Accounting firms

TIL: There’s a Ranking of the Top 50 Construction Accounting Firms

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: […]

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On Chivalry and Emotional Restraint in Public Accounting

When I started in public accounting we did a Skittle icebreaker on the first day in the office and each color had an associated question. My random Skittle question was, “If you could have any superpower, what would it be?” and I remember saying: “Nerves of Steel.” Most people thought it was a unique response. […]

Ginger Diversity Hire accounting firm

Exposure Drafts: The One Way Accounting Firms Are Succeeding at Diversity

Exposure Drafts appears every other Wednesday. Send your accounting cartoon ideas and diversity quotas to editor@goingconcern.com. You can follow Greg Kyte on Twitter.

voluntold accounting firms

Beware of Public Accounting’s ‘Voluntold’ Assignments

Employment-at-will. It’s a lovely sentiment; if you don’t like it, quit. Easy. But, all jobs require you to do things that aren’t your cup of tea. Once you sign an offer letter at your accounting firm of choice, your schedule will be decided months in advance by the scheduling overlords (i.e., whichever unlucky partner or […]

accounting firms 2018 worries

A Working List of Things Accounting Firms Will Be Fretting About in 2018

Disruption Change Disruptive change The pace of disruptive change Whether or not they’ve figured out the cloud Finding qualified talent Millennials Figuring out how to find qualified talent that aren’t millennials The inevitable cyberattack that will result in every client the firm has ever had filing a lawsuit Artificial intelligence making accountants obsolete through automation […]

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The Number of Women Partners in Accounting Firms Is Still Abysmal

Earlier this month, the AICPA Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee (WIEC) issued its second CPA Firm Gender Study and its findings are not encouraging. The survey found that partnership on average remains overwhelmingly male. The current survey shows little change from studies done in years past, which have typically found less than one-quarter of the partnership […]

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Accounting: Is Our Client Experience Future-Ready?

Earlier this year I read an article in CFO that brought pause. Actually, it brought a lot of pause and for two distinct reasons. Not because I didn’t agree, but because I so definitively did agree. First, what struck me was that this major influencer, among our profession’s key stakeholders (CFOs and Controllers), was telling […]

accounting firms compensation

Yakking All the Way to the Bank

Interpret that headline as appropriate. It’s a slow day out there as many of you prolong the long weekend. To keep everyone awake, we figured it was a good time to revisit the compensation discussions that are still going on: Deloitte EY Grant Thornton BDO PwC KPMG remains the last major holdout. If you’re a […]

AICPA Trends Report Finds Enrollment in Master’s Programs, Hiring by CPA Firms Taking a Breather

The AICPA released its much anticipated 2017 Trends In the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits (“AICPA Trends” or “TSAGDPAR” for those of you who can’t resist an acronym) report today, and it shows two major developments: 1) A dropoff in enrollment for master’s in accounting programs; 2) Slower hiring […]

crowe horwath careers

Crowe Horwath Has More to Offer Than Wearing Jeans All Day

Last year, Crowe Horwath LLP broke all the rules with its mobility strategy launching its “What to Wear” and “Where to Work” initiatives. It was one of the first top ten accounting firms to allow its people to wear casual clothing any day of the week and allow its people to make decisions as to […]

HORNE

Leadership and Future-ready Accounting Firms: A Conversation with Joey Havens of Horne, LLP

The following conversation is sponsored by Horne, an Accountingfly Firm Partner. Earlier this year, we spoke with Joey Havens, the managing partner of Horne, LLP about complacency in the accounting profession. Since then, Joey Havens has written about the accounting profession’s leadership and planning for the future. Or lack thereof. He’s here again to talk […]

Seriously, Stop Making Saturdays Mandatory During Busy Season

With the recent “controversy” from the article posted on CPA Trendlines, we now have to discuss mandatory Saturdays. I can’t help myself. Stop making Saturdays mandatory. Seriously, just stop. How is this still a thing? (I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot lately.) And when I say stop making Saturdays mandatory, I mean […]

Being a Great Place to Work During Busy Season Means More Than a Free Slice of Pizza

Back when I was a tax associate, my colleagues and I would watch the Hoops and Yoyo “It’s Sarcastic Wednesday.” The part that cracked me up the most was when they say, “I’ll do large amounts of free work for a slice of pepperoni!” But why is it so funny (but not really funny at the same time)?

Accounting Firms That Aren’t Paperless Need to Get Their Act Together

Gone are the days of meticulously color-coding client folders, strategically placing sticky flags and paper summation tapes and making perfectly placed tickmarks on each beautiful sheet of paper. Let me just say…I made a gorgeous client binder; it was a thing of beauty. But I can’t help but say, firms that aren’t paperless need to […]

Some Accounting Firms Going Out of Their Way to Discourage Employees From Becoming CPAs

You'd think with all the worrying going on in the accounting profession about talent and succession, that firms would be making it easy on the employees they do have to become CPAs. And I think, for the most part, many firms do encourage prospective CPAs with exam prep and exam fee reimbursement, time off to […]

Should CPA Firms Allow Employees to Wear Shorts? A Brief Debate

No. When the Virginia Society of CPAs (VSCPA) relaxed its dress code last May to allow employees to wear shorts on Fridays, employees welcomed the change, but many haven't taken advantage of the new rule yet, according to chief operating officer Maureen Dingus. "I think the staff was excited to be able to wear jeans, […]

Are You Guilty of Time Theft?

Firms preach you should charge all hours you work to the proper charge code. Simple right? Unfortunately, not all employees do as they are told. In fact, time theft is running rampant in public accounting. And it appears to be one of the biggest elephants in the room that no one is addressing. So let’s […]

Here’s How the Accounting Profession’s Political Action Committees Have Been Spending Their Money

With less than two months left until Election Day, you might be wondering, “How much money have accounting firms been throwing around this election cycle?” No? Just me? Okay, then, well this should be fun. Here’s what Open Secrets, a website run by the Center of Responsive Politics, has for contributions by the accounting industry’s […]

Accounting Firms Should Embrace the Digital Fountain of Youth

When did the AICPA decide that “young” professionals are 22 to 40 (yes, 40) years old? Am I the only one to thinks 40 may be too old for that designation? Imagine if society considered professional athletes “young” if they met the under 40 threshold…   Don’t get me wrong — accounting is one industry […]

Let’s Welcome Public Accounting’s Summer Interns

Monday marks the first day of summer so I suppose we should salute the young men and women who will invade accounting firms for the next couple of months. To the Twitter! BDO is excited to welcome over 300 summer #interns! Check out some tips from former #BDO interns: https://t.co/2pEUkFzabk — BDO USA Careers (@GetToKnowBDO) […]

How Small Accounting Firms Can Stay Relevant

As a firm owner my biggest fear is getting left behind. Well, that and running into the three worst days a business owner will face.

Close to Partner, But Having Second Thoughts

PwC announced its new partner class last week and it's a reminder that becoming partner in accounting firm is an impressive career milestone. Yes, despite a ton of opportunities to find meaningful, less soul-sucking work elsewhere, a few of you reading these words right now will become partners and live to tell about it (at […]

What Ludicrous Perk Should an Accounting Firm Offer Its Employees?

As you well know, the war for talent in the accounting profession is on like Donkey Kong’s flies on feces. Firms are pulling out all the stops to attract people, and their preferred tactic isn’t better working conditions or salaries, it’s perks! Whether it’s PwC’s tuition assistance, Grant Thornton’s unlimited PTO, DHG’s meditation room, or […]

Accounting Firms and the New Overtime Rules

As you may have heard, the Obama administration announced new rules this past week that will make millions of salaried workers eligible for overtime: Under the new regulation to be issued by the Labor Department on Wednesday, most salaried workers earning up to $47,476 a year must receive time-and-a-half overtime pay when they work more […]

Reminder: Accounting Firms Hire Lots of Women, Few of Them Become Partners

Here's a tweet from the AICPA Spring Council: #AICPAGC16 pic.twitter.com/jEORHCs8FZ — Pittelkow (@pittelkow) May 17, 2016 It's pretty remarkable that more than 55% of the recruits in 2000 were women. And I think it's equally remarkable that 15 years later, the number of women partner went down. And don't forget, even fewer of those women […]

It’s Only a Matter of Time Before Big 4 Firms Offer Legal Services in the US

One of the topics that we occasionally discuss around here is the Big 4 expanding into professional service areas that you wouldn't expect for an accounting firm. In the US, we've seen PwC and Deloitte build enormous digital agencies and just last month, EY announced a partnership with Adobe that will "expand [the firm's] digital […]

These 1-Star Reviews of Accounting Firms Are The Saddest, Best

Vault put out its Accounting 50 today and shrug. It's fine if you like rankings and things. For me, the real gems are the employee reviews that are buried deep in the site. And, naturally, when I say "reviews" I'm talking about negative reviews. Now, it should be noted that the vast majority of the […]

It’s Probably Just a Coincidence That the Subject of an AICPA Newsletter Was ‘Learn How to Appreciate Staff’ on April Fools’ Day

A friend of GC forwarded us the AICPA News Update from this morning noting the subject line:   To save you eyestrain, it reads: Subject: Learn How to Appreciate Staff During Busy Season Editor’s Note During busy season, practitioners may find their lives temporarily become all work and no play. However, a number of firms […]

4 Ideas to Help Accounting Firms Improve Their Marketing

Previously on Going Concern, I wrote a post called "Why Accountants Suck at Marketing." As a follow up, here are four simple ways accountants can do better. Don’t focus on the details of what you do Focus instead on how you make your clients more successful. I love this graphic (from the Intercom Blog). If […]

Accounting Talent Demanding Everything Shy of the Moon, Your First Born

There's an article over at the Journal of Accountancy on counteroffers that you can read it if you like, but we've covered the topic before and it's a pretty rare situation that you should ever accept one.

HOWEVAH!

Should Accounting Firms Offer Housing Stipends to Employees?

Over the last several months, we've noted some surprising shifts within the accounting profession, specifically around workplace flexibility and employee perks. Recently, we've seen Crowe Horwath announce both a "work anywhere (as long as your manager approves it)" and a "wear anything (as long as it's still professional and appropriate)"  policy. Fellow Chicago resident Baker Tilly announced a similar policy related to a more casual dress code. 

L’Affaire Denim: Accounting Firm Dress Code Debates Span Borders, Decades

Cosmic issues are being raised in the great Dress Code debates: Is denim okay every day? What’s the largest allowable team logo on a sweatshirt? How about pajamas outside the house? My experiences may offer some useful historical and cultural context. In the late 1990s I was expatriated to Paris with one of the then […]

The ‘Everyday Jeans’ Policy Backlash Has Begun

As the culture wars in the accounting profession continue, it was inevitable that concerns would arise around the "Don Your Denim" policies. On Accounting Today earlier this week, one worry that was brought up is that the casual dress policy is allowed "as long as you don’t have a client meeting" and that would discourage […]

DHG Can’t Give You Everyday Jeans, But Is Offering Meditation, Standing Desks

Today marks the beginning of the year of the monkey, but in the accounting profession, so far, 2016 has been the YEAR OF THE DENIM. Both Baker Tilly and Crowe Horwath have announced new policies allowing jeans on any day of the week and if you work at either firm, then you're probably excited. Not […]

What’s the Current State of Work-Life Balance in the Accounting Profession?

Five years ago, the New York Times published an article called "Flex Time Flourishes in the Accounting Industry." It boasted about how well the firms foster work-life balance within the culture. Good on you, New York Times, except that many who work in public accounting firms tend to disagree. As GC told you then, the […]

Should More Accounting Firms Implement ‘Work Anywhere’ Policies?

Last week, we learned that Crowe Horwath would be implementing two new policies: "What to Wear," a perma-jeans dress code for anyone working in the office and not meeting with clients and "Where to Work," which would allow people to work from "wherever it's convenient and they're most productive."  Although the idea of rocking a […]

Crowe Horwath Two Steps Closer to Pure Anarchy

Not be outdone by their crosstown1 rivals, Crowe Horwath announced earlier this week that not only can their employees wear whatever they want, they can work wherever they want, too (subject to approval of course):

Should More Accounting Firms Use ‘Blind’ Methods to Improve Their Diversity?

I like the idea of blind recruiting that this WSJ story discusses. Not knowing a person’s name or alma mater forces “hiring managers [to] form opinions based only on that person’s work,” therefore reducing the likelihood of nepotism, favoritism, racism, basically any negative -ism you can think of. This results in, you guessed it “more […]

Accounting Firms Should Get Rid of Managers

Hey look, no one wants to be a manager. That's not too surprising. Managing is a thankless job. Just ask any manager. It's why when we think of managers we think about Lumberg from Office Space. People still want to be promoted, naturally, but it is kinda silly to promote someone to a job they […]

Let’s Discuss: Non-Equity Partners in Accounting Firms

If you have career aspirations to be a partner at an accounting firm, achieving the status of a "non-equity partner" might not be what you had in mind. The whole point of being a partner, I think, is the opportunity to have some skin in the game. Yes, you also have a say on how […]

Let’s Enjoy Some Intern Reviews of Various Accounting Firms

Vault ranks lots of employers and this week they dropped their 50 top internships for 2016. There are lots of accounting firms on this list, so many it's almost unbelievable considering Vault invited more than 600 employers to participate. Here are all the firms that were list: Elliott Davis Decosimo (2) Plante Moran (6) Moss […]

Here’s Another Lousy Stat on the Number of Women Partners in Accounting Firms

In case you needed another crummy datapoint to help illustrate the gender disparity at the partner level in the accounting profession, this finding from the AICPA's Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee CPA Firm Gender Survey should do the trick: Many firms have non-equity partner tracks that don’t include ownership in the practice. The WIEC survey found […]

More Accounting Firms Should Let Employees Build Their Own Niche Practices

In the ANR this morning I mentioned one of the accounting profession's big worries: hiring and retaining talented people. A related worry that these same accounting firms have are with succession planning; firms that can't hire and retain good people aren't going to have much a succession plan. A recent whitepaper from Crowe Horwath stated […]

Are Accounting Firms Accruing Management Debt Off-Balance Sheet?

Once again I found myself at a bit of a loss as to what to write this month. So to get some inspiration (read: procrastinate) I spent Sunday morning reading the latest on Going Concern. I read Caleb’s article, Bob Moritz Has Your Back, Millennials, but was most interested in the comments. I saw this […]

Accounting Firms Need To Have More Transparent Conversations With Employees About Compensation

I missed this HBR article from earlier in the month, but it's about money, so I figure it's worth covering.

A Noncomprehensive List of Morale Boosters for Accounting Firms

Accounting firms, who generally eat their young, are all competing for “who has the best perks” in race to scoop up all of the competent new hires. We all know that accounting culture is toxic, but aside from taking all of your allotted vacation so you don’t die at your desk like that one guy, […]

Will the CPA Exam Become Optional?

I'm catching up on my reading and lo and behold, here's another CHANGE IN ACCOUNTING IS SO FAST article. It's only been [counts fingers] a few weeks since we last touched on the topic, but we can't waste a good crisis, can we? No, we cannot. This particular piece is based on a speech by […]

Your Firm’s Website Sucks; How to Help Improve It and Boost Your Career at the Same Time

When you visit most accounting firm websites, you see poorly designed pages that offer no valuable content. They don’t address clients’ needs, they don’t encourage interaction and fail to drive users deeper into the site. Plus, no Game of Thrones recaps. In short, most accounting firm websites suck. And as a staff member, new partner […]

How Would Salary Transparency Go Over at Accounting Firms?

In case you're new round these parts, compensation is a popular topic of conversation.

Accounting Firms Have One Use for Marketing

A recent survey found that 75% accounting firms consider revenue growth to be, "the primary purpose of their marketing efforts." In other words, partners quote Jerry Maguire while everyone in the marketing deparment rolls their eyes and makes the jerkoff motion. [AT]

Yep, Almost All Accounting Firm Partners Are Still White Guys

The other day we mentioned the AICPA Trends report, specifically, the growing number of accounting graduates and the talent shortage at small CPA firms. Oh! And fewer people are sitting for the CPA exam, that too. If you're just joining us, hop over there to join the discussion. Today, we'll cover something that really isn't […]

Can an Accounting Firm Be a ‘Guilt-Free Zone’?

As we all know, Millennials mystify their older, non-Millennial co-workers. Their common refrain of questions range from, "Why are Millennials entitled?" to "Why do Millennials need constant feedback?" to "Why do Millennials want to work at a Parisian coffee shop 3 days a week?" to "What's with all the sexting?" Despite the confusion, employers still […]

Accounting Firms Desperate for Talent Aren’t Gonna Like This

I'm going through the AICPA 2015 Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and Demand for Public Accounting Recruits (aka, uh, TITSOAGADFPAR?) report and it's a doozy. The good news, I guess, is that enrollments have never been higher with over 250,000 students across five different kinds of programs: Master's degrees still lead the charge […]

Take Our Parental Leave Survey

Yesterday, Netflix announced that, effective immediately, it would be providing unlimited parental leave, at full pay, to new moms and dads for a full year. The company's policy is extremely flexible, allowing workers up to a year at regular pay, "or choose to stay home for a few months, return part-time for a spell and […]

There’s a Lack of Talent to Succeed Accounting Firms Because the Talent Doesn’t Exist

A recent survey of accounting firm partners from the CPA Consultants' Alliance found that over half of respondents (51.7%) said procrastination or denial was a primary cause for firms' succession troubles. Another 48.3% of respondents also said that "Lack of future leadership talent" was a primary cause of succession issues. So, some firms have better […]

PwC Still Prestigiousiest, Diversiest, Bestest Accounting Firm

Jump for joy, it's time for the Vault Accounting 50, people.

If you're not up-to-date on your accounting profession rankings, this is the one that curates feedback from accounting professionals on accounting firms in a variety of areas including prestige, culture, empty work/life balance initiatives, tchotchkes, CEO sex appeal, etc. They have a full breakdown of the Vault Accounting 50 secret sauce if you're into that sort of thing.

We Learned Some Interesting Things From This Interview with a Former Accounting Firm CFO

CFO published a couple of Q&As with Michael Barton, the CFO of global law firm Goodwin Procter this week and they provide an insider perspective on professional services firms that most of us never hear about. Prior to joining Goodwin, Barton was the CFO of Rothstein Kass for about two years; he turned down an offer […]

Big 4 Gunning for Big Law

The Economist published quite the haughty article yesterday about accounting firms picking off legal work from law firms. I say “haughty” because that’s the voice I hear when I read Economist articles, but really, it’s a good read. I invite you to read it in your own silent haughty voice. The story goes that big […]

ICYMI: Dixon Hughes Goodman Is No Longer Such a Mouthful

If there's one thing that any modern accounting firm knows, it's that people can't be bothered to utter the names of long-dead founders when they refer to your organization. Hence the trend of rebrandings that trade ampersands and/or 3-4 names mashed together in no discernible order for 2-4 initials. As far as branding goes, there […]

Why the Growing CPA Designation Gap?

AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon recently talked about a growing concern around the number of people that are sitting the CPA exam every year. Barry stated “We have had six consecutive years of record numbers of people majoring in accounting. That’s a great thing. For the last three years, however, we’ve basically had a level number […]

(UPDATE) Which Accounting Firm Fired an Employee for His Dispute with Comcast? A: PwC

In short, Comcast is a despised company.

Now we have another tale of its treachery and the tentacles have intertwined a “large, prestigious accounting firm.”

If Accounting Firms’ Slogans Were Honest, What Would They Be?

Surely you’ve seen Honest Slogans floating around your Facebook newsfeed? If you haven’t, the premise is pretty obvious:

Guess Which Accounting Firm Took Out The Biggest Ad In the 125th Anniversary Edition Journal of Accountancy

By now, most of you who are AICPA members in good standing have received your special 125th Anniversary edition Journal of Accountancy. As you thumb listlessly through it, no doubt you noticed that certain firms took out large ads while others – true to their benchwarming status among Top 10 firms – took out small, […]

Three Things Accounting Firms Can Learn from Jim Joyce

Chances are good that at this time yesterday you didn’t know anything about James Joyce III. Today, America can’t stop talking about the poor sap. His Wikipedia page has been frozen and he’s a trending topic on Twitter.


BP sent Joyce a bottle of tequila this morning, the card reading, “Thank you for taking the heat off of us. Enjoy the spotlight. Remember to wear sunscreen. XOXO – BP”

Experts have varying opinions on what this means for baseball and the implementation of instant replay. What is easier to agree on is that Joyce deserves respect not for his poor call but for the fact that he was humble enough to admit that he was wrong, saying, “I just cost that kid a perfect game. I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay. Biggest call of my career, and I kicked the shit out of it.”

If nothing else, Little Leaguers everywhere can learn from this moment. But the lesson doesn’t need to end there. What can every accounting firm take away from this situation in hopes of never pulling a JimJoyce* themselves?

Admit when you are wrong – Listen to your mother, George Washington, or whatever truth-telling role model you have in your life and fess up when you are wrong. Deloitte did just that back in April when they admitted to handling the “headcount adjustment” in poor fashion.

Don’t point fingers – I don’t know if you’ve noticed the bickering going on between E&Y and PwC recently, but it’s kind of…what’s the word for it…pathetic? First there was the “our raises are bigger than yours” spout from E&Y leadership. Boys, boys, keep it in your pants. Size doesn’t mat…oh wait, what? It does in this case? Well then. Brag away. Then PDubs’ London arm decided to pull a Joe McGinniss and set up camp a mere 10 meters from E&Y’s fish ‘n chips office. Awkward love affair or uber-competitive personalities? Either way it’s immature to act like this. Grow up.

Hide – Joyce is probably in the process of doing this (don’t expect him to return to the field anytime soon). But the newly branded McGladrey is leadership’s efforts to mask the fact that cuts are affecting morale and staff ranks. Perhaps no one commented on Caleb’s putting green post because no one is left. Just sayin’.

What else can your firm learn from Jimbo? Comment below.

*you heard that phrase here first.

Cash-strapped Clients Could Force Accounting Firms to Come Up with Creative Cost Savings

Because times weren’t already cheerful enough around GT, they recently released a study which found that businesses are generally pessimistic about raises and bonuses this year.


From the press release:

The firm surveyed 496 U.S. CFOs and senior comptrollers from March 22 through April 5, and found that 53% plan no salary changes in the next 6 months, while 32% plan to decrease and 15% plan to increase. On the bonus front, there is also equal pessimism, 47% plan no change, 44% plan to reduce, and only 8% plan to increase.

Well – that certainly sucks.

We know raises are the last thing on the minds of higher-ups at GT, but come on, really? Imagine being a no-name staffer at GT grinding away on a report about how your clients are a collective group of Negative Nancy’s. With headcount discussions ongoing in several GT offices, one would be – and should be – concerned.

The freezes in salary and bonuses don’t really apply to the accounting firms because – as it has already been discussed here in great length – money should be flowing your way this summer. The underlying concern with this report is this – if your client isn’t giving its own employees a bump in pay, there’s no bloody chance your firm is getting a bump in fees, either.

Any and all resources will be applied to minimizing any talent exoduses from occurring.

So how will the firms find enough cookies in the jar to “support the current pipeline?” I checked in with a Big 4 auditor in New York who had this to share:

During casual conversation with my mentors, word is the firm will be pushing for leaves of absence again this summer for everyone who has not completely passed the CPA. The hope is for a decent percentage of staff members to do this to save on salaries.

Makes sense-ish. Temporarily cut staff salaries during a relatively quiet audit period. Will this be enough to cover raises and bonuses while client fees remain stagnant? Heavens no but it’s a start. As always, let us know if you learn of ways your firm plans to pinch pennies.