Accounting Firm “Studies”

PwC Report Shocker: Consumers Who Pirate Video Are ‘Enticed by Free Content’

If you can believe that.

[A]ccording to a report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), those lessons don’t relate well to a generation of broadband mobile users who still prefer to go searching for free content rather than pay even the smallest price.

“Many consumers who say they commit online piracy are enticed by free content” despite having access to “an astonishing variety of movies videos and television shows–on multiple platforms–faster than ever before,” the report concludes.

The report’s key findings are topped by the fact that 81 percent of surveyed consumers say they will continue pirating video despite concerns about computer viruses, the legality of their actions and inferior quality/fidelity of the content. It also reported a crossover effect in that “40 percent of those who report pirating content via traditional methods said they will probably also pirate on mobile devices within the next six months.”

PwC: Video pirates “enticed by free content” [FierceCable]
The speed of life [PwC]

Ernst & Young Study: U.S. Is Great for Renewable Investment If You Don’t Count the Red States

China has everyone beat, no shocker there, but if you don’t count Sarah Palin’s real America the red, white & blue is #2!

Ernst and Young counts only perhaps half (or is it three quarters?) of the 300 million people in the US as “US”, by considering only those states that are doing anything about renewable energy, like California…The “US” excludes all the dirty states that lack renewable policy; states like Wyoming, Indiana, North Dakota, Kentucky, Oklahoma and so on.

Ernst & Young: U.S. Blue States Nearly as Attractive as China for World Renewable Investment [Reuters]

AT&T CEO Isn’t Impressed with Deloitte Study That Says Half of iPhone Users Would Switch to Verizon at the Drop of a Hat

Confidential to AT&T BSDs: Steve Jobs may be an asshole, but he’s not stupid.

Close to half of Apple Inc iPhone users in the United States would be “very interested” in dumping AT&T Inc for Verizon Wireless as a service provider, according to a study from professionals service firm Deloitte.

“If another carrier were to pick up the iPhone, you would probably see a number of defections,” said Ed Moran, director of insights and product innovation at Deloitte.

AT&T’S Chief Executive Randall Stephenson played down the potential impact of the loss of iPhone exclusivity at a Goldman Sachs conference on Tuesday.

Stephenson said about 80 percent of AT&T’s iPhone users were either in family plans making it difficult to cancel service or had received their phone through their business. [Ed. note: rumor has it that after making this statement, Stephenson was heard laughing maniacally]

Study finds iPhone owners want to switch to Verizon [Reuters]

Ernst & Young Report: Most CFOs Aren’t Interested in Becoming CEOs

This story is republished from CFOZone, where you’ll find news, analysis and professional networking tools for finance executives.

A surprising new report from Ernst & Young makes the bold claim that only 10 percent of CFOs actually want to become CEO. The report – entitled ‘DNA of the CFO’ – was based around a survey of 699 CFOs in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia and included in depth interviews with CFOs of leading companies such as Heineken, Dubai Aerospace Enterpriser.

The accepted wisdom is that in times of trouble, boards turn to CFOs to become CEOs. CFOs are seen as having a good handle on the numbers, attention to which is seen as the cure to the company’s problems.

While CFOs are generally seen as detail focused but not necessarily strategically focused, the survey shows that some 35 percent of all CFOs are intimately involved in the strategic side of the business. This is in addition to their day to day duties of keeping on top of the numbers.


While only 10 percent say that they want to be CEO, 73 percent say that they would like to remain in their role while taking on more strategic responsibility. This suggests that CFOs are put off by the unwelcome levels of scrutiny that CEOs face, which as CFOs they can largely avoid. And if CFOs can undertake much of the interesting strategic work which CEOs do but without the glare of publicity, that would appear to be a good bargain.

The survey also laid out CFOs’ professional failings, with a majority saying that their biggest lay in communication with external stakeholders, especially the media. Any financial journalist can attest that CFOs are difficult people to communicate with. They might possess the keys to the kingdom, in terms of the juiciest details about what’s actually going on in a company, but they are generally woeful at crafting a positive message. Those few that can are usually the ones who make it to the top.

Even so, the survey shows that not many CFOs actually want this. Rather what is revealed is that the CFO position is the destination itself, not the staging post to a role any higher. To that end, the report crafted a list of the competencies that finance professionals need to reach the role of CFO. These competencies are listed below, in order of priority.

• Extremely strong financial professionalism
• A strong commercial sensibility
• Deep understanding of the business
• Skill with people
• Ability to think strategically
• Excellent communication skills – the ability to translate complex issues in a simple, straightforward way
• Ability to manage conflict
• Inclination to solve rather than create problems
• International experience
• Language skills
• Experience of running major projects
• Business analytical skills
• Ability to manage stress and complexity under pressure
• Good health
• Operational experience
• Ability to adapt to change
• Experience of adversity
• Passion

Many of these are the normal, boilerplate nonsense that headhunters come up with: it is difficult to do any job if you are not in good health, or even if you lack passion for the job in hand. Others seem bland enough to apply to any high level job such as the ability to adapt to change. Others might seem mutually exclusive: experience running major projects can often conflict with the task of managing the finances around those projects.

International experience and excellent communication are also skills that can be acquired. More challenging, perhaps, is the need to be a problem solver and not a creator while at the same time being excellent with numbers. Financial results are obviously not a day at the beach. If you can master them and don’t feel the need to be an excellent communicator, then like 90 percent of the respondents, becoming CFO is the end itself, not a path to the other corner office.

Did KPMG Plagiarize Part of Its Atlantic Yards Market Study?

Back in the fall we told you about a market study that KPMG issued on the Atlantic Yards project.

At that time, we learned that KPMG had done some less-than stellar research on the movement of the units on Prospect Park and it got the attention of some the local blogs covering the massive development project.

Namely, the Atlantic Yards Report blog. It reported:

KPMG’s report has some very shoddy research. Consider that the report (dated August 31) claims that Richard Meier’s On Prospect Park is 75% sold. (Only rental buildings are pre-leased.)

However, the New York Times reported September 27:

While the developers say half of the building’s 99 units have been sold, the real estate Web site StreetEasy.com documents only 25 closings through public records.

AYR didn’t state it so boldly back in the fall but in a post from yesterday (as well as reports in May and June) it isn’t so nice and flat out calls the firm out for lying, “The KPMG report got very little discussion, but it contains lies–blatant, checkable lies–about condo sales.”

But wait! There’s more! We learned today from a friend of GC that not only does AYR call out KPMG for having their pants on fire, it also says that the firm got a little carried away with the copy and pasting:

I discovered when I took another look, it contains more than two pages of shameless borrowing–plagiarism that is not diminished by a vague footnote.

The entire section on New York City Market Dynamics is cribbed from The Corcoran Report(s) for Manhattan and Brooklyn for the second quarter of 2009.

Yes, there’s a footnote to the section headline that cites “The Corcoran Report–2nd Quarter 2009” as a source (click to enlarge), but there’s no indication that nearly all the text–with the slightest of changes–comes from Corcoran.

No quotation marks, no indentations, no italics.

AYR provides several examples that are oddly the same identical. We’ve presented a clip from KPMG’s report here:

And here’s Corcoran’s (apologies for the small type):

Like we said, this is just one example. Our messages (email, voicemail, in a bottle) to KPMG have not been returned at this time.

Deloitte Survey: The Next Generation of Employees Will Not Stand for the Inability to Update Their Status

Thumbnail image for cry baby.jpgIn Deloitte’s Survey Du Jour we learn that your future underlings are going to want — nay — DEMAND the ability to move up in Farmville while they’re at work (at least one person understands your obsession).
Okay, demand is a stretch but dammit the kids these days are an ethically conscious bunch so you can trust them to get their work done while checking all their hot friend of friends.

Nearly nine-in-10 (88 percent) teens surveyed use social networks every day, with 70 percent saying they participate in social networking an hour or more daily. More than half (58 percent) said they would consider their ability to access social networks at work when considering a job offer from a potential employer. This comes as many organizations have begun implementing policies that limit access to social networks during the workday due to concerns about unethical usages, such as time theft, spreading rumors about co-workers or managers and leaking proprietary information, among other reasons.
Most of the teens surveyed feel prepared to make ethical decisions at work (82 percent) and a significant majority of teens say they do not behave unethically while using social networks (83 percent).

There’s really no cause for concern when you’ve got newbies out there asking their friends to vote for their sluttiest co-worker using a work email address. We do realize that some people make better decisions than others.
Overall, we don’t see what the BFD is. Commercials on the tube portray “responsible” adults on Facebook so to allude that the next wave of corporate soldiers would be the only ones that wouldn’t take a job with limited access to social networks seems weak. There’s plenty of people working already that have that point of view. Plus, pretty soon everyone on FB, Twitter, et al. will have phones that can run those apps. Just let people do what they want and they’ll be much happier.
Now excuse us, we’ve got strawberries to harvest.
No Facebook at Work? No Thank You! Teens Expect Access to Social Networks On-The-Job [Junior Achievement/Deloitte Poll]

KPMG’s Report on the Atlantic Yards Project Didn’t Impress Some People

Thumbnail image for bklyn.jpgWe might be going out on a limb here but it seems like a lot of studies that the large accounting firms put out don’t get much attention. There might be a press release and a mention here and there but otherwise not too much excitement.

That being said, KPMG must be thrilled that the Atlantic Yards Report is taking such exception with thlantic Yards Project:

KPMG’s Atlantic Yards market study, conducted on request of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), backs up the assertion that Atlantic Yards might be completed in the announced ten years, rather than, as then-ESDC CEO Marisa Lago said in April, “decades.”

Well, not only are projections about condo values questionable, as I wrote earlier today, but KPMG’s report has some very shoddy research. Consider that the report (dated August 31) claims that Richard Meier’s On Prospect Park is 75% sold. (Only rental buildings are pre-leased.)

However, the New York Times reported September 27:

While the developers say half of the building’s 99 units have been sold, the real estate Web site StreetEasy.com documents only 25 closings through public records.

KPMG claims that the Oro Condos are also 75% sold. But just this week Crain’s reported that prices at Oro had been slashed 25%.

If you’re not familiar with the Atlantic Yards Project, you’re lucky. Let’s put it this way, it’s a $5 billion project that involves moving the New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn courtesy of Nets owner Bruce Ratner and sixteen new high-rise buildings and will be finished long after we get global accounting convergence.

So yeah, a developer’s paradise. Problem is that all the hype has transformed into a giant argument that pretty much involves everyone. As NoLandGrab points out, “if the Atlantic Yards project is so great, why does everyone pushing the project forward, and every alleged ‘study’ extolling its virtues, have to stray so far from the truth to make it appear viable?”

The obvious benefit we foresee is that the project may get rid of the worst Target on Earth but we may lack vision.

As for the Radio Station, they probably had the best of intentions when preparing their report but now, for better or worse, KPMG, who has yet to respond to our request for comment, is near the center of the rage. Enjoy.

What was KPMG smoking? Report claims 75% of Meier’s On Prospect Park has been sold; other statistics are way off [Atlantic Yards Project via NoLandGrab]
KPMG Atlantic Yards Market Study.pdf

UPDATE – July 13, 2010: Hey gang – a bit of belated correction/clarification here. Norman Oder, who writes the Atlantic Yards Report got in touch with us about our little quip about Target. He wrote to us “I know you’re trying to be entertaining, but that’s not close to true. The Target is across the road from the project site.”

So I guess our wishing out loud for the big Brooklyn bullseye to be destroyed won’t be happening (it’s not part of the plans at least) but we stand by our assertion that the Target is a hellhole and needs to be destroyed.

Deloitte Study Says That Half of You Aren’t Scared of Swine Flu. Tell That to a Backstreet Boy

brian littrell.jpgDammit people, this is serious. Deloitte is doing studies for crying out loud. Yet, over half of you still aren’t completely freaking the hell out over swine flu.
Ordinarily, we’d let this slide by but it doesn’t seem to be a typical Tuesday, so we’ll ask that you bear with us.
How about one of the finest entertainers on the planet getting the H to 1 to the N to the 1? Will this convince you that this needs to be taken seriously?
When a member of a heartthrob boy band that, for all intents and purposes, has been annihilated from popular culture altogether is affected, doesn’t that cause you to stop and think?
Deloitte studies, fine, those are totally meaningless. We’re talking a step below D-List celebrities getting sick. Please reconsider your indifference.
Swine Flu Preparedness: Consumer Pulse Study Fact Sheet [Deloitte Center for Health Solutions]

Deloitte Study: Your Boss Wants to Know About Your Trite Status Updates

facebook at work.jpgA study put out by Big D states that 60% of business executives believe that they have every right to know how you portray yourself and the organization you work for.
And while they’re checking that out, they’ll probably go ahead and sneak a peek at your photos from your friend’s bachelorette party where phallic hats and straws were passed out to anyone who would accept them.
Not surprisingly, the study also states that the majority of 18-34 year old employees want The Man to BTFO of their online social networking. While this demand for privacy may exist, apparently you’re still aware that the power of rumor mill known as the Internet can still take your employer down like Nixon Dick Fuld Arthur Andersen.
While less than 20 percent of the overlords out there actually have Big Brother in place, almost half of employees say that they will still flagrantly update their status as “I hate Mondays” or “The weather is way too nice to be working!”
Deloitte’s 2009 Ethics & Workplace Survey Examines the Reputational Risk Implications of Social Networks [Deloitte Press Release]