Spying

Comp Watch ’11: Someone at Ernst & Young Wasn’t Too Discreet with Sensitive Info on Their Commute

From the mailbag:

Happened to be sitting behind someone on my NYC commute this week who was reading a deck (in font large enough for me to read) on EY’s salary ranges etc. Didn’t see any $ numbers and most was hard to see without context or the full page but I did see this:

(I don’t know ey terms – apr = annual performance rating?)

APR 3 4 5
S. Mgr 1% 2% 3%
Mgr 2% 3% 4%

Our tipster stated that the percentages were supposed to represent “minimum raise.” Hard what to make of this as rumors have been all over the board from “They told us not to have very high expectations,” to ” Per my discussions with an Office Managing Partner and a National Practice Leader …. raises should be close to (if not the same) as prior year.” But considering there’s an expensive legal battle on the horizon, maybe this isn’t so crazy? Discuss.

PwC, Ernst & Young Building Defenses Against Each Other’s Spies, Peeping Toms

Ernst & Young had a nice little buffer zone from the other Big 4 in their London office until PricewaterhouseCoopers decided they’d set up camp next door and now the two firms are strategerizing.

P. Dubs is finishing up the construction on their new digs and the Telegraph reports that “At their closest point the two offices are roughly 10 [meters] apart.” This proximity (not to mention the obnoxious tendency of Big 4 types to be competitive just for the sake of being competitive) has apparently led to rampant paranoia at the two firms about spying.


Getting up in E&Y’s shit seems to be bean counting as usual at PwC, as this latest move more or less correlates with the alleged poaching of 20 E&Y partners in the Middle East.

The Telegraph is insinuating hilarious war-esque undertones, saying, “First blood in the battle has gone to PwC with the installation of blinds that close automatically whenever audio-visual presentation equipment is switched on and an office layout that ensures no computer screens face windows.” The obvious concern being that PwC’s secret “we provide the absolute best client service” plan would be imitated by E&Y, which would mean an all-out war.

However, the real concern should be voyeurs scoping out the office sexcapades. As we’ve mused in the past, the odds of fornication for accountants are slim as it is and work relationships are a convenient option. With this development, some E&Y and PwC minions will be denied the opportunity for office sex. This is not as much of a problem for the exhibitionists at the firm, however, that cross section is likely small.

E&Y is reportedly “evaluating a number of options,” to combat P. Dubs’ tactics, which may or may not include the following:

A) A group mooning that will involve the most portly E&Y employees.

B) Placing inflatable bozos in the windows.

C) Draping the entire building with a photo of Susan Boyle in Beckham’s PwC undies.

D) Your idea.

Blackout curtains beckon as accountancy rivals find themselves too close for comfort [Telegraph]

Scoping | 07.21.09

First, some shameless promotion:
Breaking Media Launches Going Concern [Media Bistro]
New Finance Blog Aims To ‘Make Accounting Sexy’ [Media Post]
Site launched to follow accounting industry [Talking Biz News]
And the rest:
California Budget Deal Reached By Legislators, Schwarzenegger – “The deal, reached by legislative leaders after two months of frequently acrimonious negotiations, would slash spending for schools, public works and welfare programs amid the longest recession since the 1930s. If approved by the full Senate and Assembly, the agreement will also siphon money from municipalities, force companies and individuals to pay income taxes sooner and make it more difficult to receive state aid.” [Bloomberg]
Swiss Banks Freeze Out U.S. Clients – “In a sign that UBS AG’s high-profile spat with the Internal Revenue Service is chipping away at Switzerland’s private banking industry, some Swiss banks are cutting off or curbing business with American clients for fear of crossing U.S. authorities.” [WSJ]
‘Spy scandal’ hits Deutsche Bank – “Deutsche Bank has confirmed it faces a possible criminal investigation into spying allegations.” [BBC]