December 12, 2018

Big 4

EY Remains the Most Audit-y of the Public Company Auditors

Congrats to EY for once again having more public company audit clients than any other Big 4 firm. Of the 6,167 public registrants in the United States, EY audits 921 of them, or 14.9%, according to Audit Analytics’ Who Audits Public Companies – 2018 Edition. PwC is next with 658 public company audits, or 10.7%; […]

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Recently Axed KPMG South Africa Employee Slams Firm for Mismanagement, Lying

You may have seen earlier this week that KPMG South Africa is planning to lay off 400 workers and close some regional offices, as the embattled firm tries to save face following the Gupta and VBS Mutual Bank scandals. If you haven’t been paying attention, here’s a nice synopsis of what’s going on, via Reuters: […]

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PwC Admits 233 New Partners and Principals in the U.S.

A tipster (Caleb) let me know that PwC released its list of new 2018 partners and principals across the United States and Mexico on June 1. This year’s crop totals 233, which surpasses the 212 who joined the ranks of partner or principal in 2017. In comparison, there were 226 in the 2016 class, 201 […]

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Clearly Not Everyone at KPMG Got the Memo About the ‘Raise-Your-Hand Culture’ at the Firm

Photo: A higher proportion of hand raising than at KPMG.

The Big 4 Loves the SCOTUS Decision on Arbitration

Hope you like those mandatory arbitration clauses in your employment contracts: The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a blow to the rights of workers on Monday by allowing companies to require them to sign away their ability to bring class-action claims against management, agreements already in place for about 25 million employees. The justices, in a […]

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If EY Treats a Partner Who Reports Sexual Misconduct Like This, What Hope Do Other Employees Have?

Update in the 18th paragraph includes an additional statement from Ernst & Young. One of the more shocking details from the sexual harassment complaint against Ernst & Young is that even though the victim, Jessica Casucci, was a partner, other partners and senior officials in the firm either did nothing or took action to protect […]

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Judge Tosses Accountant’s Suit Claiming Bar Discriminated Against Him for Wearing MAGA Hat

Not a miter. Not even close. Last year we shared the story of Greg Piatek, a Deloitte senior manager who sued The Happiest Hour, a bar in New York’s West Village that he claims kicked him out over his “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” hat. On Wednesday, a judge threw out Piatek’s lawsuit, but not before […]

Lynne Doughtie KPMG

A Massive Scandal, the Likes of Which the Accounting Profession Had Never Seen, Got KPMG to Consider Outside Directors

In an effusive, buzzy word salad published in Accounting Today, KPMG Chairman and CEO Lynne Doughtie announced that the firm would be adding independent directors to its board. Why, might you ask? I’ll let Lynne tell you unabated: In today’s complex and fast-moving global business environment, successful organizations regularly reassess their mission and responsibilities to […]

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KPMG South Africa Calls in Reinforcements, Is Dumpster Fire

Uh oh: KPMG LLP’s South African unit is flying in trouble shooters from around the globe and hurriedly meeting clients to stem any further loss of business after becoming embroiled in three evolving scandals. Let me jump in here to say that I think I’d make a fine accounting firm troubleshooter. A Big 4 Mr. […]

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KPMG Master’s Degree Program Admits 135 into Indentured Service in 2018

As a Big 4 alumna, when I saw the KPMG master’s degree program, I immediately thought, “What’s the catch?” But before we get to the catch, let’s look at the program itself a little more. The KPMG Master’s Degree Program Per Accounting Today, the cohort of 135 program participants for the 2018-2019 start class will […]

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PwC Faces Damages That Range From ‘Bad’ to ‘Worse’ But Probably Far Short of ‘Catastrophic’ for Colonial Bank Failure

Francine McKenna reports on MarketWatch that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. stands to collect a pret-tay pret-tay pret-tay big chunk of change from PwC for the losses from the bankruptcy of Colonial Bank. The FDIC, acting as receiver for the failed Colonial Bank Group that collapsed in 2009, has asked Judge Barbara Rothstein to award […]

ernst & young report ashley madison

Rest Assured, Seekers of Illicit Love, Ernst & Young Has Your Back

Back in 2015, the popular adulterer website Ashley Madison made news when hackers leaked the personal details of its millions of users. At that time, one of the things we learned about the site was that, not only did the number of male users greatly outnumber the number of females, the females were bots or […]

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On Chivalry and Emotional Restraint in Public Accounting

When I started in public accounting we did a Skittle icebreaker on the first day in the office and each color had an associated question. My random Skittle question was, “If you could have any superpower, what would it be?” and I remember saying: “Nerves of Steel.” Most people thought it was a unique response. […]

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Exposure Drafts: The One Way Accounting Firms Are Succeeding at Diversity

Exposure Drafts appears every other Wednesday. Send your accounting cartoon ideas and diversity quotas to [email protected] You can follow Greg Kyte on Twitter.

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Thanks to Millennials, PwC Now Knows Their People Want Lives Outside of Work, Have the Feels

The history of PricewaterhouseCoopers goes back to 1849 when Samuel Lowell Price set up business in London. Shortly after that, in 1854, William Cooper started his firm, which would later become Cooper Brothers. It’s hard to know what either Price and Cooper were thinking about back then other than outrageous blacksmith prices and how to […]

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Beware of Public Accounting’s ‘Voluntold’ Assignments

Employment-at-will. It’s a lovely sentiment; if you don’t like it, quit. Easy. But, all jobs require you to do things that aren’t your cup of tea. Once you sign an offer letter at your accounting firm of choice, your schedule will be decided months in advance by the scheduling overlords (i.e., whichever unlucky partner or […]

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Foreign Affiliates of Big Audit Firms Screwed Up Some Stuff

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

Accounting News Roundup: Big 4 See, Big 4 Do; Tesla’s Top Accountant Leaves; Politics and Tax Breaks | 03.09.18

KPMG, PwC to include partners’ pay in gender gap calculations [FT] Following EY and Deloitte’s inclusion of partner pay, KPMG and PwC will play ball after “public pressure” in the U.K. Tesla’s top accountant and controller leaves [MW] Eric Branderiz is resigning for “personal reasons,” according to a securities filing. The company did not “specify […]

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KPMG Employees Seeking Help with Audit Software Might End Up With Phone Sex Instead

One of the best things about working at a Big 4 firm is that for virtually every problem you encounter, you can dial up an internal hotline and get some help. Computer acting up? There’s a hotline. Forget the basic accounting equation? There’s a hotline. Partners passing along illegal information about PCAOB inspection plans? Um, […]

quitting public accounting

A Field Guide to Quitting a Job in Public Accounting

That is the look of a man who no longer bears the yoke of a Big 4 job. Are you fantasizing about quitting your public accounting job? It’s finally March. Busy season will start to wind down soon and those miserable hours will begin to taper off. You may catch yourself daydreaming about finding another […]

#Envelopegate Redux: PwC Failed to Predict the Worst-Case Scenario

Last month we noted that PwC had gone far out of its way to not talk about its role at the Academy Awards after last year’s colossal screw-up with the Best Picture envelope. That doesn’t prevent the rest of the entertainment and accounting media (well, maybe just us) from talking about it, however. You can […]

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Deloitte Agrees to Fork Over $149.5 Million for Its Crappy Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Audits

The Justice Department announced that Deloitte would pay a $149.5 million fine to put “potential False Claims Act liability” to bed for its role as the auditor of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp., the failed mortgage originator. Justice alleged that “Deloitte’s audits knowingly deviated from applicable auditing standards and therefore failed to detect TBW’s […]

Former PwC Partner Suing Firm After Getting Fired for Groping a Co-worker Who He Can’t Remember Groping But Knows He Didn’t Grope

Let’s say you’re a professional businessperson and you’re at a work event. Let’s also say that you and your colleagues are wearing costumes. And let’s also say that there’s plenty of alcohol and some people are overserved and you are one of these overserved persons. At some point in this scenario, while you’re deep in your […]

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What to Do if You Find Yourself Reverse Mentoring a Public Accounting Partner

It’s no secret that public accounting churns and burns its employees. Burnout is a cost of doing business. The result is fewer people embark on the partner track and those who become partners plan on staying put. I’d say most of those partners are crossing their fingers that the gravy train keeps chugging along from […]

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Veritas Capital Sets PwC Free From Its U.S. Public Sector Business

It’s not every day that a Big 4 firm sells a piece of it lucrative consulting business, so, hey, look: Veritas Capital is buying PwC’s Public Sector Business. It’s a relatively small part of the firm; only 1,500 partners and staff make up the group, one that Tim Ryan called “a tremendous business” in an […]

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Insecure Overachievers Will Always Have a Place in Public Accounting

Does the endless stream of work make you want to cry sometimes? I know it is enough to make even diehard auditors buckle and break. Overwork is a hallmark of the accounting profession, and we all know it. But why? Surely if you factor in all of the international teams, we have plenty of people […]

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To Partner or Not to Partner: That Is the Senior Manager’s Question

A while back, a Big 4 senior manager reached out to share his plight. In short, this person told us making partner in a big firm is nothing but a game; tn this person’s words, “[There’s a] Game of Thrones-esque BS that goes on in the firm as people try to jockey to be promoted […]

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The Defense Logistics Agency Be Like, “Accounting? What’s Accounting?”

Occasionally I will see something charged on my credit card that I don’t remember. I rack my brain. Sometimes I start to think maybe someone’s stolen my card number. But, more often than not is a charge from an obscure parking meter or something similarly mysterious that I didn’t commit to memory. The credit card […]

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PwC Not Talking Up Its Role in the Academy Awards This Year, Obviously

The Golden Globes were a few weeks back, and it caused me to reflect on how an awards show should go for the accounting firm that tabulates the ballots: Congrats to Ernst & Young for not being in the news this morning. #goldenglobes — Caleb Newquist (@cnewquist) January 8, 2018 Last week, the Academy of […]

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Auditors and Fraud: Where Does Responsibility Lie in the Wake of the FDIC’s Win Against PwC?

In the waning days of 2017, a judge in Alabama found PwC was negligent in its audit of Colonial Bank. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation had sued the firm for failing to detect the fraud at the root of Colonial’s 2009 failure. Although Judge Barbara Jacobs Rothstein denied other claims brought by FDIC and the […]

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Report: Ambac Was One of the KPMG Clients That Got a Second Peek Thanks to Stolen PCAOB Info

Francine McKenna did some expert sleuthing and reports at MarketWatch that Ambac Financial Group was one of the unnamed issuers in the indictment of former KPMG employees and one former PCAOB inspector. There were enough clues to piece together that “Issuer-2” was Ambac, one of the companies that were allegedly subject to a re-review by […]

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Accounting News Roundup: PwC Appeals India Ban; Blockchain Names; Flying Cars and Sales Tax | 01.26.18

PwC appeals two-year ban on audits in India [AT] The Securities Exchange Board of India banned PwC from auditing public companies earlier this month over the firm’s failure to detect the fraud at Satyam Computer Services. The appeal is expected to be heard by the end of February. PCAOB Board Statement on Passing of Former […]

Lynne Doughtie KPMG

What Do We Think Is Going Through KPMG CEO Lynne Doughtie’s Mind During This Interview?

If you’re a Big 4 CEO, part of your job includes bopping around lavish business events like the World Economic Forum. KPMG U.S. CEO Lynne Doughtie is no exception, but given this week’s events, you can’t help but wonder if she’s doing so with a raging fire atop her head. Not that you would know […]

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A Running List of Unanswered Questions About the KPMG Audit Inspection Conspiracy

Updates appear below If we learned anything from yesterday’s indictment of six accountants — five of whom were employed by KPMG — it’s that there are even more questions that remain unanswered. Some of these questions are simple and some of them are complicated, but it seems worth the time to list them here. Is […]

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All the Gory Details From the Indictment of Former KPMG Partners

If you’re not one of the six accountants who was criminally or civilly charged today, then you’re having a good Monday. And if you’re still not convinced, let’s peruse the details from the criminal indictment so you can feel better about yourself. The allegations paint a pretty sad picture of some prominent audit professionals at […]

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Former KPMG Employees Learn That Using Confidential PCAOB Inspection Info Has Its Drawbacks

Six former employees of KPMG have been arrested and charged “with conspiring to defraud securities regulators and misuse of confidential auditing information.” These charges stem from the leak of confidential PCAOB inspection information that we learned about last year. The Securities and Exchange Commission also filed civil charges in a parallel action. The 54-page indictment lists […]

deloitte cyberattack

This New Deloitte Anthem Is Sweeping the Globe

Over the years, Big 4 employees have tried (and mostly failed) to compose anthems, jingles, raps, and other musical variations to express their feelings about their firm. They come from all over the world and range in quality from god-awful to audibly tolerable. A couple years back, erstwhile GC Australian correspondent Chris Hooper compiled the […]

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PCAOB Inspection Reports Are Practically Beach Reads Now

Over the years, people have complained — myself included — that PCAOB inspection reports were not exactly useful documents. Sixty-odd pages of audit and legalese don’t exactly make for riveting content. However! In the new EY and PwC inspection reports that were released today, you’ll note executive summaries that list tables for the “Effects of […]

pwc colonial award

Accounting News Roundup: India Bans PwC for Two Years Over Satyam Fraud | 01.11.18

India Bans PricewaterhouseCoopers From Auditing Listed Firms for Two Years [WSJ] The Securities and Exchange Board of India banned PwC affiliates from auditing listed companies for two years over the $1 billion Satyam fraud (India’s Enron, if you prefer). As you may recall, PwC partners were sentenced to jail for this debacle, but the firm […]

Deloitte Legal UK

Accounting News Roundup: Deloitte Legal, EY Boomerangs and Praying for the Pass-Through Deduction | 01.10.18

Deloitte muscles in on legal services in UK [FT] Oh, looky what we have here, another Big 4 firm splashing its way into some press about legal services. Deloitte is “applying for an alternative business structure licence” which allows non-law firms in the U.K. to offer legal services. And wouldn’t you know it, Matt Ellis, […]

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Reminder: KPMG Fired a Bunch of People for Mishandling PCAOB Inspections Details They Weren’t Supposed to Have

KPMG released its global revenue results today and its the standard self-congratulatory Big 4 flimflam that we love to hate around here. The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times both covered the results in earnest; the Journal noted that KPMG’s growth lagged its BIG peers, while the FT mentioned a couple of the firm’s “huge […]

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EY Employee Shot in Las Vegas Is Home for the Holidays

EY employee Tina Frost, one of the victims of the horrific Las Vegas mass shooting in October, has continued a miraculous recovery. An update on her GoFundMe page reports that she walked out of her rehabilitation hospital late last week: 12/10/17 – Hi everyone, well another HUGE milestone for our Tina. She walked out of […]

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Ready or Not: Auditors Descend on Department of Defense

It’s not as cool as a multi-ship C-17 formation dropping paratroopers as a part of a training exercise (like the one that everyone thought was a UFO on Saturday night). But, our profession’s only semi-equivalent — 2,400 red-pen wielding auditors — will infiltrate the Department of Defense (DoD) this month to kick butt and take […]

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Let’s Wildly Speculate About Why PwC Is Shopping Its Government Services Practice

This Reuters story reports that PwC is looking to sell its government services, perhaps “to pursue the growing business of auditing government agencies.” The story says that Morgan Stanley is running the sale and private equity firms Veritas and Madison Dearborn Partners are two potential buyers. None of the firms mentioned commented for the Reuters […]

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We Might Have New PCAOB Member Nominees Soon, Someday, Maybe

Just keeping it warm. Dave Michaels reports at The Wall Street Journal that SEC Chairman Jay Clayton’s preferred choice to lead the PCAOB is rumored to be the same person everyone thought it would be: SEC Chairman Jay Clayton wants William Duhnke to become the PCAOB’s next chairman, according to one of the people familiar […]

pcaob inspection reports

PCAOB Inspection Reports Have Been MIA Lately

Here’s something odd that was brought to our attention: @going_concern @PCAOB Why has the PCAOB not posted an inspection report on their website since July? pic.twitter.com/nMZzKFEB0q — Know Your Audience (@csilvey) December 1, 2017 Sure enough, if you cruise the PCAOB’s Firm Inspection Reports page, you’ll find that the last report was for Crowe Horwath’s […]

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Accounting News Roundup: Senate Debates Tax Cuts and PwC Takes Some Bitcoin | 11.30.17

Corporate Tax Rate in Flux as Senate Votes to Open Debate [WSJ] As the Senate bumrushes towards a vote on its bill, a lot of things remain up in the air, including the corporate tax rate which some now want to be set at above 20%. Also, “As of Wednesday evening, they didn’t yet have […]

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Accounting News Roundup: Anti-Excel CFOs and Deloitte Digital Gets Bigger | 11.27.17

It’s Cyber Monday, so in between your holiday consuming sessions, try to catch up on some reading. Stop Using Excel, Finance Chiefs Tell Staffs [CFOJ] The battles lines are fierce in a debate straight out of a Ben Wyatt Parks & Rec storyline. Consequences of Proposed Changes to the Net Operating Loss Rules [BNA] Under […]

big-4-punishment

U.K. Audit Regulator Encouraged to Slap Big 4 Wrists Slightly Harder

Despite what you might hear, Big 4 audit firms have it pretty easy when it comes to compliance. Yes, there a ton of rules to follow, but in the event that a firm, one (or several) of its partners and employees run afoul of those rules, the consequences range from a mild rebuke to a […]

Exposure Drafts: The Billable Hour Has Some Kinks

Exposure Drafts appears every other Wednesday. Send your accounting cartoon suggestions to [email protected] and follow Greg Kyte on Twitter.

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Accounting News Roundup: KPMG South Africa, Intuit Loans, Paid-to-Click Scams | 11.08.17

KPMG South Africa I linked to this yesterday, but it’s worth discussing this Financial Times article that notes an important development in KPMG’s South Africa snafu: Barclays Africa has […] put KPMG’s role as its auditor under review in response to the Gupta controversy, pending the outcome of a regulatory investigation. However, one person briefed […]

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PCAOB Giving Big 4’s Legal Services the Stinkeye

PwC announced last month that it was launching a law firm in the U.S. because, honestly, who’s going to stop them? Plus, Deloitte wasn’t going to do it, so someone was bound to snatch up the opportunity. PwC’s U.K. affiliate even put out a report recently that found “law firms are not keeping pace with […]

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EY Employee Shot in Las Vegas Out of Coma

Tina Frost, the EY employee who was shot in Las Vegas at the Route 91 Festival, has awoken from her coma and is showing improvement, according to an update on the GoFundMe page written by her family’s spokesperson: Today has also been a big day for our TT – she is now waking up! She […]

New York Attorney General Wants to Know What’s What Re: Deloitte Hack

The Wall Street Journal‘s Michael Rapoport reported this morning that New York Attorney General’s office is investigating the data breach at Deloitte “and its circumstances.” Deloitte put it in slightly different terms: In a statement about the New York A.G.’s involvement, Deloitte said Mr. Schneiderman’s office has “reached out” to it about the breach “with […]

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South African Central Banker Not Hitting the Panic Button Re: KPMG

Despite the firm losing clients left and right up to and including today, one guy remains chill: Addressing a monetary policy forum public meeting in Cape Town, deputy governor Kuben Naidoo said the troubles at KPMG, which audits several South African banks and lost a number of local clients recently, will not pose a financial […]

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Data Breach at Deloitte Hitting Too Close to Home for Accountants

My, my. So many data breaches to talk about, it’s hard to know where to start. Caleb has already been keeping you up to date with the latest on some of the recent hacks but let’s dig in a little more about one breach in particular. Uh oh, Deloitte We learn time, and time again, […]

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EY Employee Shot in Las Vegas Remains in Coma After Surgery

Tina Frost, an EY employee, was one of the more than 500 people wounded at Sunday’s horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas. The details of her story are terrifying: Frost, a 27-year-old Anne Arundel County-native, was attending the ‘Route 91 Harvest Festival’ with her co-workers and longtime boyfriend, Austin Hughes, when the barrage of gunfire […]

Exposure Drafts: Being #AuditorProud Means Not Having to Say, “I’ll be home for dinner.”

Exposure Drafts appears every other Wednesday. Send your accounting cartoon suggestions to [email protected]

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

KPMG celebrated its new year on Sunday, which means compensation discussions are starting. We’ve received several tips in recent days, and a couple of them not expecting much: Firm is pushing out information that results have been disappointing, overall seeing raises and [variable comp] substantially lower than in prior years. And: I was already told […]

#auditorproud

#AuditorProud Day Hits the Trifecta

Has it been a year already? The third annual #AuditorProud Day is upon us and it’s building momentum. Last year, 115 countries participated posting over 14,000 tweets and 4,000 Instagram photos. Kiwis got into the act early: Happy #AuditorProud Day! Auditors instil trust and confidence & have indispensable role in capital market system #CAANZ @chartered_accts […]

auditorproud poem

A Poem for #AuditorProud Day

I am an auditor. I am proud. Say it with me nice and loud. I am an auditor. I am proud. I’m a proud auditor, no exceptions allowed. I audit all day, I audit all night. I am proud to audit with all my might. Sure we screw up now and then: Enron, WordCom, the […]

Lynne Doughtie KPMG

KPMG CEO Lynne Doughtie Knows Your Golf Game Sucks

Here’s another insufferable profile of a Big 4 executive that we dutifully read on your behalf. This one features KPMG CEO Lynne Doughtie and, sure, go ahead and read it if you have nothing better to do. She has a nice story; believe it or not, she “loved being an auditor”; she wanted to become […]

deloitte cyberattack

Deloitte Tries To Play It Cool After Cyberattack

Deloitte, the biggiest of the Big 4, has joined the ranks of the hacked. This morning, The Guardian reported that the firm was the latest massive organization to have suffered a cyberattack, and that confidential client information was the target. To make matters worse, Deloitte failed to notice the breach for months. And to add […]

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Accounting News Roundup: Big 4 vs. Big Law; SEC Hack; EY Hiring in Orlando | 09.22.17

Big 4 vs. Big Law Yesterday we learned that PwC would be launching a law firm in the U.S., but that might just the beginning. A recent report from ALM Intelligence states that “Within 10 years, the Big Four could easily become the largest players in the legal industry.” That same report found that nearly […]

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Accounting News Roundup: PwC Launching a Law Firm in U.S. | 09.21.17

PwC Law Over the past few years, we’ve discussed the Big 4 stomping around Big Law‘s turf. It’s mostly been happening abroad, but last year, I thought out loud that it would only be a matter of time before the Big 4 firms were offering legal services in the U.S. And now, oh, hey look, […]

pwc culture

Former PwC Employee Latest Star of “Auditor Mishandles Sensitive Client Information”

I haven’t been a Big 4 auditor in quite some time, which means I haven’t taken any training on handling sensitive client information in quite some time. However, my keen sense of self-preservation tells me that if I were in possession of sensitive client information, the kind of information about, say, an upcoming acquisition, I […]

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Should You Make the Switch to Transaction Services?

I’m not too far removed from Big 4 Audit. I remember what it was like. There were some aspects of it that were appealing: I enjoyed having a mix of projects and clients. I worked with a lot of great people. But the thing is, I knew about three months into my audit career that […]

deloitte cyber attack

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

Apologies to all the Deloitte compensation junkies out there experiencing withdrawal symptoms. We received this tip awhile back and, judging by the timing, many of you are anxious to yak about what’s going on: The national call was today and comp talks with partners won’t be happening until after 8/17. The raises take effect in […]

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KPMG Settles With SEC Over a Giant Failure of an Audit

KPMG has settled SEC charges for $6.2 million due to a shoddy audit of an oil and gas company. The partner in charge of the job, John Riordan, also settled to charges, agreeing to a $25,000 fine and a suspension to practice before the SEC. He can re-apply in two years. KPMG did not admit […]

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

Okay, okay. I’m sure some people inside the House of Black and Yellow need a break from writing thoughtful emails to Mark Weinberger. It seems that yakking about EY compensation is the perfect way to do that. The first requests came in yesterday and have been picking up steam today. A tip from yesterday notified […]

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Tell EY’s Mark Weinberger To Quit President Trump’s Business Advisory Council

I’m overstating the obvious here, but there’s something disturbing when the President of the United States can’t be bothered to unequivocally condemn white supremacists. The fact that I even have to write that sentence blows my mind. This morning, in response to President Trump’s remarks, Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier announced that he was resigning from […]

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PwC’s 2017 to Forget Tour Rolls On

PwC, the Big 4 accounting firm most likely to request a mulligan on 2017, has been censured and fined $1 million by the PCAOB for violations in its audit of Merrill Lynch. The PCAOB order follows a SEC action against Merrill from last year after the broker “held tens of billions of dollars” of customer […]

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Ukraine Yanks PwC’s Bank Audit License

From the Financial Times, the National Bank of Ukraine “announced it had pulled [PwC’s] domestic bank auditing rights for failing in prior audits to identify a $5.5bn balance-sheet hole at PrivatBank, the country’s largest lender.” Look for a press release stating that the annexation of Crimea was totally legal from the firm in the coming […]

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EY Promotes 669 New Partners Worldwide; Numbers Down for Second Year in a Row

Yeah, it’s the old logo, but I’m sure the firm prefers it to shirtless dudes. Sorry, it seems I’m a bit slow to the new EY partner news. Here’s Mark Weinberger on Sunday: We are committed to developing and strengthening our pipeline of diverse leadership. #BetterWorkingWorld pic.twitter.com/rwui5G0Nvc — Mark Weinberger (@Mark_Weinberger) July 10, 2017 There’s […]

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Talking About Race, Mega Lawsuits, That Oscars Screw-up and More: A Conversation With PwC’s Tim Ryan

Most people would look at the year PwC Chairman and Senior Partner Tim Ryan has had and think, “That’s rough.” After two killings of black men by police officers and the killing of 5 Dallas police officers last summer, Ryan told Fortune in February that he scrapped his plans and, “got the team together and […]

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Here’s Your Open Thread for PwC Compensation (2017)

You’ve got to hand it to PwC, they’ve really embraced announcing stuff on Twitter. I’m looking forward to the day when people starting tweet their PwC compensation details at @going_concern. Anyway, here’s a tweet from last Friday: It’s #PwCPromotionDay! Incredibly proud to be celebrating everyone who is marking a career milestone today! https://t.co/vJtwzFiqrh pic.twitter.com/Mu8kwbWooh — […]

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PwC Admits 212 New Partners and Principals in U.S.

I think this year’s new PwC partners should feel extra special on their day of recognition because it also happens to be National Doughnut Day. Even if you NEVER eat doughnuts, I think you can forgo discipline for the day the world learns that you’ve become a partner at PwC. This marks the second year […]

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Recruit Shuns KPMG for a Football Team, Surprising No One

Hell hath no fury like an accounting firm shunned, the old saying goes. Except that’s not an old saying, it’s something silly I just made up. Anyway, we stumbled across this article about a recently graduated Texas A&M football player, Connor McQueen, who is opting for a job on the team’s coaching staff rather than […]

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Would You Rather: Volunteer at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship or Work at KPMG?

At first glance, the headline may sound like a silly question but hear me out! Deadspin’s Samer Kalaf pointed out that volunteers for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship must pay $130 for the privilege for whatever it is volunteers at a major golf tournament do. Here are the details from the tournament website: If you […]

KPMG Breaks Ground on “Don’t Mishandle Leaked Info, Or Else” Training Center

I’m sure future visitors to KPMG’s now-under-construction training center will learn things aside from the fact that not turning over leaked PCAOB info in a timely manner is a bad career move, but it is an old lesson that recently became important again. Anyway, here’s your Twitter photo op: Breaking ground at KPMG’s #learning, development […]

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Accounting News Roundup: Complicated Simplification; McLaren Dumps KPMG for Deloitte | 05.15.17

Accounting is complicated Here’s a New York Times column by William Cohan on FASB’s Accounting Standards Update 2016-01, aka “Financial Instruments–Overall: Recognition and Measurement of Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities.” This rule, besides having an awful name, will change how fluctuations in equity investments valuations will be reported. My favorite sentence is this one: Like […]

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Accounting News Roundup: Former Deloitte Employee Sentenced for Attempted Murder | 05.11.17

Accountants behaving badly Here’s a crazy story about a former Deloitte employee, Alan Fowler, who was convicted of the attempted murder of his former boss, Kevin Lane, and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Deloitte fired Fowler in 2015 after discovering that he used his company credit card to “pay for family vacations and buy […]

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Big 4 Audit Quality Hiding in Plain Sight: Restatement Mentions in PCAOB Reports

For the last several years, one very interesting audit quality metric has not been widely reported in the media, and the largest audit firms barely mention it. It has been hiding in plain sight and could be a useful data point to audit committees or investors that are trying to understand the quality of audits. […]

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Let’s Revel in These Bitter 1-Star Reviews of Accounting Firms

I mentioned the Vault Accounting 50 yesterday, and even though we don’t pore over the listings like we used to, there’s still one part of them that we haven’t tired of yet: bitter 1-star reviews of accounting firms. So yes, I dug through the 1-star reviews of a few dozen accounting firms for an hour […]

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Accounting News Roundup: ‘Strikingly Young’ PwC and Filing Last Minute Tax Returns | 04.18.17

Strikingly young PwC Last year we mentioned a class action lawsuit against PwC that accused the firm of age discrimination for its entry-hires. There’s not much new that I can see in this Wall Street Journal article on the subject, other than the Supreme Court might decide to hear a similar case to provide some […]

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Accounting News Roundup: When Good KPMG Auditors Go Bad and Brazen Tax Scams | 04.17.17

It’s hard to watch when auditors make bad decisions. When good auditors go bad The Wall Street Journal published a profile of Scott Marcello over the weekend, the now former Vice Chair of Audit for KPMG who was fired for his role in a ring of employees who received a leak of confidential information from […]

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Accounting News Roundup: Bad Press for KPMG and Revolving Doors | 04.14.17

Bad press for KPMG Last month we noted how PwC had become the Big 4 firm of ridicule and abuse after a series of bad publicity. We all knew that one day another firm would take PwC’s place on the dunk tank and, yes, as you might’ve guessed, that firm is KPMG. And it was […]

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Accounting News Roundup: Fired KPMG Partners and Tax Return Selfies | 04.12.17

Fired KPMG partners By now you’ve probably heard that six KPMG employees, including the head of audit and 4 other partners, have been fired for receiving confidential information on the PCAOB’s plan for its inspection of the firm’s audits. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Scott Marcello, the firm’s Vice Chair of Audit, as […]

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Six KPMG Employees Fired After Leak of PCAOB Inspection Info

Updates to report that individuals were terminated appear throughout. Welp, this looks bad. The Wall Street Journal reports that six KPMG employees, including four partners and the firm’s head of audit, have been fired after a PCAOB employee leaked confidential inspection details to the firm. The departing KPMG employees include four partners and Scott Marcello, […]

Accounting News Roundup: Big Auditors, A Tax Situation and United | 04.11.17

Big auditors Accounting Today reports on the latest numbers out of Audit Analytics on public company auditors. And congrats to EY, the audit-yiest of the auditors: Big Four firm Ernst & Young maintains its top spot in the rankings of auditors of public companies, with over 250 public company clients more than its nearest rival, […]

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PwC Keeps The Oscars Gig

After dealing with weeks of embarrassment, brand damage, ridicule, repeated apologies, rejection and capitulation, PwC has finally caught a break. The Hollywood Reporter reports that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided to retain the firm to tabulate the ballots for the Oscars despite the colossal screw-up that happened with the Best […]

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We Finally Found a Service That a Big 4 Firm Won’t Provide

One thing we talk about around here from time to time is the fact that Big 4 firms want to be the proverbial Walmart of professional services. If you’re a business and you need a service, you can pick one firm and they’ll do pretty much anything and everything. If you’re an important enough client, […]

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Accounting News Roundup: PCAOB Transparency and a Deloitte Cafeteria Accepts Bitcoin | 03.22.17

PCAOB transparency One of the biggest gripes about the PCAOB is that their disciplinary proceedings are conducted in secret until the matter is finalized. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) have introduced bills in the past that would make these hearings public, but they went nowhere. They reintroduced the bill just last week […]

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Deloitte Employee Suing Bar for Kicking Him Out Over His Ugly Hat

Someone call the fashion police. If there’s one thing sober minded people can agree on, it’s that “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” hats are ugly. It’s a rope style cap that is solely fashionable at private golf clubs that only allow white, straight males as members. The hue of the classic MAGA cap is a hideous […]

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PCAOB Sanctions Former PwC Brazil Partner for Lousy Auditing

You may have noticed, maybe not, but PwC is in the midst of a bad publicity streak. Last month, one partner screwed up the hand-off of the Best Picture envelope at the Oscars while the other partner froze. A few days later, federal agents raided Caterpillar’s headquarters over its offshore tax practices that PwC helped […]

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How Should You Handle a Partner’s Facebook Friend Request?

Ding. It’s a friend request. You’re so popular. One problem. It’s from one of your engagement partners. Awkward. Now you have a dilemma. Are you obligated to say yes? Or, maybe, you let it sit in the unanswered request pile for eternity and pretend you never saw it. Weigh the options careful and may the […]

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Judge Didn’t Buy PwC’s Story, Rejects Call for Mistrial

Judge Victor Marrero rejected PwC’s argument that MF Global’s attorneys were presenting a new theory of causation in their case, dealing the firm a setback in the trial. PwC claimed that the plaintiffs were conducting a “trial by ambush.” From Reuters: PwC said the administrator has in three years of litigation blamed the bankruptcy on […]

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Man, This EY Auditor Made Some Bad Choices

Today in consequences of career limiting moves, a former EY auditor settled charges with the SEC that he traded on insider information about a merger of a client that he was staffed on. Now, I know you’re thinking, “Wow, that was dumb.” And yes, that was incredibly bad decision on the part of Nima Hedayati, […]

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MF Global Not Amused By PwC’s Threats for a Mistrial

Yesterday, PwC asked the judge in its court battle with MF Global to prohibit the use of a “new theory of causation” or to declare a mistrial. PwC filed the motion at midnight on Monday, so you can’t blame the plaintiffs if they felt caught off guard. Dan Fetterman, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs […]