June 23, 2018

Accounting News Roundup: KPMG Settles with DOL; Brown-nosing; Bad Retirement Plans | 06.13.17

kpmg china medical

Settlements

Last week, the Department of Labor announced that KPMG agreed to settle allegations of discrimination against 60 Asian job applicants for audit associated positions at its Short Hills, N.J. office from late 2011 to early 2013:

KPMG does not acknowledge any liability. It agreed to pay $420,000 in back pay, interest and benefits to the 60 Asian applicants for associate audit positions. The company will also provide associate audit job opportunities to six affected applicants as positions become available. In addition, KPMG will take steps to ensure its personnel practices, including record-keeping and internal auditing procedures, meet legal requirements.

I think it’s strange that the firm “will also provide associate audit job opportunities to six affected applicants as positions become available.” Do any of these people still want jobs with KPMG? Or did the firm offer to make these jobs available? Either scenario is baffling. Who would want a job there after suing them? Or why would the firm assume they would?

NJ.com reports that KPMG responded to the news by boasting about its hiring practices: “KPMG has long been recognized as a great place to work and build a career, including being named the 2017 Best Employer for Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) by the Asia Society.”

Oh, come on. This is like Hannibal Lecter bragging about the patients he helped and managed to refrain from eating. You didn’t cause harm to every person you came in contact with! Way to go!

Sucking up to the boss

When you work in a professional environment, everyone endures a certain amount of brown-nosing. Some engage the very minimum because their own pride is more important than bestowing flattery on a superior, while others rely on it to distract from their incompetence.

But then there are situations where the boss thrives off the adulation. He wants all the praise you can throw at him because deep down, the insecurity is festering, and it can only be tamed — briefly — by the fawning of others. If you’re in one of these work situations, you have to set aside your dignity for however long is necessary to survive. And man, I pity you:

“The greatest privilege of my life is to serve as vice president to the president who’s keeping his word to the American people,” Mike Pence said, starting things off.

“I am privileged to be here — deeply honored — and I want to thank you for your commitment to the American workers,” said Alexander Acosta, the secretary of labor.

Sonny Perdue, the agriculture secretary, had just returned from Mississippi and had a message to deliver. “They love you there,” he offered, grinning across the antique table at Mr. Trump.

Reince Priebus, the chief of staff whose job insecurity has been the subject of endless speculation, outdid them all, telling the president — and the assembled news cameras — “We thank you for the opportunity and the blessing to serve your agenda.”

“One by one, let’s go around the room and say great things about me,” is not a real quote from President Trump, but you wouldn’t be surprised if it were, would you? God help you if your boss has said that.

Accountants behaving badly

If the aspirations for your embezzlement scheme include walking away with a few million dollars, please note that when you are caught, the penalties will be severe. David Carl Hayes of Springfield, Mo. and Donald Rice of Middletown, Del. are both learning this the hard way. Each man helped himself to around $3 million in their scams, and both are facing prison sentences of up to 30+ years.

Both of these men are in their 50s, which means they could spend the rest of their lives in jail. And maybe that’s not likely, given a number of factors, but I’m surprised by people who’d even risk it. You don’t hear about people wanting to retire to minimum security prisons, eating Salisbury steaks with sporks and walking around the yard, do you? No, you do not.

Of course, maybe these schemes were their retirement plans? That’s one more argument for saving now: You don’t want to be in a position where you have to steal later. That tagline will be part of a sentimental ad for an asset management company by Christmas.

Previously, on Going Concern…

Megan Lewczyk wrote about when your responsibilities don’t match your title. In Open Items: from public to private after 7 years.

In other news:

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How to find the “best and brightest” [CPA Success]
This may be a better topic for the friendly HR professional but figuring out who these future accounting rock stars are before they show up on their first day is “more art than science”, as Tom Hood notes.
Popular to some old-school thought, GPA does not always indicate who’s going to dominate in the real world and “soft skills” — besides being a terrible term — are in more demand than ever.
Help The The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago Help Haiti [Re: The Auditors]
The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago is having a drive today and since Francine’s friend is the CFO, we’ll be glad pass around the news:

One of my oldest and dearest friends, Guillermo Becerra, is the CFO of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. I asked him how I could help him, and the Red Cross, during what must be an incredibly busy time post-Haiti earthquake.


“The Chicagoland community will come together on Thursday, January 21 to give to the American Red Cross as we help the people of Haiti recover from the catastrophic earthquake that devastated their country last week.
The Chicago Helps Haiti media relief drive begins at 5 a.m. and lasts until 11 p.m. Nearly every TV and radio station in our area will be promoting this fundraising effort throughout the day. You can help too, by giving via phone or online, and sharing your thoughts here, on Facebook or Twitter, and by asking others to give.
To give from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. CALL 1 (877) 565-5000 or visit www.chicagoredcross.org/haiti

Plus, we’re guessing that if you give, your 2009 tax return isn’t much of a concern.
If Your Password Is 123456, Just Make It HackMe [NYT]
The Times is concerned that you have a shitty password which puts you at a huge risk of being hacked by someone sitting in their parents’ basement.

Imperva found that nearly 1 percent of the 32 million people it studied had used “123456” as a password. The second-most-popular password was “12345.” Others in the top 20 included “qwerty,” “abc123” and “princess.”

You know who you are, ye with stupid passwords. Also, don’t even think of changing it to “654321” because that drops in at #19.

Accounting News Roundup: Haiti Relief Passes Senate; Accounting Job Surge? CPAs Basically Control People’s Lives | 01.22.10

Senate votes for faster tax breaks for Haiti gifts [WaPo]
As expected, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation yesterday that allows taxpayers to deduct donations made for Haiti relief efforts. You have until the end of February to donate so that it may be included on your 2009 return.

Maybe it’s bad legislation but we’ve been over that.

CPA Jobs Set for Surge. But When? [CPA Trendlines]
That’s the question, isn’t it? Rick Telberg, who has done a great job of tracking the Bureau of Labor Statistics on accountants, points out that while the latest BLS forecasts a 22% increase (279,400 jobs) by 2018, there’s no indication that it’s happening now:

[M]any tax, accounting and finance professionals are still slogging through the Great Recession. The Association for Financial Professionals, for instance, reported that about one in four respondents say their organizations will contract in 2010. At the same time, a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of private companies found 43 percent of CEOs and CFOs still budgeting no expansion over the next 12 months to 18 months. The data just seem to reinforce economic uncertainties and a weak outlook.


The BLS is looking past the past the recession for the jump in opportunities but just when the hell will that be? Just because the economy isn’t contracting currently, doesn’t mean it won’t in the future and this “recovery” has been tepid at best.

Theismann to CPAs: You Are the Conscience of America [Web CPA]
Joe Theismann gets it. He knows that without all of you out there in CPA land, your clients don’t stand a chance. They’d be finished. Finished!

“You’re the conscience of America,” Theismann told conference-goers. “You are the survivors in tough times. With accountants, I’m not looking for someone to file taxes and do my financials. I can do that myself online. In your position you can basically control people’s lives.”

So get out there and control somebody’s life. Joe Theismann is expecting it.