December 11, 2018

ellipsises

Jeremy Newman Would Prefer if the Big 4 Would Just ‘Allow Real Competition’ But Regulatory Action Will Do Just Fine, Thank You

Perpetual fusspot and BDO Global CEO Jeremy Newman has not been shy about how unfair he thinks the dominance of the Big 4 is. The majority of his blog posts are tagged “Global Accounting” and several consist of bellyaching about Big 4 this and the Big 4 that. Of course, since the mainstream media has finally picked up on the idea that the concentration of auditors could be a bit of a problem, Newman has lots of articles to jump from and since the UK’s Office of Fair Trade has said something needs to be done about this, he had another opportunity this week:

Under the headline “Antitrust watchdog urges reform to break audit grip of Big Four” the FT states:

“Regulatory action may be required to break the dominant grip of the Big Four accounting firms on UK audits of leading companies…”

The only word I would challenge is “may” – it should say “will”.

Presumably this article was in the print edition because Newman doesn’t link to it but suffice to say he’s concluded that the government needs to either break up the Fab 4 like Yoko Ono or put some laws in place that mandates non-Big 4 firm inclusion. Either way, Newman laments to the Big 4 that it doesn’t have to be this way:

At long last it seems that something might now be done to open up the audit market. It is a shame it has taken so long and that it will require regulatory intervention – though it is not too late for my colleagues in the Big Four, and others, to act on a voluntary basis to create the environment necessary to allow real competition.

Judging by the statements from the firms, they seem more or less going along with it but these firms aren’t conscientious objectors. Don’t expect them to play nice.

I Hate it When People Say “I Told You So” But… [BDO]

CPA Exam Candidate Attempts to Stop Attempting and Actually Take the Exam

From the mailbag:

Hi Adrienne – I have been “attempting” to pass the CPA exam for a few years now – and I must say I’ve never taken the exam or the goal to pass the exam seriously…up until now.

Hold it. Before we get to the second half of this question, we need to address the quotation marks. Obviously OP is trying to make it clear that studying has not been high on the priority list and we recognize this tactic as a CPA exam candidate trying to repent for non-studying sins. This isn’t the confessional but we’ll accept the confession nonetheless; it shows a desire on the candidate’s part to acknowledge what they have done wrong up until this point, which is halfway toward fixing it.

Continuing:

I took BEC on 4/4/2011 and REG on 5/14/2011 (today). I am registered to take FAR on 7/9/2011. My question is: Should I start studying for FAR now and try to take in July, or should I wait until I get my BEC/REG scores and if I score below a passing grade, try to take those in the July/Aug testing window? What should be the plan of attack – retake a recent exam, or jump to the next section? Considering I wont be getting my BEC/REG scores until the end of June, I feel like precious study time will get wasted if I just wait around for those scores…

In a follow-up with OP, we discussed how he felt when he was done. “I can’t say I felt on top of the world when I left prometric – I had more of a numb feeling than anything else. The sims were ‘interesting,’ and the MCQs were pretty challenging too…I put a solid six/seven weeks for this exam following Bisk’s recommended study plan.”

With scoring a little jacked up through the end of this year, you should probably move on to the next section as if you passed. If you did, you made the right decision. If you didn’t, you’ll just have to go back and study it over. You don’t necessarily have to start from scratch but let’s not think about that, let’s assume you passed.

You don’t mention Audit so I don’t know what your 18 month timeline is but if you have the flexibility, you should usually try to plan for the strategy that costs you the least amount of time so you actually have the time if you need it.

You’re right not to wait and just go on to the next section.

What’s With All the Hating on Rothstein Kass?

Welcome to the post-marathon Monday edition of Accounting Career Couch. Today, an experienced industry accountant is looking to go jump into public and has an interview with Rothstein Kass’s Family Office group. Unfortunately, he has heard horror stories about R to the K’s financial services division and wants to know if it’s contagious to the rest of the firm.

Having problems at work and need a sage’s advice? Curious if using a sick day for your missing toenails is ethical? In a bit of trouble with the law and need an excuse that makes your better half look like a lunatic? ”mailto:[email protected]”>[email protected] and we’ll put your mind (or feet) at ease.

Back to our potential Kass Kounter:

My question is if you’ve received any recent news about Rothstein Kass lately. I’m up for an interview in their Family Office group as an entry level tax staff, but let’s face it – they haven’t had the best things said about them over their other divisions. Fortunately I’ve heard nothing about the FO group; everything sad/horrible/depressing has been about their FS division, for the most part.

I want to make sure I do my due diligence of this firm, first. A few years ago I was offered to start my career in accounting there under a summer internship in their audit group, but I turned it down for corporate opportunities instead. Now as I want to make the jump into public for the first time, I’m naturally looking back at RKCO…

Any idea as to why everyone seems to have only negative things to say about them? Whiners are always the loudest, I’m aware, but it does concern me a little that there’s so much taint over this firm’s internal reputation on the interwebs…

To directly answer the question, the most recent news we’ve received about Rothstein Kass was related to their ubiquity on the Vault rankings including landing at the #3 spot on their featured ranking.

Prior to the rankings, we reported on a few pre-Labor Day layoffs that occurred at the firm and the admission of new partners to the firm for 2010.

In the layoffs post, our tipster mentioned the following:

FS practice is getting demolished in NY and NJ appears to be getting more antsy with every move that management makes.

Not many details on “demolished,” as you can see but someone thought enough havoc was going down to contact us. However, another source told us that the context of the tip was not accurate and that things within the firm were fine. What other Kass Kounters actually think is unknown because the post had a grand total of zero comments and RK declined to comment for our article.

So, the long/short of it is – RK has a very good reputation by virtue of their lofty perch among the Vault Rankings but it appears the reputation in some corners of “the interwebs” might be “tainted” as you say. We haven’t seen any of this tainting first-hand so we don’t know why RK is getting a bad rap.

To help you with your particular dilemma – if you were interviewing with Deloitte or PwC (the only two firms that ranked above RK on Vault’s list) would you be concerned about what was said about them on the web? If your answer is no, then you should have the same attitude about Rothstein. If you answer is yes, then you’ll never get a job anywhere, ever.

People in the know are invited to enlighten everyone below. If you’d rather communicate with us directly, email us at [email protected].