March Madness

Going Concern March Madness: Ultimate Tech Showdown

Once upon a time, our former dear leader Caleb — who is not exactly known as the pinnacle of red-blooded, sports-loving American male — got the bright idea to gift the accounting profession with its very own March Madness competition. Although it was wildly popular those first two years, it also ended in embarrassment for […]

This Poor Guy Is More Bummed Than Anyone at KPMG About Billion Dollar Brackets

Remember when KPMG reminded its employees that they — and their immediate families/baby mamas/dogs — were ineligible to participate in the Yahoo/Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge because KPMG was serving as "independent observer" to the contest? And remember how angry that made you if it affected you? Deadspin has the story of a guy […]

Frustrated EY Employee Vandalizes Office Breakroom in Protest Over March Madness Blocking

We're getting word some people are taking March Madness really, really serious, guys: EY Houston asking us to post our brackets in the breakroom I think you should tell us how you really feel.

(UPDATE) Some KPMGers and Their Kin a Tad Outraged They’re Missing Out on a Billion Dollars

We've put out a call for a copy of the email, which appears to be internal (hey, maybe YOU can share with the class), but until then, let's take a look at what has Klynveldians all worked up this time: WTF!! KPMG employees cannot enter in the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge 🙁 "Quicken Loans has […]

How to Use Excel to Manage March Madness

File this under: things you must know as a spreadsheet jockey and sports fan.

Big 4 Firms Making Necessary March Madness Preparations as Usual

It's that time of year again! No, not busy season, but time for the pre-March Madness reminder from TPTB that company bandwidth should be saved for client service and only client service. EY appears to be first out of the gate with this email that allegedly got sent around this week: As a follow up […]

One Moss Adams Office Got Ready for March Madness By Dressing Up Like Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk

Gonzaga University is relevant for about ten days a year or so. I suppose since the new Pope is Jesuit that might change things, but I doubt it. I have nothing personal against the University or the people that go there; one of my favorite people from my hometown went to law school there and […]

BDO Chief Technology Officer Asks Everyone To Give Up Their God-given Right to Stream NCAA Basketball Tournament Games at Work

A deckhand on Captain Jack's ship sent us a copy of an email that will either be heeded begrudgingly or completely ignored: From: [BDO Chief Technology Officer] To: [Everyone] Subject: March Madness… March Madness means many things to many people.  Basketball, spring and snow in Michigan and APT & taxes here at BDO.  With that […]

Going Concern March Madness Upset Alert: 3 of the Big 4 Under Pressure

We’ve got lots of Cinderellas in our midst friends. With 12 hours of voting to go in the first-ever Going Concern March Madness: Coolest Accounting Firm (“GCMMCAF”) bracket, Ernst & Young, Deloitte and KPMG are all in danger of being upset by BKD, Rothstein Kass and Crowe Horwath respectively.


As you no doubt noticed, #1 seed PwC is cruising along in their match-up with Reznick Group but aside from that, how is it that we could have such a dancity accounting firm bracket dance? Glad you asked because the consummate GC commenter, Another exKPMGer, has a theory:

I would wager serious money the cause for this is that the people who work for the other 3 firms, for the most part, didn’t vote for their own firm because they know their jobs are bullshit and want to give no sign of submission to their firm. Whereas the folks from PwC couldn’t click on themselves fast enough to prove how awesome they are. I hear they’re installing mirrors in every cubicle with the words etched at the bottom “PwC is AWESOME” so that you can stare at yourself all day and think about the awesomeness that you’re a part of.

There doesn’t appear to be any empirical evidence to support the theory at this time but supporters and debunkers are welcome to comment at the validity of this statement. And of course if you haven’t voted, jump over to the original post and get on this.

Presenting Going Concern March Madness: The Coolest Accounting Firm

Now that the Sweet Sixteen is set, the general consensus here at Going Concern is to take advantage of the combination of March Madness and the plight of busy season. Accordingly, we bring you the first ever edition of GC March Madness: Coolest Accounting Firm. Inspired by our sister from another mister, ATL, we’ve decided that we’re looking to the GC readers to determining which accounting firm is the coolest of the cool by way of a democratic process but utilizing the seasonally appropriate method of a bracket. We opted with the prestige rankings determined by Vault to determine the seeds because…well, Vault has a prestige ranking and if we tried to come with a similar list ourselves, there would be rampant speculation of bias that we’re not prepared to address (plus we’re pulling this together on fairly short notice). If you don’t like your firm’s seed – or your firm is shut out of the tournament altogether – we suggest you speak up in next year’s Vault rankings.

Now, then. On with the bracket.


Obviously there are many compelling narratives here. Will the Big 4 be the Final 4? Will Rothstein Kass surprise everyone like they did in the premiere Vault Ranking? If McGladrey is victorious will they celebrate with punch and cake? So get your vote on and leave your thoughts on the match-ups or each firm’s chances (please consult your local bookie for actually odds) in the comments. And naturally, we’re rooting for underdogs in every single match-up (we’re looking straight at you, Reznick and BKD people)

The vote launched at 6 am this morning and it will close promptly at 11:59 pm ET on Tuesday. We’ll then update you with the winners at some point on Wednesday and then launch voting for the next round and so on and so forth. Voting for each match-up appears on the following pages. And don’t even think of skipping the match-ups that don’t involve your firm; A) that makes you a loser and B) you’re clearly working too hard.

Let’s get to the voting, shall we?

Starting with PwC vs. Reznick Group.

Next up is unfounded rumored GT merger partner Moss Adams and perpetual Fortune lister, Plante & Moran.

Moving on to aforementioned GT vs. CG.

Klynveld v. Crowe

The most interesting accounting firm in the world vs. the firm now known as EisnerAmper.

#1 in size taking on the up-and-comer.

Mickey G’s up against Julius H. Cohn

Finally we’ve got Lehman Brothers’s auditor vs. BKD.

ESPN’s Website Deemed Not Crucial for Ernst & Young’s Non-Monetary NCAA Bracket Competition

Perhaps circumstances have changed but as of yesterday, access to the most popular and comprehensive coverage on the web will not be allowed.


Which is unfortunate since some offices appear to be supportive of some bracketing.

Are you ready for March Madness?

As part of _______________ into spring campaign, it’s time to join the festivities during the 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament. The “Madness” begins today with a non-monetary NCAA Tournament bracket competition. Everyone in the ___________ office can submit an online Tournament bracket. At the end of the Tournament, the person from each service line who picks the most winning teams will receive _____________________ (and bragging rights!).

You must complete your Tournament bracket before Thursday, March 17 __________________. Expand the section below for instructions on how to submit a bracket under your service line. During the Tournament, which concludes with the championship game on April 4, you can visit your group’s page and see how your bracket is performing compared with your service line colleagues’ brackets. If you have any questions, please contact ____________________________

Not exactly sure how you guys feel about a non-monetary competition but as far as strategy goes, since we’ve already given you access to the best strategy you can find. Of course some people are enjoying this immensely.

Nearly One in Four of Your Co-workers Is Not Down with March Madness Pools

Our friends at Vault put together a fun little survey on your gambling habits at work and, no surprise, nearly 75% of you participate in a March Madness pool. What about the remainder? Well, there are the puritanical types who probably leave Bible verses on your desk, “My office is awash in sinners. Some day a real rain will come and these cubicles will be cleansed.” But then there’s the jerks who are simply all business:

“The next time I see [colleagues using work time to focus on office pools], I’m going to put an anonymous note on all the bosses desks to make them aware” warns one respondent. (Presumably they fall into the 22 percent of respondents who disapprove of workplace betting altogether.)

If you know someone who is capable of this level of dickishness, the temptation to violently pinch them with a stapler remover is great, however we’d ask that you refrain from this until they actually make good on their threat. Of course if you impress upon them that there is a valid purpose for studying a bracket, maybe they’ll let it slide.

Here’s How This Year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Would Shake Out If It Were Based on Accounting Research Production

It’s that time of year again where thousands of Americans spend countless hours of company time researching basketball teams and agonizing over which #12 seed will pull a minor upset only to have someone from marketing, who doesn’t know a damn thing about basketball, to win the pool. It also marks the time of year when the accounting faculty at BYU puts outs their own simulated version of the tournament, played out based on the productivity of accounting researchers over the last six years.


As you can see, a lot of similar schools are making a run again this year including Texas (last year’s simulated champion) and Michigan State. If you’re interested in what this year’s non-bracketed accounting rankings are, you can check them out on the campanion research page.

Games start on Thursday tomorrow (obviously I’m not in a pool) so if you’re having trouble filling out your bracket, this seems like a good place to start. You could do a helluva lot worse when it comes to strategy.

(UPDATE, VIDEO) GW Accounting Professor Gives Qualified Opinion of Referee’s Services, Gets Ejected

Up until now, we’ve heard more about accounting professors losing their clothes (shirt, pants) than anything their tempers. But today, we learned about a prof who was expressing an expert opinion (perhaps a little too strongly) on the value of a service:

An accounting professor and high-profile supporter of the GW Athletics program was escorted from the Smith Center Saturday for verbally confronting a referee over a foul call. From his sideline seat on the court, Robert Kasmir yelled at the referee over a foul call on sophomore forward David Pellom, prompting his removal from the court by a member of the athletics department. “Basically, I told the ref he was the worst ref I’d ever seen and he wasn’t worth the $1,600 dollars they were paying him and that was it,” Kasmir said. “And then he ejected me from the game.”

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the fact that Mr Kasmir isn’t that bad of a guy:

Kasmir’s ejection came after he and his family were honored during the second half for their contributions to GW Athletics. Kasmir, who received his MBA from GW in 1974, has made at least one donation to the University ranging from $10,000 to $24,999, according to financial documents. Kasmir said the ejection would not keep him from making further donations to the University in the future.

But as for that referee, Kasmir has a very unqualified view, “I think the official should never be allowed to officiate another game in the Atlantic 10, in college basketball, in the United States.”

UPDATE: From the Post for those of you that like visuals:

Professor, donor tossed from basketball game [GW Hatchet via Deadspin]

Quote of the Day: Kansas Jayhawks Fans Can Quit Crying at Any Time | 03.22.10

“It is most accurate to say that prior to the game, most people thought that KU would win the game. Many, though, thought [that] UNI’s chance of winning was at least reasonably possible. If KU supporters didn’t think enough of UNI to … acknowledge its chance[s], it just shows they weren’t thinking.”

~ Professor David Albrecht, on why Northern Iowa’s “upset,” at least from an accounting perspective, wasn’t really an upset.

(UPDATE) Ernst & Young Doesn’t Care if You Missed Murray State Upsetting Vanderbilt

From an upset Ernster on the Left Coast:

EY Blocks all Websites with “sports” because of March Madness. People in my SoCal office are all ticked off. This sucks. First it was pandora and now it is sports websites. What is next? Lunch breaks? Bathroom breaks?


Music, sports, food, bodily functions. That seems like the right order, doesn’t it?

Since our source sounds pretty upset, this must not be an annual ritual for E&Y. It’s also not clear if this some kind of punishment for everyone showing up hungover today or if it is somehow Lehman Brothers related. Let us know if you’re blacked out at we’ll send you updates.

UPDATE, 6:43 pm: Turns out this was just temporary, THANK GOD:

It turns out there was an internal webcast about Lehman Bros so they shut down all sports websites during the webcast because it was interferring with the webcast. Sports websites are back up but there were a lot of people who were ticked off and went home to work.

Damn you Lehman Brothers! We knew it! So now the question is, what was said on the webcast? Anyone take copious notes?

Quote of the Day: March Madness Pools Are an Important Busy Season Distraction | 03.08.10

“This year of all years, the importance of camaraderie and bringing employees together is greater than ever. If people are talking about March Madness, they’re not talking about the state of the business, or the pay cuts, or the layoffs, or things like that”

~ Jonathan Shapiro, partner at labor and employment firm Fisher & Phillips, on why betting pools and even game-watching are good morale boosters.