Friday Footnotes: Firm Moves; PwC’s Future-Ready Workforce; KPMG Gets Sneaky | 10.25.19

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PwC and EY accused of complicity in Thomas Cook collapse [FT]
MPs have accused two of the UK’s Big Four accounting groups of being “complicit” in the failure of Thomas Cook, slamming one, the travel group’s former auditor PwC, over an alleged conflict of interest in its pay advice to executives.

Cases against EY and PwC still hanging around like a bad smell [Irish Times] Another take, a longread on how auditors shirk responsibility when companies crash.

Firms & people on the move: Baker Tilly and Weaver open new offices [Accounting Today] Wait, did I just put a roundup in a roundup? Meta.

US CPA faces up to 10 years in jail over Ponzi scheme [economia] Ronald Roach, together with his co-defendant Joseph Bayliss, an electrical contractor, pleaded guilty to playing an important role in the massive scam, which raised the money from 17 investors between 2011 and 2018. Both had made millions out of their fraudulent activities, at the expense of the investors. According to the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California, the owners of the solar energy company at the heart of the fraud, for which Roach provided accounting and tax services, persuaded investors to invest in tax credit investment contracts and sale leaseback investments through promises of gains in the form of tax credits, guaranteed lease payments and profits from the operation of mobile solar generators (MSGs).

How a Tax Break to Help the Poor Went to NBA Owner Dan Gilbert [ProPublica] Gilbert’s relationship with the White House helped him win his desired tax break, an email obtained by ProPublica suggests. In February 2018, as the selection process was underway, a top Michigan economic development official asked her colleague to call Quicken’s executive vice president for government affairs about opportunity zones. “They worked with the White House on it and want to be sure we are coordinated,” wrote the official, Christine Roeder, in an email with the subject line “Quicken.”

Government Questions the Benefits of IRS Audit Campaigns [National Law Review] Upon inspection, it appears that the IRS did not have a systematic approach to choosing which issue would become a campaign. Instead, the approach was seemingly ad hoc, and was open to employee suggestions instead of empirical analysis. The TGITA suggests that going forward the IRS use a more data-driven selection process for its campaigns. The idea would be to analyze where the IRS could get the biggest bang for its resource bucks in terms of dollars as well as compliance goals.

‘You can’t hire your way out of this:’ How PwC trains workers for the future [HR Dive] The plan is aimed not only at upskilling PwC’s 276,000 employees but also at developing and sharing tech for clients and communities. “We consider this a brand-defining commitment building upon a commitment we already made to not leave anyone behind in our firm,” Mike Fenlon, chief people officer at PwC U.S., told HR Dive.

Revealed: KPMG’s secret AECOM team talks [Financial Review] Sources said KPMG was well aware of its need to act quickly and confidentiality and devise a strategy to make sure it didn’t trigger contractual obligations around non-solicitation and non-compete agreements.

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