November 20, 2018

Boozing

My Firm Holiday Party is a Teaching Moment For What Not to Do at a Firm Holiday Party

One year at my firm, we had a Christmas party at the nicest hotel in the city. I live in Detroit, so you know the hotel is nice because it has yet to be burned from the inside out by a band of petty arsonists. The firm paid for valet parking as a “Thanks-for-driving-into-Detroit-at-night!-We-don’t-want-anyone-to-stab-you-with-a-dull-and-poorly fashioned-shiv-in-the-parking-garage-out-back-because-we-need-you-to-work-this-weekend-and-we-know-your-health-insurance-sucks” […]

Partners Hate Nothing More Than Employees Skipping Training Because They’re Working, Nursing a Hangover

Here's an interesting email that was forwarded to us late last week. It's from a peeved partner and we've removed the particulars since the message strikes us as universal among larger public accounting firms.     From: [Regional Partner In Charge of Assurance]   To: [Whomever it may concern] Cc: [Office] Leadership Team Subject: Respect […]

The Definitive Guide to a Successful Public Accounting Summer Internship

Hey, INTERN. Yes, you there wearing your hangover like a scarlet letter on this lovely Friday. Down your third gatorade and listen up. This is everything you need to know to not completely waste your summer away in your internship.   You earned a coveted internship, but I am not going to stroke your ego […]

A CPA’s Guide to a Successful Observance of St. Patrick’s Day

For CPAs, St. Patrick's Day is usually just one of several holidays that becomes a casualty of busy season. On Presidents' Day we were unable to engage in parliamentary procedure, on Mardi Gras we are unable to get laid, and on Valentine's Day we are unable to get laid1.

Proper observance of St. Patrick's Day requires three components: a spiritual component, a green component, and a drunken component–all of which will be easier to do this year because St. Patrick's Day falls on a Sunday. (You're not officially required to work on Sundays, but you're unofficially expected to work on Sundays. Add St. Patrick's Day, and you've pretty much got a free pass to dick around. At work.)

Will This Intern’s Trip to the Drunk Tank Jeopardize His Career Aspirations?

Over the years, we have received many questions regarding criminal histories and a life in public accounting. Not surprisingly, most of these cases have revolved around drugs or alcohol. We aren't talking about major meth production rings (that might be a small disqualification) or moonshining operations, but your run-of-the-mill silly college mistakes like getting tossed […]

Life After Big 4: What You May Miss and Won’t Miss At All

I Want to be a CA is a Canadian site, obviously, but Big 4 misery is a universal thing that transcends race, sex and geography. In the spirit of busy season, I'm happy to share the following with those of you slaving away dreaming of running off to the circus. "The Accountant" left Big 4 […]

KPMG Won’t Let A Silly Electrical Fire Get In The Way of Party Plans

If you were walking around Midtown yesterday, you might have smelled something not-so-ordinary-even-by-NY-standards in the air. There was an electrical fire at the Hilton Hotel on West 53rd Street and 6th Avenue, the planned location for KPMG’s Biennial Alumni Reception. Naturally, GC turned to the NY Post for the full story: Several people were working […]

Feeling Jilted By Prometric? Here’s How To Get a Refund

Have you had issues with Prometric lately? First of all, why haven't you emailed me about it yet? Second, here's how to get reimbursed for your trouble. Save copies of your receipts (like airfare or hotel if you have to travel to a Prometric center not close to your home should yours get closed at […]

Unfounded Rumor of the Day: Patrick Kane Parties Like an Auditor?

From the mailbag: Heard that Patrick Kane, notorious party-animal winger for the Chicago Blackhawks, showed up at an end-of-busy-season party for one of the Big 4 this past Thursday. Can anyone confirm or deny? We do know that Kane was in fine form in Madison on Saturday, so he's definitely not on the wagon. Whether or not he […]

Apparently an Ernst & Young “Strategy Update” Meeting in London Got Out of Hand

Rumor has it that the bobbies had to get involved because the situation "involved broken bar property":  From: [Operations Manager Whose Responsibilities Include Being the Fun Killing Messenger] To: [Lots of People] Date: 11/04/2012 12:00 Subject: Behaviour at staff social events   All,    We recently held a BCM Strategy update meeting last week in London. […]

This Woman’s Tax Season Has Been Infinitely Worse Than Yours

Yeah, we all have our tax season stories.  Like remember the day in April when you got arrested on charges of stealing from your business partner while your husband got arrested for making a drunken spectacle of himself at the local elementary school? You don’t?  Then your story can’t top this one out of the […]

Next Time You’re At the Bar, Order an Income Tax Cocktail

Not surprisingly, the Income Tax Cocktail (yes, it's real) doesn't sound that good. Don't get me wrong, I'm a creative drinker with my own shaker who likes to get wacky with the floofy drinks when I'm up for something other than Raging Bitch. But something about tons of vermouth and a dash of bitters just […]

Accountants Coping with Busy Season: Booze or Spreadsheets?

Once again, we take a peak at what our friends across the pond are talking about because you guys are clearly working to hard to email us anything of interest: Over the weekend I have put in the [sic?] hours working. Not by force, just to overcome the feelings of negativity. I have found getting […]

Awkward Sexual Advances And Your Drinking Problems – A Holiday Guide from Rothstein Kass

Hopefully this week is light for you and your cohorts, giving you some time to clean up your inboxes, hide frat party photos from your new Facebook Timeline, or finish up last minute holiday shopping. Here at GC we are already feeling the holiday hangover so luckily the email and “official” attachment below provided us with a good ol’ fashioned “WTF.”

Here Are Some Ideas for Surviving the Upcoming Busy Season

It's that time of year again, folks. Holiday parties are wrapping up. Some of you are trying to squeeze every drop of water out of the CPA stone. And from the chatter we've been hearing, this busy season could be one of the hardest in years. Chalk this up to the fact that voluntary turnover shot […]

Report: PwC Boston Holiday Party Is Wicked Awesome

This time of year, many a capital market servants look forward to blowing off a little steam at the annual holiday (aka Christmaskuh, Festivus, et al.) party. Last year, the festivities made a comeback after a couple of years of more restrained celebrations. Ernst & Young’s New York office even threw a party at Cipriani’s the week Andrew Cuomo handed down his civil fraud lawsuit. And in case you’re skeptical that the get-drunk-dance-like-an-idiot-go-home-with-a-co-worker party have made a comeback, this post from Socialite may be the latest proof:

Want to talk about “work hard, play harder“? The auditors, tax specialists and consultants at PwC have got that down to a science!

2000 people + Marriott Coply+ open bar + gambling + dancing = Ballin’ time

We’ve been to some corporate Holiday parties in our day, but this one definitely takes the cake. And why wouldn’t it… we’re guessing they threw down well over $500K to host that.

Since we’re not hip to the costs of corporate holiday ragers these days, it wouldn’t be fair to dismiss this guesstimate outright. And it’s not exactly clear how Socialite got all these details but it sounds pretty similar to the KPMG Christmaskuh party I attended in 2008 (sans gambling) which was the waning days of the big holiday blowout party.

ANYWAY, Socialite then outlines a number of reasons that you, local Bostonian, should be at this shindig next year, including some “Secret Grand Prize Giveaway” which they speculate is “a small yacht” but in reality, it’s more likely to be a pair of cool shoes.

For any mini BoMos in Boston, does this sound like the party you went to? Is $500k in the ballpark or would you put it in the seven figure range? Feel free to speculate at this time. And if your party tops this one, email us the details (or an invite).

There Are a Lot of Hungover, Newly Chartered Accountants in Canada Today

We like to cover the international scene as much as we can but it can be tough sometimes when NO ONE EMAILS US. If you’ve got some from north or the border, south of the equator or across an ocean, simply email us at [email protected] and we’ll spice things up around here with some international flair.

I only bring it up because this morning a Canadian reader informed us that today is a big day up north.

I’ve noticed the content on GC is nearly entirely CPA-focused, even though there’s plenty of readers from north of the border! I realise this is likely partially due to the fact that Canadian readers aren’t helping contribute enough. In an effort to help spread the love, I provide the following:

As a bit of background to our system, Canadian Chartered Accountants (CAs) must pass a single national final exam called the Uniform Evaluation (UFE). The UFE is a three-day national exam held once a year in September. The results are then released nearly three months later, usually on the first Friday of December (today!). It’s generally tradition for all the writers (and those that support them) to head out to the bar the night before to help ease the anxiety of checking the results in the morning, which leads to a lot of cheerful new CAs with hangovers today. This tough day of work at my firm (and many others) consists of champagne breakfast with colleagues, lunch with the partners and the office heading back to the bar by 3pm.

Congratulations to all the new CAs!

Scores are officially released at 12 pm so if you’re waiting to enjoy some Mimosas until you get the official word, that’s your choice but either way, you can use this post as a thread for your pre-noon-newly-minted-CA-partying purposes.

Going Concern Is Throwing a Party for Beta Alpha Psi Annual Meeting Attendees

Good morning, capital markets servants. Aren’t you glad there are still capital markets to serve? For now, anyway. Despite the doubts around our economy, we have a nice little offer for the future capital market servants who are attending this year’s Beta Alpha Psi Annual Meeting here in Denver. There are details after the jump but basically all you need to know is that it is tonight, attendees will be on a rooftop, there will be free refreshments, and attractive bar and wait staff will be catering to your requests.

So if you’re at this year’s meeting, join us at Spill located at 1410 Market St. in Denver, starting at 6:30 with open bar (beer, wine and well liquor) and appetizers until 8:30. I’ll be around chatting with various people so feel free to awkwardly interrupt to say hello; you never know, you might be getting me out of a bad conversation. Show up to eat, drink and mingle with your fellow attendees.

Fair warning, however, some of our sales people will be milling about chatting up exhibitors and apparently they have a reputation for being “loud” and “unprofessional” but you should know that only means they are FUN. So, unless you have a problem with that it’d be wise for you to show up. Hope to see you there.

An Accounting Director, Who Really Needs a Drink, Needs Advice on His Next Career Move

Ed. note: Have a question for the career advice brain trust? Email us at [email protected].

Advice gurus,

I’m a Accounting Director (upgraded staff accountant really) at a small non-profit. I’ve been with the org since getting out of college 2 years ago. My firm loves me but I’ve decided to switch, mainly because I’m not liking the AD position. First because come close of the year and January, I pretty much want to drown my life in as many Guinesses as I can find. 80+ hours per week just sucks after a while and my org doesn’t let me drink. 🙁 Second is personal – I’m wanting to be closer to family and friends.

I took the AD job because I thought it would put me well on my way to a CFO job down the road. So my question is this, are there other good ways to get to that end without going AD, Controller, CFO or something similar? Do I just need to suck it up and keep being an AD for a few more years before I can move to a controller position? Finally, if I take a staff accountant position how does that look? Thanks.

-Can’t wait to drink again

Good afternoon Guiness,
If being a CFO is your goal, you need to assess the qualities and skillsets that CFOs in your industry possess. Consider a few things when doing so:

1. Get Your CPA – There’s no denying the importance of getting the three letters next to your name. As you progress you in career, having a CPA will keep doors open for you. Read up on Adrienne’s great CPA coverage if you don’t know where to start.

2. Lose the title – You’re still very young in your career, so my advice to you is to worry less about titles and more about opportunities that open doors and expose you to a variety of accounting responsibilities. This is meant as no offense to you and your career thus far, but a staff accountant at a large corporation most likely sees more complicated accounting issues than say, a charity bookstore. Roll up your sleeves and challenge yourself.

3. Location – before you have a spouse, kids and a mortgage, get back to where you want to be. It will be easier to find a staff-level job than a specialized, more technical job that you’ll be qualified for five years from now. And call your mother, she misses you.

4. It’s not like Mad Men but… – The liquor store sells the little nip bottles for a reason. It’s a scientific fact that whiskey helps ease the frustration of 80+ hour work weeks.

May the drink-at-work Spirits be with you,
DWB

Analysis: The Business-Social Pitfalls of The Summer Pool Party

Now that we’re officially in the dead of summer, there is ample opportunity for your team or firm to have barbecues, happy hours on the patio and if you’re really lucky, a pool party. Barbecues and happy hours are fairly simple events to master. Don’t eat too much; don’t drink too much. Overindulging in either will no doubt lead to some sort of embarrassing scenario that brands you a pig or a souse. particularly flattering.

The pool party on the other hand, presents a different dilemma entirely. Of course that will still be refreshments served and you should do your best to not wolf down hot dogs like Joey Chestnut or shotgunning beers. This will only lead to cramps in the deep end of the pool and perhaps an accidental drowning. Again, these are mortifying situations that should be avoided.

One problem that you may run into is that your gracious host may have children that are of an age where clothes are considered optional. A recent investigation has found this is acceptable depending on the child’s age, so try not to pull a Larry David later back at the office after you get an eyeful.

The second issue of importance is that of the swimming suit. On the one hand, it’s silly to pass up an opportunity to enjoy a swimming pool on a hot summer afternoon, so you best bring it if the opportunity presents itself. For those of you tempted to pull the “I can’t swim” card, I have a suggestion: LEARN. FAST. Nobody likes a party pooper and your story of nearly drowning in four inches of water in the backyard pool as a child isn’t fooling anyone.

As for the suit itself, herein lies the biggest challenge. For gents, it’s simple – stick with board shorts. You may have legs like a god but if you strut around this fiesta by a pool in Speedo you will be mocked (most likely behind your back) and rightfully so. Similarly, if you’ve reached the age where you’re comfortable with your body despite how the rest of the universe feels, this is downright offensive. People are eating for crying out loud.

The situation for the ladies, as is typical, it’s more complicated. On the one hand, bikinis haven’t considered been risqué since that crusty old partner was in short pants. However there still is contingent of society that frowns on the two-piece. From The Careerist:

One woman partner at an Am Law 100 firm in New York thinks it’s a no-win situation for most women: “I don’t think anything good comes from parading in a bathing suit in front of one’s colleagues, and certainly would question the wisdom of wearing a bikini in a business social context–no matter how young or fit one may be.” But if you must wear a swimsuit, she says, she’d opt for “a modest racing suit and a cover-up right to the water’s edge.”

Lawyers, like accountants, are a conservative lot so you could easily replace “Am Law 100” with “Big 4” and you’d have the perspective of a stuffy New York CPA. Thankfully, our friends in the west are not so prudish:

An entertainment lawyer in L.A. thinks it’s silly to be so self-conscious: “If I was 29 and had a rocking bod, I wouldn’t hesitate [about wearing a revealing suit]!” She doubts that looking “too good” is ever a career killer. “I think it depends on how you look in a bathing suit,” she says. “If you look good, go for it; if not, cover up.”

So how’s that for some honesty? It’s already been established that men in the accounting profession are pigs so there’s very little to lose if ladies decide to rock the bikini. The guys are judging you regardless. Why? Because they’re assholes. Accordingly, I stand firmly with our entertainment lawyer. Know your body and suit up accordingly.

You may have differing opinions on the matter which you’re invited to discuss them below and do share any pool party anecdotes that strike you as appropriate.

Accountant Reaches New Heights of Stupid Behavior After Drinking and Driving

Where I come from, some of my friends had a saying, “There’s only one way to drive drunk…FAST!” Obviously this is dumb. Forget the fact that drinking and driving is dumb but exceeding the speed limit while drinking and driving is exponentially dumber. Inevitably this type of behavior will get you pulled over, at which point the opportunity for more dumb behavior presents itself. On the one hand you could simply jump out of the car, flee the scene, losing your shirt in the process because it will probably slow you down, only to be tackled, cuffed and babbling the Branded theme song in the back of a police cruiser. Another option would be to literally manifest the phrase “cop-slugging drunk.” And yet another option is to do what Alison Brookes did and opt for a more affectionate approach:

A driver who kissed a cop in a bid to avoid a parking ticket ended up losing her licence – after he smelled booze on her breath. Chartered accountant Alison Brookes, 51, planted the smacker on the police officer’s cheek after he spotted her parked on double yellow lines in Didsbury. But the officer got a whiff of alcohol – and arrested her. Brookes, of Fenwick Drive, Heaton Mersey, admitted drink driving and was banned for 14 months at Manchester Magistrates’ Court. Court chairman Stephen Terry told her: “Perhaps kissing the officer was a bit of a giveaway, but that’s by the by.”

Have you been drinking madam? Accountant failed breath test after she gave traffic cop a kiss on the cheek [MEN]

So You Think Your CPA Can Dance?

One thing I’ve always loved about the Maryland Association of CPAs is that they aren’t afraid to shake things up, do what everyone else isn’t doing and, uh, break out into a dance routine in the middle of a dinner reception.

Remember the “big surprise” they were planning for the 2011 CPA Summit? Here it is, enjoy:

How Are You Celebrating the End of Busy Season?

I’ll tell you how I’m celebrating – continuing my successful string of years not celebrating. Adrienne? She’s experimenting with home remedies for a stomach flu. But never mind our problems, you guys have somehow survived the January to April stretch without going nuts, assaulting someone and successfully avoiding awkward sexual advances (the latter two sometimes happening at the same time). That means you deserve to celebrate; whether or not that’s on company dime is another question.


Back in the KPMG days, I attended a pretty good throw-down at the Central Park Boathouse for the Financial Services group but that was in the spring of 2008 when the Bear Stearns embers were still hot and everyone who worked on the Citi still thought they worked for a great client (that’s what I was told, anyway). In 2009, end of busy season soirees were a much more muted with individual team celebrations because the world had basically just ended.

Last spring it sounded like it was more of the same. Nothing too out of control and individual teams were left to celebrate how they saw fit. Of course with a successful fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2011 looking good, firms may be ready to jump into the ostentatious end of busy season blowout parties once again. Maybe your partner(s) is/are taking you to Peter Luger’s; maybe it’s an intimate evening at the his/her home where some entertainment will be provided (hopefully from inside the firm). Or maybe it will just a drinks and awkwardly dancing the night away. We can’t possibly know since we don’t get invited to such things (at least officially), so discuss your plans, send us your invites or come up with your own ideas about how to best celebrate getting your life back.

PwC Introduces Cleverly-Named Fortnightly Social Function

I overheard – and by that I mean someone sent us the gchat – the following conversation that occurred earlier today regarding friendly get-togethers that will be going down at 300 Madison starting next Thursday.

[Someone at PwC]: From my good friend [Someone else at PwC]
[Someone at PwC, quoting an email]: Take a break. Unwind. Catch up with your coach or colleagues. Enjoy refreshments. Play a game. Right here in 300 Madison at our new Post work Connections. Designed to show appreciation for everything you do — and to provide a place for you and your colleagues — to meet and get to know people. It’s a place to just have fun! Post work Connections will be open every other Thursday, from 5:00-8:00 p.m., in 300 Madison’s deck/cafeteria, from March 24 – June 16. We look forward to seeing you at our grand opening on March 24. Give it a try. There will be beer, wine, soda, snacks, games — and raffles for prizes! Get caught in the act of having fun at work! Hope to see you there!
[Someone at PwC]: Note that post work connections starts with PwC
[Someone who knows someone at PwC]: Good lord
[Someone who knows someone at PwC]: That’s epic
[Someone who knows someone at PwC]: Is the “post work connections starts with..” comment theirs or yourts
[Someone at PwC]: Mine
[Someone who knows someone at PwC]: Love it.

Personally, I’m mostly curious about the “games” aspect of these events. Are we talking Risk™? Beer pong? Scrabble™? Or we talking an Angry Birds round-robin tournament? Regardless, we’ll be interested to hear how these Thursday ragers will go. Keep us in the loop.

Weary Big 4 Auditors Are Invited to Live Out Their ‘What I Really Wanted to Be’ Dreams This Saturday

As busy season trudges along, some of you may be looking for a second wind. For many of you, any chance that you can reach down into your soul and conjure up a little more energy to help you reach the finish line passed with that blown deadline.

However, for anyone on the Isle of Manhattan that is looking for a little pick-me-up this weekend, we’ve been informed that there is a fiesta in the making (invitation art at right) and it invites you to harken for the days when your aspirations weren’t so practical:

My friend is having a party this weekend with what I think is a pretty clever theme. On Saturday, we will be attending “Fuck! We are Auditors (How did that happen)”. Description:

“Have you always dreamed of becoming an Auditor?

If so, this party is not for you. For everyone else, come celebrate the (nearing) end of busy season! The theme of FWAA is to dress up as something you wanted to be when you were a kid. So call up your mom or flip through your diary to see what aspirations you had when you were young. Points (more alcohol) will be given to those who have a very convincing outfit.

So don on a lab coat, leotard, or tiara, bring a little somethin’ somethin’ (alcohol), and come get your drunk on. Feel free to invite other auditor or drab job related friends. Perhaps this theme will inspire other auditors to put their life in perspective and go for it…or just drink more to our unachieved dreams. We obviously don’t mean any disrespect to our jobs (or firm. no need to bite the hand that feeds you) seeing as we just started, but any reason to drink/dress up right? It’s been a long busy season. One down, and god-knows-how-many to go.

And good news, the party-throwers (who wouldn’t share their firm with us) have deemed this all-firms-are-created-equal event, “we’re willing to look past those corporate labels and invite all auditors to party.” Of course if you’re not in the Tri-state area, you’ll have to organize your own dashed-dreams rager but the theme has been set. Cowboy, pro athlete, Miss USA, movie star, whatever you failed to be, you’re invited to pretend for a few awkward hours this weekend. As long as you’re not working of course.

(UPDATE) Brilliant Business Idea of the Day: Delaware Liquor Store Offers Tax Prep Services

Taxes are a touchy subject with Americans. This is known. On the one hand, a Tennessee CPA combined his love for 1040s and firearms, issues coupons to clients who, in their jubilation, can spend their refunds at his gun shop. Even if someone were not due a refund, it wouldn’t be tough to convince someone in small-town Tennessee that purchasing a gun is bound to make you feel better about the IRS impending on your freedom. For others, finding out that their sophisticated tax planning didn’t go as intended, may just cause them to grab the nearest bottle of hooch and try to forget their troubles for awhile.

Thanks to Kay Bell, we have learned that one liquor store in Delaware has made this latter scenario more convenient for its customers:


Because we were curious to know more, we called up Steve’s to find out the situation. We spoke to someone who said that returns start at $65 but the lady in charge was out and could call us back with the details. We’ll have the lowdown for you when we hear back from her.

UPDATE: We just got off the phone with Yvette Nidwik, who does the tax prep over at Steve’s and she shared with us a few more details. Unfortunately, the answer to the question on everyone’s mind, “Do we get a discount on booze?” is a flat “No.” Apparently it’s illegal in Delaware law to give discounts on liquor associated with another service (or something). Be that as it may, we were surprised when Yvette told us that she has a lot of “church people” as clients despite the proximity to the Devil’s brew. Yvette has been preparing tax returns for eleven years, five of those at Steve’s. She is not a CPA but plans on becoming an Enrolled Agent soon. She also doesn’t have a problem with the IRS’s forthcoming preparer regulations, saying, “it’s a good thing,” and that she’s “a fixer” meaning she has lots of clients who come in with prior year returns and she find lots of mistakes (especially from discount preparers that will remain nameless).

So if you’re in the area and don’t have the time or willingness to do your own, look Yvette up at Steve’s but she’s a busy lady, so no messin’ about and she’d probably prefer if you stopped in the liquor store after speaking with her.

Tax service in liquor store sure makes toasting the end of tax season easy [DMWT]

It’s Being Suggested That Higher Taxes on Alcohol Will Reduce Crime

It’s ironic that I read this this blog post today (rather than on Friday) since A) approximately a third of the country is in a some stage of a hangover B) I’m listening to “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse as I write this and C) there was a murder at a fraternity in Youngstown, Ohio over the weekend (I realize it’s a stretch to assume that anyone would have been drinking at a frat party) but this is pie-in-the-sky postulating that just begs to be mocked.


Janet Novack’s post at Forbes discusses a recent article written by two professors who are crime fighters in the economic persuasion:

Would raising the tax on beer reduce the number of young folks who get caught up in crime and the high budget and social costs of locking up so many people?

In a provocative article, The Economist’s Guide To Crime Busting, in the new issue of The Wilson Quarterly, Duke University’s Philip J. Cook and the University of Chicago’s Jens Ludwig suggest that it would. (The article is here, but isn’t free.) The profs argue that crime policy (from an economist’s point of view) should focus “both on making criminal opportunities less tempting and the law-abiding life more rewarding” and offer three strategies which they say have been shown to do just that: raising the mandatory age through which kids must attend school; creating business improvement districts with private security guards (a tactic Los Angeles has used with great success); and yes, raising taxes on alcohol.

Our favorite passage being the “making criminal opportunities less tempting and the law-abiding life more rewarding” because this what someone walking into the liquor store is thinking, “Jeepers, the cost of binge drinking on the weekend has gone up significantly and no longer fits my monthly budget. I guess I’ll stay sober and won’t break the law today.”

It continues:

The average state excise tax on beer, they note, is now only about 10 cents per 12 ounce bottle. Raising it to 55 cents they write, would persuade some teenagers “not to pick up that second six-pack on Thursday night” and would produce such extra benefits such as “fewer auto accidents and more money for state treasuries.” Data from Cook’s 2007 book, Paying The Tab, suggests a 55 cent per bottle levy would reduce beer consumption perhaps 10% and crime maybe 6%, they note.

Never mind how the neo-con scamps over at American for Tax Reform would react; this assumes that the demand for alcohol is elastic. You could easily argue that most people with the necessary means will pick their potent potable of choice regardless of price and even if they did decided to tighten the booze budget, they’d just go for a cheaper alternative, they wouldn’t actually buy or drink less.

I’m no economist but this kind of reasoning simply defies logic. People will drink regardless of the cost and they will continue to act like idiots and commit crimes when doing so. If you want to discuss that from a tax/fiscal policy standpoint raising taxes on booze (or taxing other sins) is a good idea then a discussion can be had. But let’s not get all crazy and start claiming that our country will become a bunch of law-abiding teetotalers the second a sixer of suds goes up $6.

Super Bowl Question:Would Higher Beer Tax Reduce Crime? [Forbes]

Sue Sachdeva Was Needlessly Paranoid About Grant Thornton’s Fraud Detecting Abilities

About a year ago at this time, we just started learning about Sue Sachdeva, the convicted embezzler extraordinaire of headphone cobbler Koss. It took a little less than a year for everything to get sorted out including quite the inventory of luxury loot, her emerging talent for stealing money, lawsuits, a guilty plea and a sentence of 11 years.

Since all that’s settled it’s on to the lawsuits and Suze was recently deposed in Koss’s lawsuit against Grant Thornton where she testified about many interesting things, including being a nervous nelly from the get-go:

Former Koss Corp. executive Sujata “Sue” Sachdeva worried each day that she would be caught embezzling money that eventually totaled $34 million.

“Fear was one thing. I thought it was imminent,” she said in a recent court deposition. “Their auditors, every time they walked in, I’d say, ‘This is it. They’re going to catch me.’ 

Turns out, S-squared was paranoid for no good reason because – as we all know – GT had no clue that she was lifting millions every year to pay off her AMEX, partly, she says, because they were throwing green auditors at the company every year:

Sachdeva said in the deposition that Grant Thornton considered Koss to be a well-run company and a good training ground for its new auditors.

“Every year, we’d have at least one or two new auditors come through, and I know Michael (Koss) and I both objected to that – getting kids right out of college and had to explain the business to them every time,” Sachdeva said.

Sachdeva said she never held back documents from the auditors. They didn’t question the amounts of money flowing in and out of the company, nor did they question the internal controls, she said. The lack of inquiries surprised her, she said.

Then there were the allegations that she was having regular three-vodka-shot lunches, according to an October article in Milwaukee Magazine:

Retailers who lunched with Sachdeva say she downed vodka shots at the North Shore Bistro with Julie and Tracy. “Then they all went back to work bombed,” says one shop owner.

One consignment shop owner recalls picking up Sachdeva and taking her to Harvey’s restaurant in Mequon. “Sue told the waiter she wanted her ‘juice.’ They knew that meant vodka,” says the shop owner, who was surprised by how much Sachdeva drank.

Well, it all kinda makes sense now doesn’t it? She was either paranoid because she drank or drank because she was paranoid. OR the amateur auditors drove her so batty and she had no choice but to get a little loaded. Anyway you slice it, the auditors seem to be ones to blame, which seems like a trend these days.

Koss embezzler feared discovery from start [MJS]
The Diva [Milwaukee Magazine]

Ernst & Young Employee Disappointed with Boston Office’s Party Planning, Lack of Boozehounds

From the mailbag:

EY Boston Tax had their end of busy season party last week. On Tuesday, we had beer and wine in the office. Considering everyone had to work through the first football sunday of the year, the least they could do is get us drunk on a Thursday so we can enjoy ourselves. Who’s gonna get drunk in the office on a Tuesday? [Ed. note: show of hands?]

I have to say I’m disappointed with the social/drinking scene at this place compared to other Big 4s in this market. Pretty stiff, but I feel like the firm takes pride in that–I have no idea why.

Without the proper context, it’s difficult to know what kind of a drinker our tipster is. If he/she is merely a two wines/beers and out person then E&Y Boston is really bucking the trend in that fair city. However, if the tipster is Charlie Sheen, then there’s no cause for concern.

Any Bostonians familiar with the situation are invited to elaborate on the Big 4/next tier drinking scene below or share with us directly.

KPMG Founders Get the Warhol Treatment

No doubt many a KPMG employees have thought to themselves, “If Warhol painted the KPMG namesakes, what would they look like?”

As you can see, you no longer have to wonder.


It just so happens that the Pittsburgh office’s alumni get-together will be at the Warhol Museum and our tipster wondered if this money could have been better spent on the Steel City employees:

I have a feeling the local partners spent the extra money they didn’t give out in bonuses (note bonuses were given, I’m just saying they could have been bigger) on hiring someone to “Warhol” out the KPMG founders below. Great artistry though.

Frankly, we’re of the opinion that this might be some of the best money the Steel City office has ever spent. However, it’s entirely possible that KPMG does some work for the museum and they’re swapping services, which again, seems like a pretty good deal.

Here’s the full invite:

We’re not Warhol experts so we’ll let you debate the artwork but we do have a few takeaways:

1. KPMG has a knight!

2. Three out of four rocking ‘staches.

3. Is it “Uncle Piet”? Or “Uncle Peat”?

4. What’s with three sour faces, KPM? At least Goerdeler looks like someone you would want to work for.

Any other questions? Leave them below.

Some People Aren’t Too Concerned About the Walgreen CFO’s Second DUI

Yesterday we shared with you the unfortunate tale of Walgreen CFO Wade Miquelon picking up his second DUI in just over a year. While Mr. Miquelon is obviously responsible for his own actions, this whole mess could have been avoided if WAG would just splurge a tad and get him 24/7 car service. Sure you might catch some shit from Footnoted but isn’t that better than people getting hurt?

Anyhoo, most of the coverage on this story is in and around Chicago but naturally, analysts that cover the company were asked about the whole ordeal and frankly, since jumping behind the wheel after a few highballs doesn’t seem to have any effect on Wade’s professional capacity, it’s really NBD:

Dereck Leckow with Barrington Research […] sees no reason for investors to be concerned.

“Certainly, it’s rather embarrassing, but he’s not been found guilty of anything at this point,” said Leckow.

“At this point in time, it’s not something to be concerned about,” he concluded. Leckow has an “Outperform” rating on Walgreen shares and a $46 price target.

The risk for investors, if anything serious were to result from the latest charge, is that Miquelon is regarded as key to restructuring that’s been going on at Walgreen.

“Wade has been very valuable for the company’s cost-reduction efforts,” observes Scott Mushkin of Jefferies & Co. “If there were any problem that would take him away from his responsibilities at Walgreen, that would be a negative,” said Mushkin.

As we noted yesterday, WAG isn’t commenting on this “personal matter” but some people are wondering aloud about Wade’s decision-making ability:

Companies have to disclose “events that occurred during the past 10 years and that are material to an evaluation of the ability or integrity” of an officer. This includes whether the person “was convicted in a criminal proceeding … (excluding traffic violations and other minor offenses),” according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

So the question becomes when does such an issue stops being a “personal matter” and starts becoming a “material” one. And what does it say about a person who makes such repeated mistakes, risking himself and others in the process? Can shareholders trust him with running the finances of their company?

The answer is, it depends.

“Some companies might have disclosed the second arrest right away; some might have said something somewhere,” said Edward Best, a partner at law firm Mayer Brown. “Other companies could reasonably have concluded, ‘Hey, the guy still showed up Monday morning.’ He’s still able to fly to New York to meet with rating agencies, investors and bankers. It’s not a material issue.”

One thing is for certain – Miquelon is losing his license for three years effective November 10th, so Walgreen has a couple of weeks to arrange for that car service.

Walgreen: Street Unperturbed By CFO DUI Arrest [Barron’s]
Walgreen CFO Arrested on Drunk Driving Charges … Again [Daily Finance]
Walgreens CFO charged for 2nd time with DUI [Chicago Breaking Business]

Walgreens Is ‘Aware’ of CFO Being Charged with Second DUI in Just Over a Year

At this rate, Wade Miquelon is going to be at Billy Joel territory in no time:

Walgreen Co. Chief Financial Officer Wade Miquelon was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving last month, his second such arrest in a little more than a year, according to Kenilworth and Glencoe police.


Miquelon stonewalled officers when they requested a breathalyzer test which goes over well approximately 100% of the time. As for the past incident:

In Sept. 2009, he was stopped at 12:51 a.m. at Green Bay Road and Glencoe Drive and charged with speeding, improper lane usage, DUI and having alcohol in his system. In May, he accepted a one-year supervision for the latter offense, according to a Cook County District Court clerk.

“We’re aware of it,” said Walgreen’s spokesman Michael Polzin. “It’s a personal matter, and we don’t comment on personal matters.”

Are they also be aware that it’s relatively inexpensive to hire a full-time driver for a senior executive when you have profits of $2 billion? Just so, you know, no one gets killed.

Walgreens CFO charged for 2nd time with DUI [Chicago Breaking Business]

Deadline Watch ’10: Happy October 15th!

Along with AG’s friendly reminder about the drop-dead deadline for nonprofits today, we’d be remiss if we didn’t call attention to the significance of October 15th deadline.

Maybe you finished things up earlier in the week and today is simply a formality but for many, today is a frantic mishmash of signatures, phone slamming, desperate, last minute emails and – for the holdouts on electronic filing – trips to the post office.


Sure you’re not getting the attention bestowed on April 15th or Chilean miners but – hey! – we remembered you and that should count for something.

So whether you’re finishing up a 1040, a benefit plan’s Form 5500 or converting some poor sap’s IRA, finish up ASAP and go blow off some steam. Another year down.

Earlier:
Deadline Watch ‘10: Happy September 15th!
See also:
Don’t miss these Oct. 15 tax deadlines! [DMWT]
Extended 1040s and Individual NOL Carryback Elections Are Due Today! [Tax Update Blog]

Good Times at PwC: Supporting the iPhone and The Return of Christmaskuh

As you know, it’s been rebrand-orama in land of P. Dubs recently. With all that going on, you may have been distracted from the fact that there are more important, less controversial decisions being made. For example, employees will be celebrating the birth of Christ/The Festival of Lights/whatever it is you do by enjoying an open bar and finally making awkward sexual advances on co-workers.

From the mail bag, some communicado from Bob Moritz:

Holiday celebrations were clearly a casualty of the challenging economy. Many of you told us that while it was the right decision given the economic environment—especially when we repurposed our holiday spending to give back to our communities—you missed getting together with colleagues to celebrate during the December holiday season. While we will continue to focus on charitable giving, we’re pleased to see a return to office holiday celebrations this year. Look for more from your market leaders on events happening locally.


Additionally, PwC has finally caved to moxie of Steve Jobs:

Many of you are already using iPhones or have been holding off purchasing one because the firm doesn’t support them. I’m pleased to announce that, later this fall, we’ll be offering iPhones from AT&T, and at least one Android model from each of our approved cellular carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile), as part of PwC’s smartphone and cellular program.

How’s that for good news? Express your glee (that means break out in song) below.

At Least One Grant Thornton Office Doesn’t Think It’s Too Early To Discuss Holiday Parties

From the mailbag, straight out of H-town:

Today, sept 1st, I got a save the date for the 2010 Christmas party. So yes GT Houston is having a Christmas party this year and apparently they are so excited about it, they wanted to let everyone know way in advance! Woot!

Is this some sort of retention tactic? Probably too little too late…..


Grant Thornton’s timing of this announcement is interesting on several counts. First, Christmaskuh was canceled by KPMG last year in early August. Since this is the first Holiday Ho down news we’ve received for any firm, this may be a good sign.

Second, our source’s suspicion is noted – is GT Houston employing a free booze morale booster here? Will the promise of catering, free hard liquor (at the very least beer and wine) and the opportunity for awkward sexual advances help rally that office back to indifference as opposed to downright morbidity? Oh and watch out for a certain PwC partner who might try to crash the party since he’ll likely be kept away from the booze at his own.

Discuss the early holiday cheer. And keep us informed about your firm’s/office’s holiday rager status.

Are Your Firm’s Happy Hours Overrated?

AccountingWeb’s UK site discussed a recent survey detailing the mixed emotions surrounding the typical work happy hour:

A new study entitled “Health of the Workplace” undertaken by insurance firm Aviva found that although nearly three out of five managers take staff to the pub for team building purposes, just over half of employees are not so keen on going out with their workmates and one in five actively dislike it.

The research also revealed that only 23% of bosses think that such socials create a positive sense of team spirit anyway, a third find them a bit of a drag and one in 10 feel obliged to attend to keep their staff happy.

We’ve all been there – out with “the team” to a half-assed planned happy hour finagled into that one Wednesday night between interim work and busy season. Or maybe it’s the Thursday-after-working-32-straight-days-up-to-the-filing-deadline party. Whatever the situation, I feel that many of you can relate to the rough statistics above.


I’m not saying that going out with coworkers is a bad idea, because it’s not. Interpersonal relationships with colleagues is an important factor in building trust and camaraderie on an engagement team. But if a bar scene is not the ideal environment for the group, what do you suggest?

The article continues on to say, “With budgets being tight, it might be better to spend the money on initiatives that benefit both employees and the company, for example, by providing `workplace wellness programmes.’” Big 4 firms have these initiatives already, and do you know who attends them? Certainly not the staff employees who are working from the client site!

With enough team planning, smaller engagements could work from the offices during these programs, but what about the larger, more permanent field sites? Why not have the “yoga at your desk” or “financial planning for your first child” programs visit the larger engagement sites? Book a conference room; make these events work free (no shop talk allowed); encourage people to interact with one another on a personal level.

Or we could all just sit at our desk and bitch about the mandatory Wednesday night happy hour.

(UPDATE) PwC Houston Happy Hours Still May Not Be Safe

It’s been a couple of weeks since we reported on the alleged incident at a PwC happy hour that involved a drunk (or roofied, depending on who you ask) partner who made his fondness for an associate known only to follow it up with a knuckle sandwich (we’re picturing a right cross).

Well, we decided to check in with a source down in H-town to see if there was any blowback from this whole situation.

I heard that PwC wasn’t going to do anything because of his client relationship and only offered the guy the chance to get off the job.

Well! Not exactly what we expected hear and we decided to check things out. Through a friend of capable means, we were able to verify the partner’s employment with the firm.

So then we emailed PwC spokesman Jon Stoner again about the incident but we have yet to hear back. Then we called the partner-in-question and left him a voicemail, asking very nicely to call us back. So far, he hasn’t returned our call but there isn’t any evidence by his greeting that he has left the firm.

So…you can see the conundrum here. What are Houston assurance associates going to do if they can’t drink beer on company dime without fearing a punch in the mouth (and possible getting an unwanted tongue down their throat)? Spend their own money? God forbid. If you know more about this, get in touch.

UDPATE: Just a few more details to share with you – we’ve heard from multiple sources that there were multiple kissing incidents at the happy hour. So while it sounds like more love (albeit unwelcome) was being spread than violence, that doesn’t mean you should be risking the invasion of your personal space for a few cocktails.

Be Sure to Keep Your Guard Up at the Next PwC Happy Hour

We received a tip early last week that will could make you think twice about attending the next PricewaterhouseCoopers happy hour, or at the very least, keep your eyes open for the attendees that have clearly drank themselves blind.

Our original tipster told us the following, “You should look into a PwC male partner punching a male associate at a going away happy hour in Houston, TX. Allegedly, the story is the partner got drunk, walked up to the male associate and said “I know you want to kiss me” proceeded to kiss him on the lips and then pushed and punched him.”


Well! That sounds like a helluva party. We’ve heard of partners bullying other partners before but this is a new one.

Before we go any further, we should note that while we did learn the name of the partner in question, we’re withholding the name of the person at this time since we have yet to confirm the incident first-hand with an eyewitness to the events. If you were there and can confirm these events, including whether it was a left jab or round-house uppercut and whether it was a peck or a sloppy make out attempt, email us and tell us what you saw.

Okay. So, our source proceeded to tell us that the partner had been placed on the probation and didn’t acknowledge the event for several days saying, “he didn’t remember anything that happened because the engagement team brought drugs to the happy hour.” Fairly standard black-out excuse.

Anyway, we checked on this rumor with a source in PwC’s Houston office who told us the following:

A fellow associate of mine was at an audit happy hour last Friday and he said something along the lines of “things got really, really crazy.” And he wouldn’t tell me what he meant by “really really crazy.” I guessed table dancing / hooking up, but he said no, it wasn’t like that.

Luckily for all us, our source did end up talking to the witness and told us:

I talked to my friend — he could neither “confirm or deny the events” ; however, from talking to him, it sounds like the rumor is true. Per my friend, the “issues are still under investigation by the Firm.” So its all very hush hush evidently. The client is a high profile one, so I’m sure people are being very, very careful to not let the gossip spread if it all possible.

With all this, we thought we’d better call this partner up to see what’s what. We called the Houston office, requesting the partner in question (“PIQ”) and after a pause by the receptionist, we were connected. Expecting the typical partner buffer of an admin to answer, we were surprised when the he answered. We politely introduced ourselves and asked about “an incident that happened at a recent happy hour where your name came up.”

The PIQ immediately interrupted, “I’m not allowed to discuss anything about that. Thank you very much.” and promptly hung up the phone.

We tried getting in touch with PwC spokesman Jon Stoner to see what he knew about this alleged make out/fisticuffs situation but he has yet to return our phone calls or emails. If you’ve got more details on this story, get in touch with us and we’ll update the post if we hear anything more.

Deloitte Employees Enjoy Boozing, Checking Out Men in Uniform Thanks to G-20 Protesters

Protestors of this weekend’s G-20 Summit invaded Toronto this week which promoted some companies in the TO’s financial district to take extraordinary measures so that their employees wouldn’t be bothered by all the jobless ruffians.

Most shops just sent people home as a precautionary measure as protestors gathered throughout the week but some diehards are camping out, as FINS reports on StatPro North America’s office that is near the red zone that surrounds the Toronto Convention center:

Andrew Peddar, chief operating officer of StatPro North America, said that the firm wanted to ensure that its clients, which include asset managers and hedge funds, could be assured of uninterrupted service during the week.

The campout was the employees’ suggestion. That way, they’ll avoid potential disasters on the client front and also sidestep protestors.

“We have sleeping bags, lot of food and lots of liquid,” said Peddar. The axes? “In case we need to break out.”

Or chop off some ne’er do well’s arm, you know, whatever is necessary. Obviously these guys are overachieving, bedwetting amateurs that don’t recognize an opportunity when they see one.

Fortunately, Deloitte knew better and told all its employees to work from home starting Tuesday. Some used the unexpected time off to get enamored by the security, “Junaid Zia, a risk analyst at Deloitte, had most of the week off. When he left the office Monday night, he said he didn’t see any protestors, only a lot of policemen…’They should just do G-20 every year,’ he said.”

But at least one Big 4 veteran saw this as a perfect opportunity to do some weekday drinking:

[A] senior analyst at the office, took the opportunity to spend time riding his motorbike and watch soccer… “I went to a British bar for the England game, an Argentinian bar for an Argentina game, a German bar for a German game,” he said. “But I’ve been working.”

By Thursday, he was lying down at home, having injured his back. He declined to elaborate on how the injury happened.

Probably hurt it tracking that fantasy football team, no?

What I Did During the G-20 Summit [FINS]

Let’s Welcome the KPMG Interns with…

…kind words from John Veihmeyer? Obviously! Bagels with schmear? This isn’t 2007. Happy hours where the booze flows like wine? TBD.


The Klynveld interns started this week (an official Tweet from the KPMG Go says there’s over 1,000 coffee go-fers this summer) and we hear they’re starting out with some stimulating training for a couple of days before they head to national training which we hear will be at a HoJo in Fargo, ND. Cutbacks, you know.

We know some of you KPMG vets will be asked to mentor these blades of grass and we’re a little curious about what the guidance has been re: coffee, lunches, booze etc. since TPTB are still squeeze all the hairs out Lincoln’s beard but still want you to convince the hot and/or smart interns that KPMG is the place they want to be.

Anyhoo, we’ll try and bestow some wisdom on this year’s crop with some key thing to remember:

1. Get things started off right and start kissing the new managers’ asses.

2. Business casual does not consist of sweat pants.

3. If we send you on a scavenger hunt, try not to make it obvious.

4. Showing up with booze on your breath isn’t allowed until you’re well into your first year as full time employee.

5. We’re out of ideas… help them out.

Pandering to the Teetotalers with Sin Taxes | 04.19.10

“The honest way to raise more revenue would be to raise income tax rates. But it is more politically attractive to tax these kinds of things. No one can get mad at you for taxing people who drink too much.”

~ Peter L. Faber, tax attorney, on sin taxes.

Start the Tax Day Party Without Me

Tonight will be the 26th tax day party of my accounting career. Pardon me if I don’t stick around very long.

The only really memorable tax day party was my first one. The tax group of the “Big 8” firm where my career started went to across the street to old Busch Stadium in St Louis, where the firm rented a box for the Cardinals baseball game. I happily drank their beer, only to be canned exactly a week later. That sort of took the fun out of the whole thing (though if I did something at the party to get fired from good old PW, it was the best career move I ever made).


So I found a job with the Des Moines tax group of another big firm. There the tax day party doubled as a bachelor party for one of the other staff accountants, and we all (well, the boy accountants) went to a north side strip club. I didn’t have any spare dollars for the garters, and I slipped away home, where I could drink all night for the cost of a single beer at the girlie club. But I just went to bed.

Which is really about all I feel like doing by the end of the day on April 15. By noon today I had already worked a 65-hour week. I’ve been in close company with my co-workers here from early morning to late night for weeks, and, as much as I love them to death, I’ve had enough quality time with them.

There are other awkward things about the tax parties. Like auditors. You can identify them by their animation and their golf tans – a sharp and annoying distinction from us dazed, pallid tax zombies. Bonus annoyance points if they come to the April 15 party straight from the golf course.

These parties typically occur at a local bar, where you run the high possibility of a colleague embarrassing himself in front of a client. Or worse, a drunk client hitting on one of our staff accountants. Worse still, a staff accountant hitting on a client. Unless it goes really well, of course.

Finally, I’m a boss now. Nobody really wants to do serious drinking in front of a boss. So now I’m like the old guys who used to start the Masters with a ceremonial tee shot. I’ll take a ceremonial shot (Templeton Rye, try it sometime), and then leave the field to the youngsters.

So have a good time tonight. If you see me out, I’ll be at dinner with my wife (I think I’m still married). I’ll be the one snoring.

SEC Deadline Watch: Try Not to Make a Scene

So today marks the last major deadline for those working on SEC filers and that could mean that your life belongs to you once again. We should also mention that March 31st is a major deadline for many non-SEC clients so there are a lot auditors rejoicing today (or completely losing their shit).


Whether you plan on celebrating the end of your busy season by drinking yourself blind or sleeping at home rather than the office, is matter of personal choice. There will be no shortage of celebrations anyway – clients, team members and if you’re lucky, a firm-wide celebration after the tax trolls cross their finish line.

This also means that the talk of merit increases, promotions and layoffs will start swirling. PwC and E&Y have already re-reassured their troops that raises are coming this year. Some offices have seen the exodus begin so things will remain interesting and we definitely want to know about it.

Not everyone will be raging however. The aforementioned tax return jockeys still have two weeks of listening to ball-baby clients. For those that are still chasing their CPA, maybe you take a breather or maybe you just keep killing yourself and granted, some audit teams (e.g. Overstock.com) are still working but if you passed the finish line today, congrats, well done, yada yada yada.

Stephen Chipman Begrudgingly Wore Green on St. Patrick’s Day

Stephen Chipman’s blog post from last week got lost in the shuffle but you’ll be happy to know that you didn’t miss anything. Our lack of enthusiasm is not shared however, as the daily grind for a globe-trotting CEO seems to be enough to entertain some of the GT faithful. How do we know?

He shared one reader/fan’s thoughts this week, that’s how, “So, you really don’t just drink coffee and check e-mail!” While SC neither confirmed nor denied this particular allegation, one could assume that this is a big part of his day.

Moving on…Of the near 1,000 words in this week’s masterpiece, the only thing really worth mentioning is that the GT CEO spent his first St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago last week. And guess what Chi-town? You didn’t let him down; Steve-o was impressed.

This is my first time living in Chicago to experience St. Patrick’s Day; it was very interesting to see the Chicago community’s commitment to this holiday. Dutifully I wore my green tie, in respect of St. Patrick, which was very challenging to do for an Englishman. Nevertheless, I thought it appropriate…even though the Irish did beat the English at rugby a couple of weeks ago in the Six Nations Championships…which was a crushing disappointment…but I digress.

Digression! He’s really getting the hang of this. Maybe Chip’s blog readership is increasing?

The real question is what did SC see on St. Pat’s that piqued his interest? The green river? The turnout at the parade? The vast number of people vomiting in the streets? More details Stevey!

On the biz-nass front, SC did have a conference call with all the GT global leaders and he had to get up bright and early to get on the call at 8 am Chicago time. He did admit that this is NBD because when Steve-o was in China, he had to do the call in the god-awful morning hours to accommodate the BSDs in the U.S. and London.

Speaking of China (and digression), does anyone think Steve knows where mini-Madoff of Hong Kong Gabriel Azedo is? Dude has been missing for awhile.

KPMG, Grant Thornton DC Offices Are Closing at Noon

We heard that it was getting ugly in the Nation’s Capital so we called around to find out what’s what:

KPMG – “Closing at noon both DC and Tyson’s”

E&Y – “No word yet”


Deloitte – “We’re hopeful”

PwC – “We go by the Federal Government”

Grant Thornton – Closing at noon.

Nothing like a snow day but a snow day during busy season is an especially welcome event. It’s supposed to get nasty in Philly too but it hasn’t started snowing there yet, so unfortch you’ll probably have a full day ahead of you (out at 3 pm if you’re lucky).

An added bonus is the possibility that the storm could keep you from working the weekend. Unless, of course, you plan on working from home. If this is the case, we advise you to get home safely, set everything down when you get there, take off your coat and slap yourself. Twice. Hard.

Stephen Chipman’s Latest Blog Post: Atlanta Knows How to Party; The End of Suffering

Last week, we were a little disappointed in Stephen Chipman’s debut blog entry; A) it’s not public for the whole world to read and B) it reminded us of a journal except all the good stuff like morning bathroom routine, the wife’s headache, compensating for said headache, etc. was left out.

This week is a little better (no Lost recap and 1,200+ words are big negative points), as he shared with the GT troops about his little excursion down to Atlanta to do some glad-handing at the open house for the new office space there. Chip was impressed not only by the new LEED facility but by the willingness of a fair amount of people in Atlanta that had nothing better to do on a Wednesday night:

What struck me was that these were not people who came through obligation; they clearly wanted to be there. I met many clients, and they all had warm and wonderful things to say about our Atlanta office partners and people. Where some business receptions can be deadly if the mix and tone aren’t just right, people were really enjoying themselves — they stayed, they mingled, they had fun, many enjoying themselves well past 9 o’clock at night. (It kicked off at 5).

Okay, so where are these deadly receptions occurring? We’ve been to some wild get-togethers where some people might not get along but there was no risk of anyone ending up dead. Perhaps he just means “shockingly awkward.” That’s way more believable than a party where a homicide may or may not occur.

And why would he be surprised if people could booze for free for over four hours? If there’s free beer and wine to be had in the middle of the week, that probably is the best thing you could do on a Wednesday.

The only other tidbit worth mentioning is that Steve-o got a little redemption that was over two decades in the making. Back in the 80s when Chip was a manager living in Dallas, chasing SMU tail and starting to network, he was courting a prospect that ultimately went with a “large competitor.” Since that point in time, he has not taken it well:

For years — and this was more than two decades ago — I’ve watched this company from afar, and it’s become quite successful. I felt a pang every time I saw their signs (which were everywhere), and also their advertising at NHL games and sports arenas. With every sign sighting, I got increasingly frustrated that they were not a Grant Thornton client.

Many times SC could be caught looking off into the distance, dreaming about the one that got away. A tear. A lone tear…

Well you can rejoice now bitches! Turns out a current GT client recently purchase this prospect that broke our hero’s heart and is now a client of GT. “After almost 22 years of misery, my suffering has ended,” SC utters. This was his White Whale.

And to wrap it up, SC threw in a nice little pep talk for all of you GTers out there feeling down and out, “We don’t need to be the biggest to be the best.” He’s still thinking about you; even if you’re not in Atlanta.

Still no Lost recap.

Busy Season 2010: Generous Accountant Thinks About Others; Arranges Gathering

Because busy season is in full swing, we’ve been discussing motivation a fair amount this week. The latest pick-me-up came way of Houston from someone that decided to take matters into their own hands:

So I know everyone is busy, busy, busy, but I was given a free Happy Hour at Howl at the Moon and wanted to share it with all of you!

What: Happy Hour event

Where: Howl at the Moon (midtown)

When: February 5th, 2010

Time: 9pm – 12 am

Hope to see ya there! It should be a good way to brush off all the stress that busy season has brought!

Happy auditing,


Having never come across such generosity in our own professional experience, we tracked down this noble soul to find out the dealio. Well for starters, our hero reminded us that it’s difficult for the firms to arrange shindigs this time of year so our savior just decided to make it happen.

Plus, people haven’t been able to get together and share their Busy Season 2010 war stories and lament on the days and weeks to come. This is the perfect opportunity to get together and do just that. Also, they told us that you’re all so awesome and you deserve a break.

Gosh, this might be the feel good story of the season. Enjoy Houston!

Don’t Forget about the Ernst & Young Holiday Rager Tonight!

In case you’ve been so distracted by the Tiger Woods story that everything else has been pushed to the back corners of your mind, we’ll remind you that New York FSO Holiday Party is tonight from 6 to 10 pm over at Tavern on the Green.

For the less fortunate of you, this may be your last chance to get some shameless ass-grabbing done. So if you’ve got nothing better to do, we suggest you check it out.

On the booze front, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that you’ll have open bar, but judging by the actions of other E&Y offices, you might want to stop by the ATM just in case.

Our invite appears to have gotten lost so if someone wouldn’t mind sending ours over that would be great. We’ll accept especially festive pics in lieu of an invite (read: JIM. TURLEY. DANCING.) Have a great time, and don’t forget who you’re representing (?).

More Deloitte Holiday Cheer This Week (Unofficially)

Big day everyone. Oh, sure there’s that but there are far more important things on the agenda. Namely, Christmaskuh festivities/cafeteria chats at the Stamford, Long Island and two NYC offices. Perfect opportunity to discuss the nominees for most likely to catch an STD on the path to partner.
Elsewhere in the Deloitte stable, the Chicago office is amping up for its rager that is going on this Saturday in Wrigleyville:
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So by “unofficial” and “informal” we’re sure that’s the “All Clear” for someone to lose their pants and/or shirt by the end of the evening. Plus, we interpret the last line as an open invitation to P. Dubs and KPMG professionals for temporary adoption into the Deloitte family.
That might be the best chance they’ll have at taking in a butchering of “O Come All Ye Faithful” and shameless ass grabbing under the mistletoe, so we suggest they consider it.

Just When You Thought All Hope Was Lost

A Festivus miracle! After we raised concerns last month that the likelihood of any PwC office having a Christmaskuh bash was nil, we’re now aware of at least one jamma-lamma-ding-dong:
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Okay, it’s just the tax practice and it’s only two hours but hey, it beats the hell out of an ordinary Tuesday. Those in the audit practice will just have to crash the thing.
A word of caution however: with everything that’s gone on up in Stamford don’t knock back the Glens or white wine with anyone you don’t trust. Who knows what somebody is dropping in your cocktail.

Lock up the Booze, E&Y Interns in Orlando

We just picked up one of the few Tweets that has made it through today:
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This type of event will likely lead to many things including international hookups, late night skinny dipping (and probably urinating) in the pool, and widespread drunkenness of epic proportions.
If you’re down in Orlando this weekend for this three day extravaganza, send us your stories of debauchery to [email protected]. According to the website, the festivities are at Disney World, so don’t embarass your firm yourself and try to keep the nudity out of the view of children.
International Intern Leadership Conference [EY.com]

Review Comments | 07.22.09

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