an actual press release

GT’s Chipman Will Stick Around Until the End of 2014 To Find a New Yet Equally Dynamic CEO

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 […]

Grant Thornton Is Movin’ On Up

We appreciate the fact that the firm is enthusiastic about their growth, but this is getting ridiculous: Grant Thornton LLP has relocated its Minneapolis office within the north tower of the US Bank Plaza at 200 S. 6th St. to floors 14 and 15. The total space leased is 31,484 square feet. Today is the first […]

CPA Goes on a PR Campaign After Tax Fraud Conviction; Suggests John McCain Will Vouch for Him

Last week a Santa Barbara CPA by the name of Steve Pybrum was sentenced to three years in prison after he was convicted of "filing false individual income tax returns." You see, Mr. Byrum was operating your run-of-the-mill "full service CPA firm" called Pybrum & Company, but he was of the opinion that his business was […]

KPMG Finds That If You Count Twitter, the World Economic Forum Isn’t Such a Brofest

Earlier this week, we made mention of the Big 4's precise efforts to meet expectations re: bringing women to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. As "Strategic Partners" of the WEF, the firms are asked to include one woman for every four men in their delegation. According to a recent-ish study, that ratio is […]

Ernst & Young Headquarters to Have Slightly Less Huge Carbon Footprint

5 Times Square just wrapped up a giant light bulb changing exercise and figured a press release was in order: Ernst & Young LLP today announced completion of a lighting retrofit project in its US headquarters in New York City. The project's installation of energy-efficient lighting – one of New York City's largest lighting retrofits […]

Grant Thornton Now Offering Insight to Fictional Advertising Agencies

According to a press release, GT's Canadian arm has found a new place to find dynamic clients – TV! Grant Thornton LLP has just published Foundation for Growth, a white paper that presents the results of research and analysis into how professional services firms view their performance and people, their planning and profitability. It contains […]

Plante Moran Drops Ampersand That No One Liked or Used Anyway

The accounting firm formerly known as Plante & Moran will forever going forward be known as Plante & Moran, according to a firm press release. And from the sound of things, it’s good riddance:

The change is prompted by tradition, growth and technology, according to Chief Marketing Officer and firm partner, Jeff Antaya. “The ampersand isn’t compatible with current and emerging technologies and can’t be used in a web address, for example,” notes Antaya. “Plus, many of Plante Moran’s entities, such as Plante Moran Financial Advisors and Plante Moran Global Services, never used the ampersand; nor is it part of the firm logo or signage. This change helps make the strong Plante Moran brand even more consistent.”

Ah, the PwC reasoning: no one calls us Plante & Moran, so why would we continue to be known as Plante & Moran? This ampersand has been ignored; it’s not appreciated; so get this eyesore of a graphical symbol out of our sight! But since the firm doesn’t want to hurt its feelings, there’s a bit of a send-off of sorts for the ol’ logogram.

Because the ampersand has been such an integral part of the firm’s history, and in keeping with the Plante Moran tradition of offering the option of preparing a departure memo for departing staff (fondly referred to as a “green memo” from when the firm used bulletin board memos as a key form of communication), the firm is sponsoring a green memo contest for staff. Titled, “& Now What?” the ampersand-less contest runs through September 20th and requires interested staff to prepare a departure memo of up to 500 words for the ampersand. Based on a staff vote, prizes will be awarded for the best memos and the winning essay will become the ampersand’s official green memo.

Is there anyone out there sad to see it go? Leave your well wishes below. Oh, and an advanced copy of your essay would be nice too. Email it to us.

The TaxMasters Guy Has Some Sage Advice on IRS Correspondence Audits

The advice was so good he had to send out a press release:

On the heels of a record reporting year for taxes, taxpayers should be wary – or at a minimum more informed – about audits from the IRS, according to Patrick Cox, CEO of TaxMasters (TAXS), the leading tax compliance and repayment services provider in the nation. According to Cox, the IRS will send out a record number of audits which can be misleading and even wrong.

“Over the past few years the IRS has been shifting gears to use correspondence audits – notices mailed to taxpayers usually showing an alleged discrepancy in a tax filing and asking for a manageable amount of extra money that is owed,” Cox said. “From my experience, most taxpayers – who did their taxes online or had an accountant or friend do them – are scared of the IRS and don’t know enough about their tax filings to argue the audit. Instead of making sure the IRS assessment is accurate, I think most taxpayers just cut a check.”

The latest Taxpayer Advocate Report showed that of the more than 1.6 million Americans who were audited last year, 78 percent received a correspondence audit, while only 22 percent were selected for an in-person examination. A large majority of the correspondence audits are sent due to unqualified or overstated tax deductions.

“Returns claiming tax deductions are the lowest hanging fruit for the IRS in a correspondence audit,” says Cox. “Unfortunately, there are an alarming number of taxpayers that make simple mistakes on the amount of deductions and types of deductions they make and wind up being easy targets for the IRS. A few examples of typically-encountered discrepancies include unreported pension income, home mortgage interest, and cash charitable contributions.”

Conveniently, the Journal of Accountancy also covered the increase in IRS correspondence audits in its August 2011 issue and offers tips on how to manage them for CPA tax practioners.

According to a 2006 report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), there has been a 170% increase in correspondence examinations for individual taxpayers with gross incomes or business receipts of at least $100,000 in fiscal years 2002 through 2005, while face-to-face examinations increased by 25%. Since that report, TIGTA has claimed improvements in this area but identifies work yet to be done.

Michigan CPAs, Welcome the Newest Member of the Club

Since we are totally above making disparaging remarks about strangers on the Internet, we present the following without comment from mlive.com:

Jessica A. Rolfe, of Yeo & Yeo P.C., 3023 Davenport in Saginaw, has received a Certified Public Accountant license and was promoted to senior accountant, providing auditing services in the firm’s Saginaw office.

Rolfe holds a bachelor’s degree from Saginaw Valley State University, and is a member of the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Now the last time we shared one of these cheesy, free publicity “news” items, it also happened to be a Michigan CPA except that guy allegedly passed all four parts in one sitting, which the newspaper told us only happens with a lucky 4% of individuals. We’re not sure where they got that number (we suspect somewhere between their legs, towards the back end of things) but are glad to see no such claims made in this particular announcement.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: if you have an announcement like this to make for the star intern in your life, please feel free to send it to us. We require at least 100 words, fact-checked claims and, of course, a Photoshopped headshot. Might I suggest Glamor Shots?

Weikang Bio-Technology Felt Compelled to Issue a Press Release Announcing that Grant Thornton Successfully Verified Their Cash Balances with Bank Statements

Chinese companies certainly have had their share of problems with financial reporting in the U.S. but I had no idea that it would come to this.

The Audit Committee of the Board of Directors of Weikang Bio-Technology Group Co., Inc. (OTC Markets: WKBT.PK – News) (“WKBT,” “Weikang” or the “Company”), a leading developer, manufacturer and marketer of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Western prescription and OTC pharmaceuticals and other health and nutritional products in the People’s Republic of China, today announced that Grant Thornton (“GT”), one of the world’s leading organizations of independently owned and managed accounting and consulting firms, has verified that the cash amounts listed on the Company’s SEC filings for 2010 and the first quarter of 2011 are consistent with account statements obtained from WKBT’s banks directly by GT.

“Given the recent change in auditors and my new chairmanship of the WKBT Audit Committee, we authorized the Grant Thornton review to take place last week, and are now releasing the results,” said Jeffery Chuang, independent director and Chairman of the Audit Committee of WKBT. “Weikang continues to advance as a U.S. publicly-traded company and we are committed to high standards in the thoroughness of our financial information,” said Mr. Chuang, a U.S. CPA who is based in Southern California.

Obviously this is completely harmless compared to, say, threatening to take auditors hostage but as far as giant wastes of time go, it’s right near the top.