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KPMG Is Going to Buy Itself Some Indentured Servants in the UK

There’s nothing like buying your loyalty. I’m not saying Big 87654 programs like this aren’t somewhat good for the morale and worth the firms’ dime(s) not just to buy loyal servants but also to help prepare future capital market servants in general but it’s sort of a scam. Sometimes, these education programs don’t work out and the slaves revolt, as happened with this young man in an undisclosed market somewhere in a state that ends in tts.

Anyway, KPMG wants to recruit a whole bunch of 18 year-olds into its work/school program (across the pond they call this a “scheme,” which makes it exponentially more funny) by next September. The House of Klynveld will pay these kids’ tuition fees and pay them a whopping starting salary of £20,000 ($31,460 in Fed Funny Money).

Here’s a brief and completely related link to an article on indentured servitude: “Servants typically worked four to seven years in exchange for passage, room, board, lodging and freedom dues. While the life of an indentured servant was harsh and restrictive, it wasn’t slavery. There were laws that protected some of their rights.”

Sound at all familiar?

According to The Telegraph, the course opens its doors to 90 students for the first time this month, with two-thirds of entrants coming from state schools or colleges, compared with around half from the traditional graduate entry route.

More than 1,000 would-be ex-KPMGers applied for the program, and that number is expected to rise year over year. They say that’s because tuition is up to £9000 a year (about $14,153 but there’s a Fed meeting fast approaching, that number is subject to change) but my guess is mediocre performers need jobs and accounting isn’t that bad of a gig for some of them. I’d also guess that a few of these program “graduates” actually go on to have successful careers.

If you remember, one former participant of a similar program once (allegedly but eloquently) wrote to his former colleagues “I’m pretty sure it would have been easier to escape from Auschwitz than a YMP contract. I knew from the second week I start here that this wasn’t going to work out.” Ernst & Young’s Your Master Plan nurtured one hell of a profanity-laced, poetic farewell email, a true testament to its power. One requirement for the program was advanced written and verbal communication skills… it’s a wonder Uncle Ernie didn’t call Craig immediately and ask him to come back with a fat raise.

Anyway, the head of audit at KPMG told the Telegraph “At a time when many young people, graduates included, are finding it difficult to gain employment, this programme represents a credible alternative to mainstream university education and provides an attractive route into employment for talented students.”

I highly – and I mean highly – recommended checking out the comments on the Telegraph article, as it finally identifies the link between public accounting and anal rape that we have been trying to pinpoint for years. It’s the one that starts off with “If you work at a large accounting firm, beware, it is perfectly acceptable for the large accounting firm to tell massive lies about you such that you will be butt raped repeatedly…” You can’t miss it.

KPMG University?

Well, sort of.

If you’re thinking something similar to Deloitte’s sprawling campus down in Texas, then you’d be mistaken. The British firm has decided to recruit “school leavers, not university graduates” and will sponsor them to get accounting degrees, reports the FT:

From next year, KPMG will take in 75 school leavers, and then meet the cost of a four-year accountancy degree from Durham university and an accountancy qualification. Trainees on the six-year scheme will start on up to £20,000 a year. In 2012-13, the maximum university tuition fee, now £3,290, will rise to £9,000. At the same time, subsidies are being withdrawn from the sector and rules loosened to allow new entrants into the market and innovation in course design. As a consequence, such schemes could become more attractive to universities.

You could reason that this is a good thing because of the money it will save the students but our concern lies with their university experience. Or, the lack thereof:

KPMG said it could eventually take “in excess of 400” of these trainees a year, more than half its intake. The scheme is therefore expected to replace much of its traditional graduate recruitment. KPMG trainees will not join a conventional degree course. They will, instead, attend special classes to allow them to spend most of their time working at one of the company’s offices.

So, maybe we’re misinterpreting the Queen’s English but that sure sounds like recruits spending their college days sporting business casual, undermining interns/new associates for gofer duties and nothing to do with binge drinking, drug experimentation, gaining the freshman 15 (50?) or sinking themselves into debt. Is nothing sacred?

KPMG to fund young recruits’ degrees [FT]

BBC: Grant Thornton is Scheming for the Rich People

Grant-thornton-logo.JPGOkay, so large accounting firms don’t have the best reputations. They also have the tendency to be thick as thieves when they come under scrutiny. And the green eyeshade look has never been one that screams trustworthy.
But now, in what might be a bit of presumptuous awesomeness, the BBC is coming right out and calling Grant Thornton’s Growth Securities Ownership Plan (GSOP) a scheme. Maybe we’re jumping to conclusions but the subtitle doesn’t strike us as being subtle: “A big accountancy firm has denied that it has been peddling a tax avoidance scheme to help rich people avoid paying the new 50% income tax rate from 2010.
Let’s break some of the key words and phrases down:
Peddling: Use of this word basically implies that narcotics are involved
Tax Avoidance Scheme: Implies a conspiracy of smart people to screw the tax authority on behalf of…
Rich People: Not the best time in history to be lumped into this particular demographic
WTG, G to the T. Not only are you trying to screw the taxing authority in Britain by virtue of the equivalent of slinging financial smack, you’ve got the audacity to do it on the behalf of rich people.
Accountants deny ‘new tax dodge’ [BBC]