Public shame By now, everyone knows that PwC partner Brian Cullinan handed the wrong envelope to Warren Beatty which set off the huge Best Picture fiasco at the Oscars. This is the version that was widely reported on Monday and then confirmed by the firm later in the day. Whether his tweeting was the culprit […]
Programming note: There will be no ANR or newsletter tomorrow. More details to come later today. H&R Block and Watson Last year, H&R Block drew the ire of CPAs everywhere with some videos that the AICPA didn’t think were very nice. H&R Block CEO Bill Cobb responded with, “Sorry, not sorry,” and we didn’t hear […]
There seems to be a lot of talk about Deloitte and EY laying off first and and second year associates across the South and Southeast. Strangely, no much reporting or discussion though. Anyone know whats going on?
Here's some not-so-fun news that popped up on Reddit earlier with regard to Deloitte telling some tax people that their services are no longer needed: Couple dozen in Chicago, and many more in the local practice offices. Staff to Senior Manager, no-one is insulated. The OP states further, "Hearing rumors that it will be a […]
The Accountant I saw The Accountant over the weekend and apparently a lot of other people did too as it booked $24.7 million at the box office. As I mentioned on Friday, the critical reviews are pretty rough but Cinemascore gave it an "A" which means people are telling other people to go see it. […]
I work in Advisory services and I know the TAP/BAP program has hired too many people recently and they have not staffed everyone. Does this mean we can expect some layoffs going into next fiscal? how often to big4 firms layoff employees and for what reasons?
Here's one from the mailbag: Big 4 in Houston and Dallas have been laying staff off due to "performance reasons." I wonder if this is going to trickle down to other regions as well given the declining oil market. Good question! Here in Colorado, big names like Anadarko and Encana have shed jobs but there […]
Our editor is taking a personal day so you can post news and questions for discussion in Open Items. We'll be back to full speed on Monday. Prosecutorial Bent Shows in SEC Accounting-Fraud Push, Ex-Official Says [LawBlog/WSJ]A couple of years ago, the SEC started an accounting fraud task force. So, how's it going? […]
It's that time of year when public accounting firms start showing the underperformers the door and we have our first confirmed across the board cut at it has happened at Rothstein Kass. The first we heard of the layoffs was in mid-April when we were informed by an anonymous tip that the firm would be […]
Another one bites the dust (via the tip box): There had been some concern among advisory professionals at EY that there could be a downsizing. It finally happened to me today at the [redated for privacy] office. Told that I appear to have topped out at Sr 3 and would not be promoted this year […]
From the tip box: Just got out of a manager meeting and it looks like KPMG is going to thank a good chunk of their staff for their hard work during busy season with pink slips. Confirmed audit practice only. Advisory and tax are safe. For now. As cryptic as this tip is, our tipster […]
Jack Lew, your next Secretary of the Treasury, has an odd signature. [NYT] Jonathan Weil is encouraged, but not necessarily impressed, with the SEC's action against the two KPMG auditors. [Bloomberg] Robert Khuzami is leaving the SEC. [SEC] AIG Directors Could Barely Get Through A Morning Of Pretending They Might Sue The Government [DB] Promontory […]
KPMG partners hit as profits fall 13pc The big four accountant saw profit last year fall across UK and Europe as flat revenues in key areas such as audit and tax were exacerbated by increased costs. European profit was down from €913m (£743m) to €868m. The accountant described the result as “a creditable performance in tough market […]
With regard to the aforementioned cuts, the good news is that some of you got to keep your jobs. The bad news is many still did not: KPMG lost 275 staff following a restructuring exercise to streamline the business. Earlier this year the firm announced it would reduce its headcount by 3% equal to about 330 […]
The firm regrets to inform five percent of their employees, including "a limited number of partners," that they will soon have a lot of free time on their hands: Mazars could make up to 5% of its workforce redundant, as it begins a consultation process across the firm. Accountancy Age has learned staff were informed this week […]
E&Y Down Under is getting into the act, informing a number of people that their services are no longer needed and the word on the street is that some partners may be next: Big Four accounting firm Ernst & Young Australia has retrenched 89 staff amid rumours that partner performance is under review and will […]
KPMG has made good on its promise to send over 300 of its UK employees packing, but, reportedly, there's a bit of a surprise for everyone who remains: Some 340 jobs were cut at KPMG following its headcount reduction plan, and a pay freeze has been implemented across KPMG. An internal email to staff said that […]
Does anyone think that this sounds strange? This week, accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers announced that to help avoid layoffs, employees in mainland China and Hong Kong will be offered a chance to take an additional 12 days’ holiday in the coming months, of which eight of them will be unpaid. The company is also launching a […]
Last month we learned that KPMG's UK operation announced its "regrettable" plans to tell 300 of its people to hit the bricks. While there hasn't been any other Big 4 firms in the Queendom, the news out of the House of Klynveld has people concerned: The job cuts announced by KPMG could be the start […]
Meanwhile, across the pond, a few hundred Klynveldians will have to find something else to do with their time in the very near future: Staff at the auditor and consultant’s UK arm were told on Thursday that it was conducting a review of several business units after reducing its growth expectations. KPMG said just under […]
The aforementioned forced rankings appear to still be taking effect. A tipster laments: I just got laid off from KPMG's Forensic practice in Los Angeles [and] there were a few other associates in my group that got laid off as well. Our tipster claims that this is only happening at associate level although the layoffs in […]
Following up on the news that forced rankings were hitting auditors across the country and rumors that it would be coming to the IT advisory group, the latest word is that various tax groups within the House of Klynveld are also getting into the act: There was definitely chatter in my group (M&A Tax) about […]
Following the news that the IT Advisory group could possibly force some professionals into the underperforming category, I had the following text message exchange yesterday with a source at KPMG that I'll refer to here as Rudy. Rudy: Did you hear about the layoffs? Me: Nooooo. I just posted about the possible layoffs in ITA […]
A tipster informs us that attrition for the IT advisory group was not as high as expected, which poses a bit of a dilemma: I heard that some of the performance managers are being instructed to give their staff 4 and 5 ratings, as there weren't enough in those buckets. Keeping in mind that turnover […]
Apparently some IT professionals were recently informed that their services were no longer needed: Deloitte have laid off nearly their entire IT staff in Hermitage, TN over the last few days. Rumor is that they will start outsourcing their software development to save themselves salaries, benefits and retirement of employees…many of whom have been there in excess of […]
Rick Santorum's tax plan [CNN]The former conservative senator from Pennsylvania would reduce the number of income tax brackets from six to two (10% and 28%) and triple what his campaign identifies as the personal deduction that parents can claim for their children. Santorum would also eliminate the so-called marriage penalty, which often causes two-earner couples to […]
Deficit Deal Might Delay Tax Overhaul [WSJ]
“There could be a two-step process that would hopefully give us pro-growth tax reform,” Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R., Texas) said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Mr. Hensarling is a co-chairman of the deficit-cutting supercommittee that faces a Nov. 23 deadline for reaching agreement on a plan to cut at least $1.2 trillion from projected future deficits. The approach could ease the path to an agreement, by allowing Congress to reach the outlines of an agreement on tax revenues and spending cuts this year, while postponing the difficult details of a tax overhaul until nex the issue back to the congressional tax-writing committees. On Sunday, at a press conference in Honolulu where he was hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, President Barack Obama called on Republican lawmakers to soften their resistance to revenue increases as they work on a deal bring the deficit under control, saying he hoped lawmakers will “bite the bullet and do what needs to be done.”
The Folly of the Flat Tax [WSJ]
Figuring out your taxable income can be quite an effort. But once that is done, most taxpayers just look up their tax bill on an IRS-provided table. Those with incomes above $100,000 must perform a simple calculation that involves multiplying two numbers together and adding a third. A flat tax with an exemption would require precisely the same sort of calculation. The net reduction in complexity? Zero.
Olympus Sale Helped Hide Balance Sheet Hole [Bloomberg]
Olympus Corp. (7733)’s 2009 sale of its profitable diagnostics unit may have undermined efforts to expand into health care as the company sought cash to shore up a balance sheet that was hiding decades of losses. Olympus’s then-President Tsuyoshi Kikukawa said the Japanese camera maker was unable to compete in the industry, even as he bought face cream, plastic cookware and recycling companies. A day after Beckman Coulter Inc. (BEC) purchased the Olympus unit, Chief Executive Officer Scott Garrett told analysts the division’s “long and enviable track record of above-market growth” would give an immediate boost to earnings. Barclays Capital upgraded Beckman on the deal.
Rogue Traders, Rogue Firms: The CME, PwC, MF Global and the Legacy of Refco [Re:The Auditors]
FM: “The auditor has complete access, at any time, including to financial systems and reports. They are responsible for issuing an independent opinion on internal controls over financial reporting and for issuing additional reports to the regulators – which they are dependent on- regarding controls over segregated assets per the Commodity Exchange Act. So… When you think about frequency, access, independence, and the fact they get paid well for their services by the shareholders the auditor is in line as the first-responder.”
Romney Tax-Cutting Path to Budget Balance Clouded by Few Savings [Bloomberg]
“Romney may be our only hope, so let’s hope he takes a remedial math course before January 2013,” says former Reagan administration budget director David Stockman. “You can’t get to 20 percent of GDP on spending without taking a fire ax to the Pentagon budget and sharply reducing Social Security payments to the more affluent current retirees.”
Error led to Workforce Central Florida layoffs, controller contends [OS]
Oops: “Three years ago, a former financial controller at Workforce Central Florida says he made a startling discovery. For several months, he said, the agency mistakenly posted expenses twice, making it appear as if Workforce had less money than it really did. By mid-2008, those phantom costs were pushing agency executives to lay off more than 20 workers, he said. The controller said he reported his findings to Workforce’s chief financial officer and chief operating officer, hoping to avert cutbacks. But he said the chief operating officer told him Workforce board members had already been notified about the layoffs, and she was not willing to tell them there had been a mistake.”
KPMG files to shift MF Canadian accounts to RBC [Reuters]
MF Global fired all 1,066 of its brokerage employees on Friday, triggering anger and resentment about the firm’s collapse after bad bets on European debt under former CEO Jon Corzine’s leadership. KPMG said on Saturday it filed the motion with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, seeking authority to transfer certain MF Global Canada Co customer accounts to RBC Dominion Securities Inc.
Sounds like the aforementioned rumored layoffs have begun.
Yes they are occurring and I know as I am one of the individual’s impacted. There was no advance warning. I know one other individual in Philly that was also laid off. We are both in the tax practice. My understanding is that it is nationwide and mostly impacts senior managers.
Keep us updated if cuts are going down at your office.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. […] Chief Financial Officer David Viniar said the investment bank could layoff 1,000 employees globally as part of $1.2 billion in cost cuts.
During a conference call with analysts, Viniar said the potential headcount reduction is “as we sit here now and, of course, things can change,” adding that such layoffs would “come over the course of this year.” Viniar said the cuts could be “some senior, some junior people,” but “it’s really more dollar focused than head focused.” [MW]
~ Sorry about the downtime yesterday. Our best people are on it like ConEd.
Deloitte to be world’s biggest accountant as partners sweep up £590m [Telegraph]
“According to Mr Connolly, when Deloitte publishes its global results in October the firm is set to reveal it has overtaken PriceWaterhouseCoopers to become the biggest of the “Big Four” accountancy houses globally.
However, Mr Connolly, who is set to retire in 2011, predicted the current financial year could prove even more successful despite describing future growth in the wider economy as ‘low and slow.’ ‘We have alr in the first quarter of this year, so I expect we shall return to double-digit growth. The M&A market has started to get much busier and our tax business is growing well again. Changes in regulation also mean good business for us.’ ”
Investors Gain New Clout [WSJ]
“In a decision years in the making, the SEC voted 3-2 in favor of the “proxy access” rule, which requires companies to include the names of all board nominees, even those not backed by the company, directly on the standard corporate ballots distributed before shareholder annual meetings. To win the right to nominate, an investor or group of investors must own at least 3% of a company’s stock and have held the shares for a minimum of three years.
Currently, shareholders who want to oust board members must foot the bill for mailing separate ballots, as well as wage a separate campaign to woo shareholder support. Both are too costly and time-consuming for most. Now, the targeted companies will essentially be footing the bill for the dissidents, including them in the official proxy materials. The new rule will be in place in time for the 2011 annual meeting season next spring.”
Celgene names new chief financial officer [Reuters]
Jacqualyn Fouse will replace David Gryska effective Sept. 27
Herz Resigns As FASB Chair [The Summa]
Professor David Albrecht’s take on Roberto Herz’s decision to step down.
3Par Accepts Dell’s Increased Takeover Offer [Bloomberg]
“Dell Inc. said 3Par Inc. has accepted its increased offer of $24.30 per share in cash, or about $1.6 billion, net of 3Par’s cash.”
Dodging the Ax: How to Avoid Layoffs [FINS]
“As professionals working in financial-services witness the ax drop around their companies, many are living in fear that they could be included in the next round of layoffs. However, there are measures you can take right away to help safeguard your position and make you seem indispensable to management.”
Stanford Used Skimmed $1.6 Billion For Loans To Start-Ups, Witness Says [Bloomberg]
“The $1.6 billion that indicted financier R. Allen Stanford is accused of skimming from the funds of his investors was actually loaned by his Antiguan bank to start-up entities and other businesses he controlled, a fraud examiner testified.
Forensic accountant Alan Westheimer testified before a U.S. judge in Houston today that Stanford Financial Group Cos. comptroller Mark Kuhrt and chief accountant Gilbert Lopez told him they believed the borrowing should have been publicly disclosed.
‘The funds were being passed through as inter-company loans to the entities that were the recipients of the shareholder loans,’ Westheimer said. ‘Within a short period, usually six months, Mr. Stanford would assume those loans and the recipient companies transferred those balances to their underlying capital.’ ”
Remember those PwC layoffs in Tampa a week or so back? Right. Anyway, the St. Petersburg Times decided to poke around this story a little bit more and discovered some things that most of you have known for awhile: there are two very different sides to large accounting firms and PwC is no exception.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has cultivated an image as one of corporate America’s upper-tier workplaces. Competitive pay. Great benefits. A perennial on Fortune’s list of Best Places to Work.
Human resources experts with the company have preached to clients about effectively managing workers and using layoffs as th es of crisis.
However, interviews with a half-dozen current and former Pricewaterhouse employees support a different picture of a financial evolution within the company in recent years. The accounting and professional services giant, known as PwC, has quietly and methodically slashed hundreds if not thousands of well-paying jobs, offshoring many functions to cheaper labor overseas.
A perennial on the Fortune list! It’s impressive to see the MSM catch on to the Big 4 M.O. so quickly. Anyway, the article goes on to explain that the accounting firms aren’t like regular corporations because, as we know, the “shareholders” are the partners of the firm:
Pricewaterhouse and the other top global accounting firms “make a lot of money, and they’ve had an increase in revenue for many years,” said Christopher Ames, president and CEO of the Ames Research Group, which analyzes financial data of the world’s largest professional services firms.
“These firms work differently than a publicly traded company. In the firms, the shareholders are the firm and there’s not that many of them. From the partners’ perspective, they want to keep that money … and they’ve done pretty well.”
Not only do the partners do well, St. Pete’s reveals a couple of other things we all know and that is 1) that getting a firm to admit that layoffs have even occurred is nothing short of water into wine and 2) the process and numbers involved are a complete mystery:
Confirmation of the latest layoffs was unusual. Many cuts happen below the radar. PwC has not filed any WARN layoff notices with the state this year for any cuts, including the latest one.
Consultant Francine McKenna, a former PwC employee who tracks the Big Four audit firms in her award-winning blog, re: TheAuditors, was shocked the company even confirmed the layoffs publicly. “They just don’t issue press releases,” said McKenna, who broke news of a previous PwC layoff in November.
Several PwC veterans said that is partly due to the process. A mass layoff is not typical; cuts come in small groups. Workers receive messages to “touch base” with a partner, a telltale sign they are about to lose their jobs. The total numbers are also murky, workers say, because a percentage of dismissed employees are offered either lateral jobs or lesser-paying jobs to stay with the firm.
Remember the November layoffs? If you don’t, it got ugly. The PwC loyalists got their claws out on that one.
PricewaterhouseCoopers spokesman Jon Stoner is quoted throughout but it’s mostly bites from the firm’s previous statement and he stonewalls reporter Jeff Harrington on any meaningful details.
For readers of this here fine publication, none of these tactics are new but Harrington dug up all the right dirt which is refreshing. He includes a quote from a former employee that probably sums it up for a lot of you, “It used to be a great place to work. They took care of their workers. “[Now,] it’s a company of bean counters, and all they care about is saving a few pennies.”
For PricewaterhouseCoopers, layoffs pad bottom line [St. Petersburg Times]
Layoffs, pay freezes, pay cuts. Pretty simple cost cutting solutions for CFOs who’ve got tight budgets. Unfortunately, the slash and burn tactics for personnel may have been better applied in another area – inventory.
A recent survey performed by Greenwich Associates of midsized and small company “financial decision-makers” found that, in particular, midsized companies ($10 million to $500 million in revenue) that reduced their inventory, on average, saved 30% more ($520k inventory vs. $400 layoffs).
While that’s great news, the unfortunate part is that only 17% of the companies survey bothered with that particular cost saving strategy while 47% of those survey used “staffing reductions.”
The survey also found that while 37% of used pay freezes to reduced costs with an averaged savings of $245,000. Crunching the numbers, that’s nearly 53% less savings than the inventory reduction savings.
Of course, not all companies have inventory in the dusty-stacks-of-pallets-in-a-warehouse sense. This is especially true of the professional services/financial services area where, unfortunately, the staff are sometimes considered to be inventory.
That “All-Hands” meeting we told you about on Monday sounds like it was a real snoozer, however, a source who was there did share two interesting details:
The guys in charge basically told us the following:
– They handled the [May 2009] “headcount adjustment” poorly. It was a necessary action; but more communication was necessary to keep people informed.
– Deloitte is better poised to grow over the next few years as compared to their competitors (we saw projections, but no comparisons…)
That took about 1.5 hours.
Since this was an “all-hands” we’re assuming tax people were there? If so, the ones still trudging towards the 15th (one week!) had to be suffering borderline panic attacks. Or maybe it was a brief oasis? Either way it’s unfortunate that nothing came up about increase in comp. Maybe Deloitte is the one firm that is saving it as a big surprise. If the cat gets let out of the bag on comp, get in touch with us.
Happy Hangover Thursday, folks. Hopefully the green food coloring washed off easily this morning.
I was out networking with my Irish brothers last night in midtown New York, quite a few blocks north of my normal after-work locale. Second Avenue bars full of cold beer and burned out white collars, St. Patty’s Day was a welcomed Wednesday relief for those in busy season. The day was over, the night was turning late and, for once, shop talk was put on the back burner. That is, until I heard the phrase “Uncle Peat” used as the object of
affection bitterness for a toast.
Obviously, I couldn’t resist.
DWB: “Are you guys auditors?”
Auditor 1: “Yeah, over at KPMG. Hopefully not for long, though.”
DWB: “Nice, nice. Moving on to better things?”
Auditor 2: “Hopefully.”
Auditor 1: “Not soon enough.”
A round of drinks later (toast to Uncle Peat not included) and these Irish-for-the-day gentlemen filled me in about an email circulating around KPMG’s NYC audit practice regarding a temporary rotation into the Transaction Services (TS) practice. TS specializes in mergers & acquisitions work and was — most likely — hit steeply by the rounds of the falling guillotine back in 2008 and 2009.
How does a practice that was hemorrhaging money and resources a year ago now have business blowing through the door at such a fierce rate? If you read anything beyond the usual busy season distractions, it’d come as no surprise to you that the markets are slowly picking up. But service firms typically lag in response, both on the positive (Woo-hoo, new business!) and negative (Sorry, this isn’t about you – this is about the numbers) sides of the equation. Nonetheless, Uncle Peat’s auditors should be leaping at this opportunity. A rotation out of audit can be refreshing, even in the quieter months of summer.
Did KPMG’s advisory shake up and realignment pay off? Is the firm’s leadership blowing smoke to perk up the down-trodden auditors currently drowning in busy season? Was a picture of a giant carrot on a string used in the email? If you received this email, I’d love to read the text. Last night’s informants promised to send it over, but they probably called in with emergency doctor “appointments” this morning.
We’re hearing more about layoffs in E&Y’s North Central offices today. The chatter is that cuts are now hitting advisory professionals in Detroit, Toledo, and Cincinnati. Our source indicated that it was 2 – 3 professionals in each office which puts the total number of layoffs in the region over 30 since this latest round started last month.
Rumor also has it that the Columbus office — home of dollar beer night — could also get into the axe swinging but we’re scant on details at this point.
These cuts in the advisory practice would be the first we have heard of since the dozen layoffs (that we confirmed) in the Pacific-Northwest.
Continue to keep us updated with the specifics.
Earlier: (UPDATE) Layoff Watch ’09: Update on Ernst & Young
Just a little more context on the latest E&Y layoffs that we reported on this morning.
A new source has indicated to us the cuts were absolutely based on utilization:
The staff confirmed that no counselor was addressed.
The staff confirmed that no personnel with whom the individual worked within the past 6-8 months was consulted, including manager and above.
The staff confirmed that no performance reviews since April 2009 were referenced.
You better have a strong anchor client that keeps you going year round, and good luck if you lose them. So much for people.
We don’t feel further comment is necessary but if you have any thoughts, please share them in the comments.
We’ve received multiple reports of layoffs that occurred last week in the audit practice of the Los Angeles office.
The numbers have been described as “a few” and the news has been “hush hush” making us wonder if these cuts were some unfinished business from either the August and September rounds.
There also have been rumors about additional layoffs in Dallas tax but we don’t have any more details than that.
If you’ve got any details for these layoffs or details for other cities, get in touch and discuss in the comments.
We thought E&Y layoffs had finally quieted down but unfortunately late yesterday we learned of an additional ten cuts in the tax practice of the North Central region including Cincinnati, Detroit, and Pittsburgh.
These cuts in Cincy and the ‘Burgh are on top of the initial cuts we reported but this is the first tip we’ve received about layoffs in Detroit. Jump back to the main thread for the latest discussion and continue to keep us informed with details.
We received more details late yesterday on the E&Y layoffs. The latest cities reporting layoffs are now Minneapolis and Milwaukee.
We also learned that there were approximately ten layoffs in the tax practice last month in the Chicago office. These were all at the associate and senior associate level.
Check back to the original thread for the latest and continue to keep us updated.
From a reliable source on the west coast we have learned that the advisory practice of E&Y was feeling left out and has decided to get into the act.
Twelve advisory professionals — we’re speculating that it was all staff at this point — were laid off today in the Pacific-Northwest Region. The only confirmed city that we have so far is San Jose. Emails were sent out last night and meetings with partners were held this morning. For an added personal touch, our understanding is that the staff met with partners that they were not previously acquainted.
Our calls to E&Y have gone unreturned. An E&Y spokesperson declined to comment.
Jump back to this post for all the details on this round of E&Y layoffs and get in touch with details for your city, practice, and severance.
The Pacific Northwest Area leaders have a town hall meeting in the Area offices. The retiring Area Managing Partner and incoming partner both show videos of each other to “introduce” them to the little people. These videos brag about how one collects ferraris (shows other partner in his ferrari at the show room) and the other shows the incoming partner’s closet full of Jimmy Choo shoes. And the best part?? It was at this meeting where they tell people (everyone from admin to partners) that they are making 5% cuts in December…And then of course they proceed to go through multiple rounds of cuts – Dec, March, June and not sure if it is over.
We enjoy an Italian sports car as much as the next guy but for crissakes, using it to segue into layoffs? Do you think they ran this script by anyone or did they just wing it? If you’ve got other stories of tawdry behavior, by all means, pass them along.
It’s been fairly quiet since this past Tuesday’s layoffs but it sounds like lots of cuts occurred in national support services in Montvale, NJ. We also received a tip that the Richmond office let go a few professionals from their Internal Audit Risk & Compliance team which adds to the advisory cuts that were reported last week.
We also got more details on the Chicago office’s layoffs of tax professionals:
In addition to the 5 from ICS there were at least these:
• 4 in Fed Tax (Consumer Markets) – 1 manager, 2 seniors, 1 associate
• 1 in SALT – manager
• 1 in EVS – senior manager
• 3 in Fed Tax (Real Estate) – 1 managing director, 2 seniors
There were lots of rumors of it continuing this week, so continue to keep us updated. The bright side is today is New Year’s Day in the land of Klynveld.
There are several cities where we can confirm layoffs but total numbers are hard to come by and KPMG is not returning our calls/emails at this time. Here are cities that we definitely know got hit:
• Chicago – At least five in Int’l Tax. At least one in financial services tax.
• Denver – Transaction Services
• Kansas City – Six to eight in Tax
• Houston – Transaction Services
• San Fran – Five in Fed Tax
• LA and OC – Several comments report ten to twelve in tax for LA, five for OC
• DC/Tyson’s Corner/McLean – Between five and eight total in tax and advisory.
• Silicon Valley – Thirteen total.
Five to Seven Mostly in Tax, possibly some in EVS and one in Transaction Services.
• Seattle and Portland – Two in Tax for each
• Salt Lake City – Three in Tax
• Detroit – Three to five in Tax
• Jacksonville, FL – Two in Tax
• New York – Three in the transfer pricing specialty group in the tax practice. Three in the real estate practice. According to our source, these were performance performance related.
• Boston – Two in Fed Tax and one in M&A
• Nashville – Two in Tax
• Tampa – Two in Tax, one manager and one SA
We haven’t been able to confirm much out of the New York office, although it sounds as though Transaction Services has had some cuts. If you’ve got new details on any city, let us know.
UPDATE: See updates above. Altogether it appears to be over thirty-five in the west alone. Continue sending us updates.
UPDATE, Thursday, 11:54 am: Information is still crawling in. We heard that the number of nationwide layoffs for Advisory was 50, including 20 in the NY/Boston offices but we’re still waiting on more information. Continue to send tips in and make sure you note which office you’re in. Oh, and apparently the Dallas office needs SA’s in audit.
UPDATE, Friday, 12:30: Still a few tips coming (see updates above) in but it seems the worst (hopefully) is over.
UPDATE, Monday 3:04 pm: Just a couple more updates above for Nashville and Tampa.
Frankly, this is getting ridiculous. We got wind of more staff layoffs going down in the Metro audit practice in New York today. Sounds as though emails may have been sent out last night and meetings are being held today.
One explanation we heard was that associates not currently assigned to a client were let go which seems dubious, even for an accounting firm, but we’ll run with it. If you’re one of the unlucky few, or have details on rumors concerning next week, drop us a line or discuss in the comments.
Received word late last night that layoffs went down out west yesterday. According to our source, the breakdown is as follows:
• Two in LA
• Two in Irvine- tax (one staff 1)
• One in San Diego – tax (staff 2)
• A few in Vegas- Audit only
We reached out to an E&Y spokesperson, who declined to comment.
Our source says it was performance based but that particular reason has been a matter of debate for some time. If you’ve got your own theories, discuss in the comments and send us any more details if you’ve got them.
Here’s hoping that Ern isn’t getting warmed up…
True Partners Tax Consulting (TPC), who provides “Intelligent Tax Advice” according to its website, decided that it didn’t seem some of its intelligence. According to a tip we received, the Chicago office decided that it really didn’t need some of its intelligence:
Details, after the jump
[TPC] just cleaned house in Chicago. I can tell you for sure that they laid off at least 20 employees (non-partners), most of whom were mid-level or juniors, and that they just rescinded the vast majority (28 out of 36) of outstanding offers of employment. Apparently, the tax attorneys were hit disproportionately hard. I personally know three University of Illinois College of Law newly minted tax attorneys who were just given the axe before they even started work. I have no idea about the firm’s other offices, but I assume they are undergoing a nation-wide bloodbath.
We’ve reached out to TPC who has not responded to our request for comment.
Since it’s possible that many of you aren’t familiar with TPC, we took the liberty of checking them out. TPC has fourteen offices worldwide, including New York, Chicago, LA, London, Munich, and Paris and they specialize in a wide array of tax and business consulting services.
TPC was also listed 9th on Crain’s Chicago Top 20 Places to Work in the spring. PLUS: “There’s free beer and wine after 5 p.m. and a big-screen TV, Nintendo Wii game system and pingpong table for quick escapes from the daily grind.”
If you keep reading the Crain’s piece, you find out that your abrasive assholey ways will not be tolerated, “True Partners won’t hire anyone who can’t pass the collegiality test and will not keep anyone on board who doesn’t display respect and selflessness toward peers.”
Okay, think we got it. So are we to assume that the 20 let go were all dicks (around 20% of the Chicago office) and the offers were rescinded because it was decided those people couldn’t be trusted to play nice? We’ll start there. Help us out with this one and if you know someone that works at this tax utopia pass it along to them. At very least find out what kind of beer they stock in the fridge.
We’re slowly getting details on PwC layoffs that occurred a few weeks ago that were part of the newly stripped down performance rating that we talked about last week.
More, after the jump
I was one of the employees involved in these so called layoffs out of the Boston office. I can say that these staff cuts are coming at a time in which PwC, specifically it’s advisory services, has seen a dip in it’s numbers concerning profit…The lay off that I received came as a big surprise to me. For one I did not recieve a single negative reveiew throughout the entire performance year. I was actually on track for promotion and was reccommended by numerous individuals to be promoted to senior associate…From what I have heard, these staff cuts have been happening at all levels and all lines of service.
What’s not clear is how each office determines the timing of the layoff. We haven’t gotten any indication that there is one big whacking day or if it’s staggered among offices to keep on the DL. The one thing that seems clear is that PwC whackings come with little or no warning as performance ratings seem to magically change for the worst.
This seems to be all occurring while Denny Nally was spreading good cheer this Spring. Via an email we received from a reader:
While I am realistic about the challenges ahead, I continue to see the glass as half full and, based on the picture we have right now, I am committed to moving forward with our people strategy. That means, even though in some markets and in some practice areas we may have excess capacity, we will continue to manage our cost structure and explore all available options before we consider reductions to our staff.
Not exactly sure what “all available options” includes but it sounds like those have been exhausted because “reductions” are certainly occurring and all indications have been that everything remains “performance related” and that all levels are affected.
If you’ve got details on your PwC office’s latest layoffs shoot us some details, including numbers, city, practice, and severance.
As if you didn’t need another excuse to go on a three day bender, we received a tip that audit professionals will be getting laid off at the Dallas Radio Station next Tuesday, the 18th. Tax professionals will get their turn in September, most likely after the filing deadline.
Word is that no one level is safe as the cuts will be made at all levels including partners.
did not immediately respond to our request for declined to comment.
If you’ve got more information on the sitch or you’ve heard similar rumors for other offices, drop us a line at email@example.com.
A quick follow-up on the layoffs we mentioned in last week’s firm watch that went down at the PwC Denver office. We heard over the weekend that it was approximately a dozen employees that got the boot and it occurred at all levels including at least one senior manager.
The layoffs, which occurred last month, were deemed to be “performance related” which has been P. Dubs’ consistent story regarding cuts. Similarly, everyone seems to consistently disbelieve that story. If you have more details regarding these layoffs or if there were recent layoffs at your office, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the weekend we received an email that basically confirmed our suspicions that many of you were working over the weekend. Considering the time of year, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that hours are starting to pile up and you’re spending at least one hour a night deciding where you’re ordering take out from.
We received word over the weekend that tax groups at
KPMG PwC all the major firms are working like crazy already in anticipation for the September 15th and October 15th filing deadlines.
There have also been whispers among some in the tax practice at KPMG that layoffs may occur after the deadlines due to large number of idle hands that will be around after the deadlines pass.
Tax associates out there, let’s know what your hours have been, what you’re hearing about post-deadline layoffs, and where you don’t want to get take out from ever again.
Nearly 10 years ago to the day (10 years and one day, specifically), my esteemed former colleague Caleb Newquist wrote a post for this here then-new website entitled Infuriating Problem of the Day: Accountants Quitting During Busy Season. It’s important to note here that Caleb is former Big 4 himself (borderline debatable given he worked […]
Despite layoffs at its U.S. firm and general malaise about its audit practice in the U.K., Grant Thornton pulled a rabbit out of its hat and managed to increase global revenue by 5.1% to $5.72 billion in the 2019 financial year that ended on Sept. 30. Instead of me regurgitating all the numbers provided in […]
Well, you guys did it. You made it through another year. 2019 was a pretty crazy 12 months in the accounting profession, and we were glad to be along for the ride. This year we found out about KPMGers in the U.K. defecating in bathroom sinks. And we thought about who in accounting would survive […]
“KPMG is obviously such a vast business that it could probably survive nuclear war.” — Daniel Sutherland, a partner at the U.K. business law firm Fox Williams, when asked if a large decline in profits and recent layoffs at KPMG U.K. will eventually lead to an existential crisis.
UPDATE: Nice work, tipsters. Grant Thornton released the following press release today confirming the story we broke yesterday (see below line break): The Partnership Board at Grant Thornton LLP announced that Bradley J. Preber will serve as the firm’s CEO. The board appointed Preber to the role following a comprehensive search process, and the firm’s partners and […]
Fresh from the rumor mill (and by the rumor mill we mean Fishbowl) comes word that 90 people got the chop at Deloitte Digital. We haven’t gotten any official confirmation on this so if anyone would care to confirm, feel free to give us a shout using the contact information at the bottom of this […]
So sayeth the Financial Times: KPMG UK plans to make redundant about a third of its 630 administrative assistants in a wave of cost-cutting. Between 200 and 250 administrative support staff are expected to leave in the savings drive at the Big Four accounting firm. Those who are lucky enough to remain at the House […]
Among the slew of tips we received about the layoffs that went down at Grant Thornton last week and what interim CEO Brad Preber had to say about it was this one that also piqued our interest: As Brad Preber is the “interim” CEO, there are three people (women) currently being considered for the CEO […]
It’s Brad Preber’s first day on the job as interim CEO of Grant Thornton after now-former CEO and hero of the wastes Mike McGuire noped on up out of that seat. And boy did he have a shitstorm to deal with first thing. Rumors of Grant Thornton layoffs started swirling earlier this week, and no […]
I’ve returned to penetrate the DYNAMIC GT layoffs comment section as my CHOSEN MARKET with my WHOLE SELF using my INSTINCT FOR GROWTH!!!!
Back in March, Jason let us know about a handful of layoffs out of Grant Thornton U.K. and now it seems the fun is coming to ‘Murica. First, a tipster informed us of a shake-up in the Northeast Region, with the Westborough, MA office closing up and possibly more closures planned. Our tipster says they […]
And the winners of the “Asshole of the Month” award are … : Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing says he reprimanded executives for having expensive custom suits tailored the day that mass layoffs hit the troubled bank’s offices in London, New York and Tokyo. Two tailors were photographed coming out of the German bank’s London office on Monday […]
The Charlotte Business Journal reported last week on some doom-and-gloom news for Walmart accountants based in the Queen City: Retail giant Walmart Inc. will lay off hundreds in Charlotte starting later this year as it outsources its finance and accounting operations. The retailer filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification with the N.C. Department of Commerce this […]
There was some big news coming out of Dearborn, MI, yesterday, as Ford Motor Co. said by August it will have given 7,000 white-collar workers pink slips worldwide, a 10% reduction in its global salaried workforce, as part of a restructuring plan to reduce bureaucracy and increase revenue. And accountants are reportedly among those losing […]
Not-so-good news today from the Associated Press: United Airlines says it will cut about 100 accounting jobs in Houston in July and shift the work to a contractor. The airline reported the layoffs in a letter this week to the Texas Workforce Commission. It did not identify the contractor that will handle accounting of revenue […]
I don’t watch reality TV shows. They are dumb. They are contrived. They are overrated. I don’t get why so many people watch them. I would rather watch six hours straight of C-SPAN than watch a six-hour marathon of Say Yes to the Dress. If Caillou and Keeping Up with the Kardashians were the only […]
Office gossip, it’s the worst, amirite? You know what else is the worst? Jason Bramwell’s secret Louboutin collection. I heard from Liz in marketing that he rocks those size 13 stilettos like no one’s business when his wife isn’t watching. True story. OK, that isn’t true and Liz never said that. But that’s how easy […]
More than 30 years ago, President Trump tried to sabotage the NFL. Now you could say he’s indirectly sabotaging your favorite NFL team’s chances of making the playoffs. But before we explain why, first a little background on why Trump hates the NFL. In 1986, the NFL was sued by its biggest competitor, the United […]
In dubious accountant news, Randy Usow of Mequon, Wis., has agreed to plead guilty to one count of theft of government property and one count of identity theft after stealing more than $800,000 by submitting fraudulent tax returns in the name of NBA player Zaza Pachulia and his wife, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Pachulia, […]
I apologize if this isn’t the correct forum for this, as I traded in my CPA for a JD back when CP3 was underperforming in the NCAA tourney instead of the NBA playoffs (although after last night he might finally be on track for a championship!), so usually spent my time Above the Law, but […]
Ed. note: ANR will be off on Monday to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day. South Africa’s Audit Regulator Says Part of KPMG Probe Nearing Completion [Reuters] South Africa’s Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) announced that one part of the investigation into KPMG’s work for the Gupta family is “nearing completion” and the rest […]
Despite the firm losing clients left and right up to and including today, one guy remains chill: Addressing a monetary policy forum public meeting in Cape Town, deputy governor Kuben Naidoo said the troubles at KPMG, which audits several South African banks and lost a number of local clients recently, will not pose a financial […]
Burnout I wrote briefly about workaholism right before the holiday weekend, and now that we’ve returned, some of you might feel angst and woe about returning to work. I think this is normal and should not concern you. However, if those feelings occur on an average Tuesday, then maybe something else is going on: Burnout. […]
Come on, people. Not in your eyes. Should lawyers run Big 4 firms? Now, before you start throwing tomatoes, hear me out. This Harvard Business Review article shares the results of a study that found that lawyer CEOs have a knack for something you’d already assume they have a knack for: [L]awyer-run firms experienced 16% […]
What are you doing with your accounting degree? Although it’s been said that “Poker’s an honest trade” I don’t recommend that most of you try to capitalize on your accounting education this way: A New Jersey man with a degree in accounting is this year’s World Series of Poker champion. Scott Blumstein won the series’ […]
PwC The Wall Street Journal reports that the government of Ukraine may ban PwC from performing audits there. The situation stems from the National Bank of Ukraine’s effort to rebuild the country’s banking system and its questions around PrivatBank: PrivatBank, which accounts for one-third of all individual deposits in the country, plays an outsize role […]
You like your job and want to stay, but you aren’t sure whether staying is the best decision. It’s quite the conundrum. As an accountant, you probably are making a pretty good salary, but that’s not the only thing—and maybe not even the main thing—motivating you. It’s easy to get lost in your day-to-day obligations […]
Please enjoy this sponsored content from Beech Valley Solutions. You can read more their partnership with Accountingfly here. There’s a lot of legitimate reasons why freelancing may not make sense for you right now. Maybe one of your superiors at your firm is a fantastic mentor who has taken you under their wing. Maybe you’re […]
Strikingly young PwC Last year we mentioned a class action lawsuit against PwC that accused the firm of age discrimination for its entry-hires. There’s not much new that I can see in this Wall Street Journal article on the subject, other than the Supreme Court might decide to hear a similar case to provide some […]
Just one more vacation and then I’ll start thinking about how I could wind up in jail. Robots It’s fair to say that we talk about robots, AI, et al. taking or supplementing accounting jobs regularly around here, which is why this quote struck me as strange: Bill Cline, the national advisory leader for digital […]
Pray you don’t end up with this guy. Sooner or later it happens. Your company gets acquired, the division is closed or senior management announces a reorganization. Welcome to the “New Normal” where loyalty is a negative. You are back to your first day at a new firm. Adjusting can be tough, but with effort, […]
CPA killers Last week, I mentioned that Watson, IBM’s smartypants computer that will eventually rule us all, was getting into the tax prep game by teaming up with H&R Block. It took all of of four days for someone to ask if this was the end of CPAs as we know it and then dismiss […]
New revenue recognition standard procrastination Accounting Today reports that the Center for Audit Quality has issued a document to help audit committees crack the whip on all those companies who've been dragging their feet on the new revenue recognition standard. Adventures in non-GAAP accounting The Wall Street Journal reports on a study from the CFA […]
PCAOB, SEC Enforcement Here's a story about a former EY partner, Mark Laccetti, who is challenging the findings by the PCAOB and SEC in federal appeals court. Laccetti's case stems from work that he performed on the 2004 audit of a subsidiary of an Israel-based issuer, Taro Pharmaceuticals USA. The board said Laccetti violated PCAOB […]
Definitions The IASB is concerned that people are taking liberties with how certain financial terms are defined, so it sounds like they're taking up the task of putting out an official accounting dictionary or whatever: The International Accounting Standards Board, or IASB, which sets reporting standards in more than 120 countries, said Wednesday it would […]
Earnings and accounting Apple sells lots of cool things which results in the company turning a large profit, but even Apple isn't immune from an occasional arbitrary accounting change to boost the bottom line: Profits, though down from 2015, were actually bolstered by a decrease in deferred revenue compared to a year ago. That’s because […]
Compensation, bribes, whatever If you're a company who likes to push the envelope with its financial reporting, you may be struggling with how to ensure that your employees look the other way when it comes to aggressive accounting. Sure, threats and intimidation are popular methods, however, it's worth considering a softer approach: Companies that violate […]
I want to move to NYC and join one of the big four and I need advice on what I need to do to make it happen. I am a 2-year tax associate in a regional public accounting firm on east coast. I am not a senior yet, since my current employer requires at least 3 […]
Deloitte partners Today is Deloitte's New Year's Eve. EY and PwC's NYE is on June 30. That means — well, you now what it means: whispers about raises, bonuses, promotions, etc. That also means we'll be hearing about these firms' efforts to make their firms less white and dude. Yesterday, Deloitte's UK firm kicked things […]
CFOs and accounting There's a nice little back and forth about whether CFOs need a strong background in accounting over at CFO that's worth anyone's time who has those aspirations. Here's one point: The most visionary software engineers could not have launched their world-changing companies without a deep understanding of computer languages. The architects whose […]
Auditing auditors The PCAOB has been around for slightly more than a decade, and in that time, there's been a lot of grumbling about how the Board approaches its work of auditing auditors. One of those grumbles is that how the Board selects which audits to audit is too focused on the highest risk engagements, […]
The only thing worse than sweating through your suitcoat in an interview? Not getting the job. The only thing worse than not getting the job? Getting a rejection letter. The only thing worse than that? Getting a four minute long voicemail from a Big 4 recruiter explaining that you didn't get the job because, “Yeah, […]
Mind the GAAP Gap, Even for Blue Chip Stocks [WSJ]Is everyone worried about non-GAAP metrics enough? Matt Levine noted last week that the coverage of non-GAAP reporting is mostly "people worrying […] that people aren't worrying enough about it." I'd say that's definitely the case with this piece that worries about the non-GAAP accounting of […]
KPMG Partners Quit After A&M Bid Snubbed [Sky News]As we've noted, KPMG's UK firm has had some troubles of late and have told some partners that their services are no longer needed. Well, apparently some partners' services are needed and they decided not to wait around for the other shoe to drop: A trio of […]
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Title says it all. I haven't gotten my EY FSO BAP offer yet, but I'm confident I will and I think it will be close to the KPMG Deal Advisory salary (maybe slightly more). I'm more concerned about exit opportunities and which is better preperation for a Top 10 MBA program (I'm seriously considering this […]
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