October 27, 2021

That’s just like…your opinion man

Some Are of the Opinion That Deloitte’s Services Aren’t Worth $90,000 a Day

I don’t care how you try to explain it away, in this day and age of tight budgets and runaway deficits, $90,000 per day is way too much to pay an accounting firm for advice on how to cut $4 billion from Ottawa’s budget, particularly since the proposed cuts Deloitte comes up with are unlikely ever to be acted upon[.] [NP]

Mike Mayo Is of the Opinion That Citigroup ‘May Have Violated Sarbanes-Oxley’

Last week we heard from a number of people on the topic of Citigroup’s internal controls that while it didn’t sound like they were quite up to snuff, KPMG was somehow cool with it and Vikram Pandit signed his name to it, saying that everything was hunky dory.

Now along with bloggers and journalists, the scourge of Citigroup, CLSA analyst Mike Mayo, has decided to get into the act:

Citigroup may have violated Sarbanes-Oxley with its 2007 10-K submission, in our opinion. The new information relates to letters from regulators that were only revealed earlier this year as part of the FCIC archive. We believe these letters between Citi and the Fed, Citi and the OCC, and the OCC with internal staff, imply that Citi should have known about internal control shortfalls for the year 2007 and was directly told about them by the OCC only eight days before the 10-K was signed. Also, Citi reported large unexpected losses with less than two months left in the year. Thus, the lingering question in our mind is why Citi signed off on its 2007 10-K as having effective controls in light of such problems. This information is still relevant today because it reflects on the magnitude of the risk shortfalls and what we feel is the higher-than-perceived task of turning them around.

That’s from Mayo’s update on the bank, dated today, and along with the “opinion” on a Sarbanes-Oxley violation, he has a few questions:

To what extent was the audit committee and board at Citi aware of the concerns voiced by various regulators at the time, and who gave the advice to sign the 10-K? To what extent has Citi’s board examined the issue since the release of letters from the FCIC? Has the SEC and DOJ looked into this matter?

We bolded that portion since it might – just might – be referring to KPMG and the apparent disregard everyone had for the letter sent to Citigroup from the OCC. Of course, not everyone always agrees with Mayo, namely Dick Bové who has gave HofK the thumbs up although it was obvious that he’d never heard of the firm. Bové hasn’t weighed in on this particular report but it’s only Monday.

Anyway, Citigroup remains steadfast in their thoughts on the matter, telling The Street’s Lauren Tara LaCapra that the “certifications were entirely appropriate,” although things increasingly seem to be pointing to the possibility that wasn’t the case. A message left for Marianne Carlton, a KPMG spokeswoman, hasn’t been returned.

BREAKING: At Least One PwC Employee Isn’t Sold on the Rebranding

It’s been just over a week since we broke the story on PwC’s rebranding. Now that everyone else has caught up to the story, we’ll share with you some fresh news on the makeover.

Since today marks the first day of u’re warming up to the new team colors. Then again, you may share the feelings of one P. Dubs employee that took the time to email Bob Moritz to chime in on the new look. Apparently (not really sure how these things happen) the email is making the rounds at PwC and it just so happened to find its way into our mail bag:

To be perfectly honest, I’m not a fan of the new branding. In your email you wrote “…we are altering what we believe is an outdated visual identity to better express the kind of vibrant and relationship-based firm we have evolved into.” I find it ironic that you referred to our former visual identity as outdated when our new brand looks like a throwback – a 70s color scheme meets an IT startup.

I completely agree with the comments on the website where the brand is repeatedly referred to as child-like and unprofessional. I feel like the explanation for the symbol is also very complex. The *connectedthinking brand was simple and easy to understand. With the new symbol, everything has a meaning, from the colors to the solid blocks to the transparent blocks. A symbol should be fairly self explanatory – this one requires too much explanation.

I love the fact that the company has been focusing more on changing behaviors and placing a greater emphasis on building relationships. However, I fail to see where a new brand would affect this. Colors and symbols don’t represent PwC, the staff does. In one of the online discussions it was pointed out that following a salary freeze one year and layoffs the following year, it almost seems foolish to spend so much money to “reinvent” ourselves. To quote a wise PwC employee, “A new brand isn’t going to win business, motivated people will.” I find it hard to believe that this new, colorful symbol will be the motivation that people need to help expand our business and improve relationships with clients. A better way to motivate the staff would be more incentives – bonuses, rewards, raises – positive reinforcement. Pavlov was definitely on to something with the concept. Interactive gallery stations complete with iPads to show off the brand? Activities revolving around the launch of this new brand? Is this really the best method of spending funds?

Also disturbing to me is the environmental impact this could have. I can’t imagine that this won’t set back the Firm-wide goal of reducing our carbon footprint. Letterhead, business cards, report covers, envelopes (to name a few paper products) all need to be reprinted. It seems like an incredible waste to discard everything we already have in favor of this new brand (we received an email letting us know that after October 4th we are not to use any of the old paper products). I hope we are at least planting a bunch of trees to help compensate Mother Nature for the amount of paper that will be wasted with this change.

It’s disappointing to feel like we have taken two steps forward and three steps back. I realize that it is what it is, but I felt that I should voice my opinion from down here on the totem pole.

It’s been suggested that October 4th will be the great PwC Shredding Day that will no doubt involve a convoy of Shred-it trucks out 300 Madison (and offices nationwide for that matter) along with employees dropping their old business cards into every fish bowl they can find.

So mark it on your calendars and definitely document the shredding in action or perhaps a bonfire (done safely and in full accordance with the law) and send us the pictures.