contract to do JAMS taxes.

Promotion Watch ’10: Ernst & Young Names 126 New Partners in the Americas

To please you hair-splitters, that number includes principals. E&Y also named 62 new executive directors and 19 new directors.

It’s been a couple weeks since the announcement but we finally were able to run down a few details on the new partners at E&Y:


We’re not sure why Howe had to slip in the diversity soundbite there but he did. Thoughts?

In terms of the breakdown, right now we only have a few specifics so far out of the Northeast:

Of the offices in NY, MA, CT, RI, and NJ, we had a total of 16 new execs: nine tax, four advisory, and a whopping three assurance.

If you’ve got more details, let us know. Congrats to the new PPEDDs at E&Y!

BKD Partner Found Dead at His Office

[caption id="attachment_12673" align="alignright" width="120" caption="Source: Springfield Business Journal"][/caption]

Fifty-one year old Daniel Hayworth was found dead at the BKD offices in Joplin, Missouri on Sunday afternoon.

The Springfield Journal Reports that Mr Hayworth had several leadership positions with the firm including the firm’s national construction and real estate group, national manufacturing and distribution group and chair of the manufacturing and distribution committee.


According to Newton County Coroner Mark Bridges told us that Mr Hayworth had a history of hypertension and high blood pressure, accordingly his office ruled that the cause of death was a massive heart attack.

Our email to a BKD spokesperson was not immediately returned.

John Wanamaker, the managing partner of BKD’s Souther Missouri unit was quoted by the SBJ, saying, “Dan was such a great guy, and this is such an unexpected and untimely event. He was clearly a great man, a great husband to his wife, Lynn, a great BKD partner, and a great friend, and he will be unbelievably missed.”

Accounting News Roundup: Ernst & Young Wants Lawsuit Dismissed; KPMG Study Finds Goodwill Impairments Slowing; Deloitte Names New Tax Partners | 06.07.10

Lehman, Nortel, Bank of America, Google in Court News [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]
Dick Fuld and the rest of the ex-Lehman Brothers management team as well as Ernst & Young asked a judge to throw out the lawsuit against them brought by the Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association in Oakland, California, and the Government of Guam Retirement Fund.

This lawsuit focuses on the failed disclosure by Fuld et al. of the use of Repo 105 and E&Y’s confirmation of its usage as being in accordance with U.S. GAAP.


George Clinton in funk: Accountants sue Parliament-Funkadelic star over fees [NYDN]
GC engaged Wlodinguer Erk & Chanzis to audit his royalties from Universal Records and EMI in 2003. The firm claims that they have only been paid $25,000 while the agreement they had stated that WEC would receive 20% of the $1.2 million settlement Clinton received.

KPMG Study Shows Tapering Off in Goodwill Impairment [Compliance Week]
How bad of a year was 2008? KPMG’s recent study of goodwill impairment charges of 1,700 U.S. public companies found that ’08 was a bloodbath “KPMG’s study shows goodwill impairment charges across the 1,700 companies fell from $340 billion in 2008 to $92 billion in 2009. Only 12 percent of companies in the study took a charge for goodwill impairment in 2009 compared with 17 percent in the prior year.”

And of that bleeding, banks were considerably less involved, “The study showed the technology hardware sector accounted for 23 percent of total goodwill impairment charges in 2009, followed by telecommunication services. Banks had the highest level of goodwill impairment charges in 2008, but represented only 4 percent of the total goodwill charges in 2009.”

Inquiries mount after PwC ‘failed to notice’ mistakes [Times Online]
JP Morgan settled with the UK’s Financial Services Authority (“FSA”) last week over its mishandling of client funds, fining the bank £33.3 million. Now the Financial Reporting Council and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, who both oversee accountants in the UK, are now expected to launch inquiries into PwC’s role in JPM misallocation of client funds of £1.3 billion to £15.7 billion between 2002 and July 2009:

In addition to serving as principal auditor, PwC was retained by JP Morgan to produce an annual client asset returns report — a yearly certification to prove that customers’ funds were being effectively ring-fenced and therefore protected in the event of the bank’s collapse. But PwC signed off the client report even though JP Morgan was in breach of the rules.

MOVES-Barclays Wealth, Deloitte, BlueCrest Capital, RFIB [Reuters]
Reuters reports that Deloitte’s tax practice promoted eight new partners: Pippa Booth, Andy Brook, Stephen Brown, Christie Buck, Sue Holmes, Anbreen Khan, David McNeil and Marcus Rea and three associate partners: Andrew Cox, Ashley Hollinshead and Claire Wayman.

Promotion Watch ’10: PwC Admits 83 New Partners

[caption id="attachment_12392" align="alignright" width="260" caption="83 pairs of undies just like ours!"][/caption]

Is it a complete coincidence that it’s National Donut Day?

Besides complimentary undies any thoughts as to what comes in the gift bags? We called Pricew�������������������� folks to find out but so far there’s no word.

But we did hear there’s a little party going down at 300 Madison circa now to introduce the new partners. If there are tears, fist fights, or old partners icing new partners, get in touch with the details (and pics).


First a word from TPTB:

It is with great pleasure that I share the names of the 83 individuals who are being admitted into the PwC partnership as a result of our internal admissions process on July 1, 2010, along with the names of the partners who are retiring from the firm on June 30.

The level of talent in this year’s class of new partners is tremendous and gives me great confidence in our ability to create value for our clients and continue to invest in and develop our people in even more meaningful ways. For those of you who know some of these outstanding professionals personally, you know that they are on this list for good reason. While they have individual talents, skills and experiences, they all share certain qualities. These include a passion for serving clients, a relentless focus on quality, a talent for coaching and mentoring, and the ability to add value to every interaction among our various stakeholders — all while helping grow our business and leading our firm into the future. In addition to their cumulative credentials, two-thirds have worked in more than one office, about a third have changed roles or line of service, and close to a third have done an international tour or have spent significant time overseas. These statistics emphasize that high performers are open to change and willingly step out of their comfort zones.

At this time of the year, we not only say congratulations to our new partner class, but we also say thanks to those moving from being an active partner to a retired partner. This group of partners has collectively contributed to the success and overall brand of our firm. It’s difficult to acknowledge them as a group, as each of these partners has made unique contributions and leaves behind a distinct legacy. I’m proud to say I know many of them personally, and I have learned a great deal from them. Many have been excellent at serving our clients and have been exceptional coaches, mentors and role models for our future leaders. Overall, during their careers at PwC they have made a noticeable difference — for our clients, for our people, for our communities, and for one another.

Refreshing our partnership with new talent each year is one way we continue to drive innovation and a fresh perspective on our business. I think it’s appropriate to celebrate the contributions and legacy of our retiring partners as we welcome a new class of partners to take that legacy and shape it into something inspiring and new. Please join me in wishing our retiring colleagues and friends much success and happiness as they begin the next phase in their journey, and in celebrating our new partners and wishing them ongoing success as they help support the firm’s goal of being the #1 professional services firm!

Here’s a brief breakdown by service:

Assurance – 32
Tax – 40
Advisory – 11

And by city:

Denver – 1; Philly – 3; Houston – 7; Moscow – 1; DC Metro – 4; Florham Park – 6; Minneapolis – 2; Detroit – 3; Hartford – 2; Boston – 5; NYC – 12; Chicago – 7; Tokyo – 3; St. Louis – 1; Baltimore – 1; Indy – 1; Columbus – 1; Pittsburgh – 1; Raleigh – 1; Cleveland – 1; San Jose – 6; Atlanta – 3; Stamford – 2; San Fran – 2; L.A. – 1; Dallas – 3; San Juan – 1; Washington, DC – 1

Congrats to all the new partners!

Allegedly, a Few Ernst & Young Partners Just So Happened to Join PwC

Never having the pleasure of attending a partner-only soiree, we don’t have much knowledge about the haps at these events but we do imagine catering slightly better than what you would find at an in-house training but served by oompa loompas. And an open bar, natch.

Likewise, we’ve never heard about Big 4 partner mixers where, for example, an PwC partner might chat up a E&Y partner talking IFRS, where they fall on the staff’s hottie list and “oh by the way, waddaya say you join our firm?” To save face, we imagine said E&Yer responding with a “No, I will not make out with you” retort followed by open-faced slaps and ripped Jos. A. Bank until the beefy security pulled the two apart (at which point the P. Dubs partner gives his target the “call me” sign).


We bring all this up because the Times Online reports that there has been a fair amount of defection from Ernst & Young to PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Middle East (no sissies allowed). PwC’s Middle East practice was purchased by the UK firm last year and now the Times reports that 20 E&Y partners have been poached by P. Dubs:

According to people familiar with the situation, the defections — amounting to almost a fifth of Ernst & Young’s partners in the Middle East — were in several locations across the region. Most were from Ernst & Young’s consulting business, The moves began last summer but were kept secret because of a settlement between the two firms. PwC agreed that it would not approach any more Ernst & Young staff in return for Ernst & Young agreeing not to take legal action to block the departures.

Neither firm would comment for the Times article except to boast about their numbers in the region, “PwC confirmed that it had recruited 25 new partners and 400 staff in its Middle East offices in the past 12 months,” and “A spokesman for Ernst & Young said that it remained ‘easily the largest’ of the Big Four in the Middle East,” so both firms’ communication departments seem to be operating as normal.

Whether such (alleged) deliberate defections have happened in the States, we don’t know but we hear it is quite the spectacle (marched out by the OMP the second the news got dropped) when one partner notifies his/her intent to leave for a competitor, so all out war could reasonably be expected.

PwC raids rival before Middle East step [Times Online]

Apparently PwC Partners Aren’t Eligible for Anti-Bullying Protection

When you become a partner at a Big 4 firm, the culture rewards you with certain privileges. Some of these include: 1) the ability to strut out the door before 5 pm and no one gives you the stink eye; 2) stealing food out of the fridge without fear of retribution; 3) “Black” Starbucks cards; 4) private bathrooms that blast “You’re the Best” when you walk in the door, among others.

Unfortunately, it turns out that sometimes you lose some privileges when you take seat at the big table.

We previously mentioned Colin Tenner, who is suing PricewaterhouseCoopers for disability discrimination, alleging that he was fired after taking time off due to depression and anxiety. His suffering was caused, he claims, by a client bullying him (e.g. taking his lunch money, using emails as TP and returning them) and PwC’s mishandling of the situation.

His fellow partners weren’t buying it, claiming that he was a total wuss, “partners simply do not get sick” and possibly just faking it.


At first, we thought this sounded a little harsh but the Times Online is now reporting that there is a perfectly good explanation for partners’ reaction. They had a policy to back them up:

Mr Tenner, 45, said that a junior member of his team had raised a formal complaint against the same individual, which was investigated by PwC.

Although he complained about his treatment from the individual on several occasions over six months and had asked PwC to implement specific procedures in its anti-bullying policy, “nothing was done”, it is alleged.

Instead, Mr Tenner said, several senior managers told him that he was not protected by the anti-bullying policy because he was a partner.

Now this makes sense. Had this been one of P. Dubs’ rank and file, certainly there would have been hell to pay for this type of treatment by a client. But since a partner was involved, they figure your bully tolerance should be at such a keen level that no protection is necessary.

Bullying ‘did not apply’ to PwC partner [Times Online]

Accounting News Roundup: Senate Starts Voting on Financial Reform; Risk Management Succumbs to Risk Intelligence; Six Flags Emerges from Bankruptcy | 05.04.10

Voting begins in Senate on Wall Street reform [Reuters]
The latest partisan bickering effort in Congress will get underway today, although the first votes are not likely to be controversial. The first amendment to Senator Chris Dodd’s (D-CT) 1,600 page epic has been proposed by Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and it state “that no taxpayer funds could be used again to bail out financial institutions,” something that anyone up for reelection will likely get behind.

PwC partner Colin Tenner sues over redundancy [Times Online]
Mr Tenner claims that he was let go because of his suffering from depression and anxiety. He claims “mismanagement at PwC and bullying by a client led to him to take sick leave in September 2007. He alleges that he approached PwC in spring 2008 to arrange a phased return to work but says that these discussions broke down, leading to his redundancy.”

Of interest is how the tribunal will decide, “what responsibilities partners at a professional services firm have when one of their number displays signs of stress or becomes mentally ill but wishes to remain in the partnership.” This seems odd primarily because most partners are constantly showing signs of stress and if they’re not, one just assumes they’re mentally ill.


Picower Estate to Pay Billions to Madoff Investors [WSJ]
The estate of Jeffery Picower, a Madoff investor who drowned in his pool last fall, will pay $2 billion to the Madoff trustee in charge of recovering money for investors. This will more than double the $1.5 billion recovered so far.

New Career Path: ‘Risk Intelligence Officer’ [FINS]
Much can be learned from the financial crisis; not least of which is that a lot of companies sucked at managing their risk. Case in point, “risk management” is a prehistoric idea now and one Deloitte principal argues that a “risk intelligence officer” is new sage in this area:

The job of a risk intelligence officer is to assess the organization’s risks and inform business line managers where they need to focus their risk-management efforts.

“They need somebody who can see the big picture and connect the dots,” said [Rick] Funston, who is a principal with Deloitte in Detroit. Deloitte has been encouraging its clients to develop the new role, he said…

Effective risk professionals find a way to discuss systemic failures and take steps to strengthen the organization’s resilience and agility. Part of the job is to understand a company’s vulnerabilities and make it OK to talk about them, institutionalizing the discussion.

Six Flags Emerges From Bankruptcy [Reuters]
Six Flags has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy just in time for summer and now “has more financial flexibility to pursue a shift in strategy toward attracting more families to its amusement parks.” Not sure who an amusement park company would target other than families but it’s nice to see you back in the game, 6F.

Bonus Watch ’10: Are Deloitte Partners Getting More Generous to Keep the Peace?

Here we are, it’s April, and most of you are happy to be bored (relatively) at work for the first time in months. Now that your brain isn’t saturated with numbers and/or what you’ll eating at your desk, you may be weighing your options. As we’ve mentioned, Big 4 partners are expecting this and naturally they want to keep their top performers. How best can they do this? Bribery of course!


And at Deloitte, this method seems to be gaining steam. An accountant close to the situation gave us the rundown on the recognition programs at the firm:

• Applause Awards (whenever)
• Outstanding Performance Awards (whenever)
• Merit Bonuses (annual)

For the most part AAs ($100 to $500 – tax adjusted) and OPAs ($500 to $5,000 – non-tax adjusted) were frozen for the last 2 years; with MBs only being processed for 1s and sometimes 2s (we’re rated on a scale of 1 to 5 – 1 being the best, 5 the worst – with typically 5% 1s, 10% 2s, 80% 3s, 5% 4s and 5s).

Now that you have the background, there’s this:

Based upon what I’ve been hearing very recently, strong performers have been getting [Applause Awards] for $100 in the NE [Advisory] practice. In some limited instances, partners have also hinted at more money coming their way (seemingly in the [Outstanding Performance] realm). Seems like the partners are noticing that people, especially performers, are getting antsy; and are trying to keep the peace until compensations are adjusted in September…

Well! Good to see that Deloitte partners are taking their firm’s advice (combo of #2 and #5). This could work out well for those of you that are rockstars at Deloitte (and are easily swayed by monetary reward) but for the other 80% that fall into the unexceptional categories, you may just have the longer ladder to look forward to.

Earlier:
KPMG Reinstating “Standing Ovation” Bonus Awards

A Lawsuit Seeks To Find Out How Old is Too Old to Become a Partner at PwC

[caption id="attachment_3069" align="alignright" width="260" caption="That's a good one Bob but you really shouldn't tell old people jokes"][/caption]

Or any firm for that matter. There’s probably some opinions on this but allegedly at PwC it’s 54 on the low end and if you’re approaching the firm’s mandatory retirement age of 60 then you’re definitely not getting the bump.

The reason we bring it up is that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has granted new life to an age discrimination lawsuit against PwC. Two advisory professionals, Harold Schuler and C. Westbrook Murphy’s lawsuit alleges that P. Dubs de-nied their admittance because they were close to the Firm’s mandatory retirement age.


The partner track at accounting firms is a long and tough road the way it is and for partners to allege age discrimination seems like insult to injury.

The DC Circuit ruled that the plaintiffs deserve some closure on whether or not the bigwigs in New York really snubbed them based on their age:

Judge Douglas Ginsburg said a 2008 D.C. Circuit ruling involving Schuler entitled the plaintiffs to a “reasonable inference” that PricewaterhouseCoopers’ decisions not to promote them were made in New York, where the firm is based.

“PwC says (the earlier case) ‘does not control’ because it addressed only PwC’s adoption and maintenance of a discriminatory policy, not the ‘discrete decision’ not to admit (Schuler) to partnership,'” Ginsburg wrote. “To which we say: Pettifoggery and piffle!”

Nice touch, Judge Ginsburg. So this means the case goes back to the district so they can get to the bottom of this.

We left messages at the other firms to find out what their mandatory retirement policies were to get some context on the age issue but so far we haven’t heard anything back. We’ll update you with those if we hear back from anyone.

It’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out since we’re pretty confident that their is no document anywhere at 300 Madison that says Schuler and Murphy were just too old to become partners. If we were to take a wild-ass guess, we’d say that the firm will point to performance reviews, etc. to rationalize the snub even if these guys were rainmakers.

PricewaterhouseCoopers age bias lawsuit revived [Reuters]

PwC’s Oscar Partners Get Teased, Possibly Need Adult Diapers

As we mentioned earlier this week, PwC loves Oscar time. It’s easily the biggest display of Big 4 shameless self-promotion and no one — not even us, (sans Francine?) — can blame them.

The Carpetbagger has a chat with two of the partners, Rick Rosas and Brad Oltmanns that touched on a number of things, like exclusivity, “there’s only been 12 partners to do this” and secrecy, “we go to a very quiet, windowless room in an undisclosed location”. but just because they’re counting ballots don’t get the idea that they aren’t working:

During the telecast, Mr. Rosas and Mr. Oltmanns stand at either side of the stage, with the 24 sealed envelopes containing the winners’ names, ready to be handed off to the celebrity presenters just before they walk to the podium. “It is work,” he said. “We’re standing literally in one spot for three hours or so, no rest room breaks or anything, because we have to be ready when the presenters get on the stage.”

Jesus, no bathroom breaks? Sounds brutal. Does PwC front them for a bag or Depends or something? What if they make a Starbucks right before the show? That could be problematic. Plus, you’ve got puny movie stars that used to be funny giving you a hard time:

“We do get teased from time to time especially by some of the comedians,” Mr. Oltmanns said. “I remember one year Jack Black said he was going to come over and rip the briefcases out of our hands and give us a good beating.” Did he? “No. I think each of us are larger than him, so he did not.”

Seriously. Don’t fuck with these guys. They have to keep their cool when Halle Berry walks by and their bladders are about to burst. Could you handle that?

Ex-Ernst & Young Partner Sentenced to One Year and a Day for Securities Fraud

James Gansman, a former E&Y partner in transaction services, was sentenced to one year and one day in jail on Monday after being convicted on six counts of securities fraud last year.

Gansman had provided his mistress, Donna Murdoch, with tips on mergers that Ernst & Young were advising which she subsequently traded on. Despite the help, Murdoch needed more money and she began an affair with another man who used the tips to make trades.

To add insult to injury, Murdoch ultimately cooperated with investigators and testified against Gansman. She is still awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to fifteen charges of securities fraud, obstruction of justice, and making false statements.

Beside making bad relationship choices, Gansman’s hot tips were in violation of E&Y’s “written policies and the duty of trust owed to the firm’s clients.” That extra day in prison should give him just enough time to study better decision making.

Ex-Ernst & Young Partner Gansman Sentenced To 1 Year, Day In Prison [WSJ]

Hit the Books Before Interviewing at Marcum

If you ever get an interview at Marcum, we suggest you break out whatever textbooks you have left, find some stimulants and cram the night before:

[My friend] had some crazy ancient partner interview her and he was talking to her and asked what her favorite grad class was and she told him one…so he wrote down 3 problems gave her code sections etc. and said i’ll be back in an hour and walked out and she was left there alone to solve them. He came back in and said i give this a B+ and then they offered her a position.

Or you could just ask the Accountant of the Decade to develop a new review course.

Ernst & Young Pays $8.5 Million to Settle Charges with SEC Over Bally Fraud

Thumbnail image for ey8ball.jpgSix current and former partners at Ernst & Young were charged, along with the firm, by the SEC late yesterday in relation to the audits the firm performed of Bally Total Fitness’ financial statements from 2001 to 2003.
Bally settled accounting fraud charges with the SEC in 2008 that were related to its financial statements from 1997 to 2003.
Because everyone and their dog was freaking out over Enron in screws to their clients to follow GAAP, E&Y had identified Bally as “one of E&Y’s riskiest 18 accounts and as the riskiest account in the Lake Michigan Area.”


Floyd Norris:

The firm forced Bally to stop recording revenue in an improper manner that allowed it to claim earnings earlier than was allowed by accounting rules.
But in doing that, the firm allowed Bally to not admit to having violated the rules in the past, an action that would have forced it to restate its accounts and admit that losses in previous years had been much larger.

Mr. Norris also reported that a source of his at the SEC has stated that “he knew of no previous enforcement cases in which a partner of a major firm was cited for his actions as head of a national office.”
The partner in this case is Randy G. Fletchall, the partner in charge of E&Y’s National Office. He along with Mark V. Sever, E&Y’s National Director of Area Professional Practice, and Kenneth W. Peterson, the Professional Practice Director for the Lake Michigan Area office are the current E&Y partners who settled the charges with the SEC.
The former partners include: Thomas D. Vogelsinger, the Area Managing Partner for E&Y’s Lake Michigan Area through October 2003, William J. Carpenter, the E&Y engagement partner for the 2003 audit, and John M. Kiss, the E&Y engagement partner for the 2001 and 2002 audits.
While the news of a current partner of such lofty heights is notable, an extra twist that isn’t being reported in the MSM comes from GC contributor, Francine McKenna, who tells us that Mr. Fletchall served as the former AICPA Chairman from 2007-2008 and Mr. Sever, a former chairman of the Accounting Standards Executive Committee:

What none of the stories that just hit tell you, though, is that at least two of the EY partners charged, Fletchall and Sever, held leadership positions with the AICPA in the past.

Did Mr. Fletchall get off with a slap on the wrist given his AICPA leadership position, AICPA PAC contributions and significant campaign contributions to Senator Christopher Dodd? Mr. Fletchall is used to telling the SEC what it should do. Quite used to it.

These are interesting questions that the SEC probably doesn’t want to address. The connection, in appearance, is shady and we can only speculate as to what happened during the negotiations of the settlement.
The Commission, remaining stoic, gave a standard issue boilerplate statement, saying:

“It is deeply disconcerting that partners, even at the highest levels of E&Y, failed to fulfill their basic obligations to the investing public by not conducting proper audits. This case is a sharp reminder to outside auditors that they must carry out their duties with due diligence. The $8.5 million settlement, one of the highest ever paid by an accounting firm, reflects the seriousness of their misconduct,” said Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.

So it appears E&Y is getting sent to their room here, despite the $8.5 million fine being “one of the highest ever paid by an accounting firm.”
The firm also agreed “to undertake measures to correct policies and practices relating to its violations, and agreed to cease and desist from violations of the securities laws.”
Were the AICPA connections enough to keep them out of really hot water? At the very least, it didn’t hurt anything. If you have any information regarding this story, get in touch with us, and we will update you with any developments.
SEC Charges Ernst & Young and Six Partners for Roles in Accounting Violations at Bally Total Fitness [SEC Press Release]
EY Settles SEC Charges Re: Bally’s Fraud-Lives To Audit Another Day [Re: The Auditors]
Ernst to Pay the S.E.C. $8.5 Million [Floyd Norris/NYT]

The Partner Track: Open Thread

aspirations.jpgA friend of GC recently brought up the holy grail of public accounting: admission to the partnership. We were informed that in one Big 4 office in the west, the timeline for making partner had recently increased from 12 – 13 years to 15 – 16 years.

Maybe three additional years after a dozen is NBD but it might cause some to jump ship.

We would assume that this trend would be more likely in smaller markets but we’re opening this to you to discuss what you’re hearing about your office and firm.

Vote in our poll below about your partner aspirations and discuss further in the comments (and anything else partner-related for that matter). For the current partners kindly give your future partners some perspective on the journey. The good, the bad, whatever.

Grant Thornton Named in New Writ, Partner Still MIA

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Grant-thornton-logo.JPGToday in non-Patrick Byrne Grant Thornton news, the Hong Kong and International firms are now named in a new writ related to the scandal involving nowhere-to-be-found-former-partner Gabriel Azedo.

We imagine GT is less than thrilled with this latest development since they probably felt pretty good about firing Gabe’s ass the moment they found out he was a liability. The new writ states that the firms are ‘vicariously liable’ for $10.3 million.

There’s no indication that Eddie Nusbaum & Co. have put out an APB on Gabe in order to track him down and get all Jack Bauer on his ass. If it were us, we’d have every SD scouring the Earth* for this guy.

Until that happens, Grant Thornton is in deny ’til you die mode, saying that it will be ‘defended vigorously’ and that they expect to be ‘fully exonerated.’ God, will someone come up with a new press release for these scandals?

Grant Thornton linked to fraud claims [FT]

*You’re a Global Six Firm after all

Ernst & Young Wins Hedge Fund Award, Partners Give Boring Acceptance Speech

The accounting firm awards bonanza has begun stateside. After last week’s Accountancy Age awards, Ernst & Young has now been named “Best Accounting Firm to Hedge Fund Industry” at the inaugural Hedge Fund Manager Week US Service Provider Awards.

While this is certainly a less comprehensive ceremony than the Accountancy Age Awards, it should not be taken any less seriously. This is a sincere effort on the part of the hedge fund industry to recognize who has bent over backwards the farthest for them. Nice work, E&Y.


As for the speeches:

Arthur F. Tully, Partner, Financial Services and Global Hedge Fund Practice Co-leader, Ernst & Young LLP said, “It is an honor to receive this recognition. It reflects our ongoing efforts to provide relevant insights into our client’s most pressing issues, particularly in today’s challenging business market.”

“This award is a testament to our efforts to provide consistent, high-quality service to our asset management clients as we strive to anticipate, understand and offer insight into the biggest issues facing our clients,” added Michael J. Serota, Partner, Financial Services and Global Hedge Fund Practice Co-leader, Ernst & Young LLP.

We understand that there’s a an expectation for tactfulness but c’mon guys. This was your opportunity to get on a stage, drunk as Ken Lewis on a Tuesday morning and say something like:

“It feels damn good to win. You other firms, I wish I could say it’s an honor to be nominated with you but I can’t. In other words, suck it. I accept this award on behalf of all those staff and managers that continue to suffer from sleep deprivation, obesity, and overall misery because I know they’re working at this very second. And if I find out that you’re not, you’re uninvited to the party. Oh, and I just want to say, Jim Turley, you complete me. You really, really, really do. I love you.”

Or something to that effect.

Ernst & Young LLP Named Best Accounting Firm to Hedge Fund Industry [PR Newswire]

Deloitte Names New Partner in Charge of Southeast Region

Thumbnail image for DTa.jpgSome leadership changes for Deloitte are being reported in the DC area, as Gary Tabach will be the new partner in the charge of the Southeast region:

Gary Tabach, Deloitte LLP’s Greater Washington managing partner, has been promoted to vice chairman and regional managing partner for the accounting and consulting firm’s Southeast region.
He is replacing Maritza Montiel, who has been named managing partner of leadership development and succession.
Tabach now oversees some 10,200 staffers in 20 offices from Baltimore to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Mr. Tabach still has to do most of the heavy lifting for his old job as he will remain the DC managing partner.
Ms. Montiel’s new position, managing partner of leadership development and succession, strikes as mysterious. That particular title gives the impression that she is “partner in charge of telling other partners that they need to lock it up or they’re fired”. If we’re in the ballpark let us know and keep us informed about any leadership changes for your office or region.
Deloitte’s Gary Tabach lands bigger regional role [Washington Business Journal (subscription required)]
Earlier:
New Deloitte Consulting CEO Plugs Magazine Lists, Shuns Facebook Fans

The PCAOB Might be Caving on Auditor Signatures

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for lawn chair.jpgLet’s not jump to the conclusion that the PCAOB will scrap the whole auditor sign-off proposal just yet. They’ve been doing a hell of a job making auditors’ lives difficult lately ly wants to feel like it’s an important part of the bureaucracy. Especially since their lives are potentially at stake.
But the belly-aching on this one by the usual suspects is reaching fever pitch. They are saying enough is enough and that their partners’ names should not be written in blood for all to see.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the firms hate this idea since the owners of the firms are being given explicit instructions to put their names — and asses — on the line.


The PCAOB received a grant total of 23 comments on the concept release and all but two were negative. Not surprisingly, the two that weren’t negative came from “investor representatives”.
Francine McKenna gave you the lowdown on the firms responses in her GC post from September 30 and it sounds like it’s working.
Here’s a quote from PCAOB Deputy Chief Auditor Greg Scates:

“The board is going to discuss this and make some decisions in this fourth quarter on what to do and whether to move forward in this area. This is not uncommon in Europe. Partners do sign the report in other countries. In our country, of course, this is not the way we’ve been doing business, so it is a new concept. We’ll see what the board wants to do as they look through the comment letters and make a decision on what to do.”

A whopping 21 negative comments and the PCAOB is getting cold feet? Get better at spreading the word to people that will take your side, PCAOB. Were you just testing the waters with this or did you really want to make auditors accountable?
But maybe the firms got the Board members’ personal side:

Even more disturbing than the potential liability exposure is the specter of individual auditors coming under public attack by disgruntled investors and a “lynch mob” media mentality. “Engagement partners and their families could be subject to unwarranted and unwelcome communications from shareholders who are unhappy with a particular company’s performance in matters that are wholly unrelated to the completeness and accuracy of the financial statements,” Grant Thornton warned.

There are a lot of irrational people out there we’ll give you that, but a media circus outside an auditor’s house? Sort of like a bean counter paparazzi? That could be kind of fun, couldn’t it?
Oh, but what about the websites that would get put up?:

Groveland, Mass.-based CPA Frank Gorrell, for one, warned that identifying engagement partners by name could prompt irate investors to set up Internet sites to “vent their frustrations” by criticizing individual accountants and even publishing their home addresses online.

Sweet Jesus. Apparently accountants want to be invisible. No criticism for me, thankyouvermuch. And venting frustrations? On a website? Who ever heard of such a thing?
AUDIT FIRM REGULATION: No Autographs [Web CPA]
PCAOB May Scrap Auditor Sign-off Proposal [Web CPA]

KPMG Partner Named in $240 Million Tax Fraud

This is getting awkward, KPMG. Tax shelters continue to be a problem for some of your partners.


Fairfax Times:

Three local businessmen have been indicted on a charge of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service of more than $240 million.
According to the indictment filed in federal court on Oct. 22, two of the men allegedly attempted to defraud the IRS by making several “false and misleading statements” concerning a corporate tax shelter that was implemented by them.
Daryl J. Haynor, a partner in KPMG’s federal tax practice for the mid-Atlantic Area, based in Tysons Corner; and Jon Flask, a Vienna-based attorney, are both named in the suit.
“Mr. Haynor has been placed on administrative leave pending a review of the situation,” said George Ledwith, a spokesman for KPMG, on Monday.

Obviously our little warning concerning tax shelters was way too late.

According to the federal indictment, Flask, Haynor and Parker implemented and marketed a tax shelter named “Sale Leaseback of Tenant Improvements Strategy (SLOTS),” from 1998 through 2006.
The shelter enabled various U.S. corporations to claim tax deductions totaling more than $240 million on corporate income tax returns.
The indictment alleges that Flask, along with Haynor and Parker, misled and deceived the IRS by misrepresenting facts concerning the SLOTS tax shelter during IRS audits of companies claiming tax losses generated by the shelter in the years 2002 through 2004.

Mr. Haynor has been with KPMG for over 25 years. He and Mr. Flask face up to eight years in prison and $500,000 in fines. If you know any details, shoot us an email or discuss in the comments.

Former KPMG Partner Sues Firm for $30 Million

prison.jpgThis whole tax shelter problem for KPMG is back from the dead, as a former partner who was indicted and later exonerated of the charges has sued the firm for “attorney fees, lost wages, and future earnings,” according to the L.A. Times.
David Greenberg’s lawsuit alleges that “[he] was singled out as a rogue employee to cover up the company’s own widespread practice of tax evasion and conspiracy. The suit says KPMG publicly accused Greenberg of committing crimes and allegedly tried to divert attention from its illegal practices.”
So, yeah, that kinda sounds ugly. Nineteen people were originally indicted in 2005 for the tax shelter schemes and the lawsuit alleges that Greenberg is the only person whose legal fees have not been paid by KPMG. He also claims that he’s still being named in lawsuits and has amassed $10 million in legal fees. Dude’s probably a little pissed.
Continued, after the jump


Natch, KPMG isn’t amused by the whole accusation of ‘widespread practice of tax evasion and conspiracy’ and released the following statement:

“The claims throughout this lawsuit are baseless,” KPMG spokesman Dan Ginsburg said. “We will use all appropriate measures to defend ourselves…This lawsuit attempts to revive issues that are long dead,” Ginsburg said. “Mr. Greenberg released KPMG from any obligation to pay his legal expenses in a 2003 agreement which has been upheld by the court.”

Hell, if that’s true, then this thing should get thrown out, no prob, right? WTFK really but it’ll be fun following how nasty this gets.
Oh and just for fun, Greenberg is suing for an additional $20 million for “…defamation and emotional distress from spending five months in jail.” Not sure where Greenberg did his time but if the digs qualify as PMITA prison, then $4 million a month is probably fair.
We realize that it’s still early in LA for a Monday but if you’ve got insider information on this story, shoot it our way. You know, the ugly stuff.
Former KPMG partner sues accounting firm for $30 million [Los Angeles Times]

Moss Adams Admits New Partners, Campaign for ‘Global Eleven’ Next?

How about some good news to end your week? Well, that is, if you’re a newly minted partner at the 11th largest CPA firm and the largest firm with HQ on the Left Coast:
Press release:

Moss Adams announces the admission of six individuals to the partnership in September and two managing directors. The firm currently has 250 partners, 52 of which are women or 21%. These figures emphasize the firm’s growth and continued acceleration of Forum_W, the firm’s effort to support efforts to attract, develop, retain and advance women.

All very impressive, and we congratulate the new partners on putting their asses on the line. ‘Global Eleven Accounting Firm’ doesn’t quite have the cachet we’re looking for. Maybe ‘Elite Eleven’*? Whatever, but we’re sure Moss Adams wants included in some sort of moniker. Leave your suggestions in the comments. Or start drinking. Whatevs.
*Read Moss Adams marketing people: You’ll never get to ‘Global’ anything until you get a logo out there that we can use for an image. Put it on Wikipedia for crying out loud. Crowe Horwath has an image. Get with it.

Do You See What Happens?

accountant.jpgThe PCAOB was kind enough to issue a couple of examples this week of what happens when you don’t take your role as auditor seriously.
We wouldn’t dream of putting them both in one post so we’ll give you one in the morning to ponder and save the second for later right about the time you’re ready to flip out, so hang in there.
We’ve also done you the courtesy of reading (sort of) both of the orders so that you can remain fully chargeable (not counting the time you take to read this post of course):
Thomas Linden was a partner in the Chicago office of Deloitte and lead engagement partner on Navistar Financial Corporation (NFC). At the 11th hour, prior to filing the fiscal year 2003 10-K, the engagement team realized that assets, revenues, and net profits were overstated by $19.7 million.
Check out the rest, after the jump


Having a typical over-confident management team, NFC had already taken the liberty of announcing the fourth quarter earnings prior to filing the 10-K.
Because Tom Linden was a Big 4 Partner and thus impervious to any challenge he encounterd, he took the following action (all our emphasis):

• Initiated an increase of approximately 50 percent in Deloitte’s planned tolerance for misstatements in NFC’s reported financial results
• Authored, with the assistance of a member of the NFC engagement team, an NFC auditwork paper that inaccurately characterized the reasons for and circumstances surrounding the increase
• Failed to evaluate adequately the risk that NIC’s financial statements were materially misstated due to error or fraud
• Otherwise failed to act with the requisite due professional care and professional skepticism

Okay, so the last two are boring but the first two kinda, sorta give us this impression of what happened:
Dude finds out the numbers are bunk, client isn’t cool with telling their analysts (who NFC told that they had a kick ass quarter) that said numbers are bunk, so Dude up and decides to ABBACADABRA make the tolerance for misstatement 50% higher than it was for the entire audit (read: that’s a lot).
Then, after probably putting the proverbial (or possibly literal) gun to head of the “member of the NFC engagement team”, they wrote a workpaper that supposedly explained why the tolerance was all of sudden 50% higher but the rationale was something to the effect of “because we said so”.
So for all that tomfoolery (snap!), Linden gets fined $75,000 and can’t be associated with a registered accounting firm for two years and which point he can petition to be to be reinstated. Yow-za. To better times, Tom.
ORDER MAKING FINDINGS AND IMPOSING SANCTIONS In the Matter of Thomas J. Linden, CPA, Respondent. [PCAOB]

Grant Thornton Spreads Out the Liability, Admits Nineteen New Partners

grant-thornton-logo-with-rose.jpgNineteen individuals have proven their passion for the business of accounting (as well as an intrepid attitude towards liability) as G to the T admitted new partners and directors effective August 1.
The press release is your standard trite lexicon but we can’t help but notice GT taking the opportunity to slip in their favorite moniker, “Global 6 accounting organization” or a derivative of such. GT is bound and determined to get this to catch fire even though no one outside of the GT press team has probably uttered the phrase.
Grant Thornton LLP admits 19 new partners and principals to the firm [Press Release]

BDO, Looking to Spread Out Some Liability, Admits New Partners

BDO_International.pngAs you probably know, BDO Seidman is having a rough year. Tax shelter prosecutions and trials for the International Global Coordination firm that now falls on the U.S. make for some big liability exposure.
The obvious solution to this conundrum? Spreading the love!

BDO Seidman, LLP, is pleased to announce that 10 new partners have been admitted to the partnership, effective July 1, 2009. Five of the new partners are in the tax practice, four are in the assurance business line and one is in BDO Consulting. BDO Seidman, LLP is a leading national professional services firm providing assurance, tax, financial advisory and consulting services to private and publicly traded businesses.”I am very proud to welcome each of these very deserving individuals to our partnership,” said Jack Weisbaum, CEO of BDO Seidman. “The key to maintaining momentum in our profession is a commitment to recruiting, training and retaining superior client service professionals. Each of these new partners is an example of our commitment to human capital development.”

What are the chances that these new partners are some of the most hated people in the firm? C’mon, $520 million judgment hanging out there, the bigwigs have to be thinking, “well, as long as we’re screwed, we may as well stick it to some people within the firm we don’t like.”
Congrats to the new partners!

BDO Seidman, LLP, Admits 10 New Partners
[BDO Seidman Press Release]