Welcome to the First-Ever (and Maybe Last-Ever) Going Concern Awards

you almost did the thing

Since this website is aimed at the coveted 18-34 age demographic (don’t worry if you’re not in it, I got booted from that box a few years ago myself, pass the back pain pills please), y’all should be more than familiar with getting trophies for doing absolutely nothing if the 60-year-olds who gave them to you complaining about it are any indication. But there are plenty of things people do that are never recognized, much less awarded for. It is in the spirit of recognizing these unsung heroes that we decided to put together a new tradition: the inaugural Going Concern Green Eyeshade Awards or Something Like That in recognition of outstanding service to the profession. And by service, we might just mean shenanigans.

Please join us in acknowledging the following people and stories for making the accounting world just a little bit brighter, bleaker, or slightly more bitter:

Naughtiest Accountant of the Year

Alright, so of this entire list, this category was the toughest to narrow down. I mean, there are just soooooo many to choose from. There was the ex-Marks Paneth partner arrested for bilking investors out of $2 million through an intellectual property scheme, the lady charged with stealing more than $93,000 from two Girl Scouts troops, a Girl Scouts service unit and a local cancer center, and of course, who can forget the former KPMG recruiter caught banging a gymnast in an apartment parking lot.

But no, our lucky winner for Naughtiest Accountant of 2019 is Brandon McNamara, the ex-EY senior consultant indicted on hate crime charges for beating up gay couple. NAUGHTY. BAD, BAD.

Most Newsworthy Big 4 Event

This one was a toss-up between a Dallas cop shooting a PwC associate just chillin’ in his apartment and the KPMG/PCAOB leak scandal, and the KPMG/PCAOB leak scandal won out solely for being more relevant to the profession. Basically, KPMG was having a rough go of PCAOB inspections a few years ago, decided to get in bed with the enemy and bring on some ex-PCAOBers to help them figure things out from an insider’s perspective (as if there aren’t copious audit standards readily available to reference at any time), and then things got out of hand when the insiders got just a touch too insidery.

Biggest Surprise Public Accounting CEO Departure of the Year

Well this one is a no-brainer. Mark Weinberger bailing on EY just as their Vision 2020 was about to be, uh, visualized was definitely a surprise to everyone. Except maybe Mark himself, who appeared to have been plotting this one for a bit.

Weirdest Service Offered by a Big 4 Firm

Over the years, Big 4 firms have been looking up, down, and inside out for new ways to make money for themselves offer exceptional client service. Few things seemed as strange as PwC boasting about “beef barcodes” that would allow folks, er, more likely clients, to track their meet from teat to table, or something like that. Apparently meat fraud is a thing, and leave it to a Big 4 firm to come up with a solution.

Most Embarrassing CPA Exam Performance of the Year

Now, this award could have gone one of two ways. We could have given it to the candidate with the worst known performance of the year, or we could have given it to the entity (we’re looking directly at you, NASBA) responsible for the worst exam-related event of 2019. It was a close one, but the candidate who claimed to get CPA exam scores in the mid-teens won out over NASBA tweeting that CPA exam scores were up when they were, in fact, not.

Best Crimefighter Slash Accounting Professional

It should come as no surprise that future PwC partner Max Livingstone-Learmonth absolutely slaughtered this category after he nabbed a purse-snatcher in September while wearing a pope costume in the middle of a marathon. Yes, that happened. And no, he didn’t have much competition.

Accountant Slash Athlete of the Year

Again, there wasn’t much competition in this category because let’s face it, you guys aren’t necessarily known for your exceptional athleticism. That’s OK, you make up for it in other ways. But every now and then, an accountant comes along that makes everyone want to do the wave or grab a title towel or whatever it is you sports-loving people do when something exciting happens. Scott Foster made accountants everywhere proud to call themselves number-crunchers when he helped lead the Chicago Blackhawks to victory against the Winnipeg Jets 6-2 as an emergency goalie back in March. Better? He shunned media requests and instead focused on his job as senior financial accountant at Golub Capital. Classy.

Most Misleading Accounting Firm Product Name

The winner in this category is Deloitte, who launched the “Deloitte Greenhouse experience” without plants nor fertilizer. Who comes up with this crap anyway?

Organization Most Shit-On For Making a Stupid Credential Mistake

It would be way too easy to just throw this award at NASBA since they’re without a doubt the organization most likely to receive ire from interested parties over the slightest of mistakes, so we went ahead and disqualified them from this category for the sake of fairness. That left just two candidates: the AICPA for offering its Accredited in Business Valuation credential to — gasp! — non-CPAs and the Institute of Internal Auditors for phasing out its Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP) certification. We had to give it to the IIA only because we feel like the AICPA got pounded on enough this year and deserved a break.

Dumbest Going Concern Mistake of the Year

This one was easy. Although hiring Bramwell full-time and bringing me back were both obviously huge mistakes, the biggest mistake our handlers in GC management made this year was closing down the comments. Pop Sci this site ain’t, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Thankfully the closure was short-lived and you’re now free to ramble in the comment section like the good ol’ days. Well, no, scratch that, be better than the good ol’ days, because those days were kinda shitty if I’m honest.

And that’s all we’ve got for 2018. Seriously, this is the last “recap” post we’re doing. And the last post of 2018, for that matter. Self-deprecating jokes aside, it’s been so good to be back with y’all and I can’t wait to see what fuckery 2019 brings. Be well and don’t forget to drag along a designated driver (or random Uber dude) if you’re out drinking tonight. See you next year, kids!

Have something to add to this story? Give us a shout by email, Twitter, or text/call the tipline at 202-505-8885. As always, all tips are anonymous.


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