September 22, 2018

blind items

Blind Item: Something Might Be Going Down in Grant Thornton’s Marketing Department

We received this snazzy little item in the tip box and while it has not been confirmed, the commentary is so passionate that we can't help but think maybe just maybe this can be trusted. Names have been removed to protect the innocent: [Marketing Lady] says only 4 positions eliminated but does not mention the […]

Which Accounting Firm Has an Office Experiencing Cooling and Plumbing Issues Today?

This sounds unfortunate. From the always fun tip box: [Well-known CPA firm] is working hard to maintain top-10 firm status.  One unfortunate office on the East coast is enjoying a Monday with no air and toilets that won't flush.  Apparently the whole building smells like sewage, which is a slight improvement over the usual busy-season BO. We're unable […]

Where in the World Is John Veihmeyer?

By way of the always interesting tip box, we've been alerted to the KPMG CEO's alleged whereabouts. Since we have a classic case of "pics or it didn't happen" we'll refrain from reporting his precise location: I am pleased to report that John Veihmeyer, our Chairman and CEO, will be coming to [our city!] on Wednesday, […]

Blind Item: Which Firm Is So Committed to Work-Life Balance It Brought a Partner to Tears?

Taking a break from KPMGate/LondonFalling for sec — here's a blind item for your Thursday afternoon that came to us via text message: [Major accounting firm] Tax Partner starts crying when anouncing firm's commitment to work-life balance b/c she convinced sr. to stay There are lots of things that can happen at work that could […]

Blind Item: Which NYC Accounting Firm’s Holiday Party Was a Little Too Light on the Liquor?

Here's an unconfirmed account of a holiday party from last month:  [Well-known firm] NYC party on [date] at the [fancy place] was not up to snuff. While the venue was sleek, and the band was good, – the food, and most importantly the booze was not.  The bar only served one choice of white wine and one choice […]

Bafflingly, a Manager at a Top 10 Firm Agreed to Work the Weekend After Her Last Day

A blind item from the front: It has come to my attention that a manager in the [redacted] office of [redacted] is leaving the firm. Her last day is officially this Friday. The two partners have asked her to come in the Saturday and Sunday after her official last day, and she has agreed. I […]

Blind Item: Which Accounting Firm’s National Tax Leader Got Called Out For the Exodus of Tax Partners?

  Apparently a big shot audit partner has seen one too many of his tax brethren running for the door: Supposedly a high-ranking audit partner at [top ten firm] sent an email to the entire partnership in which he blasts the national tax leader for spending the firm's money on management retreats when he should […]

Blind Item: Which Accounting Firm Has a Manager Who Recently Scolded a Team of Barnyard Animals?

From the mailbag: “The author is a newly appointed manager and a certified d-bag. His email is serious.”

Hi Guys –

It has come to our attention that there are several people making animal noises around the office. I feel it shouldn’t need to be pointed out that this is not appropriate in the office and can be very uncomfortable/awkward for others. Aside from co-workers, we also have prospects, clients, recruits, etc. walking through the halls on a daily basis. Hearing animal sounds made toward each other does not give a good impression of [a firm who, we are told, is “über-sensitive”] and our abilities to those people. It also does not go unnoticed by partners/senior managers/managers.

Please be mindful of those that could be in your audience. Please see me if you have any concerns or questions.

Thanks,

Okay, team. Lots to discuss here aside from guessing the zoo where these beasts work.

1. I alluded to a noise from a cow, pig, chicken, or maybe even a llama but obviously there is room for other possibilities. Macaws? Beluga whales? Howler monkeys?

2. Are these noises mating calls, expressions of joy, or melancholic song?

3. If our barnyard animals guess is accurate, the firm should ask themselves: why would you hire Goat Boys in the first place?

4. If this some kind of involuntary function, how does one handle this appropriately without running aground of diversity issues?

5. Other thoughts, and obviously guesses to the firm, are welcome at this time.

Blind Item: Which Chicago Accounting Firm Is Giving Infuriatingly Meager Raises and Bonuses?

This just in:

Here’s a spicy meatball for you guys. My buddy works over at [Chicago Firm] and he was so upset when he got his $700 raise and $250 bonus as a Senior 1. Not sure if it’s performance based, but a lot of [Chicago Firm] peeps aren’t thrilled right now.

Will that even cover the rent?

Let’s Try to Match Big 4 Firms to Their Statements About the OFT Inquiry

As we mentioned this morning, Britain’s Office of Fair Trading has determined that the Big 4 isn’t playing fair in the audit market and that it’s time everyone sat down (at roundtables, preferably) to sort this thing out. You’d expect the Big 4 to be a little rankled by this, accused of being benefactors in a game played with a stacked deck but actually, they’re quite comfortable with the situation. Accountancy Age got statements from various people at all the firms in the UK but just for fun, let’s try and identify which statement belongs to which firm. NO PEAKING.

STATEMENT #1:

A […] spokeswoman said the firm was “happy to co-operate” with the inquiry, outlining its ideas on opening up the marketplace.

She said: “We support increased choice in the audit market to enable audit committees to have a wider range of audit firms to choose among in meeting their audit needs and obtaining a high quality audit.

“To this end, we support a number of measures to increase choice, including reinforcing the audit committee’s role in auditor appointments; publication of independent inspection results for all audit firms that are active in listed company audits; removing Big-Four only restrictive covenants from loan agreements; liberalising audit firm ownership rules; and the creation of a single market for audit services in Europe.”

STATEMENT #2:

“We welcome the opportunity to cooperate with the OFT and participate in relevant discussions.

“We welcome all measures that enhance the quality and value of audits and we are supportive of measures that can increase competition and ensure there is – and is seen to be – a level playing field for market participants.”

STATEMENT #3:

“We welcome the OFT’s announcement today, in particular to engage all stakeholders in a programme of round tables and bilateral talks. [The firm] plans to play a constructive and active part in these discussions.”

STATEMENT #4:

A […] spokesman said the firm “welcomed” the inquiry, but said it believes there was already effective competition and pricing in the UK audit market “and look forward to hearing from the OFT its reasons for believing otherwise”.

“It is important to bring to a head the long-running debate on competition and choice, and we support calls for progressive and practical change within the industry.

“In carrying out its work, it is important that the OFT puts audit quality at the heart of the debate. We support a level playing field for all parties, and market-based – not regulatory – intervention.”

First correct answer in the comments will get GC luggage grips (yes, that’s what they are) and other swag that our publisher will gladly send you along with a recipe for Chicken Kiev.

Big Four welcomes OFT inquiry [Accountancy Age]

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

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

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

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

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

— [Big 4 CEO]

Which Accounting Firm Has a High-Ranking Partner Whose Hooker Habit Got Him in a Bit of Trouble?

Actually, there might be a few of them but we’re talking about a very specific instance. A partner with a hectic international travel schedule got taken to the cleaners by his wife after she discovered that he was keeping company on the side while on his business trips, including the aforementioned hookers. And as luck would have it, some of the court documents found their way into our inbox. We’ve clipped some of the juicy parts for you:


It should be noted that this particular situation took place a number of years ago and proceedings were still being wrapped up fairly recently. Now, the hookers angle is especially salacious (which we like) but what does a situation like this say about the pressure that many globetrotting partners are under? The firms demand a lot from their top leaders and a lifestyle of high pressure and international travel can wear on a person. If whores on the cheap happen to be in close proximity to your hotel…well, it’s not inconceivable that some partners may want to blow off some steam. Landing an exotic piece of tail to help you cope with the stress while traveling on business may be a lot of fun but if you have a wife and kids and home, that’s where things get can complicated, and in this case expensive, as the following indicates:

And we didn’t even mention the possibility of the spreading around the clap. No one wins there.

Which Big 4 Firm’s New Hires Aren’t Receiving Performance Ratings?

There are clues:

We hope you are settling into your new role and that things are going well!

The purpose of this email is to make you aware of some important information regarding the year end performance management process that applies to all new campus hires and all newly hired associates/administrative assistants for this year.

The firm recognizes that as a recent new hire, your primary focus is to transition into your role and responsibilities and build your network. It is important that you have the appropriate amount of time to learn about the firm and integrate fully before you are formally evaluated on your performance. Therefore, for this performance year, which ends June 30, 2011, you will not be assigned a performance rating.

Even though you will not receive a rating, you will participate fully in all other aspects of the performance process, such as getting feedback from individuals you work with and meeting with your counselor to discuss your feedback, progress, development and goals for the 2012 fiscal year. We are confident that even without a performance rating for this year, you can fully understand how you are doing by asking the right questions and having meaningful conversations with those you work with.

In the meantime, please make sure you are getting periodic feedback and staying in touch with your counselor. As the year end process approaches you can access helpful tools that will help you prepare for a variety of coaching conversations

Further, you can learn more about the Performance Management and Development process by clicking here.

If you would like to discuss this further please contact your counselor or your People Consultant. Thank you for your participation in this important process.

Take a stab in the comments and feel free to speculate as to the motivation and repercussions behind “all (wo)men are rated equal.”