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Happy (Belated) Birthday Grover Norquist!

The Godfather of Tax Policy turned 55 yesterday and since I was traveling, I wasn’t able to send out the well wishes on the day of. Sorry, GGN.

Thankfully, there were plenty of people that weren’t so careless:

You’ve got to think that Grove was expecting something from the ATR scamps. He counts their bagel and coffee consumption, after all. No way they’re missing a birthday. Got any birthday wishes for my fellow Swedish influencer? Leave them below.

Surprising Absolutely No One, FASB Pushing Back Their Convergence Timeline

Floored. Just floored.

Financial Accounting Standards Board chair Leslie Seidman said that many of the priority projects slated for convergence with the International Accounting Standards Board probably will not be settled until next year at the earliest.

Les will have all you haters know that this adjusted timeline has been well received by those that are taking this shit seriously:

This is a real process with real outreach and real consideration of the issues that have been raised. And the fact of the matter is that it takes time to work through these issues. The changes which we have made to the timetable, which we have made jointly with the IASB, have been very well received among the constituents who take this process seriously. They are very supportive of our strong commitment to making sure that we end up with improved standards here that are going to stand the test of time.

So if you were expecting Fisher Price accounting rules, you can forget it. These beautiful babes will be used to line up the debits and credits when Spacely Sprockets finally breaks ground.

FASB’s Convergence Timeline Moves to Next Year [AT via Jim Peterson]

Arizona City of Surprise Gets to Keep Its AA Rating Despite 10 Years of Accounting Errors

Standard and Poor’s (S&P), one of the nation’s most well-known credit rating agencies, has informed Surprise it is affirming its “AA” credit rating. After a review, S&P cited a diversifying and strong local economy, new city management, low debt and ongoing corrections to past financial issues as reasons for affirming the high rating. S&P defines an AA rating as “a very strong capacity to meet financial commitments.”

This ignores the fact that the city of Surprise has (surprise!) suffered through a decade of multi-million dollar accounting errors and financial mismanagement.

Surprise finance officials say the news is a positive statement about the overall financial and economic health of the City. “S&P’s decision to affirm our AA rating is good news for Surprise taxpayers,” said Surprise Chief Financial Officer Scott McCarty. “This is one of the agency’s highest possible rankings, and the news is a positive checkpoint on our road to financial resiliency.”

Right. The same cannot be said of Surprise Mayor Lyn Truitt, who claimed more than $464,000 in mortgage, credit card and other debt when he filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.

Anyway, in FY 2010, Surprise had 33 prior period adjustments, compared to just one the year before and nine the year before that. The city found errors dating back to the year 2000 and stated that every financial statement category was affected. These errors had a $56.3 million liability impact related to the city’s sewer system alone and left the operating budget a little over $5 million in the hole.

Yeah… good luck with that.

(UPDATE, VIDEO) What Is the ‘Next Level’ Coming to KPMG?

From the mailbag:

Relatively ominous link on our internal homepage saying “get ready” “the next level is coming” as of 6.6.11.

We’ve confirmed this “next level” with several people and also that there is a video that Klynveldians are watching. We’d really like to see some screen shots of this, just to get some context. In the meantime, we encourage you to speculate about this “next level” and why you have to “get ready.” I’ll kick things off:

A) Tim Flynn’s retirement party is going to be epic.

B) Omaha Steaks announces a special “KPMG Package” that will drive the other, non-meaty firms crazy.

C) KPMG seeks revenge on PwC with their own competitive poaching efforts by offering the head of the mailroom at 300 Madison a 10% raise and a Phil Mickelson autographed hat.

D) Your ideas.

Supposedly, this is the transcript to the video (still no screen shots, it’s called “Print Screen” people!). Our tipster wrote, “Interesting video that gives very little hint to what the ‘Next Level’ is other than lots of talk of a ‘high-performance’ culture. Maybe it has something to do with changing performance review structure a la PwC. The video definitely gives an ominous feeling as if the KPMGers in it are running out of time and people aren’t adapting to the changing market fast enough for their liking. All in all pretty strange vibes.”

Welcome to the Next Level – Video Transcript


The market’s changed…

In order to compete in today’s world we have to keep up with change…

It’s a mindset… It’s a way of behaving…

It’s about a continuous journey…

Our ambition is greater than where we are today…

The attitude is contagious…

We’re not satisfied…

It’s really about taking it to that next level.

Keep us updated.

Another tipster hears that it has something to do with but “[I] don’t really know what they plan to do with it.” Poking around the site, it appears that it would be related to “Developing the Next Wave of Senior Leaders” but I’ve checked out for the week and don’t have the will to dig further right now.

Well, the video finally made it’s way into my inbox and I’ve posted it on the next page for your viewing pleasure (I realize Klynveldians have seen it already).

After watching it a number of times I still can’t make heads or tails about what the “next level” will be but hopefully it’s does just to this movie trailer-esque video.

Former McGladrey Employee Rates Experience at Firm as Below Average; Cites Stress Level, Getting Fired While on Vacation

On Tuesday, I brought you a rundown of a survey I recently took on my Big 4 experience scoring it a 5 – on a 1 to 5 scale – for the days spent inside the House of Klynveld. Today, from the mailbag, a former McGladrey tax pro who pegged his experience at Mickey G’s a bit lower than that:

Per yesterday’s newsletter [Ed. note: which you can subscribe to here], I worked at McGladrey from 2002 – 2009. I would rate the experience as a 2 on a scale of 1 – 5 (with 1 being the lowest).

On the positive side I was able to complete the [Midwest University] MST (distance-learning) which they fully financed, as well as gain valuable tax experience which helped me get my next gig as a Tax Analyst for a private company.

On the negative side: getting laid off on the following Monday after busy season. Even worse, I was taking my first vacation day in 4 months and was informed via courier who delivered the information to my house. It took a while for me to get over that extremely cold termination but I now realize it was a promotion in disguise!

Also, the stress level in my office was very high leading several in the tax department to have health issues (chest pains, high blood pressure, etc.).

SHOCKER: New Study Says Work Interferes with Life

ilovemyjob.jpgWe realize this is hard to believe — especially during this time of year — but yes, it’s true!
According to the University of Toronto’s new survey of 1,800 American workers, 50% of those surveyed take work home on a regular basis. Not a surprising result since the authors asked questions that easily solidified the “Americans live to work” mantra:
• How often does your job interfere with your home or family life?
• How often does your job interfere with your social or leisure activities?
• How often do you think about things going on at work when you are not working?
Scott Schiemen, one of the authors of the study, informs us of the grim but dead on conclusions:

Schieman says, “Nearly half of the population reports that these situations occur ‘sometimes’ or ‘frequently,’ which is particularly concerning given that the negative health impacts of an imbalance between work life and private life are well-documented.”

The study’s core findings indicate some things that may sound familiar to you:

• People with college or postgraduate degrees tend to report their work interferes with their personal life more than those with a high school degree;
• Professionals tend to report their work interferes with their home life more than people in all other occupational categories;
• Several job-related demands predict more work seeping into the home life: interpersonal conflict at work, job insecurity, noxious environments, and high-pressure situations; however, having control over the pace of one’s own work diminishes the negative effects of high-pressure situations;
• Several job-related resources also predict more work interference with home life: job authority, job skill level, decision-making latitude, and personal earnings;
• As predicted, working long hours (50-plus per week) is associated with more work interference at home — surprisingly, however, that relationship is stronger among people who have some or full control over the timing of their work;

Again, shout if this sounds familiar. The sorry thing is that 50+ hours a week is considered “long hours.” Most of you can do 50 standing on your head. Plus, those of you that are eating hours are doing yourself an even greater disservice. But that’s a whole other discussion.
Maybe we should just own up to it? We love working! To hell with family, friends, hobbies, etc. We’ve got work to do!
When Work Interferes With Life [Science Daily]
More Work/Life Balance:
Moss Adams Values ‘A Balanced Life’ over ‘Accountability’
Is the Era of Work/Life Balance Over?
Jack Welch is Not Buying the Whole Work-Life Balance Thing

Bonus Watch: Follow-up on Grant Thornton

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Grant-thornton-logo.JPGAccording to a tip we received, less than “special” people at GT are receiving bonuses too:

Based upon my salary [the bonus is] about 2%….[I’m] assuming the criteria for a bonus wasn’t as stringent as Nusbaum made it out to be, or the pool was larger than we were led to believe. Based upon the call with Nus, I figured only 5.0 would get a bonus.

A pleasant surprise for some. This particular tip came out of the Southeast region. Apparently these conversations are occurring circa now so continue to keep us updated for your city or region.