I don’t have any evidence to back up this assertion, but I’m not going to let facts get in the way of what I’m about to write: It’s fairly uncommon for a Big 4 CPA’s next landing spot to be an accounting firm outside of the top 400 in the U.S. But that’s what happened […]
CohnReznick is being sued by 49 investors of an ill-fated Platinum Partners hedge fund who claim the accounting firm is complicit in and benefited from a fraud that doomed Platinum. Institutional Investor reported: The group of investors, who collectively sunk $63 million into the Platinum Partners Credit Opportunities Fund, filed a lawsuit against CohnReznick in the […]
Nothing new to report on the recent data breach at Moss Adams, but here’s some MA news we missed last month during our holiday lull: They got a guy from PwC. Jason Emmons is now a partner at Moss Adams, and according to his LinkedIn profile, he’s been providing services to customers in a professional […]
Hope everyone is having a good start to 2020. We’re s-l-o-w-l-y easing our way back to normalcy at GC HQ and catching up on things we missed during the past week. Like Moss Adams disclosing a data breach, in which names and Social Security numbers of clients were exposed. How many clients were affected? We […]
As 2019 winds down, we’d be remiss not to tell you guys that another KPMGer has recently left the House of Klynveld for the greener pastures of an accounting firm outside of the top 25. Earlier this month it was David Roberts leaving KPMG for Mauldin & Jenkins. Now we have Michael Pham who left […]
Not the Moss Adams guy in the Santa suit. He gets a pass. The guy on the bottom left showing off the red puffer vest he just bought on sale at Old Navy for $12. Dude, what happened? What made him think, “Look at everyone in their Christmas sweaters. I need to get in this […]
Baker Newman Noyes must have been a good little accounting firm this year because instead of candy canes, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures, or WWE wrestling action figures in its stocking, Santa got the firm a new principal for its audit practice from EY. As a principal in the audit practice, Drew Nagus helps clients […]
Last night me and my wife watched an episode of the Netflix series The Toys That Made Us about professional wrestling figures and how popular those toys were in the 1980s and ’90s. In that episode, it talked about Vince McMahon committing the ultimate sin when he took over the World Wrestling Federation from his […]
It’s time to take the noise makers out of your desk drawers and blow on them furiously because there will be 34 brand-new partners and principals at Crowe once the clock strikes midnight on April 1, 2020. The class of 2020 is fairly large by Crowe standards. It surpasses this year’s class of 24, the […]
When the 61st ranked accounting firm in the nation steals someone away from a firm like BDO, it’s kinda newsworthy. Well, newsworthy enough for a slow Wednesday late afternoon in early December. And newsworthy enough for RKL that it warranted a press release: RKL LLP announced that Michael T. McAllister, CPA, CITP, CISA, has joined […]
While we don’t typically include the “MDs” portion of PPMDs in Promotion Watch, Andersen doesn’t do that partner or principal thing, so MDs it is. The 2019 class of 13 managing directors at the firm formerly known as Wealth & Tax Advisory Services and then Andersen Tax is larger than last year’s class, when 10 […]
Longtime Deloitte Financial Advisory Services employee Jim Jordon is now teammates with Kate and Ben at BKD. Jordon was recently brought onboard as a managing director in BKD’s Forensics & Valuation Services division. He will be based in Houston. In his new role at the House of Dickman, Jordon will focus on assisting BKD’s energy […]
Do public accounting firms give their employees frozen turkeys before Thanksgiving? Maybe just at smaller firms? Anyway, if firms do do this, Greg Englert will be getting his turkey from Weaver instead of EY this year. National certified public accounting firm Weaver, the 35th largest public accounting firm in the United States, has added a […]
Earlier this month Accounting Today reported the latest data from Audit Analytics on public company audit client gains and losses for the third quarter, with Florida-based CPA firm Assurance Dimensions picking up nine new ones thanks to an acquisition. Among firms you’ll usually see in SEC or PCAOB enforcement orders, Marcum and Deloitte were the […]
Brent Lipschultz has boomeranged back to EisnerAmper after a four-year layover at PwC where he was a partner in the firm’s Personal Financial Services practice. Lipschultz, who has been a guest on CNBC a time or two to talk about taxes, investor confidence, and a bunch of other wealth advisory stuff, has re-emerged at EA […]
Today we have another example of a big fish in a small pond. The small pond being the brand spankin’ new Weaver office in Oklahoma City. The big fish is Zeeshan Khan, who is no longer representing the autumnal hues of PwC. The national accounting firm Weaver, one of the 35 largest certified public accounting firms […]
The firm that prides itself on having a jerk-free environment has leveled up 16 lucky boys and girls, in one of the largest new partner classes at Plante Moran in recent years. 2019: 16 2018: 15 2017: 21 2016: 13 2015: 16 Let’s take a closer look at this year’s class by the numbers: 5: […]
It’s fairly common for midtier accounting firms to raid the Big 4 to fill managing director, principal, and partner positions. We’ve seen it happen several times since May. Dixon Hughes Goodman did it, not once but twice. Blumshapiro did it. So too did Andersen and Mazars USA. Hell, even RSM and Grant Thornton have done […]
More than two dozen of Moss Adams’s finest got a Golden Ticket from the accounting firm’s very own Willy Wonka, Chairman and CEO Chris Schmidt, on Oct. 1. While we’re not sure if the new partner class of 2019 is the largest in the firm’s 106-year history, it is the biggest since 2014: 2018: 21 […]
Dear accounting firms, Year after year y’all pour countless dollars and manhours into producing some of the cringiest YouTube content in existence (topped only by Joey’s World Tour and his obscene foodsex noises) and each time you manage to outdo yourselves with cringiness. Just stop. Stop trying to relate to “the kids,” and definitely stop […]
When Mazars USA isn’t getting subpoenaed for Donald Trump’s tax returns, it’s snagging people away from the Big 4, in particular, KPMG. Olga Blyweiss is one of the newest members of Club M, recently joining the firm as a tax partner in its Fort Washington, PA, office. In a previous life, Blyweiss was the managing […]
Has Donald Trump released his tax returns? Nope! But Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., a Democrat, is trying hard to get his hands on them. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has subpoenaed eight years of President Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns as part of its investigation into hush money payments to two women […]
In the storied history of auditor independence violations by PCAOB-registered accounting firms, Marcum broke the rules in a rather unique and spectacular way: it publicly advocated its audit clients as investment opportunities. The PCAOB was probably giddy writing and sending out this press release on Sept. 10: The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board today announced […]
Did you guys see that Andersen has rebranded? Yep, the firm dropped “Tax” from its name and is just going by Andersen from now on, or until Mark Vorsatz tries to sneak in an “A.” so the firm becomes A. Andersen. And did the press release just say, “Hearkening the legacy and values of the […]
I don’t think in the 10 years we’ve been running this rag we’ve ever mentioned Los Angeles accounting firm Gursey Schneider but that ends now and boy did they hit the ground running for their Going Concern debut. Huge thanks to a tipster who provided us with everything we needed to know about GS’s new […]
While Major League Baseball teams expanded their rosters on Sept. 1, Marcum expanded its partner roster on Sunday, calling up 16 men and women to the big leagues. This year’s new partner class is by far the firm’s largest since 2010. The only one that comes close is 2017’s 13 promotions. Let’s take a look […]
This year’s list from IPA features only one change among the top 10 accounting firms in the U.S.: CliftonLarsonAllen (or CLA, as the cool kids call them) leapfrogged over Crowe into the eighth spot. But there was quite a bit of jockeying in spots 11 through 16, with Baker Tilly now knocking on the door […]
It’s been quite the summer for Dixon Hughes Goodman. The firm promoted seven individuals who oozed out the most DHGness to the partnership in early June, joined some lame alliance with Mazars in July, and was recently named the 17th top accounting firm in the U.S. by both Accounting Today and INSIDE Public Accounting. The […]
The editors at Construction Executive must have been desperate to fill their editorial calendar for 2019 because the trade magazine just came out with its inaugural ranking of the top 50 accounting firms that provide services to construction clients. Here’s all the work Construction Executive did to come up with its first-ever accounting firm listicle: […]
It’s Brad Preber’s first day on the job as interim CEO of Grant Thornton after now-former CEO and hero of the wastes Mike McGuire noped on up out of that seat. And boy did he have a shitstorm to deal with first thing. Rumors of Grant Thornton layoffs started swirling earlier this week, and no […]
Back in March, Jason let us know about a handful of layoffs out of Grant Thornton U.K. and now it seems the fun is coming to ‘Murica. First, a tipster informed us of a shake-up in the Northeast Region, with the Westborough, MA office closing up and possibly more closures planned. Our tipster says they […]
Blumshapiro’s newest tax partner in Beantown has a great deal of experience in the Big 4 trenches. blumshapiro, the largest regional business advisory firm based in New England with offices in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, recently announced that Joe Feehan has joined the firm as a Tax Partner in the Boston office. Feehan has […]
While Armanino didn’t help its newest partner escape the clutches of a Big 4 firm, it did nab him away from a top five firm, which is still a pretty good get. Armanino LLP, one of the 25 largest accounting and business consulting firms in the U.S., today announced Patrick Chylinski has joined the firm as […]
I hate to admit this but I have a weakness for bad reality television. That used to be a shameful thing but I guess it’s kind of like trypophobia, generalized anxiety disorder, and mild alcoholism, none are all too shameful thanks to meme culture and the magic of the internet that unites us all through […]
On July 1, 16 new partners got their seats at the big kids table at Citrin Cooperman, while two others got their “I’m a New Principal” t-shirts. “I am pleased to announce this year’s promotions and extend a big congratulations to all of those promoted on their accomplishments,” said Citrin Cooperman CEO Joel Cooperman. “Each […]
New partners were deified recently at DHG, Wipfli, and BDO U.K., plus new leaders were named at Wipfli and PwC in South Africa. Dixon Hughes Goodman admits seven new partners and principals Seven lucky boys and girls got their seat at the big kids table on June 1, but the class of 2019 is smaller […]
The smell of fresh partners has been permeating through the air this week. First, PwC unleashed its 2019 class of 249 new partners and principals on the 50 states and Mexico on May 31. Then earlier today, I saw this: Baker Tilly admits 20 new partners specializing in a variety of industries and services across […]
Ch-ch-changes are coming at the top of CohnReznick, as partners at the top 15 accounting firm this week elected David Kessler as CEO, effective Feb. 1, 2020. Kessler will succeed Frank Longobardi, who has been CEO since October 2015. Longobardi will remain at the firm until he reaches CohnReznick’s mandatory retirement age in January 2021, […]
We recently saw on Accounting Today got a press release from the folks at Eide Bailly that on May 1, 20 EBers were anointed new partners and principals. For those keeping score at home, there are 16 newly minted partners and four new principals in the class of 2019. “This incoming group of partners and […]
Whoa, look at Dixon Hughes Goodman, picking off a transfer pricing executive from EY. And he’s a former KPMGer. And he used to be an auditor at the IRS. Dixon Hughes Goodman, a U.S. top 20 public accounting and advisory firm, is pleased to announce that Samit Shah has joined the firm as a Principal in the […]
For weeks, the rags in the U.K. have speculated about which midtier firm would win the battle to audit Goldman Sachs’ London-based European operations, a job PwC has held for what seems like a gazillion years. Would it be Grant Thornton? Would it be BDO, which became the fifth-largest firm in the U.K. earlier this […]
How can CPA firms be so white and male when they’re so dedicated to diversity? Look at any firm’s career site and you’ll see a carefully written commitment to diversity. Read enough of them and you’ll soon realize that diversity statements all sound the same. The profession can’t even come up with diverse ways to […]
2019 is supposed to be a record-breaking year for initial public offerings. At least that’s what the experts have been telling everyone. Barrett Daniels, Deloitte’s national IPO services leader, said the IPO market in 2019 “could end up being historic,” while Jackie Kelley, EY Americas IPO leader, said “this is going to be the best […]
With graduation season approaching, BKD CPAs & Advisors held its own graduation of sorts recently, as 23 of its finest capital market servants made partner or managing director. The class of 2019 is equal in size with the class of 2018; however, there are 12 new partners this year versus 16 last year, while there […]
Francine McKenna of MarketWatch reported on July 30 that PwC has earned $10.74 million since 2013 as the exclusive registered lobbyist on tax reform for a coalition that includes several audit clients, which some say is a conflict of interest. Members of the Alliance for Competitive Taxation—which calls itself “a group of America’s leading companies […]
A federal judge in San Francisco rejected class-action status to a group of up to 14,000 older job applicants on July 26 who are accusing PwC of favoring younger workers over individuals over the age of 40 for entry-level positions within the firm. The age discrimination lawsuit, which was filed in April 2016 by CPA […]
The Financial Times did not hold back in its headline announcing the news on KPMG U.K.’s latest hire earlier this week: KPMG appoints risk management chief after accounting scandals. Ouch. Here, KPMG, you might need this. So just who is this brave individual willing to take on a brand-new role at a scandal-plagued accounting firm? […]
During my first year, the firm sent me on a solo engagement to audit a bundle of Collateralized Loan Obligations (CLOs) that a client was preparing to sell. I’d never worked on that client or in that industry, and I’d never heard of a CLO before. The manager gave me a crash course on CLOs over lunch and told me, “Just follow what they did last year.”
If you watched the Oscars last night, you probably saw the awkward exchange between host Neil Patrick Harris and PwC's Brian Cullinan. According to the Daily Mail (I know, I know): After the gongs had been awarded, Cullinan was brought out by Harris, who grilled him on his job as guardian of the Oscars secrets. […]
So, we're working on a somewhat involved piece — which we'll debut later in the month — on diversity and socioeconomic barriers to the profession. In our research, we turned to the 2013 Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits report, which is chock-full of all kinds of […]
Fresh from the tip box this week, we discover that McGladrey CEO Joe Adams is "personally" trying to get his people in the spirit of the season. Busy season, that is. Yes, please send your kid Joe Adams' regards for celebrating her birthday without you yet again. After all, it's all about that McGladrey experience!
"The accountant for eight nontraded real estate investment trusts managed by Nicholas Schorsch's privately held real estate manager, American Realty Capital, has resigned. Grant Thornton on Jan. 22 resigned as the independent registered public accounting firm for the eight REITs, including American Realty Capital Trust V, the last of the extremely popular ARC net lease REITs […]
Back in October, we learned that BP was upset with McGladrey over the firm's audit of BP's 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill victim compensation program. The problem? Money, of course: With audit costs allegedly running nearly tenfold over budget and no audit in sight, BP last week asked a federal court to force the claims administrator […]
It's been a bit since we've covered the comings and goings of Rothstein Kass refugees making their way in the post-KPMG acquisition world. Some of them have broken off and formed their own offices. Others are undoubtedly sticking around. For 14 year RK veteran Matthew Anderson, it was Door #1: Fort Worth-based Weaver is expanding […]
McGladrey isn’t just clinging to the billable hour, they’re trying to put a ring on it.
Well, it's official, ParenteBeard is no more. The merger was effective October 1, and Baker Tilly has wasted no time slapping their logo all over Internet real estate that once belonged to ParenteBeard. We haven't heard any further grumblings of layoffs or general discontent, but if you know something we don't, you know what to […]
Fresh from the tip box this afternoon: Just had our goal planning meeting for GT. I'm curious what the charge hour goals are in other mid market firms. As far as I can tell, we haven't spilled the beans on Big 4 chargeable hour goals in years, so now might be a good time to […]
Grant Thornton is in the anniversary mood and wants its people to get on board, too. In that spirit, they are looking for staff to make their best GT fight song video. Show your Grant Thornton spirit!To help us celebrate our 90th anniversary, we’re pleased to launch Grant Thornton’s Got Talent — a contest in […]
Back in June, we learned that Baker Tilly was in merger talks with ParenteBeard. Unlike certain accounting firms in merger talks that shall remain nameless, it seems at least on the Parente side there was nothing to hide. Who wouldn't want to be proud to be the 12th largest accounting firm in the country post-merger? […]
Surely you've seen the ice bucket challenge, perhaps you've even participated yourself. In case you don't know, basically you get a bucket of ice water dumped on you, nominate two friends to do the same, and if they don't, they have to donate $100 to an ALS charity. Now, some have argued it's a bit […]
Anyone remember the awkward fireside chat? If so, this guy looks familiar. I have joined McGladrey as their Chief Economist. I look forward to creating a new product on the U.S. economy & the middle market — Joseph Brusuelas (@joebrusuelas) August 12, 2014 What does this mean for McGladrey, the middle market, and the rest […]
Wait a minute, why the hell were clients sending their credit card numbers via email in the first place?! Our tipster shares a recent email from the higher ups: Hello All, Gordy Viere, Denny Schleper, John Shutkin and Chas McElroy have made a decision that we will no longer accept credit cards as a method […]
The other day, news came out that a class action suit had been filed against KPMG. I know, I know, it's like every other week some accounting firm is getting sued for something. Of course, KPMG wanted to make it clear that they would "vigorously defend" themselves in court: Siskinds LLP, Siskinds Desmeules and JSS […]
Do we have a trend here? Perhaps. The founders of JDJ Resources Corporation have left Rothstein Kass Family Office Group to launch JDJ Family Office Services. Boston-based JDJ Family Office Services, which provides administrative multi-family office and personal CFO services to high net worth individuals and families, will retain its entire 21-person staff and continue […]
We were tipped to this about two weeks ago but unfortunately our tipster failed to include an email address or any details that we could confirm (THANKS A LOT, GUY). Now, we could have just run it but that would go against our journalistic sensibilities, so we sat on it until we could get to […]
When we first started hearing rumors of a Rothstein Kass KPMG merger in February, one of the items we were sent along with tips that an acquisition would be forthcoming was a letter from RK CEO Steve Kass that went out to staff in July of 2013. A highlight:
ParenteBeard, the largest accounting firm based in Philadelphia with nearly 1,000 partners and staff in 19 offices in Pa., N.J., and N.Y., laid off 22 employees on June 2, including 6 from its Philadelphia-South Jersey region, the rest spread around the firm's network of central Pennsylvania, New York and North Jersey offices. Separately, Albert Miller, […]
When it comes to accounting firm marketing, even the biggest of the big firms can flop (we need not speak of EY's rebranding in the context of a Safe Search off Google Image search but we will, again, because hahahaha I can't believe they did that). In the case of little guys SS&G, we aren't […]
Can someone please explain what's going on with this oddly-shaped voodoo doll that is Adam Moss? "Adam Moss is taking an afternoon coffee break! Happy Friday everyone!" Adam Moss is creeping me out, don't let him near my coffee.
From the first moment the Rothstein Kass KPMG rumors started circling the bowl, it was pretty clear that RK's golden child is its hedge fund practice. Surely KPMG wasn't interested in the deal just so they could acquire Rothstein Kass' novelty cell phone stand named Trusty. Well, Audit Analytics put things in handy chart form […]
Hedge Fund Alert is subscription only so we don't have much but we do have this: After months of rumors, big-four accounting firm KPMG has reached an agreement to acquire Rothstein Kass — a deal that will make KPMG one of the top three hedge fund auditors. The deal could be announced within a week […]
Remember the Vault Accounting 50? And remember how Plante Moran would have swept it were it not for PwC's pesky prestige dominating the rankings? Well Plante Moran says its secret is a jerk-free environment: If you eliminate what outsiders think, Plante Moran and Friedman become a main focus of the study. Plante Moran was ranked […]
From Accountancy Age: Top Ten accountancy firm Baker Tilly has been told to review its audit methodology in light of continuing deficiencies in the quality of its audit work discovered as part of an inspection by the profession's watchdog. Baker Tilly was also criticised by the FRC for its reluctance to accept recommendations made by […]
I will admit I was on McGladrey's Success Starts Here blog looking for something to troll. And I will admit that while I was reading entries from "interns" I threw up in my mouth a little bit. But then I scrolled down and found this: Always willing to try something new, the McGladrey Boston office […]
$508 million in revenues and 274 partners couldn't dig deep into their own pockets to find $1.2 million? Seems legit: Accounting firm CohnReznick, which has Glastonbury and Farmington offices, is going to consolidate its area operations in downtown Hartford's Metro Center with help from a $1.2 million state loan, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said. The […]
Well, this is an interesting twist to the Rothstein Kass KPMG merger drama. We're glad to see our friends at Accounting Today getting on this: For the last few weeks the accounting profession’s rumor mill has been buzzing with stories that Rothstein Kass is about to be acquired by KPMG. Is this all just a […]
We're guessing everyone who cares already knows. But just in case, here is the most thorough of the many tips we received on this news this afternoon: Today Grant Thornton's chief marketing officer, Tricia Conahan, shared two important announcements with the marketing and sales team. First, Michelle Mazur [sic] was promoted to the new head […]
Over the weekend, we began hearing rumors of a KPMG/Rothstein Kass merger. Rather, a somewhat upset individual sent us this:
McGladrey has had a great February, folks! First, they got news that they moved up one spot and are now #4 in the critical Minneapolis/St Paul market. And now, they are the seventh largest management consulting firm in Massachusetts. #7! They had to beat out, like, at least 3 other firms and a guy named […]
You can believe everything you read on the Internet, especially when it comes from an accounting firm because trust! Like this bit from McGladrey: Bottom Line — McGladrey clients are more likely to retain us than our competitors’ clients are to retain them. McGladrey measures client and competitor loyalty as part of a broader client […]
Surely you’ve seen Honest Slogans floating around your Facebook newsfeed? If you haven’t, the premise is pretty obvious:
And no, it isn't performing crappy audits. The 2014 NAFE Top 50 Companies for Executive Women list is out and while EY and KPMG both made the list along with GT, you won't find PwC nor Deloitte ANYWHERE. Maybe someone should check 1955 and see if they're in the kitchen making us a nice pie. […]
Once again, Colin buried this in ANR but it's worth shouting from the rooftops, at least for Plante Moran. These lists are bullshit as we all know but it is pretty significant that Plante Moran grabbed the #23 spot, especially after that embarrassing staff celebration party video we shared forever ago. Here's the press release […]
I've watched this several times since it was shared in the comments and honestly, I can't decide if it's horrible or amazing. Maybe you'll do better at figuring that out than I did. The good: it took effort to put this together, unlike some other cards we've seen that look like something I made on […]
Can't embed, sorry. The McGladrey card can be found here. You will be GLAD you wasted the 30 seconds of your life clicking it.
We need to clarify this situation before people start claiming everyone at GT is going to be fired and replaced with humanoids and/or shapeshifting lizards. As far as we know, that is not happening so just relax. What is happening is Stephen Chipman is aiming to hit the door at the end of 2014. Here […]
Apparently Rothstein Kass is boldly going where every accounting firm has gone before, kicking off a new age with a new logo, a new philosophy and a new mascot. The firm-wide email makes its way into our tip box: Today marks a new chapter in our firm’s history, and I’m thrilled to share it with […]
Considering interviewing with McGladrey? You might want to reconsider, lest your email inbox get blown up 2 years later. Or just hit the unsubscribe button the first time they follow up with you. Consider yourselves forewarned. From the tip box: Hello, I'd like to share with you the continued failure that McGladrey thrive to be. […]
We knew it was only a matter of time before the Debbie Downers started coming out of the woodwork to complain about Tuesday's announcement that Detroit's Plante Moran and Chicago's Blackman Kallick will be merging to create a firm to be reckoned with in the Midwest. One such Negative Nelly has a few sage […]
Ed. note: this is the second submission from Andrew Roberts as we trudge ever onward in the GC freelancer finals. You've met him before. You are already familiar with how this works and I know you'll do your part by chiming in. What does an accountant think about when there is nothing else to think […]
This morning we took a look the deadly advertising at BDO and while they came up with a good tagline, they were unable to capitalize on the opportunity to personalize their service with actual clients.
In contrast to the utilitarian feeling of the BDO advertising, Grant Thornton is all about emotions. The most important statement that a professional service agency can make is that it is passionate for the client’s business, and Grant Thornton’s attitude is authentic. The firm is well defined by the tag line, “People who love what they do” and by the whimsical rose mnemonic.
The three spots in the campaign are not balanced. This one about customer service misses the mark. It is long and tedious and continues to run needlessly after the point is made.
This commercial extolling the global capabilities of Grant Thornton is better. It is well written and although it is not particularly visually arresting, it makes the point about the firm capabilities crisply.
The commercial about responsiveness is the best. It stands out because it uses humor and the analogy of the unreliable, hapless goalie is relevant and easily understood. All in all, Grant Thornton tackled the challenge of advertising a professional service firm well.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner will GT take the next logical step and extend their passion campaign in to special topical ad?
Avi Dan is President & CEO of Avidan Strategies, a New York based consultancy specialized in advising professional service companies on marketing and business development. Mr. Dan was previously a board member with two leading advertising agencies and managed another.
Advertising a professional service company is a challenge for ad agencies. First, the subject is not all that interesting, except maybe to the people who work there, their families, and their clients. And second, the differences from one company to another are minute. What you can say about one CPA or law firm is pretty much the same as another. You can’t advertise a firm as doing something better, the way Tide claims to clean better or Crest to whiten teeth better.
What can marketers do when they can’t make a claim that they are better? Why, write a jingle, like Coke or Pepsi of course. However, professional service companies have to maintain some gravitas. Schmaltz and accountants would be like wearing shorts and flip-flops to a client meeting.
We’re presenting some analysis of two current accounting firm ad campaigns, starting with BDO and tackling Grant Thornton this afternoon.
Analysis and videos, after the jump
The solution is to differentiate yourself not by what you say but through the tone of your advertising. And the tone of the BDO’s advertising is deadly, almost literally. It is dark, and cold, and depressing. And it doesn’t work because it takes itself too seriously. The conversations are artificial, and the situations forced.
In the following commercial, as two executives exit an unidentified intuitional-looking edifice, one person says to the other “Reilly hit the roof” about the need to restate. We never find out who “Reilly” is, but are reassured that “the partners are on it”, suggesting that BDO will not send in the juniors to fix the problem.
This second commercial deals with the switch from GAAP to IFRS. Why is BDO best suited to handling it? According to the commercial because of its global resources and because “it’s complicated.” Oh? Weak, pretty generic, arguments.
The best asset BDO has is it tagline, “People who know, know BDO”. That could have been the idea for a very nice commercial, maybe using real customers, but BDO did not capitalize on it.
Avi Dan is President & CEO of Avidan Strategies, a New York based consultancy specialized in advising professional service companies on marketing and business development. Mr. Dan was previously a board member with two leading advertising agencies and managed another.
So here’s our little wrap up on the firms we covered this week. Pretty difficult to figure out who’s really got it the worst out there, as every firm seems to have its own skeletons. God knows that we’ll continue to dig through as many closets as we can find in order to keep you all informed, especially as we approach the fiscal year ends for raises and bonuses (or lack thereof) and the incoming new hires get razed.
See the rank /em>
Taking a Beating
1. PwC – On top of everything that PwC is already dealing with, rumor has it that this year’s new hires got their starting pay cut but it’ll be spreading over the next 24 months to ease the pain. PwC is, for the lack of a better comparison, the Goldman Sachs of the accounting firms. They’re always going to take the most heat and be scrutinized the most. So with that in mind, they top our first ranking as the firm that seems to be taking the most serious beating.
2. E&Y – Judging by the comments, sounds like E&Y has had the most significant layoffs. Somehow the firm still finds the cash to throw a monster international rager for interns. The Lehman Brothers lawsuits haven’t really even gotten started. Our suggestion: Sneak down to Orlando and party on the company dime while you can.
Bloody but Somehow, Still Standing
3. BDO – BDO has got to figure what to do about the $520-odd million they owe Banco Espirito. Considering the fact that they won’t be getting help from the
International Firm Global Cooperative, this may be a hell of a problem. Other than the TTT comments, BDO-ers aren’t saying much. Get your friends that work there to spill their guts here.
4. KPMG – Rumors of another reduction in force in October, forced PTO, teams are short staffed. We would like more info on those cell phone chairs please. The Radio Station troops are doing a lot of belly aching, which we love, that’s what were here for. Keep it up Blue! Obviously, the big risk here is the New Century lawsuit which includes the “we’re going to piss everyone off” quote. Considering the pace of these lawsuits, we’ll be talking about it well into next decade.
5. Deloitte – Deloitte, while canning plenty of people, partners not sharing the love and losing some big clients, does not have any major litigation pending that we can see so they fall near the bottom of our list at this point in time. Oh sure you could say that Parmalat is out there but does anyone give a damn? They make extra long-shelf-life milk. That’s a fraud in it’s own right.
6. Grant Thornton – Sounds like G to the T is able to keep their layoffs pretty quiet but they possibly have had it the worst. Keep enlightening us with those details. Refco is out there but those guys were cheats, liars, and thieves. A public defender could get you out of that. However, the biggest strike we see against is trying to squeeze into cool kids club with the coining of “Global 6 Accounting Organization”. Nice try GT.
So there you have it. P. Dubs and E&Y take the top two spots in our very first Firm Watch ranking. Radio Station and BDO have got serious issues to work and Big D and GT seem to fall to the bottom of the ranking by having less bad issues than the other firms.
Give us your thoughts. Reshuffle completely? Any more tips? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll do the firm watch every so often as big events unfold. In the mean time, keep sending us tips, dirt, and ridiculous emails that inform you about paper clip rationing and the such.
All right, so this is it for our firm watch. We realize loading three firms into one day wasn’t such a good idea but we procrastinated out of habit.
We wrap up with BDO Seidman, who some of you probably consider to be TTT-1 but whatevs.
See BDO’s list, after the jump
• Lawsuits – BDO
International Global Cooperation hit the lottery when a jury in South Florida bought the wedding planner defense in the Banco Espirito lawsuit. That left the U.S. firm to deal with the $520 million verdict in the original case. The U.S. firm just reported revenue results of $622 million. No word on how that will reconcile.
• Madoff Exposure – Listed as a defendant in seven lawsuits.
• Overtime Lawsuits – List as a defendant in one lawsuit.
• Layoffs, etc. – Same dealio as GT. We’ve only heard of minor layoffs but as high as 200 in the UK. Get us up to speed if you’ve got details.
• Miscellaneous – Global CEO Jeremy Newman has a blog that is frequently TLDR. The U.S. CEO has been compared to a special version of Ricardo Montalban and a former partner had to recently give up his boat.
Finally. That catches you up on all the firms that you’ll see regularly around here. They all seem doomed but also have the tenacity of cockroaches. You’ll see our totally unfair, unrealistic ranking tomorrow with some updates that we’ve gotten throughout the week. Before then, continue to send us your tips to email@example.com.
Now that we’ve dispensed with the Big 4 on our Firm Watch, we’ll throw in the two major
second next non-Big 4 firms to demonstrate our willingness to spread the love hate coverage.
Get acquainted with GT
TT, after the jump
• Lawsuits – The lawsuits worth mentioning for GT are Parmalat and Refco. While Deloitte was able to get the suit tossed, GT wasn’t so lucky. Investors in the never-go-bad dairy company are allowed to proceed with their lawsuit which will guarantee that this case continues on to the end of time. As far as Refco goes, well, we’ll be damned if we can find anything that is even remotely recent as it relates to GT. Help us out if you can.
• Madoff Exposure – G to the T’s UK office is running down assets across the pond. That unenviable task could almost qualify the firm for sainthood.
• Overtime Lawsuits – Listed as defendants in two cases.
• Layoffs – This is where we need your help, GT-ers. As far as we can tell, not a lot of blood has been spilled at G to the T. If you’ve details on rumors on anything upcoming or layoffs that have gone down recently, let us know.
• Miscellaneous – GT’s partners in the UK have interns sign off on audit reports and the Midtown New York office as a diabolical address. Oh, and the lame attempt by their PR team to coin “Global 6 Accounting Organization” as the new tag for accounting firms.
There’s the study on passionate folks at GT. Get us caught up on stuff we’re missing at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t imagine it’s that boring to work there.
The last of the Big 4 Horsemen of the Bean Counter Apocalypse is Big D-period. Catch up on the rest of the usual suspects: Radio Station, P. Dubya, and E&Y to get the gist of this little exercise.
Deloitte’s got a pretty similar list as the rest of the firms but with a couple twists so let’s get down to brass tacks:
Get the details, after the jump
• Losing Clients – We’ve heard that firms are low-balling their RFP’s so it’s no surprise that some clients are switching but Deloitte seems to have had worse luck than others. UAL, Heelys (for the kids), Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, and Washington Mutual have all disappeared from D-period.
• Lawsuits – Believe it or not, the Parmalat debacle is not a done deal, as some lawsuits against the US and Internationalfirms are still out there as a judge ruled in January that the agent/agency issue was worth a closer look.
• Madoff Exposure – All week we’ve been referring you to the list of Feeder Fund Lawsuits over at D&O Diary. In a small water into wine moment, Deloitte does not appear on the list once. Nice bullet dodge Big D.
• Overtime Lawsuits in California – Deloitte is listed as the defendant in three of the cases.
• Layoffs, performance reviews, etc. – So, as we saw yesterday, this is where Deloitte’s sitch gets, pret-tay, pret-tay, pret-tay ugly. Layoffs were reported in both December and March nationwide. The
performance stealth cuts are common here too and more may occur. All this is going on while an out-going CEO is talking to the press about how bad things have been in the last five years and the UK CEO is having Scrooge McDuck pool parties.
• Miscellaneous – The worst drug dealers in the world used to work for Big D.
So that does it for Deloitte, God bless ’em. And that does it for the
Final Big 4. We’ll throw in GT and BDO in for good measure but if you want to throw some more jabs at the big boys, email us at email@example.com. You’ve got until around high noon tomorrow before we’ll start coming up with our completely unfair and unscientific ranking.
dissecting opining on sliming P. Dubs and E&Y, we’re moving on to KPMG in round three. We’ll dispense with the pleasantries and get right to the list:
• New Century Lawsuit – This is the ball buster for KPMG. A $1 billion lawsuit filed back in April that alleges “grossly negligent audits”. This tale also includes a
smoking gun quote from an email sent from New Century engagement partner to a specialist, “As far as I am concerned, we are done. The client thinks we are done. All we are going to do is piss everybody off.” We’re not sure if it’s possible to take that out of context.
Check out the rest of the Radio Station’s list, after the jump
• Madoff Exposure – Per D&O Diary, the Radio Station is named as a defendant in at least ten lawsuits as a result of auditing the Madoff feeder funds.
• Overtime Lawsuits – Listed as a defendant in five lawuits.
• Layoffs, Pay Freezes, etc. – Allegedly, the word that pay was being frozen was slowly leaked from the top on down. Layoffs have been pretty steady for the last twelve months including rounds in November and March in the audit and advisory practices. In addition, the ubiquitous trend of performance rating cuts is in full effect, and we just learned that by the this time last year, audit interns had heard yay or nay on receiving a full time offer. That probably makes for some
nervous intoxicated co-eds.
• Miscellaneous – Phil Mickelson, the Radio Station’s walking billboard, was a bridesmaid at the U.S. Open for a
third fourth fifth time.
Done-zo. Anything else you want to see tacked on? Drop us the dirt at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get it in for the final tab.
Round two of our Firm Watch this week covers everybody’s favorite resident of Times Square, Ernst & Young. We’ll get started on E&Y’s trubs with the Schein lawsuit where the firm was recently found to be marginally negligent and were ordered to pay a smidge over $10 mil as a result. NBD really, as E&Y probably spends that much money screwing up the spelling of their name on cheesy coffee cups.
The more serious stuff on E&Y, after the jump
Here’s some major stuff that probably keeps some E&Y partners awake at night:
• Lehman Brothers – E&Y’s role in the collapse of Lehman Brothers has got little attention in the press, however, suits have already been filed by San Mateo County in California, the City of Long Beach, California and the Southern District of Texas. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to speculate that more suits are likely to be filed.
• Madoff Exposure – E&Y also has significant Madoff exposure, as the auditor of several feeder funds. D&O Diary has them listed as defendants in at least ten different lawsuits.
• Layoffs – There have lots of reports of layoffs at E&Y in the last month or so, many of which occurred in the tax practices in the Northeast, and many of those getting the axe were supposedly on visas. Real classy. This was a follow-up to layoffs that also went down in February. As if that’s not enough, there were also rumors of layoffs occurring monthly since September ’08 in the Detroit office. Plus, with lots comments about stealth layoffs at all levels, it sounds like it has been a bloodbath at E&Y.
So that seems to be the major stuff, from our view, for E&Y. Again, we want to know what we’re missing. We’re looking for tips and dirt on any of the things we discussed above and everything we didn’t mention. Email us at email@example.com and we’ll get all your additional gripes on here.