Accounting News Roundup: KPMG Settles with DOL; Brown-nosing; Bad Retirement Plans | 06.13.17

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Settlements

Last week, the Department of Labor announced that KPMG agreed to settle allegations of discrimination against 60 Asian job applicants for audit associated positions at its Short Hills, N.J. office from late 2011 to early 2013:

KPMG does not acknowledge any liability. It agreed to pay $420,000 in back pay, interest and benefits to the 60 Asian applicants for associate audit positions. The company will also provide associate audit job opportunities to six affected applicants as positions become available. In addition, KPMG will take steps to ensure its personnel practices, including record-keeping and internal auditing procedures, meet legal requirements.

I think it’s strange that the firm “will also provide associate audit job opportunities to six affected applicants as positions become available.” Do any of these people still want jobs with KPMG? Or did the firm offer to make these jobs available? Either scenario is baffling. Who would want a job there after suing them? Or why would the firm assume they would?

NJ.com reports that KPMG responded to the news by boasting about its hiring practices: “KPMG has long been recognized as a great place to work and build a career, including being named the 2017 Best Employer for Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) by the Asia Society.”

Oh, come on. This is like Hannibal Lecter bragging about the patients he helped and managed to refrain from eating. You didn’t cause harm to every person you came in contact with! Way to go!

Sucking up to the boss

When you work in a professional environment, everyone endures a certain amount of brown-nosing. Some engage the very minimum because their own pride is more important than bestowing flattery on a superior, while others rely on it to distract from their incompetence.

But then there are situations where the boss thrives off the adulation. He wants all the praise you can throw at him because deep down, the insecurity is festering, and it can only be tamed — briefly — by the fawning of others. If you’re in one of these work situations, you have to set aside your dignity for however long is necessary to survive. And man, I pity you:

“The greatest privilege of my life is to serve as vice president to the president who’s keeping his word to the American people,” Mike Pence said, starting things off.

“I am privileged to be here — deeply honored — and I want to thank you for your commitment to the American workers,” said Alexander Acosta, the secretary of labor.

Sonny Perdue, the agriculture secretary, had just returned from Mississippi and had a message to deliver. “They love you there,” he offered, grinning across the antique table at Mr. Trump.

Reince Priebus, the chief of staff whose job insecurity has been the subject of endless speculation, outdid them all, telling the president — and the assembled news cameras — “We thank you for the opportunity and the blessing to serve your agenda.”

“One by one, let’s go around the room and say great things about me,” is not a real quote from President Trump, but you wouldn’t be surprised if it were, would you? God help you if your boss has said that.

Accountants behaving badly

If the aspirations for your embezzlement scheme include walking away with a few million dollars, please note that when you are caught, the penalties will be severe. David Carl Hayes of Springfield, Mo. and Donald Rice of Middletown, Del. are both learning this the hard way. Each man helped himself to around $3 million in their scams, and both are facing prison sentences of up to 30+ years.

Both of these men are in their 50s, which means they could spend the rest of their lives in jail. And maybe that’s not likely, given a number of factors, but I’m surprised by people who’d even risk it. You don’t hear about people wanting to retire to minimum security prisons, eating Salisbury steaks with sporks and walking around the yard, do you? No, you do not.

Of course, maybe these schemes were their retirement plans? That’s one more argument for saving now: You don’t want to be in a position where you have to steal later. That tagline will be part of a sentimental ad for an asset management company by Christmas.

Previously, on Going Concern…

Megan Lewczyk wrote about when your responsibilities don’t match your title. In Open Items: from public to private after 7 years.

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