The Radio Station, presumably not wanting to break its stride, is not done handing out bad news. Apparently layoffs have still been occurring as recently as yesterday in Chicago. The total there is now between 30 and 35. Check out the final numbers for other cities in our debrief post and if you have updated numbers please pass them along or discuss in the comments.
Whether or not you’ll be working on Labor Day isn’t exactly clear:
More, after the jump
As we approach year end, we need everyone’s help to finish the fiscal year strong. Our goal is to achieve our forecast for the month of September. Based on the hours that are currently projected…we are falling short of that goal.
As a result, we have asked all Client Service Delivery professionals (including partners, senior managers and managers) to increase their chargeable hours in the month of September. With respect to seniors and associates, we are asking each of you to work an additional 32 hours in the month of September. We recognize this may result in overtime hours for some individuals
I encourage you…to make sure all chargeable hours for September are reflected. The amount reflected…will be increased by 32 hours to arrive at your goal. Please work with your managers to determine the best way to utilize this additional time in a productive manner.
We encourage you to delay any non-charge activity until October, assuming there are no required deadlines. This will help maximize our chargeable hours
At least they’re kind enough to “recognize this my result in overtime hours”. Tax associates probably won’t have any problem coming up with the extra hours but as for the rest of you, we’d love to hear your feelings on your extra four days of work in September.
UPDATE, 7:46 am: Our understanding is that this email was sent to audit professionals in the New York Office but judging by the comments, other offices have been put on notice to squeeze in some extra time for September. If you’ve received a similar email for your practice or office, shoot us the details.
Our post from yesterday re: PwC’s concern over your consumption of high fructose corn syrupy beverages has struck a nerve with some.
So, being big believers in striking while the iron is hot, we thought we’d tell you that about a tip we received telling us that KPMG has also recently raised the price of soda in their offices from 50 cents to 75 cents.
Thriftiness continued, after the jump
We also learned that any perks, luncheons, birthday cakes, etc., etc. that do not benefit the entire office have been eliminated. Gourmet coffee machines apparently still remain because the coffee drinkers will not settle for freeze-dried Taster’s Choice.
Bottom line seems to be one of two things: 1) The firms are squeezing pennies until Lincoln’s beard pops off or B) The powers that be are faux-concerned about the reality of you sitting on your asses for 12+ hours a day and are attempting to get you to cut down on the calories.
Discuss your firm’s favorite cost cutting measure, unique revenue ideas, or your plans for losing the Big 4 fifteen in the comments.
Because some of you are obviously jonesing for it, we’ve got some updated details on this week’s Radio Station bloodbath:
• Dallas Somewhere between 30-40
• Silicon Valley Between 20-30
• Kansas City Five staff – Two associates, three SA’s and three in client service support
Still no final word on New York. Shall we just call it 50?
Awhile back, we mentioned how KPMG didn’t seem so concerned about the appearance of independence. Well now it appears that P. Dubs might be getting a little self-righteous about the whole issue or they’re just bent out of shape that the Radio Station swiped the Rentokil audit by lowballing the proposal:
More, after the jump
KPMG’s arrangement was able to shave 30% from Rentokil’s audit, but it was the manner in which the firm brought about the cost saving that raised eyebrows. Audit guidelines warn against two threats when an external auditor takes on internal audit work. The first threat, known as the self-review threat, warns against the external auditor relying heavily on its own internal audit work. The second threat, known as the management threat, warns against the internal auditors assuming the role of management.
KPMG says it’s totally fine because that’s where the client’s interest was:
KPMG said it was fielding interest from potential clients. ‘Unequivocally we have found interest,’ says Oliver Tant, KPMG’s UK head of audit. ‘We will be discussing it with more people, undoubtedly as will other competitors.’
PwC, at present, seems to be taking the highroad, even though we’re pretty sure they think Rentokil are a bunch of cheapskates:
PwC, would not be drawn on its opinion on the Rentokil audit, citing its policy not to comment on clients, but did say: ‘It is vital that we maintain our independence from – and in no way are seen to act as part of – management infrastructure…Internal audit can often be regarded as acting as part of that infrastructure.’
Typical passive-aggressive accounting rhetoric but it still sounds like P. Dubs is calling bullsh*t on KPMG. Feel free to defend your firm’s position by whatever means necessary (we suggest low blows and name calling) or get on your soap box about independence.
Debate rages on over KPMG’s cut-price Rentokil audit deal [Accountancy Age]
Akin to talking gun control at the RNC, we’re here to dispense more red meat.
Here are the final numbers that we have for select cities:
Gory details, after the jump
• San Fran –
9 17 total, at least 8 SA’s
• Dallas – 16
• Chicago –
“close to 15“ Between 30-35 50
• NYC – Someone help us out. We know it’s big but we haven’t gotten any specifics
• Louisville – 3, including a 9th year Senior Manager
• LA – 18, 6 associates, 10 SA’s, and two managers.
Why such good details on LA? Here’s a tip we received:
how do I know this so precisely? Because today our office also sent out an email notification of a staff meeting tomorrow to discuss what happened, and the email shows the names of everyone in the audit practice it was sent to. All lay offs were left out of the email. Way to be sensitive KPMG. Within a day, our whole practice knows the names of everyone who was let go. Also, Orange County office had 10 total lay offs in external audit. For a smaller office, that was quite significant.
See yesterday afternoon’s post for additional cities that we didn’t get final numbers for. If you’ve got the details, either post them in the comments or send us the bodycount to firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE, 1:54 pm: Word is that the remaining Klynveldians in San Fran will also have an awkward meeting re: yesterday’s bloodbath. We’d ask you to submit audio/video of the proceedings if possible.
UPDATE, 5:47 pm: Two managers in Oklahoma City down.
UPDATE, August 26, 11:29 am: One lonely SA in Bodymore, Murdaland and two associates in Boise, ID.
Four weeks severance, termination date of September 1st, not performance related. Cities reporting bodies include: New York, Hartford, Dallas, Kansas City, Chicago, Indianapolis, and Cleveland. We’ve heard all levels have taken a hit, although it varies by city. We haven’t gotten any confirmation of partners being bought out at this point.
West coast cities have yet to confirm victims since last night’s comments.
If you’ve got final numbers on your office or any other details we didn’t discuss here, shoot us an email: email@example.com.
KPMG representatives had no comment.
UPDATE 4:11 pm: San Fran reports at least seven victims, six of which are SA’s.
UPDATE 2, 6:16 pm: San Fran updated to nine total, eight SA’s. Other cities reporting layoffs: Boston, Houston, and Louisville.
Received word last night that a known executioner (and we’re assuming others) at the Dallas office has reserved several conference rooms from 7 am to 3 pm today and that some had already received emails setting up with their meetings last night. Let us know when the shooting starts in your office and drop us any details, including where you’re getting bombed tonight. Go with God (and for the atheists, just go).
We’re going to briefly remind you about the hammer that is going to drop on some unlucky Klynveldians tomorrow.
So far it sounds like there has been blood shed in Dallas, Indianapolis, and New York but no details on severance and it sounds like only second year associates have gotten shown the door so far.
If you’re one of the KPMG casualties, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and give us the gory details: severance, number laid off, lunging across the desk, did the partner you met with wear an executioner’s mask? Tell us everything.
Last week we learned about KPMG’s latest effort to do some belt tightening for the last two months of their fiscal year. These penny pinching plans included, most notably, filling your stockings with coal before winter.
On Thursday of last week a lot of the Kylnveldians, mostly in the Northeast, had not received the gracious and long winded email. Our suspicions at that time were that Tim Flynn and Co. were reconsidering the butchering of time honored tradition of drunken idiocy on company dime.
More, after the jump
Turns out out we were half right. It was noted in the comments and we received several tips that the Radio Station did indeed cave on their grand idea of not letting traveling partners and professionals expense their lunches “since this is a meal that one would buy during the workday regardless of location.”
If we were to guess, this would have been #2 on the list of the new policies that garnered most of your wrath. Well, you must have let them know because the firm then came out with this:
after hearing feedback from many of you about the short-term change to meal reimbursement policy, the firm has decided that for now the existing meal reimbursement policy provides the appropriate level of flexibility and room for judgement when it comes ot managing the cost of meals while traveling….
So FOR NOW your ass better get used to value menus and $5 footlongs because we’re guessing that’s the meaning of “ROOM FOR JUDGMENT“. If there has been more correspondence from up on high about this particular issue send us the details or discuss in the comments. On the other hand, folks in the Northeast, if you’re still in the dark, let us know.
Oh, and Santa Claus is still not coming to town.
Nothing like a good (alleged) fraud story to finish up our week, eh?
Just in case you missed the story, it appears as though KPMG UK will be a tad busy in the near term trying to unravel this little mess. I suppose that’s good news for the kids working those 4 day work weeks across the pond, though the same cannot be said for JPM, who is facing an unlimited fine as a result.
UK’s Daily Mail:
More, after the jump
The FSA has called in a top firm of accountants to examine the bank’s London activities after evidence emerged that JP Morgan had mixed customers’ funds with its own.
Banks are meant to maintain a strict segregation of their own money from that which is held on behalf of clients.
But JP Morgan managers in London discovered last month that client and bank money used for trading futures and options – a way of speculating on movements in currencies, share prices and commodities – had apparently been put into a single pool.
This isn’t the first time regulatory authorities have busted firms for pooling client money and using it to play craps in the market but it is certainly the first time the FSA has gone after a big player like JP Morgan.
JP Morgan claims an “operational error” in their options and futures arm dating as far back as 2002 caused the “mix-up” though we aren’t sure we buy that line. “We identified an operational error that was corrected within 24 hours of its discovery. No clients have lost money as a result of this error and we are cooperating fully with the FSA,” a spokeswoman for the bank said.
Sure, okay. Just because no clients lost any money doesn’t make it legal. It’s now up to KPMG to slog through 7 years of transactions (at JPM’s expense) to see if any clients missed out on interest due as a result. Prelim findings are due to the FSA by the end of August, with a final report expected in September.
Have fun, KPMG UK!
Continuing our coverage of Fill’s quest to not finish second in the PGA Championship, our hero has finished up his second round and he shot another round of +2. That puts him at +4 for the tournament and in serious danger of missing the cut and possibly being included in the rumored upcoming reduction in force.
Check out the latest 9 box, after the jump
Fill, this is going to be a difficult conversation. Obviously this isn’t where we’d like to see you. We had high expectations for you. Maybe too high. We have to make a lot of hard choices when there are so many talented people out there. Fill, we don’t want you to wear the Radio Station hat any more.
While there are several hackers out there the projected cut is currently at +2, so we don’t like the chances of seeing the Radio Station hat on the weekend. Got anything you want to say Fill? Tell us in the comments.
As if you didn’t need another excuse to go on a three day bender, we received a tip that audit professionals will be getting laid off at the Dallas Radio Station next Tuesday, the 18th. Tax professionals will get their turn in September, most likely after the filing deadline.
Word is that no one level is safe as the cuts will be made at all levels including partners.
did not immediately respond to our request for declined to comment.
If you’ve got more information on the sitch or you’ve heard similar rumors for other offices, drop us a line at email@example.com.
We’re upping our coverage of
Phil Fill Mickelson’s quest to not come in second place at this year’s PGA Championship.
In the spirit of performance review season, we thought we’d see where
Phil Fill would fall on the illustrious Radio Station 9 box.
See the initial ranking, after the jump
As you can see,
Phil Fill is right where he needs to be. We’d like to see him step up his game and shoot for that EP though. Right now we hear that he’s +1 at the turn for his first round. We’ll update you tomorrow morning with his first round results and his updated ranking.
Feel free to approve or disapprove of the current rating and give us your suggestions about where you think
Phil Fill should be.
Because we’re big fans of shameless promotion, we’re starting our coverage of the quest of the Radio Station’s walking billboard, Phil Mickelson, to win the PGA Championship. He’s teeing off circa now, so drop what you’re doing and get to at TV Radio Station duffer geeks.
Phil won the tournament back in 2005 but gets lots of attention for being a bridesmaid at the U.S. Open five times. Most notably for our purposes, he has not won any majors since he signed with the Radio Station back in early 2008.
No word on where Phil is falling on the 9 box rating system or if his visions of sugar plums have been dashed but if someone could put us in touch with his performance counselor or get us a copy of his contract with KPMG, that would be great.
We’re getting mixed reports on the email going out to Radio Station employees about canceling the one thing to look forward to in the month of December.
We heard the email got sent out to some offices in the West but also that New York hasn’t heard a peep so we’re getting suspicious if the big dogs in NY are reconsidering their Grinchiness.
Let us know whether or not your visions of sugar plums have been dashed or not in the comments.
In a demonstration of spreading the wealth or possibly just a strategic international ploy, KPMG Europe is adding seven new nations to its firm.
Regardless of the motivation, it clearly demonstrates that the most positive news that the
Scrooge American firm is capable of announcing is that it is ruining everyone’s holiday season prior to the start of football season so you have plenty of time to get over it.
KPMG Europe will add Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Georgia to its stable of bean counters. They join the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands and will increase the Europe revenues to over £4bn which probably could pay for a few parties (but not full bar) in the States.
KPMG Europe spreads wings to take in seven nations [Accountancy Age]
To round out the year, KPMG is kindly reminding everyone about the SPEND SMART initiatives implemented this year and with just two months to go in the fiscal year, the Radio Station has decided that some additional belt tightening is necessary.
We understand that the email we received will be sent out by each Office Managing Partner to each individual office. We have not received confirmation that employees have received the email.
We are reaching out to KPMG for co rong>See the Firm’s statement below.
According to the email obtained by GC, Radio Station’s leadership has decided that all offices will suspend this year’s holiday office parties. Instead offices will host “community service events” between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. We find this commendable that the firm wants to give back in this fashion but we imagine some of you probably would probably still like to get your holiday party drink on.
Some other cost cutting measures for August and September include:
Check out the entire text of the email, after the jump
To: All Partners and Employees
From: ANY OMP
Additional SPEND SMART Initiatives
First, I want to thank everyone in the ANY office for following the many SPEND SMART initiatives that the firm has implemented this year. Your compliance with the firm’s travel and meetings policies, as well as careful management of other costs, has enabled the firm to reduce our expenses by hundreds of millions of dollars.
In spite of some indicators that the economy may have hit its lowest point, businesses everywhere are still feeling the impact of the economic crisis, and that includes our firm. And while there are indications that the economy is at the beginning of a recovery, no one can accurately predict how long that will take.
With that in mind, the Operations Committee has identified some short-term cost management initiatives for travel and meetings that–if implemented immediately–can help us begin FY 2010 in a stronger position. Those measures are outlined below and remain in effect until October 1, unless otherwise noted.
During the next two months, the firm will be reviewing all of our Time and Expense policies to align with our cost structure for FY 2010 and beyond. However, we’ve made one decision now that will impact the way we celebrate the holiday season.
Community Service Event
The end of the calendar year is traditionally the time when KPMG offices hold parties to celebrate the holiday season. A great deal of time and planning go into these events and they are a great opportunity for all of us to get together in a festive atmosphere. However, given the impact of the economy on so many people’s livelihoods, people throughout the firm–at all levels–questioned whether there would be other ways we could create this same sense of community during the holiday season while giving back to those in need. After careful thought and consideration, firm leadership has decided that all KPMG offices will suspend this year’s holiday office parties and instead host a community service event between Thanksgiving and the New Year.
You may recall that last year, in lieu of a holiday gift, the firm donated a full week of meals to families in need through an organization called Feeding America. In total, we donated 1.6 million meals in the communities where we live and work.
This is a tremendous way for all of us to come together to help make a meaningful difference for people in need during the holiday season. You’ll be hearing more about this effort and how you can get involved later this fall.
In the meantime, please do all you can to follow the SPEND SMART guidelines we announced in October and the additional initiatives I’ve outlined below.
Meetings and Travel
· Additional Travel Restrictions – Airfare is one of our largest travel expenses. Currently, our policy provides partners and employees with a choice of airlines when traveling. Until October 1, the travel team will book the lowest cost flight for your destination and travel times, regardless of the airline. We also ask that you continue to limit non-client travel as much as possible, and verify the criticality of all international travel.
· Car Service – Until October 1, car service may only be used when a taxi or one’s own car is not available. We also ask that you use taxis for transportation to and from airports, rather than a car service. If taxi service is not available in your city or area, or the cost of using a taxi exceeds that of using a car service, a car may be used. We will continue to honor our car service policy for employees required to work past 8:00 p.m. during winter and 9:00 p.m. in the summer; however, we expect that during August and September the need for this service will be rare. Click here for information about our transportation policy.
· Meal Reimbursements – During August and September, we are putting the following policies in place regarding meal reimbursements:
Lunch – Lunch for partners and employees while traveling will not be reimbursed since this is a meal that one would buy during the workday regardless of location. We will continue to reimburse lunch meetings with clients.
Non-client Meals – During these two months, the firm will not reimburse non-client meals held outside our offices. Meal expenses for those traveling for internal training or meetings are subject to the expense limits allowed by our meal policy. As always, team leaders should use their judgment when ordering meals for groups working overtime.
Cell Phones, PDAs, and Other
· One Mobile Device per Person – Effective August 1, we will no longer reimburse individuals for both a cell phone and a TreoTM or Blackberry®. People who have both devices have the option of adding phone service to their PDA. If you wish to keep both devices, you will be charged the full price of service for one. In addition, per our existing policy, we will deduct $20 a month from everyone using firm-supplied cell phones or PDAs. We also encourage you to review your current plan to determine whether you need all the features to which you’ve subscribed. To learn more about the various mobile plans available to you, please click here.
· Inter-office Mail: Use Scanning and e-Fax – Going forward, we will be looking at ways we can reduce the cost of handling interoffice mail, including the frequency of delivery. In the meantime, we encourage you to make use of all the technology available within the firm to send documents between offices, including scanning documents that can then be e-mailed to colleagues or clients. When scanners are not available, make use of our e-Fax capabilities. Check with your local OneStopOps group to learn more about these services.
In closing, both the ALL partners and I want to thank all of you for your ongoing support of our SPEND SMART initiatives. Your efforts have made a difference and we continue to welcome suggestions to help our office and the firm run more efficiently.
Even more important, we want to thank you for your high-quality service to our clients. We all know that these are difficult times, but that is why our clients are depending on us to deliver our highest standards of service and professionalism.
Thank you for your continued support.
UPDATE, 5:51 pm EST: We reached out to KPMG regarding the Grinchiness and we were provided with this statement:
“Like businesses everywhere, we’re identifying cost-saving opportunities that will provide the most benefit while still allowing us to provide high quality service to our clients.”
dissecting opining on sliming P. Dubs and E&Y, we’re moving on to KPMG in round three. We’ll dispense with the pleasantries and get right to the list:
• New Century Lawsuit – This is the ball buster for KPMG. A $1 billion lawsuit filed back in April that alleges “grossly negligent audits”. This tale also includes a
smoking gun quote from an email sent from New Century engagement partner to a specialist, “As far as I am concerned, we are done. The client thinks we are done. All we are going to do is piss everybody off.” We’re not sure if it’s possible to take that out of context.
Check out the rest of the Radio Station’s list, after the jump
• Madoff Exposure – Per D&O Diary, the Radio Station is named as a defendant in at least ten lawsuits as a result of auditing the Madoff feeder funds.
• Overtime Lawsuits – Listed as a defendant in five lawuits.
• Layoffs, Pay Freezes, etc. – Allegedly, the word that pay was being frozen was slowly leaked from the top on down. Layoffs have been pretty steady for the last twelve months including rounds in November and March in the audit and advisory practices. In addition, the ubiquitous trend of performance rating cuts is in full effect, and we just learned that by the this time last year, audit interns had heard yay or nay on receiving a full time offer. That probably makes for some
nervous intoxicated co-eds.
• Miscellaneous – Phil Mickelson, the Radio Station’s walking billboard, was a bridesmaid at the U.S. Open for a
third fourth fifth time.
Done-zo. Anything else you want to see tacked on? Drop us the dirt at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get it in for the final tab.
The Radio Station is throwing caution to the wind in the UK, accepting a new arrangement with Rentokil Initial, that brings out the ghosts of accounting scandals past. Under the new agreement, the firm will serve as both the external auditors and take on internal audit work, working alongside the client’s internal audit staff.
Prior to the new agreement with KPMG, Rentokil’s external auditor was PwC and internal audit services were provided by Deloitte.
Last we checked, audit textbooks still state that external auditors are to be independent in fact and appearance but KPMG UK must have got their hands on an edition that was printed in auditor bizarro world.
Rentokil’s KPMG deal raises eyebrows [FT.com]
The SEC sent a team to India in order to make sure that everything was hunky-dory re: Satyam. The three-member team met with Ashwani Kumar, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director, and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The SEC also met with the KPMG team that is responsible for restating Satyam’s balance sheet.
No details were given on any of the meetings but we imagine that the SEC/KPMG meeting went something like this:
SEC Bureaucrat: Hello KPMG India.
KPMG Paper Pusher: Hello SEC America.
SEC: How are things progressing?
KPMG: Oh this is a blast. Restating balance sheets is a dream job. We were just talking about how we wish we could work in the States so we could do stuff like this all the time.
SEC: What do you mean?
KPMG: Well, there seems to be much more fraud and other problems in the United States than here in India so the need for forensic accountants would be extremely high.
SEC: Are you insinuating that the Commission is unable to detect fraud?
KPMG: Well there have been some signficant fraud over there lately that you guys pretty much ignored or missed. Either way, it makes for a high demand for forensic accountants. Plus, we hear that the guy who tried warning you about the Madoff fraud has issues but still won an award.
SEC: This meeting is over. Keep us informed.
Satyam scam: SEC team meets CBI, SEBI, KPMG officials [The Hindu Business Line]
Forgive us for being a little behind on this, we’re still twisting arms out there:
On July 15th, the Radio Station announced the promotion of 874 new Senior Managers and Managers. This compares to 1,228 that got the bump last year.
Some might say that there were less people up for promotion this year, hence the drop. Others might say “that’s because I got the axe and now live on government cheese”.
Click on the image below for a full-size view of the announcement (please note the crookedness as a sign of authenticity). Anyway, congrats to all the new
taskmasters managers at KPMG!
In probably the most shocking news of the day, KPMG’s “fraud barometer” reports that the number of fraud cases in UK courts in the first six months of the year are the highest since the firm started issuing the report, 21 years ago.
Here in the states, the big sexy fraud gets all the attention but there is plenty of small fraud to go around. Plus, the bright side is, we’ve haven’t seen anything yet:
“These figures are bad, but the worst is yet to come,” Hitesh Patel, a partner at KPMG, said. “It will be a number of years before the impact of the recession fully feeds through into the fraud statistics.”
So our advice would be for any of you that are nervous about layoffs, look into getting transferred to the forensic accounting practice. You won’t be out of work any time soon.
Record total of fraud cases in court – and worse to come [FT.com]