September 18, 2018

Bad Timing

IRS Doesn’t Seem at All Worried About Overworking Already Overworked Employees

Earlier this week, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson gave her annual report to Congress. It's always a hoot as Ms. Olson's job is pretty much to tell the IRS why they suck. This year's report was critical to be sure, but Ms. Olson surprisingly seemed to take up the torch for the Service: The agency’s […]

What Would You Do If Your Boss Quit Tomorrow to Join a Big 4 Firm?

Ed. note: Looking for above average advice from some snide, know-it-all hipster doofi? Take a number by emailing your problems to [email protected] and, if you're lucky, your position in the queue will still be in triple digits! Hi GC, I am going into my 7th busy season at a mid-tier ("MT") (2nd as a manger) […]

Blind Item: Which Big 4 CEO Sent This Poorly Timed Email About Working in the Wee Hours of the Morning?

In light of recent events, the following email was forwarded to us with our tipster admitting that intentions were good while the timing was not.

I recently met with a [BIG executive] who formerly served as a Former Big Four partner and [some hotshot internal group (I think)]. Most of the discussion was focused on how we might help [BIG executive’s company] with their global HR transformation. Quite unexpectedly, he began our meeting with a story about a senior manager on our team, [Sally Worksherassoff].

Just a day earlier, he had asked [Sally Worksherassoff] if she could find any information explaining the relevance of Dodd-Frank legislation to Human Resource leaders. When he woke up the next morning, he noticed that [Sally Worksherassoff] had emailed a whitepaper outlining exactly what he needed…at 2:00 am. The timing was critical, as he needed to deliver a presentation to [BIG executive’s company] leaders later in the day. After I left [BIG executive]’s offices, he sent an unprompted note to our project team recounting this story and remarking that “seemingly small things like this can add significant value to [BIG executive’s company].” The subject header of his note: How to “wow” a client.

My takeaway: small things, big difference. It can be easy to get lulled into reserving our extra energy and special effort for those situations, requests, and issues that seem like “big deals”. But as our client pointed out, there are no small things when it comes to delivering an exceptional client experience.

— [Big 4 CEO]

Minnesota Pol Invites Nonprofit Leaders to Hear Some Hot Air as Opposed to Filing Tax Returns

Attention Twin Cities nonprofit leaders! Looking to blow off your responsibilities for one more day? Don’t know what we’re talking about, you say? Yeah, losing your tax-exempt status isn’t really that important.

Anyway, Congresswoman Betty McCollum (who, apparently, isn’t aware of more pressing issues) is giving you the opportunity today at 1 pm local time to discuss HR 5533 rather than file your delinquent 990(s) that are DUE TOMORROW.

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN-04) will join nonprofit leaders in a public discussion about how to strengthen Minnesota communities by improving the partnership between nonprofits and the federal government. The conversation will be an opportunity for local nonprofit and foundation leaders to engage in dialogue about the Nonprofit Sector and Community Solutions Act (H.R. 5533), federal legislation introduced by the Congresswoman.

There has already been a tremendous response from the nonprofit community. The event has reached its full capacity of nearly 200 attendees.

Although the nonprofit sector plays a significant role in the U.S. economy and is critical for the implementation of government policies and programs, no federal entity is responsible for promoting the success of the nonprofit sector as a whole. In an attempt to bridge that gap, Congresswoman McCollum introduced the Nonprofit Sector and Community Solutions Act in June. This bipartisan legislation takes the first steps toward integrating the nonprofit sector into the federal policymaking process by establishing formal structures in Congress and federal administrative agencies focused on the success of nonprofits. To date, H.R. 5533 has 20 cosponsors and is officially supported by over 500 nonprofit organizations across the country.

WHO: Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN-04) (keynote)
Jon Pratt, Executive Director, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (keynote)
Pham Thi Hoa, Executive Director, CAPI
Mark Peterson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lutheran Social Service
Sandra Vargas, President and CEO, The Minneapolis Foundation

WHEN: Thursday, October 14, 2010, 1:00 – 2:30 PM

WHERE: Neighborhood House, 179 Robie Street East, St. Paul, Minnesota, 55107-2360

Koss Files 10-Q Sans Financial Statements, Declares Dividend

Somehow this got overlooked earlier in the week but we can’t literally be all-knowing, all-seeing, all the time. Plus, haven’t you missed this mug?

Headphone cobbler Koss filed it’s first quarter 10-Q earlier this week, which ordinarily would be a non-event except for a small matter of missing financial statements.

The Milwaukee Business Journal reports that the company cited the missing financial statements “due to delays relating to certain previously disclosed unauthorized transactions.”


Yes, that’s PR-speak for ueSay achdevaSay.

Koss executives intend to amend the Form 10-Q to include the quarterly unaudited financial statements as soon as possible after Koss Corp. completes restating statements from previous quarters in fiscal 2008, fiscal 2009 and the quarter ending Sept. 30, 2009, the company said. The company said it expects to file amended financial reports with the SEC no later than June 30.

But there’s nothing to be worried about because the company declared a dividend and secured an $8 million credit facility with JP Morgan. Progress!

Koss declares dividend, but yet to report results [Milwaukee Business Journal]
10-Q [SEC.gov]
8-K [SEC.gov]

Infuriating Problem of the Day: Accountants Quitting During Busy Season

Seriously people. For most of you, this isn’t a problem. You gird up your loins, duck your head and bulldoze your way through this time of year just like you’ve done in years past. Busy season sucks. We all know that.

Who in their right mind interviews with the Big 4 et al. and is thinking, “The hours won’t be that bad,” or “I probably won’t have to travel” OR “Big 4 salaries are good enough for me”?


The Big 4 Exodus is something that has been discussed at length here but until we’ve yet to discuss this particular topic.

Yes, the trend of accounting firm layoffs is demoralizing and yes, merit increases were mostly frozen, and there were virtually no bonuses> Hell, you may working your ass off knowing that your staff makes more than you but if you’re working in mid-February, what ton of bricks hits you that causes you to conclude that bailing out on your team is the best option?

All the people we’ve had the pleasure of working with, despite all of them having multiple “F— THIS!” moments, pull it together because they have a job to do. Why the hell didn’t you quit prior to busy season? You really felt like sticking it to everyone?

Fine. Perhaps your desire for sweet, sweet revenge against your senior/manager/partner/firm is more powerful than any shred of integrity you may have but for crissakes, that makes you a very bitter person. More so than the average accountant.

Seriously? It couldn’t wait? There isn’t that much time left in busy season. And besides, if you’re patient, they may pay you to leave.

The IRS Is Making “Thousands” of Visits to CPAs During Tax Season

Apparently the IRS is not one for timing. Earlier this month the Service announced that if you get paid to crank out 1040s, your life as you know it is more or less over. Well, at least a little more inconvenient. Okay, it’s hella-inconvenient.

Back when the new regulations were announced the Service let it be known that since it can’t get these new regulations implemented for 2010, it was still stepping up its efforts for getting all up in tax preparers’ shit.


The first step being to be to send 10,000 letters to paid preparers nationwide letting them know that they need to be on their A-game. The letters were intended for, “preparers…with large volumes of specific tax returns where the IRS typically sees frequent errors,” and that they should be “vigilant” for errors related to “Schedule C income and expenses, Schedule A deductions, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the First Time Homebuyer Credit.”

Well then. That should cover about EVERY TAX PREPARER IN THE COUNTRY.

Anyway, the IRS is following up the 10,000 “Dear Joe Kristan” letters with phone calls to set up sit-downs with “thousands” of preparers. According to William Stromsem, who wrote a piece over at CPA2Biz, these are “urgent” calls:

In at least one case, the IRS called a practitioner at home and spoke with the spouse by name, asking for a response within three hours and then calling back before that time was up. Another practitioner, who was unable to schedule a meeting during a busy time was threatened with having the refusal passed up the line to a supervisor.

The piece goes to tell us that the visits will be performed in the coming weeks and months and may last up to 3 hours. Does anyone see a problem with this yet?

These chats are designed to be friendly reminders of all the pitfalls out there in tax preparer land; not a compliance visit (but they will remind you of the penalties that can be assessed for any malfeasance). Regardless of the pleasant intentions, the timing has irked CPAs to no end and we can’t say that we blame them. Hope no one is expecting an apology. And one more thing, we’d like to know how the Commish’s CPA feels about this whole thing. Just for fun; he should get a letter.

IRS ‘10,000 Letters’ Program Angers CPAs [CPA2Biz]

Layoff Watch ’10: Ernst & Young January Edition

Confused doesn’t even begin to describe what were feeling. We are hearing tons of rumors about layoffs in the Ernstiverse this week.

We’ve heard rumors from Denver to the East-Central (fka North-Central) and New York FSO. This includes both client serving professionals and support staff. We have already confirmed that two admins were let go earlier this week in New York.

The timing is especially strange since, you know, it’s January and in some offices the mandatory hours have already rolled out. Even if it were only support staff being let go, the timing is still unheard of. Why wait until January to let people go when having cuts in November? Maybe it’s just us but if we had survived that November cut, we would have thought that our job would be safe until at least the spring.
And since the roundtables seem to be SOP you wouldn’t think they would be anything to worry about but they definitely have people talking and wondering what will go down.

So far, Ernst & Young has not responded to our request for comment.
If you hear anything about your office get in touch in with us and discuss in the comments.

Layoff Watch ’09: Update on Ernst & Young’s November Round

It’s been a couple of weeks since we last heard any details from last month’s layoffs at E&Y, so we just assumed this particular story had run its course.
Well now, we have received word of (and confirmed) layoffs in the Columbus, Ohio office. One source indicates it was 2 – 3 staff and possibly one manager in the assurance practice. This would put the number of layoffs in the North Central region in the nabe of 25. Our source indicated that it seemed that Columbus had been spared for the round last month, so this may be their attempt to catch up.
Annnnnnd it’s our understanding that the cuts happened the day before the holiday party in Columbus. So there’s that.
If you have additional details, continue to pass them along and continue to keep us updated on any layoffs you hear for your office.