November 26, 2020

Quitcherbitchin

Lloyd Blankfein Would Like Everyone to Get with Program Re: Mark-to-Market Accounting

This means you, Steve Schwarzman. And you, writers of FASB hate mail. It’s about time you all got on board.

“We are not moving away from mark-to-market accounting,” Mr. Blankfein said Tuesday. “The more we work with it and live with it the more I wish that everybody else would act in a corresponding way.”

You have your orders.

Goldman to Maintain Accounting Method [WSJ]

‘Satisfied,’ Possibly Deranged PwC Employee Describes Unfamiliar Work Environment

From the mailbag:

Hi Caleb,

I’ve been perusing your website for about 5 months now and I cannot believe the amount of complaining people do and still stick it out in public accounting. If it is that awful, why are you trading away your life for this job? I’m in assurance in New York Metro with PwC and everyone that I work with is pretty pleased with their jobs.

Yeah we work a lot and probably could get paid more working in industry, but for whatever reason public accounting is the career we choose. All my teams have a pretty good time even during busy season. I have yet to work for a manager or partner that I didn’t like, and interestingly enough I’ve had multiple interactions with managers where eriods of time out of their day to chat with me about things unrelated to our current work. I’ve referred a number of college prospective auditors to your website and their response as always been to the effect of, “the articles are interesting, but the comments people leave make this sound like a horrible career choice.” Just wondering if we could get some positive articles and comments going about the good things that come out of working in public accounting!

Sincerely,

A satisfied PwC employee

Okay, so it sounds like a few people are happy with their careers – thankyouverymuch – and are a little put off by the loud bellyaching and articles that aren’t “positive.” I’ll address the latter concern first by simply pointing everyone to a post from February where I presented my answers on the “Career Value of the Big 4 Experience” and wrote the following:

I’m very grateful for my Big 4 experience. It was unimaginably valuable, I met a lot of great people and have no regrets (except for a few brutal hangovers at national training). So, I’ll give it a 5 [that means super-duper satisfied!].

Not to the mention the two to three posts that we dish out a week (despite complaints from some that they’re all the same) giving career advice, that often highlight the benefits of the public accounting path, frequently featuring Big 4 firms. If you find these articles to be “negative” or displeasurable in tone, I can’t help you. Adrienne and I both believe in presenting a straight, no-bullshit style. If you want something that resembles a town hall meeting, then I suggest you go read the latest list from Fortune, Forbes or just look around your office for all the benefits to working at your firm. The marketing people certainly aren’t shy about plastering them everywhere.

As for “getting […] positive comments,” you’ll have to call on your equally satisfied Big 4 brethren to speak a little louder in the comments section. If you and others find the comments on a particular post offensive or misleading, TRY RESPONDING. It’s not our responsibility to convince the happy people to speak up and we’re not going to tell haters to calm down. Everyone has a voice here and if some are louder than others, so be it. There are plenty of constructive discussions happening all over the site so go find those and ignore the noise if it bothers you. If snark and bad words offend you, then perhaps you should avoid the comments altogether. We’re not going to create a “Family Section” of GC just because some people’s ears are burning.

I think it’s great that you enjoy your career at PwC (“deranged” is simply a joke, in case you need briefed). It’s a great firm with plenty of great people and kudos to you for doing what you enjoy. You’re lucky to have figured out what’s important and write, “I cannot believe the amount of complaining people do and still stick it out in public accounting. If it is that awful, why are you trading away your life for this job?” which is the same question I ask of people on a regular basis. Regardless of where people fall on the satisfied scale (I’m a “5,” don’t forget) we’re going to continue covering the industry and the firms like we always have. When a firm does something worthwhile, we will call attention to it, Tweet it or link to it. When something gossipy or juicy comes our way, we’ll do the same. If you don’t like it, you’re free to express your opinion as much and as loudly as you like.

Unhappy KPMG Employees Need to Quit Making Excuses

Like every company out there, KPMG has its share of unhappy people. It’s unavoidable when people are working long hours, have random employees emailing colleagues and your boss’s alma mater can’t field a decent football team.

But it was recently brought to our attention that despite the Kranky Klynveldians out there, KPMG was recently recognized by Forbes as one of America’s Happiest Companies.


Yes, it’s true! The list is alphabetical but it only features ten companies so you know this isn’t one of those catch-all lists that just gets thrown together. Seriously, the firm is on their with Google and Zappos, two of the most notoriously nauseatingly gleeful companies on the planet.

But why is KPMG one of the hap, hap, happiest? Simple. It comes down to education. From Forbes’s list:

[The Company] [i]nvests in happiness training; allows employees to take partially paid leaves for up to 12 weeks; encourages flexible scheduling and formal mentoring programs.

So the bottom line is that if you work at KPMG and you’re unhappy, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself. Money be damned. Get your ass to happiness training, take copious notes and you’ll be whistling to work in no time.

Big 4 Manager Would Like Staff to Get Some Perspective Re: Raises

Now that compensation season has passed for the major firms and most of the belly aching has died down, we’ll present some thoughts from a friend of GC and a Big 4 senior manager who shared the following with us earlier in the summer.

Hey Caleb,

A few of us were talking today at lunch about compensation and how we like reading how much everyone bitches about what % raise they got and what they feel they should have been entitled too. An A1 thinks they deserve a $10,000 raise, and that would make them happy, c’mon give us a break?

It is easy to understand this is a prime area to feel you have been cheated in, however, we thought it might be interesting for some net dollar coeffect, for those complainers who feel they were cheated with their raise %.


Interesting idea, we thought. Our muse suggested the following assumptions: 1) 40% tax rate – federal and state combined 2) 24 annual paychecks.

Our friend/source continues:

Would be interesting to see and shed a different light on a cash pay basis what the real difference is in pay for those who think they got cheated from a 8% raise and only got 6% or something, does the $35 per paycheck really require a personal vendetta or hours of frustrated Facebook status updates? Probably not.

My guess is that on an after-tax, per paycheck basis, some of these raises are equivalent to cutting out the morning Starbucks run, or latest iTunes download.

So we decided to dust off the Excel skills and crunch a few numbers to see if our Senior Manager friend was onto something.

We took a humdrum salary of $70k and applied the 8%, 6% comparison and tabled it:

Salary $70,000 $70,000
% Raise 8% 6%
$ Raise (Annual) $5,600 $4,200
Taxes withheld 40% 40%
Net Raise $3,360 $2,520
Bi-monthly # of paychecks 24 24
Net $/paycheck $140 $105

BFD you say? You got a 6% raise while some clown who couldn’t audit their way out of a paper bag got 14%? Fine, we’ll take a look at that too:

Salary $70,000 $70,000
% Raise 14% 6%
$ Raise (Annual) $9,800 $4,200
Taxes withheld 40% 40%
Net Raise $5,880 $2,520
Bi-monthly # of paychecks 24 24
Net $/paycheck $245 $105

So let’s say you’re the average shmo with the 6% raise and your friend/sworn enemy is getting the 14%. Are you really spitfire pissed that you’re missing out on $280 a month? We’re not talking life-changing sums here. If you’re consistently average over your career, maybe this will add up but hopefully your better sense will grab ahold and you’ll either A) step up your game B) move on with your life C) eliminate the competition (not condoning violence here, just pointing out that it’s a variable in the equation and maybe that it’s an option).

Rebuttal? Agree? Let it rip.

Sir David Tweedie Would Appreciate It If You Quit Complaining About the New Accounting Standards

This means you PricewaterhouseCoopers. You’re acting like this convergence/IFRS adoption is just happening too fast, well, Tweeds isn’t having it.

As for you companies out there that actually have to keep their books in tiptop shape, Sir Tweeds isn’t so amused by your bellyaching either. And for the love of God, would everyone quit playing dumb:

“Let’s look at what we’ve got out there at the moment – leases, revenue recognition and insurance. If you’re not an insurance company you’ve got two. Big deal,” he said.

“I’m not terribly sympathetic. It’s not as thought these have sprung out of no where, we’ve been working on these, they’ve seen the drafts coming, they know what we’re doing.

Furthermore, maybe if you got some of your people on this instead of writing a comment letter every two seconds, this wouldn’t seem like such monumental task.

“It’s tough, but goodness it’s tough for us too. We can’t keep getting all this advice. We always get conflicting advice. ‘You must have these done by June 2011, but don’t give them to us all at once’,” he said.

Tweedie “not terribly sympathetic” to concerns of standard-overload [Accountancy Age]