December 13, 2018

Doing more with less

Exodus Watch ’12: Reznick Group

This just in: Reznick's government practice is bleeding people.  Wasn't a large group to begin with and 13 people have left (roughly half were sr. managers and managers) since November 2011. Reznick is well known in the Mid-Atlantic for its government services and if you look at their Goverment Practice page, you can see that it's a pretty […]

Tax Pros Don’t Need to Sweat the IRS Budget Cuts

This is the first post from our slew of freelancer candidates. The following is by Jeremy Woodward. The House Appropriations Committee has settled on an IRS budget, and it’s not good news for everyone’s favorite group of suits and ties. The $11.8 billion allocation is $1.2 billion below what they requested. Probably not enough for […]

IRS Stopping $1.6 Billion in Mistaken Homebuyer Tax Credits Doesn’t Impress Everyone

The Service gets an 'A' for effort but also 'D' for "do more with less." The U.S. Internal Revenue Service rejected $1.6 billion in erroneous claims for the first-time homebuyer tax credit, according to a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The refundable tax credit, worth as much as $8,000, was available to […]

IRS Doesn’t Seem at All Worried About Overworking Already Overworked Employees

Earlier this week, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson gave her annual report to Congress. It's always a hoot as Ms. Olson's job is pretty much to tell the IRS why they suck. This year's report was critical to be sure, but Ms. Olson surprisingly seemed to take up the torch for the Service: The agency’s […]

IRS Criminal Investigation Unit Bringing the A Game

You’ve been warned, scofflaws.

The inspector general audit found that the criminal unit closed 4,325 cases in fiscal 2010, well above its goal of 3,900, a mark the unit did not hit in 2009.

The average investigation, meanwhile, took exactly one year, a roughly 9 percent improvement over 2009, and the number of convictions in legal source tax cases also rose 7 percent from 2009 to 2010, and has jumped close to 23 percent since fiscal 2006.

As the audit points out, the unit’s performance also improved even as its staffing numbers decreased by roughly 2 percent since 2006.

And they probably all carry shotguns.

IRS hitting criminal investigation targets [OTM/The Hill]

Report: IRS Is Doing More with Less, Still Needs More

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In a report released today, the inspector general said attrition and a heightened workload have combined to leave the IRS understaffed.

The new hires in the agency’s small business and self-employed division resulted in a net gain of just 580 revenue officers by the end of fiscal 2010, according to the report. The IRS watchdog predicted a net gain of 127 revenue officers by the end of fiscal 2012. The study could affect the debate over funding for the agency. It comes two days before IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman is scheduled to testify before a congressional panel on the agency’s budget. The inspector general warned that, unless the IRS is fully staffed, compliant taxpayers are at a disadvantage. “If the IRS does not have a sufficient number of qualified” revenue officers, the report said, “it could create an unfair burden on the majority of taxpayers who fully pay their taxes on time.” [Bloomberg]

Senators Introduce Bill That Would Require IRS to Produce 310 Million (or so) Receipts

Plenty of horrendous ideas get introduced inside the hallowed walls of Congress but the latest submission from Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Scott Brown (R-MA) ranks right up there:

Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), chairman of the Senate Finance subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth, and Scott Brown (R-Mass.) introduced the measure Wednesday that would require the IRS to provide each taxpayer with an itemized list, similar to a grocery store receipt, that shows where their payroll and income taxes are spent. “Taxpayers have a right to know where their money goes, how much Uncle Sam is borrowing on their behalf, and what they get in return for it,” Nelson said.

Yeah, no problem. New responsibilities under healthcare reform, chasing offshore accounts, not to mention your everyday tax compliance and enforcement. This will be a piece of cake since the the Service’s budget is getting slashed.

Senators introduce bill that would provide detailed tax receipt [The Hill]

Survey: CFOs Wouldn’t Turn Away Some Help with Their Clerical Work

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

If financial executives could get one thing off their plates, it would be administrative tasks, according to a recent survey by Robert Half Management Resources.

More than one-third (38 percent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said that if they could eliminate one responsibility, it would be basic clerical and administrative work.

“Today’s less extends to all levels of the organization,” Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half Management Resources, said of the survey results.


“At small and mid-size companies, in particular, this often means financial executives have had to take on tasks once handled by others,” McDonald said. “The demands of the current economic environment make it even more essential for senior-level managers to use their time wisely.”

CFOs were asked, “If there was one responsibility you could hand off from your job, what would it be?”

• Basic clerical/administrative – 38%
• Accounting-related – 19%
• Human resources-related – 14%
• Managing – 7%
• Operations-related – 3%
• Interactions with vendors – 1%
• Nothing – 8%
• Other – 10%

The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, a provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project and interim basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 795 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.

Robert Half Management Resources offers executives six tips for maximizing their time:

1. Set realistic expectations – High standards are a must, but setting impractical goals can cause frustration and waste valuable time. When initiating a project, consider what you would like to achieve if resources and time were unlimited. Then determine what can reasonably be accomplished considering available resources and other priorities.

2. Don’t procrastinate – It’s tempting to postpone less challenging assignments for more exciting initiatives, but it can backfire if projects start to stack up. Procrastination strains working relationships and creates unnecessary stress as everyone strives to catch up.

3. Delegate – Distribute more routine tasks to other staff members. Look for opportunities that allow your top performers to gain visibility and build their expertise and decision-making skills.

4. Keep meetings on track – Distribute a detailed agenda prior to the discussion so everyone is prepared. Meetings should begin and end on time. If information can be easily covered in e-mail or phone, a meeting might not be warranted.

5. Bring in help – If you and your team are overloaded, consider bringing in outside support during peak activity periods or for large-scale initiatives that are finite in nature.

6. Recharge – Financial executives are accustomed to long hours and demanding work, but that doesn’t mean they should sacrifice breaks and vacation. Scheduling time for even a short respite can restore energy and a sense of control.

About Robert Half Management Resources:
Robert Half Management Resources is a provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals to supplement companies’ project and interim staffing needs. The company has more than 145 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.roberthalfmr.com. Follow Robert Half Management Resources at twitter.com/roberthalfmr for workplace news.

Rumor Mill: Ernst & Young Layoffs Move on to the Advisory Practice

We’re hearing more about layoffs in E&Y’s North Central offices today. The chatter is that cuts are now hitting advisory professionals in Detroit, Toledo, and Cincinnati. Our source indicated that it was 2 – 3 professionals in each office which puts the total number of layoffs in the region over 30 since this latest round started last month.
Rumor also has it that the Columbus office — home of dollar beer night — could also get into the axe swinging but we’re scant on details at this point.
These cuts in the advisory practice would be the first we have heard of since the dozen layoffs (that we confirmed) in the Pacific-Northwest.
Continue to keep us updated with the specifics.
Earlier: (UPDATE) Layoff Watch ’09: Update on Ernst & Young

(UPDATE) Layoff Watch ’09: Update on Ernst & Young

In addition to the layoffs we reported on yesterday in Chicago and Dallas, we now have reports of cuts in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Irvine. Our source on the left coast speculates that the current round can’t be too large in scope since everyone is already stretched thin.
So far it’s been in assurance only and we’re scant on details for severance so get in touch if you find yourself with some extra time on your hands or you have details on the numbers in your office.
UPDATE, Wednesday Nov 11th: Our sources are now reporting layoffs in the tax practice including the tax managing partner for the Phoenix office, and an executive director in Denver. We also have reports on tax layoffs in the Southern California offices. Per our source:

• Los Angeles: 4 that I know of. At least 1 Senior, 1 Staff
• Irvine: 4 that I know of. At least 1 staff
• San Diego: 4 that I know of. 3 Senior managers, 1 Senior.

Senior managers are reportedly receiving three months pay and A2’s are receiving one month for severance. Continue to keep us updated.
UPDATE 2, Thursday, November 12th: Twelve advisory professionals in the Pacific-Northwest region.
UPDATE 3, Friday, November 13th: Charlotte office dismissed three audit SA1’s. In the North Central region: Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Cleveland offices all laid off three SAs. Twenty total layoffs reported between Pittsburgh (at least three), Cincinnati (at least three), Cleveland (3), and Detroit.
UPDATE 4: Saturday, November 14th: ~5-6 audit professionals in Minneapolis and ~1-2 audit in Milwaukee.
Chicago: In addition to the ~20 layoffs we originally reported there were ~2-3 in support roles were let go.