September 21, 2018

BDO

BDO

A 4.2% Increase in Revenue Must Give BDO USA All the Happy Feels

Nearly two months after announcing that 37 new partners would be joining the firm, BDO USA put the word out that its revenue for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018, grew by 4.2% over the previous year. BDO USA’s self-reported revenue of $1.47 billion, which was announced on July 31, exceeds last year’s revenue […]

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BDO USA Admits 37 New Partners

Caleb sure picked a bad time to start a new job. New partner announcement season was one of his most favorite times of the year. I’m sure he’s celebrating the start of this season from afar. Today, BDO USA announced that 37 new partners will be admitted to the partnership, effective July 1. The 2018 […]

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Foreign Affiliates of Big Audit Firms Screwed Up Some Stuff

The Securities and Exchange Commission fined foreign affiliates of BDO, Deloitte, and KPMG for skirting oversight of the PCAOB. Here’s the skinny: According to the SEC’s orders, the Zimbabwe affiliates of Deloitte & Touche and KPMG improperly audited the majority of assets and revenues of a publicly traded company without registering with the PCAOB. The […]

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Here’s Your Open Thread for BDO Compensation Discussions (2017)

We’ve had a couple of requests for the BDO compensation thread, and the calendar is right, so we’re happy to oblige. One tipster that works in advisory told us “I just received an email from the partner saying to stop by his office” but added, “I don’t expect anything significant.” BDO hasn’t released its revenue […]

BDO new partners

BDO Admits 36 New Partners

Congratulations to the 36 very good boys and girls who can count themselves among the flock of BDO’s chosen ones. Okay, maybe that’s a touch extravagant for a BDO partner, but that does not diminish the achievement. This year’s class is a smidgen smaller compared to last year’s 39, but it’s still a large class […]

BDO new partners

Here’s Some BDO Partners Getting Pied in the Face

As far as good ol’ fashioned comedy bits go, a pie to the face still holds up well. It won’t get the biggest laugh, but it sure is satisfying to watch. Someone at BDO knew this and put it to work by incorporating it into their campaign to raise donations for National Red Nose Day. […]

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BDO Auditor Had Starring Role in ‘The Spy Who Bought Me Coffee’

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that BDO is at the center of a messy situation with one of its clients, thanks to a super slick auditor on the inside cruising the firm’s halls: The auditor at BDO USA LLP casually wandered around the accounting firm’s New York offices, striking up conversations with colleagues about […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for BDO Compensation Discussions (2016)

BDO is a firm on a roll. Just last week they announced a third straight year of 20%+ growth in revenue to $1.29 billion. They admitted 39 new partners this year, the largest class since we began covering those promotions. They're snapping up firms left and right. Yep, everybody sounds pretty happy. Oh, who am […]

BDO Admits 39 New Partners

Oh look, we have more new partner news. BDO actually made this announcement a few weeks ago, but no matter, the new partners officially got their stripes on July 1. The 2016 class of 39 marks the seventh straight year of growth. There were 30 new partners in 2015, 24 in 2014, 16 in '13, […]

Wayne Berson Gets Four More Years as BDO CEO

BDO partners seem to like Wayne Berson well enough to let him keep his job a while longer: BDO USA, LLP, one of the nation’s leading professional service organizations, today announced that the firm’s partnership has re-elected Wayne Berson to a second four-year term as chief executive officer, effective November 1, 2016.  During the first […]

BDO Shouldn’t Have Blown This Audit

This SEC Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Order against BDO will be the best thing you read today. That is, if you enjoy reading about audit firms issuing an unqualified opinion when they absolutely had no business issuing an unqualified opinion. That is the case with the story of BDO's 2009 audit of General Employment Enterprises, […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for BDO Compensation Discussions (2015)

The accounting firm known as BDO is having a good 2015. It recently admitted 30 new partners, the largest class since GC's been covering the promotions. Revenues eclipsed the billion-dollar mark back in May, thanks to its insatiable hunger for boutique firms. Oh, and it keeps stickin' ex-CEO Denis Field with those massive legal bills. […]

BDO Admits 30 New Partners

Effective July 1, 30 new partners will get a seat at BDO's adult table. This class is the largest since we've been covering the firm's partner promotions. There were 24 in 2014, 16 in '13, 15 in '12, 13 in '11, and 5 in '10. I count 7 women on this list and, oddly, everyone […]

Ex-BDO CEO’s Quest to Get Firm to Pony Up for His Legal Bills Not Going So Well

Former BDO CEO and Wolfpack leader Denis Field received some bad news in his quest to get BDO to pay his hefty legal bills: A panel unanimously affirmed rulings by Justices Saliann Scarpulla and Barbara Kapnick in Matter of Denis M. Field v. BDO USA, 600010/12, refusing to grant motions by Denis Field, former CEO of […]

BDO Should Be Thanking Its Lucky Stars That Swisher Hygiene Fired Them

BDO, an audit firm, had a difference of opinion with Swisher Hygiene, Inc., a client, about the company's internal controls over financial reporting. Specifically, BDO identified 12 material weaknesses and 5 significant deficiencies. Contrast that with Swisher's analysis that found no material weaknesses and 1 significant deficiency. Also! BDO's audit opinion for for 2014 contained a going […]

BDO Excited to Join Billion-Dollar Firm Club

Hungry Hungry Hippo BDO is still gobbling up accounting firms. Its latest morsel is St. Louis-based Stone Carlie & Company and it will push Bravo Delta Oscar's revenues over $1 billion, according to CEO Wayne Berson: Stone Carlie earns between $13 million and $14 million in annual revenue. BDO ranked 7th on Accounting Today’s 2015 […]

Ex-BDO Chairman Not About to Let His Former Firm Stick Him With Huge Legal Bills and Get Away With It

We thought we heard the last from former BDO chairman Denis Field when one "Jayne Field" emailed us demanding we "close the circle here" and report on the fact that Denis' 2011 conviction on conspiracy and tax-evasion charges was overturned in court at the end of 2013. In the interest of clearning his good name, […]

Those Who Know, Know BDO Got Their AS5 Kicked in Latest PCAOB Inspection Report

Another day, another PCAOB report. Today, our lucky victim is BDO USA, LLP. Of the 23 audits inspected, the PCAOB found deficiencies in 15 of them. For those of you playing along that home, that puts them at a 65% failure rate which means they are in the lead for crappiest audits in America of […]

Here’s The Real Reason Mid-Tier Firms Are Merger Mad

As we know, BDO and McGladrey have both been on a very busy acquisition streak lately. BDO picked up one of Ohio's biggest firms with SS&G and then grabbed UHY's Texas practice. McGladrey, meanwhile, gobbled up sub 100 firm Cole + Reed out of Oklahoma. We're talking apples and oranges when it comes to size, […]

BDO Fixin’ to Acquire UHY Texas

Following up its purchase of Ohio's SS&G, BDO announced today that it had reached agreement with UHY Advisors to execute….err…acquire its Texas Practice: The UHY Texas practice provides a broad range of financial and consulting services to a diversified client base with significant strength in the energy, manufacturing, distribution, professional services, healthcare and real estate […]

Accounting Firm M&A Rumor Mill: Will BDO Acquire UHY Next?

It had been a while since we've heard a good M&A rumor so we were excited to get a tip last week about BDO acquiring UHY. Just this week, we've received another tip from a reliable source that BDO would be announcing its acquisition of UHY "very soon."  Then, unexpectedly, this morning we learned that […]

Charlie Munger: EY Can’t Tell Its Ass From a Hole in the Ground

Back in June, Warren Buffett's BFF Charlie Munger canned EY, who were happily auditing his Daily Journal Corp, in favor of BDO. Now, we're sure this had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that EY expressed an adverse opinion on DJCO's internal controls when last these two ships passed in the night. And it […]

Which Big 4 Firm Audits the Most Large Accelerated Filers?

This is a question you've probably never asked yourself but now that you're here, you're dying to know. Our friends over at Audit Analytics broke it down and figured out not only which of the Big 4 audits the most large accelerated and accelerated filers but also how many of those filers are audited by […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for BDO Compensation Discussions (2014)

Well, folks, it appears BDO pulled a fast one on us and changed up the game by coming out with compensation way ahead of schedule (for BDO, anyway). Numbers have been known to come out as late as September in the past, which meant we totally ignored this person who wrote us at the end […]

BDO Boasts Massive Revenue Growth in Fiscal 2014

Of course, there is an accompanying press release to go with the good news: BDO USA, LLP, one of the nation's leading professional service organizations, today announced revenue for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2014 was $833 million, a 22 percent increase from last year’s revenue of $683 million.  The firm's growth was achieved […]

Grant Thornton Picks Up a New Client in the Interest of Penny-Pinching

Perma-Fix Environmental Services, a "global provider of safe, compliant, and environmentally responsible nuclear services and radioactive waste management solutions," has swapped auditors, and gives quite the compelling reason for it in their 8-K filed with the SEC: On June 25, 2014, the Audit Committee of Perma-Fix Environmental Services, Inc. (the “Company”) approved the dismissal of […]

BDO Gets SALTy with Latest Acquisition

BDO today announced an expansion of its state and local tax practice (SALT) through the addition of 1 partner and 10 employees formerly with HoganTaylor, LLP.  Tom Smith, who will be joining BDO as a partner, will serve as the SALT Practice Leader for the firm's Southwest region.  These new resources – effective July 1 […]

Ex-BDO Vice Chairman Given 16 Months to Think About His Choices

Let this be a lesson to anyone considering joining up with a "rogue group" of tax-sheltering jerks at your firm, you've been warned: Former BDO Seidman LLP Vice Chairman Charles Bee’s cooperation with prosecutors in a $1 billion tax fraud probe didn’t spare him from prison, as a judge, citing the magnitude of the crime, […]

Promotion Watch ’14: BDO Admits 24 New Partners

This just in from the BDO camp, 24 new partners have been admitted to the partnership effective July 1st; seventeen in assurance, six in tax and one from the national office. “I want to welcome each of these highly accomplished individuals to the BDO USA partnership,” said Wayne Berson, CEO of BDO USA.  “As a […]

McGladrey, Grant Thornton, BDO Will Break into Big 4 By 2019, Says Guy on Twitter

People say a lot of crazy things on Twitter. I know I have. But this guy just said the craziest:

McGladrey CEO: ‘Nah, bro. We’re cool right where we are.’

You need to go over to WSJ to read all about how BDO is aggressively gobbling up firms in order to get that much closer to the Big 4's backside. Here's a nibble: BDO, one of the midtier accounting firms below the Big Four, has been aggressively trying to grow faster under Chief Executive Wayne […]

Innocent Former BDO CEO Has a Bone to Pick With His Old Firm

If you aren't up on the no longer sordid tale of Denis Field, head here first and that'll get ya nice and caught up. Well now that Mr Field's legal troubles are behind him at last, he's going all wolf-like on his former firm. He doesn't want much, maybe just an "I'm sorry" and for […]

So BDO Isn’t That Good at Auditing Either, But Still Better Than Grant Thornton

Now this is just getting funny. And by funny I mean sad. The PCAOB has released its 2012 inspection report on BDO and the news isn't nearly as bad as it was for Grant Thornton so, well, there's that. Which really isn't much when you think about it but… hey… gotta take what you can […]

Let’s Talk About the Denis Field Tax Shelter Verdict Before We Get Any More Angry Emails

Alright, we have to admit we totally blew reporting this in a timely manner — or rather, I did, because it happened while Colin was off doing whatever it is he does when he isn't working. And someone named Jayne Field (coincidence?) made sure to let us know. In her first email, she sticks to […]

BDO CEO Moving Up in the World

Wayne Berson, only about a year into his new gig as BDO CEO, has been elected Chairman of the global board. That's pretty quick work! Wayne-o says he's looking forward to working "with BDO International CEO, Martin van Roekel, the Global Leadership Team and the rest of the Global Board on growing the BDO Network and […]

BDO Forgot to Ask Investors What They Thought About the PCAOB’s Proposed Auditor Report Changes

They managed to round up a lot of their (and their competitors') clients though! According to a new study by BDO USA, LLP, one of the nation’s leading accounting and consulting organizations, less than one-third (27%) of public company board members believe the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board's (PCAOB) proposed changes to the annual auditor's report […]

The Washington Redskins Got Beat by the Green Bay Packers, Presented By BDO

As you know, BDO serves as the official accounting firm of asshole of the century Dan Snyder's football team. Now, you might ask yourself, what would the exclusive provider of professional services of an asshole's professional football team actually do? Excellent question! The answer is: Stats-Pack presented by BDO. What is that exactly?  A list of notes […]

Hey Look, BDO Had Another Decent Year

If Bravo Delta Oscar's announcement of its 2013 fiscal year revenues are any indication, we're going to see big revenue numbers from accounting firms this year: BDO USA, LLP, one of the nation's leading professional service organizations, today announced revenue for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013 was $683 million, a 10.5 percent increase […]

BDO Adds a Feather to Its Cap After Landing Exclusive Deal with Offensively Nicknamed Football Team

I can't help but think of this:  Anyway, here are the canned quotes from the principals: "We are thrilled to serve as the exclusive accounting firm of The Washington Redskins," said Wayne Berson, CEO of BDO USA, LLP. "The team's focus on providing a winning experience for fans and business partners complements BDO's commitment to […]

Promotion Watch ’13: BDO Admits 16 New Partners

For one reason or another, Bravo Delta Oscar announced their new partnership class late on Wednesday, so virtually everyone missed that news. Now that everyone has returned from their epic four day BBQ-beer-blowing off digits bender, we will present to you the 16 new BDO partners: Brandy Arbuthnot (Dallas – Tax) Matthew Cromwell (Bethesda – […]

Those Twelve ParenteBeard Partners That Quit to Join BDO Took Some of Their Friends Along

This is quite the impressive move by Bravo Delta Oscar. The firm issued this press release earlier today: BDO USA, LLP, one of the nation’s leading professional service organizations, today announced an expansion of its financial institutions practice through the addition of 12 partners and as many as 97 employees formerly with the banking practice […]

A Dozen ParenteBeard Partners Have Up and Quit; Probably Joining BDO

Joe DiStefano has nice scoop over at PhillyDeals about twelve ParenteBeard partners packing it in — sounds like it was unexpected — and taking their services over to Bravo Delta Oscar: According to industry sources, Richard T. Farrell from the firm's Philadelphia office, Alan Molin from its Clark, New Jersey office, and other audit partners […]

ICYMI: BDO Picks Up Skechers After…Ya Know

Bravo Delta Oscar has come to Skechers' rescue and will re-audit the two years worth of financial statements that KPMG abandoned after we learned that Scott London spent some of his billable hours counting cards. From henceforth, gaining a client due to a scandal of a notable degree shall be known as "picking up a London." […]

Public Accounting Winter Intern Full-time Offers, Round 2

Today, there are a lot of dazed tax interns walking around, wondering what happened to the last three months of their lives. However! They aren't so out of it that they can't help but wonder what their full-time offers look like compared to their peers around the country. We've had a couple of requests this […]

BDO Poaches a Prominent Healthcare Consultant From PwC and Issues a Press Release, Part I

Oh, how we love a good poaching expedition. Especially when a firm feels so good about their prize that they get the PR team involved. BDO USA, LLP, one of the nation’s leading professional services organizations, announced the expansion of the firm’s Healthcare Industry consulting capabilities with the addition of Patrick D. Pilch as a Managing […]

Ernst & Young Admits That Some of Its Partners Were Running a Tax Shelter Factory

What a fine thing for the Manhattan U.S. Attorney to announce on a Friday afternoon that it had reached at settlement with Ernst & Young over its tax sheltering activities: Ernst & Young LLP will pay $123 million to settle a U.S. tax-fraud probe as part of a non- prosecution agreement, according to a statement […]

(UPDATE) BDO Associate Eager for Work Picks Up Assignments, In ‘N’ Out Delivery Request All Along the West Coast

Undoubtedly, many of the seasoned public accounting hacks out there have received some variation of the following email: From: [Bored L.A. Assurance Associate] Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 1:36 PM To: [Everyone at BDO, allegedly] Subject: Available   Hello All,   I have some free time today so if you would like for me to […]

ICYMI: PwC and BDO Both Passed Their AICPA Peer Reviews Just Fine

Remember how Deloitte's AICPA Peer Review finding of "pass with deficiency" was one of the lowliest of low points for the year in auditing? Sure you do. At the time, we learned from the AICPA's James Brackens that from 2008 to 2010, only 8% of the audit firms that participated in the peer review had […]

BDO Keeps Pace with Rival Audit Firms in Terrible PCAOB Inspection Reports

For whatever reason, BDO was excluded in the last-minute lump of coal the PCAOB delivered to Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and Grant Thornton right before Christmas, but that doesn't mean their inspection report wasn't in the same class of quality.  The Board inspected audits at 16 of BDO's 35 offices, inspecting 23 audits with 9 […]

SEC, China Will Probably Compromise Over Big 4 Chinese Affiliates Someday, Says Guy

The SEC's move against the Big 4's Chinese affiliates on Monday has people all worked up. On the one hand, yes, if the SEC were to delist a lot of Chinese companies that would make a lot of people sad. Also, if fewer Chinese companies were to consider accessing U.S. markets because they aren't so […]

SEC Finally Gets Around to Losing Patience with the Big 4’s Chinese Firms

China has been a thorny issue with the SEC and the PCAOB over the last couple of years. You see, there's been some concern that some Chinese companies have accessed U.S. markets through dubious means and then provided financial reporting and disclosures that weren't accurate in material respects. Audit firms charged with providing an opinion […]

Auditor Musical Chairs: 99¢ Only Stores Splurges on Ernst & Young, Dumps BDO

With a business name like "99¢ Only Stores," no one would blame you if you assumed the company and would try to pinch some pennies on their auditor. It's a commodity service that is just asking to be squeezed, after all. However, sometimes as a public company, you'd like a big name brand on your […]

Maybe If Non-Big 4 Firms Just Worked a Little Harder…

For some time now, observers have voiced concern about the relative lack of choice when it comes to large audit firms. Yes, they are all fine organizations with plenty of smart and capable people but some companies prefer to have a few more options. They're not asking for a Vegas buffet or anything, but, you […]

Recruiting Season: Looking for a Firm with “Longevity”; The Big 4 Toss-up; Opportunities Missed

Welcome to Rock the Recruitment Season. We'll be winding up the 2012 series very soon so if you still have a question about recruiting season, email us at [email protected] with "Recruiting Season Questions" in the subject line. The recruitment season questions have slowed to a trickle, so you best get them in while you can, […]

Another Small Accounting Firm Gets to Know BDO

Two weeks after Argy, Wiltse & Robinson climbed aboard Captain Jack's ship, BDO has found a new firm to satisfy its insatiable appetite for small firms. The latest addition is Philadelphia's Asher & Co. and the firm's 100+ partners and employees will join up with Berson & Co. on November 1. Hopefully AWR won't mind that […]

Recruiting Season: Going Concern’s Guide to the Cultures of the Big 4 and Other Public Accounting Firms

Welcome to Tuesdays with More Anxious Accounting Recruits. Have a question about recruiting season? Email [email protected] with "Recruiting Season Questions" in the subject line. Just a friendly reminder – if you have received an offer from a public accounting firm, by all means, share your excitement with us. We've received a fair amount so far, […]

A Little More Shakin’ Goin’ On at BDO

As BDO prepares for a Jack Weisbaum-less existence, there are some final pieces that need put in place. With Wayne Berson becoming CEO, his position as "presiding board member" was up for grabs and Matthew Becker grabbed. In addition to Mr. Becker, Scott Guertin (Boston/Tax) and Joe Johnson (Orange County/Assurance) will join the board for […]

BDO and Argy, Wiltse & Robinson Are Now in a Relationship

Effective November 1, AWR will succumb to the charms of the BDO after 20 years of blissful solitude. The DC-area firm has three locations in McLean, Virginia ,Bethesda, Maryland and Fort Lauderdale, Florida and BDO CEO Wayne Berson will let 26 more partners squeeze in. [BDO via WBJ]

Call for Submissions: Send Us The Worst Accounting Firm Recruiting Brochures You’ve Seen

Most of your offers are signed and many of you are ready to start at your new firms this fall but surely you've got some horrible recruiting brochures lying around that you'd love to show off. You know the ones I'm talking about; the smiling auditor hanging out in the jungles of Costa Rica, the […]

Hey Look, BDO Had a Pretty Decent Year

Jack Weisbaum's final year as the most interesting accounting CEO in the world will go down in the book as a good one. The firm announced $618 million in revenues for fiscal year 2012. That's an increase of 8%. Each line of business saw increases with consulting coming in 36% higher than last year, tax […]

Promotion Watch ’12: BDO Admits 15 New Partners

Now that everyone's time has been entered and accounted for, the TPTB at BDO figured it was appropriate to recognize the men (13) and women (2) who make up the final new partner class under Jack Weisbaum: “I am very proud to welcome each of these very deserving individuals to our partnership,” said Jack Weisbaum, CEO […]

Fiscal New Year’s Eve Fun: How To Handle Last Minute Time Entry Requests

Let no one say nothing good ever comes out of BDO. From the tip box: Hey Going Concern,   It's almost June 30, and you know what that means! Yep, BDO YE! That also means being bombarded with a million emails to enter all of our time. As a BDO lifer I don't know, but […]

There’s a Bit of Shake-up in the Works at BDO

Last week we heard some interesting news from a reliable source on a shakeup that will impact the regional and leadership structure of BDO. As you know, the next CEO of Bravo Delta Oscar will be Wayne Berson, the current head of assurance for the firm's Atlantic region. As the firm's CEO-elect, he is putting […]

Ex-BDO CEO Wins New Trial Because One of the Jurors Lied About Being a Drunk, Shoplifting Shellfish, Everything

Former BDO CEO and wolfpack leader Denis Field has won a new trial on charges of tax fraud thanks to a juror in his trial who lied about her alcoholism and, oh…pretty much everything: U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan today overturned the convictions, ruling that the presence of Catherine Conrad, who was Juror No. 1, […]

BDO Joins the Auditor Resignation Party

The firm has had about all the fun it can handle trying to audit Chaoda Modern Agriculture. In a statement Thursday, Chaoda said that in a letter on Apr. 26, BDO said that despite continuing with the audit for a prolonged period, it was not in a position to conclude. It said the move was […]

Grant Thornton Bailing Out BDO Down Under

Grant Thornton is officially picking up BDO's Victoria and New South Wales offices in Australia for $50 million, according to reports.  [This] comes after BDO announced last month it had decided to terminate the BDO Victoria and New South Wales offices, citing “unreasonable risks”, following a strategic review of the business taken over the previous […]

Wayne Berson Will Be the Next CEO of BDO

It was a very quick turn around from the time we learned that the most interesting accounting firm CEO was retiring, to learning the slate of candidates to the announcement of the successor but here we are. Wayne Berson, BDO's Atlantic Assurance leader will be the new CEO effective November 1.  “I am honored and […]

Going Concern March Madness 2012 Enters Round 2: No More Big 4

Today marks the day that you're pulling out brackets again that just serves as a reminder of how horrible you are at picking winners. Accordingly, we'll dive right into round two of Going Concern March Madness 2012: The Coolest Accounting Firm.  Again this year we saw a bunch of upsets in round one with all […]

Who Will Be the Next CEO of BDO?

Last month we learned that Jack Weisbaum would be retiring at the end of his current term as BDO's CEO. It's been quite the run for Captain Jack, but eventually you knew that things wouldn't stay interesting forever. A tipster tells us that the process to replace J. Dubs will soon be under way: The […]

BDO Chief Technology Officer Asks Everyone To Give Up Their God-given Right to Stream NCAA Basketball Tournament Games at Work

A deckhand on Captain Jack's ship sent us a copy of an email that will either be heeded begrudgingly or completely ignored: From: [BDO Chief Technology Officer] To: [Everyone] Subject: March Madness… March Madness means many things to many people.  Basketball, spring and snow in Michigan and APT & taxes here at BDO.  With that […]

KPMG Sorta Making Up for Losing All Those Partners to PwC By Taking Some of Their Audit Clients

Accounting News Report, using data from Audit Analytics, puts out an Auditor Change Analysis every year and it usually finds its way into our inbox, however, because the analysis is a subscription-based publication (and a pricey one at that), reproducing the whole thing is usually not an option. This year we asked pretty please, and we got […]

Jack Weisbaum to Step Down as BDO CEO

One last thing before you're off to make bad decisions this weekend…Oh, right! You're probably working this weekend and you probably don't get to make any decisions about that. ANYWAY, Captain Jack Weisbaum, the most interesting accounting firm CEO in the world will not seek reelection, and will retire effective October 31, 2012 when his current […]

Ex-BDO Partner Didn’t Realize You Were Asking About *That* $49,350

Bryan N. Polozola simply misremembered that he took that exact amount of money from a old employer. Problem is, he misremembered with the SEC: Polozola was the subject of a 2005 NASD (now FINRA) proceeding alleging that he took $49,350 in funds from a former employer for his personal use. Polozola neither admitted nor denied […]

Exodus Watch ’11: BDO Tax Partners

Apparently a grip (a half dozen or so) of them have left the firm in the past two months, says a source familiar with the situation at BDO. At least three are supposedly now with PwC (none worthy of P. Dubs press releases) and another two are off to Deloitte in various markets. If you’ve recently jumped Captain Jack’s ship or know of more details for your office, get in touch.

BDO Knows the Alamo

The most interesting accounting firm CEO would like to welcome the gang at Carneiro, Chumney & Co. to the club. “The addition of the partners and other professionals formerly with Carneiro, Chumney & Co. provides BDO with a fantastic presence in the important San Antonio market. Combined with our existing practices in Austin, Dallas and Houston, Captain Jack said. With this move, all San Antonioa-area professional recruiters are officially on notice that your leads at Carneiro now have incentive to rat you out. [BDO]

BDO Anthem to FIU Includes Tone Deaf MCs, Bad Wigs

As you’ve probably noticed, a lot of videos come through these parts that are of various production quality with the legendary “In a JIT” widely accepted as the best effort to date. While TPTB probably don’t appreciate the creativity, it always seems worthwhile for us to promote the talents (or complete lack thereof) of those willing to put the time into a such an extensive project.

Today in CPA-inspired video is from none other than the most interesting firm in the world, BDO. The mission of this particular video was to serenade recruits from Florida International University. And seeing how it’s a firm-sponsored production, it’s clear the firm is behind it.


Some thoughts:

1. How did the casting director consciously go with the two guys in the office that are completely tone deaf?

2. Will FIU recruits even attend an office visit after this display?

3. “Running through FASBs like Drano.”

4. At 2:35 they are clearly reading the lyrics off the screen. Poor form, gents.

5. Couldn’t they get Captain Jack to throw them out of the office instead?

We will give them an ‘A’ for effort since BDO is typically pretty quiet but they’ve got a long way to go. Feel free to share your own critique below.

Comp Watch ’11: What Do You Know, BDO?

From the mailbag:

Comp adjustments are coming out this week/ next week can you start a thread?


As we’ve pointed out in the past, BDO is probably the quietest of the top tier firms. Rarely do we get news of hookers, out-of-control happy hours or milestone awards. Sure, we got under the skin of Jeremy Newman once but he has a blog. He was asking for it.

This omertà of sorts by the rank and file has been discussed amongst the GC team and we’ve come up with this: we’vegotnofuckingidea. Not that we haven’t had the opportunity to report on the consolidation of regions or $5 Starbucks cards but the tips are so few and far between that whenever something about BDO come in, it gets us all sort of excited.

But enough about us. If you’re at BDO and you’ve had your sit-down or you’re waiting and are hearing rumors of raise percentages OR you’re simply doubtful as to Jack Weisbaum’s status as most interesting accounting firm CEO in the world, please tell us below.

Analysis: If Your Accounting Firm Was a College Football Team

Pack up your white pants and seersucker suits – Labor Day has come and gone which means only one (actually important) thing: college football is back. You NFL loving freaks can have your Sundays of Hollywood-produced sport; I believe the good Lord created Sundays solely as a recovery day for college football fans. Well, for that and drunk brunches, of course.

It is no secret that good ol’ Caleb is a vehement Husker fan,he only reason he’s given me the green light to churn out a post comparing your respective accounting firms to the likes of fried-butter-eating college football fanatics.

I can only pray that my effort will inspire the semi-regular infusion of sport, accounting, and bantering commenters around here, so I give you the “Accounting Firms If They Were A College Football Program” top nine rankings. Grab your body paint and come along for the tailgate.


Firm: Deloitte
Team: Oklahoma Sooners
First Take: Both are always in title contention but seem to shit the bed come Pay Day. Deloitte raises are on par with the Sooners’ BCS bowl record under Coach Bob Stoops (2-8).
Keep it in the Family: During Hurricane Irene, Deloitte encouraged employees to bunk up together, obviously a practice long in use in Oklahoma.
Sputter, Sputter: Sooner alum Blake Griffin jumped over a KIA at last year’s NBA slam dunk contest. A certain Deloitte consultant also prefers a certain overused and washed out mode of transportation…

Firm: PwC
Team: Oregon Ducks
First Take: They’re in the news for legit (raises, hurry-up offense) and controversial (fireside chats, BCS infractions) more often than you’d like. Also, their team colors are atrocious.
Hotties Everywhere: PDubs has Ireland. The Ducks have these ladies.
Just Pick One Already: PwC doesn’t churn out new logo/uniform re-designs as often as the Ducks but both cause a stir when they do. Whether the changes for either team result in better winnings has yet to be seen.

Firm: Ernst & Young
Team: Ohio State Buckeyes
First Take: You hate going up against them, but even if they do win, you’re thankful you’re not affiliated with their alumni.
Compliance? What Compliance? Former coach Jim Tressell thought it best to let a tattoos-for-autographs program run its course. E&Y is apparently doing the same with this minor Sino-Forest sitch.
Questionable Mascots: The poisonous nuts of the Midwest are no match for the Black & Yellow guy.

Firm: KPMG
Team: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
First Take: Still talking about that big win in 1983. An exodus of leadership. The general public has gone from loathing them to just feeling bad for them. Give it up, you’re no longer the powerhouse you (thought you) once were.
Johnny Be Good. The Chairman is also a proud ND alum. Need we say more?
Empty Promises: We’re going to win it all! We’re going to hire thousands!

Firm: Grant Thornton
Team: Northwestern Wildcats
First Take: As hard you they try to be tough, they’re still nerds dressed in purple.
Off-the-Mark Advertising: GT – the lack of aligned teeth took some bite out of your full-page WSJ ad. And Dan Persa for Heisman – really? Your mom for Heisman.

Firm: Rothstein Kass
Team: Boise State Broncos
First Take: First it was a feel-good story but their continued rise through the ranks is pissing off the traditionalists.
The-Anybody-But-The-Other-Guy- Vote: Whether it was Boise’s ridiculously fantastic win over Oklahoma years ago in the Fiesta Bowl or RK’s dominance in the Going Concern March Madness pool, oftentimes their fan support stemmed from us just hating their competition more.

Firm: McGladrey
Team: Missouri Tigers
Only Take: You’re supposed to be on this list; we know you belong on this list; we don’t know what you’ve done to deserve being on this list.

Firm: BDO
Team: Penn State Nittany Lions
First Take: Your parents would have been pleased if you went there but better options awaited you.
Race to the Retirement Home: JoePa is 84 and coaching from the press box. Rumor has it Jack Weisbaum calls the shots from his personal tanning bed.

Firm: CBIZ/Mayer Hoffman McCann
Team: University Buffalo Bulls
Only Take: You think you’re a big deal, but really everyone uses you as an exhibition punching bag.

How’d we do? What team best parodies your firm? Share it in the comments below.

Jeremy Newman’s Blogging Career Is Coming to End

Related: he’s also stepping down as BDO International’s CEO on September 30:

[After] 33 years in total with BDO UK and BDO International, I will be stepping down on 30 September 2011.

I have had a fantastic career and have been privileged to lead BDO UK for 7 years and BDO International for the last 3 years. I have had some great colleagues, worked with some brilliant people and, in my earlier career, been involved with some terrific clients.

Martin van Roekel, the firm’s Managing Partner in the Netherlands, will officially be the new International Chief on October 1.

Newman says “it is time for a change,” but he “[doesn’t] know what I will do but after 33 years in this business, I am looking forward to seeking new opportunities outside the accounting profession.” He is promising to keep blogging through September, so hopefully he’s still working on his delicate sensibilities.

Moving On [CEO Insights]

One Might Get the Idea That Glen Rose Petroleum Corp. Fired Its Auditor in Favor of a Firm That’s Less Likely to Issue a Going Concern Opinion

It’s not entirely clear why Jonathon P. Reuben’s services are no longer needed but you could easily conclude that the GCO wasn’t appreciated.

On June 20, 2011, the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors of Glen Rose Petroleum Corporation (the “Company”) approved the termination of services of Jonathon P. Reuben CPA, An Accountancy Corporation (“JPR”), effective immediately.

JPR was the independent registered public accounting firm for the Company for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2010 and 2009. The reports of JPR on the Company’s financial statements for the years ended March 31, 2010 and 2009 did not contain an adverse opinion or disclaimer of opinion, and such reports were not qualified or modified as to uncertainty, audit scope, or accounting principle, except that the reports of JPR on the Company’s consolidated financial statements as of and for the years ended March 31, 2010 and 2009 contained an explanatory paragraph which noted that there was substantial doubt as to the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern due to a deficit in working capital and incurring significant losses.

BDO will take it from here. Perhaps a nice welcome to the partnership gift for one of the newbies?

8-K [SEC via Citybizlist]

Promotion Watch ’11: BDO Admits 13 New Partners

Jack Weisbaum is letting a baker’s dozen join the club, although with the new national heads recently announced, there’s an new extra layer between the newbies and the most interesting accounting CEO in the world.

Here are the lucky 13:

John Barkmeyer (Orange County – Assurance), Doug Bekker (Grand Rapids – Tax), Elliott Binder (San Jose – Tax), Sofia Blair (New York – – Assurance) and Mike Campbell (San Francisco – Tax), Demetrio Frangiskatos (New York – Assurance), Nania Gopal (Orange County – National Assurance Office), Mike Hottel (Washington, DC – Assurance), Joel Mitchell (Chicago – Tax), Stathis Poulos (Raleigh – Assurance), Jennifer Quaglino (Woodbridge – Tax), Chris Tylka (Chicago – Assurance) and Andy Zaleski (Detroit – Tax).

Congratulations and stay thirsty, new partners.

[via BDO]

BDO Slims Down to Four Regions, Names New National Heads of Assurance and Tax

Jay Duke will head up the assurance practice while Doug Sirotta will lead tax. They’ll both report to the most interesting CEO in the world.

The business line regional heads (chart below), who formerly reported to Jack Weisbaum, will now report report to Duke and Sirotta. Speaking of those regions, the Southeast Region (Florida, Georgia) will merge into the Atlantic and the Southwest (Texas and Tennessee) will join the Central. It all goes down on July 1. Messrs. Duke and Sirotta will give up their seats on the BDO Board of Directors to take their new national roles (demotion?).

SOMEWHAT RELATED: Christopher Tower, the head of assurance in the West, was one of the brainchildren behind the “Tattle on a Headhunter, Win a $5 Starbucks Card” idea. [BDO]

Region Assurance RBLL Tax RBLL
Northeast Alan Selitti Robert Pedersen
Atlantic Wayne Berson Wayne Corini
Central Steve Ferrara Paul Heiselmann
West Christopher Tower Rocky Cummings

BDO Rewarding Employees for Tattling on Headhunters with $5 Starbucks Cards

For whatever reason, we don’t hear a lot of gossip out of BDO. Perhaps it’s because the entire firm is too captivated by the most interesting accounting firm CEO in the world, Jack Weisbaum, and are rendered loyal to a fault, thus choosing not to share the more sordid details of what happens inside B to the D tortunate because we hear rumors that there are slew of partners who are not pleased with how things are going at firm but no one seems to want to talk. I’d encourage someone to speak up by emailing us.

But for now, we’ll take the opportunity to tell you about the efforts put forth by some inside the firm that were sensitive to the post-busy season onslaught of professional recruiters. As we all know, after people have worked their asses off for three to four months, some might feel unappreciated and opt to look for a new job. Recruiters are acutely aware of this and since it’s their job to fill positions for their clients, it only makes sense that they chase people that are looking for a change. And because professional recruiting is a competitive business, sometimes the emails can clog your inbox like offers for ED drugs. Some partners at BDO thought that in order to help people stave off this bumrush, they would invite employees to simply forward the emails and voicemails received and voilà! $5 of Starbucks burning in your pocket. Oh, and did I mention that there’s no limit for how many you submit? So if you’re a hot piece of public accounting talent, getting tons of calls, you can really clean up. Not only that, the person that submitted the most unique names of headhunters and agencies would receive a $250 AMEX gift card. Yes. Sound petty? Sound pathetic? Sound desperate? Read for yourself and decide.


I split up original screenshot sent to me so that it would be easier to read, hence the narrow break.


So you might expect such an attempt to bribe employees with corporate caffeination would fall flat. That tipping off firm leadership about PEOPLE THAT ARE SIMPLY DOING THEIR JOBS (and maybe change a few professional careers for the positive) would fall on deaf ears. Well, you would be wrong. DEAD WRONG. A follow-up on the firm’s internal website (next page) stated that over 200 submissions were made and one SA in Spokane submitted 15 alone.

That’s right, the effort was so successful that they are extending it through July 8th. Not really knowing what the protocols are, I don’t know what to tell the recruiters to expect in terms of retaliation from the TPTB at BDO but at least you’ll know that if you receive some kind of nasty correspondence, the person who gave you up was baited with the siren’s call that is the white and green coffee cup.

Investors in Allen Stanford’s (Alleged) Ponzi Scheme Sue BDO

Nearly two years after Texas financier Allen Stanford was indicted in an alleged massive Ponzi scheme, investors have just filed a $10 billion proposed class action suit against his auditor—the giant accounting firm BDO.

The suit—filed Thursday in federal court in Dallas—says BDO did not only aid and abet the $7 billion dollar fraud…it was a “co-conspirator.” “BDO’s cozy relationship with the Stanford Financial Group was steeped in conflicts of interest and required ongoing deceptive and duplicitous manipulation of the facts to allow the Ponzi scheme’s exponential growth for over a decade,” the complaint says. “The result of this deception is the loss of thousands of investors’ life savings.” [CNBC]

Doing It Wrong Twitter Case Study: The Sensitive CEO

Usually Adrienne handles these things but I seem to have started a beef, so here goes. Last Friday, I poked fun at BDO Global CEO Jeremy Newman, after he admitted that regulatory intervention in the UK would b up the audit market,” even though that’s the last thing he wants. “It is a shame it has taken so long and that it will require regulatory intervention,” he writes but then immediately qualifies the statement, “though it is not too late for my colleagues in the Big Four, and others, to act on a voluntary basis to create the environment necessary to allow real competition.”

This overt doublespeak caused me to open my post with this:

Perpetual fusspot and BDO Global CEO Jeremy Newman has not been shy about how unfair he thinks the dominance of the Big 4 is. The majority of his blog posts are tagged “Global Accounting” and several consist of bellyaching about Big 4 this and the Big 4 that. Of course, since the mainstream media has finally picked up on the idea that the concentration of auditors could be a bit of a problem […]

Newman wrote another blog post today starting with “I have never understood Twitter” but then did a Twitter search on himself, “not expecting to find anything” but he eventually landed on my blog post. He blockquoted the excerpt above (and linked!) and then wrote this:

Now call me sensitive, but I do not see myself as a “perpetual fusspot” or “bellyaching”- just someone raising a valid concern and one that has now been recognised by others, including the OFT but also the European Commission, MEPs, the UK’s House of Lords and many others, as being a potential issue. I also don’t think the dominance of the Big 4 is “unfair” – I think it is a risk and not in the public interest. And again this view is shared by others – including those who represent the public interest.

Clearly, Mr Sensitive had never graced this fine publication before but I read most of his blog posts and as I pointed out, lots of posts are tagged “Global Accounting” with titles such as “Big 4 bias – can we ever overcome it?,” “Financial Reporting and Auditing: A time for change?,” “There is a Credible Alternative,” and “Restrictive bank covenants keep the Big Four on top….”

Now maybe I’m way off base here but having so many posts (there are more) attributed to this topic, strikes me as someone who is excessively worried about something (i.e. “fussing“). I’m not suggesting he should start doing Mad Men recaps but there is consistent narrative. Plus, the word “fusspot” is funny. Furthermore, evoking “bias,” “can we overcome” and “credible alternative[s]” inherently speak to an unlevel playing field (i.e. “unfair“). Perhaps I’m too wrapped up in semantics but I think my point has been made.

On the bright side, I’m flattered that Mr Newman was offended enough to write a response of sorts (without naming names, unfortunately) and hopefully he finds some things on GC that are to his liking. Unfortunately he still doesn’t appear to be on Twitter, the catalyst to this whole exchange. I encourage JN to join the fun. Then he’ll be able to keep up on himself.

Ex-BDO CEO Denis Field Convicted in Tax Shelter Case

Wolf pack leader and former BDO honcho Denis Field was convicted on a variety of charges related to tax shelters that he and others provided to wealthy clients, according to several reports. This seems to mark the end to this particular case, as Denis’s colleagues all pleaded guilty back in 2009. Others convicted alongside Field included former Jenkens & Gilchrist partners Paul Daugerdas and Donna Guerin and David Parse, formerly of Deutsche Bank Alex.Brown.

New York Law Journal reports that during opening remarks, the prosecution quoted Mr Field as telling his fellow wolf packers that they would be “”swimming in a river of green” if they aggressively sold the tax shelter plans. His defense claimed that he was merely the “head showman and marketer” which sounds like a pretty lousy excuse but his lawyers stated that they will still file post-trial motions to have the verdict set aside. [WSJ, NYLJ]

Jeremy Newman Would Prefer if the Big 4 Would Just ‘Allow Real Competition’ But Regulatory Action Will Do Just Fine, Thank You

Perpetual fusspot and BDO Global CEO Jeremy Newman has not been shy about how unfair he thinks the dominance of the Big 4 is. The majority of his blog posts are tagged “Global Accounting” and several consist of bellyaching about Big 4 this and the Big 4 that. Of course, since the mainstream media has finally picked up on the idea that the concentration of auditors could be a bit of a problem, Newman has lots of articles to jump from and since the UK’s Office of Fair Trade has said something needs to be done about this, he had another opportunity this week:

Under the headline “Antitrust watchdog urges reform to break audit grip of Big Four” the FT states:

“Regulatory action may be required to break the dominant grip of the Big Four accounting firms on UK audits of leading companies…”

The only word I would challenge is “may” – it should say “will”.

Presumably this article was in the print edition because Newman doesn’t link to it but suffice to say he’s concluded that the government needs to either break up the Fab 4 like Yoko Ono or put some laws in place that mandates non-Big 4 firm inclusion. Either way, Newman laments to the Big 4 that it doesn’t have to be this way:

At long last it seems that something might now be done to open up the audit market. It is a shame it has taken so long and that it will require regulatory intervention – though it is not too late for my colleagues in the Big Four, and others, to act on a voluntary basis to create the environment necessary to allow real competition.

Judging by the statements from the firms, they seem more or less going along with it but these firms aren’t conscientious objectors. Don’t expect them to play nice.

I Hate it When People Say “I Told You So” But… [BDO]

What’s Do We Make of BDO’s ‘Secret Settlement’ in the E.S. Bankest Dispute?

BDO is trying to put the E.S. Bankest/Banco Espirito mess behind it by submitting a “confidential agreement” to settle its litigation with the bankruptcy estate of E.S. Bankest, according to the South Florida Business Journal.

It sounds as though this could be put to rest as the bankruptcy trustee Barry Mukamal is quoted as saying, “I’m satisfied that this settlement is in the best interests of the estate,” although the creditors have to give the stamp approval as well. What’s not immediately clear from the article is to what extent Banco Espirito is involved in this settlement, the only mention being “”Lisbon-based Banco Espírito Santo and the estate of E.S. Bankest sued BDO Seidman regarding more than $140 million lost to a financial scheme run by former officers of E.S. Bankest.” I shot an email over to Steven Thomas who has represented Banco Espirito to sort this out and his spokesperson replied with the following statement, “BDO USA, LLP has entered into confidential settlement agreements with Banco Espirito Santo and Barry Mukamal, the bankruptcy trustee of E.S. Bankest, L.C., pursuant to which the lawsuits against BDO have been resolved.”

So when I asked if the re-trial was still on, I was simply referred back to the statement which kindasorta makes it sound as though this whole thing is over. But it still isn’t clear to me. Can anyone make sense of this? In the meantime, if I get to the bottom of this riddle, I’ll post an update.

BDO Seidman files secret settlement in malpractice case [SFBJ]

BDO Senior Manager Wants to Know How Best to Say ‘I Quit’

Welcome to the High Holiday edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a senior manager at BDO is ready to give notice but can’t decide if it’s best to keep things professional or to go out with a verbal assault the likes of which George Costanza has never seen.

Are you working in the Twilight Zone? Need some good ideas for celebrating the end of busy season? Feeling jealous about the sexy success<l us at [email protected] and we’ll get you over your accountants-in-love envy.

Back to kicking off The Public Accounting Attrition Tour of 2011:

Going Concern,

I am still knee deep in busy season, with many engagements still open and pushing their April 30th deadlines. There is no real end in sight, since May and June look equally as busy with Q’s, EBP’s, 9/30 year ends and other projects the Partners engage us for that further contribute to my maxed out PTO accrual. So naturally, as most people do this time of year, I have been looking for open positions searching for that golden opportunity to finally break free of the social, physical and health suppression known as public accounting. That being said, is it wrong to lay down at night and dream of what you would say when giving your notice?

I have played out hundreds of scenarios in my head saying everything from the absolute extreme to the overly conservative. That makes me think – what is the best way to “leave” a public accounting firm? During my 11 year career, I have seen all kinds of people leave in a ball of fire, rather than just fade away. Those people think that the firm will collapse without them, or their leaving will cause a mass exodus or significant change to the firm. No way. It never happens. So really, what is the point of telling the Partners (and HR in the exit conference), what you really feel in your heart?

Dear Dreaming of Quitting,

There’s nothing at all wrong with dreaming of the most epic march in ever. I assume you’re referring to something similar to this:

As you mention, people who go out with a furious speech that features wild hand gestures and name-calling are typically those who think they are indispensable or are somehow the catalyst to the collapse of their firm. You’re right to say that this is NEVER the case. A team or an office may go through a rough patch (mileage of rough patch may vary) but eventually things calm down and return to relative normalcy.

So to answer your second question – the best way to leave your firm is: quietly. That doesn’t mean you don’t tell your colleagues, friends or others that you’re leaving (most probably know that you’re looking to leave anyway) but it should be a drama-free encounter. You meet with the appropriate people, tell them that your last day will be X and that should be it. If they pry about why you’re leaving or attempt to convince you otherwise, you can respectfully decline or entertain their queries and/or begging. That’s up to you. Even if you’ve been used and abused throughout the time at your firm, would it really make you feel better to tell that a partner that the experience of working with them was akin to a circle of Dante’s Inferno that he dared not scribe?

As for the motive behind these overtly dramatic “I quit!” speeches, I get the feeling that those who feel compelled to give them think they will get some satisfaction out of telling someone exactly how they feel; that giving everyone who deserves a piece of their mind will somehow make everything negative that happened in the past worth it. If you feel like expressing some honesty about your experience, that’s perfectly okay but for crissakes, have some tact. If you simply feel justified to spew verbal excrement, that only makes you look like a lunatic. A very unprofessional lunatic.

Going Concern March Madness Update: Reznick’s Magic is MIA; Grant Thornton, BDO on the Ropes

Look gang, since too many of you are distracted with doing billable work to email us anything half way interesting, I’m guess I’ll just update you on the progress in Round 2.


The two highest remaining seeds – Grant Thornton and BDO – are looking defeat square in the face right now to their respective opponents – Crowe Horwath and Rothstein Kass. First round comeback kid Reznick Group is currently getting worked by Moss Adams which makes should make us all wonder what happened to the teamwork we saw in the first round. Perhaps they’re a one-trick pony?

Finally, in the least talked about match-up, Mickey G’s and Dennis Rader’s favorite firm (ideas for something better are welcome) look like they’ll be taking it down to the wire. There’s just over thirteen hours left to vote, so get the word out sooner rather than later (sorry Clifton Gunderson).

BDO Is Not Impressed with KPMG’s Business Tactics in Brazil

BDO announced a new member firm in Brazil today because…well, KPMG kindasorta poached their last one. Well, BDO Global CEO Jeremy Newman has had it up to here (i.e. eye-level) and wanted to point out that A) this not uncommon:

“BDO is not the first firm to have suffered as a result of our larger competitors using their dominant financial position to buy market share and we have expressed our concerns about this in BDO’s recent submission to the European Commission’s Green Paper on the role of the audit profession,” said Newman.

B) this is some shady dealings:

“These tactics are not driven by client needs but by one firm’s wish to buy market share and presumably achieve further economies of scale. We are concerned that when one firm looks to dominate it reduces choice for clients and leaves the market worryingly dependent on just a few players.

and C) these aren’t just fightin’ words. The most interesting accounting firm in the world will be taking action:

“BDO will be lodging an objection to this deal with the Brazilian competition authorities.”

Challenge extended.

BDO lines up complaint against KPMG Brazil [Accountancy Age]

Choosing Between a Big 4 and Mid-tier Firm Part XXIII

Welcome to the upset-special edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a future public accounting foot soldier has to make a decision between a Big 4 firm and “GT/BDO type firm” but is stumped on what to do and can’t find a two-sided coin anywhere. The next best solution was, obviously, emailing us.

Want to know if you’re in a dead-end job? Trying to deal with stress in the waning days of busy season? Anxious about changes in your job? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll help you pull through.

Back to the indecider:

Hi Going Concern,

I have an offer from a Big 4 and a GT/BDO type firm and am having a tough time deciding. I wanted to ask which option will be better in the long-run if I want to start in public accounting, but then might want to move to a large publicly traded tech company? I guess my question is which route would give me better exit opportunities and long-term benefits should I decide not to stay in public accounting? (If I leave, I have a good idea of where I’d like to work on the corporate side.)

1. Mid-Tier Firm experience — having taken lead on small projects by my second year, more interaction with clients etc. Having experience with mid-sized (not public) tech companies, and experience with large, public companies that are not tech companies.

2. Big 4 — staying a little more than 2 years (enough to move up to Sr. Associate level but not staying too long beyond that) – and having worked on large, public tech companies. Having the Big 4 brand name on my résumé.

Also, there’s a chance that I might enjoy staying at the Mid-Tier in the long-term, but without being sure, I want to keep my options as open as possible.

Thanks. Any advice is appreciated.

Stuck in Indecision

Dear Stuck in Indecision,

I’m impressed that you’ve managed to cover all the angles here. You could possibly like each scenario without considering what it is actually want with your career other than “might want to move to a large publicly traded tech company” or “might enjoy staying at the Mid-Tier in the long-term.” You’re basically saying that you’re up for anything – hence, ” I want to keep my options as open as possible.” Your options are open all right since you’ve committed to exactly nothing. However I’m here to help, so here goes.

To keep it brief: all things being equal, go with the Big 4 firm. Here are some details – it’s likely that you will have the opportunity to work on smaller clients at a Big 4 firm, thus giving you the chance to “take the lead.” If you also have experience working for larger, publicly-traded companies (not as likely at a mid-tier), your experience will be more vast and allow you decide what it is you actually want to do (because, at this point in time, you don’t seem to have a clue). GT, BDO, McGladrey et al. are fine firms but you have a Big 4 offer – take it. You didn’t mention the people (a big selling point at most firms) so I’ll assume you’re indifferent or that they were all equal on this front. The network you build in a Big 4 firm will benefit you the long run and the experience will as well. Just don’t expect your firm to do well in “cool” contests. Good luck.

BDO’s Tax Shelter Team Was Known as the ‘Wolf Pack’

I figured you guys should know that.

Ex-CEO Denis Field’s trial for his alleged lead-wolf role in the tax shelter case started last week, while the rest of his fellow wolves – Michael Kerekes, Adrian Dicker, Charles Bee Jr. and Robert Greisman – all pleaded guilty back in 2009.

Led by Field, BDO Seidman was one of the most aggressive tax-shelter marketers, starting in the late 1990s. Inside the firm, the tax-shelter team was known as the “wolf pack.” Field became CEO of the firm in 2000. Tax services accounted for nearly half of BDO Seidman’s $420 million in U.S. revenues in 2002, up from 28 percent in 1998.

Ex-chief executive of BDO Seidman on trial in tax-shelter case [CT]

Did Prosecutors Bungle Their Case Against BDO’s Former CEO?

Maybe! Denis Field’s lawyers certainly aren’t amused with the tactics:

Denis Field, ex-CEO of BDO Seidman, the world’s fifth largest accounting firm, claims Manhattan prosecutors intimidated his former firm into curtailing and eventually cutting off payments to his lawyers. In recently filed court papers, he claims that the government deprived him of his constitutional right to counsel and seeks dismissal of the case.

Field alleges that among other tactics, prosecutors threatened to indict the firm if it kept funding his defense. During a hearing on Thursday, U.S. Judge William Pauley III of the Southern District of New York, who is presiding over the case, closely questioned prosecutors about the accusations. A ruling is expected soon.

If this sounds familiar, it should. Back in 2007, the very same prosecutors – Stanley Okula and Shirah Neiman – pulled a similar stunt, “convincing” KPMG not to pay the legal fees for the partners and employees that were facing criminal charges for their roles in the firm’s tax shelter schemes:

That case was thrown out in 2007 after U.S. Judge Lewis Kaplan found that prosecutors had improperly “coerced” KPMG into cutting off the legal fees of 13 former KPMG partners and employees. “KPMG refused to pay because the government held the proverbial gun to its head,” Kaplan wrote.

Two of the prosecutors called out by Judge Kaplan — Stanley Okula and Shirah Neiman — have also been involved in the Field case, a fact that is prominently noted by Field’s lawyers in their motion to dismiss. “The reason for the government’s conduct is obvious — as with KPMG, the prosecutors believed BDO ‘should not pay the fees’ of allegedly culpable individuals,” Field’s lawyers argue. They cited the KPMG case no fewer than 50 times in their brief.

So it appears that Okula and Neiman aren’t much for personal reflection and may have pulled out the proverbial gun again. But they’re making a case for themselves, saying BDO’s motivation for sticking Field with the tab isn’t related to them putting the screws to the firm, “the government argues that BDO stopped paying Field’s legal bills after the firm discovered that Field hid from the board a report, prepared by law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, warning that certain tax shelters that Field was promoting were questionable.” Hey! – you can even ask BDO’s general counsel, he’ll tell you that the firm’s decision had nothing to do with get the government off their backs. And if you can’t believe a lawyer, who can you believe?

Prosecutors on defensive in BDO Seidman fraud case [Reuters]

Future Family Man Is Going Back and Forth Between BDO and Big 4 Offers

Welcome to the Calebs-are-a-loyal-sort edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a non-tradish student is getting all wishy-washy about choosing between BDO and a Big 4 firm. There are lots of variables involved so we’ll get right to it. But first…

Is your busy season belt already busting? Need help choosing classes to reach the 150 credit hours required in your state? Worried your lack of WASPyness will hurt your career ambitions? Email us at [email protected] and we can recommend an exercise regimen or a nice fine arts class. Skin color and religion, on the other hand, are above our pay grade.

Back to our decider du jour:

I work in industry accounting now as a college student and I dread the monotonous work of industry accounting. This has brought me to the conclusion that I may just enjoy public accounting more in regards to a long term career. I see my CFO, controller, and director all working crazy hours which leads me to believe that my decision between public and industry would not change my work hours enough to really affect my work/life balance.

Unlike the majority of college students in their 20s I have significant financial obligations including a mortgage, car payments, and everything else that comes with those expenses. I am also married (no kids) and my wife is a low paid professional in her industry (marginal income, just enough to get by, but not enough to carry the house hold alone).

As for my offers – I have received a full-time offer with BDO to begin in the last quarter of this year, and I have also received an internship offer with a Big 4 to begin in January 2012 (hopefully beginning full time towards the end of 2012/beginning of 2013). If I take the internship for the sake of going Big 4, I will have to take out extra student loans through my masters to subsidize my ramen noodle living in the period between the internship and full-time start date. I will also have to put off starting my family, which is a big deal for me and my wife since we would like to start that before she gets into her 30s (which would be next year).

I must say that I originally chose the Big 4 and called BDO to decline my offer and let them know what my choice was. They seemed disappointed to hear it and the partner told me he doesn’t usually take part in recruitment and would really like me on his team. This is when he pushed my original offer from Jan 2013 to begin a few months earlier if I would have liked.

Also, when I inquired about the benefits offered at the Big 4 I was perceived “pushy” and I was told that I should be grateful for being extended an opportunity with them that many students would do anything for. When I presented this issue to professionals at other firms as well as professors I was always reassured that my question and my choice of approach regarding benefits was completely valid and the firm overreacted.

I am not sure if going Big 4 will be worth the financial and family delay sacrifice, or if going BDO and foregoing the Big 4 prestige would be a better idea since I have a partner already favoring me there from the get go, and instead of incurring more financial liabilities (through the extra student loans I would need if I took the Big 4 internship) I would be able to start paying some off. Some advice to help me make my decision would be greatly appreciated!

Hopeful Future Partner

Dear Hopeful,

Since we received your note prior to our pithy warning on Friday, I’ll ignore your verbosity. AS FOR THE REST OF YOU, there’s something to be said for brevity – keep that in mind.

All right, then. You’ve got Big 4 vs second tier decision to make, the typical American debt load and a biological clock to consider. Christ, man. We won’t touch the latter two but will say: aside from drinking heavily, you really need to sit down with the Mrs. to figure a lot of this out.

As for your career problem, we’re a little confused. It seems like you’ve already turned down BDO and accepted the Big 4 offer but there must be get out of accounting firm jail free card that we’re not aware of. Put that aside and it sounds like BDO is bending over backwards for you and your Big 4 friends are a tad touchy about a pretty standard inquiry (but maybe you’ve got people skills like Dunstan Pedropillai). So if you’re back to making a decision between the two, going with BDO seems like your best move just based on the people you’ve encountered.

To address this situation a more general sense, do you honestly think “Big 4 prestige” is going to help your situation? Anyone – recruiter, partner, manager, staff – that tries to guilt trip you with “[you] should be grateful for being extended an opportunity with [us] that many students would do anything for” doesn’t give a damn about you and is more concerned about the power they hold over you with this “opportunity.” Tell them to stick it and get your career started. Your wife will appreciate it.

A Partner Hopeful Can’t Decide Between KPMG and a Mid-Tier Firm

Welcome to the light-the-menorah edition of Accounting Career Emergency. In today’s edition, a lucky co-ed who is convinced she wants a career in public accounting has internship offers from KPMG and GT and maybe another from BDO. Multiple choice study skills won’t really help her so she turned us for our sage advice.

Is your career on life support? Worried that the long hours during the upcoming busy season might finally cause you to crack? Does your family remind you of Arrested Development? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll have no problem crushing your brother-in-law’s dreams of playing with the Blue Man Group.

Back to the multiple choice exercise:

I recently received an internship offer from both Grant Thornton and KPMG in Chicago. I more than likely will be getting an offer from BDO as well. Unlike many who go Big 4 then jump ship to industry, I want to make a long term career out of public accounting (i.e., hopefully make partner some day).

I liked the supposed “culture” and the people at all of the firms, but now I can’t decide which one I want to go with. I don’t know if going midsized will mean quicker promotions, and somewhat better hours (relatively speaking), or if the Big 4 prestige is even relevant long term within the public accounting field. Please help me make sense of this…

Dear Partner Hopeful,

Pardon us but we’ll briefly delve into semantics for a second – “midsized” isn’t really representative of GT or BDO (we’re not crazy about mid-tier either but we’re open to suggestions) as they both have vast international networks. It is also true that the Big 4 dwarf GT and BDO combined so a moniker for the non-Big 4 firms (because that also sucks) could be the most important debate to come out of your question. But that’s a discussion for another day.

Now, then. We’re impressed that you have your mind made up that you want a long-term career in public accounting. That was our initial aspirations as well and look how that turned out. All we’re saying is, don’t get ahead of yourself and the culture will wane, trust us.

As for the Big 4 vs. GT/BDO question – for starters, the promotion pace will be similar no matter where you go. Besides, do you really want to get to senior manager in 5-6 years just to sit there for 10 more before you make partner? Our guess is, nofuckingway.

Secondly, don’t ask about hours. They will be long no matter where you go. Get over it.

The most provocative part of your question is related to prestige. GT and BDO rank #5 and #6 in Vault’s latest ranking, so it’s not like you’re working for complete schlubs. Plus, Chicago, as you’re well aware, is where Grant Thornton and BDO are headquartered. Conventional wisdom may tell you that KPMG is a more prestigious firm regardless of location and that very well may be true. But if you’re working in the HQ city of GT or BDO, you’re likely to hobnob with some of the most high-ranking professionals within those two firms. Not taking anything away from KPMG Chicago, but you simply won’t get the same exposure to the firm’s national leadership as you would at Grant Thornton or BDO.

Bottom line is that all the firms are solid and if you’re sold on the people and culture, you’ll have no problem fitting in at any of them. But if you’re concerned with prestige and building your network, it’s worth considering the opportunity of getting exposure to the bigwigs at GT and BDO.

BDO Culminates 100th Anniversary with a Two-Hour Disney Production on the History of the Firm

As you probably know, BDO has spent 2010 celebrating the firm’s 100th anniversary in the U.S. Throughout the year there has been various celebrations along with Jack Weisbaum’s successful run as Dos Equis dopplegänger.

The apex of the firm’s centennial is going on as we speak in Orlando, at the firm’s Centennial Partners Meeting where 700 some-odd partners, alums and their better halves are celebrating the big one hundo.


A brief word from the most interesting accounting CEO in the world:

“In 1910, there were a little more than 2000 certified public accountants (CPAs) in the United States, that’s approximately the same amount currently working at BDO. Today, there are hundreds of thousands CPAs, but just a handful of national firms that have been able to grow and prosper across the country and build networks with member firms around the world,” said Jack Weisbaum, CEO of BDO USA. “Our firm bears little physical resemblance to the firm Maximillian L. Seidman started a century ago, and it is sure to change drastically in the coming century. What will stay the same is our unwavering commitment to clients, our capacity to adapt to change and our ability to find opportunity in every challenge.”

In addition to the Weisbaum speech, last night attendees were treated the aforementioned two-hour Disney production about the history of the firm.

Entitled “Proud Past – Bold Future,” the firm’s story is told with an extensive cast and musical arrangements, interspersed with video interviews of BDO partners – from both past and present – as the firm’s progress is tracked over the past century.

A Disney production sounds nice but two hours? Beauty and the Beast was nominated for Best Picture and it only ran for 84 minutes. Not that you can fairly compare the 100 years of getting to know BDO to animated bestiality. There really is no comparison but we’re just hoping – for the sake of the audience – it was screened before the comfort food and booze.

Sandra Guy, Recognized for Leadership in Diversity, Leaving BDO

We’ve learned from a tipster that BDO’s Head of Human Capital Sandra Guy was leaving the firm to ‘pursue other interests’ which we have confirmed with a BDO spokesman.

As of Monday, Sandi Guy, executive director of Human Capital, has left the firm to pursue other interests. Barbara Taylor, the firm’s general counsel, will oversee the Human Capital function on an interim basis until a replacement is identified.

“We thank Sandi for her many years of service to our firm and are grateful for her significant contributions,” says Jack Weisbaum, chief executive officer. “We wish her well in her future endeavors.”

Ms. Guy was recognized just last year for her work in diversity by American Society of Women Accountants (ASWA) and Profiles in Diversity Journal’sWomen Worth Watching in 2010.”

There’s Still Some Confusion About the BDO/Grant Thornton Situation in Hong Kong

The Wall St. Journal’s China Real Time Report stumbled upon the BDO/Grant Thornton poaching exodus merger situation (some may say, “clusterfuck”) in Hong Kong and we have no choice but to take issue with it.

The headline reads, “Missed It? Hong Kong’s Big Accounting Merger” and they mention the original report from the South China Morning Post. They manage to tone down the narrative but more or less tell the same story, full with quotes from BDO Hong Kong’s CEO Albert Au Siu-cheung:

On Wednesday, about a month after the joint press release, the South China Morning Post featured a front-page article describing the merger as a mass poaching of staff by BDO, “the biggest such raid in the city’s accounting sector.”

“It’s a bit sensational,” Au said, adding there was no raid. “Poaching is I pick a few heads here and there,” he said. “What you’re seeing here is the whole firm, meaning the partners and staff, coming to join us in BDO.”

In other words, “Sure it sounded bad but really it was just people making a choice”:

“There is no goodwill payment of any kind,” Au said. “I like to think they are voting with their feet. By that, I mean they think they’re joining a platform they have commitment to and believe in.” Clients were informed of the change and had the option to find another accounting firm. All clients have stayed with Grant Thornton for this merger.

Of course if someone at the Journal had rang up Grant Thornton International they would have likely gotten the story that we reported on last Friday which is that GTI booted the affiliate firm in Hong Kong and that BDO is kinda, sorta misrepresenting the situation:

They did not choose to leave, they were told to leave…[I]t is disingenous, or possibly wishful thinking, on the part of BDO to suggest that Grant Thornton is pulling out of Hong Kong. Many partners and staff from the former Hong Kong firm have already contacted the new Grant Thornton firm and clients will, of course, decide for themselves whether to move to BDO, which operates in the region as a loose affiliation, or remain with the more integrated, ‘one firm’ approach of Grant Thornton.

And of course there are the opposing press releases. The joint one issued by the BDO/GT firm dated October 7th that states:

Leading accounting firms BDO and Grant Thornton are pleased to announce that their firms have agreed in principle to merge their businesses and practise in the name of BDO Limited.

And the one from GTI, also dated October 7th that states something quite different:

Grant Thornton International gave its Hong Kong member firm notice on 20 September to leave the global organisation by March 2011.

With that mandate and probably few options, it appears that GTHK ran into the arms of BDOHK. BDO is using the Journal to disseminate a story that makes them look proactive and ambitious when in reality, none of this would even be happening if GTI hadn’t told their HK firm to get lost. The Journal – like the South China Morning Post – doesn’t mention that. Some people might consider that a major piece of the story.

We’ve put out a warning in the past about wandering into our corner of the sandbox without knowing what the hell you’re doing (or at least checking with us first) and you can consider this a friendly reminder about that. We’re more than happy to help because this accounting/accounting firm stuff is tricky when you don’t spend every single day reading and writing about it.

Grant Thornton: BDO Suggestion That We Are Pulling Out of Hong Kong Is ‘Disingenuous’

Following up on our post from Wednesday on the movement of 600+ Grant Thornton Hong Kong employees to BDO, we’ve received some correspondence from Grant Thornton International that clarifies the situation.

Turns out, a brief press release – whole thing after the jump – was issued by GTI last month that announced that the firm had given notice (confirming speculation in the comments) to its HK firm to GTFO by March 2011.

In email to Going Concern, GTI spokeswoman Hilary East broke it down for us:

They did not choose to leave, they were told to leave. Success in China is critical to the long term ambitions of G are committed to an integrated approach to the China market, which includes Hong Kong. While many partners in the former Hong Kong firm supported that strategy, their leadership was unable to agree amongst itself and separation became the only option. Grant Thornton China immediately set up a new firm in Hong Kong, led by a group of partners from the original Hong Kong firm with support from the 1500 partners and staff across mainland China.

The new firm that Ms East mentions, presumably is Jingdu Tianhua Hong Kong which we mentioned in our previous post that will adopt the Grant Thornton name “in due course.”

But what about this article in the South China Morning Post that quotes BDO Hong Kong’s CEO as saying, “The opportunity to have a massive admission of so much established accounting talent is rare.” ?

Ms East elaborated for us:

[I]t is disingenous, or possibly wishful thinking, on the part of BDO to suggest that Grant Thornton is pulling out of Hong Kong. Many partners and staff from the former Hong Kong firm have already contacted the new Grant Thornton firm and clients will, of course, decide for themselves whether to move to BDO, which operates in the region as a loose affiliation, or remain with the more integrated, ‘one firm’ approach of Grant Thornton.

If you read the South China article, you won’t see a single mention of GTI giving the Hong Kong firm notice, unless you count the extremely vague and misleading passage:

Grant Thornton chief executive Patrick Rozario, who led the move to BDO, said the team decided to shift because of Grant Thornton International’s directive for the mainland member firm to lead Grant Thornton’s Hong Kong office.

“We consider BDO, which is run independently in Hong Kong and China, respectively, is a model that suits us better,” Rozario said.

No mention of the GTI press release. No mention of the new firm that GTI was setting up. No mention that some staff and partners were considering their options. The headline (and sub-hed) in the article is even ridiculously misleading: “Troubled accounting firm’s staff jump ship Grant Thornton to close as BDO gains full team”.

And why the article even brings up Gabriel Azedo’s disappearance is mystifying. It’s more than hella-stretch to suggest that the trouble caused by him has anything to do with GTI’s or BDO’s moves. Plus hardly anyone (including the Financial Times) gives a damn any more about his whereabouts. The guy has been on the lam for over a year and is probably some accounting Kurtz figure by now.

Grant Thornton International Separates From HK