January 21, 2019

PwC

(UPDATE) Layoff Watch ’10: Checking on PwC in Florida

~ Update includes clarification of the number of layoffs.

Remember those 500 layoffs that PwC announced in July? Jeff Harrington of the St. Petersburg Times reports, “According to a state-required layoff notice filed Friday, 280 jobs will be phased out by Dec. 31.”

According to the report, many layoffs occurred immediately:

PwC said another 150 positions have already been cut since July, with half of those displaced workers finding other jobs through PwC or a third-party vendor it is using, India-based Tata Consulting Services. The other half left voluntarily after finding other jobs outside the company.

That leaves 70 unaccounted for at this time and we’re trying to determine when these are happening. It’s our understanding that the 150 is a bit of squishy number so that may make up part of the difference but it remains a mystery (as Big 4 layoffs tend to be). SEE UPDATE BELOW.

As for the 200 positions tax and accounting that the firm said it is adding, the Times reports that they’ve added 30 positions so far since “last summer.”

If you’re in the know about the layoffs in Florida (or anywhere else for that matter) get in touch with us at [email protected] and we’ll keep you updated as we hear more.

About 280 PricewaterhouseCoopers workers in Tampa get pink slips [St. Petersburg Times]

UPDATE – October 19, 2010: A source at PwC has informed GC that the number of layoffs is actually 470, a figure that was determined a few months subsequent to the July announcement of 500 cuts. Employees that comprise 280 cuts mentioned in the Times article were notified by letter that their last day would be December 31st. The source confirmed that half of the 150 employees cited in the article did obtain internal jobs with the firm or Tata Consulting Services while the other half resigned or found positions outside the firm.

Our source said that the remaining 40 IT cuts are being made in offices around the country and that the employees were notified in July. The exact timing of these cuts was not immediately known. We’ll keep you updated.

Let’s Speculate About: The Oddly Similar Logos of PwC and The Gap

Last month we learned about PwC’s new look to welcome that portrayed beauty and majesty of autumn. That and it reminded us something that Harry Pitfall might encounter if aliens landed.

Anyway, people have their opinions on the new look and Bob Moritz is okay with that as long as it doesn’t concern the color or shape.

The latest twist in this seemingly unending logo-mama drama was brough to our attention by a reader who saw an eery resemblance between PwC pwc’s new look at the new look of recently rebranded and ridiculed retailer The Gap.

Caleb,

Does is strike you as odd that soon after PWC changes their logo the GAP changes theirs to a similar style? Although Deloitte is currently GAP Inc. auditors, the company may be opinion shopping. Changing the company logo to look like their would be auditors’ is a surefire way to get the desired opinion.

This may be a total coincidence. However should GAP grab headlines in the style of the Universal Travel Group and hop over to PWC, at least now you won’t be surprised.

Our reader brings up an excellent point. We admit that the new logos aren’t identical but there’s more than a slight chance that they are brothers from another mother. So what’s the deal here? Maybe it is a coinky-dink. But then again, you would think that the cheap denim, khakis and plain t’s business would be thriving in this economy. If our reader is to be believed, Gap may be trying to find an auditor that’s willing to look the other way on [ideas on financial reporting chicanery are welcome]. And it just so happens that a certain professional service provider has also been recently taken some heat for their rebranding.

The only thing we can be sure of is that if Ernst & Young is serious about their makeover, they should resist the temptation to stick with squares.

Like we said, the motives here are not obvious and it’s imperative that we get to the bottom of this mystery, so that involves getting your ideas. Nothing is too crazy.

PwC Partner Desperate for Courageous Pianist Has Prayers Answered

It was only yesterday that we learned about a PwC partner that was thrown a curve when their regular pianist up and cancelled for a Monday night fiesta. The partner, not wanting to disappoint/disgust his guests, challenged everyone he knew to find the stones to stand up and say, “Yes, I play piano and I am courageous and I will dazzle your guests and be ‘well fed’ in the process!”

Frankly, we had our doubts this would get pulled off. Fortunately for this partner and his guests, a small miracle occurred:

. . . and the answer is, we’re courageous and talented! I received quite a few offers from people willing to play or with ideas on friends or relatives who could possibly help us out. More importantly, we received a number of replies from people simply stating that they wish they could help out and that they wish they had maintained their piano studies. So, what should we make of this little episode in our lives here at PwC? First, it is a reminder that at PwC we act like family and help each other out.

Second, it is a reminder that we have many courageous people who are willing to step up to a challenge. In a later note, I will highlight some of the individuals who responded and volunteered. In today’s note, I simply want to highlight the contributions of Craig Wilderman, the individual chosen to play last night. Craig played beautifully despite the fact that he hasn’t been playing regularly in recent times. Craig displayed an ability to jump from music genre to music genre — he was actually quite impressive. Perhaps the final message I have for you today is that when you can steal a moment or two away, it is probably a good idea to rekindle old passions and hobbies. I believe that Craig found sharing his piano talent with us last night to be very personally rewarding as well.

First, how annoying would it be to read the emails from “people simply stating that they wish they could help out and that they wish they had maintained their piano studies.” Save it people. What you’re really saying is, “I can’t play a lick but I would if I could and I thought you should know that!” You’re wasting the man’s time. He needs talent, not your bullshit excuses about how you quit when you were a junior high.

But luckily there was a real hero in the mix. We did some snooping around and found a Craig Wilderman on LinkedIn who is in the vicinity but his keyboard talents are not anywhere on his profile. We felt confident that we had our man and we tried shooting him an email to get the scoop on 1) songs played – did he take requests? 2) the hottie situation 3) was he, in fact, “well fed” 4) what form the “external gratitude” has taken so far.

But the most important question for Craig is, is he considering leaving the confines of his cube to go on the road to provide his talents for other partners desperate for in-home talent at a modest charge? It sounds as though he could make a run at it but maybe he just needs some encouragement. We say, go for it Craig. We can’t bankroll you but are more than happy to provide moral support.

PwC Partner, Not Wanting to Disappoint Guests, Has Open Call for Courageous Pianist

When you become a partner at a Big 4 firm, there are many unexpected challenges that you will face. You may have a trusted senior manager quit in the middle of busy season. You may discover that someone who you thought was your best friend is actually primo inventory from the jerk store. And if you’re really unlucky, you may get bombed at a happy hour (allegedly!), then slug a couple people (allegedly!), kiss a couple more (allegedly!), not remember a thing, claim that you were roofied and have a stranger call you up out of the blue and ask you about it.

Anyway, we’ve been informed of another bitch of a situation that can arise when you become partner – when the entertainment for your little soiree cancels on you at the last minute:

From: [redacted]
To:
Cc: [redacted]
Date: 10/04/2010 01:24 PM
Subject: Are you courageous or just talented?

All —

I am having an event at my home tonight and my normal pianist has canceled on short notice. This is a test of the courage of you as a group of people.

I know someone is out there in our midst who in their spare time is a really good pianist. I would be eternally thankful if those of you to whom this note applies, would volunteer to help me out tonight. I know we hire people with many talents — the question is — do you have the courage to display them? The event is from 6:00 – 9:00 PM in McLean. You will be well fed. If you are interested, please contact [redacted]. Hopefully we’ll get more than one taker, and we will figure out who we should use.

The fact of the matter is, my event this evening will survive the lack of a pianist. What I am really trying to figure out is what we as a people at pwc [Ed. note: nice usage of the low caps!] are made of.

Thank you,

Jesus. Talk about a conundrum. And since Big 4 partners don’t pull down the kind of dough that could afford them a short-notice call to Elton, Harry Connick, Jr., or even a cheap Liberace impersonator, throwing a line out into the employee talent pool was the only option this partner had.

Unfortunately, since this opportunity was on such short notice, anyone with the necessary skills that is now just learning about it is SOL. With any luck however, you can volunteer your services as a solid pinch-hitter for future reference. God knows how that comes in handy.

Presumably you don’t have to be the next Mozart but if you can pull off some singalongs such as “Piano Man,” “Friends in Low Places,” and “Sweet Caroline” that will go a long way to nailing down that “eternal” gratitude (for a future event of course).

Official New PwC Logo Launch Day: What Are You Doing with Your Old Business Cards?

Just in case you forgot gang, today is the official launch date for PwC’s new brand and logo. Despite the fact that everyone knew about this weeks ago, early October seems like the perfect time to remind people of how lovely it is to play Pong amongst the fall foliage, .

The other significant event of this day also reminds us of trees but not in a good way. You’ll remember that Bob Moritz stated in his FAQ (that don’t address color or shapes) that today would mark the day that new stationary would be put into use. This means that metric asstons of old PwC stationary, business cards, pens, tchotchkes, undies and so forth would be rendered completely useless.


This is especially awkward since P. Dubs just got done slapping themselves on the back for getting greener faster than a Whole Foods employee at sustainable living festival.

It’s entirely possible that the firm has undertaken various ideas to stem the amount of waste such as:

1) Encouraging everyone to use letterhead en masse running up to the logo launch
2) Having yard sales at offices nationwide to cut losses
3) They’re talking to the Met about a major donation to a future “Historical Corporate Crap” exhibition.

OR maybe they’re just having a giant weenie roast followed by s’mores for dessert (which we admit, would be pretty fun). If you’re engaging in a ritual of some sort and feel compelled to document the event, do get it touch with us and enjoy your fresh business cards.

Earlier:
Just in Case You Didn’t Think the PwC Rebranding Was Actually Happening

Bob Moritz Is Happy To Address Your FAQs on PwC’s New Logo That Don’t Concern Colors or Shapes

Okay people. By now some of you might be sick of hearing about PwC’s new logo that incorporates the beauty of autumn and your first Atari (look it up, young people). However, based on what we’re seeing in the traffic patterns, many are not, so we’ll truck on with Extreme Makeover: PwC Edition.

As we mentioned earlier this week, at least one person felt compelled to share their feelings on the switcheroo with PwC’s U.S. Chairman Bob Moritz. Whether that particular employee got their questions/concerns addressed is currently unknown, however Bob did address many popular questions in an email to the rank and file.

In his email, Roberto said that he’s perfectly okay with the feedback, even the negative stuff. But he implores that you don’t get hung up on the colors or building blocks because, well, it really has no bearing on anything and it’s silly to get caught up on something like appearances.

By now you’ve likely checked out the new PwC brand. Not surprisingly, I’ve gotten strong feedback from around the firm. Many love it. Some don’t. Few are neutral. With a firm of 30,000 smart people, there are going to be lots of opinions…and that’s okay. I ask that you don’t get caught up in the colors and logo; these changes to our visual identity are simply what we think reflects the evolution that has taken place within our firm as we continue to build a relationship-based, value-driven culture. The most important thing is that each of us understands what we’re doing and why, and can articulate what our brand means to our clients and to one another. And, it’s in line with what we’re doing around the network to create a more consistent brand worldwide. You’re going to hear more about the changes starting October 4, so stay tuned. In the meantime, click on FAQs below to read my responses to some of the feedback I’ve received.

Brand Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Are we changing our name, and when do I use pwc instead of PwC?
A: First, our name is still PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. That’s what we’ll use on formal and legal documents, and it will accompany the new brand in an appropriate manner in external materials. What we will call ourselves in day to day communications, though, is PwC. That’s really just acknowledging what people typically call us, and it’s easier for everybody than typing out our full name. In writing, we will still use PwC (uppercase “P,” lowercase “w,” and uppercase “C.”)

Just jumping in here: PwC appears to be assimilating to the idea that capitalization is irrelevant in this day and age of texts, IM so on and so forth.

Q: What is the timing of the change to the new brand?
A: Although we have kept the details under wraps to help us maximize the impact in the market, this transition has been in the planning stages for some time — and is part of our overall network strategy. The transition began gradually with the PwC network’s global website (pwc.com), which changed on September 20. On October 4, the official brand launch date, there will be a number of highly visible changes here in the US, from building signs to new stationery. Beyond that, though, we expect the transition to take time. Network firms will have the option to change at their own pace. In the US, we are moving faster because we see it as an opportunity to engage in dialogues with our clients and the market about the very real changes we are making in how we build relationships and create value. The changes to our logo, colors, look and feel are symbols of the broader changes being made to the firm and the global network.

In terms of visible changes, we will have most of our building signs replaced by the end of this calendar year. We have been working with our EAs and TAs, Document Production, and Graphic Design to tackle the thousands of printed and electronic documents that will need to be converted, looking first to those with the greatest impact on our interaction with our clients. This process will take time, and we’ll need everyone’s patience and support as we make the changes.

Q: Will we get new business cards?
Yes, all partners and staff (and that includes client service staff, IFS staff and EAs/TAs) will receive business cards, which will provide each of you with a great resource to help you connect with others, build on the relationships you have and help the firm deliver value. More to come on when and how to order business cards following our October 4 launch date.

Whether this affects the pace of greenness at PwC isn’t entirely clear.

Q: With the economy just climbing out of a recession, why are we spending money on this change now?
A: Timing was clearly a consideration. We have set ambitious goals for our network of firms–and we are counting on our brand to work harder for us as we distinguish ourselves from our competitors. There will never be a better time to begin the transition to our new brand, and by starting now, we will be well-positioned as the economy improves.

There will be some costs associated with the change. In the US, they will include the cost of building signage and consumable items such as stationery, business cards and printed materials. Overall, this spend is minimal in relation to our size and is certainly not significant to our annual operating budget. If we treat the brand re-launch as an important opportunity to engage with our clients and each other–to discuss how together we will improve relationships and create value–the money we spend on the launch will be paid back many times over.

Anything not covered above can be asked below but if you must, further comments, questions, concerns about the colors and/or geometry of the logo will not be dismissed.

Just in Case You Didn’t Think the PwC Rebranding Was Actually Happening

This should quell any doubts.

This was the scene outside 300 Madison Ave. in New York last night. A sad day indeed. Leave a caption or your eulogy in the comments.

Good Times at PwC: Supporting the iPhone and The Return of Christmaskuh

As you know, it’s been rebrand-orama in land of P. Dubs recently. With all that going on, you may have been distracted from the fact that there are more important, less controversial decisions being made. For example, employees will be celebrating the birth of Christ/The Festival of Lights/whatever it is you do by enjoying an open bar and finally making awkward sexual advances on co-workers.

From the mail bag, some communicado from Bob Moritz:

Holiday celebrations were clearly a casualty of the challenging economy. Many of you told us that while it was the right decision given the economic environment—especially when we repurposed our holiday spending to give back to our communities—you missed getting together with colleagues to celebrate during the December holiday season. While we will continue to focus on charitable giving, we’re pleased to see a return to office holiday celebrations this year. Look for more from your market leaders on events happening locally.


Additionally, PwC has finally caved to moxie of Steve Jobs:

Many of you are already using iPhones or have been holding off purchasing one because the firm doesn’t support them. I’m pleased to announce that, later this fall, we’ll be offering iPhones from AT&T, and at least one Android model from each of our approved cellular carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile), as part of PwC’s smartphone and cellular program.

How’s that for good news? Express your glee (that means break out in song) below.

BREAKING: At Least One PwC Employee Isn’t Sold on the Rebranding

It’s been just over a week since we broke the story on PwC’s rebranding. Now that everyone else has caught up to the story, we’ll share with you some fresh news on the makeover.

Since today marks the first day of u’re warming up to the new team colors. Then again, you may share the feelings of one P. Dubs employee that took the time to email Bob Moritz to chime in on the new look. Apparently (not really sure how these things happen) the email is making the rounds at PwC and it just so happened to find its way into our mail bag:

To be perfectly honest, I’m not a fan of the new branding. In your email you wrote “…we are altering what we believe is an outdated visual identity to better express the kind of vibrant and relationship-based firm we have evolved into.” I find it ironic that you referred to our former visual identity as outdated when our new brand looks like a throwback – a 70s color scheme meets an IT startup.

I completely agree with the comments on the website where the brand is repeatedly referred to as child-like and unprofessional. I feel like the explanation for the symbol is also very complex. The *connectedthinking brand was simple and easy to understand. With the new symbol, everything has a meaning, from the colors to the solid blocks to the transparent blocks. A symbol should be fairly self explanatory – this one requires too much explanation.

I love the fact that the company has been focusing more on changing behaviors and placing a greater emphasis on building relationships. However, I fail to see where a new brand would affect this. Colors and symbols don’t represent PwC, the staff does. In one of the online discussions it was pointed out that following a salary freeze one year and layoffs the following year, it almost seems foolish to spend so much money to “reinvent” ourselves. To quote a wise PwC employee, “A new brand isn’t going to win business, motivated people will.” I find it hard to believe that this new, colorful symbol will be the motivation that people need to help expand our business and improve relationships with clients. A better way to motivate the staff would be more incentives – bonuses, rewards, raises – positive reinforcement. Pavlov was definitely on to something with the concept. Interactive gallery stations complete with iPads to show off the brand? Activities revolving around the launch of this new brand? Is this really the best method of spending funds?

Also disturbing to me is the environmental impact this could have. I can’t imagine that this won’t set back the Firm-wide goal of reducing our carbon footprint. Letterhead, business cards, report covers, envelopes (to name a few paper products) all need to be reprinted. It seems like an incredible waste to discard everything we already have in favor of this new brand (we received an email letting us know that after October 4th we are not to use any of the old paper products). I hope we are at least planting a bunch of trees to help compensate Mother Nature for the amount of paper that will be wasted with this change.

It’s disappointing to feel like we have taken two steps forward and three steps back. I realize that it is what it is, but I felt that I should voice my opinion from down here on the totem pole.

It’s been suggested that October 4th will be the great PwC Shredding Day that will no doubt involve a convoy of Shred-it trucks out 300 Madison (and offices nationwide for that matter) along with employees dropping their old business cards into every fish bowl they can find.

So mark it on your calendars and definitely document the shredding in action or perhaps a bonfire (done safely and in full accordance with the law) and send us the pictures.

PwC’s Other New Color: Green(er)

Newly autumnal-hued PwC still has nature on the brain, this time reflecting on the kick-ass job they did by reducing their carbon footprint 20% since FY07.

For those of you scoring at home (read: Al Gore) that’s two years ahead of schedule.

Through a two-fold strategy, consisting of solutions around workspaces, air travel and commuting, as well as through the engagement of its people to make behavior changes, the firm has reduced its carbon emissions by more than 62,000 CO2 metric tons since FY07, its baseline emission levels.

Being a shameless tree hugger, we applaud the efforts of PwC and also KPMG who announced the reaching of their greeny goals – also ahead of plan – back in July.

However, the thing we’re a little skeptical about are the goals that each firm set for themselves. If they are blowing these carbon emission reduction targets out of the water and ahead of schedule it seems like they may have set the bar a little low. You figure that if you throw some recycle bins in the common areas, encourage more video conferencing and replace all the old light bulbs with the long-life version, you’re already ahead of the game.

PwC did a good job at detailing how they’ve been recognized for their efforts but they still remain vague about any future plans to continue their efforts:

“At PwC we take an integrated approach to reducing our waste, emissions, and discharges by elevating our green efforts and embracing new business practices,” said Shannon Schuyler, corporate responsibility leader, PwC. “We will continue to work toward sustaining the reduction we have already made, as well as partner with our experts in the S&CC practice to set new goals and targets in the future. To us, supporting a healthier and more sustainable environment is part of being a responsible leader.”

KPMG, on the other hand, was very specific about their efforts and what they had planned for the future including the Living Green Teams (with uniforms), recycling laptops and taking a stab at this paperless audit idea.

Granted, getting serious about reducing emissions is something that has only been sexy for the last 2-3 years so maybe the firm will ratchet up the goals, along with detailing specific measures, over the long-term.

PwC Meets 20 Percent Carbon-Reduction Goal Two Years Ahead of Schedule [PR Newswire]

Grant Thornton Didn’t Promote Me, Do I Go to PwC?

Today in accounting firm musical chairs, a SA3 who got passed over for promotion at GT has an offer to joining soon-to-be rebranded PwC as an SA1/2. WHAT TO DO?!?

Have a question about your career? Worried that you’re too hot for the Big 4 and your hot brain will be overlooked? Trying to decide if you should give it all up and join the circus? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll let you know if you should consider becoming the next human cannonball.

Back to our accountant in peril:

I’m a recurring S3 (financial) who was passed up on the manager position because of internal politics [Ed. note: reader admits that this is their opinion]. I have a offer with PWC to join their asset management group as a S1/S2.

Is this career suicide? I have until today to tell GT if i’m leaving or tell PWC that i have to rescind the offer.

I’ve had it with GT and although they said there is a good chance next [year] to make manager, i dont believe the hype.


Timing if of the essence, so we’re on this – Looking forward to a promotion to manager and getting passed over is a tough pill to swallow. All of your hard work that you’ve put in over the last five or so years (that feel like ten) no feels wasted. As you say, you’re not buying the hype any more and we don’t blame you. However, succumbing to your frustration and allowing PwC to knock you down a notch (or two) on the ladder is the last thing we think you should do.

You shouldn’t let any firm take advantage of your vulnerability and devalue your experience just because you were in Casa de Chipman. If you were an associate, the situation might be different but if you’re on the throes of making manager and now it might be at least another year before you’re even being considered for manager, feels like a disservice.

That being said, it doesn’t sound like you’re happy at GT. And being miserable at work sucks. If you’re crawling out of bed, hating your commute and the faces of your co-workers make you want to projectile vomit on their laptops, that’s a serious sign that you need to GTFO.

Luckily, you’ve got options, friend. If you trust your performance coach/counselor, ask them if there are possibilities within GT that you can explore (possibly a practice rotation?).

But if you’re truly burned out on GT, don’t do something rash like take the first offer thrown in front of you. Take your time and make the next career move that’s perfect for you. Don’t settle for the glitz of PwC just because they make it sound like the best shit since paperless audits (they aren’t that cool anyway). Your experience is valuable, go find a company that will reward you for it.

Is PwC Getting a Makeover?

This morning we received an anonymous tip pointing us to a URL that appears be a new look for PricewaterhouseCoopers. The image below is what is can be found over at brand.pwc.com.


It almost looks as if PwC is dropping the “PricewaterhouseCoopers” in favor of simply “PwC,” but that’s just us thinking out loud. If this is, in fact, a rebranding, we have a few questions:

1. When is going down? Just in time for the holidays?

2. Who voted on these Halloween colors? And why all lowercase letters?

3. Why no more PricewaterhouseCoopers? Too big of a mouthful for clients, spouses, kids, etc.?

PwC spokesman Kelly Howard declined to comment. But if you’ve got questions, comments, concerns, chapped hides and so on and so forth with regard to any of this, discuss below.

UPDATE: It’s our understanding that the branding will go “official” internally on Monday and be live October 4th (subject to change?) for the rest of us. Also, it sounds like “PricewaterhouseCoopers” will be used in some “certain cases.” The re-branding is apparently an attempt to create a more “consistent brand.” If you know more, get in touch.

UPDATE 2, September 15th: We’ve got it on good authority that TPTB rolled out the new look today, however it’s not entirely clear whether that’s due to us spoiling the surprise.

Will Defecting from E&Y to PwC Change Anything?

Today in makeshift accounting therapy, a fed up E&Y vet is contemplating a move to arch-rival PwC and wants to know if this is a suicide move.

Have a question about your career? Need advice on how to explain why your Fantasy Football league is always up on your laptop? Looking for advice on how to best flirt with recruits without being creepy? Send us an email with your query to [email protected] and will give you the best free advice you’ll ever get.

As for our potential E&Y Benedict Arnold:

I’m at EY, looking at a position one-level above where I am at PWC. Is this a frying-pan/fire situation?

EY as “more people friendly” is a concern, because EY is horrifically NOT people friendly.

I’ve know the guy I would be working for at PWC very well and I think I’m maxed out at EY.


Okay, so not a lot to go on here but we’ll take a stab at this. First off, if you’re maxed out at E&Y then looking for a new gig is the right move. The timing isn’t bad (assuming you’re not in the tax practice) and it sounds like you’ve got a decent lead at PwC. That said…

What makes you think PwC will be better than E&Y? Has the guy that you would be working for told you explicitly that he’s having the time of his life over there? That, besides the PwC Experience, you’ll be getting 40-50 hour weeks, happy hours devoid of assaults and access to professional oral sex providers on a regular basis?

More questions to consider: Does “the guy” stand to get a referral bonus for poaching you? Can you see yourself working for him? This could turn out to one hell of an epic mistake if he gets a few thousand bucks and you end up working for a whip-wielding taskmaster.

Now that we’ve planted the skepticism seed, if “a position one level above” is a legit promotion (title and salary bump), that might be worth considering. If it’s more of a lateral move, then we’d suggest passing unless there were perks like we described above.

Other important things to consider: 1) You will be torching many bridges at E&Y. Are you okay with that? 2) Is your potential new job really what you want to do. We’re making the assumption that you like your work but you’re over life at E&Y. If you don’t like your work then you’ve got a whole other problem. 3) Do you really, really, really, really want to stay in Big 4? Have you seriously asked yourself that question?

Ultimately, the opportunity may be a great one but you’re still taking a big risk assuming your life will be infinitely better working at PwC over E&Y. Proceed with caution.

A Whole Mess of People Aren’t Impressed with PwC’s Offer to Buy Diamond M&T’s Stock

PwC isn’t necessarily to blame, mind you, at least not yet. As it stands, Faruqi & Faruqi are investigating Diamond’s Board of Directors for accepting the $12.50 offer that PwC made last month.

F&F cites “at least one financial analyst values Diamond’ common stock at $14.00 per share,” hence, gypping investors. This is just the latest in a long line of investigations that were announced since the deal was announced. HOWEVER!


As far as we can tell only one actual lawsuit has been filed, in Delaware and it also notes that the deal was structured “that bars other bidders from making an offer” and includes a $9 million termination fee.

Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP, a leading national securities firm headquartered in New York City, is investigating the Board of Directors of Diamond Management & Technology Consultants, Inc. (?Diamond? or the ?Company?) (NasdaqGS: DTPI) for potential breaches of fiduciary duties in connection with their conduct related to the sale of the Company to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (?PricewaterhouseCoopers?). The proposed transaction offers Diamond shareholders to only receive $12.50 in cash for each share they own. According to Thomson/First Call, at least one financial analyst values Diamond’ common stock at $14.00 per share.

Whether the Diamond’ Board of Directors breached their fiduciary duties to Diamond’ stockholders by failing to conduct an adequate and fair sales process to sell the Company prior to agreeing to this proposed transaction, whether the proposed transaction undervalues Diamond shares and by how much this proposed transaction undervalues the Company to the detriment of Diamond shareholders are the key focus of this investigation.

Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP is a national law firm which represents investors and individuals in class action litigation. The firm is focused on providing exemplary legal services in complex litigation in the areas of securities, shareholder, antitrust and consumer litigation, through all phases of litigation. The firm has an experienced trial team which has achieved significant victories on behalf of the firm’s clients.

Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP Announces Investigation Related to the Acquisition of Diamond Management & Technology Consultants, Inc [Business Wire]
PWC, Diamond Management Sued Over $378 Million Buyout [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]

Experienced Recruiting Amongst The Big 4 Gets Aggressive

As you know the Big 4 are extremely competitive when it comes to picking up talent. Now that the firms have amped up their experienced hiring, things appear to be taking an interesting turn.

Case in point, the following email went out to PwC professionals in the Southeast:

Hello. I work for Ernst & Young’s Assurance Recruiting Team and, through my networking, came across your name. I was wondering if you would be interested in making contact for professional networking purposes.

We are currently seeking managers and senior managers in our Southeastern markets. Your referrals would be greatly appreciated as you know the best people in this industry! We are expanding our Assurance Experienced talent pool and look forward to hiring only the best and brightest talent!

There are twelve more reasons to consider EY as a strong career option!! Ernst & Young was just named to FORTUNE’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for the 12th year in a row–and ranked highest among the global professional services organizations. The reason? Our people. Together, we’ve created a culture of learning, flexibility, inclusiveness and community responsibility that truly makes a difference.

I have been a finance/accounting recruiter for six years and assure you that not all Big 4 firms are cut from the same cloth……it never hurts to have a dialogue!!!

Thanks in advance for your time and consideration. Have a wonderful summer!

Say what you want about these particular tactics but if there is a need in a particular office or region, it is Big 4 recruiters’ job to go out and find the talent to fill that demand. Other Big 4 firms seem like a pretty good place to start since they have the “talent” that the firms want. Plus, the email does state that the intent of the message is to “open a dialogue” which, sure, could lead to someone switching firms but let’s be real – this happens.

And don’t forget! This isn’t confined to Dixieland. You may recall that PwC in the UK had been allegedly poaching E&Y partners, as reported by the Times Online.

So if you want to get all defensive about a rival firm going behind enemy lines to do their jobs, so be it, but your firm is likely doing the exact same thing.

Earlier:
Grant Thornton Picks Up Four Tax-Exempt Experts from WTAS

People Are Still Talking About Those PwC Layoffs

Remember those PwC layoffs in Tampa a week or so back? Right. Anyway, the St. Petersburg Times decided to poke around this story a little bit more and discovered some things that most of you have known for awhile: there are two very different sides to large accounting firms and PwC is no exception.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has cultivated an image as one of corporate America’s upper-tier workplaces. Competitive pay. Great benefits. A perennial on Fortune’s list of Best Places to Work.

Human resources experts with the company have preached to clients about effectively managing workers and using layoffs as thes of crisis.

However, interviews with a half-dozen current and former Pricewaterhouse employees support a different picture of a financial evolution within the company in recent years. The accounting and professional services giant, known as PwC, has quietly and methodically slashed hundreds if not thousands of well-paying jobs, offshoring many functions to cheaper labor overseas.

A perennial on the Fortune list! It’s impressive to see the MSM catch on to the Big 4 M.O. so quickly. Anyway, the article goes on to explain that the accounting firms aren’t like regular corporations because, as we know, the “shareholders” are the partners of the firm:

Pricewaterhouse and the other top global accounting firms “make a lot of money, and they’ve had an increase in revenue for many years,” said Christopher Ames, president and CEO of the Ames Research Group, which analyzes financial data of the world’s largest professional services firms.

“These firms work differently than a publicly traded company. In the firms, the shareholders are the firm and there’s not that many of them. From the partners’ perspective, they want to keep that money … and they’ve done pretty well.”

Not only do the partners do well, St. Pete’s reveals a couple of other things we all know and that is 1) that getting a firm to admit that layoffs have even occurred is nothing short of water into wine and 2) the process and numbers involved are a complete mystery:

Confirmation of the latest layoffs was unusual. Many cuts happen below the radar. PwC has not filed any WARN layoff notices with the state this year for any cuts, including the latest one.

Consultant Francine McKenna, a former PwC employee who tracks the Big Four audit firms in her award-winning blog, re: TheAuditors, was shocked the company even confirmed the layoffs publicly. “They just don’t issue press releases,” said McKenna, who broke news of a previous PwC layoff in November.

Several PwC veterans said that is partly due to the process. A mass layoff is not typical; cuts come in small groups. Workers receive messages to “touch base” with a partner, a telltale sign they are about to lose their jobs. The total numbers are also murky, workers say, because a percentage of dismissed employees are offered either lateral jobs or lesser-paying jobs to stay with the firm.

Remember the November layoffs? If you don’t, it got ugly. The PwC loyalists got their claws out on that one.

PricewaterhouseCoopers spokesman Jon Stoner is quoted throughout but it’s mostly bites from the firm’s previous statement and he stonewalls reporter Jeff Harrington on any meaningful details.

For readers of this here fine publication, none of these tactics are new but Harrington dug up all the right dirt which is refreshing. He includes a quote from a former employee that probably sums it up for a lot of you, “It used to be a great place to work. They took care of their workers. “[Now,] it’s a company of bean counters, and all they care about is saving a few pennies.”

For PricewaterhouseCoopers, layoffs pad bottom line [St. Petersburg Times]

Comp Watch: Early Returns at Ernst & Young Keeping Pace with PwC

So far there are several reports of low to mid-teens and some as high as 20%, which some simply don’t believe.

We do have some specific details for assurance associates in New York and they don’t sound terrible:

NYC first year associate went from $55k to $64k, associate raises [are] coming in around 11-18%


So if you’re keeping score at home (and we know you are) it appears that the partner at E&Y who prognosticated that raises at his firm would beat PwC’s Raises appears to be right in some cases but perhaps not all.

Sooo, Ernie troops – are you happy? Disappointed? Suicidal? Ready to jump ship? Or calling your friends at PwC to brag how you’re keeping the pace? Discuss.

Earlier:
Are Ernst & Young and PwC Neck and Neck in the Compensation Race?

Layoff Watch ’10: PricewaterhouseCoopers Cuts 500 in Internal IT

Bay News 9 out of Tampa reports that PwC is cutting 500 jobs in its IT practice and quotes firm spokesman Jon Stoner:

“PWC is making these changes as part of a thoughtful, strategic plan that will allow the firm to best serve its clients,” he said. “The firm is one of the largest private employers and recruiters in the U.S. and as we make these changes, we are simultaneously increasing the number of jobs in other areas of the U.S. firm. All impacted employees will be encouraged to apply for other open positions at PWC.”


The report says that the 500 cuts is out 1,100 total, the majority of which were in Tampa. People got the word on Thursday afternoon including, “They haven’t been notified of any sort of severance package, but the company felt it was important to give the workers a heads-up and the time until the end of the year to apply for other open positions.”

Our contributor Francine McKenna writes that not only is this “an unprecedented press release” (an accurate statement if we’ve ever heard one) but that the number of layoffs is rumored to be closer to 800, “The additional 300 professionals are those who will not be offered an opportunity to apply for jobs with the rumored outsourced services provider, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).”

This is latest major move by PwC in Florida market. Back in March we reported on PwC closing their tax practice in the nearby Orlando office. According to the email we obtained, the practice closed on May 3rd.

If you’ve been affected by the layoffs in Tampa or know more details around these cuts, get in touch and discuss these developments in the comments.

PricewaterhouseCoopers cuts 500 jobs in Tampa [Bay News 9]
PricewaterhouseCoopers Cuts Hundreds of Internal IT Professionals [Re: The Auditors]

BT Chairman Would Probably Prefer if He Could Just Get Rid of PwC Altogether

Sir Michael Rake, the Chairman of BT Group plc (also the former Chairman of KPMG International) presumably wasn’t happy that the $2.4 billion writedown the British telecom giant had to take this past year. No one likes surprises, especially red, multi-billion dollar ones, and after some careful consideration, Rake asked PwC to clean house:

Sir Michael Rake said that PwC changed its personnel after BT expressed its concerns.

He said: “We have reviewed and strengthened our internal audit [function]. We have had discussions with our external auditors and we asked for changes in their team.

“We did a complete review as to what went wrong and why we took longer than we should have to pick up on this issue.”

There is typically some rotation in audit teams working on big accounts but for the client to demand wholesale change is rare. BT had also considered dropping the firm.

SO! Rather than give PwC the heave-ho, cooler heads seem to have prevailed. Since Rake is is a former Klynveldian, that option is out (he left in ’07) and since the FTSE 100 loves the Big 4, that only leaves two options.

Rather than go slumming with E&Y, Deloitte or – God forbid – Grant Thornton or BDO, BT will stick it out with P. Dubs. BUT a knight doesn’t have to like it.

BT sought auditor changes after £1.6bn writedown [FT]

A PwC Partner’s Scribbled Notes Helped Save Joe Cassano’s Hide

Back in April, the DOJ and SEC passed on filing criminal charges against the man everyone perceived to be the cause of the financial apocalypse, Joe Cassano.

The Journal digs into a few of the details behind the failed pursuit of criminal charges against JC and we first learn that PwC’s audit team wasn’t rve when they were poking around AIGFP:

Auditors at PricewaterhouseCoopers, AIG’s accounting firm, felt Mr. Cassano was evasive when they asked questions as the housing market weakened that year, according to people familiar with the matter. Tim Ryan, a PwC auditor, was concerned about requests for collateral from Goldman Sachs, which had purchased AIG’s derivatives contracts. He believed the requests were an indication the value of the swaps needed to be lowered and that further collateral calls were likely, people familiar with the matter said.

In interviews in 2008, Mr. Ryan told prosecutors he sometimes couldn’t get straight answers from Mr. Cassano when he asked him to justify how AIG accounted for the swaps, these people said. Through a PwC spokeswoman, Mr. Ryan declined to comment.

Okay, so Cassano was a prickly guy. That’s no surprise, especially since the lion’s share of people that have to deal with auditors, dislike them based purely on spite. Regardless of that factoid, it irks auditors to no end when they have to deal with an uncooperative client.

Cassano’s attitude was noted by prosecutors and this led them to believe that maybe he was withholding information from PwC and the AIG brass about the shitstorm that was growing at AIGFP:

“Why would he do that?” said Jim Walden, one of Mr. Cassano’s attorneys. Mr. Cassano had no reason to hide key facts because he knew the year-end audit was approaching and the unit’s books would be examined.

“He was smart enough many times before” in surviving prior problems, Mr. Pelletier retorted. “He thought he could pull a rabbit out of the hat” and turn things around.

In meetings spanning several weeks in Washington, the defense team rebutted the prosecution’s allegations, presenting a version of events that portrayed Mr. Cassano as repeatedly disclosing bad news to his bosses, investors and PwC.

The defense team didn’t know it at the time, but its efforts helped focus prosecutors’ attention on an obscure set of handwritten notes in their files, found scrawled on the bottom of a printed spreadsheet.

Prosecutors had seen the annotations, which were made by a PwC partner at a meeting with Mr. Cassano and AIG management a week before the key December 2007 investor conference. But the strange hieroglyphs from the world of financial derivatives were hard to decipher and ambiguous enough to support several readings.

Some of the broken phrases that could be made out: “Cash/CDS spread differential,” “need to quantify” and “could be 10 points on $75 billion.”

At this point, prosecutors knew that the jig was up, regardless if started out as a good jig or not. As much as they wanted to pin the near death experience of the financial world on this one shifty (and easily unlikable) guy, they couldn’t. The fact that no one that was at the meeting in Dec. ’07 could remember anything, “According to people familiar with the matter, no one at the meeting—including the author of the handwritten notes—recalled Mr. Cassano disclosing the magnitude of the accounting adjustments he was preparing to make,” certainly didn’t help matters. Especially since, for all we know, the partners’s chicken scratch could have been a recipe for pineapple upside down cake.

And after failing to nail Matthew Tannin and Ralph Cioffi back in November of ’09, the feds could hardly go to trial on such shaky ground. Sigh. OH well! Can’t always catch the (perceived) bad guys!

A Set of Scribbled Notes Helped Scuttle AIG Probe [WSJ]

Are Ernst & Young and PwC Neck and Neck in the Compensation Race?

From the mailbag:

I heard some scoop and wanted to share with my fellow indentured servants in the big 4 field. Word on the street is that P-dubs gave 10% raises to staff 2s becoming senior 1s (early promote) and 16% raises to staff 3s becoming senior 1s.

However, P-dubs doesn’t hand out the 5k bonus that Uncle Ernies offers to its staff 2s becoming senior 1s. I’d like to see how EY will top this, per an earlier promise from a partner that EY raises will be higher than P-dubs (maybe can some low performing partners?). In addition, the variance between average performers and high performers at P-dubs is only .6% (not significant at all).


If you forgot what this is referring to, back in April we reported a tip out of the Ernstiverse that a partner had claimed that the raises at E&Y would beat PwC’s. The reports out of PwC have been better than expected, although not for everyone.

So if this partner’s prognostication holds up, how will they pull it off down the stretch? Seems like a good question. Conversations are going on right now and the official news will reportedly be out in a couple weeks.

Since we’ve got half of the Big 4 involved here we’ll just mention that the belly aching at KPMG is in full force on the bonus front but maybe there’s hope for a strong move down the stretch?

As for Deloitte, apparently communication has occurred for promotions but it sounds like word on comp could be more than a month out. If you’ve got the scoop get in touch with the details and discuss this four horse race but as it stands right now, it looks as if PwC has E&Y by a nose.

(UPDATE) PwC Houston Happy Hours Still May Not Be Safe

It’s been a couple of weeks since we reported on the alleged incident at a PwC happy hour that involved a drunk (or roofied, depending on who you ask) partner who made his fondness for an associate known only to follow it up with a knuckle sandwich (we’re picturing a right cross).

Well, we decided to check in with a source down in H-town to see if there was any blowback from this whole situation.

I heard that PwC wasn’t going to do anything because of his client relationship and only offered the guy the chance to get off the job.

Well! Not exactly what we expected hear and we decided to check things out. Through a friend of capable means, we were able to verify the partner’s employment with the firm.

So then we emailed PwC spokesman Jon Stoner again about the incident but we have yet to hear back. Then we called the partner-in-question and left him a voicemail, asking very nicely to call us back. So far, he hasn’t returned our call but there isn’t any evidence by his greeting that he has left the firm.

So…you can see the conundrum here. What are Houston assurance associates going to do if they can’t drink beer on company dime without fearing a punch in the mouth (and possible getting an unwanted tongue down their throat)? Spend their own money? God forbid. If you know more about this, get in touch.

UDPATE: Just a few more details to share with you – we’ve heard from multiple sources that there were multiple kissing incidents at the happy hour. So while it sounds like more love (albeit unwelcome) was being spread than violence, that doesn’t mean you should be risking the invasion of your personal space for a few cocktails.

For Starters, PwC Pays Their Attorneys a Lot of Money

“How can any self-respecting attorney still argue – and any lucid judge still believe – that PwC’s global firm is not just a sham legal construct, an artificial vehicle for the strongest member firms to control and potentially exploit their weaker ones, all under the guise of ‘improving quality and seamless delivery to multinational clients…’ ?”

~ Francine McKenna still isn’t buying it.

PwC Would Appreciate It if the FASB, IASB Would Cool Their Jets on the Accounting Standards

Christ, guys! PricewaterhouseCoopers thinks it’s nice that you’re trying to turn the entire accounting world upside down since you decided the BSDs at the G-20 were serious about this June 2011 deadline.

But then you admitted that it can’t be done and it turns out they (or the SEC) don’t give a rat’s ass. For some reason, you’re still committed to getting the job done by the end of 2011 and PwC would like you take it easy.


For starters, everyone knows that the world is ending in 2012, so this is really a futile exercise. Secondly, you’re really not being rational about the whole thing. Your gusto is admirable but you’re looking like the kid that reminds the teacher to assign homework. KNOCK IT OFF:

PricewaterhouseCoopers Calls for Slowing Down Pace of Accounting Standard Setting

NEW YORK, July 8 /PRNewswire/ — PricewaterhouseCoopers, responding to the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board’s (IASB) ambitious agenda to complete about a dozen new accounting standards (about half of which are major projects) by the end of 2011, said the current timeline is not sufficient to produce standards that meet the boards’ high thresholds for quality.

Mike Gallagher, PwC’s U.S. National Office Leader, said, “it is of utmost importance that adequate time be given to complete an effective, thorough analysis of the accounting, business and operational impacts of the proposals.” Gallagher added, “given the boards’ missions of issuing high quality standards, we believe the proposed timeline will need to be further extended to allow for appropriate due process.”

In a Point of View article released today, PwC said it fully supports an aggressive timeline and the goal of attaining a single set of high quality global standards. Yet, the firm also expressed significant concern that the current pace of standard setting does not provide enough time for companies to fully analyze the proposals and respond comprehensively. In the article, the firm’s leadership called upon standard setters to “reevaluate the current timeline and set more reasonable expectations.”

Explaining the firm’s concern about the ambitious timelines, Gallagher pointed out that “even the largest of companies won’t have the resource bandwidth to properly evaluate and respond to so many complex standards in such a limited period of time.”

The projects underway by the FASB and IASB to improve both U.S. generally accepted accounting principles and international financial reporting standards are part of a wider goal to converge U.S. and international standards in key areas.

Apparently a Few People at PwC Are Feeling Shortchanged

The PricewaterhouseCoopers compensation post is still a hot thread, as the majority of news was about double-digit raises and bonuses have been reported from many although at least one commenter was skeptical that all the news was good in the PwC world:

“[P]robably the people most willing to share are the ones who got the most $.”


That comment was in response to someone who assumed PwC was throwing around “1” ratings (the firm’s highest) like boomies at a Phish show. Of course, not everyone can be so lucky and apparently there are a couple of terms being thrown around by the less fortunate.

Late last week a source close to PwC dropped us the following:

“Fonus”– noun; the much-diminished bonus Big 4 firms give to borderline staff they can’t afford to pay properly, but don’t want to quit.

Not to be confused with the ‘nonus,’ which is no bonus at all.

Apparently these terms have emerged this week as fonuses started appearing in people’s paychecks.

So not to worry “as expected” staff that can’t afford to quit your jobs! If you ended up with the 6%/0% instead of the 14%/10% or whatever, whathaveyou, you’re not alone! Plus, there are some fun terms you can throw around to help you bitch about it. Continue to discuss and keep us updated with any other fallout from the discussions – verbal creativeness or otherwise.

Were PwC and Grant Thornton Ignoring Overstock.com’s Accounting Issues?

Yesterday we briefly picked up the Overstock beat as Sam Antar pointed out that everyone’s favorite Salt Lake City resident got a little confused about when they knew about their gain contingency existed that resulted in some contradictory disclosures.

As you may misremember, this arose from the company for recoveries from underbilled fulfillment partners by improperly claiming that a ‘gain contingency’ existed under accounting rules.”

Now Sam has pointed us to some correspondence between the SEC and Overstock that indicates that PwC wasn’t concerned about the issue until the Commission pointed it out and succeeding auditor Grant Thornton was unmoved until Overstock brought it up:

Please tell us if, and the extent of, your auditors’ national accounting office involvement in these issues during audit of your 2008 financial statements or the reviews of your fiscal 2009 quarterly filings.

PwC served as our auditor during the audit of our 2008 financial statements. PwC has informed us that it did not consult with its national accounting office regarding the above issues when they were identified in Q4 2008 or Q1 2009. However, in connection with this response to your letter dated November 3, 2009, PwC has consulted with its national office in regard to both the fulfillment partner under billing and partner overpayment issues and based on context of this being an area that is a highly facts and circumstances based issue that requires significant judgment where reasonable parties have different views, PwC continues to concur with our accounting and disclosure consistent with its reflection of the underlying economics and our past practices of not billing or collecting for our billing errors, rather negotiating for future price concessions that were contingent on future sales.

Grant Thornton (“GT”) reviewed our Q1 and Q2 2009 quarterly filings. To our knowledge the GT local engagement team did not review these issues with its national accounting office at the time of our Q1 and Q2 2009 quarterly filings. In early October, as we prepared our response to your October 1 letter, we asked GT for its national office’s opinion. It was our understanding at the time that GT’s national office concurred that we had used an appropriate (if not preferred) accounting treatment. Only after we received your November 3 letter, did we become aware that GT’s previous “national office” opinion had in fact been an “informal request” only, and not a “formal request.”

In the case of PwC, it’s entirely possible that they just trusted that OSTK knew what they were doing and went along with it. Obviously a huge mistake. When the SEC came calling however, they moseyed through it again and rang up the accounting wonks at 300 Mad.

But the Grant Thornton engagement team, who came in after all this went down was seemingly on board with it without consulting with its own national accounting gurus even though the SEC was already on this like stink on a monkey. GT making an “informal request” of its national office on an SEC inquiry seems a little tepid.

HOWEVER! You have to remember that this is all in the words of Overstock which hasn’t always been forthcoming/reliable/truthful in its filings. Then again, maybe there’s something to this whole auditor “Yes men” thing.

Be Sure to Keep Your Guard Up at the Next PwC Happy Hour

We received a tip early last week that will could make you think twice about attending the next PricewaterhouseCoopers happy hour, or at the very least, keep your eyes open for the attendees that have clearly drank themselves blind.

Our original tipster told us the following, “You should look into a PwC male partner punching a male associate at a going away happy hour in Houston, TX. Allegedly, the story is the partner got drunk, walked up to the male associate and said “I know you want to kiss me” proceeded to kiss him on the lips and then pushed and punched him.”


Well! That sounds like a helluva party. We’ve heard of partners bullying other partners before but this is a new one.

Before we go any further, we should note that while we did learn the name of the partner in question, we’re withholding the name of the person at this time since we have yet to confirm the incident first-hand with an eyewitness to the events. If you were there and can confirm these events, including whether it was a left jab or round-house uppercut and whether it was a peck or a sloppy make out attempt, email us and tell us what you saw.

Okay. So, our source proceeded to tell us that the partner had been placed on the probation and didn’t acknowledge the event for several days saying, “he didn’t remember anything that happened because the engagement team brought drugs to the happy hour.” Fairly standard black-out excuse.

Anyway, we checked on this rumor with a source in PwC’s Houston office who told us the following:

A fellow associate of mine was at an audit happy hour last Friday and he said something along the lines of “things got really, really crazy.” And he wouldn’t tell me what he meant by “really really crazy.” I guessed table dancing / hooking up, but he said no, it wasn’t like that.

Luckily for all us, our source did end up talking to the witness and told us:

I talked to my friend — he could neither “confirm or deny the events” ; however, from talking to him, it sounds like the rumor is true. Per my friend, the “issues are still under investigation by the Firm.” So its all very hush hush evidently. The client is a high profile one, so I’m sure people are being very, very careful to not let the gossip spread if it all possible.

With all this, we thought we’d better call this partner up to see what’s what. We called the Houston office, requesting the partner in question (“PIQ”) and after a pause by the receptionist, we were connected. Expecting the typical partner buffer of an admin to answer, we were surprised when the he answered. We politely introduced ourselves and asked about “an incident that happened at a recent happy hour where your name came up.”

The PIQ immediately interrupted, “I’m not allowed to discuss anything about that. Thank you very much.” and promptly hung up the phone.

We tried getting in touch with PwC spokesman Jon Stoner to see what he knew about this alleged make out/fisticuffs situation but he has yet to return our phone calls or emails. If you’ve got more details on this story, get in touch with us and we’ll update the post if we hear anything more.

Compensation Watch ’10: PwC Starts Spreading the News in New York

It’s raining bonuses and raises over at PricewaterhouseCoopers these days. Unfortunately, all I’m seeing are news tips (monetary tips or buybacks at the bar are always appreciated). All of my sources are from the NYC office, so if you’re elsewhere in the country, please share your numbers in the comments below. Here’s what we know so far:


• Advisory/Consulting senior associate received a raise north of 18.5%. No, that is not a typo. So in the advisory practice it’s safe to assume the spread is 0% to 19% for raises this year, with the average being about 6% as reported by Caleb earlier.

• A recently promoted associate to senior associate in advisory received a 10.5% raise and a $3,000 bonus.

• Tax bonuses are being handed out now as well. Size matters in this instance, people. Cough up the details below.

This indicates that resources are being spent on what is being determined to be the right people in the right practices. Average performers should expect to receive 4-6% and take it to the bank.

Audit people, what are your numbers looking like? Email us or post your comments below. Practice/office/level are always appreciated

Thanks to everyone that is sharing information. Enjoy the weekend.

PwC Will Be There for You When Your Gridiron Dreams Come to an Abrupt Halt

PricewaterhouseCoopers understands that their employees have big dreams. But if those dreams come crashing down into a heap of flaming shit on the doorstep of your life that they’ll be there for you when you have nowhere else to turn.

Case-in-point, Danny Brannagan is a football player. A Canadian football player. And he has a dream to play in the CFL for the Toronto Argonauts. He also has an opportunity to realize his dream to become an auditor for a Big 4 firm but PwC is accommodating his desire to be a tackling dummy until his knees need replaced:

[PricewaterhouseCoopers] is willing to wait while the young quarterback sees how far his skills can take him in the Canadian Football League.

“They (PricewaterhouseCoopers) understand I have a limited window to participate at a high level in sports and they told me to take advantage of that,” the Queen’s graduate said on Wednesday.

Brannagan will get to experience the life of a CFL quarterback while on the practice roster, but more importantly continue to develop the skills that helped him take Queen’s all the way to a CIS title in 2009.

“It will give me an opportunity to learn and develop as a quarterback, get used to the system and get used to the professional aspect of the game,” he said.

Brannagan will be paid the handsome sum of $500 a week while on the practice roster, which is undoubtedly less than he would be making at PricewaterhouseCoopers, even at an entry-level position.

“I don’t know if it’s a sacrifice, necessarily,” Brannagan said.

“PricewaterhouseCoopers has been very accommodating. They have allowed to me to have a flexible start date there. I don’t necessarily look at it as giving something up as much as I’m postponing a career after football.”

Argonauts head coach Jim Barker was thrilled to be able to accommodate Brannagan on the practice roster.

“It’s a lot better than working for an accounting firm,” he said half-jokingly.

$500 a week to get crushed by the defensive starters? Picking up the starting QB’s leftovers (if you catch my drift)? Get snapped on the ass by a linebacker’s towel who may want to get to know him a little better in the shower? These are the things dreams are made of.

Fortunately for Dan-o, PwC has elevators in its offices because he probably isn’t going to be able to walk up stairs after his “football career” is over.

Plus, the nerve of this coach. There was no half-joking there. He was dead serious. Would the Argonauts be there for Danny if he was part of the next round of PwC layoffs? Not likley.

PwC Is Making Your Dream of a Rotation to Rwanda Possible

PricewaterhouseCoopers is opening a field office in Rwanda, thus bringing the glorious PwC Experience to the African nation that has likely never known it. This means one more opportunity for anyone interested in an international rotation to country that barely qualifies as such.


Although this isn’t quite as adventurous as working the Somali engagement that the firm won last year (no pirates in Rwanda after all) but it’s nice to know that you have one more option on the continent.

The daily comings and goings still seem to be dicey enough to keep things interesting although authorities seem to be giving Americans fair warning. S’pose that’s the most you can ask for except the second you explain what an accountant does, they’ll assume you have money and you’ll get shaken down.

PwC’s “White Male Strategy” Is Working Out Pretty Well

According to a recent post on Fast Company, some people say that discussing diversity is dead. Barry Salzberg doesn’t buy that for a second.

And neither does PricewaterhouseCoopers. They and the rest of the Big 4 are all over this diversity thing, strategically placed fliers around the office, the constant barrage of emails and the training. Thank the Maker for the diversity training. However, we did note something that is part of the diversity strategy that probably has better intentions than it sounds:

One of those people I interviewed is Niloufar Molavi, who is the U.S. Chief Diversity Officer for PwC (PriceWaterhouseCoopers.) She is very proud of the diversity and inclusion work of PwC. When I asked Niloufar which of their programs, policies or processes were the most innovative, she said, “At PwC we’re proud of all our diversity efforts, but if I had to choose one to highlight, it would be our white male strategy. Men comprise over half our firm and it’s critical to engage them in the dialogue about inclusion.”

Diversity Is Dead? Not According to PwC [Fast Company]

(UPDATE) Apparently You Can Also Be Too Hot to Work at PwC

~ Update includes statement from PricewaterhouseCoopers spokesman

By now you’ve probably heard about Debrahlee Lorenzana, who was claiming that being an über-hottie caused her to get fired from her job at Citi.

The Big 4, having its share of hotties, now is facing allegations of its own discriminatory behavior. We were sent the following email that has been making the rounds at PwC about a young associate who was shown the door last Friday. Bravely, the author of the email included her name and phone number, which we’ve redacted:

I have been following the story about the banker in NYC who was fired for her “appearance”. I was just fired today [June 11th] froerhouseCoopers. I am a graduate of Lehigh University, I have been with the firm since September 2009. I would like to think I am competent enough to hold a job – I recently studied 8 hours for a CPA exam and passed. A test that I have watched my peers struggle with – studying for months and failing multiple times. I have 3 of 4 CPA exams completed, and I am 3-3 in my testing.

Anyway, I was placed on an engagement with an all-male team and one female partner. I was given a poor review on this engagement, however, my work received glowing reviews. On all my other teams I have gotten feedback that I am a pleasure to work with, intelligent, hard-working etc.etc. Per my performance review, they noted that the reason I performed below expectation was because I had a negative attitude with my team and the other piece of feedback I received, from this female partner, is that I was dressed inappropriately because I didn’t wear tights with my skirts in the winter. This is during a time we lived out of a hotel, working from 9am-4am, 7 days a week, and the last thing on anyone’s mind is clothes. I am a 22 year old girl, and I definitely do not “look the part” of an accountant. While on my team with all males, I received constant harassment about how I should “sleep with the senior manager (who was very disliked) to make him cooler” or “you have to go talk to the client cause you are hot”. My mentor from the firm was on my team as well, and every day would comment on my appearance, such as, “Did you lose weight? You look good” or “Your legs look fabulous today”. I was also told that my senior on the team was “in-love with me” and that I should “hook-up with him”. During this period I had a boyfriend whom I expressed my deep deep frustration on this with. Since my employment at the firm, I have been constantly harassed by the partner who hired me. I received such e-mails as, “I am home alone in my hot tub, you should come” or text messages like “So what color underwear are you wearing?” which, I kept my mouth shut about. Keep in mind this individual is married, with kids. Eventually I went to HR when I received my performance review because obviously there was a major disconnect. Of course, they “fully investigated” with the team of all males, and today I was told that I was fired, for under-performance. I was denied a copy of my performance reviews (which as our review policy goes – are given back to each individual at the firm). I inquired as to whether HR had spoken to other individuals I had worked with, and they told me “it was irrelevant” and that my review was contingent only upon “this one engagement (as referred to above)”. Bear in mind that I have worked on 5 other clients since September 2009, and these reviews were thrown to the wayside.

I have been following the story in the news about the woman banker fired in NYC, and have received multiple comments from my co-workers such as, “I can see them doing this to you” or “this is probably why the female partner doesn’t like you – cause you are hot”. Obviously, there seems to be an underlying theme here.

I graduated with a 3.4 from Lehigh, majoring in Accounting and minoring in writing. I got a 1410 on my SAT’s, a near perfect split of 710 Verbal and 700 Math. Throughout my life, the one thing I was sure of was my ability to compete intelligence-wise with my peers, and often exceed far above. So you can understand my extreme confusion and frustration that I could be capable of under-performing, at a firm, where there is documented proof on paper I perform well above my peer group.

So I come to you, whomever may be concerned, as this is an issue I am bringing to light and will hire an attorney for. I was wrongfully terminated – without a fair reason. I have saved all of my work performed while at PwC to provide as evidence of comparison with my peers. If this type of story strikes interest with anyone over at the NYT, I am more than happy to share more information. Like they say, Big Fours are “slave-drivers”, and yet again, they perpetuate this image.

I can be reached by telephone at [redacted]. I live in Stamford, CT and worked on clients from NYC to NJ to CT. Thank you for taking the time to read this – I am a bit flustered still from today’s events, but find no better way to vent than by writing.

SO! That’s a lot to digest. Being a fan of fantastic gams (who isn’t, amiright?) is one thing but verbalizing it in the middle of internal controls testwork is entirely another. That being said, a text requesting the hue of undies is whole other level of awkward.

Our calls, emails, telegrams, and messages by carrier pigeon to PwC have not been returned.

UDPATE: PwC spokesman Jon Stoner provided us with the following statement:

As a matter of policy and practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers is fully committed to maintaining a workplace free of sexual harassment. We take any complaints about sexual harassment seriously, and investigate any such claim thoroughly and confidentially. That is exactly what we did in this case, and we did not find any basis to the allegations.

PwC Needs a Few Good Accounants…Average Accountants Will Do Fine Too

We had little intention of hitting the Big 4 Superfecta today but sometimes that’s how the workpapers shred, amiright?

Back in April, Ernst & Young put its people on a mission to find friends, enemies, jilted lovers, basically anyone that you’ve ever met, and refer them to E&Y.

Well now PricewaterhouseCoopers is getting on this action, as a source tells us that assurance and advisory needs bodies ASAP and Bob Moritz is encouraging you to get out there and start tricking telling people that they should join the 24/7 disco dance party that is the P. Dubs experience. And just in case your pure unadulterated love for PwC isn’t enough, TPTB are bumping up the referral bonuses:

Bring a friend to the firm

I want you to know that your leadership team recognizes how this phenomena is affecting many of you, and we’re working on ways to help better distribute that workload. One way is by increasing our efforts around talent acquisition, both in terms of getting it done faster and finding new and improved ways of sourcing talent. By increasing our staffing levels, we hope to lighten up the pressure you’re feeling and better spread the work around. We already know one of the best ways to attract new talent is to tap into your personal and professional networks, and we want to make it worth your while. That’s why we’re increasing our employee referral bonuses for client service positions between now and September 30th.

Click here to go to our career site, see our open positions and read more about how our enhanced referral bonus program works. We also want to increase the level of excitement, fun and passion around the firm. You’ll be hearing from me soon about some interesting ideas we plan to implement, as well as from your market leaders and/or functional and vertical leaders about local Pulse results and ways we plan to address them.

Whoa! “Increase the level of excitement, fun and passion around the firm”? Any ideas on what this could possibly be? We’ll get things rolling:

A) Hug a new partner day.

B) Sending the interns on wild goose chases.

C) Brainstorming sessions on how to poach some partners from E&Y.

D) Two words: Undies only.

E) Your ideas…

PwC May Have Overlooked Billions in Illegal JP Morgan Transactions. Oopsie.

Now £15.7 billion may not seem like much to you if you are, say, Bill Gates or Ben Bernanke but for PwC UK, it may be the magic number that gets them into a whole steaming shitpile of trouble.

UK regulators allege that from 2002 – 2009, PwC client JP Morgan shuffled client money from its futures and options business into its own accounts, which is obviously illegal. Whether or not JP Morgan played with client money illegally is not the issue here, the issue is: will PwC be liable for signing off on JPM’s activities and failing to catch such significant shenanigans in a timely manner?


PwC did not simply audit the firm, they were hired to provide annual client reports that certified client money was safe in the event of a problem with the bank. Obviously that wasn’t the case.

The Financial Reporting Council and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England are investigating the matter, and the Financial Services Authority has already fined P-dubs £33.3 million for co-mingling client money and bank money. That’s $48.8 million in Dirty Fed Notes if you are playing along at home.

Good luck with that, PwC. We genuinely mean that.

Inquiries mount after PwC ‘failed to notice’ mistakes [Times UK]

PwC Interns Have Invaded Grand Central Station

If they ask, try to resist giving them bogus directions.

PwC’s Ian Powell Will Have You Know That His Firm Is Turning Away Millions in Business in the Name of Independence

It could be argued that the Big 4 is on some thin ice re: independence by trying to grow their advisory businesses. But hey, can you blame them? The audit and tax service lines alone can’t keep the lights on of a multi-billion dollar firm (but not really one firm, it’s actually a network of firms that operate under a single name, JSYK).

And besides, if you were to ask Ian Powell, the UK Chair of PwC, he’d tell you that they have to beat off clients with a stick that want that PwC experience all over them. But you know what? Independence is far too crucial tenant of the business to be jeopardized by some overeager clients that are throwing a few million clams at P. Dubs. THEY. DON’T. NEED. IT.


Mr Powell put down his binoculars to give an interview to the Financial Times where the “affable and youthful-looking” Chair dispelled any idea that the consulting business posed any risk to PwC losing its independence merit badge:

Mr Powell thinks the traditional skills of consulting can still have great value, such as in “sourcing, outsourcing, supply chain and workforce efficiency” – areas PwC has been investing in – “that can demonstrate a short term payback”.

Here again he faces controversy – persistent claims since the collapse of Enron that the Big Four’s growing consulting practices could affect their audit independence.

He responds: “We will not take on any assignment that we believe either will bring us into any independence issue, but even more so would bring us into any perceived independence issue – so we turn away millions and millions of pounds worth of business each year.”

PwC boss seeks debate on regulation [FT]

Promotion Watch ’10: PwC Admits 83 New Partners

[caption id="attachment_12392" align="alignright" width="260" caption="83 pairs of undies just like ours!"][/caption]

Is it a complete coincidence that it’s National Donut Day?

Besides complimentary undies any thoughts as to what comes in the gift bags? We called Pricew�������������������� folks to find out but so far there’s no word.

But we did hear there’s a little party going down at 300 Madison circa now to introduce the new partners. If there are tears, fist fights, or old partners icing new partners, get in touch with the details (and pics).


First a word from TPTB:

It is with great pleasure that I share the names of the 83 individuals who are being admitted into the PwC partnership as a result of our internal admissions process on July 1, 2010, along with the names of the partners who are retiring from the firm on June 30.

The level of talent in this year’s class of new partners is tremendous and gives me great confidence in our ability to create value for our clients and continue to invest in and develop our people in even more meaningful ways. For those of you who know some of these outstanding professionals personally, you know that they are on this list for good reason. While they have individual talents, skills and experiences, they all share certain qualities. These include a passion for serving clients, a relentless focus on quality, a talent for coaching and mentoring, and the ability to add value to every interaction among our various stakeholders — all while helping grow our business and leading our firm into the future. In addition to their cumulative credentials, two-thirds have worked in more than one office, about a third have changed roles or line of service, and close to a third have done an international tour or have spent significant time overseas. These statistics emphasize that high performers are open to change and willingly step out of their comfort zones.

At this time of the year, we not only say congratulations to our new partner class, but we also say thanks to those moving from being an active partner to a retired partner. This group of partners has collectively contributed to the success and overall brand of our firm. It’s difficult to acknowledge them as a group, as each of these partners has made unique contributions and leaves behind a distinct legacy. I’m proud to say I know many of them personally, and I have learned a great deal from them. Many have been excellent at serving our clients and have been exceptional coaches, mentors and role models for our future leaders. Overall, during their careers at PwC they have made a noticeable difference — for our clients, for our people, for our communities, and for one another.

Refreshing our partnership with new talent each year is one way we continue to drive innovation and a fresh perspective on our business. I think it’s appropriate to celebrate the contributions and legacy of our retiring partners as we welcome a new class of partners to take that legacy and shape it into something inspiring and new. Please join me in wishing our retiring colleagues and friends much success and happiness as they begin the next phase in their journey, and in celebrating our new partners and wishing them ongoing success as they help support the firm’s goal of being the #1 professional services firm!

Here’s a brief breakdown by service:

Assurance – 32
Tax – 40
Advisory – 11

And by city:

Denver – 1; Philly – 3; Houston – 7; Moscow – 1; DC Metro – 4; Florham Park – 6; Minneapolis – 2; Detroit – 3; Hartford – 2; Boston – 5; NYC – 12; Chicago – 7; Tokyo – 3; St. Louis – 1; Baltimore – 1; Indy – 1; Columbus – 1; Pittsburgh – 1; Raleigh – 1; Cleveland – 1; San Jose – 6; Atlanta – 3; Stamford – 2; San Fran – 2; L.A. – 1; Dallas – 3; San Juan – 1; Washington, DC – 1

Congrats to all the new partners!

PwC, Ernst & Young Building Defenses Against Each Other’s Spies, Peeping Toms

Ernst & Young had a nice little buffer zone from the other Big 4 in their London office until PricewaterhouseCoopers decided they’d set up camp next door and now the two firms are strategerizing.

P. Dubs is finishing up the construction on their new digs and the Telegraph reports that “At their closest point the two offices are roughly 10 [meters] apart.” This proximity (not to mention the obnoxious tendency of Big 4 types to be competitive just for the sake of being competitive) has apparently led to rampant paranoia at the two firms about spying.


Getting up in E&Y’s shit seems to be bean counting as usual at PwC, as this latest move more or less correlates with the alleged poaching of 20 E&Y partners in the Middle East.

The Telegraph is insinuating hilarious war-esque undertones, saying, “First blood in the battle has gone to PwC with the installation of blinds that close automatically whenever audio-visual presentation equipment is switched on and an office layout that ensures no computer screens face windows.” The obvious concern being that PwC’s secret “we provide the absolute best client service” plan would be imitated by E&Y, which would mean an all-out war.

However, the real concern should be voyeurs scoping out the office sexcapades. As we’ve mused in the past, the odds of fornication for accountants are slim as it is and work relationships are a convenient option. With this development, some E&Y and PwC minions will be denied the opportunity for office sex. This is not as much of a problem for the exhibitionists at the firm, however, that cross section is likely small.

E&Y is reportedly “evaluating a number of options,” to combat P. Dubs’ tactics, which may or may not include the following:

A) A group mooning that will involve the most portly E&Y employees.

B) Placing inflatable bozos in the windows.

C) Draping the entire building with a photo of Susan Boyle in Beckham’s PwC undies.

D) Your idea.

Blackout curtains beckon as accountancy rivals find themselves too close for comfort [Telegraph]

PricewaterhouseCoopers Suggests You Put Your Money on Brazil to Win the World Cup

Leave it to an accounting firm to make a conservative pick on the biggest sporting event in the world. The firm tries to make the point that wealthy countries do not outperform poorer ones in the football tournament. The most poignant (and blatantly obvious) example being that the United States sucks and Brazil is a heavyweight:

“The US football team performs well below expectations based on the size of its economy or population relative, for example, to Brazil. This reflects the ascendency of football in Brazil as contrasted to the greater popularity of sports such as American football and baseball in the US.”


However, P. Dubs manages to give England a fighting chance, “England seems a reasonable bet to reach the quarter finals based on its current FIFA world ranking and past World Cup performance, but it will do well to get beyond that point – which it has never done before when playing outside Europe.” That’s especially shocking since the firm has a vested interest in at least one English lad.

But as we mentioned at the outset, P. Dubs suggests the safe money is on Brazil, “Brazil remains the favourite to lift the World Cup this summer as the number one ranked footballing nation and the only country that has won the tournament outside its home region.” If you want some sweet action, take the home team.

Power v passion: Wealth comes second to location and tradition when projecting World Cup winners [PwC]

Allegedly, a Few Ernst & Young Partners Just So Happened to Join PwC

Never having the pleasure of attending a partner-only soiree, we don’t have much knowledge about the haps at these events but we do imagine catering slightly better than what you would find at an in-house training but served by oompa loompas. And an open bar, natch.

Likewise, we’ve never heard about Big 4 partner mixers where, for example, an PwC partner might chat up a E&Y partner talking IFRS, where they fall on the staff’s hottie list and “oh by the way, waddaya say you join our firm?” To save face, we imagine said E&Yer responding with a “No, I will not make out with you” retort followed by open-faced slaps and ripped Jos. A. Bank until the beefy security pulled the two apart (at which point the P. Dubs partner gives his target the “call me” sign).


We bring all this up because the Times Online reports that there has been a fair amount of defection from Ernst & Young to PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Middle East (no sissies allowed). PwC’s Middle East practice was purchased by the UK firm last year and now the Times reports that 20 E&Y partners have been poached by P. Dubs:

According to people familiar with the situation, the defections — amounting to almost a fifth of Ernst & Young’s partners in the Middle East — were in several locations across the region. Most were from Ernst & Young’s consulting business, The moves began last summer but were kept secret because of a settlement between the two firms. PwC agreed that it would not approach any more Ernst & Young staff in return for Ernst & Young agreeing not to take legal action to block the departures.

Neither firm would comment for the Times article except to boast about their numbers in the region, “PwC confirmed that it had recruited 25 new partners and 400 staff in its Middle East offices in the past 12 months,” and “A spokesman for Ernst & Young said that it remained ‘easily the largest’ of the Big Four in the Middle East,” so both firms’ communication departments seem to be operating as normal.

Whether such (alleged) deliberate defections have happened in the States, we don’t know but we hear it is quite the spectacle (marched out by the OMP the second the news got dropped) when one partner notifies his/her intent to leave for a competitor, so all out war could reasonably be expected.

PwC raids rival before Middle East step [Times Online]

PwC Chimes in on How Companies Can Retain Top Talent

It was only a few weeks ago when Deloitte threw their two Lincolns into the mix; now it’s PricewaterhouseCoopers offering advice on how to retain workers during this economic recovery. So, in an effort to not play favorites:

1. The financial crisis and ensuing recession have quickened the pace of structural changes already underway in many industries. As companies rethink the way they operate, they should assess the talent pool and look for opportunities to add new skills while keeping their existing employees motivated and engaged.

DWB: Because nothing says your job is safe with us like hiring new workers, right? The cojones on Dubs to lead off with this statement. Essentially Dubs is suggesting that companies poach talent from competitors; the exact action the article is intended to prevent.


2. With budgets expected to remain tight, it makes sense to focus on non-financial incentives such as training and mentoring programs, challenging assignments and other opportunities for growth and flexible work schedules.

DWB: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Did they really just lump (mandatory) trainings and (mandatory) mentoring programs together with “challenging assignments?” Does anyone else think that last one is code for “your staff has been cut in half due to layoffs and departures?” Umm…no…neither did I.

3. This may be obvious, but determine whether your top talent feels well compensated.

DWB: How much does PwC charge to perform that survey?!? It continues:

“By freezing pay across the board or cutting bonuses and benefits during the recession, you may have inadvertently given key employees a reason to leave.”

DWB: Dubs, are you looking in the mirror again? Shameful.

4. To figure out the right mix of incentives, executives need to first determine what motivates their top performers and other key employees.

DWB: Common sense. As an HR professional, statements like three and four really bother me. They only perpetuate the “HR fluff” stereotype that is associated with our field of work. (Some of you might say the same about my posts, so I should probably be careful where I tread.)

pwc_pointofview_keeping_talent

Apparently PwC Partners Aren’t Eligible for Anti-Bullying Protection

When you become a partner at a Big 4 firm, the culture rewards you with certain privileges. Some of these include: 1) the ability to strut out the door before 5 pm and no one gives you the stink eye; 2) stealing food out of the fridge without fear of retribution; 3) “Black” Starbucks cards; 4) private bathrooms that blast “You’re the Best” when you walk in the door, among others.

Unfortunately, it turns out that sometimes you lose some privileges when you take seat at the big table.

We previously mentioned Colin Tenner, who is suing PricewaterhouseCoopers for disability discrimination, alleging that he was fired after taking time off due to depression and anxiety. His suffering was caused, he claims, by a client bullying him (e.g. taking his lunch money, using emails as TP and returning them) and PwC’s mishandling of the situation.

His fellow partners weren’t buying it, claiming that he was a total wuss, “partners simply do not get sick” and possibly just faking it.


At first, we thought this sounded a little harsh but the Times Online is now reporting that there is a perfectly good explanation for partners’ reaction. They had a policy to back them up:

Mr Tenner, 45, said that a junior member of his team had raised a formal complaint against the same individual, which was investigated by PwC.

Although he complained about his treatment from the individual on several occasions over six months and had asked PwC to implement specific procedures in its anti-bullying policy, “nothing was done”, it is alleged.

Instead, Mr Tenner said, several senior managers told him that he was not protected by the anti-bullying policy because he was a partner.

Now this makes sense. Had this been one of P. Dubs’ rank and file, certainly there would have been hell to pay for this type of treatment by a client. But since a partner was involved, they figure your bully tolerance should be at such a keen level that no protection is necessary.

Bullying ‘did not apply’ to PwC partner [Times Online]

Stressed Out PwC Partner Was Criticized By Fellow Partners for Being a Total Pansy

On Monday we briefly mentioned the unfortunate case of Colin Tenner, a former PricewaterhouseCoopers partner that is suing the firm for disability discrimination. He is claiming that after he took a leave from the firm after “mismanagement by PwC and bullying by a client,” after which, negotiations for him to return to the firm fell apart and he was let go.

Now the Times Online is reporting some of the feelings of Tenner’s fellow partners. In January 2007, Mr Tenner took sick leave for a couple of days and that did not sit well with his fellow partner Hugh Crossey:

While Mr Tenner was on sick leave in January 2007, his managing partner, Hugh Crossey, e-mailed a third partner to say that he had heard that Mr Tenner was ill again and that the firm needed to point out that “real partners simply do not get sick”, it was alleged.

Depression? Anxiety? Apparently those aren’t real sicknesses, according to Hugh. But wait! Hugh wasn’t the only ones that thought Tenner was a total wuss. The tribunal also heard that a member of PwC’s “partner affairs team” (which probably has nothing to do with treating people like whores) wrote to the firm’s chief medical officer (?) “that there was a ‘very strongly held view that [Mr Tenner] was not as unwell’ as he claimed.” So not only is he total sissy, he’s also a faker.

Tenner claimed that his health had deteriorated to the point that it led him to “actively research ways of committing suicide,” although he actually never made any attempts on his own life.

PwC maintains that this mental health thing is all bullshit, sticking with the standard communiqué, “We believe that his claim is completely without merit and we will vigorously contest it.”

PwC manager told Colin Tenner ‘real partners do not get sick’ [Times Online]

Summing Up the Feeling Inside the Big 4

“There are increasing job opportunities in the marketplace and anxiety on the inside.”

~ Bob Moritz, in the Wall St. Journal.

Ernst & Young’s Raises Will Be Better Than PricewaterhouseCoopers’

I said it on Tuesday and I’ll say it again. HERE. WE. GO.

Caleb ran a post yesterday about Ernst & Young raises that as of deadline time had no comments. Zilch. Nadda. I was surprised by this because if anything guarantees comments on GC posts it’s talk about layoffs, Overstock.com shenanigans, and money (not in that order). Needless to say, I think this update will change things.


GC received a tidbit from an EY reader about the recent phone call:

“I did receive a voicemail from Steve reassuring compensations but, it appears that the firm will concentrate giving raises to its “high performers”. So, this potentially could mean that only EYers rated a 5 (need to catch a fraud to get this or have really sore knees) or 4s (need to be well liked all the way up the pipeline on an audit) will have a respectable raise.”

So – if you burned through busy season working yourself to the bone for Uncle Steve but stopped short of needing knee pads (it should also be noted that the parts in parentheses above are part of the original email…) you might be shit out of luck for a respectable raise.

Continuing…

“In addition, I checked with a partner and the August 1st early pay increase is a rumor. The rumor appeared believable since EY is a monkey see monkey do type of firm but, our partner said that EY’s raises although be start on October 1st, will be higher than what PwC will offer to its auditors.”

Boom. To quote my man and crime fighting detective Marcus Burnett, “Shit just got real.”

Shit. Just. Got. Real.

Is there any credibility to this? Sure there is. To think that the upper leadership from every firm does not talk to one another about compensation targets is ridiculous. Merely for the sake of the partners’ bottom line, it’s necessary to know what ones competitors peers are paying in compensation. Why some loose-lipped partner is sharing this information is beyond me, but hey, it’s dedicated readers fed up with their own compensation that forward these tips on. Now, let’s talk it out.

Which would you prefer – every 10 key cruncher receiving a mediocre payout or just the stars receiving something slightly-better-than-insulting? Comment below, regardless of which firm you work for. Be sure to shed some light on the timing of EY’s payouts if you know any details.

Barry Minkow Would Like to Remind Everyone, Especially PwC, That InterOil Has Never Found Any Oil or Gas

Barry Minkow has a message for InterOil auditors at PwC and it appears as though he would really, really like for P. Dubs to remember its fiduciary responsibility. So much so that he even made a video to help drive the point home so let’s hope this lands where it is supposed to and PwC considers Barry’s friendly suggestions.

Peep the press release:

“InterOil and its CEO have shown a troubling pattern of behavior that goes back to the company’s founding in 1997,” Minkow said. “We’ve seen inflated assets, a missing report from world-class Netherland Sewell, no major partners willing to put up cash for its proposed LNG plant, a recent bad-faith bankruptcy filed by CEO Phil Mulacek for a company he controls, and unreported $5.7 million commission, insiders dumping tons of stock last month, hyped press releases, and the list goes on. In fact, the only thing we haven’t seen from InterOil is any commercial oil or gas.”

Previously: Let’s Take a Closer Look at This Shia LaBeouf and InterOil Situation

PwC Reminds Us All to Be Realistic Come Raise Time

HERE. WE. GO.

With PricewaterhouseCoopers’ communication about raises behind us, the proverbial dam of anticipation, expectation, and hopefulness gets closer to cresting. From the sound of things though, disappointment and frustration might be joining the flooding the gates as well.

Debate all you want about how much gravy is (or isn’t) on the train, but the partners in your respective firm will tell you that times are still tight. And to be, they’re probably not stretching the truth too far. Here’s what we know:


Revenues were down in 2009 for everyone. Want a re-cap?

Professional service firms are lagging in the market. When Wall Street (and the rest of America) began melting in 2008, accounting firms were still collecting on contractually agreed upon procedures fees. Fees were slashed when contracts were negotiated over the course of the next year, and it was these cuts in services and fees that cost employees their raises, bonuses and sometimes even their jobs. Fees might be back on the uptick; you would know better than me. But the general consensus in staffing camps around the country is that teams are doing more work with less billable hours in the budget. Less billable hours means…less revenue. Less revenue means…double digit bonus season? Doesn’t add up.

Expenses were cut but will the savings make enough of a difference? Recruiting budgets, headcounts, national trainings, corporate donations, and holiday parties – all areas of cost-savings. The financial faucets to many of these areas were adjusted; how soon they’re opened up again is hard to gauge. “Slowly” is the first word that comes to mind.

Raises will be purpose-driven – The vast majority of – if not all – well performing employees will receive raises this year. The pot will be spread out, but don’t be surprised when more love is thrown at strategic groups. Sorry, healthcare auditor, you’re simply not generating as much revenue as your firm’s M&A tax group. Fatter raises will be given to those that the leadership thinks are vital to generating continued revenues and/or will be expensive to replace should they move into the private sector.

The one upside to raises, small as they may be, is that they will drive up your base salary. If you do decide to test the job market, the last two years of effort in public accounting will be mostly represented in your new target number which will lead to a higher base elsewhere.

Stay tuned as we learn more about the state of raises across public accounting. As always, share your thoughts in the comments.

Some Feedback for PwC

From a source at 300 Mad House:

“I just took the firm wide pulse survey and I laid into them. I told them to stop falsely advertising work life balance.”

Not being intimately familiar the work/life whathaveyous that comes by way of Bobby Mo emails but acutely aware of the motivation techniques employed, we can understand the frustration. Especially judging by some of your reactions to last week’s number. If you feel like sharing your feedback for the year that was at P. Dubs, let it rip.

Compensation Watch ’10: PwC Puts a Number Out There

Multiple sources have told us that Bob Moritz has put a number out there for comp adjustments during the firm’s webcast today :

Sitting in the Bobby Mo Firmwide Townhall Webcast. Raises: 5% to 8%.

But don’t start high-fiving just yet:

PwC expected to be 5% to 8% raises this year, but still a “quarter to go” per Moritz on today’s townhall webcast.

Early reports also are that internal firm services (IFS) will be getting 3-5%.

Thoughts? Your move, KPErnstDeloitteMG.

Some People Would Like to Know Why PwC Is Mum on The Alleged Morgan Keegan Fraud

Last week, the SEC continued its “Bustin’ Up Fraud” tour by charging Memphis-based Morgan Keegan & Company, Morgan Asset Management, and two employees, James C. Kelsoe, Jr. and Joseph Thompson Weller with “fraudulently overstating the value of securities backed by subprime mortgages.”

The long/short of it is that SEC’s Enforcement Divish alleges that Kelsoe “arbitrarily instructed the firm’s Fund Accounting department to make ‘price adjustments’ that increased the fair values of certain portfolio securities.” Weller didn’t do a damn thing to remedy this, Morgan published fraudulent net asset values (NAVs) based on these valuations and investors ended up losing something like $2 billion. Typical stuff in this day and age.


While Khuzhami and Co. gave the usual spiel about “lies” and whatnot, Jonathan Weil over at Bloomberg is wondering why PricewaterhouseCoopers is being totally left out of this ordeal (our emphasis):

Now that the Securities and Exchange Commission has accused Morgan Keegan & Co. of fraudulently overvaluing subprime-mortgage bonds in several of its mutual funds, there’s still one major player in this saga that hasn’t uttered a peep.

That would be PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, the Big Four auditor that blessed the funds’ year-end financial statements for fiscal 2007. Funny thing is, officially at least, PwC is still clinging to its position that there wasn’t anything wrong with the funds’ numbers. That’s a lot harder to believe now than it might have been before last week.

Not to take issue with Jonathan Weil (who we think is great, btw) but we aren’t surprised at all that PwC is standing by their audited numbers. “Deny ’til you die” is Big 4 101, even if that denial is through complete and utter silence. They’re better at holding out on guilt than Pete Rose.

JW ends up addressing his own inquiry saying, “Perhaps PwC is awaiting the final outcome of the SEC’s case, which might take years to litigate. While the SEC didn’t name PwC as a defendant, the firm is being sued in court by fund investors. So PwC has a clear incentive to avoid acknowledging that any of its audit conclusions may have been wrong.” Jackpot! And if there’s one advantage that PwC and the rest of the Big 4 have on the road to failure, it’s time.

Ultimately, this detecting fraud. The public want auditors to find it. Auditors claim that’s not their job. The “expectations gap” as the leadership likes to say. And while Big 4 leaders cling to this “gap” like a security blanket, Weil brings up the question that more people have been asking lately, “if auditors can’t detect fraud, what good are they?”

Bond-Fund Fraud Suits Leave Auditor Speechless [Bloomberg/Jonathan Weil]
SEC Charges Morgan Keegan and Two Employees With Fraud Related to Subprime Mortgages [SEC Press Release]
SEC Complaint

PwC Report: We’re Not Getting Sued for Accounting Issues Nearly as Much

That goes for the rest of you Big 4 and non-Big 4 too! Okay, the report doesn’t come out and state that CPA firms are the ones getting slapped around by plaintiffs but it seems like a logical conclusion since we’re talking about, ya know, accounting.


The PricewaterhouseCoopers report states that of the 155 federal lawsuits in 2009, only 37% of them were related to accounting issues, compared to 41% in 2008. To clarify just a little bit, the decline was because “many of the cases were connected to the financial crisis and tended to focus more on disclosure issues not having to do with whether the defendants followed generally accepted accounting principles.” In other words, the accounting is wrong as much but apparently people are forgetting to bring up certain important details. Like say, repos?

Plus the lawsuits that do involve accounting issues are the most expensive settlements. The reports states that out of the top ten lawsuits, seven of them had an accounting component to them. The total value of settlement in ’09 was $2.3 bil.

So what causes all the problems? Lots of bad guessing for starters. According to the report, 57% of the cases mentioned issues related to estimates, while 43% of the suits cited internal controls. Unfortunately, those two things are right in the wheelhouse of auditors. Bright side is that revenue recognition isn’t citied nearly as much. Don’t let anyone tell you different, screwing up less is a good thing.

Accounting-Related Lawsuits Fall [CFO]

PwC Had Enough with Old Republic’s Sketchy Accounting

Accounting firms take a lot of grief for bending over backwards for their clients. They’re in the client service business after all and keeping them as happy as possible is priority numero uno (despite what you might hear). Considering this factoid, when an accounting firm decides to cut a client loose for a “disagreement” over an accounting practice, we feel that’s a pretty good reason for any future accounting firm to think long and hard before taking on said client (case in point: KPMG taking the Overstock.com audit).


PricewaterhouseCoopers notified Old Republic International Corp. on March 19th that they would be “declining to stand for re-election as Old Republic’s independent registered public accounting firm for 2010.” That’s nice SEC filing language for “We’re so grossed out by you that we refuse to audit you any more.”

The two firms disagreed about the accounting treatment of “certain mortgage guaranty reinsurance commutation transactions with captive reinsurers owned by lending institutions.” That description alone makes us nauseous. The gist from Old Republic’s 8-K filing:

Old Republic had concluded that, in accordance with traditional reinsurance accounting practices, funds received ($82.5 million) in excess of amounts owed to it by the captive reinsurers should be deferred and recognized in the income statements of the future periods during which the related claim costs were expected to occur. PwC believed that generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”) required that the $82.5 million be recognized immediately as income from a contract termination.

So you have “traditional accounting practices” versus almighty GAAP. The tradish accounting wasn’t good enough for PwC, so they brought the probelme to the attention of the audit committee. The AC ultimately decided…wait…that management was correct. Shocked? Us too. The disagreement was brought to light back in November and in a press release when the company said that the transactions in question “which resulted in little consequential effect on the pretax loss.”

Apparently PwC wouldn’t let it go and the Company called in the SEC to get their $0.02 on the matter. Lo and behold, the Commission sided with PwC. After a lot profanity-laced belly aching (that’s what we imagine, anyway) and sleepless nights for both OR’s accounting department and the PwC audit team (that’s not debatable), Old Republic filed the delayed 10-Q last month with restated financial statements.

After what was surely 5 or so months of pure hell, PwC figured that this was an awkward enough situation that a break up was warranted. This was probably the perfect opportunity for PwC to get out of this engagement. They figured Old Republic wasn’t going to change their less-than GAAP-y ways, the audit committee is obviously no help, and God knows you don’t want to get the SEC involved every single time there’s a disagreement. If you were to ask us, its seems like a pretty logical reaction.

Now the only question is, which audit firm picks up Old Republic? PwC will certainly have some interesting things to share with the firm that decides they’re up for this particular headache.

PricewaterhouseCoopers drops Old Republic [Chicago Breaking News/CT]
8-K [SEC.gov]

Compensation Watch ’10: PwC Moving Up Adjustment Date?

There’s been some whispering about PwC moving up its compensation and adjustment time frame from September to July and that’s got people curious.


At first glance this makes sense because the firm has a June 30 fiscal year-end. PLUS! Since Bob Moritz has already made it abundantly clear that there will be raises for 2010 we figure everyone would be excited to hear that the bumps would be coming a little earlier this year.

However, since everyone likes to jump to conclusions over the slightest little change, we’ll indulge. There have already been whispers of layoffs at PwC here and there but nothing that we’ve been able to confirm so people are probably antsy. And if the adjustment date is moved up we’re sure people are worried that means layoffs will be happening sooner rather than later. We can’t read anyone’s mind but we’re thinking this should be in the ballpark…

But if you’re anxiety is well founded, tell us why or get in touch.

UPDATE, a shade before 1 pm: One of our sources inside PwC shared their thoughts with us:

I think the overall feeling was positive…it will probably make some people happy (depending on the %) and hopefully limit the higher performers from going out into the market, however, it may also help some people look for jobs sooner (i.e. they don’t have to wait until September now, if the raises are low). Most people still have a lot of questions, including the estimate of the increase for each band of the rating system, what the bonus pool is going to look like, and although that is not being paid until September, whether we will know what the bonus amounts are in July.

Dennis Nally: PwC’s Credibility with Our Clients Is Doing Just Fine, Thankyouverymuch

Awhile back we told you about PricewaterhouseCoopers Global CEO Dennis Nally admitting that the PwC brand had been damaged because of the whole Satyam fraud.

DN has done another interview with the Indian press and he says despite this litng is on the up and up in India for PwC. The long/short of it is that Dennis & Co. are going to keep giving their clients the P. Dubs experience now and forever.

Pretty wide range of questions but we’ve presented the highlights for you.


Was the PwC Magic 8ball broken?

Q: When you look back at it do you think you could have avoided all that happened?

A: I don’t know if we could have avoided it. As we all know this was probably one of the most significant frauds that suddenly has taken place here in India but even in the global market place. So I do not know how you avoid that type of situation.

Where was the P. Dubs swagger when the shit hit the fan? Did you realize that everything was f’d and didn’t know what to do?

Q: [T]he firm didn’t seem to respond in a confident manner. The impression was that it didn’t know what it had been hit by. Do you think it could have been handled better?

A: I think with hindsight you can always do things better and that is part of learning and trying to deal with issues. But quite frankly this was a major event and of course it took us time to understand the pattern and what transpired.

In fact we are still learning and everybody is still learning. Now all the facts aren’t quite out yet but I think we are in the business of being out in the public and when something like this happens and it happens in a negative way, we are part of that. That is just a reality of being in a profession that we are involved with.

Why is this PwC’s fault?

Q: What role did the auditors have to play?

A: You are into an interesting debate and discussion because what is the role on a professional standards for the detection of a fraud. That is one of the areas that has been the focus not only on Satyam but a broader profession wide issue and we certainly welcome that debate.

I think there is an expectation out there in the public that auditors uncover every single fraud that they are involved with and that is not what professional standards call for but there is the public perception that that is what we are there to do. I define that as the expectation gap. If that is the expectation then we need to make sure that we are focused on the right kind of procedures, the right kind of standards, the right kind of reporting which is quite frankly really different than what we do today.

Will you stop all future frauds in India forever and ever and ever?

Q: Can you tell us if India will never see a Satyam again?

A: I wish I had a crystal ball but I don’t. As I said when you have a situation like Satyam or a major fraud I suspect somewhere in the world of corporate reporting, you are going to see another situation like that. Our job is to make sure we are doing everything we can possibly do consistent with the standards that are out there to ensure that we play our role in that process to avoid them.

The new India managing partner came from Singapore? You got something against Indians?

Q:But he has not come from India, you didn’t appoint him from the India firm – he was brought in from Singapore?

A: Gautam is originally from India which is great so it’s little bit of coming home programme.

Q: But it’s not a vote of confidence on the India management?

A: It is not. This is all about ensuring that we get the very best talent to focus on an important market like India and that’s exactly what we have done.

You let everyone down. Speak to them!

Q: A word to all those investors who felt disappointed with PriceWaterhouseCoopers for not alerting them to what was going on in Satyam. What is your message to them today?

A: Whenever we have situation like this, right or wrong, whatever standards are we are part of that and for that we regret what has happened. But this firm is about quality. It’s about doing the right things, it’s about being here for the investor community and we are very much focused on that.

Satyam fiasco has not dented credibility with clients: PwC [Money Control]

PricewaterhouseCoopers Shutting Down Orlando Tax Practice

Yesterday, PwC tax professionals got word that the firm is discontinuing tax operations from its Orlando office effective May 3, 2010.

Mario de Armas, the South Florida managing partner, explained that lack of business, “Orlando-based tax clients has declined, and we have been forced to import tax hours from other offices to keep our people busy,” and staffing challenges, “We have also faced a continued challenge around staff development in a primarily compliance environment,” lead to the closure of the practice.


The email states “We are committed to assisting each impacted individual with this transition,” although no details were given. The email also states that there will be no other Florida practices will be shut down, “To be clear, we have no plans to close any other practice areas in any of our Florida offices.” Emails to Mr de Armas and Jorge Gross, the Florida Tax leader were not returned. An email to PwC’s national press relations was also not returned.

This practice closure follows recent office closures by both Grant Thornton and Ernst & Young (“virtual” closure) in Greensboro, NC and E&Y closing its Manchester, NH office last fall.

If you will be affected by this closure, get in touch with us and we’ll continue to update you as we learn more.

Florida Colleagues:

We are constantly evaluating our client service delivery to ensure that our clients receive the best service possible and that our people are being offered opportunities for development and advancement. Over the past few years, revenue from Orlando-based tax clients has declined, and we have been forced to import tax hours from other offices to keep our people busy. A limited number of corporations are headquartered in Orlando, and while many of those corporations have been retained as audit clients, fewer have been tax clients. We have also faced a continued challenge around staff development in a primarily compliance environment, and more compliance work will be performed at the centralized Tax delivery center over time. As a result, the Firm has concluded that we will no longer have tax professionals located in the Orlando office effective May 3, 2010.

Knowing that we will be asked about this decision in the marketplace, it is important that we have a clear message to the market. From a strategy perspective, we believe that our distinctive footprint across the state of Florida makes us uniquely positioned to service our Orlando clients from our other offices, following the One Market concept.

This has been a difficult decision, and one that was reluctantly made after considering many factors. Our Tax professionals in Orlando have served our clients well. They have contributed in many ways to our market, and their efforts are valued and greatly appreciated. We are committed to assisting each impacted individual with this transition.

To be clear, we have no plans to close any other practice areas in any of our Florida offices. Please contact me or Jorge Gross, our Florida Tax Leader, with any questions you may have.

Thank you,

Mario

The Purpose of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ New HR Service in India Isn’t Entirely Clear

PwC has launched a new HR service in India and one can only speculate as to the inspiration behind staging the move there (I’ll give you a hint: it starts with Satyam and ends in fraud) but let’s take a look at the official spiel before we rush to judgment.


India’s Financial Express:

Global audit firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, announced the launch of its human resources service ‘Saratoga’ in India along with India Human Capital Effectiveness survey (HCE), a top company official said.

“Saratoga is the most extensive database of HR metrics available globally. We are launching it in India and we have already got an immense response from Indian companies,” PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Partner and Global HRM network leader, Richard Phelps, told PTI here.

On the surface, Saratoga looks like little more than an inventory count of companies’ human capital, which means something when you have to keep a leash on a bunch of customer service guys with fake first names (how else would you keep track of them?).

See, PwC cares. They care that JP Morgan outsources call center jobs to India – I know this because I’m a Chase customer (leave me alone) and have had the misfortune of dialing in. Meanwhile, JPM’s off-shore hiring spree continues and someone’s got to handle all that “human capital”, why not PwC?

I don’t care that some guy in India has a job, I care that he calls himself Patrick and pretends to have a bizarre hybrid Texas/New Jersey accent. Is there going to be a check box on these PwC Saratoga metrics for guys who fake 50s-style American first names from Indian call centers?

I’m not bitter. It’s good that PwC cares about the global community and wants to reach out to facilitate cheap labor for its audit clients like JP Morgan (for the record I use BofA too and they have the decency to hire air-headed middle-state chicks named Kelly and Sarah).

Could you imagine what would happen if the Fed stepped in and barred PwC from auditing anything that’s moving here in the US? Hell, it happened in India.

Good luck with that human capital census or, uh, whatever it is, PwC. I mean that.

A Lawsuit Seeks To Find Out How Old is Too Old to Become a Partner at PwC

[caption id="attachment_3069" align="alignright" width="260" caption="That's a good one Bob but you really shouldn't tell old people jokes"][/caption]

Or any firm for that matter. There’s probably some opinions on this but allegedly at PwC it’s 54 on the low end and if you’re approaching the firm’s mandatory retirement age of 60 then you’re definitely not getting the bump.

The reason we bring it up is that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has granted new life to an age discrimination lawsuit against PwC. Two advisory professionals, Harold Schuler and C. Westbrook Murphy’s lawsuit alleges that P. Dubs de-nied their admittance because they were close to the Firm’s mandatory retirement age.


The partner track at accounting firms is a long and tough road the way it is and for partners to allege age discrimination seems like insult to injury.

The DC Circuit ruled that the plaintiffs deserve some closure on whether or not the bigwigs in New York really snubbed them based on their age:

Judge Douglas Ginsburg said a 2008 D.C. Circuit ruling involving Schuler entitled the plaintiffs to a “reasonable inference” that PricewaterhouseCoopers’ decisions not to promote them were made in New York, where the firm is based.

“PwC says (the earlier case) ‘does not control’ because it addressed only PwC’s adoption and maintenance of a discriminatory policy, not the ‘discrete decision’ not to admit (Schuler) to partnership,'” Ginsburg wrote. “To which we say: Pettifoggery and piffle!”

Nice touch, Judge Ginsburg. So this means the case goes back to the district so they can get to the bottom of this.

We left messages at the other firms to find out what their mandatory retirement policies were to get some context on the age issue but so far we haven’t heard anything back. We’ll update you with those if we hear back from anyone.

It’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out since we’re pretty confident that their is no document anywhere at 300 Madison that says Schuler and Murphy were just too old to become partners. If we were to take a wild-ass guess, we’d say that the firm will point to performance reviews, etc. to rationalize the snub even if these guys were rainmakers.

PricewaterhouseCoopers age bias lawsuit revived [Reuters]

PwC’s Oscar Partners Get Teased, Possibly Need Adult Diapers

As we mentioned earlier this week, PwC loves Oscar time. It’s easily the biggest display of Big 4 shameless self-promotion and no one — not even us, (sans Francine?) — can blame them.

The Carpetbagger has a chat with two of the partners, Rick Rosas and Brad Oltmanns that touched on a number of things, like exclusivity, “there’s only been 12 partners to do this” and secrecy, “we go to a very quiet, windowless room in an undisclosed location”. but just because they’re counting ballots don’t get the idea that they aren’t working:

During the telecast, Mr. Rosas and Mr. Oltmanns stand at either side of the stage, with the 24 sealed envelopes containing the winners’ names, ready to be handed off to the celebrity presenters just before they walk to the podium. “It is work,” he said. “We’re standing literally in one spot for three hours or so, no rest room breaks or anything, because we have to be ready when the presenters get on the stage.”

Jesus, no bathroom breaks? Sounds brutal. Does PwC front them for a bag or Depends or something? What if they make a Starbucks right before the show? That could be problematic. Plus, you’ve got puny movie stars that used to be funny giving you a hard time:

“We do get teased from time to time especially by some of the comedians,” Mr. Oltmanns said. “I remember one year Jack Black said he was going to come over and rip the briefcases out of our hands and give us a good beating.” Did he? “No. I think each of us are larger than him, so he did not.”

Seriously. Don’t fuck with these guys. They have to keep their cool when Halle Berry walks by and their bladders are about to burst. Could you handle that?

PwC Basks in the Oscar Gold

Man, PwC is on a tear this week. Along with the announcement of the three-peat yesterday for the Training 125, the firm also rolled out its press release on the upcoming Academy Awards.

The firm is proudly counting the ballots for the 76th year in a row but this year there are ten best picture nominations and that’s a new wrinkle for the vote counters at P. Dubs.

Now we’re not going to insinuate anything like Slate did back in 2007 where they somehow made a superficial connection between scandals at PwC to their ability to count ballots. That’s just foolhardy and we wouldn’t entertain such a notion here.


Quite the contrary, this should be the biggest slam dunk engagement that PwC has. Sure there are some archaic mechanical issues (e.g. the U.S. Mail) but at the end of the day they’re just counting ballots. The biggest risk that PwC faces is someone trying to rip their arms off with the briefcases still attached. Besides, we’re sure there is a security device on the briefcases that will destroy the entire contents if opened by anyone other than a PwC partner.

But we digress.

Back to the boilerplate press release, PwC drops all kinds of facts on us including that it takes ten total days (between the nominating and the final ballots) and approximately 1,700 “person-hours” for the team to count the ballots by hand.

This begs the question: could the Oscars be indirectly responsible for PwC being embroiled in the wage and hour lawsuits? Is our insatiable demand for red carpets and Brangelina driven the importance of this annual event beyond health care reform, financial regulation, and U.S. GAAP/IFRS convergence and thus, created the sweatshop engagement that is the counting of the Academy Award ballots?

This prestigious engagement may have its benefits (e.g. tuxedos, the opportunity for awkward sexual advances on celebrities) but at what cost, dear reader? What cost?

(UPDATE) PwC Did Not Foresee the Sexting Phenomenon

We heard a rumor today that PwC is currently renegotiating their cell phone contract because, yes, they underestimated the amount of texting that would be done by employees on work phones. Foiled by Gen-Y again!

We realize it’s hard to believe that the numero uno Trainer would somehow not educate its people to avoid sending hundreds of sexually explicit messages to the person in the next row when they simply could have pull together some instructions on cubicle sex. This would have alleviated at least some of the problem.


Well it’s too late now, you randy fools. You’ve no doubt cost the firm millions in charges because you couldn’t compose yourselves.

On the other hand, who were the geniuses sitting around 300 Mad trying to figure out what the texting plan was right for P. Dubs? We know Bob Mortiz wasn’t in on it. Did they consider the fact that PwC employees might be a bunch of savages that would be spending every waking hour sending photos and dirty limericks to their spouses and FWBs?

We understand that firms are trying to save money these days but jesus, it’s common sense to spring for the unlimited texting plan.

UPDATE, Friday, Feb. 12th: We heard back from a source who shared this:

I think they give us something like 100 a month (not positive) which doesn’t affect me, but some people in my office laugh about how much they go over.

Let’s say it is 100 a month. Depending on your prowess, one sexting encounter could conceivably use up a whole month. Someone tell PwC Ops (or whoever is in charge of these things) to go for the unlimited plan.

PwC Achieves Dynasty Status on Training Magazine’s Top 125

Did you think that the Big 4 domination of all magazine lists was over? Jesus, were you wrong. Not only is PwC numero uno on Training Magazine’s Top 125, they’ve been in the top spot for three years running. Clearly this is solidifies the dynasty for P. Dubs.

Personally we don’t think it would be that hard to get on this particular list. You fly everyone to a relatively large city that has bars, casinos, and strip clubs near the hotel and you’ll get some positive feedback regardless of the boring topics discussed.

The magazine lists its criteria for measurement (and, shockingly, our criteria wasn’t mentioned) so we can understand how this index of companies was cooked up:

• Training tied to business objectives

• Demonstrable results

• Number of trainers

• Employee turnover and retention

• Leadership development

• Tuition assistance

• Training technology and infrastructure

• Certification

• Training budget and percentage of payroll

Because we know you’re wondering, only two other firms made it on to the list: KPMG at #5 and Grant Thornton at #103. So this begs the question: WTF E&Y and Deloitte? Completely SHUT OUT? Are your efforts being expended elsewhere? Deloitte’s diversity trainings don’t count? What about the Deloitte University plans; doesn’t that count for something? Sorry, E&Y; the donuts and secure bathrooms obviously don’t help you on this list.

Never mind those losers; back in Titletown, you had better believe P. Dubs put out a press release. Our favorite part being the last paragraph before the “About” section where it catalogs every list the firm has ever been on for the past decade and a half. We get the picture P. Dubs. You can make it on to lists. Good job. Please feel free to notify us directly for the next one.

Digitial Issue [Training Magazine]

Dennis Nally: Satyam Scandal Has Damaged PwC Brand

While kicking it in Davos, Dennis Nally had to have known that eventually he was going to have to answer questions about his mother of all nightmares, Satyam. Having just passed the one year anniversary of the cat being let out of the bag about, you know, totally bogus numbers, everyone is talking about it. In India.

CNBC India caught up with Nalls and considering everything that’s going down, DN doesn’t seem worried. He’s leading P. Dubs full steam ahead into India; there’s no crying over failed audits, “Without question the firm has had real challenges in India but that has not changed my outlook and view on the importance of India economy to global economic picture.”


Stoic; as he should be. Not that the firm hasn’t had to do a little damage control. But no worries; Dennis is a man with a plan, “We just need to continue to deliver, service our clients, respond to their needs, help them deal with their issues and challenges. If we do that and we do that consistently over a period of time the PwC brand in India will be as strong and as good as it has been in the past and where we want it to be into the future.”

Plus, this is a blip, an outlier, a rare occurrence, “Any one-off instance can do harm to your brand and that is the reality. Our job is to make sure we are doing everything and we have done a number of things in India to ensure that this would not happen again,” so there’s no cause for concern.

This isn’t Tiger Woods brand damage we’re talking about. It will all be a distant memory before you know it.

Satyam scam has hurt PwC brand: Global Chairman [Money Control]

PwC Accepts Responsibility for Losing Personal Records of Alaska Public Employees

In Alaska news that doesn’t involve Sarah Palin, it emerged late last week that PwC lost the personal records of 77,000 public employees and retirees who participated in the State’s Public Employees Retirement System and the Teachers Retirement System in 2003 – 2004.

Alaska had engaged P. Dubs as expert witnesses in a lawsuit against its former actuary Mercer and turned the data over to the firm for analysis during the discovery process. PwC discovered that the data vanished in December and PwC notified the state last week (nobody wants to share bad news during the holidays).


PwC has accepted responsibility for the whole mess and has agreed to pay for identity theft protection, credit monitoring, and security freezes (if necessary) for the 77,000 employees affected. The firm will also reimburse any losses suffered by any of the participants.

The firm must have realized that there was little upside to disclaiming responsibility, as this would inevitably lead to a sentence in a Sarah Palin speech that involved PwC opposing God, guns, and regular Americans. Populist rancor would ensue and the firm would be run out of Alaska within a week (give or take).

This is the second SNAFU for PwC in the last month. The firm issued a press release on January 15th announcing that someone was sending bogus PwC checks to random people advising them that they had been selected to be secret shoppers. It’s not clear as to whether this is a sign of the wheels coming off or simply bad luck. We’ll keep you informed of any additional slip-ups.

State Acts Promptly to Safeguard Alaskans Against Potential Identity Theft [State of Alaska Department of Law]

PwC Motivates the Troops with Just Two Words

More examples of motivation are rolling in as we pick up speed during this most wonderful time of the year.

The latest token of gratitude comes courtesy of P. Dubs. While some people need gift cards to remind them that the next ten weeks will be worth the pain but one PwC office knows that such superficial bait won’t motivate everyone. It requires something more, something meaningful:

Picture 3.png

This goes above and beyond getting off your chair, walking all the way over to someone’s cube-pod, looking them straight in the eye and saying, “You’re awesome!”

This involves handing a piece of paper (below) to this awesome person and then telling them how kick ass they are. Then high-five, chest-bump, fist-jab ass-slap, whatever the hell it is you’re doing these days to top it off. It’s the little things that make it special. Now get to it.

You’re Awesome! Award-1.pptx

The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: PricewaterhouseCoopers #71

Next on the F100BCTWF is PwC. While one of you (yes, we’re speculating that it was an inside job) was irked enough at P Dubs to send bogus checks out to randos, enough of you still love the place to keep it on the list.

PwC – Previously ranked #58. More lemons into lemonade from Fortune, “Accounting firm had minor layoffs (less than 1% of the staff), canceled 2008 year-end holiday parties, and gave two extra paid holidays to employees.”


Other interesting stats per the snapshot:
New Jobs (1 year): 402
% Job Growth (1 year): 1%
% Voluntary Turnover: 8%
No. of Job Openings at 1/13/2010: 5,097
Most common salaried job: Manager/Supervisor with average salary of $93,274

Still not sure about that number of job openings but it’s less unbelievable than the 11k that Deloitte had in their snapshot.

We still get the feeling that PwC is the biggest of Big of Brothers what with everyone’s utilization getting extra special attention. We’re not saying utilization can’t be considered but motivating employees with something more useful, like say, tighty whiteys, may be a better approach. Certainly wouldn’t hurt the ranking.

Earlier:
Ernst & Young #44
Plante & Moran #66
Deloitte #70

Which One of You Was Sending Out Bogus PwC Checks?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for pwclogo.thumbnail.jpgRight before the holidays even! The worst part of the scam is that they forged the timeless P. Dubs logo. As in the KPMG Letterheadgate case, this calls for a complete rehaul of the firm’s image. Your suggestions are encouraged. Our preference would obviously involve something around this.
Sounds like the entire firm is at DEFCON 1 so if you happen upon one of these checks, we suggest you notify someone in your office that handles these things after you take a picture of it and send it to us of course.
The firm issued a press release today giving us details about the scam, you can read it after the jump.

The checks began arriving in people’s mail boxes just before the Christmas holidays. They looked so good, they could have been real. But they weren’t.
In a new twist on an old crime, scam artists created bogus checks bearing the logo of PricewaterhouseCoopers. Accompanying the checks was a letter advising the recipients that they had been selected to be “secret shoppers.” The letters guided the potential scam victims to cash the checks at specific banks, then wire the funds to another address for use by a second “secret shopper.”
As soon as the first report about the checks surfaced, PwC’s US Security team began working with the banking community and law enforcement agencies to shut down the scam. “Besides working with law enforcement, we put all of our local offices on alert. We prepared our telephone operators and receptionists to provide guidance for anyone who might call,” said Rose Littlejohn, head of US Security. “We put all of our people on notice, in case they saw or heard anything.”
The checks were dated December 21, 2009. Because the scam took advantage of the US Postal Service, a Postal Inspector has been assigned to the investigation. Anyone who has received one of the solicitations should contact Doug Smith, Postal Inspector at (813) 281-5228. If they have the capability to fax information, they should fax a copy of the bogus check and any instructions they received with it to 813-375-8047. They should then keep the originals as law enforcement will have separate instructions for what to do with them.
“Since the first batch of checks went out in December, we suspect those recipients have either reported the issue or thrown out the materials,” said Littlejohn. “But right now there is nothing to prevent the scammers from making another attempt. We hope people will be skeptical about any kind of offer like this they receive in the mail. Meanwhile, we’ll keep trying to track down and bring to justice the perpetrators of this scam.”

Just When You Thought All Hope Was Lost

A Festivus miracle! After we raised concerns last month that the likelihood of any PwC office having a Christmaskuh bash was nil, we’re now aware of at least one jamma-lamma-ding-dong:
Picture 5.png
Okay, it’s just the tax practice and it’s only two hours but hey, it beats the hell out of an ordinary Tuesday. Those in the audit practice will just have to crash the thing.
A word of caution however: with everything that’s gone on up in Stamford don’t knock back the Glens or white wine with anyone you don’t trust. Who knows what somebody is dropping in your cocktail.

Chairman of PwC India Steps Down, Wants Time to ‘Look at Other Things’

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for pwclogo.thumbnail.jpgThis is the latest development in the Satyscam that P. Dubs hasn’t been able to wish away.
Ramesh Rajan still had a ways to go in his current four year term as the India Chair which might suggest that someone told Ram that his services were no longer needed:

Rajan, who was at the helm of affairs when the Satyam scam broke early this year, had about one-and-a-half years remaining of his four-year tenure as the chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers India network of entities (PwC India). When contacted, he refused to divulge exact reasons behind his sudden exit, and said he wanted time to “look at other things” within the firm and “allow someone else to take charge of the operations.”

Gosh, that’s a little mysterio. Apparently he was having such a good time that he wanted someone else to experience the fun? Okay then. The new lucky duck is Gautam Banerjee, and he is coming over from Singapore pronto to take the wheel.
We’re confident he’ll do a bang-up job but we’ll take this opportunity to remind him that he’s still got some auditors in jail and a lot of pissed investors that want PwC to pony up. Probably should get crackin’.
Satyam effect? Chairman of PwC India steps down [Times of India]

PwC’s Moritz: ‘We Will Have Base Increases Next Year’

Thumbnail image for moritz_becks.jpgNow we’re talking! Nothing like calling your shot.

Moritz did his best Joe Namath today on PwC’s firm wide webcast today (is it over?) so all that speculation of P. Dubs phoning in 2010 can be put to rest. WRITE. IT. DOWN.

If you’ve got other thoughts or details on the web cast, get in touch and discuss in the comments.

PwC Is Here to Remind You that Someone Is Watching Your Utilization

scrutiny.jpgEarlier this month, we mentioned a rumor we heard about PwC putting in calls to the rank in and file of one industry group in the tax practice. The caller was just letting them know that their utilization was getting the crook eye by the partner in charge of the group. Not exactly something that would give you the warm and fuzzies Well, now have another report of P. Dubs putting people on notice:

I was recently informed that despite my good performance and strong mid-year reviews, “[my] utilization is being watched.” Its nice to know that this company values cold metrics as opposed to quality, hardworking employees.

Here’s a question: who at PwC thought that notifying employees that their utilization is being scrutinized was a good idea? Especially since Bob Mortiz sent an email to say that it’s unlikely that there will be layoffs in tax and assurance?
One email says “don’t worry, everything is fine” while someone else calls you up in order to scare the bejesus out of you by letting you know that despite your fine performance someone is watching. Can anyone explain the rationale? Our emails to PwC have gone unreturned, so we’re all ears.

Satyam Would Like the U.S. Lawsuits Moved to India, Oh, and PwC Would Like to be Left Out Altogether

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for pwclogo.thumbnail.jpgSatyam wants the U.S. Courts to kindly BTFO of business that should be handled in India. Specifically these silly fraud lawsuits.
Besides, PW India has already said that they want to bury the hatchet, so they feel that this whole will be best handled in the Eastern Hemisphere:

In a court filing yesterday, the software-services provider said it was joining a motion by its auditors, Price Waterhouse and Lovelock & Lewes, to dismiss the American fraud suits brought by investors.
“This case belongs in India,” the auditors wrote. “Satyam’s alleged billion-dollar fraud, as well as the allegedly improper audit, took place in India. Virtually all of the defendants are India-domiciled companies or individuals.”

P. Dubs India and Lovelock want the whole thing dropped since they were acting on the honor system. Annnnnnnd, since PwC International doesn’t have control over any of the individual firms they’d like it very much if the judge just dropped them out of this thing too:

PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd. said it should be dropped from the case because the investors failed to show it had control over its Indian member, Price Waterhouse, as is required by U.S. securities law.

From the looks of it, no PwC firm wants to be responsible for anything that went wrong with Satyam even though they signed the audit report. Fine, so can we agree that audit opinion was worthless? That’d be great.
Satyam Says U.S. Fraud Suits Must Be Moved to India [Bloomberg]

PwC Needs to Recognize Marketing Genius When They See It

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for becks.jpgAccountancy Age has a extra puffy puff piece on P. Dubs’ “head of sport” Julie Clark and how PwC will be everyone’s hero — and she’ll be a regular Einstein — if England can land the World Cup for 2018.
Sidebar: According to the piece, E&Y is sponsoring the Ryder Cup next year and Deloitte is sponsoring the Olympics in 2012. This brings up two points: A) Real original E&Y and B) What the hell, KPMG? If you want to keep up with the Joneses you better dump that always-a-bridesmaid (okay, occasional champion) golfer and get those letters on a BCS bowl or something.
Not only does Accountancy Age not give any details on Clark’s plans but they also manage to completely ignore the ingenious marketing campaign/sponsoring opportunity that would all but lock this thing up.
Need we remind everyone of our first brilliant (albeit subtle) suggestion regarding an accounting firm and a certain sponsored golfer? Working out, isn’t it?
Make no mistake, I’m sure Ms. Clark knows what she’s doing and we’re not expecting her to take our suggestion that seriously but if she blows it…We’ll be expecting a call.

Rumor Mill: PwC Is Pretty Sure That No One in Assurance or Tax Will Be Laid Off

moritz_becks.jpgBob Moritz, the U.S. Chairman, is trying to calm everyone down, as an email has been sent to the troops letting them know that it’s unlikely that there will be layoffs in the Assurance or Tax practices. We haven’t been able to track down a copy of the email yet but that’s the gist.
While this is good news, we would be more comforable if the email would have read something like:
“We’re absolutely, 100% sure that no one in Assurance and Tax will be laid off like we just did in Advisory. Write it down. No one. Not even you, guy that dicks around in the cubicle by the window so that he can see everyone approaching. Your utilization is in the crapper but it’s cool. You’re safe.”
Or he simply could have just added the photo to the email so everyone would feel better. Nothing says, “trust me” like a fresh pair of P. Dubs tighty-whities, amiright?

Rumor Mill: PwC Tax Practice Eyeing Utilization

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for pwclogo.thumbnail.jpgWe’ve received a tip that human resources for PwC has made calls to staff saying “the lead partner [of the] group is reviewing everyone’s utilization numbers one person at a time.”
This is occurring in at least one industry group in the New York tax practice. Although our source stated that it was not unexpected for utilization to be scrutinized, it seemed unusual for a lead partner to be examining so many individual utilization numbers. Then again, PwC isn’t really known for a transparent performance review process.
Since the forced ranking trend seems to be in full effect, this could be the new standard operating procedure. The timing also seems dubious in the wake of (or during) last week’s layoffs in the advisory practice.
If you’ve recently been informed that your utilization rate is getting a close eye (and this comes as surprise) or if you know of the motivation behind such close inspection, email us at [email protected].

Layoff Watch: Update on PwC November ’09 Edition

We’ve confirmed that the layoffs have started.
The first casualty that we know of was out of the Boston office and worked in Forensic services. No severance details as of yet. Kindly update us with your office, service line and severance details.

Rumor Mill: ‘Meeting with Partner’ Requests Going Out at PwC

Maybe it’s just an informational sit-down for the new P. Dubs tighty-whities that you’re all going to be expected to wear but our contributor, Francine McKenna had this ominous tweet:
Picture 1.png
Apparently someone else may have an itchy trigger finger. According to the comments over at RTA the emails have gone out to an office on the east coast but nothing more specific than that.
Keep us updated if you get a notice or if you know someone who gets a notice, or you know someone who knows someone, etc.

PwC Gets a Small Win in the Satyam Case

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for pwclogo.thumbnail.jpgHey, any win is a good win, right?
A has judge ruled that there was no evidence that the Delhi office had anything to do with the actions of the Bangalore office, the statutory auditors of Satyam.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) — the AICPA of India — had brought actions against PwC offices in Delhi, Kolkata, and Bangalore but the judge isn’t buying that they are related:

“They are separate partnership firms with separate balancesheets. There is no inter-connection (between PW Delhi, PW Bangalore and PW Kolkata [ Images ]) and profit and loss of one cannot be shared by others. You cannot say that the Banglore firm which was statutory auditor of Satyam has anything to do with Delhi firm,” said Justice Sanjiv Khanna.

The court did indicate that if the ICAI wanted to take another shot at Delhi — you know, with some evidence — if it so chose.
P. Dubs has to be happy with the small victory but would probably prefer if their previous suggestion to just forget this whole thing would start getting some traction.

Layoff Watch: PwC November ’09 Edition

Thumbnail image for becks.jpgWe’re not going to say that the pending endorsement of Becks’ undies has anything to do with it but that guy doesn’t come cheap.

Our contributor, Francine McKenna, is reporting on her blog that PwC Advisory cuts will be going down next week:

I’ve just received word: There was a PwC Advisory partners emergency conference call tonight announcing upcoming involuntary staff reductions.
(This time the source is impeccable.)

New US Advisory Leader, Dana McIlwain laid out the bad news: The time has come to cut. Average utilization is hovering at 69%. Cash collections are millions short. Campus recruiting for Advisory has been stopped cold. Business sucks and then there’s the 800+ BearingPoint folks to absorb.

On November 11th the rank and file partners, fortified after training and coaching by HR via a webcast in the next few days, will chop 300+ professionals from PwC Advisory, at all levels, all geographies, all practices. Most have already seen the writing on the wall via forced ranking.

Well, crap. We’re not talking Lotus Notes developers this time around. If the guillotine does indeed drop next week, it probably won’t come as a surprise with the less-than exciting revenue numbers and the rumors that the firm was phoning in no raises for fiscal year 2010.

Oh and then after whoring themselves out for AHIP, P. Dubs turned around and folded like a cheap lawn chair. That probably won’t win you clients.

We’ll keep our ear to the ground on this but in the meantime, let us know if you’ve got more details on these rumored layoffs or if you get an unexpected email much earlier than next Wednesday. It’s been known to happen.
Veteran’s Day In PwC Advisory: Say Auf Wiedersehen [Re: The Auditors]

Earlier: PwC’s Re-thinking of the Bell Curve Ranking

Also: Ratings, Raises, and Promotions: Forced Ranking in the Big 4

Is David Beckham PwC’s Answer to Natalie Gulbis?

becks.jpg
Nothing is official with Becks of course but PwC has signed on as the first sponsor of England’s bid to host the World Cup in 2018.
Seriously, P. Dubs. Think about it. With the sole exception of RSM McGladrey, accounting firms are totally rejecting the “sex sells” mantra. This is your opportunity.
PWC backs England’s World Cup bid [BBC]

PwC Has the Perfect Solution to This Whole Satyam Misunderstanding

Solutions.jpgP. Dubs India wants to avoid having a long, tedious, legal battle over this whole thing. Nobody wants that. So they offered a consent application to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to say sorry about the mixup and let’s just forget the whole thing ever happened.


Not that burying the hatchet won’t take time. The SEBI seems to have an even more dense bureaucracy than the SEC:

The application will be looked at by the Internal Committee of SEBI. If the committee feels that there is merit in this consent, both sides are willing to come to a certain point, it goes to a high power committee on consent proceedings which is headed by a retired Bombay High Court Judge.
Based on the committee’s decision, both sides will sit across the table and decide whether or not they agree with the punishment that could be meted out. As per the consent agreement, there is no acknowledgement of wrong doing.

Oh right, did they mention that last part? There’s nothing to gained by pointing fingers at any one responsible individual or company. PWI would just prefer that they come to an agreement where they aren’t no one is to blame. Problem solved!
PwC hands out olive branch to SEBI in Satyam case [Money Control]

PwC Employees Don’t Need AmEx Gift Cards to Motivate Them

That’s right! We’ve confirmed that PwC’s annual employee survey went out Monday and unlike other firms, the rank and file at P. Dubs are more than happy to tell TPTB exactly how they feel without being bribed (but it would be nice).

Overland Storage Probably Fired PwC Out of Spite

you are fired.jpgIt appears that Overland Storage’s audit committee was pissed off enough about a second consecutive going concern audit opinion that they just up and fired PwC last week.
San Diego-based Overland filed the 8-K, notifying the Commission of the dismissal, on October 16th which also named Moss Adams as the new auditors. At the request of Overland, PwC sent a two sentence letter to the SEC stating that they “agree with the statements concerning our Firm in such Form 8-K.”
The Register states that Overland was all bent out of shape because PwC didn’t explain why they issued the going concern opinions:

While even accountants are entitled to a view about the state of the struggling business, Overland was upset because PwC didn’t actually identify any specific factor in the accounts that led them to that conclusion.
Presumably PwC was expressing a view based on such business events as Overland avoiding running out of cash by factoring arrangements, repeated staff headcount reductions, Nasdaq delisting, declining revenues and losses. Overland’s thinking is that, if so, it shouldn’t have.

The most recent 10-K has all the gory details and as The Register pointed out, Overland didn’t think all those negative things really matter, so obviously, firing the auditors was the next logical step. Moss Adams will get the esteemed pleasure of holding Overland’s hand to the bitter, tragic end.

The PwC Experience, Romania Edition, Involves Fifteen Unpaid Days Off for Everyone

mandatory.jpgWhores PwC employees in Romania are being sent on mandatory vacay starting this month through June 2010. The leave will be for fifteen days and will be unpaid, according to Ziarul Financiar, a daily financial newspaper published in Bucharest.
We were hoping that the firm would require everyone to take the same fifteen days off in order to participate in a firm wide charity event but instead PwC Romania has asked to employees to take turns being quasi-unemployed for half a month and will simply do more with less.
This is not a measure that we have heard about occurring Stateside but there have been delayed start dates and sabbaticals which some may say are close enough. However, the innate ability for Big 4 types in the U.S. to show up to work when they aren’t supposed to would certainly foil any potential cost savings. Until, of course, someone reminds them, “Aren’t you supposed to be on vacation?” to which the glutton for punishment replies, “Oh, I’m not charging the time.”

Can PwC’s Week Get Worse?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for pwclogo.thumbnail.jpgOh sure, anything is possible. However, on top of everyone not called Fox News calling P. Dubs the most shameless whore ever to issue a report on anything, Jonathan Weil at Bloomberg is now calling out some of P. Dubs’s (and KPMG probably for good measure) banking clients’ less-than consistent use of mark-to-whatever-the-hell-we-like.
Weil names three PwC clients (Midwest Banc Holdings, First Bancorp, BB&T Corp.) as showing loans with fair values greater than their carrying values as of June 30th. Midwest and First Bancorp’s stock prices are trading far below book value while BB&T’s stock price trades above book value.
As Weil points out, WTFK if these values are right or not? What is obvious is it seem like some banks are legitimately making a run at fair value and others are still using a dart board. Oh, and the PwC audit teams are okay with that. Nevermind comparability, Dow is above 10k bitches! Onward!
Mark-to-Make-Believe Turns Junk Loans to Gold [Bloomberg/Jonathan Weil]

Firm Mascot Challenge: PwC

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Ashley3.jpgWe’ll assume everybody is down with the KPMG Pomeranian and Uncle Dangle for Deloitte. If not, speak now or shut your pieholes.
There’s some resistance to the idea of famous Governor banger, Ashley Dupre, being worthy of the PwC Mascot.
Frankly, since P. Dubs has made some feel like prosties already and has also shown that, as firm, they don’t mind whoring themselves out for some scratch, the argument can easily be made that Ashley is the perfect mascot. On the other hand, the point has been made, and is duly noted, that high-priced call girls are much cooler than any accounting firm.
So you see the problem here but it’s not our decision. We’ll leave it up to you. State your submission for the PwC mascot and give a brief explanation for said suggestion in the comments.
Keep it clever people, mascots already assigned to any other team or organization will be ignored with extreme prejudice. On with it then.