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Tickmark or Treat – How Does Your Office Celebrate Halloween?

I was grabbing lunch yesterday and overheard a conversation between a collection of young associates at the table next to me. “Sexy cat.” “Slutty nurse.” “Superman.” No, this was not a recap of a client meeting (but imagine if it was!); they were talking tossing around Halloween costume ideas.

In the spirit of All Hallow’s Eve, we here at GC wanted to see what you were all doing to celebrate, in the office or otherwise.

Which admin assistant has the best candy on their desk? What partner encourages the team to dress up? Who shuns those who wear orange sweaters to work on 10/31? Are any offices throwing Halloween parties?

Word of HR advice – should you dress up in the office, keep your costumes PG-rated. Avoiding racial stereotypes, fishnet stockings, and any kind of head piece or mask that requires removal before picking up the phone should probably be avoided.

Bonus GC points for pictures.

Past Halloween Adventures:
Clearly Avoiding the “Sexy” Route, Young CPA Needs Help with Ideas for “Accounting Police” Halloween Costume
KPMG Halloween Party: Don’t Expect Treats in the Form of Bonuses

Going Concern Wants Your Schwag

Keep your pants on, folks – we’re talking Post-its, t-shirts, and whatever else you got your grubby hands on at this season’s campus recruiting events.

Career fair season is in full swing and many of you have already met with the firms’ campus recruiting teams, waited in line for hours to shake the sweaty palm of a 1st year associate, attended countless Powerpoint-heavy presentations.
u were bound to receive some goodies to go along with the “work-life is amazing here!” speeches. Professionals, I’m sure you hoarded the highlighters and page flags. Because I am pinned to my desk in Midtown and Caleb is busy eavesdropping on Denver coffee shop regulars, we were not able to travel to campuses this semester but we would still like to be kept up to date on the latest and greatest (and lamest) in campus recruiting schwag. Dig through those “green” bags from the career fair and share the accounting firm lovin’ with us.

What to share:

1. Mail us your extras. If you’ve got some great goodies you want to share with us, email Caleb for his address and put that shit in the mail. As a thank you, he’ll return the favor by sending you Going Concern schwag. Nothing says “too cool for management accounting class” like a Going Concern bumper sticker.

2. Take some pictures. Don’t want to part with that leaky coffee mug from Grant Thornton? Did you win a XXL winter PwC fleece at the University of Miami career fair but want to hold on to it “for when it gets chilly”? Send Caleb (suitable for work) pictures of the gear. Bonus points if the EY teddy bear is taking it to the KPMG stuffed puppy.

3. Tell us a story. Did something ridiculous happen at one of the recruiting events? Partners making out with interns? Intern on intern action? Did someone lose an offer because they had one too many flaming nipple shots?

For those of you worried about your privacy…

Come on now, it’s a moot point by now. It’s no secret that this site would not exist without the anonymous sources, tips, career advice questions, and cutthroat comments that you all provide every day. You make this place bearable, welcoming, helpful, and funny as hell.

Think about some of the stories that Caleb has covered here – PwC’s re-branding strategy, KPMG’s random hiring freeze, McGladery firings. Does he ever blow the top on his sources? Do I ever turn around and call the HR department of every firm who’s professionals reach out to us about looking for jobs? Ummmmm…no. We’re grown ups. We respect your decisions and appreciate it when they are relevant to a story for You scratch our backs with tips, and we provide you and the rest of the industry an opportunity to sound off.

Why are we doing this?

We want to keep everyone up to date on how their potential bonus money is being spent on frivolous travel alarm clocks, obviously. That, and we thought it’d be fun – brainless, thoughtless, and not-as-negative-as-every-other-story-in-the-news-today kind of fun. Plus, we know that all recruiting efforts are not created equal. What is handed out in Chicago is not what’s thrown your way in Dallas. Do you really think Greendale Community College see the same hand-outs as Lehigh students? Hell no. Share the stories, share the free schwag lovin’.

Clearly Avoiding the “Sexy” Route, Young CPA Needs Help with Ideas for “Accounting Police” Halloween Costume

Now that it’s September, people start getting anxious about their Halloween costumes. Regardless of the two months of football, a World Series, and God knows how many GOP Presidential candidate debates, many will agonize over just what outfit they will wear for approximately 2-3 hours, knowing full well that vomit could end up on it. These days Halloween costumes, for better or worse, focus on the “sexy.” The sexy Little Bo Peep. The sexy priest. This year, I’m really hoping to see the sexy Angry Birds. Anyway, a reader is stumped on how best to approach a recent light bulb moment she had for this year’s outfit:

Hi Caleb,

I am hoping some creative CPAs who read your blog can help me out. A month ago, during one of my trainings, a partner came in and spoke to us about how we should not be seen by our clients as the “accounting police.” Immediately, a lightbulb went off in my head and I thought “HALLOWEEN COSTUME!”, but I have no idea how to pull this off so people will understand it! Any ideas out there?

So we have “accounting” and “police.” Not exactly a lot to work with here but we’ll throw a few ideas out there to get things rolling:

1. Ask four of your friends to join you and go as the letters P-C-A-O-B. Of course, you won’t actually do anything.

2. Simply dress up as police officer and walk around the whole night counting things, not unlike The Count (in fact, I suggest you do the laugh). “What the hell are you supposed to be?” some dope will say. You’ll respond, “A counting police.”

3. Get another idea.

Your suggestions are now welcome.

Americans for Tax Reform Would Like to Make President Obama’s Jobs Speech a Little More Fun

To mark tomorrow night’s “Jobs Speech” by President Obama, the Ronald Reagan-possessed imps over at Americans for Tax Reform are providing some entertainment to get you through what will be, in all likelihood, a message that will be big on rhetoric with virtually no chance of anyone (Joe Biden included) breaking into song. And because most of the people that will be watching the speech will be either journalist/blabby pundit-types and people who are physically unable to remove themselves from the couch, they went with the simplest (yet oddly enjoyable) game possible. BINGO.

BINGO_Sept 2011 Obama Jobs Speech Bingo Card 1

As you can see, ATR has studiously selected the words and phrases they think will be spoken most often by the President and have created five different cards so that you can play with your fellow lovers of liberty. They even took the trouble to define many of these terms in case you can’t keep everything straight. Based on ATR’s interpretation, you are more or less going to be listening to the President utter “tax hikes” on a loop. Of course if BINGO isn’t your thing, you simply could just turn this into a drinking game, although it’s conceivable this could result in several cases of alcohol poisoning.

The added (surely unintentional) bonus is that you can use this card as a template for tonight’s Republican Presidential candidate debate where many of these terms will applicable. You’ll have to throw in “God,” “Tax cuts,” “Small Businesses,” “Ronald Reagan,” and perhaps a few others I’m forgetting but this more or less will cover the bases.

Time to play Big Speech BINGO! [ATR]

Analysis: If Your Accounting Firm Was a College Football Team

Pack up your white pants and seersucker suits – Labor Day has come and gone which means only one (actually important) thing: college football is back. You NFL loving freaks can have your Sundays of Hollywood-produced sport; I believe the good Lord created Sundays solely as a recovery day for college football fans. Well, for that and drunk brunches, of course.

It is no secret that good ol’ Caleb is a vehement Husker fan,he only reason he’s given me the green light to churn out a post comparing your respective accounting firms to the likes of fried-butter-eating college football fanatics.

I can only pray that my effort will inspire the semi-regular infusion of sport, accounting, and bantering commenters around here, so I give you the “Accounting Firms If They Were A College Football Program” top nine rankings. Grab your body paint and come along for the tailgate.

Firm: Deloitte
Team: Oklahoma Sooners
First Take: Both are always in title contention but seem to shit the bed come Pay Day. Deloitte raises are on par with the Sooners’ BCS bowl record under Coach Bob Stoops (2-8).
Keep it in the Family: During Hurricane Irene, Deloitte encouraged employees to bunk up together, obviously a practice long in use in Oklahoma.
Sputter, Sputter: Sooner alum Blake Griffin jumped over a KIA at last year’s NBA slam dunk contest. A certain Deloitte consultant also prefers a certain overused and washed out mode of transportation…

Firm: PwC
Team: Oregon Ducks
First Take: They’re in the news for legit (raises, hurry-up offense) and controversial (fireside chats, BCS infractions) more often than you’d like. Also, their team colors are atrocious.
Hotties Everywhere: PDubs has Ireland. The Ducks have these ladies.
Just Pick One Already: PwC doesn’t churn out new logo/uniform re-designs as often as the Ducks but both cause a stir when they do. Whether the changes for either team result in better winnings has yet to be seen.

Firm: Ernst & Young
Team: Ohio State Buckeyes
First Take: You hate going up against them, but even if they do win, you’re thankful you’re not affiliated with their alumni.
Compliance? What Compliance? Former coach Jim Tressell thought it best to let a tattoos-for-autographs program run its course. E&Y is apparently doing the same with this minor Sino-Forest sitch.
Questionable Mascots: The poisonous nuts of the Midwest are no match for the Black & Yellow guy.

Firm: KPMG
Team: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
First Take: Still talking about that big win in 1983. An exodus of leadership. The general public has gone from loathing them to just feeling bad for them. Give it up, you’re no longer the powerhouse you (thought you) once were.
Johnny Be Good. The Chairman is also a proud ND alum. Need we say more?
Empty Promises: We’re going to win it all! We’re going to hire thousands!

Firm: Grant Thornton
Team: Northwestern Wildcats
First Take: As hard you they try to be tough, they’re still nerds dressed in purple.
Off-the-Mark Advertising: GT – the lack of aligned teeth took some bite out of your full-page WSJ ad. And Dan Persa for Heisman – really? Your mom for Heisman.

Firm: Rothstein Kass
Team: Boise State Broncos
First Take: First it was a feel-good story but their continued rise through the ranks is pissing off the traditionalists.
The-Anybody-But-The-Other-Guy- Vote: Whether it was Boise’s ridiculously fantastic win over Oklahoma years ago in the Fiesta Bowl or RK’s dominance in the Going Concern March Madness pool, oftentimes their fan support stemmed from us just hating their competition more.

Firm: McGladrey
Team: Missouri Tigers
Only Take: You’re supposed to be on this list; we know you belong on this list; we don’t know what you’ve done to deserve being on this list.

Firm: BDO
Team: Penn State Nittany Lions
First Take: Your parents would have been pleased if you went there but better options awaited you.
Race to the Retirement Home: JoePa is 84 and coaching from the press box. Rumor has it Jack Weisbaum calls the shots from his personal tanning bed.

Firm: CBIZ/Mayer Hoffman McCann
Team: University Buffalo Bulls
Only Take: You think you’re a big deal, but really everyone uses you as an exhibition punching bag.

How’d we do? What team best parodies your firm? Share it in the comments below.

Are Accountants Planking at Work?

If you’ve been paying attention, you’re familiar with the lamest Internet meme since last year’s bros icing bros – planking.

Planking is a “game” that involves people laying face down in normal to not-so-normal places and then having a friend take their picture while the planking is occurring. It’s been going on for a couple of months now but right out of the gate it was abundantly clear that planking was STUPID. Not stupid in the sense that “you can die while doing it” stupid but more so, “you and your friends are idiots” stupid. Despite this, people are “crazed” with it because, obviously, they are losers. And maybe racist.

ANYWAY, I bring this up A) it’s a fairly slow news day and B) a friend of a friend of GC emailed us the following query:

This is kind of a random idea but when watching this video,, I was wondering if accountants are planking at work, especially at Big 4/Big Regional firms like on copiers, partners’ desks, etc and have captured them in a video or in pictures. Even though I think the concept is kind of lame, I think about doing it every day including planking inside of one of the partner’s convertible which he leaves the top down all day. I would love to see if anyone has any great planking poses at work.

Yes, I am really bored at work and my mind tends to wander (a lot).

No problem friend of a friend, it’s summer and you’re a CPA, so boredom happens. Here’s the video in question:

Quite the montage of planktitude, isn’t it? Someone even took the opportunity to plank during Carmageddon which resulted in “Plankmageddon” (obv).

But back to our reader – even though I’m against planking in a general sense, I would not oppose planking inside a partner’s convertible. Especially if you emailed the picture to us. Of course you would have to take great precaution to not be identified but it may be worth the risk. And that goes for the rest of you. If the clock seems to be moving backwards at any point this summer, you should consider planking and then sending us the pictures. I’ll put forth a few conditions for scoring:

Planking on a manager’s desk – 100 points.

Planking on a partner’s desk – 500 points.

Planking on the office managing partner’s desk – 1,000 points.

Planking on the client’s conference table – 1,000 points

Planking in the lobby with your firm’s sign in view – 1,000 points

Photo of the office managing partner planking on his/her desk – 5,000 points.

Planking on a partner’s [insert luxury car here] – 5,000 points.

Of course this is not meant to discourage creativity on your part. If you have other suggestions, please offer them up below along with the points to be awarded. Happy planking.

Caption Contest Friday: Is Your Career in the Crapper?

A reader working at a client site showed us where she and the rest of her audit team will be sitting for the next three weeks:
A little background/TMI: Naturally our first question was, “Is anything audible?” to which she replied, “We definitely know who has a weak stream around here.”
Same rules – Submit possible captions for all the photos in the comments. We’ll choose our favorites — with preference given to those with an accounting/auditing bent — and then let you vote for the best one. Impress us.