Commence bitching

Prometric Is Taking a Snow Day in the Northeast

In case you're wondering why you can't purchase a single loaf of bread or gallon of milk in all of the northeast, it's because thar be a storm a'brewin! This also means that your CPA exam journey may be delayed slightly due to circumstances outside your control, which should not be confused with circumstances under […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for Rothstein Kass, Crowe Horwath, BKD, Moss Adams et al. Comp Discussions (2013)

A year ago TODAY we did the et al. compensation thread for any and all accounting firms that typically fly below the radar, so it seems fitting that we would mark the occasion again on August 29th. Plus, someone at Rothstein Kass is practically begging us: Can you please open a compensation thread for Rothstein […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for Deloitte Compensation Discussions (2013)

Back in late June, someone in Deloitte Tax was feeling optimistic enough about this compensation to share their thoughts with us. Now it's mid-August and someone's anxiety has gotten the best of them:

Here’s What You Need to Know About the PCAOB’s Proposed Makeover to the Auditor’s Report

This morning the PCAOB held their open meeting to discuss "Proposed Auditing Standards Regarding the Auditor’s Report and the Auditor’s Responsibilities Regarding Other Information." PCAOB Chairman James Doty called it a "watershed moment for the auditing in the United States." And yeah, I suppose it is. I mean, the auditor's opinion hasn't changed in 70 […]

(UPDATE) Recruiting Season: Public Accounting Salaries for The Starting Class of 2013

~ UPDATE includes updated salary info after a flood of new submissions. Thanks to everyone that wrote in. Welcome to the final recruiting season roundup for 2012. Thanks for all your questions and freak outs this fall. If you ever encounter any interesting situations or simply have something on your mind that you want to […]

Are KPMG Chicago’s New Digs a Little Kramped?

Last week, we learned that KPMG was the latest accounting firm to be apple of Rahm Emanuel's eye. The House of Klynveld is hiring 500 new employees over the next 5 years in Chicago and they also unveiled their new digs and plans to invest $165 million at the Aon Center. It was a pretty […]

Comp Watch ’12: Crowe Horwath, BKD, et al.

Do you work for a public accounting firm? Are you employed by a non-Big 4 firm NOT named Grant Thornton, BDO, or McGladrey (thank you, Jeeeesus)? Have you received a raise and bonus that didn't meet your expectations and now you're feeling slightly envious of all the other public accountants out there whose firm gets […]

Compensation Watch ’12: Disappointment at Deloitte – UPDATE: Also, Offended!

After sending out a few fluffer posts in July to get everyone worked up, we've heard from a couple of people who had their compensation discussions today. So far the news has come from one audit and one advisory professional out of NYC. As is typical with many of you who send in tips, the […]

Comp and Bonus Watch ’12: Here’s What Deloitte AERS Advisory Will Be Serving Up

Last week, we threw out a thread to get Deloitte's compensation discussion going which really dived into nothing of particular importance other than the usual bickering. It's possible that the discussion jumped the gun a bit, but if nothing else it got people lathered up and anxious for more details. Thankfully, we now have more […]

Comp Watch ’12: Sizing Up the Big 4

It's the last day of April, which means that hopefully you've tied up all the loose ends that were left over from Busy Season 2012 (aka the best one yet). The month of May brings flowers, drunken afternoons at the baseball diamond in your fair city, and speculation about your compensation adjustments. Of course, some […]

I See What You Did There: The Latest Changes on Going Concern

Well, if it isn't another mopey March Monday in busy season. If your life has been feeling especially drab lately, maybe you can take the time to appreciate some subtle changes that we've made around we rolled out on Friday. Last time we tried this, there were a lot of comments and we took some […]

A Word About Comments

Since the year is still fairly new and we know some of you are still holding on to completely unrealistic resolutions, we thought it would be best to encourage to reflect on yourselves in a different manner: how you comment on Going Concern. For starters, let us just say that we love (most) of your […]

Breaking News: Accounting is a Depressing Career

This one goes out to everyone getting up at the crack of dawn this Saturday to count inventory. Health.com identifies financial advisors and accountants as some of the most depressed workers: Stress. Stress. Stress. Most people don’t like dealing with their own retirement savings. So can you imagine handling thousands or millions of dollars for […]

Here’s Your CPA Exam Scores Open Thread for the October/November Testing Window

All that hard work has either really paid off or was the biggest waste of time in your life.


Some Holiday Housekeeping

It’s the Holiday Season and that means two things: 1) Big Surprises; 2) Big Disappointments. With that in mind, I’m here to share with you, first, a surprise.


Tomorrow, barring any unforeseen sabotage by internal detractors, we’ll be launching a redesigned look and feel for Going Concern. We’ve been sporting our current layout for quite awhile and the feeling amongst us (and many of you that participated in our fall survey) was that we need to update things a bit. After quite a bit of yelling and few instances of people stomping around the room like 3 year-olds, we’ve got something we’re all (more or less) happy with.

Personally, I wanted to spring the revamped website on you like your parents divorce at the Thanksgiving table but I was convinced to share the news with you a day before for the sake of goodwill, transparency and all that crap. Along with the redesign, there will be some upcoming promotions and other new stuff that will undoubtedly change your lives forever.

Now, after an initial freak out, I’m sure you’ll have plenty of questions, which you are invited to share in the comments or by emailing us. But I will save you the trouble of asking the obvious – Yes, we will be maintaing the same commenting format, so you’ll be able to protect your true identities with cleverly devised Internet personas.

Oh right, the disappointments. If you’re devastated by this news and tomorrow your vision is completely shattered by the eyesore in front of you, we invite your feedback and suggestions for what will make your experience less sucky.

You may now shriek with glee.

Brazil Accountants to Join International Community of CPA Exam Kvetchers

I know this will cause a lot of Brazilians to get excited but please try to exercise some self-control.


Yes, it’s true, the CPA exam is coming to South America and since the AICPA and NASBA will start administering the CPA exam in February 2012, they’ll be in fine shape for 2014 and 2016:

Testing in Brazil will be open to citizens and long-term residents of Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, and Colombia. U.S. citizens living abroad are eligible to test at any location.

The international administration of the exam, which will be offered in English, is the same as the U.S. exam administered by the AICPA, NASBA, and Prometric in the United States. Licensure requirements for international candidates are the same as for U.S. CPA candidates. Along with passing the Uniform CPA Examination, international candidates must meet educational and experience requirements as mandated by U.S. state boards of accountancy.

If any of our Brazilian friends have a head start on panicking over this, I suggest you start with our coverage to calm down. See you in 2012.

[via NASBA]

Raise Your Hand If You’re Still Waiting for Your CPA Exam Score

From what we hear, everyone in California should have their arms in the air.


Texas, however, has finally ended the suspense:

Everyone in North Carolina, on the other hand, is still waiting on the USPS (still in business!):

While you wait, we’ll knock the dust off an old video to cheer you up:

Here Are the Tax Breaks That Obama Wants Cut to Pay for the Jobs Bill

If you’re in the $200k+ club, a hedge fund manager or corporate jet owner, you won’t be pleased. From Reuters:

— A limit on itemized deductions and certain exemptions on individuals who earn over $200,000 and families who earn over $250,000, which would raise roughly $400 billion over 10 years.

— A proposal to treat carried interest earned by investment fund managers as ordinary income rather than taxing it at capital gains rates, which would raise $18 billion.

— Eliminating certain oil and gas industry tax breaks that would raise $40 billion.

— A change in corporate jet depreciation rules that would raise $3 billion.

Right. Can’t forget the oil companies.

Obama seeks $467 billion in tax changes to fund jobs plan [Reuters]

Bonus Watch ’11: KPMG Officially Rolls Out “Early Career Investment Bonus” Program for Senior Associates

Last month we told you that KPMG was kicking around the idea of loyalty bonuses for senior associates. Today we bring you the good news that the firm has officially announced the “Early Career Investment Bonus” which more or less amounts to a loyalty bonus.

This news was brought to Klynveldians this morning by John Veihmeyer and Henry Keizer (full memo on page 2). Let’s take a look at what the boys had to say:

Here’s how it works: If you are a current CSD senior associate with a 1, 2, or 3 rating you will be awarded $4,000 to be paid on May 15, 2013, provided you are employed by the firm on that date��������������������ut it gets better. By December 31, 2011 (just prior to the earnings period), you can elect to defer that $4,000 award for one year or two years and watch it grow:

• Defer the bonus for one additional year and receive $8,000 in May 2014
• Defer the bonus for two additional years and receive $12,000 in May 2015

And it gets better still because next year the cycle starts all over again. And, the following year, it starts again! So a typical first-year senior can look forward to three ECIB cycles with the opportunity to “layer” up to $36,000 in total bonus payments by the end of the last cycle. Alternatively, participants who are eligible for multiple ECIB enrollment cycles can choose different deferment options for each cycle, giving them theopportunity to customize the timing and amount of their ECIB award to meet their own needs or particular life events, like a down payment on a new home.

Obviously the catch here is that you’ll have to endure the next few years of your life within the House of Klynveld. But to that end, it seems like a halfway decent opportunity. Some might see this as a suicide mission but if you do in fact make it to May 15, 2015, that’s $12,000 in your pocket. John and Hank even gave us a nice example:

As this example shows, it will take a pretty huge commitment from anyone looking to score all three of the cycles for the big payout of $36,000. SIX. YEARS. AWAY. I won’t even begin to try and tell you what can happen in that time frame. Obama will have finished his second term by then (assuming re-election, obv). Countless people you know who are gigantic losers will get married, have kids and then probably get divorced. Facebook (and many people on it) will be dead. I’LL BE ON THE CUSP OF MY 40s. Get it? This isn’t exactly around the corner, people.

All told, this is a pretty progressive idea put out by KPMG and it seems better than the Above and Beyond awards which were a total flop.

So HoK, what say you? Got any career moves planned in the next two years or you sitting tight for the $12k? Anyone feel like the firm will take the opportunity to guilt those that don’t defer the bonus? Does anyone know if this in addition to any annual incentive comp? Discuss.

KPMG Loyalty Bonus

Here’s Your CPA Exam Scores Open Thread for the April/May Testing Window

If you passed, congrats! If you failed…well, we still love you but you may be hopeless.

Sounds like people are getting anxious for REG scores now, so keep us updated for when NASBA drops the word.

UPDATE:
AUD scores have no been released.

‘Single, Fat Accountant’ Struggling with Royal Couple Envy

Once again, we call attention to troubles from across the Pond, courtesy of AccountingWEB UK.

This time, the Single Fat Accountant is dealing with his uncontrollable jealousy over Kate and Willy’s upcoming nuptials:

I would like to publicly admit that I am jealous of the about to be married Royal couple. I do not want to know anything about them. I would prefer if there a total media blackout on the whole wedding. This to my big disappointment will not happen. As the time is getting nearer for the big day, the media has gone frenzy over the upcoming nuptials.

I know I should be a decent human being and wish them all the very best for the future like most of the very class conscious Britain. l cannot lie and pretend to join in the well wishes. I know this does makes me a mean and a horrible person.

Isn’t saying disparaging things about the Royal punishable by death in Britain? Or something? Well, single fat accountant it’s cool because most of us here in the States (accountants or not) don’t give a flying rat’s ass about Kate and Willy. Are they a good-looking couple? Sure. Do they enjoy wealth and social status that most people would kill for? Obviously. Will their marriage crash and burn in an ugly affair that results in another Royal Family scandal that will result tabloid fodder for years to come? We give it a 50/50 shot. The point is – why are you jealous? It doesn’t make any sense. Are you not capable of not clicking on their pictures or stories with their names in the headline? You’re wasting your precious utilization, friend. Get back to your spreadsheets.

Can you guys help cheer our friend up? Tell him everything is cool despite his lack of bloodline, wealth and hot fiancée.

There’s at Least One Advantage to Working in KPMG’s Luxembourg Office

This just in:

KPMG in the US seems to have some tight purse to deal with, not sure that this is the case everywhere, check out what the Luxembourg firm is doing to keep people happy (around rather)!

The House Decides Tax Cut Extension Is Not Chicken Crap After All

Our favorite minority attention whore, House Republican leader and next Speaker of the House John Boehner, seems to feel as though all this nonsense over extending the Bush tax cuts is chicken crap, whatever that is supposed to be. Did he mean bullshit? Just tell us what’s on your mind, Mr Boehner, we won’t hold it against you if you say bullshit on C-SPAN. “I’m trying to catch my breath so I don’t refer to this maneuver going on today as chicken crap, all right?” he said. “But this is nonsense, all right? The election was one month ago. We are 23 months from the next election, and the political games have already started trying to set up the next election.” No no, homie, this has nothing to do with the next election, this has to do with y’all just getting around to this now when no one’s cared since 2002.

If there are any doubts as to the stimulative or depressive effect of a tax rate change in terms of tax receipts received by the Treasury, check out this WSJ op-ed by W. Kurt Hauser which tells us that historically, tax revenues as a share of GDP have averaged just under 19%, whether tax rates are cut or raised.

Anyway, regardless of our feelings on the matter (many of which include expletive-filled rants like “WTF, why are you guys just now trying to figure this out?!”, “please! Can’t you work well with others for just once in your life” and/or “Gee, maybe if we addressed the problem of an overly complicated tax system this wouldn’t be such an epic pain in the assets”), the House has finally made a decision. Frankly we couldn’t be happier to see the light at the end of the W-2 on this at last.

A mere 29 days before the scheduled December 31st Tax Cut Armageddon, the threats votes have been counted and it appears as though the yeas have it. With 6 minutes to go on the vote and with little help from House Republicans, Democrats rallied together to get the 218 votes they needed to extend tax cuts to those earning up to $250,000 and then some.

It doesn’t really matter because there’s no way the Senate is going to let this fly so you may go back to whatever you were doing and start socking away a few bucks for your 2011 tax bills.

Ahhh political process. It’s like watching a car crash in slow motion from the driver’s side.

Your Future Accounting Jobs Belong to Sri Lanka

Ahhh, outsourcing. Nothing like American jobs going overseas to whip up fury among the masses. The latest example, via yesterday’s Times, is accounting jobs going to Sri Lanka.

As this tiny island nation staggers back from a bloody, decades-long civil war, one of its brightest business prospects was born from a surprising side effect of that conflict. Many Sri Lankans, for various reasons, studied accounting in such numbers during the war that this nation of about 20 million people now has an estimated 10,000 certified accountants.

An additional 30,000 students are currently enrolled in accounting programs, according to the Sri Lankan Institute of Chartered Accountants. While that ratio is lower than in developed economies like the United States, it is much greater than in Sri Lanka’s neighboring outsourcing giant, India.

But if you think these jobs are just 10-key jockeys and plugging digits into tax returns, you would be wrong, wrong, wrong:

Offices in Sri Lanka are doing financial work for some of the world’s biggest companies, including the international bank HSBC and the insurer Aviva. And it is not simply payroll and bookkeeping. The outsourced work includes derivatives pricing and risk management for money managers and hedge funds, stock research for investment banks and underwriting for insurance companies.

Many developing countries have “one particular competency that they do better than anyone else,” said Duminda Ariyasinghe, an executive director at Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment. “Financial accounting is that door opener for us.”

So all that you put in to knowing derivative accounting inside and out? Yeah, someone in Sri Lanka has a similar level of understanding and naturally, the labor there comes cheap. Extremely cheap:

In the United States, the median annual wage for accountants and auditors in May 2008 was $59,430, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sri Lankan workers in the accounting profession receive an average annual pay package of $5,900, according to a 2010 survey by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Wages in Sri Lanka for financial outsourcing are about one-third less than in neighboring India, and hiring educated employees is easier in Sri Lanka, according to executives who do business in both countries.

Yes, that’s a savings of 90%. No, there’s not much you can do about it. Except discuss below.

Sri Lankan Accountants Lure Global Outsourcers [NYT]

Grant Thornton’s New CPA Policy: Bonuses and Requirement for Promotion

Grant Thornton rolled out some policy updates today related to obtaining a CPA (full email after the jump), including some impressive bonuses for its newest employees (hired after April 15, 2010). The largest available is $10k if you happen to be of the Elijah Watts types and “are among the top 10 candidates earning the highest cumulative scores on the four sections of the CPA Exam in the country.”

Other bonuses include:

• $5k for passing all four sections within one year of full-time hire.
• $3k if you pass within 18 months of full-time hire.
• $7.5k for those in the top ten in their state but not good enough for national recognition.

The firm is also paying a small bonus ($1k) for current employees who have epicly failed so far but��������������������exam between August 1, 2010 and July 31, 2011.

While most people easily get hung up on the money aspect of things, the bigger change is the requirement for new employees (again, those hired after April 15, 2010) to have passed all four sections of the CPA prior to being eligible for promotion to Senior Associate. That goes for both audit and tax employees.


We covered CPA exam policies in a couple of posts earlier this year and the only other firm that has this requirement is PwC for the audit practice. The tax practice requires a CPA for promotion to manager.

So some pretty interesting developments at GT and it seems to be a fair transition – from a timing standpoint anyway – as those hired in the last six months can hardly find their ass with both hands, let alone be ready for a promotion to SA. But again, this is major policy change going forward and GT is, at the very least, making the case that they will be holding all of their associates to a higher threshold of performance than firms that don’t have such requirements.

Sound off your support or displeasure in the comments on the bonuses or promotion requirements below. And for the non-GTers out there, what do you think of your firm’s policy? Does it need updated to keep the pace with GT’s move? Are changes in the works? Keep us updated by emailing us at tips@goingconcern.com.

Policy update
Important information regarding CPA licensure

At Grant Thornton, we are a dynamic global organization that is committed to making a difference to our colleagues, clients, the profession and our communities. As part of our commitment to providing our clients with distinctive service and the highest quality, I am pleased to announce two important changes effective immediately.

Introducing the CPA Pass Bonus
It is our goal to continue to attract intellectually curious, talented individuals to our firm and to encourage them to pass the CPA exam and earn their license as soon as possible. As such, I am delighted to announce that Grant Thornton will now offer a CPA Pass Bonus.

Grant Thornton will pay professionals who joined the firm as entry-level associates from campus on or after April 15, 2010
· $5,000 – For passing all four parts of the exam prior to or within one year of their full-time date of hire

· $3,000 – For passing all four parts of the exam within 18 months of their full-time date of hire

· $10,000 – For those who are among the top 10 candidates earning the highest cumulative scores on the four sections of the CPA Exam in the country

· $7,500 – For those who are recognized as earning the highest cumulative scores on their initial sitting for the four sections of the CPA Exam within their state and were not national winners

To recognize a transition within the spirit of the new policy, Grant Thornton will pay a one- time “catch up” to experienced associates through senior associates

· $1,000 – For passing all four parts of the exam, if they pass during the August 1, 2010 and July 31, 2011 time period only

CPA requirement for promotion to senior associate
In addition to paying a bonus to those passing the CPA exam, the firm has made the decision to require audit and tax employees to have passed all four parts of the CPA exam in order to be promoted to senior associate.

For employees hired on or after April 15, 2010

· This new promotion policy is effective immediately.

For employees hired before April 15, 2010 or as experienced associates and senior associates:

· Employees who have not yet passed the CPA exam will be “grandfathered” under our current policy. In that regard, we encourage all individuals currently at the associate 2 level or above to pass the CPA exam within the next 2 years. However, they must be a licensed CPA prior to being promoted to manager.

For additional information, please see the CPA Pass Bonus Policy linked here.

If you have any questions about either of these changes, please contact your practice leader or local HR professional.

Lou

Some People Are Wondering When/If KPMG and Ernst & Young Will Ante Up

From the mailbag, courtesy of an E&Y senior associate:

I work for EY. Roommates are Deloitte and PWC. I’m hearing from the PWC employees that in addition to a holiday bonus, as well as a March compensation adjustment similar to Deloitte’s, PWC is also giving their employees the last two weeks of December off without requiring them to use their vacation days.

Thoughts on whether EY or KPMG will ante up? Hot topic at my client site today as you can imagine 🙂


Before we get to E&Y and KPMG, it should be noted that PwC is really playing hardball here. A quick recap:

Mid-year bonuses that include an option for an iPad. Steve Jobs hater or not – that’s a cool bonus.

• Rumors of poaching seniors in Chicago and New York.

• New Yorkers given the option to shovel Thanksgiving sustenance at a Manhattan location to be named later (btw, we really want to know where, so get in touch with details when known).

• iPhones are now available and Christmaskuh festivities return.

Now there are rumors of a merit increase in March and two free weeks of time off? This is quite the run of employer gratitude. We won’t say “unprecedented” but it is an impressive show of generosity.

Maybe PwC has gone on this offensive because they had a kick-ass first quarter. Or maybe it’s because they lost the number one spot to Deloitte and they still want everyone to know that they’re still capable of equating love with money. OR maybe they’re trying to make people forget about Logogate. Whatever the motivation, the firm is throwing money around with the gusto of Charlie Sheen and they are getting a relative amount of attention for it.

Now, then – Ernst & Young and KPMG. Maybe these two firms are spreading the wealth on the Double-DL but if not, TPTB have to be aware of the what the competition is up to. If not, maybe someone should clue them in. Regardless, there has to be heat to act in some way.

One explanation for the House of Klynveld is that the fiscal year just ended, so it is too early for leadership to communicate “the great first quarter,” thus rationalizing a mid-year bonus. If KPMG comes out to soon with the news, they risk the “Monkey see” effect.

As far as E&Y is concerned, we’re stumped. They have the same fiscal year as PwC and should have a pret-tay good idea how Q1 went. Now that PwC has made the first move, any action by E&Y is going to look reactionary .

So for the E&Y and KPMG crowd – you clearly have some expectations for something but are you hearing anything about mid-year bonuses or will the belly aching continue into the holidays? Discuss below and get in touch with details.

KPMG Decides That Travel Time Is No Longer On the Clock

A member of the Phil Mickelson fan club is a little peeved with a recent decision (or not so much, you’ll have to tell us) regarding travel time:

I am in an office that covers a significant region that includes TN, KY, GA, MS and AL. Previously, it was office policy (and in most cases area policy) that at a minimum half of the travel time to and from client was considered chargeable. Well, management in its infinite wisdom has decided that will no longer be the case. Therefore, those 40, 50 or 60 hour weeks are now 50, 60, or 70 hour weeks when the travel time is excluded for management’s purposes but included in the “real world” (which management has clearly lost touch with).


Why the change? Our source has a theory:

In this year of increased emphasis on internal profitability (which is a joke for a fixed fee revenue generating business), management needed some mechanism to make up for all the hours that are going to be wasted messing around with this “awesome” tool (which malfunctions daily) [Ed. note: he/she is referring to the new paperless audit tool]. This is also in response to the area management’s inability to win clients. So, instead of [leadership] making the tough decisions and forcing those responsible for the poor results, loss of clients, and improper planning to bear the weight of the lack of profitability (and reduce their income), it totally makes sense to squeeze the staff even further. I guess the philosophy may go something like this: “well, they are already pissed because we don’t pay them properly, we are forcing them to use this eAudit tool that doesn’t work and isn’t ready for deployment, and we are making them work ridiculous hours because we fired too many people (keep in mind the exodus is just beginning so this is just going to get worse), so we might as well just making even madder by telling them that those hours they used to spend in the air or car in the service of KPMG don’t really matter for crap either”.

Sound about right, Klynveldians? Discuss, debunk and whathaveyou.

Compensation Watch: McGladrey < McDonald's?

One unhappy Mickey G’s employee would like to get something out there:

Now that salary adjustments have been communicated to employees, many are griping at McGladrey – and for good reason.

More than a few people are grumbling about the recent golf signings and ridiculous sports marketing platform as well as the fact the company spent money on a 144-foot cake, but only gave thousands of people 1 to 3% raises.

Combined with the fact that no one got raises last year, and with inflation, rising costs of benefits and everyday living expenses, well, many employees are not too happy about this slap in the face. Let one thing be said, if you are not looking out for yourself with this company, then you are doing yourself a disservice. The company doesn’t care about you, they only act like they do.

The great place to work platform is BS – it’s a marketing crock.

McGladrey? Heck, I’d rather be McLuvin and at work at McDonald’s…they treat employees better.

Earlier:
Compensation Watch: McGladrey Promises That the Good Times Will Keep Coming
Compensation and Promotion Watch ‘10: Discussions at McGladrey Starting Soon; Forced Ranking in Effect?

Compensation Watch ’10: Grant Thornton – Was It Worth the Wait?

Hard to believe that it’s been nearly two weeks since we first wondered out loud about the waning patience at GT. From the Blagojevich Circus grounds:

GT is releasing salary info across the US this week. Can we get a thread going about it?


Preliminary reports are looking bleak, per the last thread’s comments, including

Just had my fears confirmed…comp adjustments will be throughly disappointing. So much so that the partner charged with communicating those adjustments is stressing. That’s a great sign, right?

And:

a 5% raise and i am a 4 overall. grant thornton can watch their firm progress with one less person…

AND:

I could wipe my ass with the raise I got. Actually, I better not wipe my ass with it, it may be the only I can afford bread and water

Oh. Dear. So here’s your fresh thread – spread your joy/misery/reactions to your comp news below.

Are Ernst & Young and PwC Neck and Neck in the Compensation Race?

From the mailbag:

I heard some scoop and wanted to share with my fellow indentured servants in the big 4 field. Word on the street is that P-dubs gave 10% raises to staff 2s becoming senior 1s (early promote) and 16% raises to staff 3s becoming senior 1s.

However, P-dubs doesn’t hand out the 5k bonus that Uncle Ernies offers to its staff 2s becoming senior 1s. I’d like to see how EY will top this, per an earlier promise from a partner that EY raises will be higher than P-dubs (maybe can some low performing partners?). In addition, the variance between average performers and high performers at P-dubs is only .6% (not significant at all).


If you forgot what this is referring to, back in April we reported a tip out of the Ernstiverse that a partner had claimed that the raises at E&Y would beat PwC’s. The reports out of PwC have been better than expected, although not for everyone.

So if this partner’s prognostication holds up, how will they pull it off down the stretch? Seems like a good question. Conversations are going on right now and the official news will reportedly be out in a couple weeks.

Since we’ve got half of the Big 4 involved here we’ll just mention that the belly aching at KPMG is in full force on the bonus front but maybe there’s hope for a strong move down the stretch?

As for Deloitte, apparently communication has occurred for promotions but it sounds like word on comp could be more than a month out. If you’ve got the scoop get in touch with the details and discuss this four horse race but as it stands right now, it looks as if PwC has E&Y by a nose.

Bonus Watch ’10: There are Some Unhappy KPMG Kampers in California

At least it was a short week!

Looks like promotion bonuses are available to view under Self Service Connection for those who got promoted. 2nd year promote to senior (high SP rated) in specialty advisory (N. California) = 1.25% or $700 in my case. What a fucking joke…working for 2 years and I’ve been making progressively less and less money every year when you factor in a signing bonus in 2008 and a CPA bonus in 2009.

Keep in mind that the promotion bonuses are only for the “stub period” of July-September until the full year bonus/raise come into effect. I’ve also been told by numerous people not to extrapolate the stub period amount to a full year amount. Good thing they said that cause if 5% is my full year raise after 2 years of nothing, I’m out of here before you can spell GAAP.

Compensation Watch ’10: Is Anyone at Grant Thornton Getting Impatient?

Because “early July” becomes “mid-July” in about two days and some people would like to get this over with:

“Just as an update to GT’s “early july” announcement about raises. It hasn’t come yet, but some have been told that they’ll be getting promoted (I’m guessing seniors and managers) and were told that National is still trying to figure out what they’ll be.”

So you can take that as “Chipman and Co. are stuck in an epic game of Risk and can’t be bothered at the moment” or something else entirely if you like. If your anxiety level is at double-Lexapro levels or if you’ve heard something other than the earlier rumors, discuss below.

Apparently a Few People at PwC Are Feeling Shortchanged

The PricewaterhouseCoopers compensation post is still a hot thread, as the majority of news was about double-digit raises and bonuses have been reported from many although at least one commenter was skeptical that all the news was good in the PwC world:

“[P]robably the people most willing to share are the ones who got the most $.”


That comment was in response to someone who assumed PwC was throwing around “1” ratings (the firm’s highest) like boomies at a Phish show. Of course, not everyone can be so lucky and apparently there are a couple of terms being thrown around by the less fortunate.

Late last week a source close to PwC dropped us the following:

“Fonus”– noun; the much-diminished bonus Big 4 firms give to borderline staff they can’t afford to pay properly, but don’t want to quit.

Not to be confused with the ‘nonus,’ which is no bonus at all.

Apparently these terms have emerged this week as fonuses started appearing in people’s paychecks.

So not to worry “as expected” staff that can’t afford to quit your jobs! If you ended up with the 6%/0% instead of the 14%/10% or whatever, whathaveyou, you’re not alone! Plus, there are some fun terms you can throw around to help you bitch about it. Continue to discuss and keep us updated with any other fallout from the discussions – verbal creativeness or otherwise.

Compensation Watch ’10: Rumors at Grant Thornton as Announcement Approaches

From the depths of 666 Third Ave:

In New York:

Associates look to come in at almost $10k less than they did in 2007
Senior 3’s are looking to make almost $10k less than Senior 3’s in 2007
New Managers are looking to make almost $15k less than New Managers in 2007
Senior Managers are looking to make almost $15-20k less than Senior Managers in 2007

Raises (without promotion) are looking to be:
3% for employees rated under a 4
6% for employees rated a 4 or 5

Our source indicates that these are all rumors at this point but based on the last Communique de Chipman, the official numbers should be known soon (“early July”).

In the previous thread lots of numbers were getting thrown so who knows; maybe GT is pulling a PwC and promising low, delivering high? Discuss.

The Big 4 vs. Private Sector – Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda?

Happy MoanDay Tuesday, everyone.

Last week’s post about Big 4 firms lowering the bar on starting salaries in order to project artificial pay raises was well discussed in the comments section. Thank you to everyone who commented, as that’s what makes this online community vocally vibrant and a joy to be a part of.

Part of the conversation included a debate about whether it is better to begin a career in accounting with a Big 4 firm or in the private sector; two very different career paths. The question is a legitimate case of shoulda coulda woulda. The following are a few comments from the peanut gallery:


Guest said, “Even though I was offered $55k + $5k bonus out of college for a Big 4, I was VERY close to not accepting the offer and instead going with a private firm that was $60k starting and normal hours. The only reason I went to the Big 4 was because I fell for the trap of ‘the name recognition.’ If I could go back in time, I would have chosen the private firm.”

• Another Guest crunched the numbers, “In a Big 4, you’re overworked about 20-25% more than the private sector (if not, then more). Say a Big 4 offers you $55k starting. Your “REAL” salary relative to your peers would in fact be $55,000 / 1.25 = $44k. If you lower it to $50k for a first year, that equates to a real salary of $40k.”

• Finally, 2nd Year Associate chimed in with, “Plenty of my college pals are making upwards of $10k more than I am a year and they don’t even have their CPAs. I joined public accounting to get ahead over the next 5 to 10 years but if my pay was any less I’d have skipped this route completely.”

I think it all depends on where your career is at. If you graduated in 2007 or 2008, you might be less thrilled to be on the public accounting career. The double digit percentage raises for everyone on the team that were fiercely promoted by the Big 4 campus recruiting machines have yet to materialize for you, and now you find yourself lumped into the “just happy to have a job” group. Your classmates that went the private route have been cruising on decent pay and 45 hour work weeks. Nothing good to see here; move along.

If you’re 4-8 years into your career, you’re obviously in a different place. You’ve experienced the 15% raise, climbed the corporate shuffleboard to senior staff or manager, and utilize the phrase, “when I first started here…” all too often. You’ve earned your stripes after a number of busy seasons; your desire for a new job is to be better respected by your superiors. Pay isn’t everything, but it’s important.

Throughout all of this, you’ve benefited from the resources of working at a large firm (no, I’m not talking about free dinners). The training programs have been extensive, your CPA license is paid for, and you’ve been enjoying as much of your five weeks of vacation as the firm allowed you to take. And what about having the name on your resume? Having a pedigree firm on your resume can oftentimes land you the interview; earning the pay day is up to you.

So why did you enter into public accounting? Was it because the Big 4 had a strong presence on your campus? Were private companies not offering enough? Would you change anything about your career path to this point? Leave your thoughts below.

New York Assembly Kicking Around the Idea of Raising the Millionaire Tax

It’s bad enough that Wealth Squads are going to be kicking down doors left and right but now this?


Still doesn’t quite top California’s budget misfire but keep trying Albany!

N.Y. Assembly Looks at Millionaire’s Tax [FOX via Tax Policy Blog]

One Office Will Be Enjoying a Bonus Denim Day During KPMG’s Summer Blast

Last week we were notified that KPMG’s Summer Blast would soon be in full swing and that details would be forthcoming.

TPTB obviously sensed your anxiety about the details and we’re happy to report that we have the details via the Silicon Valley office. And KPMG SV seems pret-tay, pret-tay excited that two days out of your (presumably) five day week will be spent sporting only 50% of the biz casual uniform.

This Summer, Have a Blast on Us!

Our firm is slightly ahead of plan at this point in our fiscal year, and it’s due in large part to your hard work, teaming, and market development focus. Looking ahead, your continued commitment is critical as we push to meet our business objectives for the year.

In appreciation of your efforts, and to help you to recharge your batteries so we can meet the challenges ahead of us, we’re excited to announce KPMG’s Summer Blast!, a program of food, fun, and perks that lasts all summer long and features:

• A Summer BBQ gift that includes a selection of steaks, chicken breasts, sausage, burgers, and gourmet franks

• The return of Summer Weekend Jumpstart

• The introduction of firmwide Blue Jeans Fridays – Given our office already enjoys Blue Jeans Fridays, as part of Summer Blast, the Silicon Valley Office will also have Blue Jeans Mondays for the duration of Summer Blast!

• The return of the Vacation Photo Challenge

To redeem your BBQ gift and see what all the fun is about, visit our Summer Blast Web site. And keep checking out the site in the coming months to see what’s hot this summer.

We hope this Summer Blast! helps you to enjoy and recharge this summer, so we can all pull together as a team, do our best work, and finish 2010 even stronger than we started it.

Have a great summer! And thanks again for everything you do for the firm, no matter the season.

Typically there is some sort of acknowledgment of the vegetarian/kosher crowd but this particular message glaringly omits it. We’re sure there’s an alternative but in the event that you non-meat eaters are SOL, please inform.

Speaking of meat, some Klynveldians had made it known that they’d prefer to buy their own flesh for consumption by way of a bonus or something like that. If you’re staying with that narrative, kindly elaborate further.

(UPDATE): We’ve now learned that if you want vegetarian and/or kosher options, you’ll have to ring up Omaha Steaks yourself. You vegetarians can expect an uncooperative customer service rep subsequent to your, “I don’t eat meat,” revelation.

John Veihmeyer Doesn’t Mind Repeating Himself if It’s About Raises at KPMG

While some people are still sweating out to hear if they’re part of the new manager class, John Veihmeyer and Henry Keizer did more casual chatting with the troops and this time it was about everyone’s favorite topic to bitch about – compensation.

Specifically, somee asking about raises for FY ’10 and 401k match. Strange thing is, JV has already addressed the issue of KPMG raises in a previous communiqué by saying:

“[B]y year-end, we fully expect that the pickup in market and business conditions will drive compensation increases for the vast majority of our people. Also, assuming we meet our plan, as we are on track to do, our goal is to enhance our variable compensation pool from last year—meaning higher bonuses than last year for EP performers as well as bonuses for deserving SP performers.”


Good thing he doesn’t mind repeating himself:

Inquisitor #1: I was just wondering, if it’s likely that employees will get raises this year?

Veihmeyer: We are very optimistic at this point that that is exactly what’s going to happen. We all need to stay really engaged in what’s going on in the marketplace at this point to make sure that the second six months of our fiscal year also tracks the plan that we put in place. If we do that, we are very committed to sharing the rewards appropriately across KPMG.

As we assess the market right now – means that the vast majority of our people will be getting compensation increases this year. We are just as committed to increasing that variable compensation pool to the maximum extent we can reflective of how our results play out over the next six months.

Keizer: And in terms of variable compensation at the EP level that will translate into larger rewards and our deserving SP performers will also receive compensation rewards.

I am confident – based on what we see out in the marketplace, the foundation we have within the firm, the indicators of economic vibrance that are coming back – that we will be able to reward our people better and to be able to restore some of the things that we had to eliminate in a very measured and prudent way.

And John Veihmeyer was just wondering why you didn’t read his previous statement (or websites where it might appear) on the matter. Since V seems like a nice guy he managed to say what he said before only this time without saying “Yes” outright. Whether the absence of this explicit confirmation is a cause for concern can only be determined by you. Hank chimes in about the bonuses, presumably so he doesn’t feel awkward (at least that’s how we picture it).

So what about the 401k match? Is that returning to pre-financial apocalyptic levels?

Inquisitor #2: You mentioned earlier that we recently brought back the Standing Ovation award into the Encore program. Can we expect to see a change in our 401K match?

Veihmeyer: With an eye toward maximizing the immediate financial rewards to our people – to a level that we all can feel good about – we have some goals and objectives around base and variable compensation that in our view will take precedence over 401K as we reinstate and are able to shift those rewards. But it’s something that if the circumstances change and our ability to reinstate some of those things evolve, we will continue to look at it.

In a word – No. First things first you rubes – We’ve going to get every single Klynveldian feeling great about their immediate financial rewards. Until that is accomplished, your retirement will have to wait. The time frame of “we all feel good” was not given.

While the World Implodes, Let’s Bicker About Accounting Program Rankings

Despite your 401k taking a deuce and the entire continent of Europe about to sink into the Atlantic, the Bloomberg Businessweek Business School undergraduate speciality rankings are out and the accounting rankings are, shall we say, interesting. Maybe no one is that worried about it but if sports play any part in your like/dislike of a particular school, then there should be a few words:

1 University of Notre Dame (Mendoza)
2 Brigham Young University (Marriott)
3 Emory University (Goizueta)
4 University of North Carolina – Chgler)
5 Wake Forest University
6 Lehigh University
7 Boston College (Carroll)
8 University of California – Berkeley (Haas)
9 University of San Diego
10 Southern Methodist University (Cox)


11 Babson College
12 University of Washington (Foster)
13 University of Richmond (Robins)
14 Villanova University
15 Case Western Reserve University (Weatherhead)
16 University of Texas – Austin (McCombs)
17 University of Virginia (McIntire)
18 Cornell University
19 College of William & Mary (Mason)
20 New York University (Stern)
21 University of Southern California (Marshall)
22 Tulane University (Freeman)
23 Fordham University
24 Georgia Institute of Technology
25 Loyola University – Chicago
26 University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign
27 Ohio University
27 University of Denver (Daniels)
29 University of Texas – Dallas
30 University of South Carolina (Moore)
31 University of Connecticut
32 Boston University
33 Santa Clara University
34 University of Maryland (Smith)
35 Indiana University (Kelley)
36 Syracuse University (Whitman)
37 Washington University – St. Louis (Olin)
38 Binghamton University
39 University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
40 Texas Christian University (Neeley)
41 University of Miami
42 University of Missouri – Columbia (Trulaske)
43 University of Michigan (Ross)
44 North Carolina State University
45 University of Wisconsin – Madison
46 Texas A&M University (Mays)
47 The College of New Jersey
48 University of Minnesota (Carlson)
49 Miami University (Farmer)
50 University of Georgia (Terry)
51 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
52 University of Delaware (Lerner)
53 Ohio Northern University (Dicke)
54 Seattle University (Albers)
55 Northern Illinois University
56 Michigan State University (Broad)
57 Georgetown University (McDonough)
58 California Polytechnic State University (Orfalea)
59 Loyola College in Maryland (Sellinger)
60 University at Buffalo
61 Bentley University
62 DePaul University
63 University of Iowa (Tippie)
64 Drexel University (LeBow)
65 Northeastern University
66 Marquette University
67 St. Joseph’s University (Haub)
68 University of Pittsburgh
69 University of Utah (Eccles)
70 University of Oregon (Lundquist)
71 Seton Hall University (Stillman)
72 Bowling Green State University
73 Kansas State University
74 Colorado State University
75 Louisiana State University (Ourso)
76 Baylor University (Hankamer)
77 University of Oklahoma (Price)
78 University of Colorado – Boulder (Leeds)
79 University of Massachusetts – Amherst (Isenberg)
80 James Madison University
81 George Washington University
82 University of Tennessee – Chattanooga
83 University of Houston (Bauer)
84 Xavier University (Williams)
85 Florida State University
86 John Carroll University (Boler)
87 University of Hawaii (Shidler)
88 Arizona State University (Carey)
89 Florida International University
90 University of Louisville
91 Bryant University
92 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Lally)
93 Purdue University (Krannert)
94 Illinois State University
95 University of Arizona (Eller)
96 Texas Tech University (Rawls)
97 Hofstra University (Zarb)
98 Ohio State University (Fisher)
99 Clemson University
100 University of Florida (Warrington)
101 University of Akron
102 University of Arkansas – Fayetteville (Walton)
103 Butler University
104 University of Nebraska – Lincoln
105 University of Illinois – Chicago
106 University of Central Florida
107 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Pamplin)
108 Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
109 Temple University (Fox)
110 Pennsylvania State University (Smeal)
111 Clarkson University

Compensation Watch ’10: PwC Puts a Number Out There

Multiple sources have told us that Bob Moritz has put a number out there for comp adjustments during the firm’s webcast today :

Sitting in the Bobby Mo Firmwide Townhall Webcast. Raises: 5% to 8%.

But don’t start high-fiving just yet:

PwC expected to be 5% to 8% raises this year, but still a “quarter to go” per Moritz on today’s townhall webcast.

Early reports also are that internal firm services (IFS) will be getting 3-5%.

Thoughts? Your move, KPErnstDeloitteMG.