• How Would Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Fit Into Public Accounting? A Brief Analysis

    By | October 20, 2016

    I don't imagine that too many people have given much thought to how Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton would fit into the accounting profession, but Peter Reilly did and I'm grateful: 

    The only two roles I could see for Trump in public accounting are client from hell or managing partner. Public accounting firms at the regional and large local level tend to be run by somewhat sociopathic dictators of greater or lesser benevolence.  Hillary Clinton on the other hand could be the leader of a peer review team or one of the people in a national firm that has a job not involving direct client service coming up with nonproductive things for working people to do.  Clinton is definitely the Big Four type.  Trump not so much.

    Trump is boorish oaf, so Peter's right that he wouldn't make it in the Big 4. He most definitely would have to start his own firm (with a loan from his father, of course) in order to run it as he saw fit. Essentially riding on his dad's coattails, this regional or large local firm would start offering bad, overpriced investment advice and would hawk Amway or Advocare on the side simply because he wanted more money. Through shameless self-promotion and dumb luck, he'd probably manage to make it Top 100 firm despite a number of sexual harassment lawsuits. He'd promote his children to partner as soon as they graduated from college, the CPA would be optional for them but no one else.

    Peter is right again on Hillary, she's definitely Big 4 material although I think she's far too ambitious to simply be "a leader of a peer review team." Her smarts would keep her moving up the ladder towards senior management and every performance evaluation given to her by a man along the way would include, "Difficult," and "Too direct," and "Not well-liked by everyone" and "Wears too many pantsuits." She'd be a sought-after mentor and visible leader only to be asked repeatedly, "How do you manage to balance life and work so well?" Also, one of her clients would be subject to a major investigation after she had deleted most of her workpapers and emails right before the expiration of document retention deadline.    

    I've been out of the game awhile so some of you might have a more honed-in role for either Trump or Clinton in the public accounting universe. If so, share it below.

    Image: Wikimedia Commons

    • Campy

      I think the only change I’d add would be that Hillary would have multiple clients involved in big fraud investigations throughout her career, not just one of them. And when her workpapers were investigated she’d blame the prior auditor (Trump’s crappy regional firm).

      • Caleb Newquist


    • Jess

      If Trump were partner, he would yell at each engagement member, “You’re fired!”

    • The Horniest Partner

      I use to work for a partner who reminds me somewhat of Hillary. She was very good in front of clients but staff didn’t like her and she would overbill clients. Many got fed up with her antics.

    • Peter J Reilly

      Thanks for picking up the discussion. I never was in the Big 4, just rounded out my career in a not quite Big 4, more nimble you know, so my insight into the culture is limited so I was not sure about Hillary.

    • Adam Hill

      Hillary can play the role of David Duncan, from the firm formerly known as AA, and Trump can play the role of any other asshole partner, anywhere. There is a difference.

    • Corporate Liaison

      Not too much of a leap to imagine the Trumpster chasing some secretary around a desk like they used to do at the radio station firm