September 15, 2019

Jim Quigley

Former Deloitte CEO Sorry Not Sorry for Anyone Who Can’t Handle Being on an Audit Committee

According to a piece from Michael Rapoport and Joann Lublin in the Wall Street Journal today, audit committees are the "junk drawer" of corporate boards. The workload of the powerful committees has expanded sharply beyond their core role of overseeing a company’s financial reporting. They are grappling with new regulations, whistleblower claims and issues like […]

Jim Quigley Reflecting on His Time as Deloitte CEO via Twitter

Davos regular and out-going Deloitte Global CEO Jim Quigley is reflecting on his time in the big chair on Twitter and so far he’s said that “Experience has taught me in a world that seems increasingly focused on sprints, great professional relationships are the work of marathoners,” and “I’ve learned we often allow the urgent to crowd out the important; getting in front is the way we will stay in front.” These are nice thoughts and we’re big on reflection but what do you think Jimbo is really thinking that the Deloitte Twitter filters aren’t letting through?

Luckily, we’ve obtained JQ’s copious Tweet notes, all of which were ultimately denied by Deloitte’s Ministry of Propoganda. Here are some of the denied tweets:

• Really kicking myself after turning down Queen Rania’s offer to buy me a drink at Davos last year. #IDIOT

• Disappointed that I only get 5 months to Tweet under @deloitteceo. Not sure what my new handle will be. Is @deloittekicksass taken?

@JustinBieber how do you get ready for a big show?

• I’m just going to say it: Sharon Allen has awful taste in music.

• Good luck Barry! I guess I don’t have to warn you that this job will make you lose your hair.

Of course, many of you know Jim better than us, so feel free to speak/Tweet on his behalf below.

Book Review: As One, Co-authored by Deloitte’s Jim Quigley

Let’s be completely honest here, when I heard James Quigley had worked on a book subtitled “Individual Action/Collective Power,” I half-expected this to be a handbook on how to get miserable shlubs to do your evil bidding for you while you abuse and humiliate them. After all, the man oversees an entire army of miserable green dot shlubs, surely he knows a thing or two about getting people to do things for you.

Lucky for Quigs and theinds behind As One, however, this book was nothing of the sort. More like Choose Your Own Adventure for leaders, which allows the reader to first determine which archetype of leaders and followers his or her group falls under. Featuring case studies (“inspirational” stories) with such big names as Apple, GE and Pixar, As One looks the why of these organizations’ collaborative efforts before taking on the how.


Deloitte spent two years studying effective collaborations and in the process defined eight archetypes of leaders and followers: Landlords & Tenants, Community Organizer & Volunteers, Conductor & Orchestra, Producer & Creative Team, General & Soldiers, Architect & Builders, Captain & Sports Team and Senator & Citizens. The main archetypes are strategically located across a circular axis, with Landlord & Tenants and Community Organizer & Volunteer anchoring the upper and lower poles. Conductor & Orchestra and Producer & Creative Team sit at the extremities of the horizontal “nature of the task” dimension on the west and east ends of the axis. The other four archetypes are hybrids, occupying the spaces between the main archetypes and combining some characteristics of each.

So this got me thinking, where would Caleb and I be on the axis?

As much as I would like to paint your dear Going Concern editor in a sycophantic, borderline psychotic light, “Dictator & Huddled Masses” wasn’t included in As One, so instead I used the easy chart in the book’s intro to answer a few simple questions about how our organization works. I have the creative freedom to carry out tasks the way I choose (as long as I don’t talk too much about the Federal Reserve), and we have a fairly small hierarchy given the size of our website and TPTB that rule over us. Instead of choosing the archetype I assumed we’d be (Producer & Creative Team), I went by the chart to determine we were most like Community Organizer & Volunteers.

From key characteristics:

Volunteers cannot be told what to do; they must be given the choice to join on their own terms. The persuasive message of the community organizer motivates them to join in the cause; and it’s that common purpose that inspires volunteers to make a difference.

[Volunteers] independently choose to follow the path of altruism or enlightened self-interest. Community organizers and volunteers may be passionate, selfless and dedicated, but, above all else, they are independent thinkers who, of their own volition, decide whether to get involved in a cause and for how long.

“A community organizer is someone who uncovers [volunteers’] self-interest,” says Jana Adams, the National Training Coordinator at the Direct Action Training Research Center. “They give [volunteers] an opportunity to work in their own self-interest and address problems in the community that they could not address by themselves.”

All of those key characteristics rang true with me, though I wouldn’t necessarily call making misogynist jokes about work/life balance altruistic. And I definitely cannot be told what to do, so another point to the book for that one.

As One allows the reader the opportunity to brand his or her own strategy, whether or not the current structure allows for such freedom. Unlike much of what one might encounter in public accounting or any other similarly-structured business, the free flow and adaptability of As One gives leadership the chance to form itself, mostly through analysis of what makes an archetype tick. Even miserable shlubs have a drive (be it money, stability, masochism or the perpetual carrot of becoming partner one day being dangled in front of one’s face), it’s how they are driven that makes all the difference. Point being that leadership isn’t about who can bark orders the loudest, despite how life in public accounting might make it appear.

Are we all so easily prodded into distinctive roles? Not really, and As One doesn’t attempt to do so. Its authors argue that life itself is a collaborative journey, and it may just be easier on all of us to accept that. Organizational structure doesn’t necessarily have to create a disenchanted workforce just in it for the paycheck, and recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of each collaborative group can actually help infuse a little pride in the job, or at least more willing participation.

As One isn’t a book about how to get people who hate you to do things for you, it’s about recognizing the individual power in each of us to accomplish collective goals, be that running a business or changing the world as we know it. It presents some awfully lofty goals but asks one very important question: what could we accomplish if we could unlock the power of As One on a global scale?

Find the book on Amazon here, and download free As One iPhone or iPad apps here. You can find out more about As One through the Deloitte Center for Collective Leadership.

Barry Salzberg Elected to Be Deloitte’s New Global CEO

Barry Salzberg will be the next global CEO of Deloitte, according to a statement released by the firm today. Of course, if you’ve been following our coverage of the controversy around the election process at Deloitte, then you already knew that this was coming. As you know, this election was an all or nothing deal and with Salzberg taking the reigns from Jim Quigley on June 1, Joe Echeverria will be the new U.S. CEO and Punit Renjen will assume the Chairman’s role vacated by Sharon Allen.


The always quote-worthy (at least in the context of a Deloitte press release) Dr. Phil said he was “humbled by the confidence that the network has placed in my leadership during this historic time.” He also had some kind words for predecessor, “Over the years, I have worked closely with Jim Quigley and admired his commitment to our strong global culture and shared values, which have brought us to our preeminent position in the marketplace today.”

So congrats to Mr. Salzberg on the promotion (and surviving the coup d’etat). Feel free to leave your well-wishes or other thoughts on the matter in the comments below.

Against a Picturesque Backdrop, Jim Quigley Talks Deloitte’s Hiring Spree, Obama’s Tone and Igniting the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Quigs sat down with Fox Business’s Liz Claman and hasn’t even tweeted about it!?!? Whoever his ghost tweeter is, they need to be replaced immediately.

Sidebar: has anyone noticed JQ’s new spectacles? Thoughts on the visible breath, scarf choice and Liz Claman’s interviewing technique are encouraged.

Let’s All Give Jim Quigley a Warm Welcome to Twitter

We knew it was only a matter of time before Jim Quigley rounded up enough interns to run his Twitter account for him and it seems that day has finally come. While we won’t openly admit to hoping he immediately engaged in common Twitter faux pi like tweeting in all caps or speaking to others as if they could hear him without using the all important @, we’ve thoroughly scanned his account and can barely find anything to bag on.

It seems, however, that he’s merely pimping out the World Economic Forum and is really, really excited about it. So excited, in fact, that it’s been all he’s tweeted about in the less than two weeks he’s been sharing with us in 140 characters or less.


What he isn’t tweeting is how much his trip to Davos to hob-nob with the global elite might cost him. We of the working class, ticking and tying set might feel he could just as easily put his finger on the pulse of the economy by sitting down with any number of Deloitte’s 170,000 employees since, last we checked, the economy was people, not rich guys (and gals, it’s the 21st Century) hanging out in Switzerland.

We won’t say we’re disappointed because our standards are really low to begin with but he could have, you know, toned it down a notch.

Just how much does a trip to Davos cost a snazzy Big 4 CEO? Ask Andrew Ross Sorkin: A basic level Davos excursion will run you $71,000 for membership to the organization and ticket alone (that doesn’t include hotels, helicopters or red carpets strewn ahead of you). The “Industry Associate” level, which would get JQ behind the velvet rope to hang with other hot accounting and finance rockstars, runs $156,000. And if, say, Quigs wants to bring a buddy the “Industry Partner” level could run him around $301,000.

Well wait, it’s not fair to say he’s only tweeting about WEF, he did also throw some tweets about chicks in there. You know, for diversity’s sake.

Hey, it beats over-hashtagging I guess.

Earlier:
Deloitte Global CEO Jim Quigley Is Tweeting

The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Deloitte #63 (2011)

Next up on Fortune’s “You wish you worked here” list, comes the newest future resident of 30 Rockefeller Center. A slight improvement for the Green Dot this year, as the firm jumped from 70 to 63. Let’s get right to it.


Deloitte – Previous rank: #70. Deloitte wins the race for fewer white people reports Fortune, “A third of its employees are nonwhite, the highest percentage of the Big Four.”

Stats of note:
New Jobs (1 year): -552
% Job Growth (1 year): -1%
% Voluntary Turnover: 11%
No. of Job Openings at 1/13/2010: 3,511
Most common salaried job: Senior/Senior Consultant – $81,622
% Minorities: 33%
% Women: 43%

Compared to last year, new jobs, job growth, number of jobs (last year it was 11k), average salary and percentage of women are all down. Turnover ticked slightly up as did % of minorities. So while Deloitte manages to be the top Big 4 firm in the ranking, we’re guessing that the brass is a little miffed by the wide margin between themselves and P&M. Still no tweet from Jim Quigley on this but he seems a little distracted with Davos to be notice a seemingly permanent spot on the F100BCTWF, “Oh, gosh. That old thing? That’s great, just change the number and dates on the press release. And try to get Salzberg to say something a little less cliché.”

Too late, Jim.

Earlier:
The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Plante & Moran #26 (2011)
The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Deloitte #70

Deloitte Global CEO Jim Quigley Is Tweeting

There goes the Twittersphere.

Jim Quigley has broken the Big 4 CEO cherry on Twitter (to our knowledge) and he decided to do it in honor of the World Economic Forum (aka: The annual CEO ego strokefest) in Davos, Switzerland that gets underway in less than two weeks. Above is Quig’s one and only tweet so far and it’s very CEO-ish. We’re not expecting anything of the Kaplan variety but cripes man, add some color. May we recommend our series of “Doing it Wrong” Twitter posts from our resident expert?

Anyhoo, here’s the video from the tweet:

Thoughts on the performance are welcome. And JQ should know that we know Twitter can have a slight learning curve, so we’ll save you the trouble: you can follow Going Concern here. Oh, and Adrienne will be writing a review, so tweet to impress.

[via TS]

Jim Quigley Would Really Like It if the Big 4 Could Audit in India

Deloitte is hiring about 3,000 people in India as part of their hiring bonanza and global CEO Jim Quigley dug into his bag of boilerplate statements to express his excitement:

“India is an extremely important market for Deloitte. As…Opportunities in the new economic environment emerge in India, Deloitte with its focus on hiring, developing, and deploying the best talent in the region, will help clients capitalise on these new market initiatives,” Deloitte Global CEO Jim Quigley told reporters here.

Right. So nothing new there. However, Quigs thinks that it’d be really swell if TPTB in India would change their mind about letting the Big 4 provide audit services there:

Quigley also made a case for India to open up its market and allow global audit firms to practice here, besides providing consulting and advisory assistance.

Allowing international accounting firms to practice here would require India to negotiate and allow the service to be accessed under the World Trade Organisation (WTO). At present, India has not opened up services like audit and law for foreign practitioners.

“I urge the Indian authorities to give a serious thought to allowing global audit firms to practice here. It is for the betterment of accounting professionals. A mutual recognition is required out of foreign direct investment,” Quigley said.

See? It’s not just about the biggest firm in the known universe getting bigger, it’s for the betterment for the entire accounting race. There’s so much fun to be had. The Satyams of the world are once in a blue moon.

Jim Quigley Is Still Talking About Deloitte’s Hiring Bonanza, Last Year’s BusinessWeek List

After his appearance on Fox Business, Quigs plugged himself in for 24 hours and then hopped over to Bloomberg to talk about the disappointing job numbers from last week but that at Deloitte, things are just swell.

So ‘Global 6 Accounting Organization’ Is Out of the Question?

“The largest companies are generally served by one of the Big Four firms and I think that’s going to continue to be true and one of the reasons are the needs of that market place, due to the scale of those enterprises.”

~ Deloitte Global CEO Jim Quigley (who must have been making the rounds today) doesn’t see a return to the Big 5.

Jim Quigley Believes That ‘A Sustained Recovery Has Begun’

That’s what he told Fox Business Network anyway. He doesn’t stat it explicitly but Quigs is probably referring to his Big 4 and professional services brethren.


Not exactly sure why JQ thinks we aren’t headed for a double-dip after Team Jehovah gave the ‘fairly bad’ to ‘very bad’ outlook.

Is he still riding high on the biggest of the Big 4 news? Discuss.

Wherein We Try to Make Sense of Deloitte’s Purported Hiring Spree

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All right people, we’re going to talk about something that’s been bugging us all week – Deloitte’s big hiring spree announcement.

If you’ve already put the story right out of your mind, Deloitte Global CEO Jim Quigley announced earlier this��������������������would be hiring 50,000 lucky men and women a year over the next five years. At least that’s what we initially thought.

The PR machine was in full force as Quigs was mentioned in several publications all over the world touting the hiring plans in addition to big revenue numbers that might – MIGHT! – put them ahead of newly branded PwC for the biggest of the Big 4.


The problem is that the earliest report, from the Financial Times stated the following:

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, the global accounting firm, said on Monday that it would hire an average of 50,000 workers a year during the next five years as it revealed strong revenues.

[…]

Deloitte employs 170,000 people worldwide and said on Monday that it expects to add 250,000 new workers during the next five years as it looks to expand its services and geographic reach.

There is no room for misinterpretation there. The FT reported that Deloitte will add 250k new people to its firm. Nowhere in that report did they take into account (or think to ask) how those people would be added or how attrition, layoffs and partner retirement would affect those numbers. It was simply stated, “Deloitte is more or less adding the city of Lexington, Kentucky to its workforce.”

Our friends at FINS did some digging on these numbers and thought to ask a few more questions:

That’s almost 140 new hires a day.

By 2015, the company expects to grow to 225,000 total employees from its current roster of 170,000, accounting for standard industry turnover, retirements and natural attrition.

According to CEO Jim Quigley, Deloitte is hiring across all areas: consulting, tax, audit and financial advisory services. For FY 2011, Deloitte is looking to hire in all regions, but it expects growth in priority markets like China and India. Both recent graduates and experienced professionals will be targeted in the hiring bonanza.

[…]

In a shaky economy — in any economy, for that matter — it would perhaps seem foolhardy to add so many new hires. But, the firm has had a “successful year despite challenging economic conditions,” Quigley said. “Deloitte’s member firms have experienced growth, even double digit growth in certain markets, so we feel well-positioned to continue this trend in FY11.”

Okay, so whether the FT was credulous or just plain didn’t think to ask any follow up questions is unknown but we are still hella-skeptical about Deloitte’s math here. They’re still claiming that they will add 55,000 global employees in five years. The problem is, you didn’t bother telling anyone exactly how you plan to do that, other than the boilerplate CEO statements offered up.

Just for the sake of argument, say the firm does add the NET 55k warm bodies that it claims. It’s pretty obvious that not many of these jobs are coming to the United States. Plus, this won’t be purely organic growth.

Looking at Deloitte’s press release, it’s pretty obvious that consulting is the only practice growing and BRIC and emerging markets are the only regions where the firm is seeing meaningful growth:

Geographic results (aggregate, in USD):

Asia Pacific revenues grew 9 percent, making it the fastest-growing region for the sixth consecutive year. Member firms achieving growth in excess of 20 percent included Korea and India. Deloitte China grew 8 percent. Market share of the Fortune Global 500 grew by 2 percentage points in the Asia Pacific region. Deloitte member firms also served some of the largest IPOs in these markets.

The Americas revenues grew 4 percent. Brazil grew in excess of 20 percent. Deloitte United States grew 3 percent.

EMEA revenues declined 3 percent. Southern Africa grew 22 percent. The Middle East grew 15 percent.

Business and industry results (aggregate, in USD):
Audit revenue declined 1 percent while market share of the Fortune Global 500 grew by 1 percentage point.

Consulting revenue grew 15 percent.

Financial Advisory revenue declined 2 percent.

Tax revenue declined 5 percent.

Industry: Public sector revenues increased 38 percent compared to the prior year. Financial Services and Manufacturing were essentially flat, which represents a significant rebound from last year’s double-digit declines.

As far as the “public sector,” everyone is aware that these were boosted by last year’s acquisition of BearingPoint, so after that plateaus, then what? And speaking of acquisitions – something that Barry Salzberg has gone on record about – this could be part of the headcount boom equation but that’s still makes for funny math.

But increase your people by nearly a third organically? We’re not buying it, Deloitte. Not that you were selling it but you certainly got a lot of panties to drop with some hot rhetoric. Will they make the numbers? Who knows but there are at least three other firms out there that will be fighting you to the death for the business that will finance that growth. Good luck with that.

Jim Quigley Takes Exception with the Notion That Deloitte Isn’t the Biggest Firm in India

You don’t need to tell Jim Quigley that it’s only a matter of time before Deloitte is the largest accounting firm ON EARTH.

In a Q&A with India’s Business Standard, Quigs was asked about the shrinking gap and you better believe the man is all over it like a hard-hitting interview at Davos:


After five years, we have eliminated the gap. They were once $2 billion larger than us.

At $26.1 billion for FY ’09, Deloitte is all over PwC ($26.2 billion in FY ’09) for the Biggest of the Big 4 in terms of revenue. However, JQ was a little more defensive when asked about the firm’s presence in India.

But if one looks at India, the perception is that you are the smallest amongst the Big Four.
I think we are the largest in India when you look at the number of people. We have 12,000 Deloitte people in India and we are on our way to 20,000 people.

In other words, “Thanks for bringing that up but since India revenue isn’t known, head count is how we’ll measure this. And in that particular case, we’re the largest. Next question.”

But a lot of them are your [Business Process Outsourcing] employees at Hyderabad.
Yes, we have about 8,000 people there. And we are growing that towards 15,000. They are focused on serving the global market place.

We have the number one audit share in India. Our audit share of the listed companies is larger than any of the competitors. My goal is to go for balanced growth in India. I want to be one-third audit, one-third tax and one-third consulting. Growing the tax and consulting businesses is easier than it is to move the audit share because companies don’t change auditors often. The fact that we start with the largest audit share is a terrific foundation for us. My aspiration is that I want to be the absolute leader in professional services, especially in important emerging markets like India.

Translation: “Are BPO people not employees? Why wouldn’t we count them? And since we are counting them we’re going to double that number, FYI. Oh, and we have the biggest audit share in India and it we’ll eventually be biggest in everything so then they’re won’t be room for ‘debate’ (making the air quotes).”

In how many years?
In three to five years, I want to be the absolute leader here. I have more people here than anyone else today.

That is, “Deloitte numero uno by 2015! Did I mention that we have the most people here?”

Then the best part, comes a little later when Quigs gets the Satyam question:

How has Deloitte strengthened its internal controls after the Satyam scandal?
I don’t think you can say that if one firm has had an issue with Satyam, therefore all professional services firms have a problem.n the aftermath of that fraud, and it was a management fraud first, to make sure that we did not have comparable circumstances, we went back and reviewed our 50 largest audits. We challenged our partners and thinking. We were satisfied that we have completed procedures that will reduce to a relatively low level the risk that an undetected error could occur. Our commitment to quality is tireless. And that is what you want the market leader to be.

So it sounds as though Satyam will be NBD for Deloitte, unlike some firms. We know India is a fraud paradise so it wasn’t was their fault; they were duped. Deloitte is undupable.

‘Deloitte wants to be the absolute leader here’ [Business Standard]

Is Deloitte Trying to Ruin Spring Break?

We kid, we kid. Deloitte would never want to ruin spring break but they are giving a few students an alternative to drinking themselves blind for a week and possibly getting a bad case of crabs.

The firm is teaming up with the United Way and Teach for America for the third consecutive year to offer “Maximum Impact: Deloitte Alternative Spring Break”.


We’ve got no idea if all the slots are filled up but since one of them starts this Saturday you best get on this if your Cancun plans have fallen through:

• March 6 – 12 — Deloitte and United Way will co-host 50 students from approximately 30 colleges and universities along with 20 Deloitte professionals during a week of hands-on and skills-based volunteerism in Atlanta, Georgia. Students will work to enhance childcare centers, refurbish playgrounds for low-income youth, guide students in college exploration and promote literacy in children.

• March 14 – 18 — Deloitte and Teach For America will co-host 25 students from six colleges and universities along with 20 professionals from Deloitte and Teach For America for a week of education-centered volunteerism in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Volunteers will spend time working with schools and local students who face the challenges of educational inequity through projects that include improving campuses, developing classroom lessons and helping with class preparation work.

You better get on this ASAP if you’re interested since only 75 students and 40 professionals get to participate. The problem for current Deloittians is most of you are eyeballs deep in busy season anyway so this isn’t an option. So does this mean that non-busy season types like Jim Quigely, Barry Salberg, and Punit Renjen will be in attendance? And if so will they be sporting new board shorts for the pool time they are able to squeeze in?

Deloitte Offers Students Chance to Give Back, Explore Careers on Spring Break [Press Release]

Accounting News Roundup: Earnings Management and ‘Quadrophobia’; Deloitte vs. PwC on Loan Losses; Joe Francis’ Tax Lien Dropped | 02.15.10

Happy President’s Day! As we mentioned on Friday, we’ll keep you company throughout the day but it will be a little lighter schedule than normal. Most of you are suffering from a Valentine’s Day/Chinese New Year/Olympic Fever hangover anyway.

For Some Firms, a Case of ‘Quadrophobia’ [WSJ]
Shout if you’ve heard this before: a study profiled by the Journal states that “many companies tweak quarterly earnings to meet investor expectations, and the “companies that adjust most often are more likely to restate earnings or be charged with accounting violations.”

So here’s another study on restatements and the companies that you . BFD right? Earnings management is rampant. What makes this particular study unique is the authors looked at the frequency of companies rounding their numbers up to meet expectations and discovered that the number 4 appears less frequently in general and especially in the earnings of companies that restate their financial statements. Naturally, they call it “quadrophobia”:

When they ran the earnings-per-share numbers down to a 10th of a cent, they found that the number “4” appeared less often in the 10ths place than any other digit, and significantly less often than would be expected by chance…

In theory, each digit should appear in the 10ths place 10% of the time. After reviewing nearly 489,000 quarterly results for 22,000 companies from 1980 to 2006, however, the authors found that “4” appeared in the 10ths place only 8.5% of the time. Both “2” and “3” also are underrepresented in the 10ths place; all other digits show up more frequently than expected by chance…

In their most intriguing finding, the authors found that companies that later restate earnings or are charged with accounting violations report significantly fewer 4s. The pattern “appears to be a leading indicator of a company that’s going to have an accounting issue,” Mr. Grundfest said.

So it’s safe to say that you can add Quadrophobic to Patrick Byrne’s list of potential ailments.

Deloitte chief reignites accounting debate [FT]
Deloitte CEO Jim Quigley told the Financial Times that banks should “account for losses in two radically different ways to meet the opposing demands of politicians and accountants.” We’re not crazy about trying to please everyone but Quigs might have a good point here.

This would require banks to report two separate line items on their income statements, one for “incurred losses” and one for “expected losses”. Incurred losses report loan losses as they occur while “expected losses” would require banks to calculate an estimated loss provision over the lives of the loans.

PwC hates this idea saying it would ‘muddy the waters’. Richard Murphy thinks PwC is still living in fantasy land, “PWC is arguing against is anti-cyclical provisioning to ensure capital retention. To put it anothjer [sic] way, PWC wants pro-cyclical accounting that encoruages recklessness.”

Since the waters are already pretty f—ing muddy we’re not sure that it would do much harm. Users of financial statements already have a mind-numbing amount of information to dig through, one additional piece of information — a crucial piece in the case of bank financial statements, we might add — shouldn’t cause too much headache.

Joe Francis Off the Hook for $33 Million Tax Bill [TMZ]
Joe Francis’ IRS troubles seem to have magically disappeared, as TMZ reports that the IRS has dropped its $30+ million lien against the Douche of the Decade.

That eliminates one possible motive for the IRS shotgun shopping spree.

Big 4 at Davos: Jim Quigley is Long Dubai

He’s not really sure how much is debt (Jim, it’s a metric asston) is being restructured but Quigs believes that Dubai will come out of it a-okay.

Black holes aside, Quigs also wants to see global accounting standards which puts him firmly in the camp with the other half of Jim-squared and Knight of Accounting David Tweedie.

We’re not sure when this interview was done but could someone get JQ a cup of coffee or something? The guy seems a little stiff. Plus, no red light/green light of trust from Fox Business? They have got to start getting more creative over there.

Are the Big 4 Laying Low at the World Economic Forum?

The World Economic Forum kicks off tomorrow and as expected, the Big 4 bigwigs will be there in full force.

Having been through their share of busy seasons, the fearless four of Jim squared, Dennis, and Tim are no doubt glad to be on this getaway.

Their hearts and minds never stray too far from all of you serving the capital markets back at home but it is a great opportunity for them to explore the land of secretive banking, blondes and Toblerones. Plus, there are some meetings and whatnot where they spread their wisdom amongst the other grand poobahs of the world.


Despite the presence of the Fab Four, Big Four Blog points out that the firms’ websites don’t hardly make a mention of their participation at the rager in Davos:

[We] could find hardly a mention of this on the firm’s websites, contrary to prior years when a press release would proudly proclaim their participation. Are the Big Four firms keeping a low profile this year? We wonder why?

Why would they possibly want to keep their profiles on the DL? Are they taking their cues from the Times? Are they still amped/disappointed by the Fortune results?

Are they nervous about their next sit down with CNN, who may not leave it there this time? Ideas? Hopefully they’ll loosen up and enjoy themselves.

Jim Quigley, Still ‘a Proud Aggie,’ Fails to Go Out on a High Note

Jim_quigley.jpgThat’s right, he’s proud. Never mind that the football team just finished their season 4 – 8. Sports aren’t everything.
The Big Q, swindler of unsuspecting journalists, took time away from calling CEOs on private jets to give a speech at Utah State (his alma mater) to faculty and students on ethics.
We won’t give you all the gory details since CNN probably is working on that piece right now. We’d hate to steal their thunder.


We will mention that Quigs is swelling with pride that USU’s Jon M. Huntsman School of Business Scholars agree to “principles” which he quoted in the speech:

“I agree to conduct myself according to the highest ethical standards. I will accept personal responsibility for my conduct and any consequences for mistakes, accidental or intentional. I will be honest, truthful and fair in alof my actions and interactions with others. I will also demonstrate civil, respectful and courteous concern for and behavior toward others at all times both in and outside of the classroom.”

It seems like a fine group of sentences but I implore you: is it an oath/promise laminated on tiny cards? Hardly, dude.
Ethics and integrity aside, Quigs’ remarks seem like the standard boilerplate metaphors and clichés. Hell, he even quotes the Oracle in his conclusion, “Warren Buffett said: ‘It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.’ And, once lost, it can take years to rebuild.”
It works well enough but we would have rather heard Quigs wrap it up with “I’ve never gone to bed with an ugly woman but I’ve sure woke up with a few.” It would’ve brought the house down. High note, Quigs. Always look to go out on that high note.
Jim_Quigley_Utah_State_remarks.pdf

CNN Says that Big 4 Business Is Blowing Up

That’s not necessarily verbatim but they’re definitely buying what the Big 4 bigwigs are selling.

If you saw the asinine CNN piece that came out on Thursday entitled “Accounting grows in shrinking economy“, you know what we mean.

The title itself should cause you to throw up in your mouth. Certainly the author of this gem, Kevin Voigt, isn’t talking about growth in revenues but he still manages to make a case for accounting industry stretrong>just that:

[T]he firms have emerged from the worst with balance sheets that would be enviable to most companies: Ernst & Young and Deloitte finished the 2009 fiscal year with flat growth, while PWC revenues were down 7 percent.

Getting nauseous yet?


Then there’s this:

[T]he Big Four firms continued to add to headcount through the recession. For example, PWC will end the year with 163,000 employees worldwide, an increase of “3 or 4 percent” from last year, Nally said. “There is a core element of what we do that continues regardless of the economy — public companies need audits, tax services need to be provided,” he said.

First, we notice that Dennis Nally conveniently left out that the ‘core element’ of services being provided is being done so with far fewer people. He makes it sound like that if you’re working in the audit or tax practices, your job is safe. We all know that’s not true.

Further, we’ll point out that E&Y did not add to their global headcount. That’s according to E&Y’s own press release for their revenue results.

It’s also interesting to note that the words “layoff” or “reduction in force” are nowhere to be found in the article. Voight manages to sneak it in with some subtlety:

Ernst & Young has kept hiring young college graduates, in part, because it wants to ensure an unbroken pipeline of talent after the crisis, Turley said.

“In a typical year, you would see 15 to 20 percent of our workforce hired away, not by our competitors, but by companies that need financial or tax or other financial talent … that process was curtailed this year because most in the marketplace weren’t hiring,” Turley said.

As a result, Ernst & Young and other Big Four firms have had selective culling of staff in some markets for performance-related issues. “We work in a high performance environment, and for those whom that environment doesn’t fit we’ve encouraged them to leave,” said Quigley of Deloitte.

“Culling of staff”? Interesting choice of words. Then Jim Quigley lies says that Deloittians were “encouraged” to leave the firm. That’s rich. Any former Deloitte people out there that would describe their experience differently?

The article also hints that — because Jim Turley said that typically, ’15 to 20 percent of our workforce hired away’ — the Big 4 had no choice to but to engage in the “selective culling of staff…for performance-related issues.”

To top it all off, Tim Flynn wasn’t even interviewed for this piece. In fact, KPMG is only mentioned ONCE in the whole article but Voight refers to the “Big 4” throughout. From the sounds of it, TF wasn’t in Singapore for the APEC and thus, probably not available (probably caddying). Just as well, if we were T. Flynn, we wouldn’t want our name included in this travesty anyway.

So gives us your thoughts on the latest Big 4 campaigning in the MSM. They make everything sound like it’s business as usual but as the discussion in our Exodus post indicates, the people on the front lines probably have a different opinion.

Accounting grows in shrinking economy [CNN]
Also see: CNN Lies: Accounting Industry Stronger Than Ever, Explosive Even [JDA]

Jim Quigley Couldn’t Wait to Tell Everyone That Deloitte Will Be the New Auditor of Satyam

Thumbnail image for DTa.jpgJimbo obviously had ants in his pants and he couldn’t keep it to himself because after saying it’s a ‘done deal’ he admits, “The company is the one who would make the announcement. So I ought to be more cautious in terms of not speaking for them. We are prepared and ready to step into that role.”
Oh. So maybe JQ is talking out of school but he backpedaled nicely. We understand your excitement Jim but we also know that discretion is in order. Next time though, just throw caution to the wind. In fact, if it strikes you, don’t be afraid to mention how PwC screwed the pooch and their attempt to weasel out of the whole thing is a travesty.
Deloitte says will be auditors for Mahindra Satyam [Money Control]