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Exodus Watch ’11: BDO Tax Partners

Apparently a grip (a half dozen or so) of them have left the firm in the past two months, says a source familiar with the situation at BDO. At least three are supposedly now with PwC (none worthy of P. Dubs press releases) and another two are off to Deloitte in various markets. If you’ve recently jumped Captain Jack’s ship or know of more details for your office, get in touch.


Global Robert Half Study Reveals Financial Executives Are Trippin’ Over Retaining Talent

Forgive me for suggesting this to (alleged) financial professionals but perhaps if they treated their current talent like, well, talent as opposed to third-rate street whores, they might not have this problem. One need look no further than the comment section on any of our salary posts to find warranted discontent, anger, frustration and threats of exodus.

The Robert Half Global Financial Employment Monitor was developed by Robert Half International and is based on surveys conducted by independent research firms. The study, focusing on hiring difficulties, retention concerns and business confidence, includes responses from more than 6,000 financial leaders across 19 countries.

Here are the key findings:

• Two-thirds, 67 percent, of financial leaders reported at least some level of recruiting difficulty. Approximately one out of five (19 percent) respondents said it is very challenging to find skilled accounting and finance professionals today.

• Retention concerns are rising. Globally, 56 percent of executives said they are either very or somewhat concerned about losing top performers to other job opportunities in the year ahead. This is an 11-point jump from the 2010 survey.

• In the United States, 43 percent of executives cited worries about keeping their best people. This is up from 28 percent in 2010.

• Eighty-nine percent of respondents reported being at least somewhat confident in their organization’s growth prospects for the coming year.

Survey nerds can dig deeper into the research highlights or data tables for more information.

More disturbing, retention issues seem to be a globally pervasive issue. More than half of executives, 56 percent, said they are very or somewhat concerned about losing valued employees to other opportunities in the coming year. This compares to 45 percent who cited retention concerns in the 2010 survey.

In some countries, the results were much higher. The number of executives worried about keeping key employees is up 16 points in Singapore, for example; 91 percent of respondents there said they see retention as an issue. In Hong Kong and Brazil, 88 percent and 85 percent of financial leaders, respectively, noted retention concerns.

What this means, of course, is that if any of you are desperate for work and somewhat decent at your jobs, you might want to look into tapping these markets. Despite what the IASB may like you to think, U.S. GAAP isn’t dead and knowledge of it is still a marketable skill, though a decent command of international standards will obviously benefit you more going forward.

Or turn your keepers’ fears into a tool to be leveraged and get yourselves raised up to at least second-rate street whore. Stranger things have happened.

KPMG Partner Doesn’t Understand Why People ‘Are Dropping Like Flies’

From the mailbag:

Hey Caleb,

Was with a [Midwest city] KPMG Advisory partner this weekend. She said that employees are dropping like flies because KPMG finally unveiled raises after 2 yrs without. Only EP’s were awarded (less than 5%). She said the numbers were in the double digits. What the hell did they expect?

If this sounds a little confusing, it was. We asked our tipster to clarify:

[A]re you saying that she’s under the impression that people are just now leaving because they are upset that they didn’t get raises for two years? And she’s surprised because the raises in the double digits when they were actually in the single digits?

And their response:

[S]he is surprised that so many are leaving especially given the unemployment rate in [midwest city] regardless of how long it’s been since raises were given. It’s not a secret that the other big four have not only given raises but as you report, awarded mid-yr bonus/raises as well.

We went back to some of this year’s KPMG comp threads and the 5% sounds a little suspect, as those rated as “exceptional” were pulling much better increases than that but then again, maybe there were some exceptions that weren’t reported. Also, it seems a little strange that a partner would be so clueless about raises but anything is possible, s’pose.

And as far as the gnashing of teeth because mid-year raises and bonuses are being handed out at other firms, keep in mind that KPMG isn’t even out of their first quarter yet. The rest of those firms have fiscal years that end prior to KPMG’s and they know how the first half of the year is shaping up. Expecting KPMG to start throwing money at people with less than three months in the books is a little ridiculous. At this point, the rumors around the idea of a mid-year surprise should keep you hopeful (but don’t go expecting anything).

It’s been no secret that people have exiting the House of Klynveld (and other firms) – regardless of the unemployment situation – prior to the end of the year (as is typical this time of year). Frankly, people we talk to are pretty optimistic about the job situation for most Big 4 types looking for something new, so this partner may be even more clueless than we thought.

Whatever the case, only 17 shopping days until those left will likely settle for sitting tight through another busy season. If we’re way off base here (or right on the money), feel free to jump in.

Higher-ups at Deloitte Aren’t Sure Why Employees Are Still in ‘Shock Mode’ From the Last Few Years

All the good times at the Deloitte – Jim Quigley on the teevee, surprise raises, leaving PwC in the dust – hasn’t gotten green-dot morale to acceptable levels.

Accordingly, some of the senior partners in the advisory practice have taken it upon themselves to remind everyone how things are turning around.

From a green-dot familiar with the situation:

There has been an up-tick in senior partner communication recently – mostly in the form of mass e-mail communications, published “Your Questions Answered” videos and in-person “Straight-Talk” sessions – seeming aimed at reassuring the masses that Deloitte’s on its way to the promised land. The message is pretty clear that we’ve survived the recession, are hiring like crazy, are bringing in new business at a solid clip and that we’re spanking our competition (i.e., need to look into the rear-view mirror to find PwC and gang).

This, of course, is in contrast to what we in the trenches feel; that our compensation isn’t mirroring our level of output, that we can’t staff engagements because we don’t have enough resources and that all of our friends are leaving for our competitors. This disparity is acknowledged by the partnership; and at least at one straight talk session, we were told that they can’t figure out why we don’t see the light. It was then proposed that we’re still in “shock mode” because of the last few years; but this observer thinks it’s more that we’re working so hard to produce results for the partners that we can’t see the light because the only free time we have is the few hours of twilight that exists each day – and that’s for sleeping (or other creative stress reducing activities ).

Btw, not sure what you’re hearing; but in my group-region alone, I know of 8 people who have left in the last month (the group-region is about 120 people).

Okay then – so it boils down to either being in “shock mode” or your terrible attitude. Share your position on the matter and what camp you fall into below.