• More Accountants Carrying Guns, Says Guy Who’s Heard Some Stories

    By | July 11, 2014

    Here's something I didn't expect to read today:

    It’s been more than 85 years – back in the days when gangsters Dean O’Banion and Al Capone went to war over Chicago – that accountants have felt compelled to carry firearms for personal protection.  Yet the anecdotal evidence is that a rising number of accountants are packing a pistol in amongst their iPads and laptops.

    Anecdotal evidence! Well, that's good enough for me! Shall we go on?

    Okay, actually let's discuss this a minute. I worked in the accounting profession for a bit and at no time did I feel the need to carry a firearm while I was carrying out exceptional client service. Now, many of my clients were on the stuffy side, financial services and whatnot, so maybe that has something to do with it. Regardless, I can't think of any anecdotes, either from my days at KPMG to the last 5 years I've spent listening to the most ridiculous stories accountants care to share with us here at The Olde GC Shoppe.
     
    Granted, I have heard about the accountant that caught an employee stealing from him, confronted said employee, who then was shot and killed by said employee. Terrible story. Tragic. But I don't think it's unusual for a criminal to kill another person when they've been caught committing a crime. It happens quite often, probably, just not in a CPA's office.
     
    NEVERTHELESS! Because Dave McClure has heard stories about accountants carrying guns, he wrote 800 words on the subject noting, "three distinct problems for the profession." Let's go over these now:
    Policies in the Workplace.  Strangely, few employee handbooks or HR policies cover the issue of bringing a handgun in to the office.  And under the laws of many states, such policies might be ruled unconstitutional anyway.  Even then, if the employee is circumspect, and does not show the firearm to anyone, the policy would only be enforced after the fact.  Some 15 states now have laws limiting the ability of employees to carry weapons into the workplace.  Even in these states, it may be permissible for employees to keep their firearms locked in their cars in the company parking lot.
    I didn't keep my KPMG employee handbook, but I don't recall anything about bringing a handgun to the office. (If any Klynveldians have a recent copy handy, please post the policy in the comments.)
     
    But, again, it never occurred to me that I needed to bring one to the office, even on the most miserable days of busy season. And there were no shortage of those, let me tell ya. I can't speak for all of my colleagues, but anecdotally speaking, no one ever remarked to me about the Deringer, glock, or sawed-off 12 gauge in their bag because DANGER. I'm not saying it's not possible. It's just that I never heard about it. And I never heard of anyone hearing about it. Again, not saying it's not possible.
     
    Moving on:
    Policies with Client Facilities.  Regardless of the policies of the accounting firm, the issue becomes more complicated when visiting the offices of clients and prospects.  It may present an awkward discussion, particularly if the client is new or the policies of the client may be at odds with those of the accounting firm (e.g., may the client carry a firearm to the accountant’s office?). 
    When I think of awkward discussion involving accountants, I don't think of gun policies. Usually, I just think of accountants having discussions in general. 
    Unlike many social issues, this discussion is not just philosophical.  For some, the presence of a firearm connotes a feeling of security, while in other cases a feeling of fear.  
    Yes, because an accountant's office is one rife with danger. Paper cuts? Sure. Someone brandishing a firearm? Not likely (exception noted above).
    And at the heart of the question is the basic position of the firm – remain silent, or risk losing the client?
    Because, as we know, this is a profession about serving clients. "This prospect likes to have shooting practice in the our parking lot at lunch. Sure, he's a little weird, especially when he insists on putting his holster on my desk, but it would be a great win for us!"
     
    Finally:
    Advising Clients on their Policies.  As accounting firms continue to take on the roles as trusted business advisors, and as payroll software continues to expand into HR policy, accounting firms will be drawn deeper into policy issues that may affect the growth and stability of its client companies.  For example, will a policy one way or the other affect the ability to attract bank loans or investors?  How will it impact present or potential shareholders, or the ability to attract the best employees?

    Hold the fucking phone. IS THIS A POTENTIAL NEW REVENUE STREAM? In other words, if a client comes to you and says, "You know, we're thinking of writing up a formal policy that would allow our employees to carry guns to work. What do you think?" How do you, trusted capital market servant who probably has an intimate knowledge of the 2nd Amendment and state gun laws, respond? You are trusted advisors after all, so naturally it's incumbent upon you to come up with something, is it not? There are several billable hours — or value pricing opportunities! — at stake here. You don't want to risk a client relationship because you're some liberal who wants to take all the guns away.  

    I suppose there are situations that I'm not thinking of — PCAOB inspections, IRS audits, etc. — where cooler heads don't always prevail, but even in those instances, are accountants worried that they'll need protection? I don't think so. 

    Can we all agree to carry water pistols instead? They're way more fun and no one dies. Plus, with the rise of the paperless office, the risk of ruined workpapers is diminished. Let's find another solution, people. 

    Gun Laws and Accounting Firms – What's Your Policy? [CPAPA]

    • ReasonabIe Assurance

      I actually do conceal carry on occasion. Obviously the accountant’s office isn’t an area of danger, but how are you forgetting about audit staff? My office has several client’s with locations in questionable parts of town where being mugged or assaulted isn’t unheard of.

    • Tim

      I live in a pre-transition transitional neighborhood (hey, houses were cheap here haha). I conceal carry most of the time off the job and occasionally to work, but I generally leave it in my car when I get to the office or client site.

    • guest

      Remember, if you are in audit, you need to follow your client’s workplace policies too.

      • Another exKPMGer

        That’s probably true for any service provider.

    • Andrew Y

      I was a bit stunned when I spoke with some of my colleagues who admitted that they had guns. Then they admitted they had many of them. And then one partner told me that he had one in the glove compartment of the car we had just exited. I know I work with a lot of hard core right wingers, but I guess I was not expecting to have this conversation. It isn’t one I am ever going to have again though. My bad for asking a question I wasn’t prepared to know the answer to.

      • Reasonable Assurance

        People owning guns scares you? It’s the second amendment, maybe you’re in the wrong country…

        • Andrew Y

          Yes it does. Somehow I’m managed to live 5 decades without seeing, touching or being around a single person with a visible firearm. And no, I don’t believe that is what the 2nd amendment says either. Many of us don’t.

          But yeah, more and more I do think I may be in the wrong country. This one sure isn’t what it once was.

          • Reasonable Assurance

            Did the big bad gun scare you? Did it get up on its own and threaten you?

            • Andrew Y

              Get help.

            • El Jefe

              “Somehow I’m managed to live 5 decades”

              Typical response from the I got mine generation. You felt safe all those decades because someone else took the initiative to follow the procedures on getting a gun permit.

              In case you haven’t noticed the criminals don’t care about rules and procedures. What they care about are the odds that an individual that they want to jack are carrying. The odds are getting better everyday for the criminal.

            • Andrew Y

              It has nothing to do with I got mine. There have always been bad people and always will be. I live in a great neighborhood, but that doesn’t mean I always did. I park underground now at work, but I spent 10-15 years walking through lousy downtown areas to get to my car late at night with no protection. Perhaps if someone had stuck a gun in my face and tried to rob me, my view would be different. I don’t know and hope to never find out. I may just have been lucky, or it may be that I am extremely aware of my surroundings. Be that as it may, I have no interest in carrying a gun.

            • ReasonabIe Assurance

              Don’t joke, you know every single gun is equipped with automatic baby-seeking bullets.

          • Another exKPMGer

            Then GTFO. ‘Cause ‘Murica. And take Bieber with you.

            • Andrew Y

              That’s sort of what I expected. Another failure of the KPMG recruiting process.

            • Another exKPMGer

              Leave it to someone on the downhill slide to death to not get an internet joke. Remember, the things you might not be happy with about America are the results of decisions made by YOUR peers. Hopefully we can fix the country your boomer generation so royally fucked up so you can enjoy your retirement. You’re welcome.

            • Andrew Y

              Love the ageist dig. And really, don’t care about your music collection either. Don’t pretend you don’t listen to that clown. What an embarrassment.

              Young(er) people think there is some kind of fountain of youth and they will never get old. And if you keep playing with guns, you are probably right.

              I do agree that your generation is going to be partially paying for my retirement, but fortunately the people I’m counting on are a lot brighter than you.

            • Guest

              Excellent.

          • ReasonabIe Assurance

            Have you really never seen one person with a firearm in 50 years? Unless you are in Australia, I assume this is a bit hyperbolic.

            • Andrew Y

              Not really. In 8th grade someone on a school bus supposedly had an empty gun and was showing it off in the back. I didn’t see it, but was told by a friend that this guy had one. My Dad had one, but he kept it locked away and I never asked about it or asked to see it. I’ve been to homes where people told me that had guns locked (safely) away, but I never asked to see them. If I’m forgetting something, I honestly don’t remember.

              Now I’ve been on ride along’s with police many times and they certainly have guns, but they never had to draw them.

              And it isn’t like I haven’t seen lots of gun violence on television and movies, so perhaps I am splitting hairs a bit.

            • LikeABoss

              See that’s the problem… you have unrealistic expectations of what could happen because you saw some shitty action movies and you think that’s real life, and you have no exposure to law abiding citizens exercising their rights, because you choose to remain ignorant of what’s out there in the world. You went on a police ride along? Fine, maybe, just maybe, you might have seen one or two bad things happen on the ride-along. That doesn’t excuse your lack of openness to the other side of the debate. If you’re curious enough about what bad guys do, you should be curious about what your responsible friends and neighbors do as well. So no, sir, the KPMG recruiting system isn’t broken because some asshole with a screen name made a joke at you on the internet, your system of imposing your ignorant thoughts on the rest of us, with no real idea of what we do is what’s broken. GFY.

            • Andrew Y

              This has nothing to do with watching movies. That is an overly superficial analysis to an extremely complex and sensitive issue. But let me try and clarify some things for you and then hopefully we can call it a day. I really have better things to do and hopefully so do you.

              I had no opinions whatsoever on the subject of gun ownership until about 1991, when I read that in the US we had handgun related deaths of over 23K while England had 8 and Canada 7. I still have the newspaper article. Even with the enormous difference in population, those #’s are just astounding to me. I have not bothered to check and see what the current #’s are but I simply do not think we need to have guns in our homes. Other countries manage to avoid the wild west culture that seems to be so prevalent here.

              You do think gun ownership is important and that is fine. It is your right and as long as you use them responsibly, then we should not have an issue. I just choose to live my life differently.

              As far as which generation is responsible for screwing things up in this country, well we can leave that one for another day. I don’t think any generation is immune to criticism.

            • ReasonabIe Assurance

              So I’m going to guess you are from California, New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut.

            • LikeABoss

              PS congrats on being able to pull out the “ageism” word on him, the only unfortunate thing is we don’t have anything to call you back, to thank you for the world of shit the ideals your awful generation put us in. Thanks for adding absolutely nothing to society buddy, enjoy retirement, it’s on us!

          • Uncle Ernie’s World Builder

            You never saw a cop in those 50 years?

            Oh, but that’s different. Those guys have official permission to carry, and they’re required to get training, know the use-of-force laws and demonstrate competence with a handgun…just like licensed citizens who carry.

    • I once worked at a firm where a tax senior decided it was ok to take his gun to a CPE training. Needless to say the firm took a dim view of his judgement that day. I am all in favor of the 2nd amendment, but there is a time and place as to where it makes sense to exercise your rights.

      • Guest

        “here is a time and place as to where it makes sense to exercise your rights.”

        You didn’t mention where this firm was located. And two you didn’t mention the time the training ended.

        • A fair point. In my example, the training took place in an upper middle class area of Houston in a Marriott hotel in the morning and the training ended around noon.

    • Bloviator

      That’s one of the dumbest articles I’ve read in a while–not only the “anecdotal evidence” but also the claim that “it is legal for citizens to carry concealed weapons in all 50 states.” It is ILLEGAL to carry a concealed weapon without a permit from state or local law enforcement in all but five states. Getting a concealed carry permit is not like getting a hunting license. There are fingerprints, background checks, gun proficiency tests, etc. In some states, local law enforcement has total discretion over who gets a permit, and they only issue them to ex-cops, DAs, and a few gov’t security types.

      Guns in the workplace are a major no-no at almost any kind of business that would buy accounting services. Check out the workplace violence statistics. Every year, more nutjobs go postal and shoot up offices, shops, warehouses, etc. Corporate security and HR people have all kinds of workplace violence prevention programs, and they take a very dim view of anyone bringing weapons to work. Many office building leases have clauses that explicitly ban firearms on the premises. Asking a client if it’s okay for your staff to pack heat in their workplace will probably elicit laughter until they realize you’re serious, at which point your former client will show you the door.

      The only scenario in which I could imagine an accountant carrying a concealed weapon on the job is if you’re in forensics, you’re an employee or contractor of a government agency, and you’re working on some crime-related matter. As for audit staff traveling through dangerous neighborhoods, as long as you have the proper permit, what you do in a public place is your business. But once you step on private property and enter the client’s workplace, you’re subject to the policies of the property owner and tenant. So leaving your piece in your car is a wise move.

      • Guest

        “The only scenario in which I could imagine an accountant carrying a concealed weapon on the job”

        The job environment is not always safe in a global community.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLEQoEGCv-4

      • Guestwithagun

        Please site your workplace violence stats. Last time I looked at the FBI stats, deaths via guns has been at it lowest and has been trending down yoy.

        http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10shrtbl08.xls

        This is the latest data I could find, but it speaks for itself.

        • Bloviator

          First of all, cite is spelled with a c. Take a lesson from Weird Al. http://youtu.be/8Gv0H-vPoDc

          Not that all pro-gun people are illiterate hillbillies.

          As for the numbers, in 2009, the most recent year for which data is available, approximately 81% of workplace homicides were committed with a firearm. http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cftb0246.pdf

          The rate of shootings committed by co-workers or former co-workers has remained steady, with an average of 45 homicides by shooting committed by a co-worker or former co-worker per year between 1992 and 2006. http://www.bls.gov/data/home.htm#injuries

          • Guestwithagun

            My apologies for the misspelled word. That does occasionally happen. I also appreciate the reference to being an illiterate hillbilly. Your original post states “Every year, more nutjobs go postal and shoot up offices….”. However, even your statistics do not back that up statement. That being said, you are assuming that without the gun the “co-workers or former co-workers” would still not have succeeded in killing anybody. Just for your information the worst school massacre in US history did not involve the assailant shooting anybody at the school.

            Also, if we are going to make an argument as to rate of death, “alcohol-induced mortality” for 2010 was approximately 27,000 and for the same year firearm related deaths were only approximately 9,000, why do we not hear you calling for the ban of alcohol as it has a far higher mortality rate than homicides via firearm?

            http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr61/nvsr61_04.pdf

            Again, my apologies for my previous misspelling and I am sure my grammar could likewise be critiqued. However, your posted CITES still didn’t back up your off-the-cuff remarks about workplace violence increasing and implying that that increase is due guns.

            • Bloviator

              I said NOT that all pro-gun people are illiterate hillbillies. Of course, misunderstanding that sentence does raise some literacy issues–just saying.

              You’re right that my remarks were off the cuff. I see how even a non-hillbilly could think that the word “more” in “Every year, more nutjobs go postal” means that the annual rate is increasing rather than more incidents are adding to the total at the same rate. Allow me to rephrase: Every year, additional nutjobs go postal at the same rate as the prior year.

              As for the stuff about alcohol-induced mortality, etc., you’re wandering into the general “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” argument. That’s not the point here. The point is whether it’s a good idea to bring a concealed gun into a workplace, given that most employers don’t approve of it because of the potential for workplace violence.

              BTW, I own a Sig P220.

          • WerewolfDad

            Doesn’t your post show that the rate of shootings is declining? (since the number of homicides is remaining steady and the population is increasing). Also, isn’t 45 homicides fairly immaterial when 10,000+ is the norm?

            • Bloviator

              Immaterial homicides? Really?

    • Guest

      I dunno if the assessment that every accountant’s biggest risk is a paper cut is true. Human beings are totally unpredictable. There was a workplace shooting at one of my firm’s former client’s distribution centers once. It was not during the annual audit, but it very easily could have been. Like a few other people have said, sometimes clients have locations in shitty areas. Sometimes accountants can only afford to live in shitty neighborhoods. The thing you have to understand (Andrew Y, I’m looking at you…) is that the reason some of us choose to exercise our 2nd amendment right is because we’re concerned that someday, we’re going to run into an individual that actually wants to do us harm. Better to have it, and not need it, than need it, and not have it.

    • Another exKPMGer

      There are two types of people who conceal carry on any given day (we’re completely excluding that population that wishes to conduct some nefarious act). There is the wannabe demographic, typically made up of young men in the 21-30 age range who take time to tell you just how awesome their guns are and who spend an inordinate number of hours at shooting ranges (or in someone’s backyard out in the sticks) blasting away hundreds of dollars worth of ammo and high-fiving every time they hit something. These guys are also known as “tools.”

      The second demographic are those of us who keep a concealed weapon in our vehicles to protect ourselves and our families in case the need ever arises. These are also the people who may likely have a firearm in their briefcase, and yet you will never know it because they feel no need to let the world know how awesome it is. If I was at a client facility in a bad part of town that didn’t offer protected parking (i.e. a fence with a gatehouse), you better believe I’d quietly have a firearm in my bag for when I leave well after dark. I’ve had to go to some bad plant locations with my current employer, but we have secure parking at these places so there’s not really any need to worry, but without that I’d have no issue carrying a weapon onto the premises so that when I leave I don’t risk running into a bad situation. People need to realize this demographic aren’t the ones that lose their fucking minds and kill everyone around them. But they are the ones that will try and stop someone else from snapping and killing their coworkers.

      Hopefully none of you are ever mugged or end up laying on the ground in a bank or convenience store somewhere when some crazy asshole tries to rob the place, but you’ll be thankful for that person who does quietly pull a concealed weapon out and end the situation before it gets out of control. If we’re ever in the same place when his occurs, you’re welcome.

      • Slippery slope

        If you have sufficient training and competence to be the hero of this hypothetical bank robbery then by all means, fire away (pun intended). If not, I don’t want to get shot by someone who thinks they can be a hero but miss the bad guy and hits me lying on the floor.

      • adobebat

        ummm… a firearm in your bag.
        Yeah, that’s going to be really effective at protecting you from a mugger.
        Scene open (choose your own adventure style):
        Accountant with a laptop bag walks out of office in “that part of town” (probably staring at his phone).
        Nervous mugger jumps out, points gun at said auditor and says “give me your bag, your wallet, your watch and your phone!!”
        Do you, as the accountant, decide to:
        a. Say “hold on a second,” open your bag, fumble around for your gun, turn off the safety, then pull it out and say “come on punk, make my day”.
        b. Hand over everything, including your gun.
        If you select scenario a., see the following paragraph. If you select scenario b., see the second following paragraph.
        The accountant (you) says “hold on a second” to the twitchy, nervous, possibly meth-addicted mugger, and starts to open his bag. *BANG* The accountant falls to the ground, bleeding profusely. The mugger takes the accountant’s bag (including gun), wallet, phone, but leaves the watch behind. (Too hard to remove quickly, plus the mugger will get blood all over himself). The accountant lays there in shock, bleeding profusely, until someone (hopefully) happens by and calls an ambulance. Hopefully, our fair accountant survives.
        The accountant hands over his phone, bag, watch and wallet. The mugger runs away, happy with his score. The accountant runs back inside and has someone call the cops. He escapes unharmed, but has to waste a bunch of time cancelling his credit cards and getting a new phone. Plus he has to deal with hassles from IT over his stolen laptop.
        Which ending is better? YOU decide.

        • Another exKPMGer

          While I like the humor in the scenarios (no really! not even trolling) I guess clarification is needed. If you really are in a “bad part of town” which can happen, then no, when you leave you put your firearm in your conceal holster. That leads to Scenario C where you give him your bag, and as he turns to leave you pull out your gun and empty the contents of his head. And pray that shit doesn’t get all over your bag. Then again, your company will be much more agreeable to buying a new laptop bag than dealing with the shitstorm of losing a computer with who knows what on it. You don’t even have to tell them why you need a new bag!
          I mean yes, I understand the argument here is whether or not you carry a weapon on your company or client’s premises. I think the general answer is of course no. The answer only becomes yes if you end up having to go to somewhere undesirable, somewhere that you stick out like a sore thumb in your suit and BMW. Otherwise, you leave the damn gun in your glovebox or wherever you happen to keep it.

          • adobebat

            Shooting someone in the back of the head?
            That leads to scenario D.
            Where the police arrest you for murdering someone over a fucking computer that doesn’t even belong to you.

            • Guest

              How is it murder, if in your original scenario, the mugger pulls the gun on you first. That is typically known as self-defense. Also, if you like being mugged that is you prerogative. The rest of us would rather stand up and send a message to these criminals. You fuck (mug) with the wrong guy and you get what is coming to you. And yes that is even over a “fucking computer”. People like you marginalize crime, that is why crime exists. I don’t care if it is a penny or a computer or my house, that shit is mine….and I will fucking defend it.
              You sound like one of the people who watched Kitty die and did nothing.

            • adobebat

              Future Darwin award winners here.

            • WerewolfDad

              “I thought he was turning around to shoot me.”

              I don’t see many DAs wasting resources on trying to convict a law-abiding citizen for killing a street thug.

      • ReasonabIe Assurance

        Bingo, when I conceal carry the only person who knows is my wife.

    • adobebat

      I ALWAYS carry a big gun. In my pants.

    • LakersTrent

      Fyi Deloitte policy manual does explictly ban carrying firearms in the office or at client sites (which I think is stupid)