Reasonable Requests

It’s Time To Retire the Useless Jargon

A reader sick of the clichés suggests we open the floor to discuss some overused phrases that should be retired immediately. Let's think outside of the box here, circle back and think big picture. The use of the phrase "reaching out" should be immediately discontinued! It's old jargon that people are totally sick of hearing. […]

Satyam: Does Anyone Mind if We Take Another Three Months to Finish Our Restatements?

With just a couple weeks until the June 30 deadline for the company to issue its restated financial statements, Satyam is requesting just a little more time to get this mulligan nailed down. Three months to be precise.

Yes, they’re completely aware that it’s been nearly 18 months since the shit hit the fan. And yes, this is the third time they’ve asked India’s Company Law Board (“CLB”) for an extension on the filing but at this point they figure expectations are so low, no one will get too worked up over it.


Except for an “analyst with a leading brokerage house.” who is quoted in the Business Times, “There is no clarity on what is happening within the company. They should have at least provided the current sales figure or the bench strength. How is the shareholder supposed to rate their stock?”

Since more than a few people might be caught up in “sales figures” and whatnot, Satyam went to the trouble to let everyone know that they’re working hard, ordering in, etc. etc. so you can rest your pretty little heads:

A Satyam official said, “The records have been under the custody of investigating agencies and we recently got a court clearance. Also, our auditors (KMPG and Deloitte) told us they need some more time for the restatement. It’s only a matter of a quarter.”

See? It’s just a matter of a quarter. Plus, you can’t really blame them – KPMG and Deloitte are the ones saying they need more time. Satyam has likely been bugging them for months about wrapping up but KPMG and Deloitte are probably complaining, saying things like, “we can’t find any documentation to supports these numbers” and “this doesn’t add up.”

So, TFB if some whiny analysts don’t like it. We’ll just find out just how big of nightmare these financial statements will be in due course.

UK Code Requires ‘Independent Non-Executives’ for Big 4

demand.jpgIn a development that will destroy the secret society of Big 4 management in the UK, a “radical” governance code has been implemented that will require the Big 4 to appoint outside “independent non-executives” that will oversee “public interest matters; and/or be members of other relevant governance structures within the firm.”
According to the code, these new independent non-executives will make us all feel way better about what audit firms by “enhanc[ing] shareholder confidence in the public interest aspects of the firm’s decision making, stakeholder dialogue and management of reputational risks including those in the firm’s businesses that are not otherwise effectively addressed by regulation.”
But that’s not all! According to the introduction, “It should also benefit capital markets by enhancing choice and helping to reduce the risk of a firm exiting the market for large audits because it has lost public trust.” In other words, everyone still is freaking out about who the next Andersen will be. Apparently this “should” help your concerns by encouraging companies to consider other audit firms.
What a coinky-dink, Grant Thornton was just asking for help on this last week! Not really sure if this what they had in mind for but hey, beggars can’t be choosers, right?


The Financial Times claims that “Accountants broadly welcomed the move, although some in the firms’ international networks were unhappy about the possibility the UK code might pave the way for ‘creeping regulation’ worldwide.” In other words, people in the U.S. don’t like it one bit.
Plus, the FT didn’t quote any accountants that “welcomed the move”. The exception, of course, is the chair of the group, Norman Murray, who said that the new code was “‘as user-friendly as possible but seen to have some teeth.'” Not sure what that means but it sounds like he’s a believer.
Another member of the board, John Griffith-Jones, co-head of KPMG Europe, was less enthused. All he could manage was that he hoped that the move would put the “‘Enron query to bed.'”
Something tells us your hopes will be dashed, JGJ. Enron is the story that never ends. Especially in the MSM. Plus it’s on the stage now. Those tunes will be in your nightmares.
Auditors required to adopt UK code [FT]
audit firm governance code.pdf

Mr. Comptroller, John Liu, Demands That You Recognize the Seriousness of His Office

john-liu.jpgEveryone runs into a quirky boss at some point in their careers. Whether you’re answering to a higher power like Team Jehovah (just do as I say, or it’s eternal damnation) or just the new partner at your firm that keeps all the keys to the john in his office, people have to make adjustments to keep things on an even keel.
Well here’s a new one: The Post has reported that New York City’s new comptroller, John Liu, has ordered his staff to rise and address him as “Mr. Comptroller” whenever he enters the room.
In addition to the new formalities, The Post also reported that Mr. Comptroller is eliminating casual Fridays and is requiring everyone to arrive for work by 8 am. This is not a country club, people!
What’s the reason for all this, you ask? It’s quite simple actually. Mr. Comptroller is obviously aware the less than prestigious image that accountants (even elected ones) have and he wanted to nip this notion in the bud:

Liu’s new protocols were the brainchild of First Deputy Comptroller Eric Eve, an ex-Citigroup banker and adviser to former state Comptroller H. Carl McCall, according to Lee.
“It is important to note John is the same John, and he hasn’t changed,” Lee said. “At the same time, we want to address the office with the seriousness it demands.”

See, it was the ex-banker’s idea? Mr. Comptroller is the same guy, just wants to point out that the Office of the Comptroller is to be taken seriously. Make no mistake, it’s a real elected position. Mr. Comptroller is also ex-PwC so that could have something to do with it. Or not, you can sort that out for yourselves.

E&Y: This Stuff Is So Important That We Can’t Let You Be Distracted By Regular Work During the Week

Late November is typically a time of year when most of you can coast a little bit. Oh sure, some of you certifiable types are still working like your miserable lives depend on it (and probably not charging the time) so we’ll ignore you for this particular post.
We learned yesterday that the New York and Philadelphia offices of E&Y are apparently so strapped for time during the eleventh month that the annual accounting & auditing update has been scheduled for the 21st which is on a…wait for it…Saturday. That’s EVERYONE, staff through partners.
Now maybe there’s a perfectly good explanation for this odd scheduling. Perhaps the rulers of the Ernstiverse aren’t down with the whole day of rest thing. Or they figure since you’re getting two days off the following week, your ass is lucky that you’re not working Sunday too. Whatever the case may be, E&Y seems to be good at making promises so don’t make plans.

PwC Is Sick of You Not Passing the CPA Exam

olinto_cpa.jpgStudying for CPA exam got you down? Tired of choosing between sleeping and listening to Peter Olinto’s melodic voice talking about partnership basis calculations?
Luckily P. Dubs feels your pain. We’ve heard from a couple of sources that PwC is pushing sabbaticals for those of you that are scoring just slighty better than Tiger Woods.
We’ve heard that San Jose is offering tax associates 20% of their salary through the end of the year to get their act together. We also hear the same offer has been made to audit associates in New York. We would assume it’s on the same time frame since both offices will need every warm body available come 2010.
We kindly requested some details from PwC but they haven’t gotten back to us.
If you’ve got more details on this offer from Dubs or are considering participating so you can strike the Pedro and T. Gearty from your gray mass, discuss in the comments.

Let’s Just Call It an Even 50

More rumors out of KPMG today as the audit practice in New York will be ramping up to 50 hour weeks approaching October. Apparently the extra 32 hours for the entire month that was originally required will not suffice.
This follows a similar request put out to the Klynveldians on the left coast. Unless you’re a football fan or trying to observe religious holidays, this doesn’t strike us as much of a problem.

More KPMGers Have Their Labor Day Plans Put in Jeopardy

This time it’s San Fran:
See the text after the jump

Dear Senior Managers, Managers, Senior Associates and Associates,
Thank you for your hard work and continued commitment to the firm. As you know, we continue to do everything reasonably possible to achieve our chargeable hour goal for the remaining fiscal year. While we have made progress toward achieving our collective goal, there remains a gap between where we are and what we need to achieve to give ourselves the best chance of meeting our forecast for the month of September.
In order to close this gap, we are increasing the scheduled chargeable time for each senior associate and associate in the month of September to 50 hours per week (average of 10 hours per day). Teams already scheduled at 10 hours per day or more will remain as scheduled. We ask that each engagement team does its best to find meaningful work to fill this additional chargeable time. If seniors and associates are unable to identify meaningful work for themselves or their team, they should contact their engagement partner or manager to discuss ideas for utilizing this time. This increase in chargeable time has been discussed with and is supported by the engagement partners on your accounts.

Any idea what qualifies as “meaningful work”? Discuss in the comments.

KPMG Needs Everyone’s Help

Whether or not you’ll be working on Labor Day isn’t exactly clear:
More, after the jump

As we approach year end, we need everyone’s help to finish the fiscal year strong. Our goal is to achieve our forecast for the month of September. Based on the hours that are currently projected…we are falling short of that goal.
As a result, we have asked all Client Service Delivery professionals (including partners, senior managers and managers) to increase their chargeable hours in the month of September. With respect to seniors and associates, we are asking each of you to work an additional 32 hours in the month of September. We recognize this may result in overtime hours for some individuals
I encourage you…to make sure all chargeable hours for September are reflected. The amount reflected…will be increased by 32 hours to arrive at your goal. Please work with your managers to determine the best way to utilize this additional time in a productive manner.
We encourage you to delay any non-charge activity until October, assuming there are no required deadlines. This will help maximize our chargeable hours

At least they’re kind enough to “recognize this my result in overtime hours”. Tax associates probably won’t have any problem coming up with the extra hours but as for the rest of you, we’d love to hear your feelings on your extra four days of work in September.
UPDATE, 7:46 am: Our understanding is that this email was sent to audit professionals in the New York Office but judging by the comments, other offices have been put on notice to squeeze in some extra time for September. If you’ve received a similar email for your practice or office, shoot us the details.