November 13, 2018

Changing auditors

How To Get “Monitoring The Conversation” Right

Being an incendiary, I’m used to getting unfollowed, ignored and even blocked (yes @mark_to_market blocked me, Lord knows who else, I stopped caring at 2000) and I’m definitely used to seeing the rats scatter across my stats every time I mention [insert firm or company name here] so it’s obvious to me from my various online interactions that some communications departments are keeping an eye on the conversation.

Since we’re all interested in the accounting side of things, I have to say that I notice more “official-looking” Twitter activity from firms based outside of the US (generally Big 4 coming from the UK or Canada) that leads me to believe most of them are at least keeping an eye on the Google alerts. PwC had the large pair to follow me once, very early on, and probably unfollowed when I started ripping on them for bumbling Satyam. Anyway, someone has to watch what’s being said and a company (or organization) can only choose to engage or not engage.

Engaging, of course, comes in several forms but to vaguely pin down what “engage” means, I’d define it as any activity that alerts others they are listening and/or give a shit.


For Comcast, they swarm Twitter responding to complaints about their crappy service, extortion boxes, and complicated remotes. Not all companies choose to take that route, nor should they be expected to. Protecting or guarding your brand means figuring out how much “engaging” is appropriate as any more or less than is appropriate for your particular organization’s needs will come off as fake, lame or just forced. And no one wants to interact with that.

For Dave and Buster’s, I give them credit for totally engaging me by following me. I’ve been publicly ripping on them for at least a week but I’m not doing it just to be mean, I’d really really like to know what went down with E&Y (welcome to your new gig, KPMG). I’ve never actually been in a D&B and any inquisitive tweets on my part were not returned but so far they haven’t sued me so I guess I’m doing well on that front.

Some agencies choose to completely ignore some of the more “questionable” interaction that isn’t exactly a pissed off customer. They’re already trained to handle that (any social media idiot can teach you how to talk to customers who talk about you in a list of 3 items or more) but they aren’t likely prepared for a fake accounting firm to ask them if newly-single D&B would want to try them out as auditors.

I don’t expect Dave & Buster’s to answer or acknowledge that but following me shows that they are at least aware I’m trying to egg them on and aren’t afraid of my bitch ass. Unlike the fake accounting firm, I’m a voice out there spreading whatever I know about [insert company] to a huge audience. They can’t send me 10,000 free tickets to shut my trap and I’m not exactly making a complaint they can resolve so what can they do? Keep an eye on me?

I admire that tactic. And may leave them alone… I’m more likely to do so if I get a tweet about what happened with E&Y but won’t be holding my breath for that particular @.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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