September 20, 2019

Anxiety

Japan Getting Cold Feet on IFRS

On the day of Sir David Tweedie’s retirement, no less.

The Journal reports:

Japan is considering postponing the mandatory introduction of global accounting standards for all listed companies beyond the original target date of 2015, amid strong opposition to the change from the country’s business community. Japan’s financial services minister, Shozaburo Jimi, said Thursday at a Business Accounting Council meeting, hosted by the Financial Services Agency, that making Japanese companies adopt the rule—known as the International Financial Reporting Standard—within a few years could be a big burden and costly for businesses. “If Japanese firms are required to move to IFRS, we will need enough time, five to seven years, for preparation,” Mr. Jimi said, adding that discussions over the matter will take time.

Japan May Delay Accounting Shift [WSJ]

Comp Watch ’11: Ernst & Young Keeps ‘Em Waiting

If I seemed impatient about hearing from the Black and Yellow, it’s because I was. Fortunately, someone answered the call:

As of now, we haven’t heard ANYTHING regarding raises/bonuses etc. On our performance management internal website the status of my annual review just changed from “Leadership Review/Roundtable” to “Release to Compensation” so hopefully we will be getting some news soon!

So, no news is…news, isn’t it? Last year, we started hearing Ernst & Young compensation rumors around the 15th and here we are, one week from our nation’s birthday and hardly a peep. Someone buy a partner a happy hour beer tonight or something, wouldja? Keep us updated.

(UPDATE) Promotion Watch ’11: KPMG Managers-in-waiting

From the mailbag:

The last few years KPMG announced manager promotions by this time, but I haven’t heard a peep from anyone so far. Have they changed the timing?

Digging through the archives, it’s true that around this time last year, chatter around the announcements of promotions at KPMG had begun but as our tipster said, so far it’s been strict Radio Station silence. Last year, details were rolling out through early June, so it could be that they’re dragging it out for effect.

Anyway, one rumor that we just heard is that in some KPMG offices, SAs up for manager are being asked to interview for their promotions. Personally, I’ve never heard of this but considering the need at SA, it would be a strategic way to hold some people back, chalking it up to “he/she didn’t interview well” versus the cryptic “he/she isn’t ready.”

If you’ve recently gotten word on promotions in your office, heard anything about these interviews or are simply in the know, email us the details and discuss below.

UPDATE:This just in:

PA leadership told us manager promotions would be approved on 5/20/11, with announcements in the following weeks after the approvals. haven’t heard anything about the ‘interviewing’ but i’m not up for Manager promotion so i guess i wouldn’t know.

Nice. Just in time for the end of the world.

UPDATE, May 26th, circa 12:35 pm:
According to a Klynveldian close to the situation in New York, “they seem to be making calls to those up for manager.”

KPMG Survey: Execs Anxious About Reporting Undecipherable Explanations for Uncertain Tax Positions

So you take a position on a tax issue. You don’t really know why or how you got there but your CFO says it’s legit. How does he/she know? “Johnson in the tax department told me.”

Does Johnson understand it? Of course not! It’s an uncertain tax position. It’s a shot in the dark at best.

Naturally, the IRS has gotten all nosy about this sort of thing so you have to formulate something that vaguely resembles an explanation that doesn’t read like Bittker & Eustice.

You can’t simply make it a copy and paste job since we’re guessing the IRS wouldn’t appreciate the bloggy approach. But you’ve got to come up with something. Oh, and try to keep it brief.

Almost half of senior executives polled are most concerned about the prospect of providing a concise description of their uncertain tax positions (UTPs) in order to comply with a new, much-discussed Internal Revenue Service disclosure requirement, according to a survey conducted by KPMG’s Tax Governance Institute (TGI).

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since we’re talking about interpreting the INTERNAL REVENUE CODE. But the BSDs out there are worried about explaining why they’re taking a stand on something that don’t understand one iota. Plus, if you’re already pret-tay sure that the IRS is going to call bullshit on you, that warrants an explanation as well [teeth being grit into dust].

According to the survey of 1100 business leaders conducted in early October, 44 percent of respondents said their biggest concern was providing the concise description for a disclosed UTP, defined by the IRS as a federal income tax position for which a taxpayer or related party has recorded a reserve in an audited financial statement (or for which no reserve was recorded because of an expectation to litigate). Other major concerns cited centered on the IRS’s ability to effectively administer the UTP program (20 percent) and on the scope of taxpayers required to file UTPs under the new rule (15 percent).

This could all be avoided if the IRS required companies to use Twitter as a guide for brevity. Just a suggestion.

Executives Anxious About IRS Reporting Requirements for Uncertain Tax Positions Schedule, KPMG Survey Reveals [PR Newswire]

A Sign of Things to Come? Walgreen Outsourcing 150 Accounting Jobs

Apparently this is part of WAG’s ‘Rewiring for Growth’ initiative. And by ‘rewiring’ they mean cutting $1 billion in expenses by next year (no pressure).

As many as 150 accounting jobs could be eliminated at Walgreen Co.’s Deerfield headquarters within the next 10 months as the drugstore giant outsources the work.

The job losses result from Walgreen Co.’s agreement with process-outsourcing firm Genpact, based in India, to take over certain accounting work.

Genpact has agreed to acquire Walgreen’s accounting office in Danville, Ill., where 500 former Walgreen employees have become employees of Genpact.

Another 300 Walgreen jobs, including the 150 in Deerfield, will be affected by the move. The remaining 150 jobs are scattered among Walgreen accounting offices nationwide, a Walgreen spokeswoman said Monday.

An unspecified number of Walgreen accounting department employees who remain employed will be shifted to other jobs or see their positions changed drastically, the Walgreen spokeswoman said.

Problem is “positions changed drastically” could be anything from the mailroom to working the counter at your respective local store on Christmas Day.

Walgreen outsourcing deal to cut as many as 150 accounting jobs [Chicago Sun-Times]

Compensation Watch ’10: The Teasing Continues as News from Deloitte Inches Closer

By now everyone is borderline freaking out due to Deloitte partners’ ability to remain coy throughout this process, using words like “substantial” and “better than last year” which, considering the love shown last year, is ironically accurate.

Annnnnnddd it continues. A source dropped us part of an email from Nick Tommasino, Deloitte’s Chairman and CEO of audit and enterprise risk services:

Understand your compensation package
• Deloitte provides a comprehensive Total Rewards package, which is designed to:
· Attract, retain, motivate, recognize, & reward high-performing talent
· Demonstrate the value of individual contributions as it relates to business performance
• When your individual compensation discussions occur in mid-Aug, keep in mind these main financial components of the Total Rewards package:
· Base salary
· AIP*, aimed at eligible high-performing seniors, managers, & senior managers (Reminder: AIP payouts will be subject to taxation & 401k deductions)
· Rewards & Recognition program, which includes Applause Awards, Outstanding Performance Awards, Promotion Awards, & Service Anniversary Awards
• Key compensation dates include:
· Mid-Aug: Compensation discussions begin
· Sun, Aug 22: New salaries effective
· Thu, Sep 2: Updated compensation statements available on DeloitteNet
· Fri, Sep 3: New base salary & AIP award amounts reflected in pay statements available on DeloitteNet

The motivation behind such a message is subject to interpretation. Some may think this is a friendly reminder (one of several, no doubt) of the upcoming discussions OR it’s a friendly reminder that doubles as a reality check that this isn’t 2005-2006.

Meanwhile, in the consulting part of the house, one commenter is claiming that news is going to be extra good, courtesy of some Punit Renjen prognostication:

Punit said “Compensation will be highest in history” via video for Consulting…

So who knows! The good news is that you will know soon enough but numbers remain a mystery. Unless someone finally coughed up a range. In that case, we strongly encourage that you share.

Compensation Watch ’10: Is Anyone at Grant Thornton Getting Impatient?

Because “early July” becomes “mid-July” in about two days and some people would like to get this over with:

“Just as an update to GT’s “early july” announcement about raises. It hasn’t come yet, but some have been told that they’ll be getting promoted (I’m guessing seniors and managers) and were told that National is still trying to figure out what they’ll be.”

So you can take that as “Chipman and Co. are stuck in an epic game of Risk and can’t be bothered at the moment” or something else entirely if you like. If your anxiety level is at double-Lexapro levels or if you’ve heard something other than the earlier rumors, discuss below.

Promotion Watch ’10: KPMG Announcing New Managers This Week?

While the timing seems early (Klynveld is on a 9/30 FYE), there has been a lot of chatter about the announcement of this year’s class of new managers happening this week.

From a Tim Flynn foot soldier close to the situation:

Heard on Monday that national was supposed to communicate yesterday or today, with communication to us this week.


And as you might imagine, there is some anxiety out there:

I’ll tell you one thing, the SA3s that don’t get promoted, they better get a ridiculous compensation package at the time they tell us we’re getting fucked. Otherwise, we’re all leaving. Two years in a row taking it up the ass from Uncle Peat? No thank you.

That’s the word from an office in the western region. Back east, there seems to be less concern:

DC already [announced], or everyone already knows, at least. Anyone with the requisite number of years and their CPA was promoted but DC has been bleeding employees lately. Everyone’s quitting or going on rotation at the senior and manager levels. Mostly quitting.

And what about those SA3s that don’t get the bump because A) they aren’t particularly popular or B) don’t have their CPA? Turns out KPMG is prepared for that. We’ve learned that the firm is offering a new training this summer specifically for SA4s. Soooo, we imagine that training could have some discussions that goes like this:

SA4 #1: Skipped over?

SA4 #2: Failed FAR three times. You?

SA4 #1: Was told that I’m “not quite ready” (hand quotes, eye roll) and that the 4th year will better prepare me for manager.

SA4 #2: Sucks.

SA4 #1: Sucks.

Keep us posted if you get the yay or nay in your office.

UPDATE: To answer a question in the comments, this is for the audit side of the house. If you’re tax or advisory feel free to weigh in on your own promotion possibilities.

For Some Large Companies, IFRS Is the Financial Reporting Equivalent of Y2K but What About the Little Guy?

It turns out that for many of the largest global companies, all this IFRS anxiety might be completely overblown. Companies with massive accounting departments and gurus leading the IFRS charge don’t seem to be all that concerned about accounting adjustments or costs, two areas that could cause headaches for smaller companies that are forced to adopt IFRS.

At the accounting conference at Pace University last week, some of the accounting gurus from the largest global companies reacted to the switch with “meh”:

They will be “underwhelmed,” says Aaron Anderson, director, IFRS policy and implementation at IBM…”When I look at the impact on IBM and compare it to whether investors will care, frankly, I don’t think they will.”

He pointed out that if the company moves all of its financial reporting to IFRS — and some of its foreign subsidiaries are already reporting under the international standards — the change wouldn’t be material in areas that investors “care about,” such as service contracts and product backlog, which are “numbers that are not reported in GAAP, anyway.”

Unfortunately, not every company has the good fortune to have a “Director of IFRS Policy and Implementation.” For some small businesses, the IFRS adoption could very well be headed up by the CFO of the company, assisted by the controller, with a couple of senior accountants pitching in. If things really get complicated (we’re talking about accounting rules, after all), then consultants could be called in to straighten help out but at what cost?

But even companies that do have someone spearheading this effort have a few concerns. Alcoa’s IFRS implementation director said the company won’t be on board until the inventory and derivatives issues have been worked out but everything after that will be NBD:

Klingler said that Alcoa won’t bless a conversion to IFRS until issues around inventory accounting are settled. Currently, Alcoa and other U.S. companies receive a tax benefit from using the last-in, first-out (LIFO) accounting method, which is banned by IFRS. Being forced to dump LIFO could cost those companies significant cash tax payments.

Alcoa executives are also concerned with understanding how hedging rules will change, said Klingler, since the company is a commodities supplier. However, “everything else will be small numbers” with respect to accounting adjustments, he said.

So a couple big ticket issues that will certainly be resolved and then Alcoa will be marching to IFRS no problem. For small companies, dumping LIFO or figuring out hedge accounting (again) could have a huge effect.

Back to the money issue. Many are worried that since the last big change in the industry — Sarbanes-Oxley — resulted in huge compliance costs, companies will spend another king’s ransom to adopt IFRS. But again, for the largest companies, they’ve more or less got the cost of conversion nailed down and aren’t that concerned:

Anderson conceded that switching to international standards will require “a lot of work,” but added that IBM, which has already started the process of preparing for a switch, knows “within a tight range” what it will cost — and in relative terms, “it won’t be very much.”

The concession of “a lot of work” is the cause for concern for small companies. Naturally, the more complex a business, the more work will be required to adopt IFRS but at least those companies have the manpower and the resources to weather the initial learning curve. Smaller companies may find themselves short staffed which could result in need of outside expertise (and thus spending a small fortune) to make adoption happen.

Unfazed by IFRS [CFO]

Compensation Watch ’10: Is Deloitte Joining the Party?

In the past week or so, merit increases have been communicated or reiterated by three of the Big 4. While the news of the resurrected raises is widespread, most people we’ve talked to (and commenters) are not believers. Most see it as a preventive measure to delay the exodus (or at least keep it within expected ranges).


Since the rest of the Big 4 have already been covered (KPMG, E&Y, PwC) we decided to get proactive on finding out the scoop on Deloitte. We contacted a reliable source and it turns out there may be some communication very soon:

[S]o far nothing. I’m going to an all-hands meeting tomorrow in NYC, so maybe they’ll mention something there. For now, all that I can really say is that there’s whole big bunch of people waiting to jump ship, pending the results of this year’s comp, so they better put some serious increases in…

So it’s safe to presume that if the Deloitte brass doesn’t communicate a satisfactory message, the streets may be flooded with Green Dots. If you’ve gotten guarantees, denials, or anything that remotely resembles an official word on this year’s Deloitte comp, get in touch.