November 12, 2018

Challenge accepted

Ernst & Young Wants a Showdown

This was worth the wait.

Directly from the firm’s website:

Ernst & Young’s Response to New York Attorney General’s Complaint

New York, 21 December 2010 – We intend to vigorously defend against the civil claims alleged by the New York Attorney General.

There is no factual or legal basis for a claim to be brought against an auditor in this context where the accounting for the underlying transaction is in accordance with the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Lehman’s audited financial statements clearly portrayed Lehman as a highly leveraged entity operating in a risky and volatile industry.

Lehman’s bankruptcy occurred in the midst of a global financial crisis triggered by dramatic increases in mortgage defaults, associated losses in mortgage and real estate portfolios, and a severe tightening of liquidity. Lehman’s bankruptcy was preceded and followed by other bankruptcies, distressed mergers, restructurings, and government bailouts of all of the other major investment banks, as well as other major financial institutions. In short, Lehman’s bankruptcy was not caused by any accounting issues.

What we have here is a significant expansion of the Martin Act. Although the Martin Act is almost 90 years old, we believe this is the first time that an Attorney General is attempting to use this law to assert claims against an accounting firm, rather than the company that took the alleged actions.

We look forward to presenting the facts in a court of law.

In other words, Andy – get lost; drop dead; suck it. AM Law Daily reports that E&Y has big guns on the case:

Miles Ruthberg, a former global litigation chair at Latham & Watkins, confirmed, via an e-mail to The Am Law Daily, that he’s representing E&Y in the suit along with Latham securities litigation and professional liability cochair Jamie Wine and Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel white-collar defense and SEC regulatory cochair Barry Berke. Latham, which has previously represented E&Y, has been handling securities litigation against the accounting firm stemming from Lehman’s failure.

To mark this occasion, we present an appropriate video (BL-inspired):

The IRS May Want to Stock Up on Shotguns

The IRS is not the most popular government agency. This is not news. What is a developing problem is more and more people feel that reacting to the Service through with violence is somehow an acceptable option. Can we expect another lunatic to fly a plane into a building? Hard to say. But Joe Kristan did warn us about this.

And now the Treasury Inspector General has informed Tim Geithner that this will be one of the “challenges” the Service can expect in the new year:

In addition to safeguarding a vast amount of sensitive financial and personal data, the IRS must also protect approximately 100,000 employees and more than 700 facilities throughout the country. Attacks and threats against IRS employees and facilities have risen steadily in recent years.

The February 2010 attack on an IRS facility in Austin, Texas, is a stark reminder of the dangers that IRS employees face every day in trying to perform their jobs. Animosity towards the tax collection process is nothing new, but the Austin incident and other recent events point to a surge of hostility towards the Federal Government. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the militia movement has almost quadrupled in size in the past two years, growing to more than 200 groups across the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center has reported that anti-government and hate groups have grown from 149 groups in 2008 to 512 groups in 2009, a 244 percent increase. The ongoing public debate regarding the recently enacted health care legislation may also lead to increased threats against IRS employees and facilities, underscoring the need for continuing vigilance in the area of physical security.

It’s good to know that our country is filled with so many level-headed folks that creating hate groups has become a relatively popular thing to do.

Future Accounting Firm Tools? BlackBerry’s PlayBook Will Challenge iPad

The following post is republished from AccountingWEB, a source of accounting news, information, tips, tools, resources and insight–everything you need to help you prosper and enjoy the accounting profession.

As iPhones continue to impinge on traditional BlackBerry territory, Research in Motion (RIM) is countering with a competitor to Apple’s famed iPad – a tablet known as the PlayBook will be released in early 2011.

Geared toward business users, the PlayBook will serve as either a standalone device, or a larger screen for a BlackBerry smartphone. Users will be able to access any information on their BlackBerry smartphone, such as e-mail, calendar appointments, and documents, interchangeably on either device.


Internet access is available via WiFi or by sharing the wireless data service plan of a BlackBerry. Unlike the iPad, the PlayBook will offer full support for Flash, which means users won’t have to jump through hoops to view YouTube.

At nine-tenths of a pound, the PlayBook is smaller and lighter than an iPad. Current iPads don’t offer built-in cameras, but the PlayBook will have dual high-definition cameras facing front and rear to allow video recording or video conferencing.

The PlayBook is compatible with BlackBerry Enterprise Server, and offers secure corporate data access. Video playback will be available at 1080p, along with support for MPEG, DivX, and WMV formats. The PlayBook will use the new BlackBerry Tablet operating system, which includes full multi-touch and gesture support.

The PlayBook will ship with a 1 GHz dual-core processor, and will have four times the onboard memory of an iPad (1 GB RAM in a PlayBook versus 256 MB in an iPad). The operating system allows for full multitasking, meaning users won’t have to pause or shut down one application to launch another. The PlayBook will have a standard microUSB and micro HDMI ports, and the 7-inch screen will offer a screen resolution of 1024 x 600.

RIM has not yet announced pricing, but some analysts expect the PlayBook will be offered through the cell phone carriers that sell BlackBerry smart phones. Others expect that the PlayBook will retail for approximately $499, which is the same as an entry level iPad.

About the author:
David Ringstrom, CPA, heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm. Contact David at [email protected].

Ernst & Young’s Raises Will Be Better Than PricewaterhouseCoopers’

I said it on Tuesday and I’ll say it again. HERE. WE. GO.

Caleb ran a post yesterday about Ernst & Young raises that as of deadline time had no comments. Zilch. Nadda. I was surprised by this because if anything guarantees comments on GC posts it’s talk about layoffs, Overstock.com shenanigans, and money (not in that order). Needless to say, I think this update will change things.


GC received a tidbit from an EY reader about the recent phone call:

“I did receive a voicemail from Steve reassuring compensations but, it appears that the firm will concentrate giving raises to its “high performers”. So, this potentially could mean that only EYers rated a 5 (need to catch a fraud to get this or have really sore knees) or 4s (need to be well liked all the way up the pipeline on an audit) will have a respectable raise.”

So – if you burned through busy season working yourself to the bone for Uncle Steve but stopped short of needing knee pads (it should also be noted that the parts in parentheses above are part of the original email…) you might be shit out of luck for a respectable raise.

Continuing…

“In addition, I checked with a partner and the August 1st early pay increase is a rumor. The rumor appeared believable since EY is a monkey see monkey do type of firm but, our partner said that EY’s raises although be start on October 1st, will be higher than what PwC will offer to its auditors.”

Boom. To quote my man and crime fighting detective Marcus Burnett, “Shit just got real.”

Shit. Just. Got. Real.

Is there any credibility to this? Sure there is. To think that the upper leadership from every firm does not talk to one another about compensation targets is ridiculous. Merely for the sake of the partners’ bottom line, it’s necessary to know what ones competitors peers are paying in compensation. Why some loose-lipped partner is sharing this information is beyond me, but hey, it’s dedicated readers fed up with their own compensation that forward these tips on. Now, let’s talk it out.

Which would you prefer – every 10 key cruncher receiving a mediocre payout or just the stars receiving something slightly-better-than-insulting? Comment below, regardless of which firm you work for. Be sure to shed some light on the timing of EY’s payouts if you know any details.

The Latest Challenge for KPMG Employees

Team, KPMG has submitted a challenge to its employees in the Florida/Carolinas/Puerto Rico neck of the woods, and we felt compelled to include the rest of you, just for the sake of expanding the brain pool:

Name the Business Unit Contest
January 22, 2010
How do you describe the most scenic business unit in the nation? From the mountains and outer banks of Carolina to the Everglades and beaches of Florida and the rain forests and blue waters of Puerto Rico, we have it all!
As the former FBU and CBU business units come together, we thought it would be fun to invite each of you to participate in a contest to name the new BU. In addition to bragging rights, a prize will be awarded to the person who submits the winning name.
Remember…be creative and have fun!
Send your ideas to US-FBU CSS COMM Leadership Mailbox by Friday, January 29, 2010. A prestigious selection committee will make the final selection and the winner will be announced by Friday, February 5, 2010.

Lost of questions here: 1) It’s busy season; between reading this fine publicaion, trying to get laid, and wallowing in disappointment, who has time to come up with name for the FlorinasRico business unit? 2) Who’s on the prestigious selection committee and how did they get this cushy gig? 3) Does Phil Mickelson figure into this prize in any way, shape or form? 4) If yes, will Tim Flynn be caddying for you, Phil or both?
You’ve only got until Friday to submit ideas, so we suggest you get on this ASAP.

H&R Block Is Up for the Challenge

Thumbnail image for GOVT.jpgAfter yesterday’s news of brand spanking new requirements for paid tax preparers, we mused about the plans of tax prep shops like H&R Block to fall in line with Doug Shulman’s demands.
It was then suggested to us that maybe we should just ask them. Novel idea! So being nosy we did just that.
We got in touch with very helpful H&R Block spokesperson who provided us with the following statement:

H&R Block is pleased to support IRS Commissioner Shulman’s efforts to improve the regulation of tax preparers. We believe the requirements announced by the IRS today are a great first step in delivering on the promise of providing all taxpayers an ethical and accurate tax preparation experience.
We welcome the spotlight that the IRS has cast on our industry and are committed to maintaining the highest possible training and testing standards in the tax preparation industry. H&R Block tax professionals already are required to complete hundreds of hours of training and undergo additional testing each year. Our minimum training standards exceed those the IRS will require.

So there you have it. Challenge accepted. In fact, H&RB will see your IRS standards and raise you. See you in 2011.