June 23, 2018

Accounting News Roundup: Grant Thornton’s Revenues and Accountants Are Worried About the Cloud | 09.28.16

Grant Thornton revenues

There's almost no point in large accounting firms reporting their revenue, but hey, the Purple Rose of Chicago had a pretty good year. The US firm's self-reported, unaudited revenue of $1.65 billion is a record, up 11.4% from last year. And looky what led the charge:

Audit was up 6.3 percent, Tax increased 9.4 percent and Advisory grew 17.9 percent. Advisory’s momentum was bolstered by the April acquisition of ARRYVE, a business consulting firm based in Bellevue, Washington. Over the last two years, Advisory’s revenue grew 33.3 percent. Most of Grant Thornton’s industry groups also grew in 2016.

That's by far the most interesting thing in the press release. Then if you're feeling ambitious and peek at Accounting Today's ranking of firms by revenue, you learn that the $1.65 billion would be enough to make GT the 5th largest firm in the US but only if RSM's revenue growth this year was, like, 1% or less.

Reminder: Big 4, et al., accounting firms love to talk about values like integrity and responsibility and trust etc. etc. but eschew transparency. The irony is not lost on us.

Accountants are worried about the cloud

Still! And even those who have cloud-based products figure out a way not to use them:

In a recent study we found that not only were company-mandated tools used by fewer than half of respondents, they were regularly being circumvented in ways that undermine security and productivity, which in the end costs firms—not only in terms of time wasted, but in billable time lost.

You'd think that appealing to people's bottom line would convince them to take the use of collaborative technology seriously, but these are probably the same firm leaders who insist on doing all the work.

Has Donald Trump released his tax returns?

Nope! As we've mentioned, the likelihood that an IRS employee would leak the returns is pretty slim since it's a felony to disclose confidential tax information. The Chicago Tribune interviewed Richard Schickel, a former former IRS senior revenue officer who was featured in that Washington Post article and he's wonderfully quotable:

"From what I've heard from friends in Washington, they're talking about (offers of) $20 million for that tax return," Schickel, 58, said from his home in Tucson, Ariz. "But you'd end up going to jail for a very long time. This is Snowden stuff."

And he characterizes the "slim" in "slim chance":

"It might take a long time, but yeah, you'd get caught," he said. "I couldn't see anyone leaking this unless they were dying of cancer or something like that."

University partner viewpoint: Are you MBA material?

If you aspire for the C-suite one day, an MBA could help you get there. But how do you know if it's a good option for you? This Manhattan College post will walk you through some considerations including your motives, work experience, GMAT scores and more.

Previously, on Going Concern…

I dug through the Weatherford SEC enforcement order. Elsewhere on Weatherford, Francine McKenna reports that it's unlikely that the oil services company will claw back any executive compensation and includes this fun fact:

Olga Usvyatsky, the vice president of research at Audit Analytics, told MarketWatch that Weatherford’s combined restatement was the largest such disclosure by a public company since 2010.

In other news:

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Accounting News Roundup | 01.21.10

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.