October 16, 2019

Good News!

EY Employee Shot in Las Vegas Has Made Huge Strides in Her Recovery

We’ll leave you with some good news as we head into the weekend. Tina Frost, the EY employee who was shot in the head during the Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 2017, is now able to talk and drive, family and friends recently told the Baltimore Sun. “She’s […]

CPA Exam Pass Rates Are Up… WAY Up

Alright, so what did you all do to turn this ship around? This is a huge departure from the embarrassing early 2011 performance we saw around this time last year, what gives? Comparing this with last year, it's clear there's some good CPA exam mojo in the water these days: On a cummulative basis, candidates […]

Layoff Watch ’11: ‘The Bloodbath Is Definitely Over’ for Accounting Profession

Nationally, after three consecutive years of declines, CPA firms “finally” are projecting positive growth between 3% and 4%, said Allan D. Koltin, CEO of Koltin Consulting Group, a Chicago firm that specializes in the accounting profession. The industry had enjoyed enormous growth and enormous hiring between 2003 and 2007, Mr. Koltin said, but the recession year of 2008 ushered in a dark chapter.

Many firms instituted hiring freezes and made cuts. Most of the 100 largest firms let go of anywhere from 10% to as many as 20% of their accountants, he said. “It probably was the worst bloodbath of layoffs that the accounting profession has had in well over a couple decades,” Mr. Koltin said. “The bloodbath is definitely over. Firms all over the country, Cleveland and everywhere, for the first time are doing serious hiring after a serious drought.” [Crain’s]

If You Believe the AICPA, Hiring Is Looking Good

Sometimes we get job reports from certain mainstream media outlets that shall remain nameless that look a tad suspect but in the case of this info from the AICPA, I think we can safely rely on the findings.

Here’s the good news via the Journal of Accountancy:

On the demand front, hiring is back on the upswing after decreasing from 2007 to 2008. In 2007, the total number of accounting hires was 36,111. That dropped to 25,488 in 2008 but climbed to 33,321 in 2010. A large portion of that increase was in firms with fewer than 10 CPAs on staff. Firms of that size increased their hiring projections from 11,432 in 2008 to 16,342 in 2010 (see Exhibit 1).

In terms of the types of positions CPA firm new hires were recruited to fill across firms of all sizes, accounting and auditing still commanded a narrow majority at 51%; followed by taxation at 25%; other at 16%; and information technology at 8%.

The accounting and auditing share of new hires was down from 60% in 2007, with the declines coming from firms with 50 or more CPAs. Hiring of new CPA graduates likewise decreased for information technology (down 5 percentage points from 13%). Tax showed a slight increase (2 percentage points) with the strongest gains coming from firms with fewer than 10 CPAs, while the largest growth since 2007 was in the “other” category.

The percentage of overall firms expecting to hire the same or more new accounting graduates than last year also is up—to 89% from 74% when the question was asked in 2008.

Here’s the next obvious question: are we talking about real, created-from-nothing jobs or are we talking about covering massive staff turnover popularized in public accounting by serf-like working conditions and disappointing compensation? Because hiring the same guy in four different firms doesn’t add up the same as hiring four new accounting grads. Duh.

Oh, and something else – where’s 2009? It doesn’t appear in any of the included exhibits, nor is it mentioned in the Journal of Accountancy article even once. The full survey, available from the AICPA’s website, doesn’t specifically mention the exclusion of 2009 in the survey methodology. We aren’t one for conspiracy theories (yeah, right) but it seems suspect that an entire year would just disappear and fail to get a single mention. I mean it was only two years ago.

We’ll dig into the survey results in more detail later, maybe once we track down 2009. Though not specifically mentioned in the above charts, the entire 2009 Trends in the supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits report can be found here.

Follow Up on KPMG Compensation and Promotion News

It’s been, in the words of one source, “a hell of a week” at KPMG. John Veihmeyer & Co. have been on a whirlwind communications tour, people up for promotion are getting the good/bad news and the whole summer blast thing has people soiling themselves with excitement.

Since they’ve been on such a tear, we’ll update you with a little more news out of the House of Klynveld, returning to promotion and compensation news.


First the bad news – we’ve learned from multiple sources that newly promoted SAs in the audit practice won’t be getting much of a merit increase for their new positions. The news is that the new promotees will receive an early 1.25% increase later this summer that will be followed up by another increase, although those raises will be subject to the firm’s performance in the last part of the fiscal year.

Now the good news – After hearing from a couple offices in the west, most of the SA3s that are up for the promotion to manager seem to be getting the bump. From one office in the northwest:

Despite rampant speculation about widespread non-promotion of seniors to manager, only 3 (of around 15) 3rd year seniors didn’t get the bump. One CPA licence issue, and two performance issues. Nothing out of the ordinary even in a regular year, let alone in one where the holdbacks are supposed to be so numerous that they are creating a new 4th year senior training.

The percentage of SA3s in a Rocky Mountain office that are getting promoted is a little lower with approximately two-thirds of the class getting the bump. So far, only the (un)lucky (i.e. non-promotees) ones have received the news while the new managers continue to sweat it out. For this particular office, the decision to promote/not promote was a little more confusing that its counterpart in the northwest.

Based on the information we’ve gathered, each office is essentially given a number of promotees by the boys at 345 Park and the local office leadership is tasked with figuring it out from there. Criteria for promotion to manager (as we understand it) is that 1) the eligible SA needs to be “ready to be a manager” and 2) they need a business case (i.e. have clients to serve).

In the case of this office, it sounds like this was scrapped. Rather, it was decided that historical rating was the determining factor and not the criteria we outlined above. In other words, if you received high ratings (“EP” at KPMG) as an SA1 and SA2, that was more important than whether you actually have clients to work on as a manager. If you were in the meaty part of the curve (“SP” at KPMG), despite your strong “business case” you are SOL. Our source told us that, in the past, they were always told that “my historical rating would not be a determining factor when it came to promotions.”

So basically it boils down to how your particular office is doing. If you’ve got a strong market with plenty of clients, things should go fairly smooth (with a few exceptions). If you’ve got a competitive or shrinking market, your odds of getting the bump go down, in some cases, way down.

As always, keep us updated with your office’s developments, and congratulations and good luck to the new SAs and Managers!

Compensation Watch ’10: Is Deloitte Joining the Party?

In the past week or so, merit increases have been communicated or reiterated by three of the Big 4. While the news of the resurrected raises is widespread, most people we’ve talked to (and commenters) are not believers. Most see it as a preventive measure to delay the exodus (or at least keep it within expected ranges).


Since the rest of the Big 4 have already been covered (KPMG, E&Y, PwC) we decided to get proactive on finding out the scoop on Deloitte. We contacted a reliable source and it turns out there may be some communication very soon:

[S]o far nothing. I’m going to an all-hands meeting tomorrow in NYC, so maybe they’ll mention something there. For now, all that I can really say is that there’s whole big bunch of people waiting to jump ship, pending the results of this year’s comp, so they better put some serious increases in…

So it’s safe to presume that if the Deloitte brass doesn’t communicate a satisfactory message, the streets may be flooded with Green Dots. If you’ve gotten guarantees, denials, or anything that remotely resembles an official word on this year’s Deloitte comp, get in touch.

CPA Exam Results Are Rolling Out This Week for the Jan/Feb Window

If you’re a glutton for punishment and you sat for the CPA Exam during this window, NASBA Tweeted the above about an hour ago. We thought busy season sucked enough but studying for and taking the CPA exam during busy season has to be one of the most hideous cases of self-loathing an accountant can engage in and we hear it’s widespread.


Maybe sleeping and eating aren’t that crucial to your survival but we’re not really sure how you’re pulling this off. Are you listening to the Jr. Deputy Accountant on this? Since we’re too old to have taken the computerized exam, we were never tempted to try such a monumental feat.

So if you sat for BEC go find out if you passed and let us know because we care (seriously) and if you need to cry, make sure you don’t do it front of anyone. Nobody likes weeping at the office.

Busy Season 2010: Generous Accountant Thinks About Others; Arranges Gathering

Because busy season is in full swing, we’ve been discussing motivation a fair amount this week. The latest pick-me-up came way of Houston from someone that decided to take matters into their own hands:

So I know everyone is busy, busy, busy, but I was given a free Happy Hour at Howl at the Moon and wanted to share it with all of you!

What: Happy Hour event

Where: Howl at the Moon (midtown)

When: February 5th, 2010

Time: 9pm – 12 am

Hope to see ya there! It should be a good way to brush off all the stress that busy season has brought!

Happy auditing,


Having never come across such generosity in our own professional experience, we tracked down this noble soul to find out the dealio. Well for starters, our hero reminded us that it’s difficult for the firms to arrange shindigs this time of year so our savior just decided to make it happen.

Plus, people haven’t been able to get together and share their Busy Season 2010 war stories and lament on the days and weeks to come. This is the perfect opportunity to get together and do just that. Also, they told us that you’re all so awesome and you deserve a break.

Gosh, this might be the feel good story of the season. Enjoy Houston!

Ernst & Young “Believes” It Will Have Pay Raises This Year

guarantee.jpgGreat news Ernstiverse! If you didn’t have the pleasure of hearing it yesterday, Steve Howe, your Americas Area Managing Partner, announced that he “believes” that you’ll be back to pay increases this year, but he’ll let you know for sure as you get closer to the “salary adjustment date”. Sounds like a guarantee to us!

Plus! Being a general believer in resolutions (and noticing you haven’t don’t anything about that paunch), we heard that the firm will now reimburse “reasonable fitness fees incurred while traveling.”


No doubt Steve-o was in a good mood yesterday after seeing that E&Y was the highest ranking Big 4 firm on the F100BCTWF list and he felt like spreading more good news. In his mind, the title was never in doubt but it’s still nice to see the confirmation.

SH makes three accounting firm big shots to announce that happy times are here again in 2010. Along with soon-to-be blogger Stephen Chipman and the original shot-caller, Bob Moritz, the thawing of salaries might be gaining momentum.

The question does remain: will T Fly and Dr. Phil make similar announcements? Have they already? Are they saving it for a better time, say, mid-February when many of you will be close to losing your shit and are about to storm out once and for all? If they’ve made guarantees, kindly let us know, we’d like a superfecta if possible.

More Grant Thornton Details: Declining Revenues, Raises in 2010, and Stephen Chipman Will Be Blogging

stephen chipman.jpgWe stumbled across the playback of the all-personnel call that went out to Grant Thornton professionals last Friday and we decided to give it a listen. It was about as snoozerific as we expected but we did come away with some additional information to share with you
Stephen Chipman, GT’s new CEO in the States spent about 40 minutes explaining the good the bad and the ugly at G to the T and here are some highlights:

• 81% of those survey and Grant Thornton are proud to work there. High? Low? Completely made up? Does this consider the Sue Sachdeva effect?

• Chip is going to be focusing on various new forms of communication including his own blog. This makes him the second CEO to do so, following Newman over at BDO. We hope, for your sake, that Chip won’t moderate the comments. We insist that you notify us of this as soon as it goes live.


• The new CEO got pretty somber when he described the prospects for GT’s revenue in FY 2010, stating revenues for core services were declining 11% year over year. Global Six…slipping…away.

• Because of this decline, it was decided that layoffs at the senior manager and partner level would occur (many have been notified already) along with those in the “internal client services function”.

• Despite the bad news, Steve-o did his best Bob Moritz, and made it clear: “We will be giving pay raises this summer.” He did qualify that this would be based on 1) the performance of the firm and 2) individual performance.

So that’s the long/short. Like we said, dude went on for 40 minutes and we didn’t have the thing transcribed to give it to you verbatim. If you happened to be one of the unfortunate senior managers, partners or support professionals that aren’t making the “next stage of the journey” get in touch with us about your experience.

For those that remain on team GT, discuss the big guy’s big promise of raises, the blog, revenue issues, etc.

PwC’s Moritz: ‘We Will Have Base Increases Next Year’

Thumbnail image for moritz_becks.jpgNow we’re talking! Nothing like calling your shot.

Moritz did his best Joe Namath today on PwC’s firm wide webcast today (is it over?) so all that speculation of P. Dubs phoning in 2010 can be put to rest. WRITE. IT. DOWN.

If you’ve got other thoughts or details on the web cast, get in touch and discuss in the comments.