Accounting News Roundup: Andersen vs. Andersen and Lame Lunches | 05.31.17

accounting-news-andersen-tax-pwc-digital-lunch-learn

There’s no learning going on here.

Andersen vs. Andersen

It’s never been clear to me what the France-based Arthur Andersen & Co. was trying to accomplish by claiming to be the “rightful holder” of the name “Andersen.” It seemed to be nothing more than corporate mischief but after they were confronted by Andersen Tax for being imposters, AA&Co. doubled down, claiming that Andersen Tax had made “misleading, defamatory, denigrating and outrageous statements.”

So at that point, the situation feels like a shakedown: a scheme to extort money from a firm with an iconic name albeit a vulnerable one. But now that Andersen Tax has successfully earned a third victory in the trademark dispute, it’s clear that the only thing AA&Co. has accomplished is get their mark to spend a lot on lawyers. And Andersen Tax CEO Mark Vorsatz says his firm is more than willing to do that:

“I think that this group has been exposed for what they are. We will continue to aggressively pursue actions against this group and enforce our legal rights,” Vorsatz said. “For all of the partners and employees of Andersen Tax, and for all of those who had worked at Arthur Andersen, we have every commitment to prosecute our rights against this attempt to take advantage of the Andersen brand.”

I really hope all this makes it into the Arthur Andersen Gallery.

Accounting firms do everything now

Here’s a Wall Street Journal story about PwC acquiring a Swedish design agency called Pond. Although Going Concern picked up on this trend almost four years ago, there’s been more coverage in the mainstream press lately because these digital businesses have grown a lot:

PwC’s digital services division employed 12,776 staffers worldwide at the end of 2016, up from 4,127 a year ago. The unit increased revenue 63% year-on-year to $3.27 billion, the company said. PwC says 80% of its digital services clients also use the firm’s wider consulting services.

Sidenote: One annoying trope that Big 4 digital bigwigs like to use is the surprise from their clients when “see a guy with a beard and a set of tattoos” comes into the meeting.

Anyway, with all this success, PwC has found a little sass:

On WPP’s full-year earnings call in March, its chief executive, Martin Sorrell, said there had only been a couple of occasions when his agencies had been up against consultancies for substantial pieces of business. “I don’t think [the threat of consulting firms is] that significant,” Mr. Sorrell said.

Tom Puthiyamadam, global digital leader at PwC, said he agrees with Mr. Sorrell.

“You know why? He’s in the wrong pitches,” Mr. Puthiyamadam said. “He’s actually solving the wrong problem. He’s solving yesterday’s problem on driving more leads, through better campaigns and better creative. Meanwhile, the CEO, his reaction is: ‘I want to take down my marketing spend, not increase it’.”

I think the best way for advertising agencies to fight back is to give accounting firms a taste of their own medicine. Maybe they should start performing audits? Or get into the international tax avoidance game? I think companies would appreciate more variety.

Lunch

No one goes to restaurants for lunch anymore and that makes restaurant people sad, but this is also incredibly depressing:

When he isn’t on the road for a Detroit-based building products company, Mr. Parks works from his home in Carlisle, Ohio, and eats there. When he meets clients at their offices, they have food delivered and work during what they call a “lunch and learn.”

I don’t want to learn at lunch, okay? I like giving my brain a break while I’m wolfing down a 1,000-calorie burrito.

Brought to you by Accountingfly

Brad Hughes of Beech Valley Solutions wrote about employer-provided benefits.

Previously, on Going Concern…

Some BDO Partners getting pied in the face.

In other news:

Get the Accounting News Roundup in your inbox every weekday by signing up here.

Image: monkeybusinessimages/iStock

Have something to add to this story? Give us a shout by email, Twitter, or text/call the tipline at 202-505-8885. As always, all tips are anonymous.

Related articles