BDO

BDO Senior Manager Wants to Know How Best to Say ‘I Quit’

Welcome to the High Holiday edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a senior manager at BDO is ready to give notice but can’t decide if it’s best to keep things professional or to go out with a verbal assault the likes of which George Costanza has never seen.

Are you working in the Twilight Zone? Need some good ideas for celebrating the end of busy season? Feeling jealous about the sexy success<l us at advice@goingconcern.com and we’ll get you over your accountants-in-love envy.

Back to kicking off The Public Accounting Attrition Tour of 2011:

Going Concern,

I am still knee deep in busy season, with many engagements still open and pushing their April 30th deadlines. There is no real end in sight, since May and June look equally as busy with Q’s, EBP’s, 9/30 year ends and other projects the Partners engage us for that further contribute to my maxed out PTO accrual. So naturally, as most people do this time of year, I have been looking for open positions searching for that golden opportunity to finally break free of the social, physical and health suppression known as public accounting. That being said, is it wrong to lay down at night and dream of what you would say when giving your notice?

I have played out hundreds of scenarios in my head saying everything from the absolute extreme to the overly conservative. That makes me think – what is the best way to “leave” a public accounting firm? During my 11 year career, I have seen all kinds of people leave in a ball of fire, rather than just fade away. Those people think that the firm will collapse without them, or their leaving will cause a mass exodus or significant change to the firm. No way. It never happens. So really, what is the point of telling the Partners (and HR in the exit conference), what you really feel in your heart?

Dear Dreaming of Quitting,

There’s nothing at all wrong with dreaming of the most epic march in ever. I assume you’re referring to something similar to this:

As you mention, people who go out with a furious speech that features wild hand gestures and name-calling are typically those who think they are indispensable or are somehow the catalyst to the collapse of their firm. You’re right to say that this is NEVER the case. A team or an office may go through a rough patch (mileage of rough patch may vary) but eventually things calm down and return to relative normalcy.

So to answer your second question – the best way to leave your firm is: quietly. That doesn’t mean you don’t tell your colleagues, friends or others that you’re leaving (most probably know that you’re looking to leave anyway) but it should be a drama-free encounter. You meet with the appropriate people, tell them that your last day will be X and that should be it. If they pry about why you’re leaving or attempt to convince you otherwise, you can respectfully decline or entertain their queries and/or begging. That’s up to you. Even if you’ve been used and abused throughout the time at your firm, would it really make you feel better to tell that a partner that the experience of working with them was akin to a circle of Dante’s Inferno that he dared not scribe?

As for the motive behind these overtly dramatic “I quit!” speeches, I get the feeling that those who feel compelled to give them think they will get some satisfaction out of telling someone exactly how they feel; that giving everyone who deserves a piece of their mind will somehow make everything negative that happened in the past worth it. If you feel like expressing some honesty about your experience, that’s perfectly okay but for crissakes, have some tact. If you simply feel justified to spew verbal excrement, that only makes you look like a lunatic. A very unprofessional lunatic.

Going Concern March Madness Update: Reznick’s Magic is MIA; Grant Thornton, BDO on the Ropes

Look gang, since too many of you are distracted with doing billable work to email us anything half way interesting, I’m guess I’ll just update you on the progress in Round 2.


The two highest remaining seeds – Grant Thornton and BDO – are looking defeat square in the face right now to their respective opponents – Crowe Horwath and Rothstein Kass. First round comeback kid Reznick Group is currently getting worked by Moss Adams which makes should make us all wonder what happened to the teamwork we saw in the first round. Perhaps they’re a one-trick pony?

Finally, in the least talked about match-up, Mickey G’s and Dennis Rader’s favorite firm (ideas for something better are welcome) look like they’ll be taking it down to the wire. There’s just over thirteen hours left to vote, so get the word out sooner rather than later (sorry Clifton Gunderson).

BDO Is Not Impressed with KPMG’s Business Tactics in Brazil

BDO announced a new member firm in Brazil today because…well, KPMG kindasorta poached their last one. Well, BDO Global CEO Jeremy Newman has had it up to here (i.e. eye-level) and wanted to point out that A) this not uncommon:

“BDO is not the first firm to have suffered as a result of our larger competitors using their dominant financial position to buy market share and we have expressed our concerns about this in BDO’s recent submission to the European Commission’s Green Paper on the role of the audit profession,” said Newman.

B) this is some shady dealings:

“These tactics are not driven by client needs but by one firm’s wish to buy market share and presumably achieve further economies of scale. We are concerned that when one firm looks to dominate it reduces choice for clients and leaves the market worryingly dependent on just a few players.

and C) these aren’t just fightin’ words. The most interesting accounting firm in the world will be taking action:

“BDO will be lodging an objection to this deal with the Brazilian competition authorities.”

Challenge extended.

BDO lines up complaint against KPMG Brazil [Accountancy Age]

Choosing Between a Big 4 and Mid-tier Firm Part XXIII

Welcome to the upset-special edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a future public accounting foot soldier has to make a decision between a Big 4 firm and “GT/BDO type firm” but is stumped on what to do and can’t find a two-sided coin anywhere. The next best solution was, obviously, emailing us.

Want to know if you’re in a dead-end job? Trying to deal with stress in the waning days of busy season? Anxious about changes in your job? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com and we’ll help you pull through.

Back to the indecider:

Hi Going Concern,

I have an offer from a Big 4 and a GT/BDO type firm and am having a tough time deciding. I wanted to ask which option will be better in the long-run if I want to start in public accounting, but then might want to move to a large publicly traded tech company? I guess my question is which route would give me better exit opportunities and long-term benefits should I decide not to stay in public accounting? (If I leave, I have a good idea of where I’d like to work on the corporate side.)

1. Mid-Tier Firm experience — having taken lead on small projects by my second year, more interaction with clients etc. Having experience with mid-sized (not public) tech companies, and experience with large, public companies that are not tech companies.

2. Big 4 — staying a little more than 2 years (enough to move up to Sr. Associate level but not staying too long beyond that) – and having worked on large, public tech companies. Having the Big 4 brand name on my résumé.

Also, there’s a chance that I might enjoy staying at the Mid-Tier in the long-term, but without being sure, I want to keep my options as open as possible.

Thanks. Any advice is appreciated.

Stuck in Indecision

Dear Stuck in Indecision,

I’m impressed that you’ve managed to cover all the angles here. You could possibly like each scenario without considering what it is actually want with your career other than “might want to move to a large publicly traded tech company” or “might enjoy staying at the Mid-Tier in the long-term.” You’re basically saying that you’re up for anything – hence, ” I want to keep my options as open as possible.” Your options are open all right since you’ve committed to exactly nothing. However I’m here to help, so here goes.

To keep it brief: all things being equal, go with the Big 4 firm. Here are some details – it’s likely that you will have the opportunity to work on smaller clients at a Big 4 firm, thus giving you the chance to “take the lead.” If you also have experience working for larger, publicly-traded companies (not as likely at a mid-tier), your experience will be more vast and allow you decide what it is you actually want to do (because, at this point in time, you don’t seem to have a clue). GT, BDO, McGladrey et al. are fine firms but you have a Big 4 offer – take it. You didn’t mention the people (a big selling point at most firms) so I’ll assume you’re indifferent or that they were all equal on this front. The network you build in a Big 4 firm will benefit you the long run and the experience will as well. Just don’t expect your firm to do well in “cool” contests. Good luck.

BDO’s Tax Shelter Team Was Known as the ‘Wolf Pack’

I figured you guys should know that.

Ex-CEO Denis Field’s trial for his alleged lead-wolf role in the tax shelter case started last week, while the rest of his fellow wolves – Michael Kerekes, Adrian Dicker, Charles Bee Jr. and Robert Greisman – all pleaded guilty back in 2009.

Led by Field, BDO Seidman was one of the most aggressive tax-shelter marketers, starting in the late 1990s. Inside the firm, the tax-shelter team was known as the “wolf pack.” Field became CEO of the firm in 2000. Tax services accounted for nearly half of BDO Seidman’s $420 million in U.S. revenues in 2002, up from 28 percent in 1998.

Ex-chief executive of BDO Seidman on trial in tax-shelter case [CT]

Did Prosecutors Bungle Their Case Against BDO’s Former CEO?

Maybe! Denis Field’s lawyers certainly aren’t amused with the tactics:

Denis Field, ex-CEO of BDO Seidman, the world’s fifth largest accounting firm, claims Manhattan prosecutors intimidated his former firm into curtailing and eventually cutting off payments to his lawyers. In recently filed court papers, he claims that the government deprived him of his constitutional right to counsel and seeks dismissal of the case.

Field alleges that among other tactics, prosecutors threatened to indict the firm if it kept funding his defense. During a hearing on Thursday, U.S. Judge William Pauley III of the Southern District of New York, who is presiding over the case, closely questioned prosecutors about the accusations. A ruling is expected soon.

If this sounds familiar, it should. Back in 2007, the very same prosecutors – Stanley Okula and Shirah Neiman – pulled a similar stunt, “convincing” KPMG not to pay the legal fees for the partners and employees that were facing criminal charges for their roles in the firm’s tax shelter schemes:

That case was thrown out in 2007 after U.S. Judge Lewis Kaplan found that prosecutors had improperly “coerced” KPMG into cutting off the legal fees of 13 former KPMG partners and employees. “KPMG refused to pay because the government held the proverbial gun to its head,” Kaplan wrote.

Two of the prosecutors called out by Judge Kaplan — Stanley Okula and Shirah Neiman — have also been involved in the Field case, a fact that is prominently noted by Field’s lawyers in their motion to dismiss. “The reason for the government’s conduct is obvious — as with KPMG, the prosecutors believed BDO ‘should not pay the fees’ of allegedly culpable individuals,” Field’s lawyers argue. They cited the KPMG case no fewer than 50 times in their brief.

So it appears that Okula and Neiman aren’t much for personal reflection and may have pulled out the proverbial gun again. But they’re making a case for themselves, saying BDO’s motivation for sticking Field with the tab isn’t related to them putting the screws to the firm, “the government argues that BDO stopped paying Field’s legal bills after the firm discovered that Field hid from the board a report, prepared by law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, warning that certain tax shelters that Field was promoting were questionable.” Hey! – you can even ask BDO’s general counsel, he’ll tell you that the firm’s decision had nothing to do with get the government off their backs. And if you can’t believe a lawyer, who can you believe?

Prosecutors on defensive in BDO Seidman fraud case [Reuters]

Future Family Man Is Going Back and Forth Between BDO and Big 4 Offers

Welcome to the Calebs-are-a-loyal-sort edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a non-tradish student is getting all wishy-washy about choosing between BDO and a Big 4 firm. There are lots of variables involved so we’ll get right to it. But first…

Is your busy season belt already busting? Need help choosing classes to reach the 150 credit hours required in your state? Worried your lack of WASPyness will hurt your career ambitions? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com and we can recommend an exercise regimen or a nice fine arts class. Skin color and religion, on the other hand, are above our pay grade.

Back to our decider du jour:

I work in industry accounting now as a college student and I dread the monotonous work of industry accounting. This has brought me to the conclusion that I may just enjoy public accounting more in regards to a long term career. I see my CFO, controller, and director all working crazy hours which leads me to believe that my decision between public and industry would not change my work hours enough to really affect my work/life balance.

Unlike the majority of college students in their 20s I have significant financial obligations including a mortgage, car payments, and everything else that comes with those expenses. I am also married (no kids) and my wife is a low paid professional in her industry (marginal income, just enough to get by, but not enough to carry the house hold alone).

As for my offers – I have received a full-time offer with BDO to begin in the last quarter of this year, and I have also received an internship offer with a Big 4 to begin in January 2012 (hopefully beginning full time towards the end of 2012/beginning of 2013). If I take the internship for the sake of going Big 4, I will have to take out extra student loans through my masters to subsidize my ramen noodle living in the period between the internship and full-time start date. I will also have to put off starting my family, which is a big deal for me and my wife since we would like to start that before she gets into her 30s (which would be next year).

I must say that I originally chose the Big 4 and called BDO to decline my offer and let them know what my choice was. They seemed disappointed to hear it and the partner told me he doesn’t usually take part in recruitment and would really like me on his team. This is when he pushed my original offer from Jan 2013 to begin a few months earlier if I would have liked.

Also, when I inquired about the benefits offered at the Big 4 I was perceived “pushy” and I was told that I should be grateful for being extended an opportunity with them that many students would do anything for. When I presented this issue to professionals at other firms as well as professors I was always reassured that my question and my choice of approach regarding benefits was completely valid and the firm overreacted.

I am not sure if going Big 4 will be worth the financial and family delay sacrifice, or if going BDO and foregoing the Big 4 prestige would be a better idea since I have a partner already favoring me there from the get go, and instead of incurring more financial liabilities (through the extra student loans I would need if I took the Big 4 internship) I would be able to start paying some off. Some advice to help me make my decision would be greatly appreciated!

Hopeful Future Partner

Dear Hopeful,

Since we received your note prior to our pithy warning on Friday, I’ll ignore your verbosity. AS FOR THE REST OF YOU, there’s something to be said for brevity – keep that in mind.

All right, then. You’ve got Big 4 vs second tier decision to make, the typical American debt load and a biological clock to consider. Christ, man. We won’t touch the latter two but will say: aside from drinking heavily, you really need to sit down with the Mrs. to figure a lot of this out.

As for your career problem, we’re a little confused. It seems like you’ve already turned down BDO and accepted the Big 4 offer but there must be get out of accounting firm jail free card that we’re not aware of. Put that aside and it sounds like BDO is bending over backwards for you and your Big 4 friends are a tad touchy about a pretty standard inquiry (but maybe you’ve got people skills like Dunstan Pedropillai). So if you’re back to making a decision between the two, going with BDO seems like your best move just based on the people you’ve encountered.

To address this situation a more general sense, do you honestly think “Big 4 prestige” is going to help your situation? Anyone – recruiter, partner, manager, staff – that tries to guilt trip you with “[you] should be grateful for being extended an opportunity with [us] that many students would do anything for” doesn’t give a damn about you and is more concerned about the power they hold over you with this “opportunity.” Tell them to stick it and get your career started. Your wife will appreciate it.

A Partner Hopeful Can’t Decide Between KPMG and a Mid-Tier Firm

Welcome to the light-the-menorah edition of Accounting Career Emergency. In today’s edition, a lucky co-ed who is convinced she wants a career in public accounting has internship offers from KPMG and GT and maybe another from BDO. Multiple choice study skills won’t really help her so she turned us for our sage advice.

Is your career on life support? Worried that the long hours during the upcoming busy season might finally cause you to crack? Does your family remind you of Arrested Development? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com and we’ll have no problem crushing your brother-in-law’s dreams of playing with the Blue Man Group.

Back to the multiple choice exercise:

I recently received an internship offer from both Grant Thornton and KPMG in Chicago. I more than likely will be getting an offer from BDO as well. Unlike many who go Big 4 then jump ship to industry, I want to make a long term career out of public accounting (i.e., hopefully make partner some day).

I liked the supposed “culture” and the people at all of the firms, but now I can’t decide which one I want to go with. I don’t know if going midsized will mean quicker promotions, and somewhat better hours (relatively speaking), or if the Big 4 prestige is even relevant long term within the public accounting field. Please help me make sense of this…

Dear Partner Hopeful,

Pardon us but we’ll briefly delve into semantics for a second – “midsized” isn’t really representative of GT or BDO (we’re not crazy about mid-tier either but we’re open to suggestions) as they both have vast international networks. It is also true that the Big 4 dwarf GT and BDO combined so a moniker for the non-Big 4 firms (because that also sucks) could be the most important debate to come out of your question. But that’s a discussion for another day.

Now, then. We’re impressed that you have your mind made up that you want a long-term career in public accounting. That was our initial aspirations as well and look how that turned out. All we’re saying is, don’t get ahead of yourself and the culture will wane, trust us.

As for the Big 4 vs. GT/BDO question – for starters, the promotion pace will be similar no matter where you go. Besides, do you really want to get to senior manager in 5-6 years just to sit there for 10 more before you make partner? Our guess is, nofuckingway.

Secondly, don’t ask about hours. They will be long no matter where you go. Get over it.

The most provocative part of your question is related to prestige. GT and BDO rank #5 and #6 in Vault’s latest ranking, so it’s not like you’re working for complete schlubs. Plus, Chicago, as you’re well aware, is where Grant Thornton and BDO are headquartered. Conventional wisdom may tell you that KPMG is a more prestigious firm regardless of location and that very well may be true. But if you’re working in the HQ city of GT or BDO, you’re likely to hobnob with some of the most high-ranking professionals within those two firms. Not taking anything away from KPMG Chicago, but you simply won’t get the same exposure to the firm’s national leadership as you would at Grant Thornton or BDO.

Bottom line is that all the firms are solid and if you’re sold on the people and culture, you’ll have no problem fitting in at any of them. But if you’re concerned with prestige and building your network, it’s worth considering the opportunity of getting exposure to the bigwigs at GT and BDO.

BDO Culminates 100th Anniversary with a Two-Hour Disney Production on the History of the Firm

As you probably know, BDO has spent 2010 celebrating the firm’s 100th anniversary in the U.S. Throughout the year there has been various celebrations along with Jack Weisbaum’s successful run as Dos Equis dopplegänger.

The apex of the firm’s centennial is going on as we speak in Orlando, at the firm’s Centennial Partners Meeting where 700 some-odd partners, alums and their better halves are celebrating the big one hundo.


A brief word from the most interesting accounting CEO in the world:

“In 1910, there were a little more than 2000 certified public accountants (CPAs) in the United States, that’s approximately the same amount currently working at BDO. Today, there are hundreds of thousands CPAs, but just a handful of national firms that have been able to grow and prosper across the country and build networks with member firms around the world,” said Jack Weisbaum, CEO of BDO USA. “Our firm bears little physical resemblance to the firm Maximillian L. Seidman started a century ago, and it is sure to change drastically in the coming century. What will stay the same is our unwavering commitment to clients, our capacity to adapt to change and our ability to find opportunity in every challenge.”

In addition to the Weisbaum speech, last night attendees were treated the aforementioned two-hour Disney production about the history of the firm.

Entitled “Proud Past – Bold Future,” the firm’s story is told with an extensive cast and musical arrangements, interspersed with video interviews of BDO partners – from both past and present – as the firm’s progress is tracked over the past century.

A Disney production sounds nice but two hours? Beauty and the Beast was nominated for Best Picture and it only ran for 84 minutes. Not that you can fairly compare the 100 years of getting to know BDO to animated bestiality. There really is no comparison but we’re just hoping – for the sake of the audience – it was screened before the comfort food and booze.

Sandra Guy, Recognized for Leadership in Diversity, Leaving BDO

We’ve learned from a tipster that BDO’s Head of Human Capital Sandra Guy was leaving the firm to ‘pursue other interests’ which we have confirmed with a BDO spokesman.

As of Monday, Sandi Guy, executive director of Human Capital, has left the firm to pursue other interests. Barbara Taylor, the firm’s general counsel, will oversee the Human Capital function on an interim basis until a replacement is identified.

“We thank Sandi for her many years of service to our firm and are grateful for her significant contributions,” says Jack Weisbaum, chief executive officer. “We wish her well in her future endeavors.”

Ms. Guy was recognized just last year for her work in diversity by American Society of Women Accountants (ASWA) and Profiles in Diversity Journal’sWomen Worth Watching in 2010.”

There’s Still Some Confusion About the BDO/Grant Thornton Situation in Hong Kong

The Wall St. Journal’s China Real Time Report stumbled upon the BDO/Grant Thornton poaching exodus merger situation (some may say, “clusterfuck”) in Hong Kong and we have no choice but to take issue with it.

The headline reads, “Missed It? Hong Kong’s Big Accounting Merger” and they mention the original report from the South China Morning Post. They manage to tone down the narrative but more or less tell the same story, full with quotes from BDO Hong Kong’s CEO Albert Au Siu-cheung:

On Wednesday, about a month after the joint press release, the South China Morning Post featured a front-page article describing the merger as a mass poaching of staff by BDO, “the biggest such raid in the city’s accounting sector.”

“It’s a bit sensational,” Au said, adding there was no raid. “Poaching is I pick a few heads here and there,” he said. “What you’re seeing here is the whole firm, meaning the partners and staff, coming to join us in BDO.”

In other words, “Sure it sounded bad but really it was just people making a choice”:

“There is no goodwill payment of any kind,” Au said. “I like to think they are voting with their feet. By that, I mean they think they’re joining a platform they have commitment to and believe in.” Clients were informed of the change and had the option to find another accounting firm. All clients have stayed with Grant Thornton for this merger.

Of course if someone at the Journal had rang up Grant Thornton International they would have likely gotten the story that we reported on last Friday which is that GTI booted the affiliate firm in Hong Kong and that BDO is kinda, sorta misrepresenting the situation:

They did not choose to leave, they were told to leave…[I]t is disingenous, or possibly wishful thinking, on the part of BDO to suggest that Grant Thornton is pulling out of Hong Kong. Many partners and staff from the former Hong Kong firm have already contacted the new Grant Thornton firm and clients will, of course, decide for themselves whether to move to BDO, which operates in the region as a loose affiliation, or remain with the more integrated, ‘one firm’ approach of Grant Thornton.

And of course there are the opposing press releases. The joint one issued by the BDO/GT firm dated October 7th that states:

Leading accounting firms BDO and Grant Thornton are pleased to announce that their firms have agreed in principle to merge their businesses and practise in the name of BDO Limited.

And the one from GTI, also dated October 7th that states something quite different:

Grant Thornton International gave its Hong Kong member firm notice on 20 September to leave the global organisation by March 2011.

With that mandate and probably few options, it appears that GTHK ran into the arms of BDOHK. BDO is using the Journal to disseminate a story that makes them look proactive and ambitious when in reality, none of this would even be happening if GTI hadn’t told their HK firm to get lost. The Journal – like the South China Morning Post – doesn’t mention that. Some people might consider that a major piece of the story.

We’ve put out a warning in the past about wandering into our corner of the sandbox without knowing what the hell you’re doing (or at least checking with us first) and you can consider this a friendly reminder about that. We’re more than happy to help because this accounting/accounting firm stuff is tricky when you don’t spend every single day reading and writing about it.

Grant Thornton: BDO Suggestion That We Are Pulling Out of Hong Kong Is ‘Disingenuous’

Following up on our post from Wednesday on the movement of 600+ Grant Thornton Hong Kong employees to BDO, we’ve received some correspondence from Grant Thornton International that clarifies the situation.

Turns out, a brief press release – whole thing after the jump – was issued by GTI last month that announced that the firm had given notice (confirming speculation in the comments) to its HK firm to GTFO by March 2011.

In email to Going Concern, GTI spokeswoman Hilary East broke it down for us:

They did not choose to leave, they were told to leave. Success in China is critical to the long term ambitions of G are committed to an integrated approach to the China market, which includes Hong Kong. While many partners in the former Hong Kong firm supported that strategy, their leadership was unable to agree amongst itself and separation became the only option. Grant Thornton China immediately set up a new firm in Hong Kong, led by a group of partners from the original Hong Kong firm with support from the 1500 partners and staff across mainland China.

The new firm that Ms East mentions, presumably is Jingdu Tianhua Hong Kong which we mentioned in our previous post that will adopt the Grant Thornton name “in due course.”

But what about this article in the South China Morning Post that quotes BDO Hong Kong’s CEO as saying, “The opportunity to have a massive admission of so much established accounting talent is rare.” ?

Ms East elaborated for us:

[I]t is disingenous, or possibly wishful thinking, on the part of BDO to suggest that Grant Thornton is pulling out of Hong Kong. Many partners and staff from the former Hong Kong firm have already contacted the new Grant Thornton firm and clients will, of course, decide for themselves whether to move to BDO, which operates in the region as a loose affiliation, or remain with the more integrated, ‘one firm’ approach of Grant Thornton.

If you read the South China article, you won’t see a single mention of GTI giving the Hong Kong firm notice, unless you count the extremely vague and misleading passage:

Grant Thornton chief executive Patrick Rozario, who led the move to BDO, said the team decided to shift because of Grant Thornton International’s directive for the mainland member firm to lead Grant Thornton’s Hong Kong office.

“We consider BDO, which is run independently in Hong Kong and China, respectively, is a model that suits us better,” Rozario said.

No mention of the GTI press release. No mention of the new firm that GTI was setting up. No mention that some staff and partners were considering their options. The headline (and sub-hed) in the article is even ridiculously misleading: “Troubled accounting firm’s staff jump ship Grant Thornton to close as BDO gains full team”.

And why the article even brings up Gabriel Azedo’s disappearance is mystifying. It’s more than hella-stretch to suggest that the trouble caused by him has anything to do with GTI’s or BDO’s moves. Plus hardly anyone (including the Financial Times) gives a damn any more about his whereabouts. The guy has been on the lam for over a year and is probably some accounting Kurtz figure by now.

Grant Thornton International Separates From HK

Accounting News Roundup: Signs of Compromise on Tax Cuts; KPMG Caught in Between IRS, Wells Fargo; BDO Elects New Board Members | 11.05.10

White House signals compromise on tax cuts [Reuters]
A conciliatory White House said on Thursday it was willing to negotiate with Republicans on tax cut extensions, but Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell took a hard line against compromises with President Barack Obama in a new Congress.

In the first possible policy shift since Democrats suffered heavy election losses two days ago, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs signaled Obama was open to talks on a temporary extension for the wealthy of Bush-era tax cuts that expire at the end of the year.

New York Court Sends “Amazon Tax” Case Back for More Information [Tax Foundation]
[T]he intermediate court of New York handed down its long-awaited “Amazon tax” opinion in Amazon.com, LLC v. New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. New York requires companies with no property or employees in New York to collect New York sales tax if the non-resident company receives revenue from in-state independent affiliates.

Qantas Blames Rolls-Royce for Engine Failure [WSJ]
Qantas Airways Ltd. Chief Executive Alan Joyce on Friday said the design of Rolls-Royce Group Plc engines could have caused a mid-air failure that forced one of its A380 super jumbos to make an emergency landing in Singapore.

“This is an engine issue and the engines were maintained by Rolls-Royce since they have been installed on the aircraft,” Mr. Joyce told reporters at the company’s headquarters in Sydney. “We believe this is most likely a material failure or some kind of design issue.”

BBC strike silences Today and hits TV news [FT]
BBC journalists ignored the pleas of their editor-in-chief on Friday, taking strike action over plans to cut their pension benefits and driving familiar morning news programmes off the air.

The Today programme on Radio 4 was replaced with pre-recorded material, including a documentary on bird life in the Humber estuary, while Radio 5 Live and the BBC’s morning television news were produced with skeleton staff and unfamiliar presenters.

IRS looks into Wells Fargo tax deductions [MST]
A dispute between the Internal Revenue Service and Wells Fargo & Co. that has been quietly taking shape in a Minneapolis federal court could cost the bank hundreds of millions of dollars.

The clash involves “sale-in, lease-out” (SILO) transactions in which a tax-exempt entity transfers tax benefits to a taxpayer like Wells Fargo, in exchange for a fee. The IRS says Wells Fargo has claimed nine-digit losses for tax purposes on such deals, but the government considers them an illegal tax dodge.


BDO USA, LLP Announces Results of Board Elections [BDO]
Brian Eccleston, Scott Hendon, Albert Lopez and Brad Schrupp have each been elected to the firm’s board of directors. These elections, which are for a three-year term, are effective immediately.

“The partnership has shown wise judgment in electing these very deserving individuals and I am confident that the firm will benefit from the insight they will bring to the process,” said Jack Weisbaum, CEO of BDO USA.

Actress’ name is mud in tax man’s eyes [Tax Watchdog/Detroit News]
Jaime Pressly is the actress and she owes $376k.

Exodus Watch: 600+ in Grant Thornton’s Hong Kong Office Move to BDO

What in the name of Stephen Chipman’s dubious accent is going on here? Why would a firm shut down an office in an emerging financiaosing six hundred partners and professionals to one of their rivals?

If you ask BDO’s Hong Kong Chairman and CEO Albert Au Siu-cheung, it has nothing to do with the disappearance of former GT managing partner Gabriel Azedo. It’s simply a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that found its way into the lap of BDO:


From the South China Morning Post:

“The opportunity to have a massive admission of so much established accounting talent is rare. This will strengthen BDO’s competitiveness in the local accounting industry,” Au said. “This will also create a bigger mid-tier firm allowing listed companies a choice for auditing and professional services in future.”

Au said the recruitment would be completed by the end of this year, and all staff and partners would become part of BDO, while Grant Thornton would cease operation in Hong Kong. Grant Thornton’s clients – including 130 listed companies audited by the firm – had been notified of the change and most agreed to make the switch to BDO, Au said.

Au said lawsuits involving Grant Thornton’s missing boss, former managing partner Gabriel Ricardo Dias-Azedo, were not a factor in the move.

This is a head scratcher for sure. Although this isn’t the first time a major firm has had mysterio issues in H to the K. Last year, Ernst & Young’s office was raided for the firm’s involvement with Akai that ultimately resulted in the firm paying a rumored $400 million to settle the case.

We reached out to PR at Grant Thornton’s International office but since they’ve probably been at the pub for hours already, we’re still awaiting a response.

We did find this announcement from Grant Thornton International which states that the firm has a new “member firm” in HK but nothing about the movement of the 600 professionals:

Grant Thornton has announced the appointment of a new member firm in Hong Kong. The new practice, set up by Grant Thornton China, will begin trading as Jingdu Tianhua Hong Kong but will adopt the name “Grant Thornton” in due course. The new firm will be led by Daniel Lin, an established and highly regarded member of the accounting profession in Hong Kong.

[…]

The new firm plans to have a staff of over 100 people within 12 months. Significantly, it will be fully integrated with Grant Thornton China and be part of a network of 10 offices providing seamless access to 65 partners and over 1,500 professionals across mainland China and Hong Kong.

Ed Nusbaum, chief executive officer of Grant Thornton International explains, “Grant Thornton has long been committed to a strategy of an integrated approach to serving clients across the China market, including Hong Kong. This appointment of Jingdu Tianhua Hong Kong is a vital step in that strategy and our member firms, now over 100 in number, look forward to working with their new colleagues in Hong Kong.”

Okay, so a “vital step” includes the closing of an office the defection of 600 professionals and “130 listed companies” for an office with less than 100 people total? Can anyone – looking straight at you Ed – explain this? Since he’s pretty hard to nail down we’ll take your theories for now.

BDO Officially Resides in the First State

By all accounts, BDO as a firm, has had a decent 2010. There were the typical raises and promotions that were met with a giant “meh” by the BDO faithful.

The firm celebrated its 100th birthday last month, with offices marking the occasion in various ways. And probably most importantly, the Florida Appeals Court ordered a new trial in the Banco Espirito Santo case.


The decision in this case allowed the firm to jump off its deathbed reenergized, allowing Jack Weisbaum to continuing to moonlight as a TV commercial star as well as open a Raleigh, North Carolina office.

The good times continue with the addition of McBride Shopa & Co. including a message from Tom Shopa with a pleasant piano accompaniment in the background.

Jack W. was able to sneak away from a busy commercial shoot to share his feelings on the matter:

“The addition of the partners, professionals and staff formerly with McBride Shopa adds the important Delaware market to BDO’s existing presence in the Philadelphia and the greater Washington, DC area. We are excited about the many growth opportunities that this combination will bring to our clients and our future clients,” said Jack Weisbaum, CEO of BDO USA.

The bright side for BDO is that since the Taxman is likely coming to Delaware, there will be plenty of new business opportunities.

How Are BDO Offices Celebrating the Firm’s 100th Birthday?

We’re merely echoing the question.


Apparently there is some go-karting happening in Charlotte which sounds fun, especially if there was a three beer minimum to get on the track.

Other things we’re envisioning:

• Gents of all body types in the Woodbridge, NJ office coming to work as The Situation (i.e. sans shirt).

Miami office employees are wearing their homemade “FUCK BANCO ESPIRITO” t-shirts (that could be any office really).

• At HQ in Chicago, CEO Jack Weisbaum reenacting Dos Equis ads only to substitute “Stay thirsty my friends” with “People who know – Know BDO”

What else is going on? Let us know.

Comp and Bonus Watch ’10: BDO Having a Happy Hump Day?

From the mail bag:

I heard that BDO is communicating compensation adjustments and bonuses this week. Bonuses are to be paid on September 15.

Seems to be in line with our last post on BDO comp and bonuses, so if you’re get good or bad news this week regarding either, share with the group and keep us informed.

PCAOB Is Still Overachieving: Issues Inspection Reports for BDO, Grant Thornton, PwC

Well team, despite the little setback for the PCAOB earlier this week, Team Peek is not discouraged. In fact, they were so motivated by the SEC’s little stunt that they thought they’d churn out three major inspection reports today, just to show everyone that they get to say what’s what with these accounting firms (even if it is in an indecipherable combination of vague and wonky prose).

BDO, Grant Thornton and PwC all got their papers issued today, which leaves just KPMG as the last major U.S. firm to not have their report issued. We’ll give you the quick and dirty on these three but if you want the gory details, you’ll have to read them in depth yourself (some o know). We’ll go in alphabetical order so no one gets bent out of shape.


BDO had eight issuers mentioned in its report. Issues included not testing the underlying data used by a specialist, failure to identify a departure from GAAP before issuing its audit report, loan losses and “[failure] to perform sufficient procedures to evaluate the reasonableness of a significant assumption management used to calculate the gain on the sale of a business,” among others.

PCAOB_2010_BDO_Seidman_LLP

GT only had five issuers listed in their report with problems including two instances of departures from GAAP that weren’t identified before the issue of the audit report, testwork related to fair value determination of illiquid assets and testwork around revenue recognition. Steve Chipman got away from the teleprompter long enough to sign the letter to the PCAOB himself, along with Trent Gazzaway, the National Managing Partner of Audit Services.

PCAOB 2010 Grant Thornton LLP


Nine issuers were noted by the inspectors for P. Dubs. Various issues ranging from inadequate testing of foreign locations, loan loss issues (that’s a given) and fair value (another surprise). PwC’s response made it sound like they actually enjoy the whole inspection process, “We continue to support the PCAOB and we wish to convey our sincere appreciation for the professional efforts of the PCAOB staff.” Wonder if the engagement teams that were inspected feel the same?

PCAOB_2010_PricewaterhouseCoopers_LLP

Compensation and Bonus Watch ’10: Who Knows BDO?

After coming out the near-death experience thanks to the Florida 3rd District Court of Appeal, you’d figure TPTB at BDO would continue shoveling the good news out while they could. On the comp front, a tipster tells us that while there are rumors that raises are bonuses are coming, no one has a clue as to what they’ll be:

Can you run a discussion on BDO compensation increase and bonuses? Raises would be effective 10/1, and currently there have been no formal communications from senior mgmt regarding this topic. In the local offices, there has been word that there will be raises and bonuses, but no numbers have been thrown around.

In other words, if you’ve got the goods BDO peeps, kindly spill it. It’s about time you started talking. If you’re not comfortable voicing yourself, email us and we’ll handle it.

KV Pharmaceutical Will Get to Know BDO

As we’ve mentioned, it’s been a rough summer – hell a rough year – for KV Pharmaceutical. The company paid nearly $26 million to the Justice Department back in February, had massive layoffs in March and their Chairman and CFO back in June.

Last month, KPMG decided it had had all the drama it could handle and resigned as the auditor of the company.

But as the second half of 2010 gets into full swing, KV managed to find a new CFO and now they’ve managed to land a new auditor – BDO.


BPR:

K-V Pharmaceutical Company (NYSE: KVa/KVb) announced today that the Audit Committee of its Board of Directors has engaged BDO USA, LLP (“BDO”) as the Company’s independent registered accounting firm.

The Company and BDO will commence work immediately on the planning, audit and filing of the fiscal year 2010 Form 10-K and will then follow with the review of its quarterly filings for fiscal year 2011. K-V’s fiscal year end is March 31.

Mr. Mark Dow, Chair of the Board’s Audit Committee, stated, “The Audit Committee and the entire Board is pleased to be able to announce the selection of BDO as the Company’s new accounting firm. BDO has extensive knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry and also a previous relationship with K-V, and the Company believes BDO will be able to assess and complete its audit of the Company’s Fiscal Year 2010 financial statements expeditiously. We look forward to working closely with BDO to bring the Company back into compliance with all of its Securities and Exchange Commission filings as quickly as possible.”

Right! Staying compliant! That sounds a bit maj. Not only that but the New York Stock Exchange (sort of of a big deal in their own right) is sick of KV stinking up their big board with their 30-day average stock price hovering under $1.

The company has assured the NYSE that they’re on this stock price problem, “The Company will furnish to the NYSE on or prior to August 10, 2010 a response affirming its intent to cure this deficiency and outlining the steps it is currently taking and plans to undertake in the near term to restore compliance with the NYSE’s continued listing standards.”

Let’s just say BDO has their work cut out. KV has no internal controls to speak of, is having trouble convincing the FDA their products are safe and the SEC and NYSE breathing down their necks. Now maybe this won’t all translate into the auditors’ magic wand but there’s got to other potential clients in the St. Louis area with far less drama.

K-V Pharmaceutical Company Engages BDO USA, LLP as Independent Registered Accountants [PR Newswire]
Notice of Delisting or Failure to Satisfy a Continued Listing Rule or Standard; Transfer of Listing [SEC]

Jeremy Newman and BDO Will Not Be Taking Part in Your Lowballed, Low Quality Audits

BDO International CEO Jeremy Newman is a little concerned about the trend of lowball audit fees out there. Now, those aren’t his exact words, in fact he calls it ‘‘extreme downward pressure on fees’ which still seems far more than honest than “my US colleagues call ‘fee compression.’”

He’s worried because he thinks that all this slumming around for any little opining job will lead to shoddy audits:

There is increasing evidence that fees are being forced down to such an extent that one worries this will encourage audit firms to ‘cut corners’ to reduce their own costs and thereby reduce audit quality – particularly given that the buyers of audit services (ie clients) do not monitor or determine audit quality which is a role taken on by regulators who are not involved in the pricing discussion between the client and the audit firm.

Yes, the man has evidence, courtesy of:

Canadian Public Accountability Board – “CPAB has learned that certain audit committees are pressuring firms to significantly reduce audit fees. This stance may be incompatible with the audit committees’ important role … in helping to ensure the integrity of financial reporting.”

Australian Securities and Investments Commission – “We will also focus on audit quality for new or existing audits where audit fees appear low or appear to have been reduced for reasons other than changes in the underlying business of the entity being audited.”

And he rounds it out with a quote from a speech given by Stephen Hadrill, the Chief Executive of the UK’s Financial Reporting Council, “There is a role for the market in setting higher expectations of auditors. So far the market has not played that role. Quite the opposite. It is more likely to applaud lower audit fees than higher quality.”

So if you’re desperate to retain some business or provide “client service” through the Wal Mart method, you’ll be on your own. As long as Newman is running the ship at BDO, they will be choosing quality over quantity, “despite the pressure on us to reduce costs,” no matter what other firms (read: Igbay Ourfay) are doing.

A Bizarre Market [CEO Insights]

BDO Does Some Ribbon Cutting, Opens Raleigh, NC Office

More good news out of B to the D to the O as the firm announced today that it is opening an office in Raleigh, North Carolina (full press release after the jump). This will be the 39th office in the U.S. and fourth in North Carolina. The firm also has eight affiliate offices in the state.

In the process, the firm managed to pick up former Ernst & Young audit partner Michael Dannar (a refugee perhaps?).


The good times at BDO have been aplenty lately as the firm just admitted five partners on July 1 and was given a mulligan on the Banco Espirito lawsuit. Oh and don’t forget that the firm fka BDO Seidman is celebrating its 100th birthday all year.

No word if there will be cake or freakishly large scissors at the celebration but nevertheless, it’s good to see some expansion in the Tar Heel state for a change.

BDO USA, LLP EXPANDS NORTH CAROLINA PRESENCE WITH NEW RALEIGH OFFICE

Chicago, IL – BDO USA, LLP, one of the nation’s leading professional service organizations, has announced an expansion of it’s presence in North Carolina with the addition of a new office in Raleigh. The Chicago-based firm, which now has offices in 39 cities around the country, had previously serviced clients in this market through its Charlotte practice. Pending a move to permanent office space at 5430 Wade Park Boulevard in August, the new practice, which will have approximately 15 staff, will be temporarily located at:

BDO
5410 Trinity Road, Suite 310
Raleigh, NC 27607

The Raleigh business community will now have more direct access to BDO’s full array of services which include assurance, tax, risk advisory, financial planning, business restructuring, litigation and fraud investigation services. Michael Dannar, previously with Ernst & Young, has joined the firm as a partner and will assist in serving the firm’s assurance clients in Raleigh and throughout the southeast. Mr. Dannar has significant experience working with colleges, universities and other non-profit organizations.

“We have been working with clients in Raleigh for a number of years now and the time is right for us to establish a permanent presence. This new office will enable us to better serve our clients in this growing market,” said Jack Weisbaum, CEO of BDO USA. “We are also happy to welcome Michael Danner to the partnership. His knowledge of the market will be a valuable resource to our firm.”

BDO SEIDMAN FACTS:

• BDO is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding in 1910.
• BDO represents companies ranging from Fortune 500 multinationals to closely-held private businesses.
• BDO had $620 million in revenues in 2009 (6/30/09). Over the past four fiscal years, the firm has averaged double digit growth (10.2%).
• As an independent member of BDO International Limited (the fifth largest global network of accounting firms), the firm can leverage the resources of more than 1,000 member firm offices in 115 countries around the world.

ABOUT BDO USA

BDO is the brand name for BDO USA, LLP, a U.S. professional services firm providing assurance, tax, financial advisory and consulting services to a wide range of publicly traded and privately held companies. For 100 years, BDO has provided quality service through the active involvement of experienced and committed professionals. The firm serves clients through 39 offices and more than 400 independent alliance firm locations nationwide. As an independent Member Firm of BDO International Limited, BDO serves multi-national clients through a global network of 1,138 offices in 115 countries.

BDO USA, LLP,a limited liability partnership, is the U.S. member of BDO International Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, and forms part of the international BDO network of independent member firms. BDO is the brand name for the BDO network and for each of the BDO Member Firms. For more information please visit: www.bdo.com.

Promotion Watch ’10: BDO Names Five New Partners

Fresh off their win last week in a Florida Appeals Court, BDO announced the admission of five new partners today in a press release (in full after the jump).

The new partners are Joseph Carr (Chicago – Tax), Anthony Lawrence (Grand Rapids – Assurance), Hoon Lee (San Francisco – Tax), Bryan Polozola (Dallas – Assurance) and Julie Valpey (National – SEC) and they get their big chairs effective tomorrow.

Congrats to the new partners and remember to keep the celebration under control.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

BDO USA, LLP, ADMITS 5 NEW PARTNERS

BDO USA, LLP, IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THAT 5 NEW PARTNERS HAVE BEEN ADMITTED TO THE PARTNERSHIP, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2010.

Chicago, IL– BDO USA, LLP, is pleased to announce that 5 new partners have been admitted to the partnership, effective July 1, 2010. Two of the new partners are in the tax practice, two are in the assurance business line and one is in the national SEC group. BDO is a leading national professional services firm providing assurance, tax, financial advisory and consulting services to private and publicly traded businesses.

“I am very proud to welcome each of these very deserving individuals to our partnership,” said Jack Weisbaum, CEO of BDO USA. “A key to success in our profession is a commitment to recruiting, training and retaining superior client service professionals. Each of these new partners has excelled in their specific technical area while providing the highest level of client service.”

The newly elected partners include: Joseph Carr (Chicago – Tax), Anthony Lawrence (Grand Rapids – Assurance), Hoon Lee (San Francisco – Tax), Bryan Polozola (Dallas – Assurance) and Julie Valpey (National – SEC).

About BDO USA
BDO is the brand name for BDO USA, LLP, a U.S. professional services firm providing assurance, tax, financial advisory and consulting services to a wide range of publicly traded and privately held companies. For 100 years, BDO has provided quality service through the active involvement of experienced and committed professionals. The firm serves clients through 38 offices and more than 400 independent alliance firm locations nationwide. As an independent Member Firm of BDO International Limited, BDO serves multi-national clients through a global network of 1,138 offices in 115 countries.

BDO USA, LLP,a limited liability partnership, is the U.S. member of BDO International Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, and forms part of the international BDO network of independent member firms. BDO is the brand name for the BDO network and for each of the BDO Member Firms. For more information please visit: www.bdo.com.

Accounting News Roundup: Financial Reform Finalized; Banco Espirito v. BDO 2.0; Small Win for Skilling, Big Loss for PCAOB? | 06.25.10

U.S. Lawmakers Reach Accord on New Finance Rules [WSJ]
By the end of this one, can’t you picture an exhausted Barney Frank with his tie loosened to mid-torso, pants undone with fly wide open open and some staffer dabbing his sweaty brow?

“After more than 20 hours of continuous wrangling, Congressional Democrats and White House officials reached agreement on the final shape of legislation that would transform financial regulation, avoiding last-minute defections among New York lawmakers that had threatened to upend the bill.

After months of uncertainty about how the U.S. would craft new rules, the agreement offers thince the financial crisis of how markets and the government will interact for decades to come. The common thread: large financial companies are facing a tougher leash.”

Just in case you missed it yesterday, former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt isn’t nearly as excited as some people about the bill. The President is expected to sign the bill before July 4.

Sidenote on this one: how the Journal managed to slip Maxine Waters through as one of a dozen “players” in this bill should cause you to question – if even for just a minute – the credibility of the paper.

Florida Appeals Court Turns Down Heat, For Now, On BDO Seidman [Re: The Auditors]
Francine’s take on the decision by the Florida 3rd District Court of Appeal to order a trial in the Banco Espirito v. BDO case. An event she isn’t thrilled about, “My doubts about the efficacy of a new trial are based on the disappointing, frustrating and completely unsatisfying way the court and the judges in this case have proceeded. Some of the additional comments raised by the Appeals Court do not bode well for this plaintiff’s chances next time around.”


Supreme Court Rolls Back a Law Born of Enron [NYT/Floyd Norris]
In more Congressional ineptitude (at least in the eyes of the SCOTUS), former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling won his case at the high court, arguing that “the concept of committing fraud through depriving an employer of ‘honest services’ was not adequately defined in the law,” Floyd Norris writes.

In other words, the “idea” of fraud being a kickback or a bribe is obvious and was defined. Manipulating mark-to-market and off-balance sheet accounting rules or “something else equally outrageous” were not and thus the law was unconstitutional. Long story/short, Norris writes, is that

Funny story on the way to this Skilling outcome – if the SCOTUS rules against the PCAOB (it is expected on Monday), “It will blame Congress for writing bad laws,” Norris writes. And who forced Congress into action on Sarbanes-Oxley?

BP: Oil-Spill Cost Hits $2.35 Billion [WSJ]
Has anyone handicapped this? Obviously the $20 billion reserve is a good ballpark figure but the overs have to be a pretty solid bet on that. Takers?

Caturano being acquired by RSM McGladrey [Boston Business Journal]
The firm fka RSM McGladrey purchased Caturano and Company, the fifth largest firm in Boston. The deal, if approved by H&R Block, would make RSM McGladrey…the fifth largest firm in Boston.

BDO Wins New Life as Florida Appeals Court Orders New Trial

In what amounts to a HUGE win for BDO, the Florida 3rd District Court of Appeal in Miami has ordered a new trial in the case between BDO and Banco Espirito Santo:

A Florida appeals court has thrown out a $521 million jury verdict and ordered a new trial in a dispute over audits between accounting firm BDO Seidman and a major Portuguese bank.

The Third District Court of Appeal in Miami ruled Wednesday that the 2007 trial was wrongly divided into three phases.

That meant jurors decided BDO Seidman should pay punitive damages too early in the case.

BDO Seidman was sued by Portugal’s Banco Espirito Santmed on a Miami company later exposed as a huge fraud. The bank claimed BDO Seidman was negligent for not detecting the fraud, costing the bank $170 million in losses.

Jurors awarded the bank $170 million in losses plus $351 million in punitive damages.

We reached out to the Steven Thomas, lead counsel for the Banco Espirito for his reaction:

This case has been sent back for another trial because of the procedural ‘bifurcation’ issue. We are pleased that the effort and hard work the jury put into this case was recognized by the appellate court, and we specifically note that the Court did not dispute BDO unethical conflicts of interest or its negligence. The evidence of BDO Seidman’s failures of even the most basic auditing procedures is so overwhelming that we expect a new jury will reach the same conclusion as the original jury. We look forward to trying this case and reminding everyone of BDO Seidman’s neglect of its public duty and the enormous conflict of interest they had.

Despite the overwhelming evidence, undisputed negligence cited by Mr Thomas, the mood inside BDO is one of vindication. From the firm’s press release not yet posted on the firm’s website:

The firm is pleased to announce that the Third District Court of Appeal of the state of Florida has unanimously overturned a 2007 jury verdict against the firm and ordered that the Bankest case be retried in the 11th Circuit Court. The Court of Appeal concluded that:

• The Trial Court erred in its original decision to trifurcate the trial, ruling that it was prejudicial to have allowed the case to be presented in three phases. This made it possible for the jury to find BDO grossly negligent without, at the same time, considering the conduct of other actors, including representatives of Banco Espirito Santo.

• The Appellate Court further concluded that the evidence of reliance on BDO’s audit opinions was insufficient to sustain the claims of the Bankest investors, save for the one individual who testified at trial.

• The Trial Court improperly allowed into evidence prejudicial hearsay testimony and documents that further served to deprive BDO of a fair trial.

The Appellate Court concluded, “We have carefully considered every substantive and procedural authority that might be applied to preserve at least some of the jury’s findings. In this case, no such balm is found.”

“We are very pleased that the Appeals court has reversed the lower court verdict. We have consistently stated that we were confident that the jury’s erroneous verdict in this case would be reversed on appeal. The addition of punitive damages at the time only served to emphasize the injustice that took place at the trial court,” said CEO Jack Weisbaum. “A new trial will be in accordance with the Court of Appeal’s decision and we will prove that BDO acted at all times consistent with its professional obligations and that its audit opinions were based on the proper application of generally accepted auditing standards.”

So we’ve got a new trial with a re-energized BDO and a tenacious plaintiff. It sounds like BDO will stick with its defense strategy of “we did no wrong,” so this should be fun.

Florida Third District Court of Appeal Decision [PDF]

Accounting News Roundup: Tipsters Expose Fraud More Often Than Most Controls; What if the PCAOB Is Unconstitutional?; BDO Could Question Forensic Accountant’s Credibility | 06.01.10

Something Wicked This Way Comes [CFO]
A recent Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) study discovered that “[o]f the top eight controls ranked by effectiveness, only one — surprise audits, which cut fraud losses by 51% — is part of the traditional accounting-based control structure. Financial-statement review, internal audits, and Sarbanes-Oxley-mandated certifications by CEOs and CFOs all ranked below the nonaccounting controls in terms of effectiveness in preventing fraud.”

Controls have no match for good old human conscience, “tips expose fraud three times as often as do management reviews, internal audits, or account reconciliations.”


The problem however, is that employees may not be getting the training about how to report fraud if they know it’s happening, “an unsupportive corporate culture and poor employee training leave potential whistle-blowers unsure of whom to talk to.” Plus the baddies are doing their best to dissuade them, as Sam Antar told CFO, “[They] don’t go down without a fight, they don’t fight fairly, and they are going to intimidate whistle-blowers — that’s the nature of their game.”

Accounting for Crisis [Portfolio.com]
Gary Weiss writes over at Portfolio about the impending decision in Free Enterprise Fund v. PCAOB and he’s not impressed with the FEF’s argument, “claiming that the board would give our Founding Fathers heart attacks because its members are appointed by the Securities and Exchange Commission and not the president and can’t be removed except for cause.”

That despite the PCAOB’s lack of fireworks in its daily activities, “The PCAOB has not exactly rocked our world—and obviously its existence did nothing to keep Lehman from its Repo 105 book-cooking scheme. But getting rid of it, particularly on specious Constitutional grounds, would be a blow to the cause of more accurate financial statements.”

The odds say that the SCOTUS will affirm the lower court’s decision but just in case, Gary agrees with Interim PCAOB Chairman Dan Goelzer that Congress needs to act fast if the Court surprises us and reverses the decision.

Clifton Gunderson buys Stockton Bates [Philadelphia Business Journal]
Philadelphia-based Stockton Bates will join Clifton Gunderson’s 1,900 employees and 300 partners effective today. Stockton has 32 employees between three offices in Philadelphia, Lancaster, PA and Haddonfield, NJ.

BDO Seidman fights claims brought by fraudster Lew Freeman [South Florida Business Journal]
Convicted forensic accountant Lewis Freeman testified in the case of ES Bankest and BDO. So it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Freeman’s conviction could call his credibility as a witness into question as well as the Bankest bankruptcy proceedings, where Freeman acted as the court-appointed receiver.

BDO Breaks Barrier to Be First Accounting Firm to Land on Obscure Employer List

First off, we can’t remember the last time BDO graced these pages twice in one day. You’d think something would come out of B to the D to the O more often but whatevs. BDO 2.0 today is a little bit of good news for the firm in the form of an exclusive spot on an obscure “Best Places” list.

God forbid our lives be devoid of a ranking in the last half of May but since it’s graduation season and there are some job hunters out there that need to start paying back school loans and credit cards debts, perhaps the timing isn’t so bad. A list we might add, that did not previously have an accounting firm on it. Progress people. Progress.


BDO shattered the glass ceiling on Experience’sBest Places to Work for Recent Grads” that “picked 20 organizations whose entry-level hiring and retention practices are exceptional.” The list is specifically aimed at those companies that are hip to the Gen Y crowd, although we don’t really know any “recent grads” list that wouldn’t be.

Regardless, BDO has some decent company on the list that includes Accenture, Kellogg’s and Morningstar but BDO is the sole accounting firm. The fact that not a single accounting firm (let alone a Big 4 firm) is on the list is a travesty of the highest order. We then realized that the list’s very nature is severely flawed.

It’s too short. Any employer list with less than 50 companies on it simply cannot be taken seriously.

And since there were no accounting firms on last year’s list, this might as well have been random list of companies thrown together for the sake of keeping communications professionals busy.

This year, the Experience folks must have recognized their gross error and that since no employer list could be taken seriously devoid of a professional services firm. Not wanting to make it too complicated, BDO’s inclusion be probably chalked up to an alphabetical advantage.

Best Places to Work for Recent Grads [Experience]
BDO Press Release

BDO Not Thrilled with the Legal Advice It Got Re: Tax Shelters

BDO’s Tax Solutions Group was going gangbusters back in the late 90s and early aughts. Unfortunately, the party more or less ended in December 2000 when the IRS served notice to the firm that some of the products were not ingenious tax planning strategies but rather illegal tax shelters. The DOJ launched an enforcement action in 2002 and just last year BDO partners started pleading guilty to tax evasion, conspiracy and some other fun charges.

BDO isn’t crazy about shouldering all the shame and embarrassment so it has decided to sue the law firm Morgan Lewis for “professional negligence, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and constructive fraud.” BDO alleges that ML’s breach amounted to “disastrous results” which is likely referring to the tax shelter shitshow. They just want their $9 million back that they paid in fees and call it a day (they’re saving up!).


Morgan Lewis finds this all very amusing, stating that they advised BDO only on minor issues. ML is represented by Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher led by James Fogelman, who made his client’s position very clear:

Morgan Lewis called the lawsuit a “sham” and contended it only advised [BDO Partners] on a few minor questions — none of which involved the questionable tax products. “There was nothing that Morgan Lewis knew about to warn BDO concerning BDO’s own conduct. … There was nothing more BDO needed to know,” Fogelman wrote.

The only time Morgan Lewis opined on a tax product, the firm contends, was in February 2000, when BDO asked it to weigh in on a tax shelter dubbed the Sentinal Transaction. Morgan Lewis responded that the tax shelter was “unlikely” to expose BDO to criminal convictions. In its motion to dismiss, the firm said, “[I]t does not appear that anybody has ever been convicted of any federal crime based on the Sentinal Transaction.”

And Morgan Lewis doesn’t simply want to be vindicated in this matter, they want to be right AND they they would like BDO and DLA Piper (BDO’s counsel) to have sanctions slapped on their asses for lying through their teeth in their complaint. ML contends that they presented evidence disproving the allegations but BDO and DLA must have decided that a bitter fight would be more fun.

And it is.

BDO Seidman Seeks $9 Million in Fees Back From Morgan Lewis [The National Law Journal via Law.com]

Hey Ladies, Have You Thought About Working for BDO?

As most of us know, women are overrepresented in public accounting yet not necessarily rewarded for their hard work, dedication, and deftness in handling both career and family (for first and second years, substitute “family” for “sleeping with hot coworkers”). Knowing that, we’re thrilled to tell you that BDO has been chosen as one of the 2010 Best CPA Firms for Women by the American Society of Women Accountants and the American Woman’s Society of Certified Public Accountants. The award is an initiative of the ASWA and AWSCPA joint Accounting/MOVE project, a national research effort to measure progress and advance women at public accounting firms and corporate accounting employers.

The Accounting/MOVE project was especially impressed by BDO’s promotion of women within the firm tied directly to BDO’s training and retention initiative.


If you recall, BDO was conveniently left out of the Working Mother 100 best companies in 2009 list last year.

As a working mother AND woman myself, I find it appropriate to point out that not all women are mothers so it doesn’t necessarily mean any progress has been made on BDO’s work/life policies. It would be awfully presumptuous of everyone – and, frankly, a tad sexist – to assume as much. For some women, work/life balance simply means spending less time at work and more time hooking up with coworkers or pursuing other hobbies and activities that don’t involve dirty diapers and scrubbing crayon drawings off of the wall.

BDO Named a Best CPA Firm for Women by American Society of Women Accountants and American Woman’s Society of CPAs [Business Wire]

We’re Not Convinced That CFOs Mean What They Say When They Switch Audit Firms for No Apparent Reason

Today in boilerplate press releases, MedAssets dropped BDO as its auditor for the bigger and bluer KPMG and the CFO punted on giving a real reason as to why.

“We are very fortunate to have had the pleasure of working with BDO Seidman for many years, including during the period of time covering our initial public offering in 2007,” said Neil Hunn, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, MedAssets. “BDO has been a tremendous business partner for us and instrumental in our success. MedAssets has experienced tremendous growth, especially over the last few years, and we expect this trend to continue. As such, we feel that KPMG is best suited to serve our Company and stockholders in the future. We look forward to our new relationship with KPMG.”

So if we were translate this statement, basically it sounds like MedAssets wants a big firm because the business is growing like gangbusters and they simply can’t be held back by a second-tier firm like BDO.

Or maybe we’ve got it dead wrong. Maybe MedAssets is spooked about BDO’s chances in the Banco Espirito appeal. Maybe KPMG’s Atlanta office is desperate for work and lowballed the audit fee. Feel free to share your own speculation but we’re sure as hell not buying the statement that a firm (in this case, BDO) ‘has been a tremendous business partner’ and ‘instrumental in our success’ and just gets up and dropped because ‘tremendous growth’ is expected to continue. Is BDO really that incapable of continuing to serve the company?

Basically, we are asking for more honest language in SEC filings and press releases.

MedAssets Engages KPMG as Auditor [Press Release]
8-K [SEC.gov]

Arguments Heard in BDO Appeal of $521 Million Verdict

Oral arguments for BDO’s appeal of the verdict in the Banco Espirito fraud case were this past Tuesday, the 16th, in front of the Florida 3rd District Court of Appeal in Miami.

If you’re not familiar with this case, we’ll catch you up: Banco Espirito Santo International Ltd., Banco Espirito Santo S.A., and ESB Finance all invested in E.S. Bankest L.C. BDO served as the auditor of Bankest. Crazy massive fraud (bogus accounts receivable) was going on at Bankest that was discovered by Banco Esprito. Bankest went bankrupt, their executives went to jail, Banco Espirito lost millions.


Banco sued BDO in 2004 and in 2007 a jury found the Firm liable for malpractice and gross negligence. Prior to the jury’s decision, BDO CEO Jack Weisbaum testified that the firm would not be able to pay punitive damages. The jury didn’t care and awarded Banco $170 million in compensatory damages and $351.7 million in punitive damages for a grand total of $521.7 million, the same amount of accounts receivable that BDO “audited”. Now here were are, it’s 2010, appeals process. Whew. Follow?

We spoke with Steven Thomas, who has represented Banco Espirito Santo throughout this case, earlier this week and he filled us in on many details. BDO is appealing the verdict arguing that the case should not have been bifurcated (i.e. divided into two) at trial. In other words, it sounds as though BDO has resorted to arguing technical legal points in this appeal as opposed to defending against the finding that they both performed malpractice and were grossly negligent.

As we explained above, the malpractice and gross negligence arose out of BDO’s failure to discover the fraudulent accounts receivable at Bankest. At trial, Mr. Thomas told us that under cross-examination, the BDO engagement partner admitted that it was the auditors’ job to find fraud and then subsequently contradicted himself when being questioned by his own counsel, saying it wasn’t their job.

Regardless of what side you fall on in the whole auditors’ responsibility to discover fraud argument, Mr. Thomas told us this, “I have a litigated a lot of cases on this issue and we never, ever, ever lose.”

We reached out to BDO and Greenberg Traurig the law firm representing BDO for comment. Neither firm has gotten back to us.

BDO has indicated that it will appeal this case to the Florida Supreme Court if necessary and since BDO International was found to be not liable, the entire judgment falls to the U.S. firm. BDO had $620 million in revenues in its most recent fiscal year and currently has around 3,000 employees. And despite the fact that this case will not be resolved for some time, if BDO ultimately compelled to pay the damages it could have a devastating impact on the firm.

BDO’s Big Ad Campaign: It’s Deadly

Advertising a professional service company is a challenge for ad agencies. First, the subject is not all that interesting, except maybe to the people who work there, their families, and their clients. And second, the differences from one company to another are minute. What you can say about one CPA or law firm is pretty much the same as another. You can’t advertise a firm as doing something better, the way Tide claims to clean better or Crest to whiten teeth better.

What can marketers do when they can’t make a claim that they are better? Why, write a jingle, like Coke or Pepsi of course. However, professional service companies have to maintain some gravitas. Schmaltz and accountants would be like wearing shorts and flip-flops to a client meeting.

We’re presenting some analysis of two current accounting firm ad campaigns, starting with BDO and tackling Grant Thornton this afternoon.

Analysis and videos, after the jump


The solution is to differentiate yourself not by what you say but through the tone of your advertising. And the tone of the BDO’s advertising is deadly, almost literally. It is dark, and cold, and depressing. And it doesn’t work because it takes itself too seriously. The conversations are artificial, and the situations forced.

In the following commercial, as two executives exit an unidentified intuitional-looking edifice, one person says to the other “Reilly hit the roof” about the need to restate. We never find out who “Reilly” is, but are reassured that “the partners are on it”, suggesting that BDO will not send in the juniors to fix the problem.

This second commercial deals with the switch from GAAP to IFRS. Why is BDO best suited to handling it? According to the commercial because of its global resources and because “it’s complicated.” Oh? Weak, pretty generic, arguments.

The best asset BDO has is it tagline, “People who know, know BDO”. That could have been the idea for a very nice commercial, maybe using real customers, but BDO did not capitalize on it.

Avi Dan is President & CEO of Avidan Strategies, a New York based consultancy specialized in advising professional service companies on marketing and business development. Mr. Dan was previously a board member with two leading advertising agencies and managed another.

Let’s Speculate as to Why Certain Accounting Firms Weren’t on the Fortune 100 List

Disappointment.jpgBy now you’ve digested the Fortune list to the point of nausea, so we’ll dispense with rehashing the firms that we covered last week.
What we do want to address is the obvious absence of Grant Thornton, BDO, and RSM on this year’s list. Hell, they aren’t on any of the lists going back to 2006. Are these omissions meant to be a thumb in the eye to these storied firms?
Perhaps they blew their lobbying budgets on the BusinessWeek lists? OR maybe — GASP — they just don’t GAF?


We’ll dispel with that for now and assume each of these firms were dying to be on this year’s list. Accordingly, the reason for their exclusion leaves ample room for wild-ass guessing:
Grant Thornton – We realize Steve Chipman just started his new job and he’s trying to get a blog up and going but for crissakes, how does he explain this to you? Will this regime change make a difference? He didn’t mention it on the call so should we assume this disappointment will continue in perpetuity? Could the Koss fiasco be the reason?
RSM McGladrey – This one doesn’t make any sense at all. Does anyone at Fortune know that RSM sponsors this woman? Aaaaannddd, we realize it’s too late for this year but RSM is now helping get Yele Haiti’s house in order. Please note both of these for next year.
BDO – They owe Banco Espirito half a billion dollars and they’ve been planning a 100th birthday extravaganza. Maybe campaigning for the list isn’t at the top of their to do list but still.
If any of you GTBDORSMers have any idea just what the hell is going on (i.e. why this gross oversight has gone on for at least five years), fill us in.

BDO Seidman Waited to Change Their Name Because They Had a Really Special Birthday Coming Up

weisbaum_jpeg.jpgWhen we saw the BDO rebranding story this week we were perplexed because we told you about this new effort to popularize the Global 6 in OCTOBER.
Come to find out that 2010 will mark the 100th birthday of BDO Seidman so there was no rush to change the name back on October 1 with the less-special firms because A) all the firm’s clients were already calling them ‘BDO’ and the change wasn’t really ness, and B) they couldn’t cancel all the festivities they had planned:

“The adoption of the single ‘BDO’ brand name reinforces our commitment to the BDO international network, even as we celebrate our firm’s centennial here in the United States,” said BDO (U.S.) CEO Jack Weisbaum in a statement. He acknowledged that many of the firm’s clients have been referring to the firm as BDO for years anyway.
BDO plans to conduct a year-long celebration of the firm’s founding by Maximillian L. Seidman in 1910, including historical podcasts on the firm’s intranet, a centennial video tracking the firm’s progress over the past century, and celebrations at the BDO Biennial and BDO Partner Meetings in November.

Gosh that does sound fun. We totally get it now.
Plus, the American firm still has to figure out how to pay $521 million to Banco Espirito. Going out at an even 100 years would put a nice cap on things.
BDO Seidman Rebrands as ‘BDO’ [Web CPA]

BDO Announces Global Revenues, Reminds Everyone of the Entity Structure

Thumbnail image for BDO-logo-print.gifBDO International Global Coordination B.V. announced their global revenue results today of just a smidge over $5 billion. This represents a drop of 4.5% compared to the firm’s prior fiscal year end of September 30.


Newman:

“Our revenues have been affected by difficult market conditions – particularly in the economies of our largest member firms – and the significant reduction in transaction-based activity. Our results have also been affected by currency movements and, in particular, the weakening of many currencies against the US dollar and the euro. We are therefore extremely pleased that overall revenues in euro have grown and that there is only a modest reduction in overall fees when expressed in US dollars,” said Jeremy Newman, CEO of BDO International. “It is particularly pleasing that at a time when many other accounting networks are showing a decline in fee income that our underlying revenues, excluding the effect of currency movements, have increased by almost 5 percent.”

A little less spin from J. New than other Global Chiefs but still the standard optimism. We can’t wait for his blog post. Hopefully he gets more candid but we’re not holding our breath.
On more of a liability note, we were especially impressed with the firm’s “about” section:

BDO International is a world wide network of public accounting firms, called BDO Member Firms. Each BDO Member Firm is an independent legal entity in its own country. The network is coordinated by BDO Global Coordination B.V., incorporated in The Netherlands with its statutory seat in Eindhoven (trade register registration number 33205251) and with an office at Boulevard de la Woluwe 60, 1200 Brussels, Belgium, where the International Executive Office is located. BDO is the brand name for the BDO International network and for each of the BDO Member Firms. The combined fee income of all the BDO Member Firms was $5.03 billion in 2009. The global network has 1,138 offices in 110 countries and more than 46,000 people provide advisory services throughout the world.

Of the six sentences in this paragraph, four seem to be meant to remind everyone that the U.S. firm is on the hook for the $521 million owed to Banco Espirito. Any chance the non-U.S. firms are passing around a basket to help the good old US of A? Anybody? Maybe they’ll think about it? It’s the holidays for crissakes.
Anyhoo, we’re just waiting on KPMG for last major firm to give us the BIG NEWS about their 2009. Maybe it drops tomorrow during the bear manufacturing? Stay tuned.
BDO International Network Announces Revenue Results for 2009 [Press Release]
Earlier GC Coverage of Firm Revenue Results:
The Grant Thornton ‘Global Six’ Campaign Has Hit a Snag
PwC Global Revenue Was Down or Flat, Your Choice
E&Y Revenue Results: ‘Flat revenues certainly don’t tell the whole story’
Deloitte Is Super Proud of Their Presence on Linked In

Jeremy Newman: See? I Told You That There Were ‘Big 4 Only’ Clauses

BDO Global CEO — and infrequent blogger — Jeremy Newman would like everyone to know that he wasn’t dreaming when he stated that some financing agreements included “Big 4 only” clauses.

Apparently Newman was thought to be a little Patrick Byrne-ish on this particular point:

These are views that I have been expressing for some years, although many have questioned the prevalence of such clauses and indeed some have sought to deny their existence.

It was comforting therefore for me to read in the report published by the UK’s Financial Reporting Council in October 2009 entitled ‘Choice in the UK Audit Market’ that reference was made to restrictions in loan covenants. The report from the FRC noted:

‘..it is too early to determine how widespread such obligations are; however, the FRC continues to receive examples of banks imposing loan covenants with ‘Big 4 only’ clauses, including one which imposed a higher rate of interest if the borrowing company chose a non-Big 4 auditor.’

Surely there is now sufficient evidence to recognise that such clauses are a potential constraint on choice in the market place and regulators should be urged to ban them.

So despite the lack of evidence that these obligations are widespread, this remains a matter of “urgency,” according to Newman. There are examples, people. That should be enough for you. The man is trying to build a Global 6 firm after all. Kindly throw in a little additional bank regulation to help him out.

BDO’s UK Managing Partner Has a Strange Definition of ‘Solid’

Accountancy Age:

BDO’s managing partner Simon Michaels is emphatic. Fee income might be down 5% and profits down too, but underlying performance has been “solid”.
“When you look across the international networks, and across domestic firms, that is a pretty solid performance. Our national turnover has seen a modest contraction over the past year but that is purely as a result of lower levels of transactional and other one-off assignments.”

Plus there’s this: “In the end the firm made 10% of partners redundant [i.e. laid off] and around 8% of the UK workforce.”
Still going with solid?

BDO May Be Taking a Crack at This ‘Global 6’ Thing

BDO is done messing around. Having watched Grant Thornton fail miserably at trying to get the bean counter universe to embrace “Global 6 Accounting Organization”, the firm, with the help of global CEO Jeremy Newman’s blog, are stepping it up a notch.
According to Newman’s post for today and Accountancy Age, all BDO firms are now operating under the name ‘BDO’ rather than, for example, ‘BDO Seidman’ for the U.S. firm and ‘BDO Stoy Howard’ in the UK.
The reason for the name change, according to the one managing partner:
Continued, after the jump

Simon Michaels, managing partner at BDO, said the move was not just about the “look and feel” of the brand but was aimed at “significantly increasing our market share”. If we present ourselves as a unified global network… then the clients experience the high level of service and that helps to drive the reputation,” he said.

See? It’s working already. A ‘managing partner at BDO’ means this guy could be anywhere. It’s a global firm, in case you’ve forgotten. And ‘increasing our market share’? Dude may not be saying ‘Global 6 Accounting Organization’ but that’s all we’re hearing.
Newman chimes in on his blog:

At the same time we will be updating the ‘look’ of our visual identity – which will hopefully be evident from this website. Nothing too dramatic – but building on the BDO heritage whilst signalling a more modern approach.

Call us unappreciative of the subtle changes for this new ‘look’ but it seems the same to us. Our speculation is that the new ‘BDO’ is striving for continuity amongst all its offices in order to saturate the market to the point that ‘Global 6 Accounting Organization’ bulldozes its way into the vernacular.
Discuss BDO’s strategy or perhaps your thoughts on ‘Global 6’ in general, in the comments.
BDO rebrand creates unified global identity [Accountancy Age]

Our Invitation to Big 4 CEO’s to Start Blogging

jnewman.jpgWe’d like to think that we encourage free and open discussion here. Everyone is welcome to join the conversation.
And by everyone, we mean if Dennis Nally, Tim Flynn et al. were to tell us in the comments how we deserved a life sentence of footing the Brooklyn phonebook because of our butchering of the English language, we’d be thrilled. Sadly, this is probably nothing more than a pipe dream.
Jeremy Newman, the CEO of BDO International, is by far the closest to fulfilling this dream. J. New, you’ll be interested to know, has his very own blog.
More, after the jump


Not surprisingly, the blog doesn’t seem to have the class or brilliant readership of other accounting/finance blogs that we know about but we give the dude credit for putting himself out there. Granted, if someone calls him a “hack loser” it probably won’t get published in the comments but you’ve got to start somewhere.
So this is our invitation to the rest of the Big 4 CEO’s and, yes, you too, Grant Thornton, to make the unprecedented leap into the blogosphere. Think of the transparency these firms would have as a result. The need for the annual survey about how these firms are such great places to work would become unnecessary because there would be constant real-time updates based on every decision made.
The best part is that, if GC happens to say something that they find offensive, unfair, blown out of proportion, or just plain obnoxious, then they’ll have the opportunity to talk shit respond directly. Then we can have feuds in the blogosphere that will be significantly more direct than any confrontation that has ever occurred between two people in a Big 4 firm.
Let’s help these guys out as I’m sure this will be a difficult task for them. Leave your suggestions of what your favorite CEO’s blog would be called or what kind of questions you’d like to ask them in the comments

Firm Watch: BDO

BDO-small.jpgAll right, so this is it for our firm watch. We realize loading three firms into one day wasn’t such a good idea but we procrastinated out of habit.
We wrap up with BDO Seidman, who some of you probably consider to be TTT-1 but whatevs.
See BDO’s list, after the jump


Lawsuits – BDO International Global Cooperation hit the lottery when a jury in South Florida bought the wedding planner defense in the Banco Espirito lawsuit. That left the U.S. firm to deal with the $520 million verdict in the original case. The U.S. firm just reported revenue results of $622 million. No word on how that will reconcile.
Madoff Exposure – Listed as a defendant in seven lawsuits.
Overtime Lawsuits – List as a defendant in one lawsuit.
Layoffs, etc. – Same dealio as GT. We’ve only heard of minor layoffs but as high as 200 in the UK. Get us up to speed if you’ve got details.
Miscellaneous – Global CEO Jeremy Newman has a blog that is frequently TLDR. The U.S. CEO has been compared to a special version of Ricardo Montalban and a former partner had to recently give up his boat.
Finally. That catches you up on all the firms that you’ll see regularly around here. They all seem doomed but also have the tenacity of cockroaches. You’ll see our totally unfair, unrealistic ranking tomorrow with some updates that we’ve gotten throughout the week. Before then, continue to send us your tips to tips@goingconcern.com.

Ex-BDO Partner Won’t Be on His Boat after Plea Deal

Ex-BDO partners that were involved with the firm’s tax shelters are continuing to drop like flies. This time, Mark Bloom, a hedge fund manager and former BDO partner that worked in the Tax Solutions group, pleaded guilty to several charges.
Bloom agreed to forfeit assets as part of his plea agreement including a boat and two Steinway pianos which Bloom performed versions of his favorite songs on:
Check out the song selection, after the jump

BDO Seidman’s Revenue Disappoints Us

weisbaum.gifBDO Seidman’s revenue for the fiscal year end June 30 dropped nearly 6% to $620 million and dammit, we’re disappointed. Sure tax revenue is up 6% but assurance revenue was down 9% and consulting revenue was down over 15%. What’s the reason for this? According to BDO’s CEO Jack Weisbaum it’s…wait for it…yes, the recession. What a news flash.
According to Web CPA, BDO’s revenue breakdown is 60/25/10 for audit/tax/consulting and the remaining 5% is a grab bag of stuff. Point is, BDO is a whore for audit and considering how the whole Banco Espirito thing turned out…
Speaking of Portuguese banks, BDO is still on the hook for $522 million. No word on how that fits into the firm’s plans to bounce back in fiscal year 2010.
BDO Seidman Revenue Falls Due to Recession [Web CPA]

BDO ‘Invites’ Partners to Retire in the UK

BDO-small.jpgBDO in the UK has “‘invited’ 24 partners to take retirement and is in the process of settling the details over the withdrawal of equity”, according to Accountancy Age. And by “invited”, we’re pretty sure BDO means, “pack your shit”.
According to Simon Michaels, the head honcho in the UK, the “withdrawal of equity” would not be an “unmanageable situation to deal with” which is sorta like saying “it’ll hurt for a little while but as soon as my ownership is bigger, I’ll be over it.”
This whole sitch across the pond compelled us to call a BDO rep here in the States to find out what might be going down for the American partners. We were told that there were no plans for dismissal of partners in U.S. and in fact, partners will likely to continue to be added to the firm. This jogged our hazy memory about our speculation that BDO was adding some partners last month in order to spread out some liability.
So it appears that since BDO International Global Coordination isn’t on the hook for the half a billion in liability from the Banco Espirito case, they can’t afford to keep all their partners. BDO in States, on the other hand, needs to spread out the love on the liability. Don’t you love it when everything makes sense?
Reality bites for BDO Stoy Hayward [Accountancy Age]

BDO, Looking to Spread Out Some Liability, Admits New Partners

BDO_International.pngAs you probably know, BDO Seidman is having a rough year. Tax shelter prosecutions and trials for the International Global Coordination firm that now falls on the U.S. make for some big liability exposure.
The obvious solution to this conundrum? Spreading the love!

BDO Seidman, LLP, is pleased to announce that 10 new partners have been admitted to the partnership, effective July 1, 2009. Five of the new partners are in the tax practice, four are in the assurance business line and one is in BDO Consulting. BDO Seidman, LLP is a leading national professional services firm providing assurance, tax, financial advisory and consulting services to private and publicly traded businesses.”I am very proud to welcome each of these very deserving individuals to our partnership,” said Jack Weisbaum, CEO of BDO Seidman. “The key to maintaining momentum in our profession is a commitment to recruiting, training and retaining superior client service professionals. Each of these new partners is an example of our commitment to human capital development.”

What are the chances that these new partners are some of the most hated people in the firm? C’mon, $520 million judgment hanging out there, the bigwigs have to be thinking, “well, as long as we’re screwed, we may as well stick it to some people within the firm we don’t like.”
Congrats to the new partners!

BDO Seidman, LLP, Admits 10 New Partners
[BDO Seidman Press Release]

Funny homeless guy sign

You Know That Guy Who Panhandles on Your Block? He May Be a CPA.

Anybody out there looking to help their fellow CPA, who’s down on his luck?
The Wall St. Journal is reporting that the former BDO Seidman LLP CEO, Denis Field may have to pay back a portion of $180 million that is being sought by prosecutors in the tax shelter case that involves Field and six others.
Natch, everybody has denied wrongdoing. The charges include conspiracy and tax evasion. Good luck with that.

Prosecutors Seek Ex-BDO Seidman CEO, 6 Others To Forfeit $180M
[WSJ]

BDO

Jeremy Newman Just Wants to Be Clear, We are NOT Declaring Victory Over Banco Espirito…YET

BDO_International.pngAfter throwing an all night rager last week when BDO International Global Coordination skated on the $521M verdict, Jeremy Newman, BDO Boss, wants everybody to chill.

Newman said he had always been confident that BDO International’s arms-length approach would be proved but added: ‘There is still the risk of a further appeal, as well as the appeal by the US firm.’

See? Staying cool. Not out of the woods yet. But when we beat those bastards on appeal, then we are getting down.

Newman stays cool after BDO victory
[Accountancy Age]