The coolest accounting firm

Polls Are Now Open in Going Concern March Madness 2012: The Coolest Accounting Firm

You may recall that last year we launched Going Concern March Madness: The Coolest Accounting Firm, in an effort to give you a break from your spreadsheets and grossly outdated email management software. It proved to be quite popular so with that in mind and since it's brackets season, we're doing it all over again. […]

Here Are The Most Popular Going Concern Posts From 2011

Here it is, the final week of 2011 and that means lists! Top 10. Freaky 50. Worst 100. If there's a list to be made, the Internet will provide. And since we're not immune to the power of media clichés, we'll present you with our list of the most popular posts on this here website.  […]

PwC Won’t Allow an Upset in Vault’s Prestige Rankings

Earlier this week, we learned that Grant Thornton was the new numero uno on Vault’s Accounting 50. The VA50 is determined by a number metrics that are weighted to come up with an overall score as to which firm is the best of the best. According to Vault, Grant Thornton was able to leverage their better work-life balance for employees to overcome their lack of prestige to pull this off.

For many people in the accounting world, however, this is meaningless. Reputation is everything and if you’re not working for one of the firms that are of highest regard, you’re simply a chump. Accordingly, Vault still presents a prestige ranking and while there aren’t many surprises, for many, this is the list. And the top firm on the list? P. Dubs.

1 (1) PwC
2 (3) Deloitte
3 (2) Ernst & Young
4 (4) KPMG
5 (5) Grant Thornton


6 (7) McGladrey
7 (6) BDO
8 (8) Moss Adams
9 (10) J.H. Cohn
10 (9) Plante & Moran
11 (13) Crowe Horwath
12 (12) Clifton Gunderson
13 (11) EisnerAmper
14 (22) LarsonAllen
15 (14) Rothstein Kass
16 (15) BKD
17 (18) Baker Tilly Virchow Krause
18 (16) Reznick Group
19 (21) Dixon Hughes Goodman
20 (19) Cherry Bekaert & Holland
21 (24) Anchin, Block & Anchin
22 (17) WeiserMazars
23 (23) CBIZ/Mayer Hoffman McCann
24 (29) ParenteBeard
25 (28) Wipfli
26 (31) Friedman
27 (27) Marcum
28 (34) Berdon
29 (35) Citrin Cooperman & Co.
30 (36) Eide Bailly
31 (26) UHY Advisors
32 (37) WithumSmith + Brown
33 (32) Elliot Davis
34 (38) Margolin, Winer & Evens
35 (33) Marks Paneth & Shron
36 (40) Blackman Kallick
37 (25) Novogradac & Company
38 (49) RubinBrown
39 (NR) Schonbraun McCann Group
40 (50) Kaufman, Rossin & Co.
41 (NR) Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain
42 (45) Frank Rimerman & Co.
42 (48) Habif, Arogeti & Wynne
43 (NR) Buff Pilger Mayer, Inc.
44 (NR) Horne
45 (NR) Rehmann
46 (NR) Schenck SC
46 (NR) Suby, Von Haden & Associates
46 (NR) Ehrhardt Keefe Steiner & Hottman
47 (41) Aronson & Company
48 (NR) SingerLewak
49 (47) SS&G Financial Services
50 (NR) Katz, Sapper & Miller

Oh! and probably most importantly, the prestige ranking is what we use to seed the brackets for the Coolest Accounting Firm in the spring, so it’s doubly important. Commence bickering.

And the Coolest Accounting Firm Is…

After four rounds of bracket magic including a back and forth championship match-up, we have our very first winner of the Going Concern March Madness: Coolest Accounting Firm competition. Let’s look at the final bracket.


For those of you that haven’t been refreshing the page for the last 48+ hours, Rothstein Kass pulled their final upset, this time of West Coast rival Moss Adams. Along the way RK dismantled the biggest of the Big 4, Deloitte, McGladrey and BDO.

You may think that such a run of upsets was the result of the double-entry stars perfectly aligning themselves but RK Co-CEO and Managing Principal Steve Kass explained it differently, “Many will look at results and call Rothstein Kass a ‘Cinderella story,’ or characterize our victory as an upset. Though we embraced the underdog role, we knew that our low seeding was more likely a function of strength of schedule. The fierce competition we encountered during the season prepared us for the rigors of the tournament, while quality of our recent recruiting classes left us confident that we could make a run at the title,” Mr. Kass said. “As thrilled as we are by our success, however, there will be no champagne sprayed in locker room celebrations, nor ticker tape parades through the halls of our offices. Over the years, we’ve observed that the more time you spend reflecting on how cool you are, the less time you have free to do cool things. Notwithstanding, winning was pretty cool!”

So it sounds like it’s back to business as usual for RK. Undoubtedly, this victory will catapult them up Vault’s prestige rankings making for a much more difficult tournament next year but for now they get to enjoy the spoils of a champion (which, in this case, is nothing – our publisher wouldn’t spring for a trophy but he’d love to hear from you about it). So congrats to Rothstein Kass on a great run and to the rest of the firms out there – get better.

Oh, and anyone expecting a “One Shining Moment” montage needs to slap themselves across the face right now. And then again.

Going Concern March Madness: Moss Adams, Rothstein Kass Battle for the Title of the Coolest Accounting Firm

Well, we’ve finally reached the championship match-up and it’s a battle of the coasts. , NJ-based Rothstein Kass will take on Seattle-based Moss Adams for what will no doubt be the crowning achievement for either firm’s busy season. Moss Adams disposed of their rumored dancing partner Grant Thornton while Rothstein dismantled McGladrey. Rehash over; let’s get to the bracket.


Will Rothstein be the ultimate Cinderella? Will Moss spoil the ball? Will Reznick Group mount a firm-wide attack on MA just out of spite? WTFK? But vote so we can wrap this up. If I have to look at another bracket in next 365 days it will be too soon. Poll is open until FRIDAY at 11:59 PT.

Going Concern March Madness: The Coolest Accounting Firm – The Final 4 Sans Big 4

Now that we’ve reached the Final 4 without any Big 4 firms (all bounced in the first round), some of you may have lost interest in Going Concern March Madness: Coolest Accounting Firm. Well, that would make you a loser and anyway, we must press on! Face it, you’ll go for anything to distract you from the fact that you’re stuck inside whispering sweet nothings to Microsoft Excel while spring is slowly emerging outside. And it’s a pretty compelling Final Four anyway. Let’s take a look shall we?


So you’ll notice that we have the very interesting match-up between Moss Adams and Grant Thornton, the two firms that have subject of merger rumors (unfounded!) since January. Obviously the winner here will enjoy the upper hand in any future negotiations between the two firms, so anyone from either firm wishing to upset the leverage here would be wise to take a page from the Reznick Group strategy book.

Speaking of Reznick, we briefly mentioned the fact that their first round magic was nowhere to be found in round two. A tipster filled us in as to why:

I think the higher-ups were embarrassed by the public calling out and subsequent mockery in the comments, not a single other email went out about it – reminders about the competition or the beatdown they suffered at the hands of the commenters 🙂 Serious loss of billable hours that day too, everyone kept checking the site all day long for more comments, emailing and IMing each other about it.

So make a mental note – if your firm’s leadership has a thin skin and isn’t down with wasting a number of billable hours, the Reznick strategy may not be the way to go after all.

Moving on to the second match-up we have the perennial dark horse Rothstein Kass against McGladrey. Rothstein continues their hot streak in GCMMTCAF after their impressive performance in this year’s Vault rankings and McGladrey is…well, we’re pretty surprised to see McGladrey in the semi-finals, to be honest. Perhaps there are sweet incentives being offered internally but right now we haven’t been made aware of any such temptations. Anyway, McG has quietly made a run, so it makes for a decent showdown.

All right, enough with pleasantries. Let’s get to the voting. Polls close tomorrow night at 11:59 PT.

First up – GranMA

Cinderella vs. Mickey G’s.

Going Concern March Madness Update: Reznick’s Magic is MIA; Grant Thornton, BDO on the Ropes

Look gang, since too many of you are distracted with doing billable work to email us anything half way interesting, I’m guess I’ll just update you on the progress in Round 2.


The two highest remaining seeds – Grant Thornton and BDO – are looking defeat square in the face right now to their respective opponents – Crowe Horwath and Rothstein Kass. First round comeback kid Reznick Group is currently getting worked by Moss Adams which makes should make us all wonder what happened to the teamwork we saw in the first round. Perhaps they’re a one-trick pony?

Finally, in the least talked about match-up, Mickey G’s and Dennis Rader’s favorite firm (ideas for something better are welcome) look like they’ll be taking it down to the wire. There’s just over thirteen hours left to vote, so get the word out sooner rather than later (sorry Clifton Gunderson).

Going Concern March Madness: The Coolest Accounting Firm – Round 2

Okay people, after a crazy first round, we’re here to present round two of Going Concern March Madness: Coolest Accounting Firm. With all of the Big 4 sent home with their spreadsheets between their legs, the title is up for grabs, although it’s abundantly clear that Reznick Group isn’t taking this shit lightly (they did get their Indian office involved, after all).

With that setup, let’s check out the match-up href=”https://goingconcern.com/2011/03/going-concern-march-madness-the-coolest-accounting-firm-round-2/picture-8-11/” rel=”attachment wp-att-27437″>

As you can see, Grant Thornton is now the highest seed left making them the new favorite but judging by how things went in the last round, seeds are basically meaningless.

Voting will start tomorrow morning at 5 am PT tomorrow morning and will end at 11:59 pm PT (don’t ask, that’s just Vizu does) Friday night. Check back here tomorrow to start the voting but in the meantime, place your bets and discuss round 2 below. As always, check with your local bookmaker for actual odds.

UPDATE:
Since I have no plans to get up extra early, I’ve added the polls to the post but you won’t be able to starting voting until tomorrow morning. I realize that many of you will stay up all night and refresh until voting begins but I need my beauty sleep.

The comeback kids vs. the left coast kings (or queens).

Team purple vs. a murder of Crowes.

The most interesting accounting firm in the world (but the coolest?) takes on Arnold Rothstein’s firm…oh, wait…not really, that guy fixed baseball games.

Rounding out with Mickey G’s and BKD.

Going Concern March Madness Upset Alert: 3 of the Big 4 Under Pressure

We’ve got lots of Cinderellas in our midst friends. With 12 hours of voting to go in the first-ever Going Concern March Madness: Coolest Accounting Firm (“GCMMCAF”) bracket, Ernst & Young, Deloitte and KPMG are all in danger of being upset by BKD, Rothstein Kass and Crowe Horwath respectively.


As you no doubt noticed, #1 seed PwC is cruising along in their match-up with Reznick Group but aside from that, how is it that we could have such a dancity accounting firm bracket dance? Glad you asked because the consummate GC commenter, Another exKPMGer, has a theory:

I would wager serious money the cause for this is that the people who work for the other 3 firms, for the most part, didn’t vote for their own firm because they know their jobs are bullshit and want to give no sign of submission to their firm. Whereas the folks from PwC couldn’t click on themselves fast enough to prove how awesome they are. I hear they’re installing mirrors in every cubicle with the words etched at the bottom “PwC is AWESOME” so that you can stare at yourself all day and think about the awesomeness that you’re a part of.

There doesn’t appear to be any empirical evidence to support the theory at this time but supporters and debunkers are welcome to comment at the validity of this statement. And of course if you haven’t voted, jump over to the original post and get on this.

Presenting Going Concern March Madness: The Coolest Accounting Firm

Now that the Sweet Sixteen is set, the general consensus here at Going Concern is to take advantage of the combination of March Madness and the plight of busy season. Accordingly, we bring you the first ever edition of GC March Madness: Coolest Accounting Firm. Inspired by our sister from another mister, ATL, we’ve decided that we’re looking to the GC readers to determining which accounting firm is the coolest of the cool by way of a democratic process but utilizing the seasonally appropriate method of a bracket. We opted with the prestige rankings determined by Vault to determine the seeds because…well, Vault has a prestige ranking and if we tried to come with a similar list ourselves, there would be rampant speculation of bias that we’re not prepared to address (plus we’re pulling this together on fairly short notice). If you don’t like your firm’s seed – or your firm is shut out of the tournament altogether – we suggest you speak up in next year’s Vault rankings.

Now, then. On with the bracket.


Obviously there are many compelling narratives here. Will the Big 4 be the Final 4? Will Rothstein Kass surprise everyone like they did in the premiere Vault Ranking? If McGladrey is victorious will they celebrate with punch and cake? So get your vote on and leave your thoughts on the match-ups or each firm’s chances (please consult your local bookie for actually odds) in the comments. And naturally, we’re rooting for underdogs in every single match-up (we’re looking straight at you, Reznick and BKD people)

The vote launched at 6 am this morning and it will close promptly at 11:59 pm ET on Tuesday. We’ll then update you with the winners at some point on Wednesday and then launch voting for the next round and so on and so forth. Voting for each match-up appears on the following pages. And don’t even think of skipping the match-ups that don’t involve your firm; A) that makes you a loser and B) you’re clearly working too hard.

Let’s get to the voting, shall we?

Starting with PwC vs. Reznick Group.

Next up is unfounded rumored GT merger partner Moss Adams and perpetual Fortune lister, Plante & Moran.

Moving on to aforementioned GT vs. CG.

Klynveld v. Crowe

The most interesting accounting firm in the world vs. the firm now known as EisnerAmper.

#1 in size taking on the up-and-comer.

Mickey G’s up against Julius H. Cohn

Finally we’ve got Lehman Brothers’s auditor vs. BKD.