September 20, 2019

The PCAOB Hates Meetings As Much As We Do

Going Concern staff has historically not been fond of meetings. Caleb hated them. Adrienne doesn’t like them because that means she has to wake up before noon. And I don’t particularly care for meetings either. They’re usually a waste of my time. According to our friend Francine McKenna at MarketWatch, the PCAOB seems to be […]

PwC Equity Partner Pay Isn’t Too Shabby In the U.K.

Equity partners at PwC in the U.K. didn’t quite get the haul that their fellow equity partners at Deloitte U.K. got recently, but let’s just say they aren’t going hungry anytime soon. From the Financial Times: More than 900 equity partners, who share in PwC UK’s profits, will receive an average £765,000 for the year […]

Those Who Know, Know BDO CEO Wayne Berson Is Back for Another Term

You’d be smiling too if you were Wayne Berson. Wow, what a day at Bravo Delta Oscar! Not only did BDO USA announce that supreme leader and ex-cricket player Wayne Berson was re-elected by partners to a third term as CEO, but the firm achieved another record-setting year of revenue, topping out at $1.64 billion […]

Mazars USA Subpoenaed for You-Know-Who’s Tax Returns

Has Donald Trump released his tax returns? Nope! But Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., a Democrat, is trying hard to get his hands on them. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has subpoenaed eight years of President Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns as part of its investigation into hush money payments to two women […]

Marcum’s Microcap Conference Seemed Like a Great Event for Auditor Independence Violations

In the storied history of auditor independence violations by PCAOB-registered accounting firms, Marcum broke the rules in a rather unique and spectacular way: it publicly advocated its audit clients as investment opportunities. The PCAOB was probably giddy writing and sending out this press release on Sept. 10: The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board today announced […]

Accountants Behaving Badly: EY Gal Pleads Guilty to Fraud, PwCer Fired for Upskirt Pics, Grand Theft Guilt

Plus, wrongful death lawsuit filed against TV show accountant, and Scottish accountant jailed for protecting crime gang member. EY employee conspires in £76k staff fraud [Accountancy Daily] EY Executive Assistant Sukhbir Mawkin and her husband, Anil Mawkin, were sentenced on Sept. 11 for carrying out a £76,000 over four years, using credit card and personal […]

Hiring Watch ’19: Working at EY In Louisville Could Be NEAT

Add Louisville, KY, to the list of cities where EY is hiring en masse. Louisville Business First reported on Sept. 6: Ernst & Young LLP is making another investment in Louisville after spending $4.3 million to open its National Executive Assistant Team facility downtown early last year. The company said in a news release Friday […]

Ex-KPMG Partner David Middendorf Was Spared a Lengthy Prison Sentence

A second member of the “KPMG 5” will serve jail time for his involvement in an information-stealing scheme to cheat the PCAOB inspection process. David Middendorf, former national managing partner for audit quality and professional practice at KPMG, was sentenced this morning in Manhattan federal court to one year and one day in federal prison, […]

CPA Canada Is Really Trying to Make CPAs Cool, You Guys

In its ongoing effort to smash the green eyeshade stereotype and convince the public that CPAs do more than just annoy their clients and vague tax-like things civvies will never understand, CPA Canada hired advertising agency DentsuBos to develop a new campaign with the lofty goal “to portray CPAs in a modern light.” It wouldn’t […]

Ex-KPMG Partner’s Request to Have His Wire Fraud Conviction Thrown Out Gets Shot Down, Crashes, Burns

Welp, so much for that. David Middendorf, former national managing partner for audit quality and professional practice at KPMG, is scheduled to be sentenced in Manhattan federal court tomorrow, according to Law360, for his role in an information-stealing scheme in which PCAOB insiders fed KPMG executives secret plans on which of the Big 4 firm’s […]

RIP James Schnurr, Former SEC Chief Accountant

The SEC confirmed last night some sad news we saw being shared on Twitter yesterday that former Chief Accountant James Schnurr has passed away. SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said in a statement: “Jim was a dedicated and respected public servant who left us far too soon. While at the Commission, he was committed to establishing […]

KPMG U.K.’s WhatsApp Fiasco Claims Two More Partners

Let’s take a look and see how things are going in KPMG U.K.’s financial services consulting business now that two more partners are leaving the firm after their boss was fired last month over messages he apparently sent on WhatsApp: The KPMG financial services consulting practice is now “a bit of a disaster zone,” a […]

RSM US Revenue Rose to $2.4 Billion In FY 2019

So says the RSM US 2019 annual report: That’s a 14% increase over the firm’s FY 2018 revenue of $2.14 billion. RSM’s fiscal year ends on April 30. There’s not a whole lot more to add because RSM doesn’t usually send out glitzy, congratulatory press releases on its year-end revenues like EY did today. But […]

How Are Public Accounting Salaries Stacking Up for 2020?

By now you guys and gals in public accounting have most likely had compensation discussions with your respective firms. If you haven’t yet, it’s coming. Of those who have, we imagine that some of you were pleased. But it’s probably more realistic to say that a majority of you were extremely disappointed. While Robert Half’s […]

Rhode Island Is Still Holding a Grudge Against Deloitte

A better title might be, “Rhode Island Tells Feds to Send All Fines Related to State’s Shitty Benefits Computer System to Deloitte.” From the Associated Press: The federal government is fining Rhode Island about $2 million for problems with the state’s benefits system. WPRI-TV reports the problems stem from the botched rollout of a computer system for […]

Promotion Watch ’19: Marcum Adds 16 New Partners

While Major League Baseball teams expanded their rosters on Sept. 1, Marcum expanded its partner roster on Sunday, calling up 16 men and women to the big leagues. This year’s new partner class is by far the firm’s largest since 2010. The only one that comes close is 2017’s 13 promotions. Let’s take a look […]

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Friday Footnotes: CPA or Nothing; PwC Snitched?; When the Cloud Goes Down | 8.30.19

PwC accused of sharing confidential information [economia] Watchstone has accused PwC of “inducing breach of contract” and “unlawful means conspiracy” against the Big Four firm. The company claims that secret meetings with PwC, allegedly called for by Slater & Gordon, were arranged to share confidential information. Watchstone alleges that this was for the law firm […]

EY Global CEO: Recession? What Recession?

Have no fear, a recession in the U.S. is not near, EY Global Chairman and CEO Carmine Di Sibio said on CNBC this morning. Carmine Di Sibio, who runs consulting powerhouse EY Global, told CNBC on Thursday he does not see a recession as an imminent threat in the United States. “We had a lot […]

It’s Good Being a Deloitte U.K. Equity Partner These Days

The big news out of the Queen’s Big 4 yesterday wasn’t that Deloitte U.K.’s 2019 revenue (which also includes income from Switzerland) increased 10.9% from £3.58 billion in 2018 to £3.97 billion. Nope. The big news (or good news if you’re an equity partner at Deloitte) was: Hundreds of partners at the UK arm of […]

Let’s Speculate About Why Lynne Doughtie Is Leaving KPMG

When we got a tip Friday mid-morning that Lynne Doughtie had told KPMG U.S. staff in a video message that she wouldn’t seek another term as chairman and CEO, I wasn’t all that surprised. I figured she’d be one and done. Doughtie seems like a nice, hardworking, intelligent woman. I don’t think KPMG would have […]

Accountants Behaving Badly: Deadly Lunch Breaks, Embezzler Gets 10 Years, Church Swindler

Plus, tax accountant pleads guilty to scamming clients and a movie production accountant is accused of stealing money from his employer. Police: Lindenwold man’s ‘demeanor’ changed after co-worker’s murder [Cherry Hill Courier-Post] Kenneth Saal, a staff accountant at Engine Group in Princeton, NJ, since July 2016, was taken into custody on a murder charge at […]

It Turns Out Clients Really Don’t Like It When Auditors Call Them Out on Their Sh*t

In shocking research presented earlier this month at the American Accounting Association’s annual meeting in San Francisco, Elizabeth N. Cowle and Stephen P. Rowe of the University of Arkansas have confirmed suspicions that clients shun audit firms with a reputation for being hard-asses. Let’s check out the abstract: We examine whether the audit market penalizes […]

Vault 50: Big 4 Among the Most Prestigious Consulting Firms (2020)

While you guys were wasting billable hours yesterday still debating which fast-food restaurant has the best fried chicken sandwich, we posted an article about the latest Vault Consulting 50 rankings and how the Big 4 did pretty well. If you missed it because you were trying to hunt down a Popeyes fried chicken sandwich, all […]

Deloitte Gets Big 4 Bragging Rights In 2020 Vault Consulting 50

For the fifth consecutive year, Deloitte Consulting has been ranked the fourth-best consulting firm in the United States (although the governor of Rhode Island might beg to differ), according to the latest Vault Consulting 50. So once again, Green Dotters of the consulting variety have bragging rights over P. Dubsteppers, Uncle Ernie’s nieces and nephews, […]

Let’s Discuss: How Often You Cry at Work

And we don’t mean crying tears of joy after you put in your two weeks at [INSERT NAME OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM HERE] because you accepted a job in industry. More than 8 in 10 workers admit to crying at work, with almost half of those saying they were driven to tears because of their […]

Ex-EY CEO Mark Weinberger Joined a Board

Since his last day as global chairman and CEO of EY on June 30, Mark Weinberger has probably spent a lot of time at home working on his tan and sitting in his favorite recliner, wearing just BVDs and a stained white undershirt, slamming Yuenglings. Maybe his wife finally got sick and tired of seeing […]

Accounting Fraud Watch: Disney’s Magic (Accounting) Kingdom and Ex-SEC Chief ‘Suspicious’ of GE Report

Our pal Francine McKenna at MarketWatch broke a pretty big news story today regarding an accountant who blew the whistle on Walt Disney Co. Disney whistleblower told SEC the company inflated revenue for years [MarketWatch] According to the whistleblower, Sandra Kuba, a former senior financial analyst in Disney’s revenue operations department who worked for the […]

Accountants Behaving Badly: Stealing From Nonprofit, Stealing From Restaurant, Stealing From Furniture Business

Plus, CPA for reality television stars indicted and accountant arrested for stalking woman. Accounting coordinator at non-profit facing fraud charges for embezzling $321K in organization funds [Justice Department] Danielle Strother-Rush, an accounting coordinator at a Pittsburgh-area nonprofit organization, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh Aug. 6 on charges of bank fraud and […]

Auditor Swap: Bubble Popped On EY’s Engagement with Sealed Air Corp.

Bubble Wrap maker Sealed Air Corp. disclosed in a securities filing earlier this week that it dumped EY as its external auditor and hired PwC, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. Now, EY losing an audit client isn’t all that shocking. According to Audit Anaytics’ recent analysis of auditor changes in the second quarter of […]

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It Looks Like KPMG Is Being Sued By Shareholders of CannTrust Holdings

A press release sent today by Toronto-based law firms Thornton Grout Finnigan and Rochon Genova caught our attention: Thornton Grout Finnigan LLP and Rochon Genova LLP have together commenced a class action in Ontario on behalf of shareholders of CannTrust Holdings Inc. who acquired their CannTrust common shares between October 1, 2018 up to and including July 8, 2019. The […]

Layoff Watch ’19: Outsourcing Dooms Accountants at UPS In Texas

The Dallas Morning News reported today that UPS is eliminating 64 accounting jobs at its facility in Coppell, TX. The reason? Outsourcing, of course. A UPS spokesperson told the newspaper that the package delivery company is outsourcing transactional finance and accounting work in order to let employees “do more strategic work that can make a greater […]

Can the Big 4 Survive the U.K. Regulators?

Ed. note: Jim Peterson, a 19-year veteran of Arthur Andersen’s internal legal group, has been writing since 2002 about the issues and challenges confronting the Big Audit model, including as an occasional guest here. Since last winter, Jim has been covering the intense public criticism in the U.K. of the performance and business model of […]

Hey Accountants, We’ve Found Your Productivity Sweet Spot

You’re three sips into your grande double shot as you pull into a desolate, jet black parking lot. By the time you hear footsteps walk through your office hallway, you’re an hour deep into next week’s big project. You are Monday’s early-morning warrior—an anomaly in today’s ever-changing accounting landscape. Right?  Nah, sorry. Being an early […]

Friday Footnotes: KPMG Pulls Out; Taxpayers Lose an Advocate; a Deloitte Let Down | 8.9.19

CannTrust says KPMG withdraws audit report [Reuters] Cannabis producer CannTrust Holdings Inc said on Friday its auditor KPMG LLP has withdrawn its report on the company’s financial statements for full-year 2018 and its interim report for the three month period ended March 31. KPMG’s decision was prompted after CannTrust cautioned against relying on its financial […]

House Dems Want BDO Puerto Rico to Stop Shredding Documents Already

When a document shredding truck pulls up to an accounting firm whose former managing partner was just indicted for his role, and that firm’s role, in a massive corruption scandal in Puerto Rico, it’s going to raise some eyebrows. And those eyebrows belong to U.S. Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Nydia Velázquez (D-NY). Velázquez, a […]

Who Will Be the Next CEO of Grant Thornton?

Among the slew of tips we received about the layoffs that went down at Grant Thornton last week and what interim CEO Brad Preber had to say about it was this one that also piqued our interest: As Brad Preber is the “interim” CEO, there are three people (women) currently being considered for the CEO […]

TIL: There’s a Ranking of the Top 50 Construction Accounting Firms

The editors at Construction Executive must have been desperate to fill their editorial calendar for 2019 because the trade magazine just came out with its inaugural ranking of the top 50 accounting firms that provide services to construction clients. Here’s all the work Construction Executive did to come up with its first-ever accounting firm listicle: […]

Ex-KPMG Partner Will Be Giving the SEC a Bag Full of Money

We have an update on one of the members of Caleb’s fantasy KPMG insider trading golf team. From Law360: With a trial looming, a Georgia federal judge has granted approval of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s settlement with a former KPMG LLP partner accused of tipping off a stockbroker about the upcoming acquisitions of […]

EY’s Response to N.Y. Lawmakers’ Letter About Sexual Harassment and Forced Arbitration Is As Bad As You’d Expect

Last week, Adrienne wrote about a letter 67 New York state legislators recently signed and sent to new EY Global Chairman and CEO Carmine Di Sibio denouncing the firm’s practice of forced arbitration agreements, especially in cases of sexual harassment and discrimination. The lawmakers wrote that EY’s forced arbitration policy silences victims of harassment and […]

Why Grant Thornton Quitting As Auditor of Sports Direct Matters

In an ordinary midsummer news slump, only yawning disinterest would greet the July 29 news of Grant Thornton’s notice to the U.K. authorities of its intent to resign as auditor of troubled retailer Sports Direct International plc. The times are not ordinary; the cauldron of auditor criticism has bubbled since the collapse of Carillion in […]

Well, At Least RSM Plaza Won’t Have to Be Renamed

RSM US (the firm formerly known as McGladrey) will be sticking around RSM Plaza (the building formerly known as McGladrey Plaza) for a little while longer. Chicago-based RSM US LLP on Tuesday [July 16] announced that it’s renewed its lease at RSM Plaza in downtown Minneapolis. Though the building bears RSM’s name, it’s actually owned […]

Here’s Your Scorecard For KPMG U.K. Fines So Far In 2019

While I was vacationing in South Carolina last week, word officially came down from across the pond about the highly anticipated fine KPMG U.K. would be receiving from a Financial Reporting Council disciplinary tribunal for bungling reports on Bank of New York Mellon Corp. The tribunal let KPMG off the hook, deciding on a fine […]

Friday Footnotes: Fines, Fines, Fines; Team Deloitte Going For Gold; Party’s Over For One Fraudster | 8.2.19

Is Your Accountant a Wimp? [Entrepreneur] SLANDEROUS. Audit regulator fines PwC Mexico $100,000 for violating independence rules [MW] According to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, at least six of its partners had personal financial relationships with Banco Santander Mexico when PwC’s Mexico firm contracted to be the bank’s auditor for FY 2016. KPMG U.K. […]

Survey: Accountants Are Absolutely F*cking Miserable at Work

When we talk about the miserable working conditions in public accounting, we’re usually referring to the long hours because let’s be real, it’s low hanging fruit when it comes to complaints. One thing we haven’t spent nearly enough time discussing is another pervasive issue in the accounting workplace: shitty ass colleagues. Enter the Chartered Accountants […]

KPMG: Where Former College Athletes Go to Die

And a two-time Winter Olympic gold medalist too. From the Wall Street Journal: Accounting firm KPMG hires 3,500 college students each year in the U.S., and although the firm doesn’t target or track specific sports in its hiring, James Powell, national partner in charge of campus recruiting, says that he’s noticed that baseball, softball, swimming and diving […]

RSM Did a Little Talent Shopping At the Big 4

And Adams & Co. came away with a new tax principal and a new risk consulting leader. First up is Brad Collins: In his role as a principal with the firm’s national tax team, Collins leads the firm’s efforts to identify opportunities where RSM can eliminate tax data management challenges for private equity and hedge […]

This Big 4 Firm Had the Most IPO Audit Clients In Q2 2019

After a reeeeal slow start to 2019 due to the government shutdown, initial public offerings picked up the pace in the second quarter, nearly doubling the number of IPOs in the first quarter and including two of the top 10 largest IPOs since 2000. An Audit Analytics analysis revealed that between April 1 and June […]