September 20, 2019

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Accounting News Roundup: India Bans PwC for Two Years Over Satyam Fraud | 01.11.18

India Bans PricewaterhouseCoopers From Auditing Listed Firms for Two Years [WSJ] The Securities and Exchange Board of India banned PwC affiliates from auditing listed companies for two years over the $1 billion Satyam fraud (India’s Enron, if you prefer). As you may recall, PwC partners were sentenced to jail for this debacle, but the firm […]

Friday Footnotes: Political Tax Returns; Satyam Stigma for PwC?; Workplace Wearables | 04.10.15

It begins. Talked to two accountants about the Obamas' plain vanilla tax returns. Both said they're ready for Hillary. — Richard Rubin (@RichardRubinDC) April 10, 2015 Competitors say Satyam verdict will haunt PriceWaterhouseCoopers "Some companies would start looking at audit rotation in next six-months, and a mere reminder of Satyam around the same time could make […]

PwC Disappointed That Former Partners Going to Jail for Satyam Fraud

An addendum to the Bloomberg article on the Satyam executives' sentencing we linked to earlier: the former PwC partners involved, S. Gopalakrishnan and Srinivas Talluri, were in the group of ten that were found guilty and sentenced to 7 years in prison as well. PwC is a little sad about this outcome: "As we have said many […]

Accounting News Roundup: Satyam Founder Sentenced to Prison; Losing Lotto Tickets; Deloitte Prepares Companies for Crisis | 04.09.15

Satyam Founder Gets 7 Years for India’s Biggest Corporate Fraud [Bloomberg]Ramalinga Raju, his brother B. Rama Raju, and former CFO Srinivas Vadlamani and chief auditor Srinivas Talluri all received 7-year sentences. The Raju brothers were also ordered to pay fines of 50 million rupees (~$800k).  IRS Scammed With Losing Lotto Tickets [TDB]This is a better-than-average (although still illegal) tax shelter: […]

Satyam Founder Sentenced to 6 Months in Prison for Massive, Obvious Fraud

Remember Satyam? That Satyam? Yeah, it's been awhile for us, too. Satyam's PwC India auditors already received a lifetime ban, but what about Satyam's founder? Surely you've been wondering what sort of slap on the wrist he'd get for one of the largest and most blatant frauds in history? Wonder no longer: A local court […]

After Lifetime Ban on PwC Auditors, India Regulator Is Definitely Done With Satyam

The Indian Express: The chapter of Satyam scam is finally set to close as far as the accounting regulator, ICAI, is concerned. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has imposed a life-time ban on four auditors — S Gopalakrishna, Talluri Srinivas, V Srinivasu and VS Prabhakara Rao — involved in the Satyam Computers […]

Accounting News Roundup: Later, 112th; Judge Gives Ex-Satyam Audit Committee Members a Break; What About Deferral of Foreign Income? Anyone? | 01.03.13

Fresh Budget Fights Brewing [WSJ]The completion of a tax deal between the White House and Congress sent stocks soaring Wednesday, but the sense of relief belied the fact that more tax-and-spending brinkmanship is expected as soon as February. […] There was muted satisfaction that Congress had sent to President Barack Obama legislation to avoid sudden […]

Accounting News Roundup: Olympus’ Loss; Satyam Is Back in the Game; Expectations Gap, Shmexpectations Gap | 02.13.12

Olympus Books $9.7 Million Loss [WSJ]Olympus Corp. said Monday that it booked a net loss of ¥756 million ($9.7 million) for the fiscal third quarter, while predicting a full-year net loss of ¥32 billion. The third-quarter net loss for the three months ended December by the Japanese maker of cameras and medical equipment, which is trying […]

PwC Is the Real Victim in This Whole Satyam Suing the Crap Out of Everyone Situation, Says PwC

The Indian Enron fuckshow otherwise known as Satyam has seemingly been in our lives since before Adrienne had tattoos. Even after settlements, new auditors, and delayed restatement after delayed restatement, one might think that we had heard the last of this godforsaken money pit. Nope! Indian software outsourcer Mahindra Satyam on Monday said it had filed […]

Accounting News Roundup: H&R Block Selling RSM to McGladrey; Job Hating in the Genes; Satyam’s Tax Notice | 08.23.11

H&R Block selling RSM for $610 million [MW]
H&R Block Inc. said on Tuesday that it is selling its RSM McGladrey unit to McGladrey & Pullen, LLP for $610 million. The firm said the deal will result in a $53 million, or 17 cents a share, after tax charge to s expected to close by the end of the year.

Tax Break for Clergy Questioned [WSJ]
As Congress scrutinizes every nook and cranny of the budget for possible revenue, a surprising court decision is allowing clergy members to buy or live in multiple homes tax-free. The U.S. Tax Court ruled that Phil Driscoll, an ordained minister and Grammy Award-winning trumpeter who went to prison for tax evasion, didn’t owe federal income taxes on $408,638 provided to him by his ministry to buy a second home on a lake near Cleveland, Tenn. Under a provision of the tax code known as the parsonage allowance, first passed in 1921, an ordained clergy member may live tax-free in a home owned by his or her religious organization or receive a tax-free annual payment to buy or rent a home if the congregation approves.

Obama Talks to Buffett About Economy [Bloomberg]
“The president and Mr. Buffett discussed the overall outlook on the economy and the reaction to the headwinds we’ve experienced over the last couple of months,” said Josh Earnest, an administration spokesman. “They talked a little bit about some possible measures that would spur investment and increase economic growth and they also talked about some measures that could address the long-term fiscal situation in this country.”

Mandatory Auditor Rotation: If PCAOB Sanctions Were “Case-By-Case” [Re:Balance]
JP: ” [I]f the PCAOB can sustain its proof that long audit tenure was causally related to its definition of “audit failure,” it could include rotation in its toolkit of post-inspection sanctions.”

Hate Your Job? It May Run In the Family [WSJ]
Sayeth a new study.

Sharma to step down as S&P president [FT]
Deven Sharma is stepping down as president of Standard & Poor’s only weeks after the rating agency issued an unprecedented downgrade of the credit of the US, the company said. Mr Sharma will remain as an adviser to S&P’s owner, McGraw-Hill, for four months and leave the company at the end of the year. He will be replaced as S&P president by Douglas Peterson, chief operating officer of Citibank, the banking unit of Citigroup.

Satyam Gets $463.3 Million Tax Notice [WSJ]
India’s Satyam Computer Services Ltd. Monday said it has received a preliminary draft notice from local authorities for a tax claim of 21.13 billion rupees ($463.3 million) disallowing the exemptions claimed by the company and dealing a setback to its attempt to recover from a fraud in 2009.

Accounting News Roundup: Is the Satyam Mess Over?; IRS All Over Kabbalah Centre; PCAOB’s Doty Speaks at Baruch | 05.06.11

Is the Chinese Listing Bubble Going Bust? [CFO Journal]
Suddenly the boom in Chinese listings on U.S. exchanges is looking shaky, and two primary reasons were reinforced in separate developments today. On Wall Street, Renren, dubbed the Chinese Facebook, tanked after its shares debuted at a stratospheric multiple on Wednesday, calling into question the appetite for future Chinese IPOs. Meanwhile, at a New York City financial conference, SEC officials were nearly elbowing each other out of the way to express their concerns about reverse mergers that are allowing Chinese firms to back door their way into U.S. markets.

U.S. Economy Adds 244,000 at 9.0% [NYT]
The United States economy added 244,000 jobs in April after a gain of a revised 221,000 jobs in March, the Department of Labor said on Friday, as the unemployment rate rose to 9 percent in April from 8.8 percent in March.

The Grand Illusion: PwC Settles Satyam U.S. Class Action Claims [Forbes]
Oh boy, “The SEC and the PCAOB would not confirm that their enforcement actions regarding the Satyam audit were finished.”

BDO USA Settles Bankest Suit With Former Client Banco Espirito Santo [Bloomberg]
BDO’s statement emailed to Bloomberg: “BDO USA LLP has entered into confidential settlement agreements with Banco Espirito Santo and Barry Mukamal, the bankruptcy trustee of E.S. Bankest LC, pursuant to which the lawsuits against BDO have been resolved,” sounds a lot like what we published yesterday.

The Kabbalah Centre in Los Angeles is the focus of an IRS investigation into tax evasion [LAT]
Sources familiar with the investigation said the criminal division of the IRS is looking into whether nonprofit funds were used for the personal enrichment of the Berg family, which has controlled the Kabbalah Centre for more than four decades, a period in which it expanded from one school of a little-known strain of Judaism to a global brand with A-list followers like Ashton Kutcher and Gwyneth Paltrow and assets that may top $260 million.

New PCAOB Chairman Pushes for Audit Overhaul [AT]
“I do not believe that the global audit firm networks themselves pose a systemic risk to our economy,” said Doty. “Initiatives to shrink the global audit firms would likely weaken their ability to audit large, multinational companies that may be systemically important.” He said governments should instead focus on regulation. “To protect investors, governments should regulate such firms, not cripple them,” said Doty. “There’s no reason to think that if there were more major firms, they would be more likely to stand up to their clients.”

U.S. auditor watchdog hopeful of access to China [Reuters]
U.S. audit watchdogs are hopeful of ending a stalemate that has blocked inspections of auditors in China, the head of the audit oversight agency said on Thursday. With more Chinese companies raising capital in the U.S. markets, “I believe Chinese authorities understand they have a real interest in solving our impasse,” James Doty, chairman of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board said.

Accounting News Roundup: Wells CEO Says CFO Departure Is ‘So Yesterday,’; Satyam Auditors Ordered Back to Jail; FASB, IASB Re-requests Feedback on Convergence Burden | 04.21.11

GE Posts Fourth Straight Profit Rise as Industrial Orders Gain [Bloomberg]
General Electric Co. (GE) posted a fourth straight quarter of profit growth, beating analysts’ estimates, as equipment orders increased, and boosted the dividend for the third time since July. First-quarter profit from continuing operations rose 58 percent to $3.58 billion, or 33 cents, excluding pension results, up from $2.26 billion, or 20 cents, a year earlier, GE said. That exceeded the average estimate of 28 cents a share from analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Regulators Serve Up Alphabet Soup [WSJ]
The financial overhaul of the 1930s first brought in a slew of acronyms now part of today’s financial fabric—FDIC, SEC, FHLB and FHA. But the acronyms created by the recent Dodd-Frank Act means anyone hoping to understand the biggest financial overhaul in almost 80 years will need a language tutor.

Wells’ Stumpf Mum on CFO Departure [TSC]
Wells Fargo […] CEO John Stumpf wouldn’t answer questions Wednesday on the departure of Howard Atkins, the bank’s former financial chief, preferring instead to focus on the bank’s dividend and buyback. “That is so yesterday. We have a terrific CFO; we are going forward and we are looking to the future,” said Stumpf in the bank’s conference call Wednesday.

Treasury pays IRS a backhanded compliment on its tax-season performance [WaPo]
“On the one hand, the IRS is to be commended for its sharpened focus on fraud interception and prevention,” said Inspector General J. Russell George. “On the other, its efforts to prevent improper credits still leave much to be desired, and customer service problems continue.”

Supreme Court cancels bail to former Satyam auditors [NDTV]
The Supreme Court has cancelled the bails granted to PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Subramani Gopalakrishnan and Satyam’s internal auditor V. S. Prabhakar Gupta, directing them to surrender by April 30. A bench comprising Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B. S. Chauhan cancelled their bail and directed them to surrender within this period, failing which, the central investigative agency will take steps to arrest them.

Calif. court freezes assets of TV’s ‘tax lady’ [AP]
A California court froze the assets and appointed a receiver Wednesday to run the business operated by Roni Deutch, a nationally known tax lawyer who gained a measure of fame on late-night television commercials. Sacramento Superior Court Superior Court Judge Shelleyanne Chang ordered Deutch to appear in court June 10 for a hearing to decide if she should be fined and jailed for criminal contempt of court. She acted after the California attorney general said Deutch shredded documents and failed to promptly repay her clients in violation of a court order.

FASB, IASB Want Feedback on Convergence Burden, Timeline [JofA]
FASB and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) posted a survey online to collect views from users about the time and effort that will be involved in adopting several new standards and when those standards should be effective. The boards are seeking further input on these issues because, they said in a press release, a request for comments in a document released last October drew a “limited number of responses” from users and, for FASB, private entities.

Accounting News Roundup: Budget Stalemate Continues; Satyam Saga Far From Over; Roy Jones, Jr. Gets TKO’d by Tax Lien | 04.07.11

Obama Presses for Budget [WSJ]
President Barack Obama emerged from a late-night meeting Wednesday with House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying the two parties had moved closer to a spending agreement to avoid a government shutdown Friday, but no deal had been struck. “What [the talks] did was narrow the issues and clarify the issues that are still outstanding,” Mr. Obama said. He was confident a deal could be reached to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, he said, but “it’s going to require a sufficient sense of urgency from all parties involved.”

IRS Commissioner See Tax Filing Process [Bloomberg]
U.S. Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Douglas Shulman outlined a “vision for a more real-time tax system” that would reduce the need for audits after returns are filed. Shulman said the IRS should receive all paperwork such as W-2 and 1099 forms before individuals file their returns. That would allow the agency to flag potential problems before it processes tax returns, instead of sending out refund checks and then starting audits.

Mayor Drops Accident Tax After Criticism [WSJ]
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided to drop his administration’s controversial plan to charge motorists involved in accidents for emergency-response services, a coup for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. A Bloomberg administration official confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the mayor withdrew the proposal in the wake of opposition from Ms. Quinn. “The speaker made a strong case against it,” the official said.

Warren ‘Do-Right’ Buffett Gives Errant Kiss [Bloomberg]
[W]e can admire his talent for securities analysis, and his success at building an empire and making himself and lots of other investors rich. But let’s put to rest the exaltations about his plain talk and his eye for strong character. He’s a corporate chief executive officer, for goodness sake. These are the kinds of dodges we’ve come to expect from many CEOs. Buffett, whose record of reputational hits is long and varied, is no exception.

Price Waterhouse India Settles With Regulators But Satyam Saga Not Over [Forbes]
Settlements with Price Waterhouse (PW) India, the US-registered audit firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and Satyam, the Indian outsourcing company that blew up in a dramatically public and fraudulent fashion in early 2009, will probably provide significant ammunition to private lawsuits still pending in New York and court hearings in India.

Eliminating opportunities for fraud in companies [Fraud Files]
Fraud prevention policies and procedures sometimes have a tendency to focus on the smaller thefts. While those types of defalcations occur most often, they are not the most expensive. The financial statement frauds are the most devastating monetarily, and therefore must be fought aggressively.


Uncle Sam pummels boxing great Roy Jones Jr. [Tax Watchdog]
Boxers seem to only trail hip-hop artists in tax compliance futility.

Who Benefits From Those Tax Breaks? All of Us. [TaxVox]
“We have met the enemy and he is us,” said the cartoonist Walt Kelly. He was talking about preserving the environment, but he could have been describing our national addiction to tax credits, deductions, and exclusions.

Accounting News Roundup: Satyam Hustles to Get Back on U.S. Exchanges; Honesty Motivates People to Pay Taxes; Grant Thornton Names New Head of Wisconsin Practice | 04.06.11

Satyam Expedites Legal Settlements [WSJ]
The new management at India’s Satyam Computer Services Ltd. wants to overcome all of the legal hurdles facing the fraud-hit company as fast as possible – even if it means shelling out a few bucks – so it can get back on the U.S. exchanges. Late Tuesday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Satyam has agreed to pay $10 million to the regulator to settle charges that the software exporter engaged “in a massive accounting fraud.”

Two guilty pleas in NJ in $880 mln Ponzi scheme [Reuters]
Roberto Torres, 76, and his son Alejandro, 39, a former Capitol accountant, each admitted to one count of securities fraud on Monday before U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton in Newark, New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said. The pleas follow the guilty plea last Sept. 15 by Nevin Shapiro, Capitol’s chief executive and a Miami Beach, Florida resident, to securities fraud and money laundering counts. Prosecutors said each defendant admitted that more than 50 investors lost between $50 million and $100 million in the scheme, which ran from January 2005 to November 2009 and helped Shapiro repay earlier investors and fund a lavish lifestyle.

Dish Network Wins Auction for Blockbuster [DealBook]
After a bankruptcy auction that extended into the early hours on Wednesday, Dish Network announced that it had emerged as the winner of Blockbuster’s assets, with a bid valued at $320 million. Dish, the satellite television company, is set to pay roughly $228 million in cash, after accounting for certain adjustments. And the deal is expected to be completed in the second quarter.

Would You Let Your Employer Track You? [FINS]
When asked if they would accept a “dream job” if it required GPS tracking via Blackberry, 52% of 545 respondents said “yes” in the FINS.com online question forum Sign or Decline. But when asked if they would accept the job if the tracking was done via a microchip implant, only one in five respondents said yes.

Why People Pay Income Taxes [Economix/NYT]
Mostly because people are honest…yes.

White House Releases New Tax Calculator [Tax Foundation]
Don’t worry, it doesn’t appear Joe Biden had anything to do with it.


IRS: Japan Earthquake-Tsunami Constitute ‘Qualified Disaster’ for Tax Purposes [TaxProf Blog]
If it was anyone other than the IRS, we’d think that this determination took a little longer than necessary.

Grant Thornton names new managing partner for Wisconsin [MJS]
Grant Thornton LLP said Tuesday that Jeff Robinson has been appointed office managing partner for the firm’s Wisconsin practice. Robinson replaces Melissa Koeppel, who will move into a national role, working directly with Grant Thornton’s chief operations officer on strategic projects.

PwC India Affiliates Settle with SEC, PCAOB Over Satyam Audit Failures

The affiliates – Lovelock & Lewes, Price Waterhouse Bangalore, Price Waterhouse & Co. Bangalore, Price Waterhouse Calcutta, and Price Waterhouse & Co. Calcutta – must pay $6 million to the SEC, $1.5 million to the PCAOB and are barred from accepting U.S.-based clients for six months. The SEC fine is the largest ever levied against a foreign-based accounting firm in an SEC Enforcement Action and the PCAOB fine is the largest in the regulator’s history. PW India must also “establish training programs for its officers and employees on securities laws and accounting principles; institute new pre-opinion review controls; revise its audit policies and procedures; and appoint an independent monitor to ensure these measures are implemented.” The SEC’s press releasilures “were not limited to Satyam, but rather indicative of a much larger quality control failure throughout PW India.”

More from Bob Khuzami & Co.:

“PW India violated its most fundamental duty as a public watchdog by failing to comply with some of the most elementary auditing standards and procedures in conducting the Sataym audits. The result of this failure was very harmful to Satyam shareholders, employees and vendors,” said Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.

Cheryl Scarboro, Chief of the SEC’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Unit, added, “PW India failed to conduct even the most fundamental audit procedures. Audit firms worldwide must take seriously their critical gate-keeping duties whenever they perform audit engagements for SEC-registered issuers and their affiliates, and conduct proper audits that exercise professional skepticism and care.”

For the PCAOB, Chairman James Doty:

“The reliability of global capital markets depends on auditors fulfilling their obligation to investors to perform robust audits, resulting in well-founded audit reports. Two of the PW India firms, PW Bangalore and Lovelock, repeatedly violated PCAOB rules and standards in conducting the Satyam audits. These confirmation deficiencies contributed directly to the auditors’ failure to uncover the Satyam fraud.”

And Claudisu Modesti, the Director of Enforcement:

“Accounting firms that audit U.S. issuers, including affiliates of international accounting networks, provide an essential bulwark for investors against issuer clients that are committing fraud. PW Bangalore and Lovelock repeatedly failed to meet their obligation to comply with PCAOB standards, and these failures contributed to PW Bangalore and Lovelock failing to detect the fraud committed by Satyam management.”

You can see both the enforcement actions on the following pages. As for the firm, here’s a portion from PW India’s statement:

The SEC and PCAOB orders found that PW India’s audits of Satyam did not meet US professional standards and, as a result, did not discover the fraud underlying Satyam’s 2005-2008 financial statements. The orders make clear that Satyam management engaged in a years-long fraud, going so far as to create scores of fictitious documents for the purpose of misleading the auditors.

These settlements, in which PW India neither admits nor denies the U.S. regulators’ findings, apply only to the U.S. regulatory enquiries into Satyam. Neither of the orders found that PW India or any of its professionals engaged in any intentional wrongdoing or was otherwise involved in the fraud perpetrated by Satyam management. The settlements mark the end of the Satyam-related U.S. regulatory enquiries concerning PW India and are a positive step and important milestone in putting the Satyam issue behind PW India. PW India remains hopeful of resolving the outstanding enquiry with the Indian market regulator.

Sounds a little defensive, doesn’t it? Here’s what PwC International Ltd. had to say:

PricewaterhouseCoopers International fully supports PW India’s decision to resolve these issues with the US regulators and is hopeful that an agreed resolution will also be reached with the Indian market regulator. The PwC network will continue to work closely with PW India as it fulfils its commitments to its regulators, its clients, and to the Indian and global marketplaces.

PricewaterhouseCoopers International is committed to a PwC presence in the vibrant and fast growing Indian marketplace.

“India is a key market for PwC and we are committed to working with our colleagues in India to build on a successful practice with quality at the centre of everything it does,” said Dennis Nally, Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers International. “The last two years have been challenging for PW India but I believe that PW India has learned the lessons of Satyam, made the right changes and is on a sound footing to move forward, dedicated to quality work.”

This may be a foreign firm but it makes us wonder if the SEC and PCAOB are just getting warmed up. Mr Doty and SEC Chief Accountant James Kroeker will be on the tomorrow’s panel that we will be live-blogging and it will be interesting to hear what they have to say.

SEC_PW India

PW_India

Apparently There’s a Food Chain for Satyam Blamestorming

The head of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in India seems to feel as though 2009’s massive Satyam failure was not, in fact, a failure of the auditors but levels before the auditors and then the auditors. “There were promoter shareholders, executive directors and directors, and the auditors were the last rung. On the other side, there were independent directors, one of whom was a dean of the Indian School of Business, but nobody questions the role of independent directors.”


Amarjit Chopra feels corporate governance (or should that be complete lack of…) is to blame, not the PwC auditors who somehow missed the following:

• $1.09 billion in artificially inflated cash and bank balances (psst, baby auditors, that’s called a material amount)

• $81.59 million in accrued interest that was accrued out of thin air and never existed

• An understated liability of $266.91 million

• An overstated debtors’ position of $575.27 million that was more like $106.33 million (oops)

Maybe PwC should have waited for Chopra’s comments. Had they done so, they wouldn’t have already come out and admitted they missed a few issues on the September 30, 2008 Satyam balance sheet:

The former [Satyam] chairman has stated that the financial statements of the company have been inaccurate for successive years. The contents of the said letter, even if partially accurate, may have a material effect (which is currently unknown and cannot be quantified without thorough investigations) on the veracity of the company’s financial statements presented to us during the audit period. Consequently, our opinions on the financial statements may be rendered inaccurate and unreliable.

So if that’s the case, someone remind me why we even have auditors then? Sure financial statements belong to management but aren’t auditors there to give everything a good once-over to ensure giant fraud is not staring them directly between the eyes? You’d think at least one of those brilliant Indian first years would have realized that cash was a tad high once they started doing the work.

Release of Satyam Founder Ensures That No Progress Will Be Made in the Investigation for the Foreseeable Future

We’re getting used to this.

Chances of a speedy resolution to l’affaire Satyam receded on Wednesday with the Andhra Pradesh high court granting bail to the company’s founder and former chairman, B. Ramalinga Raju, freeing, albeit temporarily, the last of the accused in a corporate fraud that came to light in early 2009 with Raju’s confession and whose magnitude has since doubled to a claimed `14,000 crore.

Raju’s release is a setback for India’s federal investigating agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is yet to produce him in court in person. Arrested on 9 January 2009, Raju has been undergoing treatment for Hepatitis C at Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad.

On 16 August, he retracted his confession in the trial court by responding in the negative to questions posed by the court about the fraud. The burden of proof for Raju’s fraud now rests with CBI. And now, he is out on bail—for two sureties of `20 lakh each.

India’s minister for corporate affairs Salman Khursheed insisted that Raju’s release would not “hamper the ongoing investigation”.

Satyam case weakens with Raju’s release [Live Mint]

The Restatement That Never Ends: KPMG Hasn’t Received Necessary Docs for Satyam

Back in June we told you about Satyam requesting just a wee bit more time to nail down their restatement of their financial statements. It wasn’t because KPMG and Deloitte weren’t working their asses off, it was more of commitment to get things right. Putting good numbers out there, repairing broken trust, so on and so forth.

Well! The three month extension ends next month but as you might expect, there’s a bit of a problem. More specifically, KPMG is now saying that they haven’t received the documentation necessary to finish the job. Unless everyone is okay with some wild-ass guesses, in which case they can proceed.

[F]or all its documents, KPMG had to depend on the [Central Bureau of Investigation (“CBI”), which is investigating the scam.

NDTV has learnt that KPMG’s analysis of the documents don’t match with the CBI’s. There is a discrepancy between the two which amounts to over [$200 million].

CBI has based its calculations on estimates of Satyam’s assets and liabilities while KPMG says they need documentation to base their estimates.

KPMG says that they didn’t get all the documents needed to make a clear assessment which is why the accounts are likely to be re-stated full of riders.

But again, if you’re cool with some double-entry hocus-pocus, that can be arranged. There’s a merger at stake after all, “This confusion in the numbers could hold up Satyam’s merger with Tech Mahindra, which needs the go ahead from market regulators in India and the US, since Satyam is also listed in the US.”

Good luck getting that U.S. approval.

Satyam accounts restatement: KPMG’s analysis differs with CBI’s [NDTV]

Satyam: Does Anyone Mind if We Take Another Three Months to Finish Our Restatements?

With just a couple weeks until the June 30 deadline for the company to issue its restated financial statements, Satyam is requesting just a little more time to get this mulligan nailed down. Three months to be precise.

Yes, they’re completely aware that it’s been nearly 18 months since the shit hit the fan. And yes, this is the third time they’ve asked India’s Company Law Board (“CLB”) for an extension on the filing but at this point they figure expectations are so low, no one will get too worked up over it.


Except for an “analyst with a leading brokerage house.” who is quoted in the Business Times, “There is no clarity on what is happening within the company. They should have at least provided the current sales figure or the bench strength. How is the shareholder supposed to rate their stock?”

Since more than a few people might be caught up in “sales figures” and whatnot, Satyam went to the trouble to let everyone know that they’re working hard, ordering in, etc. etc. so you can rest your pretty little heads:

A Satyam official said, “The records have been under the custody of investigating agencies and we recently got a court clearance. Also, our auditors (KMPG and Deloitte) told us they need some more time for the restatement. It’s only a matter of a quarter.”

See? It’s just a matter of a quarter. Plus, you can’t really blame them – KPMG and Deloitte are the ones saying they need more time. Satyam has likely been bugging them for months about wrapping up but KPMG and Deloitte are probably complaining, saying things like, “we can’t find any documentation to supports these numbers” and “this doesn’t add up.”

So, TFB if some whiny analysts don’t like it. We’ll just find out just how big of nightmare these financial statements will be in due course.

Accounting News Roundup: Satyam Auditors Barred by PCAOB; TheStreet.com Pulls an Overstock.com; How High Are Your State’s Property Taxes? | 03.18.10

US accounting watchdog sanctions Satyam’s auditors [Reuters]
Siva Prasad Pulavarthi and Chintapatla Ravindernath, the two auditors that were arrested in India for their roles in the Satyam fraud, have been barred by the PCAOB from “being an associated person with a registered accounting firm.”

The Board who released the two orders against the men on Monday, that describe their efforts to get them to testify about their roles in the engagement last spring but they refused to cooperate, “After several attempts to accommodate Respondent with respect to the dates and location of testimony, including a delay to allow new counsel to become familiar with the matter after Respondent changed counsel, Respondent, through counsel, informed the Division in January 2010 that he would not comply with the Demand for testimony.”


TheStreet.com To File Annual Report Late On Accounting Review [WSJ]
TheStreet.com announced yesterday that it was pulling an Overstock, delaying the filing of its 10-K for 2009. The Company, founded by sound effects specialist Jim Cramer, said that in a filing that it and Marcum (its auditor) needed to “focus attention on matters related to the Company’s previously-announced review of the accounting in its former Promotions.com subsidiary.”

In other words, the SEC is snooping around the accounting which typically is not a good sign (just ask Jim!). Despite this little bump in the road, the company assures everyone that it will “be able to file its 2009 Form 10-K on or before the fifteenth calendar day following the prescribed due date.”

Lowest and Highest Property Taxes [Tax Policy Blog]
This map, courtesy of Tax Policy Blog, shows Texas claiming top prize for highest property tax (as a % of median home value), with New Jersey not far behind:

Accounting News Roundup: KPMG Survey: Half of Execs Want Option to Adopt IFRS Early; PW India Plea Rejected on Satyam; Two-thirds of States Have Raised Taxes Since Recession Began | 03.09.10

Half of US execs want to use IFRS early-survey [Reuters]
KPMG surveyed some shot-callers and lo and behold, half of them are ready to get down with International Financial Reporting Standards before the SEC’s target date of 2015. That’s if the SEC is even down with the whole idea.

KPMG’s surveyed also discovered that executives would like the SEC to be a little more transparent with their plans re: IFRS. You know, other than more meetings.

“Many U.S. companies with subsidiaries around the world are already using IFRS for statutory reporting,” said Janice Patrisso, partner and national IFRS leader at KPMG. “For them, having the option to synchronize it all up front at the U.S. company is a positive.”

Patrisso said companies with international subsidiaries that have already made conversions to IFRS were looking at the way those units had chosen to use the rules. They are also preparing for changes U.S. and international accounting rulemakers are making to converge the two sets of rules.

It’s nice to see some pushback to the SEC’s waffling. Despite where you fall on the IFRS debate, most people would agree that allowing businesses to make their own decisions about what financial reporting method to use (as long as it is consistent and high quality). Especially since the AICPA recognized the IASB as an official standard setter, thus giving private companies the go-ahead on IFRS, shouldn’t public companies be allowed the same freedom?

While the SEC spends the next five years trying to figure out what all this means, some businesses already see where this is going and don’t want to waste time. The SEC isn’t so enthused.

PW plea on Satyam probe rejected [Business Standard]
Pricewatherhouse India really wants everyone to forget about Satyam. Their latest plea to the Securities regulator in India, the Securities and Exchanges Board of India (SEBI) has been rejected BUT apparently the firm is going to try making their case again. Sigh.

Don’t get any illusions about this case making any progress, “The next step is for ICAI’s disciplinary committee to send notices to the PW auditors charged by law enforcement agencies in the fraud case…this could happen only after the auditors, under judicial remand, are in a position to argue their case before the committee.” And we complain about the bureaucracy here.

CBPP: 33 States Have Raised Taxes by $32 Billion/Year [TaxProf Blog]
You may have noticed a state fiscal crises here or there in the last couple of years and by God, they’re trying to do something about it. Unfortunately, the most common solution, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, is the raising of taxes. Thirty-three out of 50 states have taken a number of measures from eliminating tax exemptions and broadening tax bases to good old fashioned higher sales, income, or property tax rates.

Accounting News Roundup: Satyam Auditor Gets Bail; SEC Drops Civil Charges Against Broadcom Execs; PCAOB Launches Redesigned Website | 02.05.10

PwC auditor Srinivas gets bail in Satyam case [The Economic Times]
According the Economic Times, the Supreme Court in India “said since the case was based on documents, all of which has already been seized by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), it would be of no use to keep the accused in jail, where he had been lodged since his arrest in January 24 last year.” They also report that the “chargesheet [runs] over 55,000 pages” which seems like a good enough reason to just forget this whole thing.

Seriously, they were just able to come to the conclusion that he didn’t need to be in jail because the documents were TLDR? What army of accountants is on this thing? Will this never end?


Ex-Broadcom Officials off SEC Hook [WSJ]
Despite all the horn tooting the SEC has been doing, they still manage to mess things up pretty regularly. After criminal charges were dropped against Broadcom executives due to “evidence in the criminal case showed prosecutors tried to influence the testimony of three key witnesses, improperly contacted witnesses’ attorneys and leaked information about grand jury proceedings to the media,” the civil charges have been subsequently dropped.

The Broadcom case if you recall, involved a back-dating scandal but far more interesting were the allegations that Broadcom co-founder William Nicolas III was “conspiring to distribute illegal drugs, including methamphetamine and cocaine,” and providing prosties to clients in underground quarters built specifically for said purposes.

But now Nicolas is sober and it’s all been thrown out and the SEC once again looks like idiots. Sobriety and an incompetent SEC makes for a feel good story.

PCAOB Launches a Redesigned Web Site [PCAOB Press Release]
It was official yesterday although the new look seems to have been up all week. Acting Chair Dan Goelzer managed to wake from his nap to throw in his boilerplate statement, although by the looks of the guy, were not sure he knows how to use email let alone give an opinion on the website: “The redesigned Web site enhances the PCAOB’s transparency efforts by making registration, inspection, standard setting and enforcement information more accessible and user-friendly to the investors, auditors and other interested parties who use our site.”

In other news, it appears that despite the decent salary no one wants to be the non-acting Chairman. Not that it’s an important position or anything.

Dennis Nally: Satyam Scandal Has Damaged PwC Brand

While kicking it in Davos, Dennis Nally had to have known that eventually he was going to have to answer questions about his mother of all nightmares, Satyam. Having just passed the one year anniversary of the cat being let out of the bag about, you know, totally bogus numbers, everyone is talking about it. In India.

CNBC India caught up with Nalls and considering everything that’s going down, DN doesn’t seem worried. He’s leading P. Dubs full steam ahead into India; there’s no crying over failed audits, “Without question the firm has had real challenges in India but that has not changed my outlook and view on the importance of India economy to global economic picture.”


Stoic; as he should be. Not that the firm hasn’t had to do a little damage control. But no worries; Dennis is a man with a plan, “We just need to continue to deliver, service our clients, respond to their needs, help them deal with their issues and challenges. If we do that and we do that consistently over a period of time the PwC brand in India will be as strong and as good as it has been in the past and where we want it to be into the future.”

Plus, this is a blip, an outlier, a rare occurrence, “Any one-off instance can do harm to your brand and that is the reality. Our job is to make sure we are doing everything and we have done a number of things in India to ensure that this would not happen again,” so there’s no cause for concern.

This isn’t Tiger Woods brand damage we’re talking about. It will all be a distant memory before you know it.

Satyam scam has hurt PwC brand: Global Chairman [Money Control]

Happy (Belated) First Anniversary Satyam Fraud!

One.jpgTechnically it was last week but dang, it’s been a helluva year for Satyam and PwC.
Two auditors in jail, the PwC Chairman resigned, Jim Quigely couldn’t wait to tell everyone that Deloitte was the new auditor and P. Dubs would really, really be stoked if everyone just forgot the whole thing ever happened.
Despite the non-existent coverage in the U.S., our contributor Francine McKenna has covered this story from the beginning so we got her thoughts:

What do we know about the scandal one year later – its causes and how to prevent similar frauds in the future? Not much. The experts we should look to for answers, Satyam’s auditors Price Waterhouse India, are accused of being complicit and are still in jail. Who’s guarding the guardians? We’ll have to wait for the shareholders’ lawsuits and the SEC here in the US to hear what really happened, who all benefitted, and who is ultimately responsible.

Judging by the pace of things, we’re guessing the lawsuits won’t be resolved in our lifetime. While we are around however, we’ll keep you updated on what does happen whether it’s reasonable requests from PwC to jailhouse brawls (please God).

Satyam Would Like the U.S. Lawsuits Moved to India, Oh, and PwC Would Like to be Left Out Altogether

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for pwclogo.thumbnail.jpgSatyam wants the U.S. Courts to kindly BTFO of business that should be handled in India. Specifically these silly fraud lawsuits.
Besides, PW India has already said that they want to bury the hatchet, so they feel that this whole will be best handled in the Eastern Hemisphere:

In a court filing yesterday, the software-services provider said it was joining a motion by its auditors, Price Waterhouse and Lovelock & Lewes, to dismiss the American fraud suits brought by investors.
“This case belongs in India,” the auditors wrote. “Satyam’s alleged billion-dollar fraud, as well as the allegedly improper audit, took place in India. Virtually all of the defendants are India-domiciled companies or individuals.”

P. Dubs India and Lovelock want the whole thing dropped since they were acting on the honor system. Annnnnnnd, since PwC International doesn’t have control over any of the individual firms they’d like it very much if the judge just dropped them out of this thing too:

PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd. said it should be dropped from the case because the investors failed to show it had control over its Indian member, Price Waterhouse, as is required by U.S. securities law.

From the looks of it, no PwC firm wants to be responsible for anything that went wrong with Satyam even though they signed the audit report. Fine, so can we agree that audit opinion was worthless? That’d be great.
Satyam Says U.S. Fraud Suits Must Be Moved to India [Bloomberg]

Jim Quigley Couldn’t Wait to Tell Everyone That Deloitte Will Be the New Auditor of Satyam

Thumbnail image for DTa.jpgJimbo obviously had ants in his pants and he couldn’t keep it to himself because after saying it’s a ‘done deal’ he admits, “The company is the one who would make the announcement. So I ought to be more cautious in terms of not speaking for them. We are prepared and ready to step into that role.”
Oh. So maybe JQ is talking out of school but he backpedaled nicely. We understand your excitement Jim but we also know that discretion is in order. Next time though, just throw caution to the wind. In fact, if it strikes you, don’t be afraid to mention how PwC screwed the pooch and their attempt to weasel out of the whole thing is a travesty.
Deloitte says will be auditors for Mahindra Satyam [Money Control]

PwC Gets a Small Win in the Satyam Case

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for pwclogo.thumbnail.jpgHey, any win is a good win, right?
A has judge ruled that there was no evidence that the Delhi office had anything to do with the actions of the Bangalore office, the statutory auditors of Satyam.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) — the AICPA of India — had brought actions against PwC offices in Delhi, Kolkata, and Bangalore but the judge isn’t buying that they are related:

“They are separate partnership firms with separate balancesheets. There is no inter-connection (between PW Delhi, PW Bangalore and PW Kolkata [ Images ]) and profit and loss of one cannot be shared by others. You cannot say that the Banglore firm which was statutory auditor of Satyam has anything to do with Delhi firm,” said Justice Sanjiv Khanna.

The court did indicate that if the ICAI wanted to take another shot at Delhi — you know, with some evidence — if it so chose.
P. Dubs has to be happy with the small victory but would probably prefer if their previous suggestion to just forget this whole thing would start getting some traction.

PwC Has the Perfect Solution to This Whole Satyam Misunderstanding

Solutions.jpgP. Dubs India wants to avoid having a long, tedious, legal battle over this whole thing. Nobody wants that. So they offered a consent application to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to say sorry about the mixup and let’s just forget the whole thing ever happened.


Not that burying the hatchet won’t take time. The SEBI seems to have an even more dense bureaucracy than the SEC:

The application will be looked at by the Internal Committee of SEBI. If the committee feels that there is merit in this consent, both sides are willing to come to a certain point, it goes to a high power committee on consent proceedings which is headed by a retired Bombay High Court Judge.
Based on the committee’s decision, both sides will sit across the table and decide whether or not they agree with the punishment that could be meted out. As per the consent agreement, there is no acknowledgement of wrong doing.

Oh right, did they mention that last part? There’s nothing to gained by pointing fingers at any one responsible individual or company. PWI would just prefer that they come to an agreement where they aren’t no one is to blame. Problem solved!
PwC hands out olive branch to SEBI in Satyam case [Money Control]

Lehman Brothers sign removal

Get Yer Pointin’ Fingers Ready, We’re Looking Back on the Financial Crisis Ten Years Later

I got a notification from Twitter the other day reminding me that it’s been 10 whole years since I joined. Wow, that long? I realized that I’d done it the week the economy started swirling down the drain in earnest back in 2008. Unlike my Twitter anniversary, we can argue all day over the actual […]

accounting-news-pwc-india-ban-flying-cars-sales-tax

Accounting News Roundup: PwC Appeals India Ban; Blockchain Names; Flying Cars and Sales Tax | 01.26.18

PwC appeals two-year ban on audits in India [AT] The Securities Exchange Board of India banned PwC from auditing public companies earlier this month over the firm’s failure to detect the fraud at Satyam Computer Services. The appeal is expected to be heard by the end of February. PCAOB Board Statement on Passing of Former […]

Footnotes: Deloitte’s Costly Negligence; CIA Tax Trouble; PwC Conflict-Free | 07.15.14

National debt will exceed entire annual US output by 2039, CBO projects [CSM] Singer Brian McKnight has settled with his former accountants [tJB] Madoff Sons Deleted E-Mails, Hindered Probe, Trustee Says In an amended complaint filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, the trustee said he uncovered evidence that Andrew Madoff and Mark Madoff […]

Accounting News Roundup: Depreciation and Tax Policy; India Going After Audit Firms; Work-life Role Models | 09.10.13

Depreciation’s Place in Tax Policy [Economix/NYT]Bruce Bartlett has everything you need to know about the history of depreciation and how it became the eighth-largest tax expenditure in the IRC.   Lessons From ‘Simpler Taxes for America’ Tour [WSJ]As Max & Dave wind up their tour, a couple of major questions that have not been answered remain: […]

Big 4 Firms Performing Quite Well in the Self-Preservation Department

If you are able to find Google's homepage and have a couple of functioning digits, it isn't difficult to find news of Big 4 audit firms settling lawsuits over the past few years. Satyam. Countrywide. Bear Stearns. Sino-Forest. There are others. There will be more. In the UK, regulators have been grilling the Big 4 over […]

Accounting News Roundup: KPMG Stuck at Four; Warren Buffett Has It Both Ways; Audit Rotation Down Under? | 12.13.12

KPMG FY 2012 Revenue Up 4.4% to Record $23 Billion [WSJ, Earlier]In the year ended Sept. 30, KPMG saw its revenue rise 4.4% in local currency terms, or 1.4% in U.S. dollars. KPMG's annual revenue grew fastest–by at least 20%–in markets including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, India and Turkey, while Africa and Indonesia saw revenue growth […]

Accounting News Roundup: Report: PwC India Cooked Books; Grant Thornton Eyes Expelled BDO Firms Down Under; A PCAOB Roadshow | 03.12.12

PwC India dressed up books to show profits [ET]Serious violations of accounting principles as well as major financial irregularities have been detected in several entities of PricewaterhouseCoopers India (PwC India), which would seem to indicate that the company has been wrongfully dressing up its own books and those of its network audit firms in order […]

Accounting News Roundup: KPMG Quits on Another Chinese Client; PwC Fined Over Commingling at JP Morgan; Dissecting Romney’s Tax Plan | 01.06.12

KPMG Quits as China Forestry Auditor, Deepening Concerns About Accounting [Bloomberg]China Forestry Holdings Co. (930), the Chinese timber company whose shares have been suspended since January last year because of accounting irregularities, said its auditor KPMG LLC resigned citing valuation concerns. China Forestry needs to verify the ownership and valuation of its plantations and log inventories, […]

Accounting News Roundup | 12.08.11

Corzine: 'I Simply Do Not Know Where The Money Is' [WSJ]Much of the day's testimony is likely to focus on a significant shortfall in customer funds at MF Global. As Mr. Corzine scrambled to stabilize the firm in its last days, it was discovered that hundreds of millions of dollars were missing in customer accounts. The trustee […]

Has an Auditor Ever Been Whacked For Snitching on Fraudsters?

I’ve gotten some crazy questions over the years but this one pretty much takes the cake. I’m not saying it’s stupid, nor am I saying it’s all that crazy, it’s just… well… out there, is all. Read on.

Dear Adrienne,

I’m a college student at the University of North Texas. Fraud has been a hot topic in my courses this month. We covered many scandals including Crazy Eddie, Barry Minkow, NextCard, Enron, and Bernie Madoff. This has got me thinking a lot about how I would react if I was in the shoes of the auditor. The students in my class always say to just report the fraud, however they never put themselves in the shoes of the fraudster to determine how the fraudster would act nor do they think about protecting the reputation o watched enough movies to know that if a fraudster finds out that somebody knows “too much,” then that person probably won’t make it home alive that night, unless they cooperate. I remember in that movie, “The Other Guys,” the auditing partner got killed because the fraudsters didn’t want him snitching out any information to authorities.

Another thing is that if it is found out that a partner is involved in fraud, this will ruin the firm’s reputation if this gets reported to the SEC. However, if the firm handles this internally, fire the partner, admit mistake, and let the public know that it doesn’t want anything to do with the partner, then perhaps only the partner would get in trouble and not the firm.

So exactly how are you suppose to act in situations of fraud? Of course AICPA tells us to first report it to your supervisor, then to the audit committee, and then the SEC. But still though, you got to get this out before someone kills you and you’ve got to handle it in a manner that best protects the reputation of the firm. Am I right? Also, have you ever heard of any auditors that were murdered because they knew too much? When you read about Enron or the Bernie Madoff scandal, there are talks about death threats, but you don’t necessarily hear about any murders involved. So it may be something that only happens in the movies.

Well, since you brought up Crazy Eddie, my first instinct was to pose this question to Crazy Eddie’s corrupt CPA, Sam Antar. Thankfully Sam obviously checks his Twitter account every five minutes and had some thoughts for me almost immediately.

“Yes, the potential is there. Depends on the client. Have that person contact me if worried,” he tweeted. Now isn’t that sweet? If anyone out there is feeling the heat, you know who to hit up.

His thought? It’s rare, if not impossible. Why would a fraudster whack the auditor? By the time the fraud is uncovered, it’s too late. The workpapers would likely document said fraud, so the fraudster would then be forced to whack the entire chain on up to the partner and who has time to do all that killing? “No logic in whacking outside auditor unless part of conspiracy,” Sam said.

That being said, does anyone remember Allen Stanford’s sketchy auditor C.A.S. Hewlett (“C.A.S.H.” get it?!)? He apparently kicked the bucket on January 1st (a real accountant would have kicked the bucket on December 31st, pfft), just a month before Stanford was charged with fraud (though he didn’t get arrested until June of that year). The circumstances surrounding his death were, uh, weird to say the least but I don’t think anyone is going to go so far as to say he got whacked.

Or how about Ken Lay? I mean, does anyone really believe he had a heart attack? There is even an entire website dedicated to exposing Ken Lay’s post-mortem life.

Now, here’s where it gets tricky, and I don’t expect you to know this since you haven’t made it out into the real world yet. What is an auditor’s job? Is it to uncover fraud? Or is it to verify with a minimum of certainty (a.k.a. “reasonable assurance”) that the financial information presented by a company is probably legit? If you answered the latter, you win. Forensic accountants dissect fraud, auditors simply check boxes. I’m sorry if this offends any of you hardcore auditors out there but in your hearts, even you guys know I’m right. Auditing is a joke, an intricate dance (read: performance) that exists more for entertainment than functionality. If you don’t agree with me, I’d be happy to name any number of companies that prove my point for me (let’s see… Enron, Worldcom, Overstock, Satyam, Olympus…).

What do you think the odds are that a first or second year auditor would even be able to detect fraud? Don’t you think the criminals behind it are at least clever enough to hide their wrongdoing from a bunch of fresh-faced kids with their SALY checklists? Look at the lengths Crazy Eddie went to – to success until their greed got the best of them and a chick ruined the whole scam. And that’s the thing, the auditors rarely uncover fraud, it’s usually the fraudsters themselves who end up exposing themselves though greed or just plain stupidity.

Whistleblowers don’t make friends but they don’t have to hire armed guards either. Like I said, by the time the fraud is exposed, it’s too late to start killing people to hide the truth.

And thanks to SOX, it is illegal to “discharge, demote, suspend, threaten, harass or in any manner discriminate against” whistleblowers, so a more likely scenario is that revelations of fraud will come from within the firm, not from the outside auditors who are pissed off to be doing inventory counts on New Year’s Day.

You watch too many movies, kiddo. Just check the list, collect the bank recs and call it a day.

German Government Was Under the Impression That a ‘Certified Audit’ Would Find a 55 Billion Euro Accounting Error

Most people are of the opinion that government can’t do anything right. Education? Bah. Economies? Duh. Wars? YEESH. Oddly, politicians are quite fond of mocking the inefficiencies and mistakes of government to better relate to the common folk who don’t put much stock in the government’s operations. This means that politicians must find other people to hold responsible for the mistakes that are happening all around them. This also means that the art of blamestorming is the most coveted skill in all of politics (well, maybe after being able to lie through your teeth). Do things right and you live to fight another day. Do things wrong and you just look like an ass and then have to weather repeated calls for your resignation.

The German government is taking a fair amount of shit for missing a 55 billion euro accounting mistake. This size of a boo-boo can’t really be swept under the rug so, right on cue, the finance minister has turned on the blamethrower full blast:

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has summoned executives from the nationalized mortgage bank Hypo Real Estate (HRE) to explain how they made a simple accounting error that ended up raising Germany’s total debt load by 55 billion euros.Schaeuble, in the awkward situation of being humiliated by the windfall that will cut Germany’s debt levels, will also demand answers at a Wednesday meeting from the PwC accountancy firm that signed off on the report.

Schaeuble’s spokesman Martin Kotthaus tried to deflect any blame, saying the ministry received a certified statement from auditors that the balance sheets had been checked and approved. He said it was too early to tell exactly who messed up.

“It’s annoying, to put it diplomatically, when corrections of this dimension are necessary,” said Kotthaus, who was grilled at a news conference. “We had a certified audit of the annual accounts for 2010 and it said everything was in order.”

Right! A certified audit! If there’s anything we’ve all learned, it’s that audits are the one infallible stamp of approval that we can always turn to for confidence. Just ask Lehman Brothers. Or Satyam. Or Li & Fung. Or MF Global. Or Taylor, Bean & Whitaker. Or Koss. Or Countrywide. [breathe, breathe] Or World Capital Group. Or Sino-Forest. Or Colonial Bank. But aside from those, yeah, audits. Those things are solid.

Germany mocked for 55-billion euro bank accounts error [Reuters]

PwC, Deloitte Enjoying Their Booming Advisory Businesses, Thankyouverymuch

This morning we linked to a Reuters report about the horse race between Deloitte and PwC for the biggest of the Big 4. It reports virtually nothing new that we haven’t discussed here already including Deloitte jumping P. Dubs last year by a whopping $9 million (thanks mostly to keeping their consulting business in house), the hiring sprees, the acquisitions, and oh! the audit business sucks:

With audit revenues leveling off in developed markets, the firms have been making a push in growing countries such as China and India and plowing ahead with investments in consulting, where business is growing after a recessionary slump.[…] The big four are expected to report their fiscal 2011 revenues in coming weeks and any significant growth will likely once again be in the consulting area, said Jonathan Hamilton, managing editor of Accounting News Report. “The audit business, while certainly the staple of all these firms, is a slow-growth business,” Hamilton added.

In other words, the consulting advisory business is hot and audit is not. And what causes some people to fly off the handle is how the firms have sold everyone on the idea that they can still miraculously be the bastion of good business principles ethics. Well, maybe not everyone:

More worries loom from stepped-up regulatory scrutiny. As consulting revenues grow, complaints are surfacing again that firms will be tempted to go easy on audit clients for the sake of winning or keeping a consulting job — a charge the audit firms deny.

Last week, European Union lawmakers approved a report that calls for barring auditors from providing audit and non-audit services to the same client. The report is nonbinding but could shape a draft law in the works.

PwC and Deloitte both said there was no conflict of interest in the consulting services they provide. Much of their consulting is done for companies they do not audit and they follow regulators’ standards and companies’ own restrictions on the kind of consulting they do for audit clients.

The report doesn’t mention many things that have cropped up (some recent, some not so much) including the nearly 500 reprimands Deloitte had in 2009, the rash of insider trading, or PwC’s incestuous Satyam scandal but talking points are also used to address those issues. These firms didn’t get to where they are without figuring out how to play the media game.

One thing is for sure – the firms are going to depend on their consulting/advisory businesses for growth until someone banishes audit firms from offering any other services at all. And God knows what that will take.

In close race for No 1, Deloitte, PwC grow apace [Reuters]

H&R Block Was Pretty Eager to Dump RSM McGladrey

[caption id="attachment_40127" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Photo credit*"][/caption]

This morning we learned that H&R Block would be selling RSM McGladrey to McGladrey & Pullen for $610 million. This reunion of the two firms is interesting because just a couple of years ago they couldn’t stand the sight of one another. These days, you might conclude that since they opted to rebrand under the name “McGladrey” that everyone has kissed and made up but we all know better.

In all likelihood, there are partners on both sides who would rather set their CPA certificates on fire than work with the other side. The problem for the partners in these firms is that they probably had little choice in the matter, as H&RB seemed intent on cutting off the weak link:

[T]he top U.S. tax preparer looks to jettison the underperforming division and focus on its core business. H&R Block will finance about $65 million of the deal value as it looks to push through the sale of RSM McGladrey.

[…]

In June, H&R Block’s new Chief Executive William Cobb told analysts that RSM’s falling profit and revenue were a drag on the company’s earnings, and that the unit and its troubles were on his “radar screen.”

“(The sale) should improve overall corporate margin, as Tax Services margin in FY11 was 27.1 percent and RSM McGladrey’s was 9.3 percent,” Oppenheimer analyst Scott Schneeberger said in a note to clients.

And despite the Blockheads eagerness, the gang at M&P seems perfectly okay with it. From the firm’s press release:

“The Board’s objective is to reunite the assurance, tax and consulting practices under an integrated McGladrey & Pullen partnership structure,” said Jerry Bourassa, Chairman of McGladrey & Pullen’s Board of Directors. “The anticipated transaction will not impact the quality and timeliness of services to our clients. Our partners and employees remain focused on meeting and exceeding client expectations.”

[…]

“This is all about what we believe to be in the best interests of our clients, our employees and our partners. We see great opportunities for success and growth for McGladrey & Pullen as a firm reunited in a traditional partnership structure,” said Joe Adams, Managing Partner of McGladrey & Pullen. “Our relationship with H&R Block has served us very well but we both agree that it is time to move on.”

So it sounds like there may be cake and punch but it probably won’t be a lively affair.

Of course we’d rather hear from the people on the ground (i.e. the McGladrey partners, employees, Natalie) about what they make of this shitstorm. I can’t imagine anyone missing the used car dealership of the tax prep world but is this reunion going to work? Will C.E. and the gang now be able to turn Mickey G’s into the next accounting powerhouse? Can we get one name for the combined firm, for crissakes? All important questions. Please enlighten us below.

H&R Block to sell consulting unit for $610 mln [Reuters]
McGladrey & Pullen, LLP signs letter of intent to acquire RSM McGladrey, Inc. [McGladrey]

*Dustin Bradford

PwC’s Dennis Nally Reminds Everyone That Audits Aren’t Designed to Detect Fraud, Wants to Meet the Pope, Isn’t Interested in Joining You for Hot Yoga

The Financial Times published an interview with PwC International Chairman Dennis Nally over the weekend and we learn a few interesting things about DN that you probably didn’t know. For starters, he’s very aware that his firm is in a tussle for title of the largest professional services firm ON EARTH, “We’re in a real dog race to continue to sustain our leadership position as the largest professional services network in the world,” he told the FT. Of course this gives us the impression that Denny doesn’t believe that P. Dubs has relinquished the Biggest of the Big 4 title, as some other CEOs have claimed.

And as you might expect, there are various softening questions thrown around, including:

1) Leaders he admires – he wants to meet The Pope because “[Nally] seems impressed by the feat of co-ordination.”

2) Feats of strength – He practiced hot yoga to “strengthen his golf swing” but gave it up because “I found that you had a tendency to over-workout your muscles.”

Despite those little tidbits, Helen Thomas manages to get under Nally’s skin a little when she asks if “auditors should rightly find themselves in the line of fire” when fraud or “disingenuous” accounting occurs:

Mr Nally crosses his arms across his monogrammed shirt, for the first time looking a touch defensive. “There are professional standards out there [and] an audit is not designed under those standards to detect fraud,” he says, pointing out that detecting fraudulent behaviour rests on other indications including a company’s governance, management tone and control systems. “The reasons it has been done that way is because, while we always hear and read about the high-profile fraud, the number of those situations that you actually encounter in practice is very de minimis.

Notice that he doesn’t directly address the “disingenuous” accounting. Examples which might include, say, AIG and Freddie Mac, but rather addressed fraud which is easy to fall back on, since the expectations gap is so blatant (something he has mentioned before).

His statement also appears to indicate that he feels situations like Satyam are immaterial, unless by “de minimis” he intended to mean “rare in occurrence.” But, then again, I suppose semantics are also de minimis.

The man who would be biggest [FT]

Accounting News Roundup: Corporate Tax Studies Take Sides; The Tax Lady’s Tax Lien; This Is Your Brain on Cellphones | 06.01.11

Studies Fuel Dueling Views on U.S. Corporate Taxes [WSJ]
While Congress duels over whether U.S. companies should pay more in taxes, a pair of reports provided fodder for each side of the debate this week.

Sherron Watkins and Harvey Pitt on SEC’s Whistleblower Rules [CFO Journal]
Pitt said that paying up to 20% of penalties collected for a securities-law violation to the person who provided the information that led to the case would “undermine corporate governance.” Employees seeking “lottery-like” returns will inundate the SEC with marginal claims, he warned. “There will be two gems within those 10,000 or 20,000 complaints but whether the SEC will be able to pick those two out is a different question.”

Satyam case: HC rejects auditors plea on disciplinary action [Business Standard]
PricewaterhouseCoopers auditors, Subramani Gopalakrishnan and Srinivas Talluri, accused in the Rs 14,000-crore Satyam accounting fraud, today received a jolt as the Delhi High Court today rejected their pleas against the disciplinary proceedings initiated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). A Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna dismissed the petitions filed by the two auditors, who had sought a stay on disciplinary proceedings initiated by the ICAI for their alleged involvement in the Satyam accounting fraud.

Navistar Sues Deloitte Proving No Statute of Limitations On Idiocy [Forbes]
Nearly one hundred years together. Down the drain.

‘Tax Lady’ Roni Deutch faces tax lien of nearly $183,000 [Modesto Bee]
Tax attorney Roni Lynn Deutch has been slapped with a nearly $183,000 federal tax lien, according to Internal Revenue Service filings, another sign of the Tax Lady’s financial woes. Deutch, who built a $25-million-a-year tax resolution law firm promising clients relief from the IRS, was hit with a lien of $182,722, filed May 9 in Placer County Superior Court.


KPMG Executive Poll: 39% Say Anti-Corruption Laws Disadvantage Them [WSJ]
A KPMG LLP poll of 214 executives in the U.S. and the U.K. showed that only 39% believed anti-corruption laws had hurt them competitively, and fewer than 20% though enforcement of such laws was “excessive.” The survey offered a glimpse into the C-Suite as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce intensifies efforts to amend the FCPA on the grounds that aggressive enforcement has held back U.S. business.

Cellphone Cancer Warning [WSJ]
Using a cellphone may increase the risk of a certain type of brain cancer, an international panel of experts said Tuesday, adding to a growing debate about whether a now nearly ubiquitous form of communication poses health risks. The experts said cellphone radio waves are “possibly carcinogenic,” classifying them in the same risk category as lead, chloroform and coffee. The classification from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer could lead the United Nations health body to look again at its mobile-phone guidelines, the scientists said.

Accounting News Roundup: Deloitte’s Latest Acquisition; Ditching Loser Clients; Is IFRS DOA? | 05.10.11

Microsoft to Acquire Skype [WSJ]
Microsoft Corp. agreed to buy Internet phone company Skype Technologies SA for $8.5 billion in cash—the most aggressive move yet by Microsoft to play in the increasingly converged worlds of communication, information and entertainment. “Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world,” said Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer in a statement announcing the deal Tuesday. “Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world.”

Boehner Outlines Demands on Debt Limit Fight [NYT]
Speaker John A. Boehner said Monday that Republicans would insist on trillions of dollars in federal spending cuts in exchange for their support of an increase in the federal debt limit sought by the Obama administration to prevent a government default later this year.

Deloitte Makes Acquisition to Strengthen its End-to-End Analytics Portfolio of Services [Deloitte]
Deloitte today announced it has purchased substantially all of the assets of Oco, Inc., a provider of enterprise-class software as a service (SaaS) business analytics solutions.

Being Expedient: PwC Settles Satyam U.S. Class Action [Re:The Auditors]
Satyscam, we barely knew you.

11 Clues a Client is a Loser and 4 Keys to Finding a Winner [AW]
A stripped down version of risk management.

IFRS Adoption is Dead! (I Think) [The Accounting Onion]
Tom Selling is quite ready to call for time of death, “Way back in November 2008 when Christopher Cox was calling the tune, the SEC issued its proposed ‘Roadmap’ for achieving a ‘single set of globally accepted accounting standards.’ That was the point at which the ‘IFRS adoption is inevitable’ pot banging reached deafening levels. Thankfully, however, it has been mostly downhill from there.”

SEC Cracking Down on Foreign Shell Cos. [CFO]
While the Securities and Exchange Commission has recently stepped up its enforcement efforts against allegedly fraudulent U.S. shell companies in greater China, those efforts aren’t limited to that region, according to James Kroeker, the SEC’s chief accountant.

Madoff Trustee, Fairfield Liquidators Join Forces [WSJ]
The trustee for investors hurt by Bernard Madoff’s fraud reached a settlement with liquidators of the Fairfield Greenwich Group funds, the biggest feeders of money into the Ponzi scheme, in which they resolved claims against each other and agreed to jointly pursue the fund owners, including Connecticut financier Walter Noel.

Accounting News Roundup: There Is a Substantial Doubt as to Osama bin Laden’s Ability to Continue as a Going Concern | 05.02.11

Bin Laden Is Dead, President Obama Says [NYT]
Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the most devastating attack on American soil in modern times and the most hunted man in the world, was killed in a firefight with United States forces in Pakistan on Sunday, President Obama announced. In a dramatic late-night appearance in the East Room of the White House, Mr. Obama declared that “justice has been done” as he disclosed that American military and C.I.A. operatives had finally cornered Mr. bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader who had eluded them for nearly a decade, and shot him to death at a compound in Pakistan.

Satyam Investors’ U.S. Lawsuit OvPwC for $25.5 Million [Bloomberg]
Investors in Satyam Computer Services Ltd. (SCS) settled a lawsuit against PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP for $25.5 million related to its audit of the Indian firm that included a $1 billion overstatement of assets. Satyam, the software exporter embroiled in India’s biggest corporate fraud probe, reached a $125 million settlement in February in the class action in New York. Satyam agreed last month to pay $10 million to settle a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit.

The Osbournes — 357,000 More Tax Problems [TMZ]
Clearly the moral of the story is, don’t cancel meetings with your accountants.

Ohio accounting students meet fraud expert [AW]
The old cliché, “If you want to build a better hen house, ask a fox,” rang loud and clear today at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business. You’re probably familiar with Enron, WorldCom, and Madoff scandals, but do you remember the ZZZZ Best Carpet Cleaning fraud from the 1980s and the man behind it, Mark Morze? Morze was found guilty of stealing $100 million and creating more than 10,000 phony documents and several fake tax returns. None of the auditors, lawyers, and bankers who were charged with examining the books detected the fraud. This legendary tale of deception is now must-read material for accounting and business students, helping them prepare to be able to make decisions that will shape their own careers and lives.

Is Going Public Going Out of Style? [CFO]
No matter how you slice it, the number of publicly traded companies in the United States continues to fall. On the major exchanges, there were 5,091 companies, including foreign-based ones, listed at the end of February, a 2% drop from 2009 and a 42% decline from the peak of 8,823 in 1997, according to new data from Grant Thornton. Looking across all U.S. exchanges, including the over-the-counter (OTC) market, the number of U.S.-based companies has fallen more than 30% since 2000, according to Audit Analytics.

Some Closer than Others: Inside The Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting [Forbes]
Aka: Francine goes to Omaha.


Deloitte’s leader makes her case for diversity in the executive suite [Boston Globe]
With less than a month to go as chairman of Deloitte, Sharon Allen continues making the rounds.

E&Y awaits ruling on challenge to ICAI [FT]
Ernst & Young is due to learn this month if it can proceed with a legal challenge that could derail an investigation into its auditing of Anglo Irish Bank, the property lender that had to be rescued by the Irish government in 2009. The Irish arm of the global accountancy network has objected to the way that the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland has probed its work at Anglo Irish before its nationalisation.

New H&R Block CEO Cobb gets $900,000 sign-on bonus [KCBJ]
H&R Block Inc. will pay new CEO William Cobb a base annual salary of $950,000 on top of a $900,000 cash sign-on bonus, plus the potential for millions of dollars in additional compensation. Former CEO Alan Bennett will stay with H&R Block full time until July 31, then get a monthly fee of $15,000 under a one-year consulting contract, according to a Friday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. After that, he’s eligible for a one-time cash bonus to be determined by the board.

PCAOB Chairman Doty Shares Some Confusing Statements Made by Auditors

Yesterday, prior to today’s excitement regarding Satyam and PwC, PCAOB Chairman James Doty spoke at the The Council of Institutional Investors 2011 Spring Meeting and he had some interesting things to say about the audit profession, specifically that auditors don’t always remember that “protecting investors” ≠ “client service”:

Time and time again, we’ve seen services that might be valuable to management reduce the auditor’s objectivity, and thus reduce the value of the audit to investors. While management may need the services, they just don’t have to get them from the auditor.

Audit firms call this “client service,” and it makes things terribly confusing. When the hard questions of supporting management’s financial presentation arise, the engagement partner is often enlisted as an advocate to argue management’s case to the technical experts in the national office of the audit firm. The mortgaging of audit objectivity can even begin at the outset of the relationship, with the pitch to get the client.

Consider the way these formulations of the audit engagement that we’ve uncovered through our inspections process might prejudice quality:

• “Simply stated we want management to view us as a trusted partner that can assist with the resolution of issues and structuring of transactions.”

• We will “support the desired outcome where the audit team may be confronted with an issue that merits consultation with our National Office.”

• Our audit decisions are “made by the global engagement partner with no second guessing or National Office reversals.”

Huh. Doty doesn’t name names but you could easily interpret those statements as one made by a client advocate, not a white knight for investors. He continues:

Or, to demonstrate how confusing the value proposition could be even to those auditors who try to articulate it:

• We will provide you “with the best, value-added audit service in the most cost effective and least disruptive manner by eliminating non-value added procedures.”

(What is a “non-value added procedure”? Whose value do you think the claim refers to? If a procedure is valuable to investors but doesn’t add value to management, will it be scrapped?)

In other words, “we promise that we won’t be pests” and “value” will be a game-time decision. And finally:

Or, consider this as a possible audit engagement formula for misunderstanding down the road:

• We will deliver a “reduced footprint in the organization, lessening audit fatigue.”

(What is “audit fatigue”? Does accommodating it add value to investors? How should investors feel about a “reduced footprint”?)

Yes, what is “audit fatigue”? Is that what happens to second and third-year senior associates every February/March? Or is this better articulated by “we know audits are annoying and our hope is that we won’t annoy you too much.”?

Taking this (the whole speech is worth a read) and everything else that happened today into account, it will be interesting to hear what Mr Doty has to say at tomorrow’s hearing.

Looking Ahead: Auditor Oversight [PCAOB]
Also see: Watchdogs caught nuzzling and wagging tails; auditor sales pitches exposed [WaPo]

Accounting News Roundup: U.S. Companies Aren’t Ready for IFRS; Limited Liability Is a Godsend; Out with the Old GM CFO | 03.10.11

IFRS Outlook: Hurry Up and Wait [CFO]
Asked which are the most crucial accounting issues that their companies are facing in 2011, 34% of the 472 CFOs who responded to the question ranked “Convergence to IFRS,” or international financial reporting standards, as number one. Cumulatively, the respondents ranked IFRS convergence higher than any other accounting issue. Yet asked to describe their companies’ “readiness to comply with global accounting standards,” 44.2% said they hadn’t “begun to address convergence,” while 38.8% said they were preparing, “but far from ready.”

Satyam Seeks SEC Approval To Shorten Period of Earnings Restatement [Dow Jones]
Satyam Computer Services Ltd. […] which is recovering from a fraud scandal, is in talks with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to shorten the time frame for which the company would need to restate its earnings under U.S. accounting standards, its chairman said. A restatement of earnings under U.S. accounting standards would be one of the prerequisites for Satyam to be able to relist on the New York Stock Exchange.

Auditors would deflate accounting bubbles [FT]
But it is right for regulators to impose high standards on auditors, who in servicing big quoted companies benefit from what looks suspiciously like an oligopoly. Accountants who habitually let a little air out of inflated asset values could help avert future market crashes. In an old joke, a chief executive asks his slick FD what the profits figure is. “What would you like it to be?” comes the reply. Sceptical auditors would guard against that.

Auditors Abandon Investors On Liability Limits [Forbes]
The Big 4 audit firms have always been preoccupied with significant legal liability in the US. Managing these cases requires exorbitant amounts of the US firms’ time and money. Their international umbrella firms and, in many cases, members firms in other parts of the world are also burdened. It’s my estimate that Big 4 leadership spends 75% of their time on litigation matters.


American Apparel CEO held teen as sex slave: lawsuit [Reuters]
American Apparel Inc founder and chief executive Dov Charney is being sued for $250 million by a woman who said he treated her as a sex slave when she was a teenage sales employee at the clothing chain. Irene Morales of Brooklyn, New York, has accused Charney, 42, of sexual harassment, creating a hostile workplace, gender discrimination and retaliation. American Apparel and directors at the company have also been named as defendants in the lawsuit, filed in a New York state court on Friday. Morales accused them of failing to protect her, and said they knew or should have known that Charney was a “sexual predator.”

Marijuana IPOs Provide Investors With Gateway to Cannabis Boom [Bloomberg]
The legalization of medical marijuana — permitted in at least 15 states — has kicked off a booming economy in ancillary goods. Startups such as Peterson’s GrowOp Technology Ltd. and General Cannabis Inc. (CANA) compare the phenomenon to the California gold rush, when the people making the real money were the ones selling pick axes and shovels. Both companies are planning initial public offerings, part of an effort to remove the stigma from what’s seen as a multibillion-dollar industry.

GM Announces CFO Transition [PR Newswire]
General Motors Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell today announced that he will leave the company April 1, 2011, having completed the largest public offering in history and stabilizing the company’s financial operations. Liddell, 52, joined GM in January, 2010 and led the company’s financial and accounting operations on a global basis. “Chris was a major contributor during a pivotal time in the company’s history,” said Dan Akerson, GM chairman and CEO. “He guided the company’s IPO process and established a good financial foundation for the future.”

Accounting News Roundup: KPMG Picks Up Sourcing Adviser EquaTerra; Rothstein Kass Adds Tax Principals; Careful When Traveling with the Boss | 02.22.11

Christie to Propose Small-Business Tax Cuts [WSJ]
Less than a week after he vetoed a slew of Democratic job-creation and tax-cutting bills, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will present a budget Tuesday that includes around $200 million in tax cuts, mostly for small businesses, a source familiar with the budget said. The figure represents a small portion of Mr. Christie’s overall state budget, details of which were kept tightly under wraps. However, the move underscores Mr. Christie’s determination to be seen as a tax-cutter even amid one of the worst budget crises in years.

KPMG to Provide Broader Global Outsourcing rough Acquisition of EquaTerra [PR Newswire]
“EquaTerra is an ideal fit for KPMG and we look forward to welcoming the EquaTerra team to the KPMG network family,” said Timothy P. Flynn, Chairman, KPMG International. “Through this acquisition, clients of KPMG member firms will benefit from the addition of a market-leading sourcing adviser to help them transform their organizations into more flexible enterprises in a way that meets today’s complex market demands.”

Satyam Settles; PwC Left In Lurch [Forbes]
Yes, this story is still out there. No, this doesn’t mean it’s over.

Big Increases in Tax Prosecutions (27%), Convictions (15%) [TaxProf Blog]
You’ve been warned.

Rothstein Kass Hires Three New Tax Principals [PR Newswire]
Rothstein Kass today announced the addition of three new principals to its ranks. Moshe Biderman, an alternative investment industry expert, has boarded as a Tax Principal in the Rothstein Kass Financial Services Group, and will be based in the Roseland, New Jersey office. David Logan, well-known within the alternative investment community, has also joined the company as a Tax Principal in the Financial Services Group. He is based in the firms’ New York office. Meanwhile, Robert Siegel, a tax planning and advisory services specialist to both public and private companies, has re-joined Rothstein Kass as a Tax Principal in the Rothstein Kass Commercial Services Group. He will operate from the firm’s Roseland location.

Women Still Earning Less than Men in Finance [FINS]
According to the data, with women in financial activities earn only 71% of what men earned: women made $732 a week, compared to $1,039 a week for men.


Dynegy to Replace CEO, Board After $665 Million Icahn Bid Fails [Bloomberg]
Bruce Williamson, 51, has resigned as chairman and will step down as CEO effective March 11, Dynegy said yesterday in a statement. Patricia A. Hammick, 64, who headed a board of independent directors reviewing the Icahn bid, succeeds Williamson as chairman, the company said. Board member David Biegler, 64, will become interim CEO. Chief Financial Officer Holli Nichols, 40, also will resign as of March 11.

Travel With the Boss: The Pluses and the Chasms [NYT]
Traveling with the boss offers an array of both professional opportunities and minefields. After all, a week of meetings, meals, airport delays and taxi rides can add up to more time together than a junior employee may normally experience in a year. There are also plenty of chances to err — a less-than-stellar client presentation, a technology mishap or perhaps a suggestion to eat at a famous barbecue place when the boss is a vegan.

Accounting News Roundup: IRS Amnesty 2.0; Auditors Under Pressure; Ernst & Young’s Middle East Plans | 01.25.11

A 2nd I.R.S. Amnesty for Offshore Accounts [NYT]
The Internal Revenue Service said on Monday that it would soon announce a new amnesty program aimed at encouraging wealthy Americans with hidden offshore bank accounts to come forward, declare their money and pay taxes owed. An I.R.S. spokesman, Frank Keith, said that the program would be formally announced “very shortly” and would not offer terms as generous as those put forth in a similar initiative last fall. Senior tax lawyers said on Monday that the announcement would most likely come within several weeks, ahead of the 2011 tax filing season. “The government wants to encourage people not to lie on their said Robert Katzberg, a white-collar criminal defense lawyer in New York with offshore bank clients.

Finance Hiring Outlook 2011 — Most Active Sectors [FINS]
This year the finance industry will continue bouncing back from a dismal 2008 and 2009 that saw hundreds of thousands of jobs disappear from the business. Wealth management firms, commercial banks and firms that extend mezzanine financing are just some that plan to add staff. Here are the five areas projected to make the most hires.

IRS Announces Tax Refund ‘App’ for iPhone [WSJ]
The free IRS2Go phone app, which works with iPhone or Android phones, allows taxpayers to check the status of their tax refund and obtain tax tips. “As technology evolves and younger taxpayers get their information in new ways, we will keep innovating to make it easy for all taxpayers to access helpful information,” IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said in a statement Monday.

Auditors Under Pressure In The UK: Or Are They? [Re: The Auditors]
Francine McKenna breaks it down.

Healthcare Locums suspends CFO; probes accounting flaws [Reuters]
British medical staffing firm Healthcare Locums Plc (HLO.L) suspended its chief financial officer and another top executive as it investigates serious accounting irregularities at the company. “Serious accounting irregularities have been brought to the attention of the board as a result of which the company will be carrying out an immediate investigation to consider the financial implications,” Healthcare Locums said in a statement. CFO Diane Jarvis and Executive Vice Chairman Kate Bleasdale had been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation, it said.


Satyam fraud not an accounting failure: ICAI [Business Standard]
The Satyam scam was not an accounting or auditing failure, but one of corporate governance, said Amarjit Chopra, president, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). Speaking on the sidelines of an international taxation conference here on Monday, Chopra said, “There were promoter shareholders, executive directors and directors, and the auditors were the last rung. On the other side, there were independent directors, one of whom was a dean of the Indian School of Business, but nobody questions the role of independent directors.” Chopra also wanted the government to look at the role played by independent directors, saying one worthwhile suggestion by them could prevent such frauds.

E&Y plans ‘dramatic’ Middle East investment, says CEO [Arabian Business]
No numbers from JT but he is quoted as saying, “We will invest what we need to have the leading practice on the ground.”

KPMG International Launches Annual Review 2010 [PR Newswire]
Available for your iPad.

Jim Quigley Would Really Like It if the Big 4 Could Audit in India

Deloitte is hiring about 3,000 people in India as part of their hiring bonanza and global CEO Jim Quigley dug into his bag of boilerplate statements to express his excitement:

“India is an extremely important market for Deloitte. As…Opportunities in the new economic environment emerge in India, Deloitte with its focus on hiring, developing, and deploying the best talent in the region, will help clients capitalise on these new market initiatives,” Deloitte Global CEO Jim Quigley told reporters here.

Right. So nothing new there. However, Quigs thinks that it’d be really swell if TPTB in India would change their mind about letting the Big 4 provide audit services there:

Quigley also made a case for India to open up its market and allow global audit firms to practice here, besides providing consulting and advisory assistance.

Allowing international accounting firms to practice here would require India to negotiate and allow the service to be accessed under the World Trade Organisation (WTO). At present, India has not opened up services like audit and law for foreign practitioners.

“I urge the Indian authorities to give a serious thought to allowing global audit firms to practice here. It is for the betterment of accounting professionals. A mutual recognition is required out of foreign direct investment,” Quigley said.

See? It’s not just about the biggest firm in the known universe getting bigger, it’s for the betterment for the entire accounting race. There’s so much fun to be had. The Satyams of the world are once in a blue moon.

How To Get “Monitoring The Conversation” Right

Being an incendiary, I’m used to getting unfollowed, ignored and even blocked (yes @mark_to_market blocked me, Lord knows who else, I stopped caring at 2000) and I’m definitely used to seeing the rats scatter across my stats every time I mention [insert firm or company name here] so it’s obvious to me from my various online interactions that some communications departments are keeping an eye on the conversation.

Since we’re all interested in the accounting side of things, I have to say that I notice more “official-looking” Twitter activity from firms based outside of the US (generally Big 4 coming from the UK or Canada) that leads me to believe most of them are at least keeping an eye on the Google alerts. PwC had the large pair to follow me once, very early on, and probably unfollowed when I started ripping on them for bumbling Satyam. Anyway, someone has to watch what’s being said and a company (or organization) can only choose to engage or not engage.

Engaging, of course, comes in several forms but to vaguely pin down what “engage” means, I’d define it as any activity that alerts others they are listening and/or give a shit.


For Comcast, they swarm Twitter responding to complaints about their crappy service, extortion boxes, and complicated remotes. Not all companies choose to take that route, nor should they be expected to. Protecting or guarding your brand means figuring out how much “engaging” is appropriate as any more or less than is appropriate for your particular organization’s needs will come off as fake, lame or just forced. And no one wants to interact with that.

For Dave and Buster’s, I give them credit for totally engaging me by following me. I’ve been publicly ripping on them for at least a week but I’m not doing it just to be mean, I’d really really like to know what went down with E&Y (welcome to your new gig, KPMG). I’ve never actually been in a D&B and any inquisitive tweets on my part were not returned but so far they haven’t sued me so I guess I’m doing well on that front.

Some agencies choose to completely ignore some of the more “questionable” interaction that isn’t exactly a pissed off customer. They’re already trained to handle that (any social media idiot can teach you how to talk to customers who talk about you in a list of 3 items or more) but they aren’t likely prepared for a fake accounting firm to ask them if newly-single D&B would want to try them out as auditors.

I don’t expect Dave & Buster’s to answer or acknowledge that but following me shows that they are at least aware I’m trying to egg them on and aren’t afraid of my bitch ass. Unlike the fake accounting firm, I’m a voice out there spreading whatever I know about [insert company] to a huge audience. They can’t send me 10,000 free tickets to shut my trap and I’m not exactly making a complaint they can resolve so what can they do? Keep an eye on me?

I admire that tactic. And may leave them alone… I’m more likely to do so if I get a tweet about what happened with E&Y but won’t be holding my breath for that particular @.

Why Your Firm Needs a Social Media Policy

If you work for a larger firm, chances are you’ve already got a social media policy that encompasses everything your firm does not want you to do online. For smaller firms and private practices, a social media policy can be the very last thing management considers implementing, assuming you will use your better judgment when conducting yourself online and don’t need the rules laid out. Oftentimes this mentality comes more from management’s unfamiliarity with social media than anything else. If they don’t use Twitter, how can they tell you how to conduct yourself on it?

But your online social life isn’t the same as a cocktail party at which you are representing your firm. Should you be able to say whatever you want on Twitter after hours? Can you post pictures of yourself getting wasted on Facebook?


The line is cut and dry when you are at a firm event or at a client but are you expected to represent your firm even when tweeting on your own time? If your firm does not have a social media policy, the answer is you have no way to know until it’s too late and you’ve pissed off the boss.

For firms, not having a social media policy can open the company up to all sorts of tricky trouble. Without knowing exactly what is expected of them, employees are forced to use their own judgment when it comes to their online behavior. Most are smart enough not to bash the boss in 140 characters or post embarrassing holiday party photos on Facebook but what’s to stop them from starting a blog that management finds offensive or keep them from tweeting about their work life in general? Absolutely nothing.

With hyper-connected Gen Y more than established in the workplace, a social media policy makes even more sense. Very few us get through a day without a Facebook update or a tweet and for some of us, our online persona can be a point of contention with management. Case in point, yours truly and Jr Deputy Accountant. Working in the industry meant that I had to be careful not to needlessly bash firm failures (like PwC and Satyam), lest I ruffle any feathers that could connect my site to my employer. Sometimes a disclaimer is helpful – something along the lines of “my opinion is my own and independent of any personal or professional affiliations” – but without having clear lines drawn between how you behave at work and how you behave on your own time in front of the entire Internet, it can be difficult to know what’s appropriate and what is not.

Last week we gave you some tips to keep your online life safe in the event that you don’t have a social media policy but that doesn’t mean your boss gets a pass. A social media policy is always a good idea and in this day and age there’s no getting around it, it’s necessary.

Accounting News Roundup: Tweedie’s Final Months; Lease Accounting Proposal Coming Soon; UCF Accounting Student’s Body Found | 08.16.10

Goldman CFO Viniar Gets $4.5 Million Options Windfall [Dow Jones]
“Goldman Sachs Group (GS) Chief Financial Officer David Viniar received $4.5 million by exercising more than 67,000 options as part of the investment bank’s disclosure Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

According to the filing, Viniar was among six top executives who have converted sing stock options into a windfall of $24 million, cashing in on benefits they received years before the government’s 2008 rescue of the nation’s biggest financial firms.”

Tweedie faces greatest challenge in last days [FT]
“Sir David Tweedie says his staff are concerned about what he might do in his last months as head of the International Accounting Standards Board, the powerful global rule setter that he has chaired for a decade.

‘I think people are quite worried about how I might do in my last six months here, with all my vendettas and all these grudges I’ve been storing up . . . I think they are worried that I might let them go,’ he says with a laugh.”

Rulemakers Plan Global Overhaul of Lease Accounting [Reuters]
“U.S. and international accounting rule makers are planning to propose an overhaul of lease accounting as soon as Tuesday, in a move expected to affect some $1.2 trillion in leased assets.

Traditionally, accounting rules have given companies a lot of leeway in how they record leases for assets ranging from store locations and restaurant equipment to airplanes and machinery. As a result, only certain types of leases appear on the balance sheet, while a majority of a company’s leases can often be kept off the balance sheet and hidden from an investors’ view.

But the Financial Accounting Standards Board, which sets U.S. accounting rules, and the London-based International Accounting Standards Board, which writes accounting rules for more than 100 countries, will aim to change all that this week by proposing to bring many of these assets onto corporate balance sheets.

‘It’s something that needs to be done,’ said John Hepp, a partner in accounting firm Grant Thornton’s professional standards group. ‘Lease accounting is broken.’ ”

Hunt for IASB head hits hurdle [FT]
“The search for a successor to Sir David Tweedie, chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board, which sets accounting rules for most of the world outside the US, has hit difficulty in the face of opposition in Europe to how the process has been conducted.

Sir David has presided over deteriorating relations since the financial crisis, with some senior European officials raising concerns about the transparency of his decision-making amid criticism that he has prioritised an effort to get the US to adopt international rules at the expense of European interests.”


PricewaterhouseCoopers taps Kevin Kelly to head Birmingham office [Birmingham News]
Kevin Kelly is new the managing partner for PwC’s Birmingham office. He replaces David Pickett who is the new OMP in Nashville.

UCF accounting student killed [Central Florida Future]
“Orange County Sheriff’s officials have released the names of the two people who died Saturday in an apparent murder-suicide, after a woman was found dead in an apartment about five miles south of UCF, and a man was found dead at a local shooting range.

Jennifer Lynn Roqueta, an accounting major at UCF who had just turned 21 in May and a server at Buffalo Wild Wings in Waterford Lakes, was identified as the victim on Sunday.

The suspect, who was identified as Ryan Ray Scurlock, 24, was found at the Shooting Gallery gun range located at 2911 39th St. in Orlando.

The investigation stems from Saturday’s incident in which the OCSO received several calls from Scurlock’s acquaintances requesting they check on his well-being because they had received alarming text messages from him that indicated he was distraught.”

Former Fed official joins KPMG [WaPo]
Jon Greenlee is joining the Tyson’s Corner office as a managing director in KPMG’s financial services regulatory practice. He previously worked as an associate director of risk management in the Fed’s division of banking supervision and regulation.

Satyam auditors to face Sebi probe [Hindustan Times]
“Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) will have to face an inquiry by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi). The Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed PwC’s petition challenging Sebi’s show-cause notice dated June 30, 2009 seeking to prohibit PWC from auditing accounts of listed companies.”

That’s not a tax bill, THIS is a tax bill: Crocodile Dundee star Paul Hogan hit with £8m in charges [Daily Mail]
“But in a American TV interview last year, Hogan, 70, vowed that the taxman would not get a penny more of his money and added: ‘Come and get me, you miserable b******s.’ ”

Eide Bailly merges with R T Higgins [Denver Business Journal]
Top 25 firm Eide Bailly’s merger with RT Higgins brings the the firm’s total staff to over 1,200 in nine states.

Three Things Public Accounting Can Learn From the World Cup

World Cup fever is sweeping the world, if not your office. Sure it’s not March Madness and a much needed relief from busy season but it is the world’s biggest athletic event. And regardless of whether you are wearing your country’s colors to the office or still confused as to what FIFA even stands for, your friendly employer should be paying attention; there’s plenty to learn from these games.


Loud noise is a powerful distraction – It’s rumored that Human Resources departments around the country are placing obscene orders for vuvuzelas, the long plastic horns that are causing a stir at the opening round games (and being banned at practically all future sporting events). Their hopes are for all Big 4 partners to use them when year 2010 bonuses and raises are announced. The news is expected to be rather bleak and disappointing, but the hope is that the horns make everything seem so much more FUN!

Seriously though – those horns sound like a swarm of drunk, football loving bees.

Timing is everything – The worst part about the World Cup games for football fans in America has been the timing of games. The first round games have been beginning at 7:30 am on the east coast and a bright 4:30 am in sunny California. Satyam hopes no one is watching their recent restatement troubles, much like West Coasters likely snoozed through Argentina/South Korea this morning.

Moral victories are still acceptable – In fact – if you spin things well enough – a moral victory is a real victory. (See Example A here) So what moral victories have we had recently?

E&Y is hiring…sorta. We still don’t know what that’s all about.

KPMG is making the suburbia-to-city commute just a thing of the past. How nice of them!

PwC raises might be decent after all. Or at least less awful than EY’s.

Deloitte made impacting the community a requirement.

McGladrey is on fire. Everybody out!

Hmm. Suddenly that 1-1 tie with the Brits doesn’t seem so mediocre, does it?

Why A Big 4 Failure Is Imminent–and What It Will Mean

In the wake of the Lehman Bankruptcy Examiner’s report, speculation about the future of Ernst & Young is rampant, as is the future of the audit profession as another colossal failure raises questions about the relevancy of Big 4 firms’ audits of public companies.

While many are focusing on the “who” and the “how”, there is a small band of experts that are focusing on a bigger issue. (Yes, there’s a bigger issue.) That is, what happens in the aftermath of the next Big 4 failure?

To put it more clearly, what will another firm failure mean for the audit practice business model? How will the markets react? Will the government attempt to intervene in some
These are questions that will have to be addressed in the post-failure environment, despite the desire of the Big 4 for the problem to magically resolve itself.


In order to try and give you an idea of the possible fallout from the next Big 4 firm demise we asked two experts to expand on their past writings, discuss the current environment, and to speculate a little about the future. We discussed this topic with our own Francine McKenna and Jim Peterson after poring over a dozen or so of their past posts, exchanging a multitude of emails and one very spirited conference call.

Francine’s recent post, “Ernst & Young Looking at More Civil and Criminal Liability for Lehman Failure” examined E&Y’s civil and criminal vulnerability as a result of the Bankruptcy Examiner’s report. She is a skeptic of audit firm relevancy and never put it more poignantly to her readers than in January 2009, “So, you may finally be saying to yourself: What’s the point of audits and auditors?”

Jim Peterson’s blog Re: Balance is dedicated entirely to the subject of the next Big 4 failure and what it means for the financial world. From the “Why this site” section:

A basic re-ordering of the relationship between large global companies and their accounting firms is inevitable — evolution can be postponed, but it cannot be stopped. But the need is neither well recognized nor openly discussed — the very reason for this site.

While the question of the possibility of a firm failure is moot when you seriously consider the items outlined below, the question of “which firm?” is also of little consequence. And to take it one step further, the timing of a large-scale failure is a pointless discussion, as Jim emphasized, “The axe that could fall on any of the firms, depending only on the pace of litigation management by the judges over-seeing their dockets.”

Jim presented us with five reasons that the audit franchise’s very existence is ineffective:

Accounting rules are politicized – The FASB and IASB have been belly aching for awhile now that political influence needs to be left out of accounting rules. The reality is – a reality that both the FASB and the IASB have not yet accepted – this is a fruitless exercise, “Accounting principles are not in the profession’s influence, much less their control, but are politicized and complex, and are subject to manipulation by issuers,” says Jim.

Users’ expectations are not achievable – Somehow everyone in the world – and audit firms are partly culpable here — got the idea that financial statement audits guarantee good information. Jim says, “Users’ expectations are set at zero defects – partly the fault of the profession for over-selling its capability and contributing to the so-called ‘expectations gap’ — a level that is not achievable in any system designed and run by human beings.” In other words, to remain competitive, audit firms gave the impression that they could deliver highly effective results with their audits. By their own inability to effectively explain the purpose and the pitfalls of financial statement audits (until they are on the defensive for failures) the profession has sealed its fate.

Hindsight puts the firms in a bad position when liability is determined – When a firm makes a mistake, the media, politicians and “experts” are shocked — SHOCKED! — that auditors could have missed these errors. This makes for an easy argument before jurors that typically do not have a good understanding of the risks involved prior to an audit occurring. “The legal standards for liability in the major countries, especially in the US, are elusive and subjective; they expose the firms to second-guessing by juries – when ‘after the fact’ means after events that are ugly and there have been visible eruptions of misbehavior. That means ‘bet the firm’ cases cannot be [effectively] tried.”

The liability is, simply put, HUGE – Jim sums it up: “The Big Four firms lack the financial capacity to answer multi-billion dollar exposures…and so they are forced either to pay settlements that are ultimately crippling to their business model, or to go to trial in ‘bet the firm’ environment.”

The vicious circle self-perpetuates – There will continue to be huge audit failures. The firms have not identified a solution, largely because they have not addressed past mistakes with substantive solutions. “The large firms continue to fall into claims of deficient performance — examples of which have continued to arise with depressing regularity despite protestations of improved regulation and performance — in no small part because the profession lacks a forum for real ability to learn, or to avoid repeating the same old mistakes of the past,” says Jim.

Francine also mentioned something many people in the profession forget or don’t realize at all, and that is that a failure could arise unexpectedly from a non-U.S. jurisdiction, “a regulatory action in another country that no one in the U.S. is expecting could be just as crippling to one of the firms as any of the problems in the United States,” she told us. The most imminent risk comes from the Satyam scandal that occurred in India on the watch of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The problem that the entire financial community in the U.S. finds itself in — not just the Big 4 – is that they are “locked into this arcane method of assurance,” according to Jim. The text of the auditors’ opinion has been essentially unchanged since the 1940s while the rest of the business world constantly evolves.

Stay tuned for part two of our discussion with Jim and Francine that will try to paint a picture of what the post-failure environment could look like.

Jim Quigley Takes Exception with the Notion That Deloitte Isn’t the Biggest Firm in India

You don’t need to tell Jim Quigley that it’s only a matter of time before Deloitte is the largest accounting firm ON EARTH.

In a Q&A with India’s Business Standard, Quigs was asked about the shrinking gap and you better believe the man is all over it like a hard-hitting interview at Davos:


After five years, we have eliminated the gap. They were once $2 billion larger than us.

At $26.1 billion for FY ’09, Deloitte is all over PwC ($26.2 billion in FY ’09) for the Biggest of the Big 4 in terms of revenue. However, JQ was a little more defensive when asked about the firm’s presence in India.

But if one looks at India, the perception is that you are the smallest amongst the Big Four.
I think we are the largest in India when you look at the number of people. We have 12,000 Deloitte people in India and we are on our way to 20,000 people.

In other words, “Thanks for bringing that up but since India revenue isn’t known, head count is how we’ll measure this. And in that particular case, we’re the largest. Next question.”

But a lot of them are your [Business Process Outsourcing] employees at Hyderabad.
Yes, we have about 8,000 people there. And we are growing that towards 15,000. They are focused on serving the global market place.

We have the number one audit share in India. Our audit share of the listed companies is larger than any of the competitors. My goal is to go for balanced growth in India. I want to be one-third audit, one-third tax and one-third consulting. Growing the tax and consulting businesses is easier than it is to move the audit share because companies don’t change auditors often. The fact that we start with the largest audit share is a terrific foundation for us. My aspiration is that I want to be the absolute leader in professional services, especially in important emerging markets like India.

Translation: “Are BPO people not employees? Why wouldn’t we count them? And since we are counting them we’re going to double that number, FYI. Oh, and we have the biggest audit share in India and it we’ll eventually be biggest in everything so then they’re won’t be room for ‘debate’ (making the air quotes).”

In how many years?
In three to five years, I want to be the absolute leader here. I have more people here than anyone else today.

That is, “Deloitte numero uno by 2015! Did I mention that we have the most people here?”

Then the best part, comes a little later when Quigs gets the Satyam question:

How has Deloitte strengthened its internal controls after the Satyam scandal?
I don’t think you can say that if one firm has had an issue with Satyam, therefore all professional services firms have a problem.n the aftermath of that fraud, and it was a management fraud first, to make sure that we did not have comparable circumstances, we went back and reviewed our 50 largest audits. We challenged our partners and thinking. We were satisfied that we have completed procedures that will reduce to a relatively low level the risk that an undetected error could occur. Our commitment to quality is tireless. And that is what you want the market leader to be.

So it sounds as though Satyam will be NBD for Deloitte, unlike some firms. We know India is a fraud paradise so it wasn’t was their fault; they were duped. Deloitte is undupable.

‘Deloitte wants to be the absolute leader here’ [Business Standard]

Walking the Opportunistic Line – What Should the Big 4 Do About India?

The developing issues in India have been covered by Going Concern on a fairly regular basis, so I suppose I should take a crack at the subject as well.

It can be very easy scroll past the articles on India, but I advise you not to; after all, as one of the BRIC countries (do your homework), there is an absolute necessity for the Big 4 to position their resources here. And no, I’m not referring to outsourcing.


Based on February research, the Gold Men are bold to state the following:

While it’s clear that BRICs nations tightened their financial conditions when the financial crisis hit at the end of 2008, they rapidly eased back afterwards. Chinese and Indian financial conditions have eased substantially post-crisis, they’re now looser than pre-crisis even. Brazilian conditions also remain very stimulative compared to its past decade. Only Russia looks tight and unstimulative historically.

Sounds like a cash cow, doesn’t it? The BRIC development has long been looked at as the next fat cow for accounting firms to feed off of; closing the gap between the SOX hey days and the inevitable eventual IFRS transition. A fundamental issue is how the firms chase after business in these emerging markets. Push too hard and get burned. Tip toe through the daises and be passed by your three bullish cousins. Either way, on the table at all times is the branding image of each firm.

No one wants a Satyam situation on their hands, because even though no one knows what Satyam actually does, PwC’s global image is at stake because of this situation. Think about ripple effects. The potential client that is ignorant of the situation and whose thought process is “I think PwC is in some kind of trouble in India” is a more volatile problem than a client that, you know, reads the paper every day. Protecting the welfare of client relationships, but seeds and established, is absolute priority in situations like this.

With the exception of those few public sponsorships, the Big 4 don’t spend much time in the presses. And you know what? The big wigs like it that way. After all, we’re all accountants, forced to work in broom closets and wet basements for long hours and GREAT financial gain.

So the quieter the better, because we all know how it turned out for the last one to steal the spotlight.

KPMG Survey: India is a Hotbed for Fraud Due to Competition, Diminishing Ethical Values

In this morning’s Roundup, we told you about the ICAI belly-aching about the Big 4 circumventing the rules in India to the point of extreme annoyance but technically not breaking said rules.

Strangely enough, BusinessWeek has a story today that cites a KPMG report that found that fraud is on the rise in India due not to shifty international accounting cooperatives but rather to, among other things, the pressure of increased competition in the last two years.


As you might expect, fraud due to financial reporting is the biggest problem. The report cited, “weak rules and the inability of authorities to enforce regulation.” Other things mentioned as opportunities for chicanery:

• “Volatile economic conditions”
• “Increasing business and technological complexities”

So does that mean opportunities for fraud are ubiquitous? Do the respondents really believe that India is the only place where this is happening?

And the attitude/lack of self-control part of your triangle:

• “Diminishing ethical values”
• “Failure on part of managers to act against deviations from established policies and processes”

Diminishing ethical values? Deviating from established policies? Again, the respondents can’t think this is unique to India so shall we just assume that it’s more widespread there?

Some other contributing factors cited were “executives vying for higher pay, weak internal controls and increasing competition…for market share.” But wait! KPMG’s survey said that there were “’encouraging signs’ that mechanisms for detection of fraud through internal audits had improved.” That’s nice despite the fact that sounds similar to something that Overstock management said in their earnings call yesterday.

If you have “weak rules” accompanied by spineless bureaucrats that won’t even enforce those rules, of course you’re going to have some problems. ICAI seemingly wants to blame everything on the Big 4 probably because that’s the going trend these days. We’re not saying you can’t throw some blame towards PwC for missing the phantom $1 billion at Satyam but if your financial reporting regulatory infrastructure is akin to the something out of Deadwood, circa 19th Century, then maybe you should be more consider making some fundamental changes.

Fraud Rises in India as Competition Increases, KPMG Study Says [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]

Accounting News Roundup: ICAI Claims Big 4 Is ‘Bending Laws’; There Is No FASB, IRS Conspiracy; Aggressive IRS Blamed for More Americans Severing Ties | 04.06.10

‘Big four audit firms bending laws in India’ [Times of India]
A committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in India that is investigating the Satyam fraud is claiming that the Big 4 is “circumventing laws while providing auditing services in the country.” According to the Times of India, the committee has claimed that the firms have been granted permission to provide consulting services but not “taxation services, auditing, accounting and book keeping services and legal services.” The firms are able to provide these services through affiliate firms like Price Waterhouse Bangalore vis-à-vis Lovelock & Lewes who were responsible for the Satyam audit.

The committee states that “Indian firms and [multi-national accounting firms] are defacto the same entities providing the assurance, management and related services and as such their operations are designed to circumvent the provisions of the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949,” and that information sought from some local firms has not been provided to determine if they have partnered with the Big 4.


Debunking the FIN 48 Conspiracy Theory [CFO Blog]
When the IRS proposed its latest rule for disclosing uncertain tax provisions it debunked a theory concocted by some that the FASB was in cahoots with the Service to provide treasure maps for companies that take aggressive tax positions. It was thought that when the FASB was developing FIN 48 (aka Topic 740) in 2006 that they were siding with the IRS in requesting companies to report specific information about those positions.

Not the most interesting conspiracy theory we’ve ever heard but a conspiracy theory nonetheless. Anyhoo, FIN 48 requires less detail about the uncertain positions than the new IRS proposal, thus, debunking the conspiracy, at least in former FASB member Edward Trott, “I think FIN 48 accomplished exactly what was intended…The IRS’s proposed rule makes it clear that [FASB] was able to provide information to investors without providing a gold mine of information to the IRS.” You can go back to your illuminati theories now.

More Americans Give Up Citizenship As IRS Gets Aggressive Overseas [Dow Jones via TaxProf Blog]
Just over 500 people renounced their citizenship or permanent status in the fourth quarter of 2009. The report, citing public records, states the figure is more than all of 2007 and double of 2008. Mostly people are creeped out by future tax increases and more regulation, including the requirements to report details of foreign bank accounts.

While that does drive some people out of the US of A, the IRS claims that there has been a push to get some out who have already surrendered their passports, “The IRS says some of the swelling of numbers of expatriations towards the end of 2009 occurred because the agency made a push to notify people that had already surrendered their passport, but had not completed the process by submitting the IRS form. Until that form is received by the IRS, these people are still subject to U.S. tax.” Or in other words, “GTFO and stay out.”

Dennis Nally: PwC’s Credibility with Our Clients Is Doing Just Fine, Thankyouverymuch

Awhile back we told you about PricewaterhouseCoopers Global CEO Dennis Nally admitting that the PwC brand had been damaged because of the whole Satyam fraud.

DN has done another interview with the Indian press and he says despite this litng is on the up and up in India for PwC. The long/short of it is that Dennis & Co. are going to keep giving their clients the P. Dubs experience now and forever.

Pretty wide range of questions but we’ve presented the highlights for you.


Was the PwC Magic 8ball broken?

Q: When you look back at it do you think you could have avoided all that happened?

A: I don’t know if we could have avoided it. As we all know this was probably one of the most significant frauds that suddenly has taken place here in India but even in the global market place. So I do not know how you avoid that type of situation.

Where was the P. Dubs swagger when the shit hit the fan? Did you realize that everything was f’d and didn’t know what to do?

Q: [T]he firm didn’t seem to respond in a confident manner. The impression was that it didn’t know what it had been hit by. Do you think it could have been handled better?

A: I think with hindsight you can always do things better and that is part of learning and trying to deal with issues. But quite frankly this was a major event and of course it took us time to understand the pattern and what transpired.

In fact we are still learning and everybody is still learning. Now all the facts aren’t quite out yet but I think we are in the business of being out in the public and when something like this happens and it happens in a negative way, we are part of that. That is just a reality of being in a profession that we are involved with.

Why is this PwC’s fault?

Q: What role did the auditors have to play?

A: You are into an interesting debate and discussion because what is the role on a professional standards for the detection of a fraud. That is one of the areas that has been the focus not only on Satyam but a broader profession wide issue and we certainly welcome that debate.

I think there is an expectation out there in the public that auditors uncover every single fraud that they are involved with and that is not what professional standards call for but there is the public perception that that is what we are there to do. I define that as the expectation gap. If that is the expectation then we need to make sure that we are focused on the right kind of procedures, the right kind of standards, the right kind of reporting which is quite frankly really different than what we do today.

Will you stop all future frauds in India forever and ever and ever?

Q: Can you tell us if India will never see a Satyam again?

A: I wish I had a crystal ball but I don’t. As I said when you have a situation like Satyam or a major fraud I suspect somewhere in the world of corporate reporting, you are going to see another situation like that. Our job is to make sure we are doing everything we can possibly do consistent with the standards that are out there to ensure that we play our role in that process to avoid them.

The new India managing partner came from Singapore? You got something against Indians?

Q:But he has not come from India, you didn’t appoint him from the India firm – he was brought in from Singapore?

A: Gautam is originally from India which is great so it’s little bit of coming home programme.

Q: But it’s not a vote of confidence on the India management?

A: It is not. This is all about ensuring that we get the very best talent to focus on an important market like India and that’s exactly what we have done.

You let everyone down. Speak to them!

Q: A word to all those investors who felt disappointed with PriceWaterhouseCoopers for not alerting them to what was going on in Satyam. What is your message to them today?

A: Whenever we have situation like this, right or wrong, whatever standards are we are part of that and for that we regret what has happened. But this firm is about quality. It’s about doing the right things, it’s about being here for the investor community and we are very much focused on that.

Satyam fiasco has not dented credibility with clients: PwC [Money Control]

Auditor

Are Big 4 Auditors Irrelevant?

Okay people, the calls for the complete obliteration of the accounting world have begun. Check that. It’s more or less the accounting world as it relates to auditors of public companies (i.e. Big 4 auditors).

Steve Goldstein at MarketWatch, for one, is NOT A FAN, “What precise purpose does it serve to have a supposedly independent auditor (paid for by the company) sign off on accounts? From Enron to Lehman to Satyam to Parmalat, it’s clear that the major accountants lack either the skill or the determination (or both) to ferret out fraud.”


So in case you didn’t catch it, he’s calling into question the Big 4’s (our assumption) integrity, competence and fortitude. Oh and before you start huffing about “it’s not the job of the auditor to detect fraud,” we’d argue that’s not even the point any more. Lehman was engaging in what a former CFO calls “shenanigans” that E&Y knew about for years and went along with it. Why? Because Lehman said everything was kosh.

Goldstein goes on:

Company executives already are forced to sign off on their accounts. When they are caught lying, companies face liability over disclosure.

So the threats that keep (some) companies honest are there regardless of whether the reports are audited. The outside auditors themselves are assigned a negligible value by the market.

A solution? Here’s two admittedly out-there solutions that the Securities and Exchange Commission probably won’t adopt.

One is quite simple: get rid of accountants. Who cares? They add no value, and their expenses weigh on the bottom line.

The other would be for someone else to hire the accountant. How about the company’s top five shareholders? While the likes of Fidelity would grumble about the added costs and the free-rider benefit for smaller shareholders, they would certainly have an interest in securing a far tougher audit.

Okay, Big 4 auditors, here’s your homework: explain why auditing for public companies isn’t irrelevant. We’ll listen, we swear. Or just start shooting off at the mouth if you feel it necessary. Goldstein isn’t the first to make this determination. Francine McKenna and Jim Peterson have argued that the value of an auditor’s opinion has been nil for quite some time and they’re both Big 876454 alums. It’s okay if you admit it. Acceptance is the first step.

What exactly is the point of having accountants? [MarketWatch]

The Purpose of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ New HR Service in India Isn’t Entirely Clear

PwC has launched a new HR service in India and one can only speculate as to the inspiration behind staging the move there (I’ll give you a hint: it starts with Satyam and ends in fraud) but let’s take a look at the official spiel before we rush to judgment.


India’s Financial Express:

Global audit firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, announced the launch of its human resources service ‘Saratoga’ in India along with India Human Capital Effectiveness survey (HCE), a top company official said.

“Saratoga is the most extensive database of HR metrics available globally. We are launching it in India and we have already got an immense response from Indian companies,” PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Partner and Global HRM network leader, Richard Phelps, told PTI here.

On the surface, Saratoga looks like little more than an inventory count of companies’ human capital, which means something when you have to keep a leash on a bunch of customer service guys with fake first names (how else would you keep track of them?).

See, PwC cares. They care that JP Morgan outsources call center jobs to India – I know this because I’m a Chase customer (leave me alone) and have had the misfortune of dialing in. Meanwhile, JPM’s off-shore hiring spree continues and someone’s got to handle all that “human capital”, why not PwC?

I don’t care that some guy in India has a job, I care that he calls himself Patrick and pretends to have a bizarre hybrid Texas/New Jersey accent. Is there going to be a check box on these PwC Saratoga metrics for guys who fake 50s-style American first names from Indian call centers?

I’m not bitter. It’s good that PwC cares about the global community and wants to reach out to facilitate cheap labor for its audit clients like JP Morgan (for the record I use BofA too and they have the decency to hire air-headed middle-state chicks named Kelly and Sarah).

Could you imagine what would happen if the Fed stepped in and barred PwC from auditing anything that’s moving here in the US? Hell, it happened in India.

Good luck with that human capital census or, uh, whatever it is, PwC. I mean that.

UK Financial Reporting Watchdog: ‘We don’t need no Big 5’

Solutions.jpgEditor’s Note: Want more JDA? You can see all of her posts for GC here, her blog here and stalk her on Twitter.
Once upon a time, there were 8. And then 7. And then 6. And then 5. And now 4. I’ve thrown out the idea of a large audit failure sending one of the Big 4 tumbling but the idea has been met with resistance; and naturally so, they’ve survived this long, right?


Accountancy Age:

Stephen Haddrill, the new Financial Reporting Council chief executive, in his first interview since taking the post, said there was little chance a global challenge to the Big Four – PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, Deloitte and KPMG – would emerge in the near future.
“I don’t think it is achievable in the near term and the priority for us has to be that we are prepared for the worst and that is where I will put my focus,” he said.

To read the rest of Haddrill’s interview with Accountacy Age, one might be inclined to point out that the guy is only a little bit pessimistic and for good reason. The Big 4 cannot exist indefinitely as they have, deflecting fines each time they bumble a big audit. It isn’t a problem exclusive to the UK and in fact, the Big 4 might not realize it but they are fighting the battle to save American capitalism. To that end, sacrifices may be required in the name of “competition”, whether or not the Big 4 are ready to embrace the idea.
They call them the Final Four because it is widely believed that the large accounting firms cannot lose another player but what’s to stop regulators — either Internationally or here at home — from busting down the joint and shutting one down? Anyone forgotten Satyam?
The firms — clever Trevors that they are — already know regulators are on their asses and behave accordingly. Crossing their Ts and dotting their Is, it was incredibly easy for PwC to say “Satyam wasn’t our problem” here in the states just as they’d have done if it had gone down in the UK, Dubai, China… it doesn’t matter, that’s what the lawyers get paid for.
Anyone get the feeling we’ve got a problem on our hands or is that just me? “Preparing for the worst” eh? Sounds like a plan.

Chairman of PwC India Steps Down, Wants Time to ‘Look at Other Things’

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for pwclogo.thumbnail.jpgThis is the latest development in the Satyscam that P. Dubs hasn’t been able to wish away.
Ramesh Rajan still had a ways to go in his current four year term as the India Chair which might suggest that someone told Ram that his services were no longer needed:

Rajan, who was at the helm of affairs when the Satyam scam broke early this year, had about one-and-a-half years remaining of his four-year tenure as the chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers India network of entities (PwC India). When contacted, he refused to divulge exact reasons behind his sudden exit, and said he wanted time to “look at other things” within the firm and “allow someone else to take charge of the operations.”

Gosh, that’s a little mysterio. Apparently he was having such a good time that he wanted someone else to experience the fun? Okay then. The new lucky duck is Gautam Banerjee, and he is coming over from Singapore pronto to take the wheel.
We’re confident he’ll do a bang-up job but we’ll take this opportunity to remind him that he’s still got some auditors in jail and a lot of pissed investors that want PwC to pony up. Probably should get crackin’.
Satyam effect? Chairman of PwC India steps down [Times of India]

Review Comments | 12.02.09

Thumbnail image for 200px-KPMG.svg.pngInternal auditor faces charges in Satyam scandal – India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) also claims that have more evidence against PwC. [Accountancy Age]
Does Sarbox Reduce Restatements? – One study suggests just that, “The study, from research firm Audit Analytics, suggests that companies that have not yet had their auditors review their internal-control reports are more likely to have a restatement than larger companies, even though they claimed to have effective controls.” [CFO]
Stanford Offshore Investors Suspected of Cheating IRS – We realize this is hard to believe. [Bloomberg]
Bank of America to Repay $45 Billion in TARP – Drinks are on Ken Lewis. [WSJ]
SEC Obtains Asset Freeze Against Co-Founder of Canopy Financial in $75 Million Offering Fraud – Not to mention the stolen letterhead: “According to the SEC’s complaint, the fraud came to light when KPMG discovered that Canopy had been claiming that its financial statements for 2007 and 2008 were audited by KPMG. In fact, KPMG had never been retained by Canopy to audit its financial statements and had never opined on the financial condition of the company. KPMG issued a cease-and-desist letter to Canopy demanding that it stop the unauthorized use of KPMG’s name and the audit report purportedly issued by KPMG.” [SEC Press Release]

Preliminary Analytics | 11.27.09

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for becks.jpg• Have a wonderful Buy Nothing Day friends. We’ll check on you gluttons for punishment (i.e. those of you working) later today.
I’m a celebrity, get me out of Dubai! – Including you-know-who. [FT Alphaville]
India Mahindra Satyam hit by new charges; outlook uncertain – Apparently this fraud could be way larger than the $1.5 initially reported. [Reuters]
Open Letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (Part 4): Patrick Byrne Ignores Real Issues As He Vilifies Grant Thornton – “I am not surprised by Patrick Byrne’s desperate lies given that every single financial report issued by the company since its inception has at least initially failed to comply with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and SEC disclosure rules.” [Sam Antar/White Collar Fraud]
You Lie! No, You Lie! – In case you can’t get enough of Patrick Byrne [Floyd Norris/NYT]

Review Comments | 11.05.09

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for GT_elves.jpg88% of senior financial executives believe positions of CEO and chairman of the board should be separate – The latest from the press release elves. [GT Press Release]
California Dreaming in Congress – “California just jacked up its withholding rates to force people to overpay their taxes, because the State decided it needs the money more than the subjects do. Most people find this sleazy and outrageous, which means Congress finds it inspirational.” [Tax Update Blog]
IAASB Alerts Auditors to Get Skeptical on Confirmations – Don’t worry, the PCAOB is on the case too. [Compliance Week]
PwC off the hook over Satyam? Not so fast! – Dennis Howlett has questions about yesterday’s Satyam ruling. [AccMan]
House Extends Jobless Benefits and Home Credits – Passed by 391 votes. Next stop: BO’s desk. [NYT]

PwC Global Revenue Was Down or Flat, Your Choice

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for pwclogo.thumbnail.jpgThe spin continues in accounting firm earnings season, this time courtesy of P. Dubya. The Firm reported global revenues of $26.2 billion, according to today’s press release. This was down from fiscal year 2008 by approximately $2 billion from $28.2 billion in global revenues when adjusted for foreign exchange fluctuations.

Assurance services increased slightly, rising 4.8% while tax and advisory revenues both declined 7.5% and 11.4%, again, when considering the foreign exchange fluctuations.

North America’s revenues held up well, only dropping 3.2% ($9.3b to $9.0b) while Western Europe, PwC’s largest region in terms of revenue, had a 11.6% drop in revenues. The drop for this region was primarily due to the strength of the U.S. Dollar.

Denny Nally remains stoic despite Satyam the challenges out there:

“The past 12 months have been challenging for our network, with most PwC member firms facing tough economic conditions. While PwC’s results for FY 2009 are not as good as we would have liked, they have held up well in the circumstances,” said PwC Global Chairman Dennis M. Nally. “In addition the combination of first rate customer service and very competitive pricing has allowed us to increase our market share in many of our markets around the world.

“The ability of so many PwC member firms to successfully sustain their business and their people through this difficult period provides us with a strong platform from which to serve clients in the recovery and to continue to invest in our own growth. While we cut our costs substantially, the PwC network also hired about 30,000 new people and increased its total workforce to more than 163,000 demonstrating a commitment to attracting the right people to serve clients around the world.”

Data for number of employees in fiscal year 2009 isn’t up yet on the global website but we’ve got no reason to not believe Denny when he says that they’re attracting the right people and getting rid of people that cost too much.

Discuss the revenue results and Denny’s vision of the ‘PwC Experience’, which is probably nothing like an acid flashback, for the future in the comments.

PricewaterhouseCoopers* post FY2009 global revenues of US$26.2 billion [Press Release]

*PwC just wants everyone to know that there’s this thing called PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited (PWCIL) that doesn’t provide services to clients and doesn’t act as an agent for the member firms. PWCIL is NOT LIABLE for anything that these member firms f*ck up because that’s just ridiculous. If they screw the pooch, they are TOTALLY ON THEIR OWN. Don’t come crying to us about an audit failure because we will deny ’til we die. This has nothing to do with Satyam, btw. It doesn’t. We swear.

PwC India Auditors Found Guilty of Professional Misconduct

pwclogo.thumbnail.jpgThe Institute of Chartered Accountants in India (ICAI) have found two former employees of Satyam and four Price Watherouse India auditors guilty, according to Times Now:
Continued, after the jump

Two Satyam officials found “prima facia guilty” are Ex CFO V Srinivasu and Senior Vice-President, Internal Audit Cell, V S Prabhakara Gupta. The disciplinary committee also found four auditors from Price Waterhouse, Bangalore–S Gopalakrishnan, Srinivas Talluri, P Shiva Prasad and C H Ravindranath prima facie guilty of professional misconduct, [ICAI President, Uttam Prakash] Agarwal said.

The exact repercussions of this are not clear so we’re trying to run someone down at PwC to enlighten us. Hell, if you’ve got the knowledge, please share. In the meantime, as far as we know, two of the auditors are still in jail which probably made for a less than pleasant summer vacation.

Your Jailed Accountants Update

iStock_000001511480XSmall.jpgThe two P. Dubs-India partners rotting in a prison because, according to them, we’re duped by the geniuses at Satyam, got their vacation extended to August 19, according to The Business Standard. We have no idea if India’s prisons are the PMITA variety but at the very least, it’s crazy-ass hot.
Hyd court extends Raju’s remand till August 19 [The Business Standard]

Firm Watch: PwC

pwclogo.thumbnail.jpgThis week we’re putting together a series of posts on the six largest accounting firms to give you an idea what their latest image seems to be based on the latest news and rumors we’ve read or heard about them. At the end of the week we’ll wrap up with a completely unscientific and probably unfair ranking which you will be allowed expected to take exception with.
We’ll start with P. Dubs because they seem to have had the uncanny ability to attract bad news lately:
Get the gory details, after the jump


Satyam Fraud in India – $1b fraud, two auditors rotting in jail, Satyam throwing the Firm under the bus every chance it gets. This is the story that will definitely not go away.
Discrimination Suit in London – GBP 40 million lawsuit, including alleged sexual harassment. P. Dubs is saying the lawsuit is “without merit” but at the very least there are a number of bigots working there.
• Rumors of PwC interns working 60 hour weeks in the New York office. Might as well give them an idea of what they’re in for, right?
• Chosen to take a suicide mission contract in Somalia to monitor the incoming aid
Wage and hour lawsuits in California – Listed as defendant in three cases
Huron Consulting Restatement – P. Dubs isn’t mentioned in this debacle. YET.
Madoff exposure – listed as a defendant in over a dozen lawsuits.
As for layoffs, we haven’t heard much lately. There was a rumor that the PwC Denver office had let some associates go in the past few weeks but we don’t have any more details than that. Layoffs that have occurred in the past year at PwC we’re rumored to be of the stealth variety and not related to the recession which nobody really believes.
So, that does it for P. Dubya for now. What are we missing? Whatever office you work out of, send us the latest scoop on layoffs, performance reviews, promotions, pay raises, bonuses, juicy gossip, scandalous stories, etc. to tips@goingconcern.com and we’ll update the posts appropriately throughout the week.

The SEC Takes a Trip to India

140px-United_States_Securities_and_Exchange_Commission.pngThe SEC sent a team to India in order to make sure that everything was hunky-dory re: Satyam. The three-member team met with Ashwani Kumar, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director, and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The SEC also met with the KPMG team that is responsible for restating Satyam’s balance sheet.
No details were given on any of the meetings but we imagine that the SEC/KPMG meeting went something like this:
SEC Bureaucrat: Hello KPMG India.
KPMG Paper Pusher: Hello SEC America.
SEC: How are things progressing?
KPMG: Oh this is a blast. Restating balance sheets is a dream job. We were just talking about how we wish we could work in the States so we could do stuff like this all the time.
SEC: What do you mean?
KPMG: Well, there seems to be much more fraud and other problems in the United States than here in India so the need for forensic accountants would be extremely high.
SEC: Are you insinuating that the Commission is unable to detect fraud?
KPMG: Well there have been some signficant fraud over there lately that you guys pretty much ignored or missed. Either way, it makes for a high demand for forensic accountants. Plus, we hear that the guy who tried warning you about the Madoff fraud has issues but still won an award.
SEC: This meeting is over. Keep us informed.
Satyam scam: SEC team meets CBI, SEBI, KPMG officials [The Hindu Business Line]

PwC Needs a Lesson or Two in Spin

240px-PricewaterhouseCoopers.svg.pngIn, lets talk about anything but Satyam, PwC news, the largest Big 4 firm was rated highest among professional service providers on brand recognition in the Brand Finance Top 50 ranking of Best Brands of British Origin.
“Chairman of PwC [in the UK] Ian Powell said the recognition was ‘testament to the strength and reach of our clients, the talents of our people, and the contribution that we make to the wider community.'”
We won’t take anything away from PwC but sometimes bad news is the best news for brand recognition. So this whole Satyam thing is probably not getting the credit it deserves. Come on P. Dubs! Lemons into lemonade!

PwC most recognised professional services brand
[Accountancy Age]