controversies

WhatsApp, KPMG? U.K. Partner Given the Heave-Ho Over Messages He Sent

More hijinks going on at KPMG U.K., as reported yesterday by the Financial Times: KPMG has forced out the head of one of its core businesses in Britain after an investigation into his conduct involving messages sent on WhatsApp. Tim Howarth, head of financial services consulting at KPMG, is the third senior partner to be […]

Ex-KPMG Executive Director Who Was Major Player In PCAOB Cheating Scandal Sentenced to Eight Months In Jail

The first prison sentence was handed out today in Manhattan federal court to one of the five former KPMG executives indicted in a scheme to steal confidential audit inspection information from the PCAOB. Cynthia Holder, a former PCAOB inspections leader who later worked as an executive director at KPMG, was sentenced to eight months in […]

House Dems Want BDO Puerto Rico to Stop Shredding Documents Already

When a document shredding truck pulls up to an accounting firm whose former managing partner was just indicted for his role, and that firm’s role, in a massive corruption scandal in Puerto Rico, it’s going to raise some eyebrows. And those eyebrows belong to U.S. Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Nydia Velázquez (D-NY). Velázquez, a […]

EY’s Response to N.Y. Lawmakers’ Letter About Sexual Harassment and Forced Arbitration Is As Bad As You’d Expect

Last week, Adrienne wrote about a letter 67 New York state legislators recently signed and sent to new EY Global Chairman and CEO Carmine Di Sibio denouncing the firm’s practice of forced arbitration agreements, especially in cases of sexual harassment and discrimination. The lawmakers wrote that EY’s forced arbitration policy silences victims of harassment and […]

Attorneys For Ex-Cop Who Killed PwC Accountant Want Her Murder Trial Moved Out of Dallas, Obviously

Citing “prejudicial” and “inflammatory” media coverage as the reason, the attorneys for Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer who killed PwC accountant Botham Jean in his apartment last September, recently filed a change of venue motion to move her murder trial out of Dallas County, saying she can’t get a fair trial there. But […]

Arbitration Costs Mounting For Ex-EY Partner Who Claims She Was Sexually Harassed

A declaratory judgment complaint filed on July 17 is asking a Manhattan federal court to invalidate the arbitration agreement that has prevented former EY partner Karen Ward, who alleges she was a victim of sexual harassment and pay discrimination, from taking the firm to court. According to the complaint, to have Ward’s sexual harassment claims […]

All Fat Guys Can Relate to Ex-BDO Puerto Rico Managing Partner Trying to Put On a Belt

Here’s a question to all my fellow overweight brethren: Is there anything worse than trying to put on a belt while wearing a dress shirt? If you’re like me, after you tuck in the shirt, you poof it out in the front, back, and sides so it doesn’t cling to your stomach and love handles, […]

What Price Wrong-Doing? Sanctions Against KPMG Are Complicated

“Sell in May and go away” was an investors’ adage invoked as vacation strategy in a more genteel era. Returns in the summer were said to lag the rest of the year—and in any event, that’s how brokers justified their holiday cottages on the eastern seaboard. This year the maxim has twice failed my attempt […]

BDO Puerto Rico Managing Partner Resigns After Indictment In Massive Corruption Scandal

The words “managing partner” and “corruption” used in the same sentence is never a good thing, as we found out in the KPMG/PCAOB information leak scandal. But while there was no scheme to steal confidential information from an audit regulator going on in Puerto Rico, there were allegations of money laundering, theft, and wire fraud […]

Which KPMG Scandal Is Worse: PCAOB ‘Steal the Exam’ or CPE Training Exam Cheating?

Since Monday when the SEC announced it had fined KPMG $50 million for not one but two scandals involving auditor misconduct at the firm, I’ve been thinking about which scandal is worse. Is it KPMG audit partners stealing confidential information from rogue PCAOB employees in order to better the firm’s audit inspection scores OR is […]

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KPMG U.K. Doesn’t Really Care If You Don’t Like How It Handled Complaints Against Partner Accused of Bullying

We were so busy trying to wrap our heads around the $50 million fine the SEC gave KPMG last week for its auditors’ involvement in two separate scandals and which of the two might be more damaging to the firm’s reputation that we missed a new article about the bullying allegations made against KPMG U.K. […]

SEC Says $50 Million Fine For KPMG Is ‘Significant’ and ‘Appropriate’ For All That Cheating Going On

The SEC made official today the news that Dave Michaels of the Wall Street Journal broke late last week, announcing that KPMG will pay $50 million to settle allegations that former partners “stole the test” by using confidential information that was being fed to them by a PCAOB insider to improve the firm’s performance on […]

$50 Million Fine SEC Is Reportedly Giving KPMG Over PCAOB Scandal Isn’t Big Enough

Dave Michaels of the Wall Street Journal broke some huge news late last night about a huge fine the SEC could levy against KPMG later this month because of several former partners’ involvement in one of the biggest U.S. accounting scandals in recent years—stealing secret audit inspection information from the PCAOB. KPMG LLP is preparing […]

Jury Selection In Amber Guyger Murder Trial to Begin Exactly One Year After She Killed PwC Accountant Botham Jean

Two noteworthy things came out of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger’s first court appearance on June 6 before the judge who will preside over her murder trial in the slaying of PwC accountant Botham Jean: 1. Jury selection to begin Sept. 6. That is the one-year anniversary of when Guyger came home to the […]

Here’s More Proof That KPMG U.K. Totally F*cked Up the Way It Handled Bullying Allegations Against Partner

The Financial Times reported today that three—THREE—senior executives at KPMG U.K. were aware of and ignored concerns from staff as early as 2017 alleging senior partner Sanjay Thakkar was acting like a bully before they finally got around to launching an investigation about the complaints last October. KPMG employees approached the firm’s UK managing partner Philip […]

KPMG U.K. Partner Accused of Being a Bully Decides He Probably Shouldn’t Be a Partner Anymore

Remember that KPMG U.K. male senior partner we told you about last week, the one who was accused of being a bully and was found by the firm to have acted like a jerk but not a bully when he was probably acting like a bully, and then two well-respected female partners quit in protest? […]

PwC South Africa Executive Learns That Being a Racist D-Bag In an Airport Will Get You Fired

Protip: If you’re an entitled, old, racist white guy, it’s not wise to go on a rant against black people in an airport when the whole world can whip out their smartphones and record you being a douchebag. That’s what happened last Thursday evening at Cape Town International Airport in South Africa, when a PwC […]

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Two KPMG U.K. Female Partners Had Enough Of Working At a Firm That Protected An Alleged Bully

Last December we learned that the Big 4 firms across the pond sacked nearly 40 partners (probably all men, although we don’t know for sure) within the past four years for inappropriate conduct, such as sexual harassment and bullying, seven of whom had worked at KPMG. But KPMG evidently sided with a male partner who […]

Ex-KPMG Partner David Middendorf Believes He’s Been Done Wrong, Wants a Crack At a New Trial

Don’t get out those orange prison jumpsuits just yet for former KPMG partner David Middendorf and former PCAOB inspections leader Jeffrey Wada. The two men are asking a Manhattan federal court to throw out their wire fraud convictions or grant them a new trial, saying the government didn’t provide enough evidence to support the guilty […]

Accountants Behaving Badly: Murder, Webcam Models, Defrauding Celebrities

It was a bad week for accountants from the U.K. with the first name of Andrew. AFC Fylde accountant blew £240,000 on sex, drink and drugs [BBC News] A semi-professional socc … I mean, football team in England nearly went belly-up because its finance director, Andrew Barnbrook, stole thousands of pounds from the team to […]

Accountants Behaving Badly: Strangling Wife, Stealing Money From a Band, Shopping Spree on Company’s Dime

A look at the best of the worst accountant malfeasance around the globe over the past month or so. CA throttles wife to death, tries to pass it off as suicide, arrested [Times of India] Here is a disturbing story out of India: Jaiveer Singh, a 52-year-old chartered accountant, was arrested on May 1 for allegedly […]

‘I’m F*cked’: What Amber Guyger Told 911 Dispatcher After She Killed PwC Accountant Botham Jean

A Dallas TV station obtained the audio recording of the 911 call made by now-former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger after she shot and killed PwC accountant Botham Jean in his apartment, in which she repeatedly tells the dispatcher that she thought she was entering her apartment. Guyger, 30, is scheduled to go on trial […]

Ex-KPMG Executive Director’s Sentencing Put Off Until June

We won’t know until June at the earliest how much prison time former KPMG executive director Cynthia Holder will get for her involvement in a scheme to steal confidential audit inspection information from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. Holder was supposed to be sentenced in Manhattan federal court on April 5, but her sentencing […]

The Olds vs. PwC: Age Discrimination Case Can Proceed as a Collective Action

It’s been a while since we’ve had an update on Rabin v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, the age discrimination lawsuit accusing PwC of favoring younger workers over individuals over the age of 40 for entry-level positions within the firm. Well, we’re happy to tell you we have a little bit of news, courtesy of Law.com: U.S. District […]

Trial of Ex-Dallas Cop Accused of Killing PwC Accountant Botham Jean Delayed Until September

Amid all the Chicago Cubs angst that has been in my Twitter feed of late was this tweet from the Dallas Morning News: Former Dallas officer Amber Guyger's murder trial delayed in slaying of Botham Jean https://t.co/RHdhIN1FnA — Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) April 2, 2019 Guyger’s murder trial was supposed to begin on Aug. 12, […]

Oh Look, EY Is On the Receiving End Of Another Sexual Harassment Complaint

After we recently reported on sexual harassment allegations made against male executives at EY U.S. and EY Switzerland by former female employees, Adrienne and I got an email from a woman by the name of Ana Raquel Villanueva who told us that she, too, was a victim of sexual harassment while employed at EY in […]

Ex-Dallas Cop Accused of Murdering PwC Accountant Botham Jean Will Go On Trial In August

The murder trial for Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer who was charged in the 2018 shooting death of PwC Associate Botham Jean, will begin on Aug. 12, according to published reports. Guyger and her attorneys made a brief appearance in court on March 18 for an “announcement setting,” but a gag order issued […]

Ex-KPMG Partner’s Fraud Trial: David Middendorf and Jeffrey Wada GUILTY!

A Manhattan jury on Monday convicted former KPMG partner David Middendorf and former Public Company Accounting Oversight Board staffer Jeffrey Wada for their roles in one of the biggest accounting scandals in recent years. Law360 court reporter Jack Newsham broke the news on Twitter earlier this afternoon: BREAK – Middendorf, Wada convicted on all but […]

Ex-KPMG Partner’s Fraud Trial: David Middendorf Takes the Stand

Law360 court reporter Jack Newsham wrote on Feb. 28 that it could happen this week, and he was right: Former KPMG partner David Middendorf took the stand this afternoon to testify in his own defense. MIDDENDORF TAKES THE STAND — Jack Newsham (@TheNewsHam) March 4, 2019 Authorities have said that Middendorf and four of his […]

Ex-KPMG Partner’s Fraud Trial: What David Middendorf Allegedly Said Once the Scheme Started to Unravel

OK guys, things are starting to get good in the David Middendorf trial. We now know the identity of “Partner-5”—the person at KPMG who allegedly blew the whistle on the information-stealing scheme that five KPMG executives and one Public Company Accounting Oversight Board employee were involved in to help KPMG know ahead of time which […]

Ex-KPMG Partner’s Fraud Trial: Brian Sweet Takes the Stand

The trial of ex-KPMG partner David Middendorf keeps rolling along, as prosecutors on Feb. 19 called on one of the major players in the scheme to steal secret audit inspection information from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board to testify against Middendorf. Brian Sweet, a former associate director at the PCAOB who later became a […]

Legal Experts Think KPMG France Will Likely Get Away With Fidal Lawyer Poaching

Early last week we told you guys about KPMG France recently stealing away 130 lawyers (some reports say 144 or 145 lawyers) away from France’s largest law firm, Fidal, which is threatening to sue the Big 4 firm for “unfair competition.” But legal experts who were interviewed by Law.com say Fidal’s case against KPMG is […]

Ex-KPMG Partner’s Fraud Trial: Opening Arguments

A jury heard opening arguments in a Manhattan courtroom on Feb. 12 in the trial of a former high-ranking audit partner at KPMG who was charged with conspiracy and wire fraud for his role in a scheme to cheat the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board inspection process. David Middendorf and co-defendant Jeffrey Wada, a former […]

EY Won’t Waive Arbitration Provision for Ex-Partner Who Says She Was Victim of Sexual Harassment

Last September, we reported on a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by former EY partner Karen Ward, who accused her former employer of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and retaliation. A couple of days after filing the complaint, Ward sent an open letter to EY Global Chairman and CEO Mark Weinberger, asking him […]

KPMG France Just Poached 130 Lawyers From a French Law Firm, Which Is Understandably Pissed

In Going Concern’s nine-plus-year history, Caleb and Adrienne have chronicled many, many instances of “competitive poaching” among the Big 4 firms. PwC and KPMG, in particular, have a long history of poaching from one another. But with the Big 4 firms’ legal brands showing huge growth among alternative legal service providers, what is starting to […]

EY Switzerland Managing Partner Accused of Sexual Harassment Has Been Relieved of His Duties

The outside investigation into accusations of sexual harassment at EY Switzerland has been completed, and the accused harasser, a male managing partner who also served as the firm’s chief talent officer, has been shown the door. But according to published reports in Switzerland and confirmed to Going Concern by several sources, the law firm engaged […]

Marcel Stalder Is Out as CEO of EY Switzerland

A couple weeks ago, we got an email from a tipster who told us that EY Switzerland CEO Marcel Stalder was “dead meat” due to the firm’s handling of sexual harassment allegations made against a male managing partner by a former female associate. Well, turns out this person was right; Stalder has stepped down as […]

Lots of IRS Workers Will Have to Trudge Back to Work From Mandatory Unpaid Vacation

It’s hard enough being an IRS employee during tax season when you’re receiving a paycheck. But having to work as the start of tax season nears without being paid and having to resort to selling some of your belongings on eBay or Craigslist to make ends meet ROYALLY SUCKS. But this is the current reality […]

Here Is More Proof That EY Switzerland Is a Total Frat House

Well, guys, we learned today that at an EY Switzerland holiday party a few years ago, Santa Claus got an erotic lap dance on stage in front of about 200 people. And the man dressed like jolly ol’ Saint Nick is a partner in the firm’s banking practice, and the woman grinding on his lap […]

Ex-Dallas Cop Who Killed PwC Accountant Botham Jean Comes Out of Hiding

Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer who was indicted on a murder charge late last year for fatally shooting PwC Associate Botham Jean in his apartment in early September, appeared at a Dallas County courthouse on Jan. 8, where a judge issued a gag order preventing attorneys from speaking publicly about the case. According […]

New Year’s Eve Was Kind of a Bummer for Hertz

Man, I hope executives at Hertz got shitfaced on New Year’s Eve, because being told the company has to pay a $16 million civil penalty to the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle a case involving numerous accounting violations is not a stellar way to end 2018/begin 2019. An SEC cease-and-desist order filed on Dec. […]

KPMG U.K. Employees Are Reportedly Pissed Off About Being Fined for Late Timesheets

A new timesheet policy being rolled out at KPMG U.K. is causing a little ruckus between employees and management. From The Guardian: KPMG has angered UK staff by threatening them with £100 fines if they submit their paperwork late. The accounting company said it would impose the penalties if staff were late to file their […]

EY Switzerland Suspends Chief Talent Officer Accused of Sexual Harassment

The chief talent officer at EY Switzerland was suspended by the firm today pending an independent investigation into sexual harassment allegations made by a former EY female associate, who claims the male executive made inappropriate comments about her breasts, made sexual advances toward her, and then bullied her when she rejected him, according to published […]

KPMG Got Down on Its Knees and Begged South Africa for Forgiveness

South Africa, KPMG is sorry. Sorry for doing work for the billionaire Gupta family, who has been accused of using their links to former South Africa president Jacob Zuma to influence government decisions and the awarding of government contracts. Sorry for making severe auditing mistakes that led to the collapse of VBS Mutual Bank, in […]

KPMG, PwC, and EY Also Kicked U.K. Partners to the Curb for Sexual Harassment, Bullying

We learned on Dec. 9 that Deloitte U.K. had fired about 20 partners in the past four years for inappropriate behavior, including sexual harassment and bullying. The Financial Times, which broke the story, had asked the other Big 4 firms in the U.K. if they would disclose similar information. They declined. But KPMG, PwC, and […]

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Deloitte U.K. Fired 20 Partners for Being Scumbags

Over the past four years, Deloitte U.K. has gotten rid of about 20 partners for inappropriate behavior, including sexual harassment and bullying, the firm’s CEO, David Sproul, told the Financial Times in an article published on Dec. 9. “We will fire people for any inappropriate behaviour. No one is protected,” said David Sproul. “There has […]

Federal Judge Sides with KPMG in Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

KPMG scored a huge victory in court on Nov. 30, as a New York federal court judge declined to certify a long-running class-action lawsuit by thousands of current and former female KPMG tax and advisory professionals who accused the firm of gender, pay, and promotion discrimination dating back to 2008. While the ruling bars the […]

Fired Dallas Cop Amber Guyger Indicted on Murder Charge in the Shooting Death of PwC Accountant Botham Jean

A Dallas County grand jury on Nov. 30 indicted former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger on a murder charge for fatally shooting PwC Associate Botham Jean in his apartment in early September. After two days of hearing evidence this week, jurors voted this morning to upgrade the charge Guyger faces from manslaughter to murder. Guyger, 30, […]

Female KPMG Employees Seek Class Status in Gender Discrimination Lawsuit, Detail Alleged Sexual Misconduct at the Firm

There was a new development yesterday in the long-running gender bias lawsuit against KPMG, in which a group of current and former female advisory and tax professionals have accused the firm of gender, pay, and promotion discrimination, as well as condoning sexual harassment. Attorneys representing the plaintiffs filed a motion on Nov. 27 that asked […]

Grand Jury Hears Case Against Dallas Cop Who Killed PwC Accountant Botham Jean

Evidence against Amber Guyger, the Dallas police officer who shot and killed PwC Associate Botham Jean in his apartment on Sept. 6, was finally being heard by a Dallas County jury this morning, the Dallas News reported. The Jean family’s attorneys, Lee Merritt and Daryl K. Washington, told reporters on Monday that the family was […]

Former EY Consultant Indicted on Hate Crime Charges for Allegedly Attacking Gay Couple, Being a Total D-Bag

Brandon McNamara, a 25-year-old former EY employee who was arrested in September for allegedly beating up two gay men outside a Brooklyn bar, faces up to 15 years in the slammer after he was indicted on hate crime charges last week. Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said McNamara was arraigned on Nov. 14 and charged with […]

New Dallas County DA Not Shy About Wanting Cop Who Killed PwC Accountant Charged with Murder

The newly elected Dallas County district attorney believes that former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger got off easy with a manslaughter charge in the September shooting death of PwC associate Botham Jean (pictured above). “I don’t know any police reports. I don’t know any forensic reports, but based on what I have seen, manslaughter is […]

KPMG Adds Another Independent Warm Body to Its Board of Directors

KPMG has given retired Air Force General Janet Wolfenbarger a friend on its board of directors. KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm, is pleased to announce the appointment of Linda L. Addison as an independent director to its U.S. Board of Directors. Addison is the second distinguished independent director the Firm has […]

Botham Jean’s Family Sues City of Dallas, Trigger-Happy Cop Who Killed PwC Accountant

The family of Botham Jean filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Dallas and police officer Amber Guyger late last month, claiming that Guyger used excessive force and violated Jean’s constitutional and civil rights when she shot and killed the 26-year-old PwC associate in his apartment on Sept. 6. The lawsuit—which was filed on […]

Ex-KPMG Partner Pleads Guilty to Using Stolen PCAOB Inspection Information

The former national partner-in-charge of inspections at KPMG pled guilty on Oct. 29 for his involvement in a scheme in which the Big 4 firm repeatedly used stolen confidential Public Company Accounting Oversight Board information to cheat the regulatory inspection process. Thomas Whittle, 55, pled guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy charges, pursuant to a […]

L’Affaire Denim: Accounting Firm Dress Code Debates Span Borders, Decades

Cosmic issues are being raised in the great Dress Code debates: Is denim okay every day? What’s the largest allowable team logo on a sweatshirt? How about pajamas outside the house? My experiences may offer some useful historical and cultural context. In the late 1990s I was expatriated to Paris with one of the then […]

The ‘Everyday Jeans’ Policy Backlash Has Begun

As the culture wars in the accounting profession continue, it was inevitable that concerns would arise around the "Don Your Denim" policies. On Accounting Today earlier this week, one worry that was brought up is that the casual dress policy is allowed "as long as you don’t have a client meeting" and that would discourage […]