Deloitte

Some of You Should Take Fashion Advice From This Deloitte Consultant

We cover fashion from time to time here on Going Concern primarily because so many of you are in desperate need of help in that department. Look, I know it's hard to pick out clothes when you don't live with mom anymore (or she has finally refused to do it) but like we've said before, […]

Here Are a Few Ridiculous Things Deloitte’s Punit Renjen Said in a Recent Interview

In the past, we've called attention to some of the brutally boring interviews that Deloitte bigwigs have done with various outlets. Joe Echevarria. Barry Salzberg. Deb DeHaas. We read these so you didn't have to. You're welcome. Today, however, we read an interview with Deloitte Chairman Punit Renjen that wasn't half bad. It was done […]

Twitter Absentee Barry Salzberg Preaches the Importance of Social Media

To our knowledge, Dr. Phil hasn't taken up the Deloitte CEO Twitter torch since he replaced Jim Quigley, so you'll excuse us if we take this comment from Salzberg's talk at Brooklyn College as a little disingenuous:  During the meeting, Salzberg advised students on their careers and answered questions about professional advancement, such as how […]

Let’s Speculate About: Joe Echevarria’s Rumored Meeting with the SEC

Earlier today we were informed that Deloitte CEO Joe Echevarria was a commencement speaker at the University of Miami, his alma mater, this morning. A quick search confirmed Joe E's gig, however, our tipster had this to add:  Said he had just come from a meeting with SEC, didn't mention what it was about, lol. This could […]

Ex-Deloitte Manager Shares New Venture with 182,000 (Give or Take) of His Closest Colleagues

Yesterday we shared a travesty of a farewell email that defies all professional etiquette and common decency. Later today we'll give you some pointers for crafting a farewell email that doesn't annoy everyone, but for now we have Exhibit B for self-serving, over-sharing accountants who seek greener pastures: Hello Everyone,   After five and a […]

Superfluous Press Release of the Day: Deloitte Applies for Top Level Domain Name: “.deloitte”

Perhaps I'm wrong about this, but announcing the application for a Top Level Domain seems a bit unnecessary. I'm sure Deloitte will obtain the TLD without any problems, but they seem overly enthusiastic about some of the benefits, saying that it will "[improve] site accessibility and usability to Deloitte member firm clients, recruits, and others […]

Wow, Deloitte Nearly Went a Month Without Resigning From a Hong Kong-listed Audit Client

It's been 26 days since Deloitte resigned as the auditor of Daqing Dairy, which is an impressive streak considering the number of days between the previous two resignations was seven. This time around, the Green Dot is walking on SouthGobi Resources Ltd.: Deloitte & Touch LLP has resigned as an auditor “on its own initiative” […]

Will This Deloitte Tax Consultant Be the Next Miss America?

Okay, maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. Vivian Wei is currently vying for the Miss California crown, so let's not get too excited just yet, but sure, it's a possibility! Right now, Ms. Wei is reigning Miss San Francisco which is pretty good, I guess. She's a graduate of UC Berkley's Haas School of Business […]

This Deloitte Press Release Has an Awkward Quote From Apolo Ohno

Ahhhh, the Olympics. Competition, national pride, inspiring life stories, a bunch of young athletes swapping bodily fluids for two weeks. It's really a time-honored tradition. A time-honored tradition that needs a professional services firm to guide it through the complexities of international business. Deloitte is that firm and to celebrate its renewal of sponsoring the […]

Deloitte Netherlands CEO Is Resigning After Stupidly Violating Independence Rules

Not exactly the best way to start a new job: Deloitte said the chief executive of its Dutch arm had stepped down with immediate effect after breaking internal rules on owning stakes in companies whose books are audited by the accountancy firm. Deloitte Netherlands CEO Piet Hein Meeter, who took up the job on Jan. 1, […]

Here’s an Unflattering Statement About Deloitte’s Auditing Ability

Courtesy of lawyers representing The Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System, who are suing the Green Dot over WG Trading Co., a firm allegedly used in a Ponzi scheme:  Deloitte “acted in willful blindness of the scheme, and its auditing practices were so deficient that the audits amounted to no audit at all, or an egregious refusal […]

Anyone Wanna Try and Ballpark the Number of Auditor Resignations From Chinese-listed Companies for 2012?

Earlier today we learned that Deloitte resigned as the auditor of Daqing Dairy Holdings Ltd, a Hong Kong-listed Chinese company. It was notable because this is the second resignation for Deloitte in [counting on fingers] seven days! That's not good! The other one was "baby products maker" and licenser of Harry Potter and Bob the […]

Deloitte CEO Gives the Most Non-Response Response to a Question Ever

Barry Salzberg demonstrates the art of the dodge:  Are the Big Four audit firms too big to fail?    There is no evidence that would indicate that there is a lack of choice by business to pick up a firm to work with, so I don't agree with the premise of that question.  Good lord. […]

Is There Any Question That Ben Keesey’s Accounting Degree and Five Months at Deloitte Set the Groundwork for Invisible Children?

Who knows?!? Four years studying the debit and credit arts at UCLA along with five months at Deloitte is more than enough time to accelerate a drinking problem or weight gain, but lay the groundwork for a viral exposure of human rights atrocities? That remains debatable. It's certainly a better result than some people who […]

To Catch a Deloitte Audit Manager

Weren't we just talking about child pervs the other day?! We were! Well lo-and-behold, a tipster enlightens us to the sordid tale of 41 year-old Jeffrey R. Bainter of St. Louis who – according to his LinkedIn profile [ed. note: which has been pulled as of Monday but appears below]- has worked as an audit […]

We Read Another Vapid, Metaphor-riddled Interview with a Deloitte Bigwig So You Don’t Have To

Communications teams at accounting firms, particularly the Big 4, have a difficult job. And for the most part, they're nice people. I've talked to plenty of them. NO! I'm being serious. They work for private companies that are notoriously secretive, newly regulated, but still have come under heavy scrutiny as capital market servants, thus, leading nosy […]

Should You Join the Class Action Overtime Lawsuit Against Your Accounting Firm?

Wage and hour lawsuits against Big 4 firms have been part of our coverage since the launch of Going Concern. Campbell v. PricewaterhouseCoopers has been big news in California and was the first case we covered. Lately, Pippins v. KPMG has been getting quite a bit of ink, thanks to a very proactive PR campaign by […]

Marin County Officials Won’t Be Amused to Learn That SAP Is Giving Deloitte Awards for Business Development Excellence

But now that the message is out, Marin County might have another word for it.  Deloitte has received four 2012 SAP® Partner Impact awards for its outstanding contributions to overall SAP sales and pipeline-generation goals. "We're thrilled to be recognized by SAP," said Craig Hodgetts, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and global SAP leader. "Receiving these Partner […]

Deloitte Will Not Be Planning Any Conferences at the Silver Legacy This Year

Well folks, it looks like Reno is officially dead. Last I saw it in 2010, it was a ghost town compared to the Reno I knew in the late 90s (ah, good times) so it's no surprise to hear Silver Legacy auditors at Deloitte have some concerns about the Silver Legacy's long-term financial health. Here's […]

This Boring Interview with Deloitte’s Barry Salzberg Includes an Odd Closeup of His Ginormous Hands

This is Barry's first Davos as the big cheese at Deloitte, so of course he's sitting down for an interview or two or twelve. This one (sans a snowy backdrop) is with Reuters and includes all the talkyiest talking points you could imagine but for whatever reason, it includes the oddest cut to his enormous […]

Judge Would Like Someone To Look Her in the Eye and Explain Why Deloitte Isn’t Complying with a SEC Subpoena in Relation to a Company That Held Audit Workpapers Hostage

Remember Longtop Finanical? That's the Hong Kong-based company that Deloitte kicked to the curb last May for a number of sketchy reasons that included the "the unlawful detention of DTT's audit files." We came to learn later that not only were the precious audit files taken hostage but that Deloitte auditors were thisclose to becoming hostages themeselves. […]

As it Stands Right Now, Deloitte Was the Worst Big 4 Audit Firm in 2010

Yesterday, the regulatory love child of Paul Sarbanes and Michael Oxley, the PCAOB, issued its 2010 inspection report for Deloitte. Deloitte was the third Big 4 firm to have their report issued this year with PwC and KPMG being issued just before Thanksgiving. While the reports for both PwC and KPMG were of the "we're […]

Your Friday Completely Out Of Context PowerPoint Slide Is Brought To You By Deloitte

After our post on PwC’s credibility crisis we received a number of emails regarding the other firms’ initiatives and programs (keep the hacked love coming). We started breaking it all down for your enjoyment but stopped dead in our tracks when we came across the following slide: Deloitte – Women PantsIt was from a 2010 […]

E&Y and Deloitte Are Here to Remind You That Women Are Grossly Underrepresented in the Old Boys’ Club

You might have read this morning that Avon's CEO Andrea Jung is being forced out. Okay, so MAYBE earnings are down more than 42% on the year. And suuuuure, the SEC is investigating the door-to-door crew for “bribing foreign officials and improperly disclosing information to Wall Street analysts.” But forget the investment story here. This is a […]

Technological Advances Inside Deloitte Have Some People All Excited

We here at GC received the following email in our inboxes this Moanday morning:

Finally!!! See below 🙂

Direct Pay makes managing your expenses easier
Published: 05-Dec-11

With the implementation of Direct Pay, managing your business expenses just got simpler. Direct Pay is the process where Deloitte pays American Express directly, on your behalf, for your business expenses that have been imported into DTE.

There is no change to billing dates, the point rewards program, or the way you enter your expenses.

Direct Pay will begin for U.S. professionals with expense reports dated December 17 (U.S. India professionals are not part of Direct Pay at this time.)

The process is simple:

• Use your American Express corporate card for business expenses
• Import your expenses into DTE
• Deloitte pays American Express for the imported expenses

Professionals will still be responsible for paying American Express directly for any minor non-business corporate card charges, or any American Express business charges that are manually entered into DTE. To help you with this process, there is a new tool in DTE that reconciles your monthly American Express charges to what you have imported.

Sweet Baby Jesus, it doesn’t take much to excite the Green Dots these days, does it? It’s impossible for us to tell whether or not our contributor is a traveling worker bee or the executive assistant of some traveling Big Wig (Joey E!), but it doesn’t really matter because they are SUPER PSYCHED. Is this what it’s come to for us? Forget about holiday bonuses or even some free schwag; filing expense reports just got only slightly marginally sorta kinda maybe better. No word yet on a charge code for the strip joint, errrr “Big Ben’s Steakhouse.” Continue to pay those charges with your excess per diem.

So this got us thinking. What other kinds of techy improvements would improve your lives at work? Some off-the-cuffers:

1. Partner calls sent straight to voicemail.
2. Starbucks, delivered.*
3. The ability to work from home and have a work/life bal…oh wait. Nevermind.

Who is else in a dizzy tizzy about Big D’s technological advancement? Spill your joys below.

*Interns do not count.

We Read This Awful Interview with Deloitte’s Joe Echevarria So You Don’t Have To

You don’t have to be Bob Woodward to recognize the formulaic nature of the CEO interview. Reporter goes to CEO’s office, asks loaded questions about the issues of the day, describes the view from the office, elaborates on the person’s exercise regimen, humble (or not so humble) beginnings, people they admire, yada yada yada. Cripes, reading these things makes you want to shave with broken glass but hey! editors get in ruts just liwe’re stuck with the puff. By extension, interviews with Big 4 CEOs are worse because they typically occur with General Counsel sitting in the next room zapping their genitals every time a question is asked that necessitates “I can’t comment on that.”

Today’s example comes courtesy of Reuters who interviewed Deloitte’s Joe Echevarria. What prompted this little chat was the PCAOB’s release of Part II of the firm’s 2008 inspection report. It wasn’t exactly a flattering portrayal of a firm who, when asked to brush up on their audit skills, basically told the PCAOB to drop dead.

Accordingly, the firm is running damage control and that involves getting Joe E. in front of some friendly reporters (read: not Jon Weil or Francine McKenna).

Recently faulted by the main U.S. auditor watchdog, Deloitte has told its professionals that skepticism should be the No. 1 focus during the upcoming auditing season for annual financial reports, CEO Joe Echevarria said.

“I know there’s a heightened awareness about professional skepticism in the firm,” he said. “It’s going to take a while for heightened awareness to manifest itself in actions and documentation because humans are involved here.”

The natural follow-up question here would be, “But Mr. Echevarria, the PCAOB asked you to fix things in 2008-2009, are you saying that you’re now just ‘manifesting itself in actions’?” but that brings out the zapper. That’s okay, we’re all used to it. You know what else we’re used to? Talking about the “expectations gap”:

There is an “expectations gap” between what auditors do and what the public expects, but auditors do have an obligation to detect and report material fraud, Echevarria said.

Echevarria is also asked about auditor rotation, IFRS and (for some odd reason) its settlement over the Adelphia fraud in 2005. Why not ask about the swinging insider trading scandal? What about Taylor, Bean & Whitaker? What about associates sneaking bloggers into the downtown W? WHAT ABOUT THIS FAUX TARA REID MARRIAGE? People want these all-important questions on the record and yet it never happens. Sigh.

By the way since it’s obvious that some of you care about these details, Joe is from the Bronx and his office is in Midtown.

Deloitte pressing for more skeptical audits (God, the headline is even awful) [Reuters]

Deloitte Associate Who Supports Occupy Wall Street Admits That His Idea of Camping is the W Hotel

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As you know, a number of people in Lower Manhattan have spent the last two months Occupying Wall Street by way of camping out in Zuccotti Park. While September and October proved to be unseasonably warm, thus allowing Occupiers to exercise their 1st Amendment rights in relative comfort, November has brought cooler temps which has caused some relative discomfort among the campers. Oh, and Mayor Bloomberg was sorta sick of the mess and had everyone’s tents forcibly removed.

While many protesters have had to seek less squalid accommodations, other supporters of the movement have been able to find quarters that are more suitable for their tastes. This includes Deloitte associate Brad Spitzer who has been traveling to New York from California for work and has taken the opportunity to get his occupy on. And while he’s enthusiastic about the cause, Spitzer isn’t exactly down for park living:

“Tents are not for me,” he confessed, when confronted in the sleek black lobby of the Washington Street hotel where sources described him as a “repeat” guest.

Spitzer, 24, an associate at financial-services giant Deloitte, which netted $29 billion in revenue last year, admitted he joined the protest at Zuccotti Park several times.

“I’m staying here for work,” said Spitzer, dressed down in a company T-shirt and holding a backpack and his suitcase. “I do finance, but I support it still.”

You guys understand. There are just certain comforts that a Green Dot employee gets accustomed to – a soft mattress, a hot shower, room service – no matter how good of a drum circle you find.

Occupy Wall Street protesters stay at $700-a-night hotel [NYP]

Deloitte Taking Precautions for Possible Unwelcome Guests

This just in:

WFC Update
Zuccotti Park Evacuation

As a result of the evacuation of protestors in Zuccotti Park early this morning, there will be limited access into 1 and 2 WFC until further notice.

Currently, the walkway bridge that connects 1 and 2 WFC will be closed. All building tenants must present identification to gain access. For visitors, the name of the tenant and person visiting will need to be provided to building security.

Access restrictions are subject to change, as information and updates from building management are changing rapidly.

We appreciate your cooperation and will continue to keep you informed through this mailbox. If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to reach out to myself [redacted email] or [redacted].

[Guy who gets to deal with these sorts of things]

Area Operations Manager

Deloitte Services LP

Layoffs Watch ’11: Deloitte

Sounds like the aforementioned rumored layoffs have begun.

Yes they are occurring and I know as I am one of the individual’s impacted. There was no advance warning. I know one other individual in Philly that was also laid off. We are both in the tax practice. My understanding is that it is nationwide and mostly impacts senior managers.

Keep us updated if cuts are going down at your office.

The Big 4 and the Revolving Door

Last week the bane of Big 4 auditors existence, the PCAOB, broke their cherry on releasing Part II of an inspection report for a Big 4 firm. The honor went to Deloitte, who sufficiently blew off the Board’s recommendations for 12 months, which led to the release of Part II.

Bloomberg‘s Jonathan Weil, who usually sits back with popcorn while these things go down before chiming in, got to it today but with a twist that you probably weren’t expecting:


board members had recused themselves from participating in meetings or discussions this year concerning Deloitte, because of past or current ties to the firm, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

The board members — Lewis Ferguson, Jay Hanson and the board’s chairman, James Doty — were appointed by the Securities and Exchange Commission in January. Doty had been a partner at the law firm Baker Botts LLP, where Deloitte is a client. Ferguson was a partner at the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, which also represents Deloitte. Hanson, a former partner at the accounting firm McGladrey & Pullen LLP, has a daughter who works for Deloitte in its Phoenix office.

The board’s policy is to not disclose recusals, in spite of its mission to “further the public interest,” as if these are none of the public’s business. “Recusals are confidential,” Colleen Brennan, a board spokeswoman, said. Doty, Ferguson and Hanson declined to comment. A Deloitte spokesman, Jonathan Gandal, said: “The PCAOB itself does not comment on recusals, and as such it would be inappropriate for us to do so.”

It’s a pretty nice scoop by Jon and we’re all used to the silence from the PCAOB and Deloitte when someone gets the best of them but honestly, is anyone surprised? Does anyone care? The answer to the first question is “No.” The answer is the second question is “Maybe.”

With the exception of Mr. Hanson (family connection, we’ll give you that one), the recusals seem a little silly since neither Ferguson or Doty actually worked directly for Deloitte. Okay, so Baker Botts and Gibson Dunn have Deloitte has a client. Which Big Law firm doesn’t? It’d be pretty tough to find any DC lawyer who didn’t do some time at a firm that represented Deloitte. That goes for any Big 4 firm. They’ve all got deep pockets with lots of legal problems, of course they’re going to hire the best lawyers money can buy. Does that make guys like Ferguson and Doty unfit to make decisions with regard to that firm?

Well, for one year it does. Under the Board’s ethics code, Doty and Ferguson will be able to vote on matters involving Deloitte in January. Still, Weil doesn’t like the smell of it. And it doesn’t stop with the PCAOB:

[T]alk about being wired: The SEC’s chief accountant, James Kroeker, is a Deloitte alumnus. At the Financial Accounting Standards Board, which writes U.S. accounting rules, the wife of one board member, Russell Golden, is a Deloitte partner.

Look, we like Jon (even if he is a Colorado grad). But how do you find accounting policy makers who aren’t from the biggest, best connected firms that have the most resources? Should the Commission start appointing academics to develop policy? Eeek. Or maybe we’ll let the public make recommendations, “Yeah, my cousin’s a CPA out of Tulsa. Really knows his stuff. He’d be good.” Please.

Dan Goelzer’s seat is coming up and he’ll be replaced by a CPA. Weil hopes that the SEC will find “a qualified person without Big 4 allegiances” but with the revolving door spinning, he’d better hope for a wild card.

Goldman Sachs Envy Gains New Meaning at Big Four [Jonathan Weil/Bloomberg]

A Slightly Haggard Tara Reid Says She Was Not Legally Married to That Deloitte Consultant

Back in August, we learned that Bunny Lebowski (aka Tara Reid) had become engaged and married to a Deloitte consultant named Zachary Kehayov in a matter of hours. We were quite happy to learn that someone in the Big 4 was able to grace the pages of TMZ and not because they were found dead in Charlie Sheen’s pool.

ANYWAY, yesterday I was trolling over some incoming links and discovered that the Celebritology Blog over at the Washington Post was wondering aloud if the wedding was legit based on a TMZ video featuring Bunny and also that “some blogs” (i.e. Going Concern) reported that he lived in DC. After peeling my palm off my face, realizing that Tweets, pictures, and all the media hysteria around BL’s wedding could all be BS, I watched the video:

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Now there are only a few scenarios that would cause me to look like this: 1) After obtaining leaked financial statements from all the Big 4 firms, I reach levels of paranoia that rival Eric Bana’s character in Munich; 2) 24-48 straight hours of dancing in an undisclosed location; 3) Watching an Oz marathon with Adrienne. Typically in the aftermath of those scenarios, I would probably say anything that would disavow any past reckless behavior. Or, on second thought, I’d probably just own up to it.

That said, I’m not a celebrity and I don’t typically do things that are quite as impulsive as getting engaged and married to a Deloitte hack in less time than it takes to fly from New York to L.A. But that’s just me. Discuss as you see fit.

Layoff Watch ’11: Cuts a Comin’ at Deloitte?

From the mailbag:

Heard this from a Director in the firm: Deloitte layoffs coming. Lists are made…cuts coming soon. Said a lot of it has to do with thinning out the ranks (too many people jumping ship because their level is top heavy and promotion nowhere in sight) as well as letting go underperformers.


As you probably noticed, 2011 hasn’t had much in the way of layoff news with the exception of some support staff that were cut at McGladrey, Grant Thornton, and KPMG. That said, this seems like an opportune time to kick a few people to the curb. If you wait until November, well, that just looks bad.

Keep us updated with any news and if you’re in the know, get in touch.

Schwag Watch ’11: Deloitte May Be Implying That Recruits Have Poor Personal Hygiene

Earlier this month our resident big man on campus, DWB, put out a call for all the schwagtacular gear that recruits were snatching up this fall. We didn’t get much for submissions at first but luckily a friend from the north passed along photos that ranged from “a bunch of junk” to Dr. Seuss to a PwC cookie describe as “soft” and “amazing.”

Things have quieted down since then but thankfully, another enterprising young recruit who is right in the wheelhouse of recruiting passed along a couple more pics that include examples of loot from Deloitte and Grant Thornton.


First our tipster’s thoughts on GT’s offering: “The GT cup is ok but the straw is totally useless.” And for the gazillionth time, purple just sucks.


According to our tipster, the Deloitte sanitizer is really the most perplexing item: “I am not sure what to think of Deloitte’s hand sanitizer.”

So what do we make of this? It’s not a surprise that Deloitte isn’t a “If it’s brown flush it down; if it’s yellow keep it mellow” kinda place but what does this bottle of freshness really communicate? Do they simply think college students are unkempt? Is Deloitte making the assumption that all the recruits are applying there because the Occupy movement rejected their applications? Or, since there is fairly new leadership in place, does this speak more directly to the firm’s position on germs in general? Put simply: Are Joe Echevarria and Barry Salzgerg germophobes? I’m inclined to go with option 3 but would entertain other theories.

Caption Contest Thursday: Deloitte’s Shade of Blue Looks Very Familiar


Deloitte CEO Joe Echevarria and former President Bill Clinton at the Middle Market Perspectives Event in New York.

Former Deloitte Employee Swings to Settlement with SEC Over Insider Trading Charges

Remember Annabel McClellan? She’s the wife of former Deloitte partner Arnold McClellan who sorta got wrapped up into an insider trading mess with her sister and brother-in-law last fall. Annabel is also a former Deloitte employee who gave up the glamorous life of a Salzberg solider to be a stay-at-home mom. Oh! and she was working on swingers app called My Nookie that was on the verge of taking the scene by storm. The whole insider trading thing put those ambitions on hold due to the fact that Annabel may be looking at some jail time and she settled civil charges with the SEC yesterday for $1 million. The good news for Arnie is that if judge gives the settlement the thumbs-up, he’ll be off the hook who, prosecutors say, had no clue that the Mrs. was engaging in extracurricular activities:

McClellan, who pleaded guilty in April to one count of obstructing the SEC’s investigation, said she overhead her husband talking about the deals and passed the information to her brother-in-law, according to a transcript of her change of plea hearing.[…] McClellan told prosecutors that her husband wasn’t aware of or involved in passing information, according to documents filed in the SEC case.

Of course, if Arnie wasn’t aware that Annabel was trading under his nose, it makes you wonder with whom she was researching Amazon Squat and the Foldover.

Wife of former Deloitte partner to pay $1 million [Bloomberg]

PCAOB Publishes Part II of Deloitte’s 2008 Inspection Report, First Ever for a Big 4 Firm

They really, really, really don’t appreciate it when you blow off their recommendations. Here’s the statement from the Board:

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, in anticipation of questions about the publication of previously nonpublic portions of its May 19, 2008 inspection report on Deloitte & Touche LLP, issued the following statement today:

“The quality control remediation process is central to the Board’s efforts to cause firms to improve the quality of their audits and thereby better protect investors. The Board therefore takes very seriously the importance of firms making sufficient progress on quality control isn inspection report in the 12 months following the report. Particularly with the largest firms, which are inspected annually, the Board devotes considerable time and resources to critically evaluating whether the firm did in fact make sufficient progress in that period. The Board can and does make the relevant criticisms public when a firm has failed to do so.”

So to clarify, Deloitte had until May 19, 2009 to get their methods up to par but failed to do so. To put this into a little bit of context, Jim Doty was not yet the Chair of the PCAOB and Barry Salzberg was still the CEO of Deloitte’s U.S. firm. Does this mean that the PCAOB has been stepping up its game and this is the first instance of many to come? Hard to say but the audits that this inspection report cover are nearly five years old, so it’s debatable as to the value of Part II being made public now.

For Deloitte’s part, here’s current CEO Joe Echevarria’s statement:

“Deloitte is committed to the highest standards of audit quality and as newly elected CEO, it is my foremost priority. Our commitment extends from the top and cascades throughout our entire organization. We place great value on the PCAOB’s input and continue to work with the Board in support of our shared objectives. We recognize that audit quality is fundamental to protecting investors and ensuring the effective functioning of the capital markets.

“We have complete confidence in our professionals and the quality of our audits, and agree that there were and always will be areas where we can improve. In our drive for continuous improvement, we have been making a series of investments focused on strengthening and improving our practice, and will continue to do so to make Deloitte the standard for audit quality.”

In other words, a non-response response. However, it’s much more measured than Deloitte’s response to the initial release of the report. Their response letter spelled out their feelings quite clearly:

Professional judgments of reasonable and highly competent people may differ as to the nature and extent of necessary auditing procedures,conclusions reached and required documentation. We believe that reasonable judgments should not be second guessed and therefore disagree with a number of comments as indicated[.]

Deloitte’s letter is located Appendix C. You can read the full report, including all the details from Part II that were previously unpublished, on page 2.

PCAOB_2008_Deloitte

Thankfully, Dillard’s Disputes with Audit Firms Haven’t Resulted in Anyone Disappearing into Thin Air

Your mother’s third favorite department store, Dillard’s, has fired PwC as their auditor over a dispute related to the timing of a “tax benefit related to its new real estate investment trust.” The Little Rock-based company replaced P. Dubs with KPMG (who will take every chance they can get to stick it to Team Autumn). Basically the two didn’t see eye on this matter (here’s the 8-K that explains it), Dillard’s asked the IRS for their opinion, who said the treatment was kosher and next thing you know, the audit committee was on the hunt for a replacement.

Anyway, this isn’t really news until you consider the fact that PwC had only become Dillard’s auditor in 2009. Deloitte had been the auditor of the company for 20 years and in many auditor-client relationships, that’s just the honeymoon phase. So that seems a little odd. And couple that with the most recent firing of PwC and you’ve got to wonder what’s the scoop is over at DDS. But all that pales in comparison to this:

In 2008, [Dillard’s] had a dispute with CDI Contractors LLC’s chief financial officer [Ed. note: Link is broken], John Glasgow.

At the time, Dillard’s owned half of CDI. It has since bought the half that it didn’t own.

Glasgow objected the way Dillard’s CFO James Freeman was conducting an audit of CDI. Glasgow disappeared during the dispute and was declared dead [Ed. note: Ditto] more than three years later, although no trace of him has been found.

After Glasgow’s disappearance, Dillard’s restated earnings for several previous years, blaming an accounting error by CDI.

The last thing we want to see are pictures of auditors on milk cartons.

Dillard’s Fires PWC After Accounting Dispute, Hires KPMG As Auditor [AB]

Chinese Gold Company ‘Respects’ Deloitte’s Decision to Kick Them to the Curb

Your auditor-of-a-Chinese-company-resignation news du jour:

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd , the world’s largest accounting and consulting firm, has resigned as auditors of Hong Kong-listed Real Gold Mining , more than four months after the Inner Mongolian miner was reported to have filed conflicting accouting [sic] reports.

Real Gold, which halted trading in its shares on May 27. is under investigation by the Securities and Futures Commission for corporate governance breaches. The miner’s announcement to the Hong Kong stock exchange late on Thursday said it was looking for a replacement for Deloitte, which resigned on October 12.

“The company is disappointed that Deloitte has decided to resign at this time but respects its decision,” the firm said.

Deloitte resigns as auditors of China gold firm [Reuters]

Deloitte Auditor, Contemplating a Busy Season Walkout, Concerned That Fellow Employees Aren’t as Enthused as He Is

You may have heard a few stories about a little campout going on down on Wall Street the last week or so. It’s been quite a ruckus and now Hizzoner is even getting a little tired of it. Despite the good, the bad and the hippies, all this standing up and shouting and whatnot seems to have inspired one “disenchanted” Deloitte auditor who sent u

I know that I work for my firm in an at will contract, I can quit at anytime and get another job. But I’ve been feeling so slighted for the last several months by leadership’s complete lack of concern for the well being of their workforce that I want to do something more significant. If I quit, some managers will be temporarily upset because my hours will need to be replaced, and they will find someone who doesn’t have the same experience with the client etc. They will get over it in a day, and the giant audit machine will keep turning the same as always, and employees will continue to get the worst of it.

But this is America, we are champions of workers’ rights. Can’t we do a little better than this for ourselves? I understand that with unemployment currently so high this isn’t really a time when workers’ rights are a high priority, but we still deserve better treatment. With Deloitte still swelling based on last weeks’ figures, and loving the attention in the media for being a model of a growing global enterprise their vulnerability becomes clear. They would hate bad press or anything that would stunt growth.

This is why I think an organized but non-unionized strike/walkout, perhaps around, I dunno, the upcoming busy season, would be very effective at getting leadership’s attention. I know I’m no Cesar Chavez, and a white collar walkout it rare thing, as white collar unions are uncommon, and that this is something that would be difficult for generally conservative accounts who are typically anti-union to get done. But I figure, if there is any forum where this sort of movement would/could begin it would be on Going Concern where people are more openly cynical and feel just as disappointed with Deloitte’s version of an audit practice as I do. Not sure who would actually put their careers on the line because I doubt most really believe in the cause, but I think they feel the same sentiment. It would be interesting to hear the true anonymous thoughts of others on this idea, and if there are any brighter ideas on reminding firm leadership whose backs they are standing on to potentially improve the livelihood of those backs. What do you recommend?

Well, Cesar, I do have a few recommendations for your planned walkout. First – take pictures. Lots of them. And then send them to us. Secondly, get a noisy instrument. Preferably a drum or vuvuzela. If you have to do this mission solo like you think you will, you’ll need some help in the noise department. Third – a costume of some sort – I’m thinking Benji Bankes – would advisable and then be sure to incorporate suggestion number one. Fourth – read Adrienne’s post from this summer on why this is an awful idea. The whole thing is worth a read but here’s a taste:

I think part of the reason why anyone you suggest this to might think you’re one tax season away from the funny farm is that CPAs already have a large, powerful trade association which allegedly exists to serve its interests. Granted, the AICPA does more lobbying in Washington than it does to accounting firm partners about easing up on you poor shlubs who have to do all the work, but it’s still a trade association.[…] [T]hough it may not feel like it, most of you are paid pretty fairly compared to, say, McDonald’s cashiers, Starbucks baristas and Walmart greeters. It may not feel fair based on the service you provide (understandably) but in the big picture, making $50,000 a year fresh out of school in middle America ain’t too bad of a gig. You get vacations, safe work conditions, bonuses, insurance and even free CPA review materials if you’re lucky. I bet OSHA has never seen the inside of a Big 4 office to investigate a fatal Excel accident or random intern decapitation at the coffee machine.

Maybe I’m wrong but the leaders of these firms would love – LOVE! – if you wrote them an email about your concerns. If the response you get sounds canned, then there’s nothing wrong with saying so. Your partner may catch some heat (that will eventually blow back on you) but Dr. Phil and JoeE aren’t really doing their jobs if they simply dismiss the widely held concerns of the Green Dot community. If you’re feeling inspired enough to rally some fellow opiners, make some signs and sit on the sidewalk shouting, then by all means do so but do keep in mind that you will end up in these pages, may be permanently confined to a JIT or straight up lose your job. Just some things to mull over.

Deloitte Resents the Notion That They Should Have Known That Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Was a Massive Fraud

As we mentioned briefly, Deloitte has been sued for $7.6 billion by the bankruptcy trustee of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker and Ocala Funding, LLC. If you’ve never heard of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker then check out Jr. Deputy Accountant who’s been all over it since the Feds starting kicking down the doors. Long story short – TBW was a giant fraud perpetrated by its management, Colonial Bank owned a lot of TBW’s mortgages, Colonial failed, Bank of America bought up a bunch of the mortgages, Fannie Mae says they’re owed money, CHRIST, it’s a mess.

Anyhoo, Steven Thomas, who is known for suing the pants of Big 4 firms (and BDO!), is the lead attorney for the plaintiffs and it sounds like the age-old story of auditors BEING COMPLETE IDIOTS:

“Deloitte missed this fraud because it simply accepted management’s conflicting, incomplete and often last-minute explanations of highly-questionable transactions, even though those explanations made no sense and were flatly contradicted by documents in Deloitte’s possession,” one of the lawsuits says.

Of course Deloitte isn’t amused by this, as Deloitte spokesman Jonathan Gandal’s statement attests:

Gandal said the blame for the fraud and losses should rest squarely on Taylor Bean, Ocala Funding and Farkas. “The bizarre notion that his engines of theft are entitled to complain of injury from their own crimes and to sue the outside auditors they lied to defies common sense, not to mention the law,” Gandal said on behalf of Deloitte.

If this statement strikes you as a little confusing, then you’re not alone. First off, when Mr. Gandal is referring to the “the law” he’s probably referring to this. In less legalese, basically what Deloitte is saying is that Lee Farkas and his merry band of crooks are the ones responsible for this shitshow not the Green Dot and therefore, this whole thing is ludicrous. I mean, come on guys, what could a firm that just reported nearly $29 billion in revenue could possibly have done differently? Crooks are just far too smart far auditors. Just ask one.

Deloitte’s Recent Promotion Awards Fail to Impress One New Senior Associate

A “New Senior” passed along this little tip this morning:

Over the last couple of weeks Deloitte has been sending out Promotion “Awards.” I find it funny they think two years of service is worth only a $100 applause award. Honestly getting only $100 is more insulting than getting nothing at all.


On a day where Barry Salzberg is doing a happy dance in the hallways, our friend must have felt compelled to share the news of generosity. If you’re a recipient of a crisp new hundo, share your story in the comments and email us with any other cheery tidbits on the first day of autumn.

Some Are of the Opinion That Deloitte’s Services Aren’t Worth $90,000 a Day

I don’t care how you try to explain it away, in this day and age of tight budgets and runaway deficits, $90,000 per day is way too much to pay an accounting firm for advice on how to cut $4 billion from Ottawa’s budget, particularly since the proposed cuts Deloitte comes up with are unlikely ever to be acted upon[.] [NP]

PwC, Deloitte Enjoying Their Booming Advisory Businesses, Thankyouverymuch

This morning we linked to a Reuters report about the horse race between Deloitte and PwC for the biggest of the Big 4. It reports virtually nothing new that we haven’t discussed here already including Deloitte jumping P. Dubs last year by a whopping $9 million (thanks mostly to keeping their consulting business in house), the hiring sprees, the acquisitions, and oh! the audit business sucks:

With audit revenues leveling off in developed markets, the firms have been making a push in growing countries such as China and India and plowing ahead with investments in consulting, where business is growing after a recessionary slump.[…] The big four are expected to report their fiscal 2011 revenues in coming weeks and any significant growth will likely once again be in the consulting area, said Jonathan Hamilton, managing editor of Accounting News Report. “The audit business, while certainly the staple of all these firms, is a slow-growth business,” Hamilton added.

In other words, the consulting advisory business is hot and audit is not. And what causes some people to fly off the handle is how the firms have sold everyone on the idea that they can still miraculously be the bastion of good business principles ethics. Well, maybe not everyone:

More worries loom from stepped-up regulatory scrutiny. As consulting revenues grow, complaints are surfacing again that firms will be tempted to go easy on audit clients for the sake of winning or keeping a consulting job — a charge the audit firms deny.

Last week, European Union lawmakers approved a report that calls for barring auditors from providing audit and non-audit services to the same client. The report is nonbinding but could shape a draft law in the works.

PwC and Deloitte both said there was no conflict of interest in the consulting services they provide. Much of their consulting is done for companies they do not audit and they follow regulators’ standards and companies’ own restrictions on the kind of consulting they do for audit clients.

The report doesn’t mention many things that have cropped up (some recent, some not so much) including the nearly 500 reprimands Deloitte had in 2009, the rash of insider trading, or PwC’s incestuous Satyam scandal but talking points are also used to address those issues. These firms didn’t get to where they are without figuring out how to play the media game.

One thing is for sure – the firms are going to depend on their consulting/advisory businesses for growth until someone banishes audit firms from offering any other services at all. And God knows what that will take.

In close race for No 1, Deloitte, PwC grow apace [Reuters]

Comp Watch ’11: PwC Partners Making Deloitte Counterparts Look Like Peasants

The FT reports that the average partner in the UK took home £763,000, up 1% from last year. Ian Powell, the Chairman of the UK firm, took home £3.7 million. The average take home at P. Dubs puts Deloitte partners to shame who only managed to scrape together an average of £758,000, down from £873,000. What does the mean for the partners in the States? Probably nothing but it could indicate that Deloitte’s reign as the biggest of the Big 4 could be a one year wonder. [FT]

Deloitte All of a Sudden Caught in an Awkward Three-way with SEC, Chinese Regulators

“This is one of the biggest battlegrounds in the transnational regulation of accounting firms,” said Paul Gillis, a visiting professor of accounting at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management. “Deloitte is between a rock and a hard place. This is a major escalation.” [WSJ, Earlier]

SEC Not Amused By Deloitte’s Failure to Produce Documents Related to Company That Held Their Audit Workpapers Hostage

Remember Longtop Financial Technologies? Deloitte resigned as auditors of the Chinese company back in May after LFT took some actions that were, shall we say, unusual for an audit client. Among them, “interference by certain members of Longtop management in DTT’s audit process; and […] the unlawful detention of DTT’s audit files.” And there may be some financial statement fraud going on, to boot. What’s even slightly weirder is Deloitte’s resignt to Longtop’s Audit Committee that laid out the specifics:

[A]s a result of intervention by the Company’s officials including the Chief Operating Officer, the confirmation process was stopped amid serious and troubling new developments including: calls to banks by the Company asserting that Deloitte was not their auditor; seizure by the Company’s staff of second round bank confirmation documentation on bank premises; threats to stop our staff leaving the Company premises unless they allowed the Company to retain our audit files then on the premises; and then seizure by the Company of certain of our working papers.

Right. The auditors-almost-taken-hostage situation. Quite a doozy, this one. Based on the history between Deloitte and Longtop, one would think that Green Dot would jump at any chance to exact a little revenge on these shady bastards. NOPE!


From the
crack squad at the SEC:

The Securities and Exchange Commission today filed a subpoena enforcement action against Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu CPA Ltd. for failing to produce documents related to the SEC’s investigation into possible fraud by the Shanghai-based public accounting firm’s longtime client Longtop Financial Technologies Limited.

According to the SEC’s application and supporting papers filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the SEC issued a subpoena on May 27, 2011, and D&T Shanghai was required to produce documents by July 8, 2011. Although D&T Shanghai is in possession of vast amounts of documents responsive to the subpoena, it has not produced any documents to the SEC to date. As a result, the Commission is unable to gain access to information that is critical to an investigation that has been authorized for the protection of public investors.

“Compliance with an SEC subpoena is not an option, it is a legal obligation,” said Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “The ability of the SEC to conduct swift and thorough investigations requires that subpoena recipients promptly comply with that legal obligation. Subpoena recipients who refuse to comply should expect serious legal consequences.”

Maybe the email/hand-written letter sent by carrier pigeon (whatever method of communication the Commission is using these days) got lost OR maybe no one at Deloitte Shanghai was in the translating mood that day but it seems slightly strange that Deloitte would just blow this off especially since Longtop screwed them 70 ways to Sunday. Of course these documents could show that Deloitte was really a bunch of pansies and we’re letting LFT run the show until the gross negligence got to the point that they simply couldn’t ignore it anymore. It’s anybody’s guess, really.

UPDATE: The Journal reports that Deloitte claims to be “caught in the middle of conflicting demands by two government regulators,” which could be seen as extremely convenient.

SEC Files Subpoena Enforcement Action Against Deloitte & Touche in Shanghai [SEC]
Court Filing [SEC]
Also see: S.E.C. Asks Court to Force a Release of Papers From China [NYT]

Hurricane Irene Watch: Deloitte Edition

As you may have heard, there’s a bit of a storm coming to the east coast. Since the DC area got the brunt of the earthquake, those in charge of the weather figured the Northeast got a bit short-changed in the natural disaster department. As is typical in these situations, firm leadership sends out some talking points to make sure everyone knows what to do in case worst happens (e.g. client are unable to pay, FOBs stop working). Deloitte’s message came out late yesterday and our tipster was not impressed:

Here’s our token disaster update from Uncle D. Not even one reference to being careful and staying safe??? Our disaster plans include taking work home with us and backing up our laptops in case we’re killed. That’s a new low, even for the Big 4.

Northeast Update

Hurricane Irene

To all Northeast professionals:

As you are likely aware, Hurricane Irene is gaining momentum and officials have issued watches for the Northeast area starting on Saturday, August 27.

This email contains important information for you to do and consider:

· While our office is currently scheduled to be open on Monday, use your own judgment regarding your personal safety and coordinate with your direct Supervisor or Manager to advise them of your plans.

· Take your laptop, related accessories, and any files that you may need home with you.

· Be sure to complete a back-up on your laptop prior to the weekend in case of any power outages.

· If you are in an office with a window, clear all articles from the window ledge and remove any boxes from the floor.

· If you are using an airport in the region, check your flight status before leaving for the airport. The Deloitte Travel Center [redacted] can help with any necessary re-scheduling.

· For ideas on making a family plan, visit Ready America, and go to the National Hurricane Center website for detailed storm updates.

We will continue to monitor the storm and its path over this weekend. If there is a change to our office’s status, we will issue an email before 6:00 a.m. Monday morning with further instructions.

Stay safe,

[redacted]
Northeast Regional Operations Leader

Well, “Stay safe” as a valediction could be understood as “be careful/be safe” but our tipster sure didn’t take it that way. If you find your firm’s Irene information email to be hysterical, indifferent or if your firm seems to be blowing the whole thing off, we’d love to see it. Send it our way.

Today in Spineless Audit Committees: Morris Publishing

As we’re all aware, the Audit Committee is supposed to be one of the key tools in corporate governance. If management is messing around with financial reporting, disclosures or there’s trouble with the auditors, the audit committee should be all over it like stink on a monkey. The audit committee also is in charge of appointing/firing the auditors to prevent management from throwing out auditors who tell them things that they don’t like.

Apparently this is not the case with Atlanta-based Morris Publishing. In a recent 8-K, the company explained that they fired Deloitte and more or less admitted that their audit commorthless:

Dismissal of Auditor.

On August 17, 2011, Morris Publishing Group, LLC (“Morris Publishing”, “we”, “our”, “us”) dismissed Deloitte & Touche LLP (“D&T”) as its independent registered public accounting firm.

The decision to allow our management, at its discretion, to change auditors had been unanimously approved by our Board of Directors and its Audit Committee on July 18, 2011. [this is my emphasis]

The audit reports of D&T on our consolidated financial statements as of and for the years ended December 31, 2010 and December 31, 2009, did not contain any adverse opinion or disclaimer of opinion, nor were they qualified or modified as to uncertainty, audit scope, or accounting principles, except:

(A) The audit report as of and for the year ended December 31, 2009 included the statements, “As discussed in Note 6 to the consolidated financial statements, on January 19, 2010 the Company filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. On February 17, 2010 the Bankruptcy Court entered an order confirming the plan of reorganization which became effective after the close of business on March 1, 2010.”

(B) The audit report as of and for the year ended December 31, 2010 included the statement, “As discussed in Note 10 to the financial statements, the accompanying 2009 financial statements have been restated to correct a misstatement.”

During the two fiscal years ended December 31, 2010 and December 31, 2009, and during the subsequent interim periods through June 30, 2011, there were no (1) disagreements with D&T on any matter of accounting principles or practices, financial statement disclosure, or auditing scope or procedures, which disagreements if not resolved to the satisfaction of D&T would have caused D&T to make reference in connection with their report to the subject matter of the disagreement, or (2) “reportable events” as defined in Item 304(a)(1)(v) of Regulation S-K; except as follows:

(A) We reported in April 2011 that management discovered errors in the accounting treatment for debt extinquishment such that our financial statements as of and for the year ended December 31, 2009, and the interim periods ended March 31, 2010, June 30, 2010 and September 30, 2010, should no longer be relied upon, and that the correction of these errors will be reflected within our Form 10-K for 2010 and subsequently filed interim reports; and

(B) as reported in our Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010, we identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting with respect to the operational effectiveness of controls in the area of accounting for complex non-recurring transactions. As a result of this material weakness, we concluded that our disclosure controls and procedures were not effective as of December 31, 2010.

We provided D&T with a copy of this Current Report on Form 8-K, and requested that D&T furnish us with a letter addressed to the Securities and Exchange Commission stating whether D&T agrees with our statements made in response to the disclosures required by Item 304(a)(3) of Regulation S-K. We subsequently received the requested letter, and a copy of such letter is filed as Exhibit16.1 to this Current Report on Form 8-K.

So it appears that Morris Publishing is definitely one of those clients. The kind that makes you wish that you had chosen a career that’s less likely to make you want to jump out of a window. Anyway, the aforementioned letter from Deloitte states the following:

We have read Item 4 of Morris Publishing Group LLC’s Form 8-K dated August 16, 2011, and we have the following comments:

1. We agree with the statements made in paragraphs 1 and 3 through 12.

2. We have no basis on which to agree or disagree with the statement made in paragraph 2.

In other words, Deloitte is saying, “Yes, we agree that your financial reporting is a mess and that your internal controls are awful. And if you want to admit that your audit committee is a bunch of lackeys for management, we’re not going to stop you.”

8-K [SEC]
Deloitte Letter [SEC]

Let’s Congratulate the New Deloitte Partners and Directors

Perhaps it’s no accident that Joe Echevarria’s Q&A dropped in the Journal today because we also had the good fortune to have the list of new partners and directors forwarded to us earlier today. We still waiting for confirmation of the details from various Deloitte PR folks so we won’t give you names but we’re sharing a number of cities and practices after the jump.

Altogether there are 144 new partners and 190 new directors for fiscal year 2012. These numbers vary a little bit with our first report of the new partner numbers from a few weeks back. In that post, our tipster informed us that had there were 146 partners and 180 directors. These differences, for our purposes, are deemed immaterial, although we’re sure anyone directly affected would disagree.

Partners

AERS: 55 Total. Cities with the largest numbers of promotees: New York – 12; Chicago – 4; Wilton, CT – 4; Los Angeles – 3; Dallas – 3; San Francisco – 2; Orange County -2.

Consulting: 48 Total. Big winners: Atlanta – 5; Chicago 5; San Francisco – 5; Los Angeles – 4; New York – 3; Orange County – 3; Kansas City – 3; Boston – 3; Arlington – 3.

FAS: Six total: New York – 3; Dallas – 2; Los Angeles – 1.

Tax: 32 Total: New York – 6; Chicago – 5; Houston – 3; Washington – 3; Atlanta – 2.

USA: Three total: Atlanta, Washington and New York each had one.

Directors

AERS: 56 total. Show-off cities: New York – 14; San Francisco – 3; Cleveland – 3; Salt Lake City – 2; Princeton – 2; Philadelphia – 2; Parsippany – 2; McLean – 2; Chicago – 2.

Clients & Industries: Six total: New York – 3; Philadelphia, Charlotte and San Francisco all had one.

Consulting: 53 total. Notables: San Francisco – 6; Chicago – 6; New York – 5; Atlanta – 3; Boston – 3; Minneapolis – 3; McLean – 3; Washington – 3.

FAS: Four total – Washington 2; New York and Chicago – 1.

Field Operations: Two – Atlanta and Hyderbad

Finance: A pair in Hermitage, TN.

Markets & Offerings: Two in Chicago and nine cities with one each.

Other Shared Services: One lonely soul in Wilton, CT.

PR/Communications: One in New York and one in Wilton.

Research/Innovation: Hermitage and Wilton with one each.

Strategy, Brand and Innovation: One happy camper in Los Angeles.

Talent: One each for Chicago, Parsippany, Boston and Indianapolis.

Tax: 38 total: Chicago – 7; New York – 5; San Francisco – 4; Atlanta – 2; Boston – 2; Los Angeles – 2; Philadelphia – 2.

Tech: One each for New York, Camp Hill, PA and Hyderbad

USA: One soul in Stamford, Rosslyn, Arlington, Richmond and Wilton.

So congratulations to all the new partners and directors. Leave them some well wishes in the comments. The only question now is, which one of these rainmakers is buying Joe’s house?

Deloitte CEO Joe Echevarria Has Been Listening to a Lot of Bellyaching

The Wall St. Journal published a little Q&A with Deloitte CEO Joe Echevarria today to get an idea of what’s been going on since he took the reins as the head of the U.S. firm. It’s been nearly 100 days since JoeE got the nod and the flaks at Deloitte probably felt as though it was as good of a time as ever to roll out their new man.

Oddly enough, it’s been about 30 days since we told you that JE’s Westchester home was up for sale and since none of you cheapskates have bothered to help him out, this gives us the opportunity to remind you that it’s still up for grabs.

Anyway, this Q&A. It’s about what you might expect – but we’ll try to jazz it up for you.

For starters, did you know Joe worked at gas station in the Bronx? Yes, he’s already tougher than you’ll ever be. But while he was washing windows and filling up the locals, he noticed that the accountant didn’t seem to do diddly squat and made WAY more money than he did:

What stood out to me was I worked all day and I was making whatever minimum wage was at the time. The accountant came into the gas station once a month, did something, and walked out with a lot more money than I made in a week.

Back when Joe started at the firm, things were a lot different. For example: email. What is this fancy crap?:

I started at Haskins & Sells, the predecessor to Deloitte. I started in the audit practice. All the tasks were hierarchical in those days, so you had to work your way up. We weren’t in an environment where everything is electronic. We had to get mail. It didn’t just come over some laptop.

In his first 100 days, what’s been Joe’s biggest accomplishment? Making important leadership appointments? Overseeing the consolidation of regions? Nope. Listening to partner complaints:

One of the goals we’re beginning to accomplish is having a conversation. We opened up a communication vehicle with our partners and our directors that I call Social CEO. It gets the partners to engage, open dialogue, ask survey questions and ask questions of me or others. I get every comment.

How about this economy? We might be looking at a double-dip which could have some Green Dotties a little worried. But have no fear, Joe & Co. are all over it:

Once upon a time there was a view that there would be a rebound. I would say now the probabilities of a rebound are diminishing and the probability of a double dip is increasing. We have a set of plans that we would undertake for any of those scenarios. This isn’t new for us.

And if those plans don’t go as they should, there won’t be too many sad faces:

The first thing is we look at the costs that we incur and how much ahead we’re hiring. Maybe 18,000 [new hires] becomes 17,000.

See? No cause for concern.

For Deloitte CEO, Hard Economic Times Are Nothing New [WSJ]

Engineer Curious to Know if an Advisory Role with PwC or Deloitte Would Be a Good Opportunity

Ed. note: Looking for career guidance from a couple of Big 4 expats or our resident permanently ink-stained wench? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com.

Hello,

I have become an avid reader of your website and need your help regarding an opportunity. I have an engineering background and 5 years of experience in the heavy construction industry specifically oil & gas. In hopes to moving on to something different and possibly working as a consultant I have got a chance to work at PWC and Deloitte in a senior associate advisory role. I do know that these companies are primarily in audit but the sales pitch they gave me was that they were trying to build the Capital Projects Advisory division. Do you all think it is good opportunity?

Sincerely,
Chugga Chugga Choo Choo

Dear Chugs,

As a self-proclaimed avid reader, I hope you caught the post I did in June about the engineering consultant in a similar situation as yours. Check it out for feedback focused on what to do once you start at your new gig in a Big 4’s advisory practice.

That said, you’re asking if the chance to work at the #1 or #2 public accounting firms in the world are “good” opportunities. I follow up your question with one of my own:

If working for #1 or #2 is not a good opportunity, what more are you looking for?

So yes, they are great opportunities to jump start your career into the “consulting” slash advisory biz. Sure, they crank out audits and tax returns, but those are very different revenue generating streams than their advisory practices. To put things in more engineering terms – wary of working in the advisory group of PwC or DT because they perform assurance services is like turning down an aerospace engineering job at GE because they also make light bulbs.

Assuming the offer details are similar, look at each firm’s Capital Projects practices. Which group is more established? Have they made other external hires recently? What is each group’s current market share/focus, and what are long term plans?

Good luck with whichever role you pursue, and welcome to the Big 4 community.

Cheers,
DWB

Tara Reid’s New Husband Is a Deloitte Consultant

The lucky new Mr. Tara Reid is none other than Zack (aka Zach, aka Zachary) Kehayov and he works out of Deloitte Consulting’s Washington, D.C. office, according to this LinkedIn profile. Frankly, the profile could use some work but now that he’s got access to American Pie residuals, it probably doesn’t make any difference.

We were tipped off to this information by reader who wrote, “For anyone who thought their aspirations of being in TMZ would be on hold while at Deloitte, think again.” Indeed.


For those not up to speed on their partygirl-suddenly-gets-married news, Reid and Kehayov got married an hour after being engaged on the Greek Isle of Santorini. Reid first announced their engagement on Twitter and then two tweets later she announced “Love in Greece…I am now a wife.”

She then tweeted several pictures including her ring and two portraits of the newlyweds. Her most recent tweet was simply “Bulgaria we love u!” Bulgaria being the home country of the Kehayov.

Anyway, more about Zach – like we said, his LinkedIn profile says he’s in the DC Metro area but on his D Street (that’s Deloitte’s internal Facebook) profile that you can see on the next page, it says he’s in Pittsburgh. His profile also says that he’s a Marymount University graduate, majoring in Financial Economics. He lists Georgetown Private Cliente (now part of DC-based Manna Capital Management) as a previous employer and as co-founder of Semper Sports, LLC (Google search turns up empty).

Gawker called a Kehayov a “a random giant-ring-buying rich guy who works in finance” but a Deloitte consultant hardly qualifies as a “rich guy.” Maybe his father is some captain-of-industry type in Bulgaria who gave his son boatloads of money to study/live/spread seed in the States but even if that’s the case, why would he go to school at Marymount? Perhaps the female to male ratio? But more importantly, why would he work at Deloitte? In Pittsburgh? Anyway, it appears he’s back in DC and is obviously doing all right for himself.

Although judging by this picture from the Daily Mail, Zach looks as though he needed some time away from the Green Dot. The man looks like he was ready for a vacation. We left messages for the numbers we could get for Mr. Kehayov but so far have heard nothing and considering he’s abroad, that’s understandable. Don’t rush back, Zach. You’ve got co-workers that have found peace while on vacation, you can do it too!

Deloitte Consultant Inadvertently Finds Peace on Vacation

Barbara Adachi, a principal in Deloitte Consulting’s human capital practice, started creating a stricter separation between vacation and work when she was in Patagonia on vacation several years ago. Her BlackBerry didn’t get reception there, she said, “and I had no choice but not to check it — it was very freeing.” [NYT]

Comp Watch ’11: Individual Results Coming in at Deloitte and More Details on Bonuses

Following up on our previous post that addressed the high level discussions at the firm, some people started getting calls on Friday and more are having meetings today:


Our first tipster was a recently promoted to Senior Associate in ERS Tech Risk in the Northeast:

Year end rating of 2, 18% [raise].

And the latest from Houston for an 5th year Senior Associate in audit:

Audit 4th year senior going into my 5th year from the Houston Office (Mid-America Region).

As a 1-rated senior my numbers were:

9.9% raise
10.4% AIP bonus

In addition, we received a couple of slides that could be of interest to you on the following two pages.

Here are details for “Rewards and Recognition” which spells out the awards in the program and last year’s stats:

Sixty-nine percent of SMs receiving a bonus seems impressive and the Outstanding Performance award could pay out nicely if you’re lucky enough to get one on the high end. The Service Anniversary award, on the other hand, is not impressive at all.


If this slide looks familiar, it’s because it is very similar to one we posted back in July that showed Deloitte’s efforts to revamp their comp structure. The previous slide showed the AIP pool for Senior Consultants while this one is for Senior Managers (although :

So share your details as they roll in and feel free to comment on the results, the slides and anything else that tickles your fancy (as it relates to Green Dot Comp).

Bonus Watch ’11: Deloitte Gives Up PowerPoint Presentations After Stellar Going Concern Reporting UPDATE: Audit Practice Didn’t Get the Memo

This just in from the Deloitte FAS comp call that is apparently going down circa now:

7% AIP pool. No slides with details b/c it ends up on GC. Talking about PwC right now.


What, exactly, is being said about P. Dubs is not immediately known but I’m guessing it has something to do with the fact that they’re obviously vulnerable in the Tampa market but actually it’s more like simple trash talk, according to our source:

[PwC] made draconian cuts during the recession. They are making up for it now. They suck, D&T rules. [FAS CEO] David Williams is stressing total comp., not just base salary throughout the call. Base comp is targeted at 50% of the comp survey range.

[PS -] He loves to use the word “granular” as much as possible.

Unrelated sidenote: David Williams’ favorite hobby, according to his firm profile, is yoga.

Of course you’re on the call and have other details you wish to share, you can elaborate below.

Earlier:
Comp Watch ‘11: Deloitte’s New Structure Is Taking Shape

UPDATE:
A little comparison for AIP and merit increases for the opiners appears on the following pages.

Comp Watch ’11: Deloitte Audit Comp Call Details Are In

Thanks to our tipster who spilled the dirty details just moments ago:

No specific salary increases or bonuses were addressed, as the call was high-level. But here are the approximate levels:

Raise and Bonus Percentages:

3-rated (average) – 7% salary increase, 5% bonus
2-rated (middle) – 8.5% salary increase, 7% bonus
1-rated (highest) – 10% salary increase, 10% bonus

Milestone promotions (senior, manager, senior manager) would be 3 to 5% on top of the salary increases above. No additional bonuses or raises for new managers.

As expected, Deloitte talked a bit about salary multipliers, but not nearly to the extent that PwC did in their presentation. Of note on this front are the fact that experienced audit seniors can expect to earn 1.3x their starting salaries, as opposed to 1.5x at PwC. Also notable is the Deloitte model is “total compensation” (salary + bonus + rewards received), whereas PwC’s structure appears to apply only to salary.

Deloitte Hedge Fund Adviser Threatens Soros Won’t Be the Last

When George Soros announced he was essentially shuttering Soros Fund Management and his infamous Quantum fund after almost a decade of declining new client money, you could almost hear the jaws drop around the world. But one person was not surprised: Ellen Schubert, chief adviser to Deloitte’s hedge fund practice.

“Soros won’t be the last,” Schubert told investment website AdvisorOne this week. “Hedge fund managers generally are very smart people who have usually enjoyed what they were doing.”

Earlier in the year, Schubert actually described Soros’ new strategy pretty well when she shared a new trend among startup hedge funds; bypassing clients that aren’t friends or family to avoid hitting the mandatory SEC registration requirement for funds managing a minimum of $150 million.

When Bloomberg told us Soros was out, they made Dodd-Frank sound like a dirty word writing “There’s a two-word explanation for closing what was once one of the world’s biggest hedge funds and consistently one of the best-performing — with returns of about 30 percent annually in its first 30 years: Dodd-Frank.”

How many more hedge fund managers will follow Soros’ lead? And how many of them could blame Dodd-Frank for their departures from other people’s money?

Soros’ fund was exempt from rules that require private investment advisers to register with the SEC but those exemptions will not be an option come March 2012. Which could or could not have something to do with Soros’ decision, though that’s doubtful given the fact this decision has been in the making since 2000.

Deloitte Goes Partner Crazy

Fresh from the mailbag… well, not fresh, actually, it’s kind of been sitting in there gathering dust all weekend so it’s kind of the moldy gym sock of mail. But I digress.

Prior year they [Deloitte] promoted 101 partners and 136 directors; for this year (actual firm year starts June 1, but partners get promoted in September) there will be 146 partners and 180 directors.
This is for the United States only…

Great news for the new partners and directors, not so great for those of you who are still staring at the Green Dot’s multiplier slides wondering when that 8x bump is going to kick in.

Feel free to commence to discussing how big your yacht will be when you make partner in the comments.

Comp Watch ’11: Deloitte Auditors To Get Enlightened About Results in a “High-Performance Culture”

This just in:

To All U.S. Audit staff,

Please join me on Friday, August 5 from 2:00pm – 3:15pm ET for a webcast for you, our staff, where we will discuss our Audit compensation strategy to reward for results in a high-performance culture. During the call, we will also share what you can expect for this year’s process and overall timeline. (Webcasts are being held for all Audit professionals by level to allow sufficient time for Q&A.)

I look forward to speaking with you.

Thank you.

Rick Rayson
Chief Talent Officer
Deloitte & Touche LLP

Get excited, people.

Who Wants to Live Like a Deloitte CEO?

Newly minted Deloitte CEO Joe Echevarria is upgrading his digs and he needs your help! His 6,000 square foot house in Westchester is on the block for $2.8 million and he dropped the price just last month, so now i


There are all kinds of nice amenities including: fireplace, high ceilings, patio, sprinkler system for the lawn, walk-in-closets [!], and a walkout basement and more. If that doesn’t sell you, read the broker’s description:

Spacious, striking residence in prestigious Matthiessen Park, built for gracious living & comfort. The home embodies spectacular craftsmanship with superior attention to detail. Beautiful stone entryway from local quarry, masonry fireplaces, soaring ceilings with dentil molding, red oak herringbone inlaid floors. Expansive family room, breakfast area & deluxe kitchen. Elegant library with exquisite mahogany millwork. Additional 2,000 [square feet] in finished lower level.Seasonal views of the magnificent Hudson River.

Sounds lovely, no? Anyway, take a peek over the next few pages and then hit up the team at Houlihan Lawrence to make an offer.

Naturally, you’ll want to look at a few photos

Comp Watch ’11: Deloitte’s New Structure Is Taking Shape

A couple of weeks ago, we heard that Deloitte was considering a similar compensation structure as PwC. This would result in Senior Associates making approximately 1.5x their starting salaries in three years, managers making 2x their starting salary and so on and so forth. At the time, it didn’t strike me as surprising that Deloitte would get all monkey-see-monkey-do on its employees simply because the Green Dot is a far more conservative firm than P. Dubs. While the structure at PwC was welcome with largely positive reviews, the Deloitte version was received less warmly.

Today, we have a little bit of an update for you – with slides! – on hure is progressing. From our tipster:

I’m surprised there was no article about this yet. Tuesday we all had a compensation call which went into great detail how raises and bonuses were handled. Here are some slides you might be interested in. It appears PwC scared them and they are copying. These numbers are still not official yet as they “are working out the numbers”…


Here’s a slide from the presentation on Deloitte’s total compensation earnings multiplier that our tipster sent over:

And here’s PwC’s:

So they’re pretty darn close, with Senior Associates doing slightly better at P. Dubs but Senior Managers faring slightly better at Deloitte, thus it ends up as a wash. Granted, the Deloitte slides only present information for AERS Advisory professionals (sorry audit and tax peeps) but it would seem odd if they opted to only change the structure for one group.

Other items worth noting include the 500 promotions for this year and the 3-5% bonus that accompanies the bump.

The pictures on the following pages show merit increases based on ranking (1 to 5 scale) for Consultants, Senior Consultants and AIP – Senior Consultants.


Presumably, in the bad years some high performers may see a paltry raise of around 4% but in the good years, it will push 16%, depending on metrics listed:


And even more impressive for Seniors, with highest performers receiving a merit increase of ~20%:


What’s interesting to note here is that Deloitte claims to have awarded bonuses to 95% of “eligible professionals.” So if I understand that correctly, 5% of those people ranked 3 or higher didn’t get a bonus. It may also get you a little weak in the knees if the AIP pool is already larger than last year’s “highest ever” pool:

Lots to digest and discuss here, so let it rip.

Fired Marc Jacobs CFO Will Have You Know That Deloitte Never Complained About His Work

Last month we told you about Patrice Lataillade, the former Marc Jacobs CFO who was fired, he claims, because he complained about all the porn floating around the office, mandatory pole dances forced upon employees and various other things. Lataillade has sued the company saying that after he complained about the rampant lewdness, he was later told that his services were no longer needed.

The company disputes this, saying that Lataillade was actually doing a little double-entry magic for about $20 million or so in order to earn himself a nicer bonus. Lataillade has now pulled a Chinese stunt of sorts, claiming that Deloitte said everything was hunky dory and that should convince anyone that doubts his CFO prowess:

Lataillade and his lawyers said that the company, which fired Lataillade last September, never had any trouble with his monitoring of its finances in his long tenure at Marc Jacobs International. His work was checked and rechecked not only by accountants for LVMH, the French luxury conglomerate that owns Marc Jacobs International, but also by the company’s accounting firm Deloitte and Touch [sic]. Lataillade claims he never heard a complaint about his performance, and that he was really fired for speaking out against sexual discrimination at work.

Fired Marc Jacobs Exec Says Company Is Ignoring The Facts [Styleite]

Comp Watch ’11: Rumors of Deloitte Adopting New Raise Structure à la PwC

This just in:

I’m hearing rumblings that Deloitte might be the next in line to adopt a PwC-esque transparent raise structure. I don’t have the exact information, but I’ve heard something about making 1.5x your current salary in 3 years.

As you may remember, PwC announced “exciting changes” to their compensation structure back in May that involved three major parts: 1) Transparency 2) Earning Potential and 3) Milestone Awards. The multiple of 1.5x increase in three years is included in the roughly what PwC laid out in their “Total Rewards” document.

This seems to be a pretty typical move from Deloitte, who is notoriously conservative relative to its autumnally-hued rival. I’m sure if this plan is carried out, they’ll attempt to add in their own quirks to differentiate themselves but I’d be surprised if amounted to anything significant. If you hear any more rumors, contrary or supporting of this latest news, get in touch.

PwC’s Dennis Nally Reminds Everyone That Audits Aren’t Designed to Detect Fraud, Wants to Meet the Pope, Isn’t Interested in Joining You for Hot Yoga

The Financial Times published an interview with PwC International Chairman Dennis Nally over the weekend and we learn a few interesting things about DN that you probably didn’t know. For starters, he’s very aware that his firm is in a tussle for title of the largest professional services firm ON EARTH, “We’re in a real dog race to continue to sustain our leadership position as the largest professional services network in the world,” he told the FT. Of course this gives us the impression that Denny doesn’t believe that P. Dubs has relinquished the Biggest of the Big 4 title, as some other CEOs have claimed.

And as you might expect, there are various softening questions thrown around, including:

1) Leaders he admires – he wants to meet The Pope because “[Nally] seems impressed by the feat of co-ordination.”

2) Feats of strength – He practiced hot yoga to “strengthen his golf swing” but gave it up because “I found that you had a tendency to over-workout your muscles.”

Despite those little tidbits, Helen Thomas manages to get under Nally’s skin a little when she asks if “auditors should rightly find themselves in the line of fire” when fraud or “disingenuous” accounting occurs:

Mr Nally crosses his arms across his monogrammed shirt, for the first time looking a touch defensive. “There are professional standards out there [and] an audit is not designed under those standards to detect fraud,” he says, pointing out that detecting fraudulent behaviour rests on other indications including a company’s governance, management tone and control systems. “The reasons it has been done that way is because, while we always hear and read about the high-profile fraud, the number of those situations that you actually encounter in practice is very de minimis.

Notice that he doesn’t directly address the “disingenuous” accounting. Examples which might include, say, AIG and Freddie Mac, but rather addressed fraud which is easy to fall back on, since the expectations gap is so blatant (something he has mentioned before).

His statement also appears to indicate that he feels situations like Satyam are immaterial, unless by “de minimis” he intended to mean “rare in occurrence.” But, then again, I suppose semantics are also de minimis.

The man who would be biggest [FT]

Deloitte Tax Expert Makes Statement That He’s Likely to Regret

“If there are Republicans who break with Grover Norquist’s position, I think that’s an important thing,” said Clint Stretch, managing principal of tax policy at Deloitte Tax LLP in Washington.

“I think it signals a willingness on their part to have the fight with him over whether every tax expenditure is a legitimate reduction in effective tax rate, or whether there are some that should be regarded the way they regard spending programs.” [Bloomberg, Earlier, Earlier]

You May Have Noticed People in Deloitte T-Shirts Running Around Your City Today

That’s because it’s Deloitte IMPACT Day which means no one is actually “billing” but instead providing services and time pro bono at 800 events across the country.

Three-quarters of the firm’s people are participating in various events including some in Boston working on fund Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Memphis Botanic Garden. Surely some people just called in sick and started drinking at noon but let’s not focus on that. If you’ve got pics or other stories to share from your event, get in touch. [Deloitte]

What Do We Make of the Headcount in Deloitte’s Los Angeles Office?

Our tipster had this to say, “No wonder they are getting rid of PSW [Ed. note: he/she is referring to this], there are more partners than junior staff! Where the hell is the leverage model? This is beyond completely ridiculous.”

Posted on the Green Dot’s internal interwebs:

Did you know?

The Los Angeles office represents 55% of the PSW region in terms of headcount:

Los AngelesHeadcount
Partners, Principals, and Directors195
Sr. Managers and Managers407
Senior/Senior Consultants304
Staff Consultants188
Junior Staff/Analysts141
Client Service, Admin, and Other Support271
TOTAL1506

Technically, the combination of “Staff Consultants” and “Junior Staff” exceeds the PPD number although that but that puts the ratio of 1.69 staff for every PPD. I’m no expert but that could be considered low. It’s safe to say there are a few big engagements in L.A. that demand more than 1.69 staff people which probably leaves the small jobs shorthanded. Anyone in Deloitte L.A. (or anywhere else for that matter) feeling the pain because of this? Let us know in the comments.

You Can Add ‘Hospital Staff’ to the List of Positions That Can Do the Job of a Deloitte Auditor

A hospital in Winnipeg is suing Deloitte after an ATM scam went undiscovered for over ten years. Luckily some vigilant RN, janitor or cafeteria worker (it’s not clear from the article) noticed something amiss and alerted the proper authorities.

Police arrested a long-time hospital employee last year after she allegedly skimmed $1.5 million from automated teller machine (ATM) deposits between 2000 and 2010.

According to a lawsuit filed last week, the fraud was uncovered by hospital staff, not the auditor. The lawsuit accuses Deloitte & Touche of preparing financial statements not in accordance with “generally accepted accounting principles” and “materially misleading” the hospital about its financial position.

“MHC says that D & T owed it a duty in contract and owed it a duty of care not to act negligently or make negligent misrepresentations to MHC and to ensure that cash and liquid assets as reported in the financial statements were not materially misstated.”

According to the lawsuit, a former finance clerk deposited Worker’s Compensation Board cheques into the hospital operated ATM, understated the amount and pocketed the difference.

All this trouble and no one was even taken hostage. Not good, Green Dot.

Misericordia Health Centre files suit against auditor [Winnipeg Sun]

Deloitte Partners Get Some Pointers on What to Say Re: Bonuses, Compensation

As was mentioned on Tuesday, rumors around Deloitte’s compensation are starting to surface. This likely means partners are fielding questions from anxious employees about raise, bonuses and if they’re considering any part PwC’s new compensation structure. Of course, not everyone is comfortable discussing personal financial matters with Gen Y types, so TPTB have floated some talking points to the partners so they might reduce the number of awkward moments.

Question: What can we say to our people about this year’s compensation?

As we are in the process of closing our books for FY11 and completing our financial plan for FY12 over the next several weeks, we have not finalized the overall Deloitte or AERS compensation – both for [bonuses] and FY12 base compensation. Deloitte and all of the major audit, advisory, and consulting firms participate in Mercer and similar compensation surveys and use this information as a key benchmark for determining competitive compensation. We also continue to differentiate performance (and move AERS Advisory to a more incentive based pay mix). We do our best to be above the survey midpoint of the aggregate of our competitors’ with regard to compensation and make adjustments as necessary (as evidenced last year).

We will continue to implement our Rewards and Recognition program which is significant. We are confident that we will be rewarding our professionals in a way that recognizes their contribution and efforts over the past challenging year and the increasing performance expectations we all face looking forward. We also stay very abreast of what our competitors’ actions and claims are and, if appropriate, make adjustments based on factual information.

When speaking with your teams, please consider the following key points:

• We continue to monitor the marketplace and pay at or above market. The compensation scenarios we’re modeling will ensure that we maintain, and likely improve, our position relative to our competitors on a total cash basis this year.

• We are confident our [bonuses] will be at or above last year’s levels, which were the highest in the history of our organization.

• Our merit pool will provide for market based compensation for all of our professionals and appropriate pay differentiation on the basis of individual performance. Our people continue to tell us this is important to them, we owe it to them, and we will deliver on this commitment this year.

• We know that our people have worked extremely hard this year and we will do whatever it takes to ensure that they are rewarded accordingly. We have a number of options on the table but frankly we don’t have the year-end numbers in yet so it’s still too early to make those decisions.

Will Barry Salzberg Join Twitter?

As we’ve mentioned, it’s the first week of the new (fiscal) year at Deloitte which means people are getting antsy and your new leaders are starting to get acclimated to their new titles, repsonsibilities and whatnot. One of the most important decisions that new global CEO Barry Salzberg will have to make is whether or not he jumps into the Twittersphere. His predecessor, Jim Quigley, has quit Twitter without getting all dramatic about it, saying, “My CEO tenure concludes today. Enjoyed trying Twitter. Thanks for following my updates. Stay connected w/ Deloitte @deloitte. Regards, Jim.”

So now that @DeloitteCEO is no longer in use, it seems to be a shame that the ol’ Salz decided to not to use it as a Twitty pulpit but we realize it’s not for everyone. However, being the charismatic mustachioed man that he is, I think he’d probably be able to get the hang of it pretty quickly. And if he needs some pointers, he can always consult Adrienne’s Twitter case studies.

My only advice is, don’t get too sensitive on us.

Comp Watch ’11: Happy New Year’s Eve Deloitte!

It’s the final day of fiscal 2011 in GreenDotville and it seems fitting that we have a little comp discussion:

Word is coming out of the senior manager meeting last week that raises and bonuses are going to be “very good” this year. Of course, those are just rumors, and that’s what the firm said in 2009 when comp increases averaged less than 1% across the board. Other than the mid-year salary bump last fall, there have been no raises, bonuses, or any other incentives to keep slaving away since last summer.

As you may know, Deloitte moved to a decentralized audit planning approach this year, causing hundreds (if not thousands) of additional hours to be added to each engagement. With a shortage of seniors and managers as it is, it’s been close to a breaking point for everyone in the audit function. And, of course, it’s an internal mandate, so unlike the glut of work that came as a result of SOX, Uncle-D is unable to recover any of those costs from clients. Senior management is aware of the problem (Steve VanArsdell said it was the worst busy season he’s ever seen in his 36-year career), but as yet no solutions have been offered other than to say that “year 2” of the new approach should be easier.

Interestingly, the Ivory Tower here at D&T has been suspiciously quiet regarding comp and other issues. Consensus among the employees is that they’re panicked and haven’t yet figured out how to dig out of the hole that they dug for themselves over the past few years. They’ve moved up the timetable on the compensation and rating process by a couple of weeks, which means that we’ll be getting our raise and bonus information in early August instead of mid-August this year (to which, most employees have responded with, “BFD”). To most of us working here, it feels like it’s all going to be too little, too late to win back the loyalty of the current workforce here at Uncle D.

But hey, I hear PwC is hiring!

Our tipster sounds pretty glum for a NYE celebration, so if you can cheer him up with contrary rumors, please do so. Of course, you can always corroborate his suspicions if that’s what you’re hearing as well. And don’t forget to drop all your new leaders a good luck email. Everyone deserves a little thumbs-up on the first day in a new job.

Deloitte Announces New Heads of Tax, Consulting

Rounding out the spring of leadership changes for Deloitte are Jim Moffatt who will be the new Chairman and CEO of Deloitte Consulting and Carl Allegretti who will serve in the same roles for Deloitte Tax.

U.S. CEO Elect Joe Echevarria is already finding his stride with the boilerplate praise, saying of Moffatt, “Jim is an excellent choice to build Deloitte Consulting’s market leadership. During his 23 years with Deloitte, Jim has served clients with distinction, and demonstrated his ability to drive the Deloitte Consulting strategy and seize market advantage.”

And he’s equally stoked for Allegretti, “In each of his leadership roles, Carl has made and maintained strong connections with both clients and people. This is a formula for success that has served him well.”

That should do it for announcing new Deloitte overlords since the new fiscal year starts next Wednesday but if someone else gets squeezed in between now and then, we’ll let you know. And since the new fiscal year means compensation speculation, drop us any rumors you’re hearing around merit increases and bonuses.

[via Deloitte and er…Deloitte]

Deloitte Consolidating Pacific, Central Regions

Deloitte CEO elect Joe Echevarria has informed the partners that a little bit of restructuring will be going down when he takes the big chair next week. The Pacific Southwest and Northern Pacific regions will create a new West region while the Midwest and North Central regions will form a new Central region. The three remaining – Northeast, Mid-America, and Southeast – will remain as is.

Optimizing our regional structure

To: The partners, principals, and directors of Deloitte

When I shared my overall organizational structure with you in February, I noted that I would make the development of the right management model for the regions a priority. Just last week, the Board ratified the decision to move from seven regions to five for FY12 onwards.

We will combine Pacific Southwest with Northern Pacific to create a new West region. By combining Midwest and North Central region we will create a new Central Region. Northeast, Mid-America, and Southeast regions are unchanged.

This decision is the outcome of a comprehensive, strategic review led by Chet Wood, leader of Markets and Offerings. The review was inclusive, with input from many perspectives, including LCSPs, line partners from each FSS, OMPs and RMPs, FSS CEOs and other members of the U.S. Executive. We looked at the regions through the strategic lens of our Lead from the Front framework, to determine how, at this time, we can best align our organization model to the external marketplace.

We carefully considered the different roles regions and offices play for each of our businesses; while many of our non-regulated services are increasingly delivered nationally, regions are critical to the service delivery of our Audit, Tax and DGES practices. Our review also considered factors such as the impact on spans of control, leadership and development opportunities, community-building and sense of partnership, infrastructure costs and speed of implementation. We defined the regional model that will best drive client and business growth, improve our strategic positioning, and strengthen our performance.

The new structure is effective from the start of FY12, although some tactical aspects of implementation may take longer to complete. I have asked Anne Taylor and Gary Tabach to lead the succession process for the West RMP, and Mark Edmunds to lead the process for the Central RMP.

With this improvement comes new opportunity. It’s up to us to realize it and turn our new regional structure to a business advantage. In every region and in every market where we operate, we must continue to widen the gap between us and our competitors, strengthen our position, and ensure that we stay out ahead of change. That is how we will continue to lead from the front.

Joe Echevarria
U.S. Chief Executive Officer Elect
Deloitte LLP

Since we’re not intimately familiar with the hierarchy at Deloitte (e.g. “Regional Partner Leader of M&A Advisory Services” or “Area OMP Chief Leader of Regional Assurance”) these changes will probably mean some jockeying for spots amongst partners effected by the consolidation. And since some regional leaders within the firm (i.e. Talyor, Tabach and Edmunds) will be watching over this process, maybe there will be potential for some interesting developments.

Based on This Letter, You May Get the Impression That Deloitte Staff Were Lucky They Weren’t Taken Hostage Along with Their Workpapers

On Monday, we reported on Longtop Financial Technologies was the latest Chinese company to have their CFO quit, auditor resign and be accused of being a massive fraud. This particular story was interesting as one of the reasons cited by Deloitte for dumping LFT included “the unlawful detention of DTT’s audit files.” These accusations were described in much more detail in Deloitte’s letter to the company’s audit committee that was filed with the SEC and you may even conclude that the staff were thisclose to being hos

We italicized and bolded the best part.

The Audit Committee
Longtop Financial Technologies Limited
No. 61 Wanghai Road, Xiamen Software Park
Xiamen, Fujian Province
People’s Republic of China
Attention: Mr. Thomas Gurnee, Chairman of the Audit Committee

Dear Sirs,

Longtop Financial Technologies Limited (the “Company”) and together with its subsidiaries (the “Group”)
Audit for the Year Ended 31 March 2011

We hereby give you formal notice of our resignation as auditor of the Company.

Background and significant issues encountered by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu CPA Ltd. (China) (“Deloitte”)

As part of the process for auditing the Company’s financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2011, we determined that, in regard to bank confirmations, it was appropriate to perform follow up visits to certain banks. These audit steps were recently performed and identified a number of very serious defects including: statements by bank staff that their bank had no record of certain transactions; confirmation replies previously received were said to be false; significant differences in deposit balances reported by the bank staff compared with the amounts identified in previously received confirmations (and in the books and records of the Group); and significant bank borrowings reported by bank staff not identified in previously received confirmations (and not recorded in the books and records of the Group).

In the light of this, a formal second round of bank confirmation was initiated on 17 May. Within hours however, as a result of intervention by the Company’s officials including the Chief Operating Officer, the confirmation process was stopped amid serious and troubling new developments including: calls to banks by the Company asserting that Deloitte was not their auditor; seizure by the Company’s staff of second round bank confirmation documentation on bank premises; threats to stop our staff leaving the Company premises unless they allowed the Company to retain our audit files then on the premises; and then seizure by the Company of certain of our working papers.

In that connection, we must insist that you promptly return our documents.

Then on 20 May the Chairman of the Company, Mr. Jia Xiao Gong called our Eastern Region Managing Partner, Mr. Paul Sin, and informed him in the course of their conversation that “there were fake revenue in the past so there were fake cash recorded on the books”. Mr. Jia did not answer when questioned as to the extent and duration of the discrepancies. When asked who was involved, Mr. Jia answered: “senior management”.

We bring these significant issues to your attention in the context of our responsibilities under Statement on Auditing Standards No. 99 “Consideration of Fraud in a Financial Statement Audit” issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Reasons for our resignation

The reasons for our resignation include: 1) the recently identified falsity of the Group’s financial records in relation to cash at bank and loan balances (and also now seemingly in the sales revenue); 2) the deliberate interference by the management in our audit process; and 3) the unlawful detention of our audit files. These recent developments undermine our ability to rely on the representations of the management which is an essential element of the audit process; hence our resignation.

Prior periods’ financial reports and our reports thereon

We have reached the conclusion that we are no longer able to place reliance on management representations in relation to prior period financial reports. Accordingly, we request that the Company take immediate steps to make the necessary 8-K filing to state that continuing reliance should no longer be placed on our audit reports on the previous financial statements and moreover that we decline to be associated with any of the Company’s financial communications during 2010 and 2011.

Our consent

We hereby consent to a copy of this letter being supplied to the SEC and the succeeding auditor to be appointed.

Section 10A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (U.S.)

In our view, without providing any legal conclusion, the circumstances mentioned above could constitute illegal acts for purposes of Section 10A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Accordingly, we remind the Board of its obligations under Section 10A of the Securities Exchange Act, including the notice requirements to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. You may consider taking legal advice on this.

Yours faithfully,
/s/ Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu CPA Ltd.
c.c.: The Board of Directors

Auditor Resignation Du Jour: Deloitte Didn’t Appreciate Their Audit Files Being Held Hostage

And yes the perpetrator, Longtop Financial Technologies, is a Chinese company.

As we mentioned, Deloitte had some decent reasons for kicking LFT to curb, among them:

(1) the recently identified falsity of the Company’s financial records in relation to cash at bank and loan balances (and possibly in sales revenue); (2) the deliberate interference by certain members of Longtop management in DTT’s audit process; and (3) the unlawful detention of DTT’s audit files. DTT further stated that DTT was no longer able to rely on management’s representations in relation to prior period financial reports, that continued reliance should no longer be placed on DTT’s audit reports on the previous financial statements, and DTT declined to be associated with any of the Company’s financial communications in 2010 and 2011.

And because it seems to be the standard narrative in stories such as these, Longtop’s CFO has resigned and “The Audit Committee has also initiated a search for a new auditor.” Although were not sure if there’s a firm out there that will pick up a client who has engaged in hostage taking.

[via Longtop Financial Technologies]

Barry Salzberg Recalls That His First Boss Was a Jerk, Being From Brooklyn Had Its Disadvantages

Dr. Phil doppelgänger and incoming Deloitte Global CEO Barry Salzberg spoke at Wharton recently about leadership and how it has changed quite a bit since he started at Haskin & Sells in 1977. He riffed about the old days in his speech including how jackets were all but mandatory (especially if you were from Brooklyn) and the aforementioned boss from Hell:

“In those days, [Deloitte] was a fancy, formal place,” Salzberg recalled, “so formal that you would get bawled out — and I did — if you were caught in the hallway without your jacket, especially if you arrived speaking a foreign language like Brooklynese.” His first leadership lesson came on his third day. “Bosszilla,” as he calls his first boss, asked him for a photocopy of a tax ruling. Eager to please and show off his legal savvy, Salzberg included his own two-page interpretation. “Mr. Salzberg,” Bosszilla hissed, “I asked you for a copy of the ruling, not your interpretation. One copy, stapled.”

Of course, the Big Salz knew that this wasn’t how he wanted to lead so you can bet your signed copy of As One that he spends plenty of time at the Xerox machine. Another leadership trait that has gone the way of the Dodo is that CEOs don’t mingle with the commoners. Bar is out there mixing it up on the regular:

“What I do is get out and talk to people to give them the opportunity to share. And then what you have to do is act on it, so people understand that you can change your mind.” As head of Deloitte’s U.S. operations, Salzberg visits as many as 25 to 35 offices every year, sitting down with partners to hear their concerns. When he becomes global CEO, he plans to travel more, he said. “There’s nothing that can replace face-to-face interaction. Getting the rubber on the shoes worn out is how to do it.”

And of course, in this day in and age, you simply can’t ignore animal metaphors:

“No burying your head in the sand if there’s a problem, and no ignoring the elephant in the room. Much better to name and tame an issue, no matter how difficult it is,” than to ignore it or pretend it isn’t there, he said. “Making sure the truth is told and discussed with all is the foundation of leadership. Without that, you can’t build trust.”

Got it? Ignoring problems – even the really tough ones – is a thing of the past:

Deloitte CEO Barry Salzberg on Leadership as ‘the Norm, Not the Exception [K@W]

Comp Watch ’11: Deloitte Auditor Has PwC Bonus Envy

From the mailbag:

Caleb,

I am reading about PWC getting some spring love in the form of a bonus, and other firms already openly discussing compensation with their employees. Apparently Big D missed that memo.

Everybody at Deloitte had a terrible busy season, that is no secret. We changed our audit methodology, and then in December the powers that be decided to do some last minute tweaking, aka destroy any hope of a bearable busy season. I am a senior working out of Boston and have been pretty busy since October. To reward my hard work Deloitte has given me absolutely nothing. There was no post audit dinner, no monetary reward, not even a free cup of coffee. I did however (and so did everyone else in Boston) receive emails from every executive partner in the NE thanking us for all our hard work, reminding us how much money we made the firm, and telling us to reward ourselves by taking some time off. Apparently being rewarded now means using our own PTO to take a day off. I have had to work both firm holidays up to now (one in January and one in April for the Boston Marathon), so I am not sure when they think we can reward ourselves by using the PTO we already earned. Usually engagement teams hand out “Applause Awards” to their people for hard work, and maybe I am just on a few teams with Ebenezer Scrooge Partners, but I think it is crazy that either Deloitte, or the Boston Office, or one of my engagement partners couldn’t scratch together a few dollars as a thank you for the long hours.

Partners and HR continue to wonder why people leave, but we are continually asked to do more and more and never rewarded for it. With the other firms opening up the piggy banks already, what are the chances that Deloitte follows suit? They missed the mark last year on the compensation, and everyone suffered as a result with the crush of seniors headed for the door. As a result they ended up giving a mid-year raise just to stem the bleeding. Are partners too busy looking to next year or playing golf at their fancy country clubs to remember the little people?

Of course our writer is referring to the PwC bonuses we wrote about on Monday. Don’t know if this is a Deloitte problem or a Boston Deloitte problem but it sounds like Green Dots in Beantown are wicked pissed. How’s your office faring? Tell us below or email us.

Jim Quigley Reflecting on His Time as Deloitte CEO via Twitter

Davos regular and out-going Deloitte Global CEO Jim Quigley is reflecting on his time in the big chair on Twitter and so far he’s said that “Experience has taught me in a world that seems increasingly focused on sprints, great professional relationships are the work of marathoners,” and “I’ve learned we often allow the urgent to crowd out the important; getting in front is the way we will stay in front.” These are nice thoughts and we’re big on reflection but what do you think Jimbo is really thinking that the Deloitte Twitter filters aren’t letting through?

Luckily, we’ve obtained JQ’s copious Tweet notes, all of which were ultimately denied by Deloitte’s Ministry of Propoganda. Here are some of the denied tweets:

• Really kicking myself after turning down Queen Rania’s offer to buy me a drink at Davos last year. #IDIOT

• Disappointed that I only get 5 months to Tweet under @deloitteceo. Not sure what my new handle will be. Is @deloittekicksass taken?

@JustinBieber how do you get ready for a big show?

• I’m just going to say it: Sharon Allen has awful taste in music.

• Good luck Barry! I guess I don’t have to warn you that this job will make you lose your hair.

Of course, many of you know Jim better than us, so feel free to speak/Tweet on his behalf below.

New Leadership Appointment Causes Unrest Inside Deloitte Advisory

As we’ve discussed, there has been a bit of controversy around the leadership election process at Deloitte. We first reported this news to you in January with a follow-up story on the candidates, the sorry turnout that was expected, and finally the news that the three candidates had been elected to their respective positions.

Today we have more controversy from inside the house of D but this time it is from a sub-group in the Enterprise Risk Services (aka Advisory or “ERS”) practice. There have been a number of recent leadership appointments within ERS but one in particular that caused a Deloitte partner to reach out to GC. This individual belongs to the Security and Privacy Practice (“S&P”) which consists of approximately 80-90 partners and has been recognized as one of the “12 leading global information security & risk consulting service providers” by Forrester Research Leader for their expertise in this area, according to the Deloitte website.

According to our source, the issue that has caused concern amongst many partners in the S&P group is that the new leader does not have extensive experience in the Security & Privacy area. Our source explained to us that a recent theme inside the firm has been “leading from the front” best encapsulated by leaders like Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and others who lead based on setting an example. The feeling of the S&P partners is the most recent appointment is based more on cronyism rather than qualifications and past performance.

The leader of the ERS group who makes the appointments is Owen Ryan, a Deloitte veteran who has held several leadership positions at the firm and has led ERS for the past 2-3 years. Our source told us Mr. Ryan has run the advisory practice creating an environment of cronyism and nepotism by appointing individuals, including family members, closest to him and that this appointment in S&P has partners saying this is the latest example of “the emperor having no clothes.” S&P supposedly has many qualified partners who have held leadership positions in the past who could lead the group but were passed over. This has many of them worried about what will become of their reputation as a top service provider in the area and how clients will perceive this appointment.

We spoke to a former Deloitte partner who worked in the Securitization and Structured Products Group (also part of ERS) who confirmed these allegations of nepotism and cronyism. “I wouldn’t go so far to extrapolate what occurred in our group to others,” the former partner said, “but that was certainly my experience.”

Despite this, one insider who is familiar with the leadership at Deloitte described Mr. Ryan as a “results-oriented businessman” who is cognizant of how “his decisions will reflect on him.” This source further told GC that “[Mr. Ryan] would not compromise the potential success of the ERS group by appointing someone to a leadership position who wasn’t qualified.”

Mr. Ryan’s no-nonsense style has manifested itself into some interesting behavior. Our original source told us that he takes attendance at ERS partner meetings and fines individuals $20 for using their BlackBerrys or speaking to neighbors during them. Our source said the money collected goes to charity.

Mr. Ryan did not respond to our voicemail requesting an interview.

The concern in S&P is understandable; an outsider leading a niche group would rankle the feathers of the most laid back partner. However, these decisions are rarely made in a vacuum and Mr. Ryan has his own superiors to report to. The other aspect to consider is the difference between technical leadership and what one source called “visual” leadership. There are many partners capable of leading a practice based on technical merits but the vision and flexibility needed to keep a group progressive in a fast-paced market does not always accompany technical expertise. Quite simply, if the leadership appointments that are made on Mr. Ryan’s watch do not prove successful, he will certainly be held responsible, but there is a lot of concern that the reputations of many of the firm’s best service lines may suffer in the process.

Deloitte Bankrolls Center for Ethical Leadership at Notre Dame

John Veihmeyer can’t be pleased by this.

The Notre Dame/Deloitte Center for Ethical Leadership will focus on advancing ethical leadership in business, including research, thought leadership and the dissemination of ethics-related content to the business community in the United State and around the world, the university announced Monday.

The center is being established with a major gift from Deloitte LLP, a private professional services company, according to the university. The amount of the gift was not disclosed.

Presumably portions of the curriculum will educate students on how to piece together your spouse’s new hobby with insider trading activity.

Notre Dame starts business ethics center [SBT]

Navistar Says Deloitte Sucks at Auditing; Deloitte Not Amused

Last week Navistar International Corp. sued Deloitte for $500 million alleging “fraud, fraudulent concealment, breach of contract and malpractice” on audits from 2002 to 2005. That, in and of itself, isn’t too unusual. What is pretty fun (not fun in a “man, the circus is fun” kind of way but in “you’ve gotta love this stuff” kind of way) is when a company comes right out and says that Deloitte lied about its competency to provide audit services.

Bloomberg reports:

In other words, not only is Navistar saying that Deloitte is a buncha liars, they’re saying, “Biggest accounting firm in the world, you say? How about the suckiest accounting firm in the world?” They’re saying that Deloitte isn’t qualified to be in business. In essence, that the firm shouldn’t even exist. Because such fighting words simply can’t be taken sitting down, Deloitte spokesman Jonathan Gandal emailed the ‘Berg (which is good because he never calls us back) to express the firm’s position:

“A preliminary review shows it to be an utterly false and reckless attempt to try to shift responsibility for the wrongdoing of Navistar’s own management,” Gandal said in an e-mailed statement. “Several members of Navistar’s past or present management team were sanctioned by the SEC for the very matters alleged in the complaint.”

HA! Now who’s a bunch a liars? So who’s really to blame here in this round of ‘liar, liar pants on fire’? Well, over at Fraud Files Blog, our friend Tracy Coenen tries to shed some light on this spat:

Navistar’s story about the fraud seems to keep changing. Early on in the case, the company denied wrongdoing and said the problem was with “complicated” rules under Sarbanes-Oxley. I’m not sure how SOX is to blame for management having secret side agreements with its suppliers who received “rebates.” Or improperly booking income from tooling buyback agreements, while not booking expenses related to the tooling. Or not booking adequate warranty reserves. Or failing to record certain project costs.

And now the company says Deloitte is to blame.

Here’s what’s funny about lawsuits like this: They essentially say… Our employees committed fraud and actively took steps to avoid discovery by the auditors. The auditors did not discover the fraud (at all, or soon enough), and now we’re going to hold them responsible for that failure.

In the case of Navistar, the each of the fraudulent accounting schemes above are nearly impossible to detect. The company failed to book items or provide information about them to the auditors, yet they are suing the auditors for failing to find the items.

So it appears that Navistar was expecting Deloitte to have some magical powers of fraud detection that even the likes of Tracy or Sam Antar don’t possess. Does that make them incompetent? You tell us.

Navistar Sues Its Former Auditor Deloitte & Touche [Bloomberg]
Navistar v Deloitte: Blame the auditors for fraud committed and concealed by employees [Fraud Files Blog]

Deloitte Announces Joe Echevarria as New CEO, Punit Renjen Chairman

Deloitte has announced today that Joe Echevarria will become the new CEO and Punit Renjen (who is oddly well-coifed for a leader at Deloitte) the new Chairman Board of the firm effective June 1. None of this is really news to anyone that frequents this site since we reported who the candidates were back in February. Joe takes over for Barry Salzberg who will assume the global CEO position and Punit will assume the Chairman role from Sharon Allen who is retiring.


This officially marks the end of the Deloitte election process that we brought to light after a partner reached out to us over concerns that the process is seriously flawed (or in that partner’s words, “broken”). Whether or not the rumored poor turnout had any effect on the timing is not known but the results remain the same, much to the chagrin of many partners at the firm who share the frustration of a unrepresentative election process.

[caption id="attachment_29175" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Renjen"][/caption]

Both guys seem genuinely pleased with the result, “I am deeply honored to be elected by my partners and principals to be CEO of this great firm. As the largest professional services organization in the U.S., we have an obligation to lead,” said Echevarria. “Excellence in all of the professional services we provide constitutes the foundation of our success. As markets were shaken and major players disappeared overnight, we’ve made a clear choice to focus on superior performance, innovation and growth across all our practice areas. Great firms are growth firms.”

And Renjen, “This is a great privilege, and I deeply appreciate the partnership’s confidence in me,” he said. “I share Sharon Allen’s vision for Deloitte – to be the ‘Standard of Excellence.’ Setting this standard demands effective governance, transparency, accountability and uncompromised quality. I am committed to leading the board in providing valuable oversight and strategic guidance to management, and also to representing our exceptional organization and culture with external stakeholders.”

Congratulate your new leaders, green dots; these are the men you’ll be receiving a monstrous number of emails from for the next four years.

[via Deloitte]

Deloitte’s New Motor City Digs Are ‘Cutting Edge’

How this didn’t get into the Super Bowl Commercial, I’ll never know.

Deloitte is moving from 160,000 square feet on nine floors of the 600 Tower into 100,000 to 110,000 square feet on six floors in the 200 Tower. The Detroit office employs about 1,000 people. Managing Partner Joseph Angileri said no downsizing of staff is involved.

“We’ve actually been hiring,” he said. “We’ve been in our current space since 1991, and the space is old and traditional and not conducive to the way we do work now. When half of your workforce only spends 20 percent of their time in the office, you don’t need to build the way you used to.

“It’s going to be an eye-opening environment. It will be really next generation, cutting edge.”

Build-out begins for Deloitte’s new space [Crain’s]

Sharon Allen Copes with Travel By Staying Hydrated, Listening to Kenny Chesney

Deloitte’s Sharon Allen recently had a little chat with our friends at FINS as part of their coverage of Women in the Workplace series over the next two weeks. Ms. Allen will be coasting into retirement as her second term as the firm’s Chairman (her preferred term) comes to end.

The Allen interview covers all kinds of fun stuff so let’s get to it, starting with those pesky regulators:

Some of us are still getting comfortable to having the PCAOB sticking their beak into audits:

The public accounting arena has indeed changed a lot. It’s now a regulated profession with oversight that’s provided through the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. We are still, both the regulator and the profession, trying to work through that, with the common objective of improving audit quality. We’re learning how to work within a regulated environment that some years ago we just didn’t live with.


None of the firms chose to be the “Big 4” it just sorta worked out that way:

Just last week, we were talking at our global board meeting about how the profession got narrowed down to this number to begin with. The last reduction wasn’t the choice of the profession with [Arthur] Andersen out of business.

And speaking of four, she’s pretty comfortable with that number:

You have to have concentration of enough business to service the clients properly. If you spread that across eight firms, there just isn’t enough that supports that kind of that activity. In some of the major countries, the additional number of firms make sense, but when you look at it across the world, it doesn’t work. We’re not opposed to the competition; there are next-tier firms that are very good, and we encourage them to be in the mix in terms of proposal opportunities. It’s healthy. But the reality is the concentration will and probably should continue.

Term limits have somewhat led to SA’s retirement but there’s at least one person who’s especially happy about her quitting early:

I’m approaching the end of my second four-year term as chairman. We have a limit of two terms. While I’m not at mandatory retirement age yet, I concluded that it’s a really good time to make this move. I’ve had a fabulous 38-year career. But I’m also very comfortable with the transition leadership and the state of the firm. It’s a good time for me to leave at the top of my game. My husband is looking forward to spending more time with me.

FINS went ahead and asked Allen about the leadership election process, even though they already knew how the process went down.

We have a nomination process that we undertake. We interview through a nominating committee chosen by the board. They interview about 1,300 partners for their input on the type of attributes they’d like to see in the chairman and CEO positions. Then the committee interviews some individuals who match up with those qualities and ultimately proposed the nominated person.

One of the biggest challenges Allen has faced as Chairman was dealing with this clusterfuck of an economy. Luckily for the Green Dots out there, Deloitte management saw this coming and was able to save a bunch of you:

We were a little ahead of the game in anticipating the downturn that allowed us to prepare well for the difficult times to come. We had some reductions in our workforce, but they were not as substantial as they might have been had we not appropriately planned for the downturn.

And as a high-flying executive, there has to be coping mechanisms:

[Julie Steinberg of FINS]: How do you handle all the travel you do?

[Sharon Allen]: I drink a whole lot of water. I’m also fortunate to be able to adjust to time zone changes relatively easily. I work on domestic flights, and I do take my iPod and my computer.

JS: What are you listening to these days on your iPod?

SA: I’m a country music fan.

Chesney just came to mind for some reason (FYI Sharon: I can get you into the sold-out Red Rocks show, so reach out if you’re interested). But maybe she’s more of Toby Keith person, I can’t possibly know not having had the pleasure of seeing what ended up on the cutting-room floor. You’re invited to speculate as to artists (I’m pulling for Willie Nelson myself) and react to anything else you see above.

Deloitte’s Sharon Allen on Big Four Domination, Self-Promotion and the Corporate Lattice [FINS]
Earlier: Deloitte’s Sharon Allen Never Misses Date Night, Discovered Early on That She Wasn’t Meant to be a Car Hop

Book Review: As One, Co-authored by Deloitte’s Jim Quigley

Let’s be completely honest here, when I heard James Quigley had worked on a book subtitled “Individual Action/Collective Power,” I half-expected this to be a handbook on how to get miserable shlubs to do your evil bidding for you while you abuse and humiliate them. After all, the man oversees an entire army of miserable green dot shlubs, surely he knows a thing or two about getting people to do things for you.

Lucky for Quigs and theinds behind As One, however, this book was nothing of the sort. More like Choose Your Own Adventure for leaders, which allows the reader to first determine which archetype of leaders and followers his or her group falls under. Featuring case studies (“inspirational” stories) with such big names as Apple, GE and Pixar, As One looks the why of these organizations’ collaborative efforts before taking on the how.


Deloitte spent two years studying effective collaborations and in the process defined eight archetypes of leaders and followers: Landlords & Tenants, Community Organizer & Volunteers, Conductor & Orchestra, Producer & Creative Team, General & Soldiers, Architect & Builders, Captain & Sports Team and Senator & Citizens. The main archetypes are strategically located across a circular axis, with Landlord & Tenants and Community Organizer & Volunteer anchoring the upper and lower poles. Conductor & Orchestra and Producer & Creative Team sit at the extremities of the horizontal “nature of the task” dimension on the west and east ends of the axis. The other four archetypes are hybrids, occupying the spaces between the main archetypes and combining some characteristics of each.

So this got me thinking, where would Caleb and I be on the axis?

As much as I would like to paint your dear Going Concern editor in a sycophantic, borderline psychotic light, “Dictator & Huddled Masses” wasn’t included in As One, so instead I used the easy chart in the book’s intro to answer a few simple questions about how our organization works. I have the creative freedom to carry out tasks the way I choose (as long as I don’t talk too much about the Federal Reserve), and we have a fairly small hierarchy given the size of our website and TPTB that rule over us. Instead of choosing the archetype I assumed we’d be (Producer & Creative Team), I went by the chart to determine we were most like Community Organizer & Volunteers.

From key characteristics:

Volunteers cannot be told what to do; they must be given the choice to join on their own terms. The persuasive message of the community organizer motivates them to join in the cause; and it’s that common purpose that inspires volunteers to make a difference.

[Volunteers] independently choose to follow the path of altruism or enlightened self-interest. Community organizers and volunteers may be passionate, selfless and dedicated, but, above all else, they are independent thinkers who, of their own volition, decide whether to get involved in a cause and for how long.

“A community organizer is someone who uncovers [volunteers’] self-interest,” says Jana Adams, the National Training Coordinator at the Direct Action Training Research Center. “They give [volunteers] an opportunity to work in their own self-interest and address problems in the community that they could not address by themselves.”

All of those key characteristics rang true with me, though I wouldn’t necessarily call making misogynist jokes about work/life balance altruistic. And I definitely cannot be told what to do, so another point to the book for that one.

As One allows the reader the opportunity to brand his or her own strategy, whether or not the current structure allows for such freedom. Unlike much of what one might encounter in public accounting or any other similarly-structured business, the free flow and adaptability of As One gives leadership the chance to form itself, mostly through analysis of what makes an archetype tick. Even miserable shlubs have a drive (be it money, stability, masochism or the perpetual carrot of becoming partner one day being dangled in front of one’s face), it’s how they are driven that makes all the difference. Point being that leadership isn’t about who can bark orders the loudest, despite how life in public accounting might make it appear.

Are we all so easily prodded into distinctive roles? Not really, and As One doesn’t attempt to do so. Its authors argue that life itself is a collaborative journey, and it may just be easier on all of us to accept that. Organizational structure doesn’t necessarily have to create a disenchanted workforce just in it for the paycheck, and recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of each collaborative group can actually help infuse a little pride in the job, or at least more willing participation.

As One isn’t a book about how to get people who hate you to do things for you, it’s about recognizing the individual power in each of us to accomplish collective goals, be that running a business or changing the world as we know it. It presents some awfully lofty goals but asks one very important question: what could we accomplish if we could unlock the power of As One on a global scale?

Find the book on Amazon here, and download free As One iPhone or iPad apps here. You can find out more about As One through the Deloitte Center for Collective Leadership.

Did Ohio State Dump Deloitte for PwC Over Colors?

Sounds like CFO Geoff Chatas and state auditor Dave Yost wanted to figure a way around a 15-year limit but it was to no avail, “Ohio State CFO Geoff Chatas said Yost discussed with him the possibility of letting Ohio State be the first to stick with the same audit firm, but the school opted to put the contract out for bid.”

A likely story. If you ask me, this has everything to do with the fact that Deloitte’s main color is blue while PwC has opted for slightly more appropriate hues.

PwC to follow Deloitte as Ohio State audit firm [CBF]

Barry Salzberg Elected to Be Deloitte’s New Global CEO

Barry Salzberg will be the next global CEO of Deloitte, according to a statement released by the firm today. Of course, if you’ve been following our coverage of the controversy around the election process at Deloitte, then you already knew that this was coming. As you know, this election was an all or nothing deal and with Salzberg taking the reigns from Jim Quigley on June 1, Joe Echeverria will be the new U.S. CEO and Punit Renjen will assume the Chairman’s role vacated by Sharon Allen.


The always quote-worthy (at least in the context of a Deloitte press release) Dr. Phil said he was “humbled by the confidence that the network has placed in my leadership during this historic time.” He also had some kind words for predecessor, “Over the years, I have worked closely with Jim Quigley and admired his commitment to our strong global culture and shared values, which have brought us to our preeminent position in the marketplace today.”

So congrats to Mr. Salzberg on the promotion (and surviving the coup d’etat). Feel free to leave your well-wishes or other thoughts on the matter in the comments below.

Former Deloitte Partner’s Wife Faces Prison After Pleading Guilty to Insider Trading

For those not in the know, San Francisco is already an overpriced third world toilet but Pacific Heights is the go-to for wanna-bes, socialities and trust fund babies who can afford the pricey rents and even pricier home values. According to earlier reports, Annabel McClellan fell in the “wanna-be” category, though we aren’t sure if the fact that her husband worked at the Deloitte had anything to do with that.

The Bay Citizen has the latest update in this sordid tale:

A Pacific Heights housewife will be heading to prison after pleading guilty Tuesday to insider trading and obstruction of justice charges.

In her plea agreement, Annabel McClellan says she gleaned confidential information about publicly traded companies by overhearing her husband, Arnold McClellan, then a partner at Deloitte Tax LLC, discussing details of deals he was working on. She then passed the information on to her sister, Miranda Sanders, and brother-in-law, James Sanders, who was involved in a trading business in London, according to the document.

James Sanders made money from the tips, including about £396,851 (about $648,000 at current exchange rates) from information about Getty Images, according to McClellan.

McClellan also says in the agreement that she obstructed justice by lying to the Securities and Exchange Commission about having obtained and passed on the information.

Both Arnold and Annabel McClellan had been named in a civil suit filed in November by the SEC, but Annabel alone faced U.S. criminal charges.

We’re not sure where this puts McClellan’s sex app – My Nookie – but we’re pretty sure she won’t be needing it behind bars; her only sex position in the years ahead will likely be Don’t Drop the Soap, or maybe Reverse Don’t Drop the Soap if she’s feeling particularly randy.

Meanwhile, let this serve as a lesson to partners: keep your trap shut in front of the Mrs., lest she act on anything she overhears you talking about and later get taken down by the authorities for sharing that information with the girlfriends and in-laws.

McClellan will be sentenced on September 20th. She faces a maximum prison sentence of five years and fines of up to $250,000. That’s 83,612 copies of My Nookie (priced at $2.99) if you are playing along at home.

Earlier: Insider Trading Charges Throw a Wrench into Former Deloitte Employee’s Plans for Sexy Mobile App

Deloitte Is Lending Michigan a Helping Hand

Did I say lending? Sorry, that’s not technically accurate. Deloitte Consulting is monitoring Michigan’s welfare computer systems and that involves billable hours. Lots of them. $15 million worth.

The state of Michigan is spending millions of dollars on a contractor to run its welfare computer system partly because it doesn’t offer enough money to attract new hires. A system called Bridges keeps track of welfare cases in the Department of Human Services. In February, Deloitte Consulting was given a one-year contract for about $15 million to maintain it and make regular updates.

Of course it would be cheaper if the Wolverine State did this themselves but there’s a small problem:

[The State’s technology department] lost 15 people to early retirement in December and had several vacancies starting at roughly $42,000 a year. Nobody applied.

Mich. spends millions on contractor [AP]

The Doomsayers at Deloitte Have Come Up With a Crisis Management App

By crisis, we don’t mean 70 hour work-weeks and diversity training in the face of that A1 in your office who likes to wear short skirts and low-cut tops just to mess with you.

In the event of a catastrophic emergency like an earthquake, it’s good to know where your co-workers are if you’ve got to evacuate the building. Deloitte Australia has addressed the issue of safety and keeping tabs on the worker bees with Bamboo™, a Business Continuity Management (BCM) smart phone application (so far released for BlackBerry and iPhone only).

How does it work?


The BlackBerry application uses the device’s unique PIN (anyone addicted to BBM knows what that is) as well as voice, SMS and email to keep the team in communication in the event of an emergency. Emergency plans are readily available with Bamboo, eliminating the need to lug along a huge contingency binder stuffed with exit plans and instructions in a crisis situation.

Bamboo automatically logs all usage on each handset and when there is network access, sends these logs to the Bamboo server. The Bamboo Administrator is able to view all logs, from all users to understand its usage, retrace all steps taken and tailor training based on this usage. This data is also valuable in post-incident reviews and audits.

Don’t try to find it in the app store, Bamboo is an enterprise application and as such is deployed by the Company through enterprise application deployment, supported by the local Deloitte office.

Follow Deloitte’s Australian BCM team at @DeloitteBCM and stay tuned, they assure us they’re working to get the kids in America hooked up with their own BCM team.

Check it out in action below:

Deloitte Resigns as China MediaExpress Auditor; CFO Quits

In the wake of Roddy Boyd’s epic post from March 11th, China MediaExpress announced some bad news today – Deloitte resigned as their auditor effective Friday and as a result the company’s CFO, Jacky Lam, quit yesterday:

China’s largest television advertising operator on inter-city and airport express buses, today announced that the Company’s registered independent accounting firm, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (“DTT”) has formally resigned its engagement by the Company as of March 11, 2011. Following the receipt of the DTT resignation letter, on March 13, 2011, the Company received notice of the resignation of Jacky Lam from his position as Chief Financial Officer and director of the Company, effective immediately. As a result, CME will delay its fourth quarter earnings release and will not file its Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2010 by March 16, 2011, its original due date.

As you might have already guessed, Deloitte got spooked after all the fraud talk and they also came to the conclusion that management couldn’t be trusted (even if he did say great things about them):

The DTT resignation letter stated that DTT was no longer able to rely on the representations of management, and recommended that certain issues encountered during the audit be addressed by an independent investigation. DTT’s letter also stated that these issues may have adverse implications for the prior periods’ financial reports and that, in their view, further investigatory procedures would be required to determine whether the prior periods’ financial reports are reliable. Upon receipt of the formal DTT resignation letter, the Company requested the suspension of trading in the Company’s common stock on the NASDAQ Global Market to permit full disclosure of DTT’s resignation to be disseminated to the public.

So the company now needs a new auditor and a new CFO. Of course you’ll have to work around forensic accountants and a bunch of lawyers that will be helping the company through this little hiccough but otherwise, this should be a snap.

Earlier:
Apparently ‘The Purpose of Auditors Is Completely, Entirely, and Wholly’ to Look for Fraud and ‘Deloitte is the best. Period. End of Statement.’

Apparently ‘The Purpose of Auditors Is Completely, Entirely, and Wholly’ to Look for Fraud and ‘Deloitte is the best. Period. End of Statement.’

Remember China MediaExpress? That’s the company whose CEO – Zheng Cheng – responded to the accusations of fraud by evoking ‘reputable and well-known’ Deloitte to get the haters off their back. Even though the company is still taking heat, Mr Cheng will be happy to know that he’s got someone in his corner: Glen Bradford, CEO of ARM Holdings LLC, a Hedge Fund Advisory Company. The thing is, Mr Bradford seems a little confused about what an auditor’s purpose is (for fun, I added some emphasis):

I have received tons of messages that can be summarized by the belief that auditors do not look for fraud and that all they do is make sure things line up in the reports. I can say that this is not true simply by being practical. If we didn’t have auditors to verify the claims that companies make, then companies could claim whatever they want to. The purpose of auditors is completely, entirely, and wholly to look for indications of fraudulant activity — and to do their best to remove all possible doubt that the company is misrepresenting itself on its financial statements.

You can make of that what you will but then Glen continues:

Then, if things are OK, they sign off on them. Some auditors are better than others. Deloitte is the best. Period. End of Statement.

Well then! I’m sure Deloitte appreciates the ringing endorsement regardless if it comes from someone who is under the impression that “The purpose of auditors is completely, entirely, and wholly to look for indications of fraudulant activity.” At the very least, this is debatable point, so if you have a difference of opinion with anything above, feel free to share below.

China MediaExpress Holdings: All Eyes on Deloitte [Seeking Alpha]

Just So You’re Aware: A New Species of Frog Has Been Named After Deloitte

This announcement is a week old but it’s GC worthy so if you feel compelled to mention the timing of our post, don’t. Supposedly, this chap to the right is Nectophrynoides deloittei and was discovered in the Rubeho Forest in Tanzania in 2005. The African Rainforest Conservancy (“ARC”) slapped the name on him for Deloitte’s contributions to the nonprofit’s environmental efforts in the Rubeho region.


From Deloitte’s consistently awful website:

A new species of frog has been named after Deloitte, in recognition of the firm’s work in helping to preserve the Rubeho Forest in Tanzania, an ecologically distinct part of the country known as the ‘Galapagos of Africa’. Nectophrynoides deloittei was discovered in the Rubeho Forest in 2005 was named by the African Rainforest Conservancy (ARC), an agency set up to conserve and restore Africa’s rainforests.

Just such an occasion might cause someone to tweet something but there hasn’t been a peep out of Quigs. Probably plugging the book.

Former Deloitte Partner Jeff Farber Lands Deputy CFO Gig at AIG

Not only is Mr Farber a Deloitte audit alum, he also had stints as the controller at Bear Stearns and CFO at Gamco Investors. Today came the announcement that he is still winning, now as the new sidekick to David Herzog.

In this new position, Mr. Farber will provide global leadership and coordination for AIG’s Controllership and Accounting Policy functions, as well as the AIG Global Tax Department. He reports to David L. Herzog, AIG Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

It’s worth noting that as the a leader and coordinator for global tax department, Farber alone will encompass more oversight than all of Weatherford International.

ANYWAY, back to the boilerplate:

“Jeff Farber is well prepared to help take these key AIG finance functions to an even higher level,” said Mr. Herzog. “Over the past several years the finance team has worked diligently through an extraordinarily complex restructuring, and this new role provides Jeff with an opportunity to lead a great team and work closely with the finance transformation team as we roll out our new financial platform.”

Sounds like a hoot. Best of luck to Mr Farber.

Low Voter (aka Partner) Turnout Expected for Deloitte Leadership Election

Last week we shared the Deloitte U.S. Leadership candidates with you but at the time we hadn’t confirmed that the thumbsup/thumbsdown had begun. This week, a source confirmed for us that voting had, in fact, started last week but no one should get too anxious about hearing the results:

The vote continues at least until the Firm achieves a 50% voting rate from all the partners. This is typically a struggle, and many voice messages and e-mails are sent rounding up at least the 50%. This is part of the problem (and a bit pathetic). Nobody believes their voices are heard, so they don’t care to vote. Or, if they vote NO, they fear retribution.


As we reported in January, the retribution of a “No” vote is something that many young partners may fear and you can presuppose that many veteran partners who are a little preoccupied with a little something called “busy season clients” aren’t exactly concerned with casting a vote in an election that is all but decided already. All this adds up to a pretty sad voter turnout, sayeth our source:

Ok – so then, among that paltry 50% voting rate, there needs to be a 2/3 approval for each candidate in order for them to win election. So – if you do the math…we have about 2800 partners. Only 1400 need to vote for a quorum, and only about 940 need to approve each candidate for them to get into office. So perhaps only about 33% of the partners end up approving of the people that run the firm.

Unfortunately – nobody focuses upon this fact. Unbelievable. And now we have a non-CPA being put up for the Chairman’s spot of an accounting firm. It’s insanity, really.

Oh, right; the non-CPA chairman controversy. For those of you that are unfamiliar, Punit Renjen is the CEO of Deloitte Consulting. Mr Renjen has been on the job for just over a year and by all accounts has done an acceptable job and it doesn’t surprise us that he’s up for this position. The fact that he, in all likelihood, will become the next chairman of a Big 4 firm, bothers a lot of CPAs. Despite the bellyaching of those on the audit/tax side of the house, what’s not up for debate is that Deloitte Consulting is the second largest practice, according to the this year’s revenue data. But what’s even more important, consulting is the fastest growing segment, with double digit growth in FY 2010. So if Mr Renjen’s ascension to the chairman position bothers some in a CPA puritanical sense, we can appreciate that. But from a numbers standpoint, it’s probably overdue and is definitely not surprising.

How Would You Vote on the Deloitte Leadership Candidates?

Last month, we shared with you the concerns of a Deloitte partner who has a lot of issues with the processes around electing the firm’s leadership. As the partner explained it to us, “The elected individuals are the Chairman, the CEO, and a CEO ‘Alternate.’ The CEO ‘Alternate’ is there in the event that the CEO elect is also elected as the Global CEO (which will typically happen).”

Recently, we were able to confirm the candidates and thought we’d share them with all of you since some of you might not be aware of who they are:


Punit Renjen, for Chairman of Deloitte LLP (Current CEO of Deloitte Consulting)

Barry Salzberg, for CEO of Deloitte LLP (Current CEO of Deloitte LLP)

Joe Echeverria, for CEO Alternate (Current Managing Partner of U.S. Operations)

What’s not immediately known is when Deloitte partners will be voting “Yes or No” on these candidates. One of our sources speculated that the vote could be as early this week.

In our previous post, we learned that the partners vote up or down on these candidates as a group as the partner in our last post explained “The partners get to vote ‘YES or NO’ on the ‘slate’ of candidates that is advanced.” Since we know a lot of you out there in Internetland are Deloitte employees but not partners, we thought we’d get your perspective on this slate of candidates and whether you would give them a “Yes” or “No.” And since the comments box allows for further explanation, feel free to elaborate on your vote. We know of one person who will be voting no.

A message left with Deloitte spokesperson Jonathan Gandal was not immediately returned.

Earlier:
Deloitte Partner Encourages Brethren to Take Back Their Firm

China MediaExpress CEO Responds to Fraud Allegations by Falling Back on ‘Reputable and Well-Known Auditors’

For anyone out there concerned about Chinese companies who have less-than solid accounting practices, you can rest easy, as Gary Weiss reported in his TheStreet.com column yesterday:

All you have to do is believe in the infallibility of Big Four auditors!


Case in point, China MediaExpress Holdings is the latest company who hasn’t convinced everyone that their numbers are kosher, so their CEO, Zheng Cheng, went on the offensive:

Responding to allegations that the company is a “fraud and reported revenue is exaggerated by tens of millions of dollars,” China Media’s CEO Zheng Cheng said in a letter to shareholders: “The company is strong and doing well. Its revenues and cash position have been audited by reputable and well-known auditors who have confirmed both.” [Emphasis is GW’s.]

Those ‘reputable and well-known auditors’ just happen to be Deloitte, thankyouverymuch. Don’t think for a minute that we were dealing with Frazer Frost or some other firm that has had problems.

With China Small-Caps, It’s Shorts vs. Auditors [The Street]

Deloitte: Thanks to the Internet, Americans Are More or Less Obsessed with TV All the Time

One big concern: once Charlie Sheen continues his epic run (does anyone believe that rehab is going to take?) will the masses be able to survive without Two and a Half Men? Personally, I’ll manage but what about all those American Families that depend on this show to complete that void in their lives every week?

In a media environment saturated with new and evolving online entertainment platforms, TV continues to be king. Released today, Deloitte’s fifth edition “State of the Media Democracy” survey reveals that 71 percent of Americans still rate watching TV on any device among their favorite media activities.

The survey results indicate that live viewing on a home TV system continues to be the most common method among individuals for watching their favorite programming, and supporting the notion that traditional television advertising continues to be a viable model. In addition, 86 percent of Americans stated that TV advertising still has the most impact on their buying decisions.

Deloitte’s State of the Media Democracy survey assesses media consumption preferences of nearly 2,000 consumers, ages 14 to 75 years old in the United States, revealing significant trends including the power of TV when supplemented by the Internet, a dramatic rise in smartphone adoption, the steady popularity of print magazines, and the emergence of cloud computing as a potential consumer entertainment storage and access solution.

And guess what? Not only are people watching more TV, they’re talking about it more. But not face-to-face: Americans can’t be bothered with leaving the confines of their homes or take their eyes off their computers long enough to manage human interaction and thanks to social media, they don’t have to!

Deloitte’s survey indicates that the Internet, mobile and social media channels are enhancing the overall television viewer experience, driving people to watch first-run programs and live events during their initial broadcast. The survey also reveals that nearly three-quarters of American consumers are multitasking while watching TV. According to the research, 42 percent are online, 29 percent are talking on cellphones or mobile devices, and 26 percent are sending instant messages or text messages.

Perhaps even more importantly, 61 percent of U.S. consumers now maintain a social networking site, where constant streams of updates and discussion forums have made delaying awareness of live TV outcomes a near impossibility.

“Consumers are not only watching television, they are talking about it, and those conversations are frequently taking place in real-time online and via IM/texting,” said Phil Asmundson, vice chairman and technology, media and telecommunications industry leader, Deloitte LLP. “By embracing the Internet as a platform that encourages audiences to participate in discussions about their favorite programs, television is maintaining its hold on the American public. People want to be part of the real-time conversation and they are embracing both platforms in a complementary fashion.

Because discussing the train wreck that is Sammi and Ronnie in real time is crucial to the human experience. Carry on.

Against a Picturesque Backdrop, Jim Quigley Talks Deloitte’s Hiring Spree, Obama’s Tone and Igniting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Quigs sat down with Fox Business’s Liz Claman and hasn’t even tweeted about it!?!? Whoever his ghost tweeter is, they need to be replaced immediately.

Sidebar: has anyone noticed JQ’s new spectacles? Thoughts on the visible breath, scarf choice and Liz Claman’s interviewing technique are encouraged.