2010. What a year, amiright? It got off to a bit of a rough start after our facelift but as the year went on, things stayed interesting…most of the time. Anyway, since most of you aren’t getting Jack Squat done this week, let’s take a look back at the year that was.
1. Compensation – Shocking revelation here, we realize but – YES! – it’s true, red about most in 2010. After two years of disappointment, the Big 4 and the aspiring “Bigs” (Grant Thornton, BDO, McGladrey) all returned to merit increases and bonuses this year. PwC shot out of the gate with Ernst & Young keeping pace while KPMG remained steady but slightly behind. Deloitte, lagging behind, made a late charge with the announcement of a mid-year adjustment, which may or may not have set off a rash spreading amongst the other firms to provide bonuses throughout their fiscal year-ends. Was it a successful 2010 on the compensation front? Some say “yes,” some say “no,” but there’s little doubt about what keeps your attention.
2. PwC Email Hottiegate – Unless you were in a coma during the second week of November, you were aware of the email that listed the top 10, errr 13, new female associates that came out of PwC in Ireland. The gents who passed around the list weren’t so concerned with using work email to give the ladies the Letterman treatment and the Irish brass didn’t take too kindly to the “tradition.” This story dominated our pages for a few days and the last we knew, a total of five employees had been suspended, the women weren’t planning on lawsuits and Adrienne gave her point of view (as a member of the fairer sex).
3. Ernst & Young and Lehman Brothers – We were really expecting a slow week leading up to the Christmas holiday but because the force is strong with Andrew Cuomo, our dreams were filled with Jim Turley trying to burn us with Montecristos. It all started in March when the bankruptcy examiner’s report put E&Y right at the center of the failure of Lehman and last week we finally saw Cuomo fire the first shot.
4. PwC Makeover – Change is usually met with wailing and gnashing of teeth and the updated look rolled out by PwC in mid-September was no different. Despite the rants about color schemes and geometry, Bob Moritz assured everyone that the majority of feedback was positive and that he was happy to answer any questions about the change that didn’t relate to autumnal hues and Legos™. As is typical in these situations, the bellyaching has died down and everyone is now distracted by their new iPads.
5. Large firm vs. Small firm – An anonymous reader submitted an essay on the main differences between life in the Big 4 (and aspiring Bigs) life and that of the lives working in the smaller firms. Most have wondered what life would be like in their bizarro public accounting existence and some have actually lived it. There are pros and cons to each but life at the small firm is decidedly different.
6. An auditor’s life:
7. Layoffs – 2010 saw fewer mass layoffs than the past couple of years but that doesn’t mean there weren’t spots of cuts here and there. Most notably were the nationwide cuts at McGladrey as well as the 500 cuts made by PwC in Florida. Grant Thornton was busy slimming down its exposure in smaller markets but layoffs were not always part of the “transition” as practices were often sold or employees were giving the opportunity to transfer. And last but not least, we learned that Deloitte claimed “our bad” on their cuts from May 2009.
8. Getting in trouble on the Internet – Whether you’re trying to win a trip to Whistler for you and your bros or emailing your buddy about putting the moves on a lady, there was plenty of idiotic behavior going on across the Internets. Adrienne laid out how to not behave but humans are creatures of habit and we’re sure there’ll be more exciting idiotic behavior in the coming year.
9. PwC Houston Happy Hour – The team happy hour. Typically a festive event filled with free booze, laughs and the occasional awkward advance. The latter allegedly took form of a partner towards an associate this past summer in PwC’s Houston office that resulted in a odd pick-up line, a sloppy kiss (our vision) and then a knuckle sand. The latest we heard was there were multiple associates approached, the partner-in-question was still with the firm and that the associate(s) involved were shipped off to other engagements. So all is well in H-town. PwC never returned our calls, emails or singing telegrams on this story.
10. Accounting Career Drama – One of the most popular series on GC is the career advice that we throw out here and there. Everything from trying to quit nicely during busy season to defection amongst Big 4 firms to explaining why your fantasy football roster is constantly on your computer screen. We’re here to help you get through the purgatory that is your time on Earth so if you’ve got a problem and want advice, email us at [email protected].
Too hot for PwC; thinking about law school?; a Big 4 failure in our future?; an accounting degree isn’t a scam like, say, a law degree; articulating the dress code; Ernst & Young manager censured by the PCAOB; how to screw up the CPA exam; Joseph Stack’s (the guy who crashed the plane into the IRS building) manifesto; accounting professor de-pants.
If we missed any of your favorites, feel free to recall your fondest memories on this here site. As we head into the new year, here’s a friendly reminder of how to get in touch with us:
• Like Going Concern on Facebook and leave a message on the board. You’ll have to work hard if you want to friend us.
We couldn’t do it without all your help, so keep it up in the new year so we can have an even more eventful 2011!
We kid, we kid. The lid being blown off PwC Email Hottiegate probably has a few people down in the dumps but it’s more likely that Ireland’s Greece impersonation is what has the country’s accountants wallowing in their sorrows.
Irish accountants are more pessimistic than their international counterparts about the future of the economy, according to a new global survey.
Only about a quarter of Irish accountants, surveyed by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), believed the global economy was in, or close to, recovery and more than half believed it would remain stagnant for some time yet.
This is much more pessimistic than the global view where less than half believed that conditions were stagnating or deteriorating. With regards to business confidence, Irish respondents continued to report falling confidence, but only marginally so, with 32 per cent reporting a loss of confidence and 27 per cent reporting gains.
It was quiet yesterday on the PwC Email Hottiegate beat as nothing new was reported out Ireland except that the country may or may not be going the way of Greece. Thank God we can set aside all this fiscal sovereignty stuff and get back the really important issues.
The latest from the Emerald Isle is that the young ladies in question were considering lawsuits against the dudes in question but now according to the Irish Central that won’t be happening:
The 13 women, who were trainees up to last Friday are not going to pursue legal action against the males in question responsible for the rating system.
It is believed last week that they may file sexual harassment charges against those involved but it is being reported that the apprentices are more interested in getting their careers off the ground and focusing on their new jobs.
The report also states that five of the male associates have been suspended, which is two more than initial reports last week. As for the ultimate fate of the offenders, it doesn’t sound like anyone is screaming “off with their heads!”
“The email was unacceptable and childish but no one in here thinks it should be a sackable offence,” a source within PwC told the Sunday Tribune.
“It happens in here every year.
“But it also happens at all the other big accountancy firms and solicitors firms both in Ireland and abroad.
So using work email to pass around pictures of co-workers ranking them by hotness and including sexist comments as long as it remains in the confines of the company is an annual tradition but once it gets outside the company, it’s unacceptable and childish behavior. Got it.
Caleb likes to turn to me for all matters female-related (pay, the work-life lie, etc), so he asked if I would skip my CPA exam column today – since none of you sent me any questions to answer anyway – and give my opinion on the stupid PwC Ireland dbags who spread around pics of hotties.
“Sure,” I said, sharpening my claws.
First, have we NOT told you people over and over again DON’T USE WORK EMAIL FOR DEBAUCHERY AND GENERAL ASSHATTERY?! Speaking only for myself, I have specifically written here and on JDA at least a bazillion or more times warning of the dangers of sloppy conduct in a manner completely traceable by management, colleagues and clients.
What is it going to take to get this through your heads? I remind all of you that after Enron blew up every single email was made public by the Justice Department (and if you’re bored, you can search through said emails here but I warn you, some are gross and graphic even to me) so don’t think what you do on the company PP&E is limited to whomever you copy on your piggish emails.
And remember, with snitches everywhere, everyone has our email address and as obviously demonstrated by this whole PwC hottie email being sent to us first, chances are if you’re acting like an ass we’re going to find out and embarrass you. Call it our way of continuing to protect the public interest even though Caleb is retired from the profession and I am but an enthusiastic outsider without a CPA.
Second, I really don’t care if pigs decide to rank women in their office by hotness but if you’re going to do it, man up and attach cockshots so the girls can do their own ranking. You know, in the interest of fairness. If you’re not willing to apply the same sick standard to your own goods while contemplating the goods of your coworkers, leave the immature ranking to the bar and not extensive email chains. Seriously. If any of the PwC Hottie perps care to redeem themselves, cockshots may be addressed directly to me here. If I don’t receive any, I’ll assume that’s because you all are a bunch of shrunken cowards who aren’t getting any anyway.
Last but not least, don’t you guys have anything better to do? Seriously. This level of creepiness is just one level above stalking, frankly, and it is both disturbing and hilarious that these three PwC Ireland associates have absolutely nothing better to do than play Hot or Not on company time using company email. Can’t you just watch porn like SEC employees or play constant solitaire like normal folk wasting company time?
Sick. Entertaining and not all that offensive, just sick. I cannot speak for the rest of the female race and only for myself but I’m pretty sure many of them would also feel these idiots can possibly redeem themselves with cockshots. Commence to repentance, losers.
Creative spelling but you’ll get the idea.
FULL DISCLOSURE: the editor does not drive a Subaru.
~ Update includes full statement from PwC Ireland.
In case you’ve been in a coma for the last two-ish days, you’re aware of the email that originated inside PwC Ireland that more or less likened the new female associates to a BCS ranking. Said ranking was scored by hotness (instead of bullshit algorithms), it made the rounds as these things often do, found its way into various publications and well…at least it’s Friday, amiright?
The latest news out of Ireland is that three of the male associates have been suspended as the firm’s investigation continues.
Ronan Murphy, a “senior partner,” has issued a statement saying that he ‘deeply regrets’ the incident which .
And as the investigation continues, the firm has spread the word on the inside, as the report from The Journal of Ireland also states:
An internal company message has since been circulated by PwC bosses, warning that anyone who breached the company’s code of conduct and regulations would face “serious disciplinary action”.
As far as the top
10 13 ladies are concerned, there are reports that they are more upset with the media coverage than they are with the actual email.
We really don’t have any revenge ideas on that front but a little media backlash is always expected.
A spokesperson for PwC in the States forwarded us PwC Ireland’s full statement:
We refer to the article in yesterday morning’s Irish Independent relating to emails circulated within and outside of PwC. We first became aware of this matter on Tuesday evening . We are taking it extremely seriously and have commenced a full investigation which is ongoing. We are taking all of the necessary steps and actions in accordance with the Firm’s policies and procedures. Our main concern is the impact of this on the women who were the subject of these emails. We met with them a number of times to give them all of the support they may need in dealing with this. We are particularly concerned and appalled at the compounding effect of the publication of the women’s photographs in some of the papers this morning and last evening. PwC regrets this situation as it always requires its people to adhere to the highest level of standards in their conduct and behaviour.
As you might expect, there’s been a fair amount of outrage about the PwC Ireland Hottie List 2010. Revenge ideas are already being floated and we were pointed to the following comment over at Gawker (although we can’t seem to find it now):
If PricewaterhouseCoopers fails to act promptly and decisively on this, the women of the company have a couple of other ways to achieve justice.
My favorite is taking a full page ad in the business section of the leading newspapers… featuring corporate photos, titles, and marital status of the 17 men. The copy would say: “Instead of working on YOUR accounts, these men spend their time imagining their coworkers as sexual objects.”
The copy would be 100% true and provable, so it ought to get published. The wives, girlfriends, neighbors, and churchgoers can take it from there. Any of these men will find it harder to go on an out-of-town trip or stay late in the office without getting mangled in the wringer. And PWC will face questions about its billable hours.
If PWC still fails to act, the next ad can feature the same men, but the copy will say, “There were 13 people on their Top-10 List. Do you really want them auditing YOUR books?”
The 13/10 idea is quite brilliant and we suspect other firms (with the exception of KPMG) to capitalize on it immediately.
It’s been said “the best revenge is living well,” but since these ladies work at PwC, there’s virtually no chance of that. It’s also not clear at this time what firm the action is taking against the perps. Accordingly, some ideas from the peanut gallery are in order for revenge/punishment. Ideas might include:
1) Forced sobriety on the dudes in question.
2) Giving them the horrendous responsibility to respond to all the questions regarding the colors and shapes used in PwC’s new logo.
3) Send them to China with no language training.
That’s just to get your brains working. Leave suggestions below.
We kid, we kid. Obviously this was up prior to this year’s “Rank the Hotties 2010” email got loose as the old logo still lives on in Minneapolis.
Which begs the question, did the Twin Cities not get the memo on the launch? We don’t know if there is an internal disciplinary action for this sort of non-compliance but it does demonstrate a shocking lack of attention to detail.
You may or may not have heard already about a little email making the rounds in Ireland that originated inside PwC. A few dudes figured they would rate the female incoming associates and of course the thing went viral. PwC’s leadership in Ireland got wind of it and since this sort of thing is typically frowned upon, they are now investigating the matter.
It’s rumored that this ranking is a “tradition” inside the firm but if it sounds familiar, it should. Last year we reported on a similar contest that originated inside Del��������������������nders were reversed and there were creative categories like, “Most likely to sleep his way to partner.” This particular ranking is about as imaginative as you would expect from a bunch of dudes at PwC.
Because we’re the ambitious type, we thought we’d try to run down the email and photos and by the grace of the gossip Gods, our persistence paid off. After the jump, the email with the less-than-classy comments – including one guy asking his email to be removed if it the message was going to be forwarded – and the accompanying slideshow (sans names of course).
FW: This would be my shortlist for the top 10
O’Carroll, Richard (IE – Dublin)
Ryan, [email protected], Mac Giolla Bhride, Jack (IE – Dublin), McInerney, Ruaidhri (IE – Dublin), Mark Gantly
History: This message has been forwarded.
Delete my email signature etc if forward.
From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: 27 October 2010 11:27
To: Nolan, Alan (IE – Dublin); Burbridge, Gerard (IE – Dublin); [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; Lord, Patrick (IE – Dublin)
Subject: Fw: This would be my shortlist for the top 10
FYI. New clunge.
David Mc Donough | Senior Associate | Asset Management |
pwc | One Spencer Dock | North Wall Quay | Dublin 1 | Ireland |
Direct (: + 353 1 792 5633 | Fax 7: + 353 1 792 6200 | E-mail *: [email protected]
—– Forwarded by David McDonough/IE/ABAS/PwC on 27/10/2010 11:26 —–
To Colin Burke/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Gavin Dunne/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Gerard Somers/IE/ABAS/[email protected], John Leonard/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Leon Nangle/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Maurice O’Brien/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Neil Collins/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Patrick Meagher/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Pierce Kenny/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Robert E Byrne/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Rory Bluett/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Paul G Cummins/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Gavin Friel/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Mark Rochfort/IE/ABAS/[email protected], David McDonough/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Stephen Doherty/IE/ABAS/[email protected]
Subject Fw: This would be my shortlist for the top 10
Lads a couple added and also departments
Stephen Tully | Senior Associate | Asset Management Group
PricewaterhouseCoopers | Assurance
One Spencer Dock | Dublin 1 | Ireland |(: 353 -1-792-5793 | 7: 353-1-792-6200
—– Forwarded by Stephen Tully/IE/ABAS/PwC on 27/10/2010 10:18 —–
Paul G Cummins/IE/ABAS/PwC
To Stephen Tully/IE/ABAS/[email protected]
cc Colin Burke/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Gavin Dunne/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Gerard Somers/IE/ABAS/[email protected], John Leonard/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Leon Nangle/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Maurice O’Brien/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Neil Collins/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Patrick Meagher/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Pierce Kenny/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Robert E Byrne/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Rory Bluett/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Paul G Cummins/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Gavin Friel/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Mark Rochfort/IE/ABAS/[email protected]
Subject Re: This would be my shortlist for the top 10Link
Great work…..have reservations about the last one getting in……
Paul Cummins | Senior Associate | Asset Management |
pwc | One Spencer Dock | North Wall Quay | Dublin 1 | Ireland |
Direct (: + 353 1 792 6087 | Fax 7: + 353 1 792 6200 | E-mail *: [email protected]
To Colin Burke/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Gavin Dunne/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Gerard Somers/IE/ABAS/[email protected], John Leonard/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Leon Nangle/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Maurice O’Brien/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Neil Collins/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Patrick Meagher/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Pierce Kenny/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Robert E Byrne/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Rory Bluett/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Paul G Cummins/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Gavin Friel/IE/ABAS/[email protected], Mark Rochfort/IE/ABAS/[email protected]
Subject This would be my shortlist for the top 10