June 23, 2018

Accounting News Roundup: SoFi, Competitive Poaching, and Accounting Firms Can Do Anything | 09.12.17

accounting news sofi pwc dla piper wipfli

Just slowly dying over here.


Late on Sunday, The Wall Street Journal reported that fintech unicorn SoFi had been dealing with a workplace culture issues, specifically, allowing an environment that is openly hostile and sexually improper towards women. This included the former CFO, Nino Fanlo, who:

would commonly make comments about the physical appearance of female employees and touch their shoulders in ways that made them uneasy, according to ex-workers who experienced both behaviors.

Fanlo told the Journal that he “occasionally complimented both men and women’s outfits and touched both men and women’s shoulders to try to be friendly,” and claimed it “wasn’t sexual.” He also said that no one complained, but if they had, he would’ve stopped and said, “Geez, I’m sorry.”

This bizarre lack of awareness happened on the watch of co-founder and CEO Mike Cagney who, The New York Times reported yesterday, plans to leave the company amid all the allegations and chaos. Cagney himself has been accused of having inappropriate relationships with subordinate employees “which helped foment a toxic workplace culture.” The Journal article cites one source who said that Cagney “used to tell SoFi staff that if they weren’t waking up twice a week in a cold sweat, they weren’t working hard enough.”

Accounting (and virtually every other profession, for that matter) has had its share of culture issues, from pushing workaholism to ignoring sexual harassment, but there seems to be a subtext to Silicon Valley’s constant talk of life-changing innovation, saving the world, etc. etc. that allows working people into the ground and openly sexually harassing women to be tolerated. Tolerated, that is, until people come along to tap them on the shoulder and say, “You can’t do that.” Then the companies themselves act surprised, “But we’re making the world a better place!” Accounting firms can’t even pretend to make that claim.

Competitive poaching

The Big 4 have been picking off Big Law partners around the world for awhile now, but I don’t recall an instance where two of the biggest firms from each profession squared off:

Former DLA Piper Asia Pacific head of corporate Bryan Pointon will join PricewaterhouseCoopers’ legal arm in Australia next month.

Pointon, who will be a partner at PwC, will join former DLA Piper Australian managing partner John Weber, who arrived at the Big Four auditor as a consultant in July.

It’s worth remembering that PwC dwarfs DLA Piper in terms of size, so this is more of a David vs. Goliath match-up than one of equals. It’s not even a fair fight.

Accounting firms can do anything

Apparently, accounting firms offering advertising agency services isn’t just for the Big 4:

Milwaukee, Wis.-based Top 100 accounting firm Wipfli has introduced Wipfli Web Marketing, a service for developing websites for customer engagement and lead generation.

The new service group at the firm is also planned to support websites with innovative graphic design and digital marketing programs with the aim of increasing visibility for companies, organizations and individuals. The group of web marketing professionals was formerly known as The Placemaking Group at Wipfli.

Sure, why not.

Previously, on Going Concern…

Megan Lewczyk wrote about accounting firm offices. In Open Items, a second-year PwC associate wants advice about broaching an international transfer.

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.