The nerve

“Robert Herz has had a more interesting career than any accountant deserves.”

We probably don’t need to remind you that today is Bob Herz’s last day at the FASB. It’s a sad day indeed for many that have been addressing their poignant comment letters to Roberto for the last eight years.

How Herz is celebrating his last day up in Norwalk isn’t immediately known but we’re sure it involves making crank calls to the American Bankers Association, Barney Frank’s face on a dartboard and plenty of cake.


Not so surprisingly, there’s not much mention of Bob’s last day out there except for cheeky article over at the Economist that informs us of precisely nothing new but manages to give Bob a backhanded compliment and take a major swipe at every single accountant on Earth:

Robert Herz[…]has had a more interesting career than any accountant deserves. He began his tenure as chairman of America’s Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in 2002, dealing almost immediately with the fallout from the Enron and WorldCom scandals, which had been abetted by accountants. He was due to end it on October 1st, a sudden departure for undefined personal reasons, after a crisis also partly pinned on the profession.

Accountants “deserve” boring careers? Their choice of a profession automatically merits a long drab livelihood that involves choice of pen color, whether or not to upgrade the 10-key calculator on their desk and auditing Excel formulas? Forget about the rest of us for a minute; there are people who are ashamed to share humanity with Herz. It’s the man’s last day. Way harsh, Economist.

Beancounter there, done that [The Economist]

Some French Guy Still Trying To Tell the U.S. What to Do Re: IFRS

Look, pal. We get that you’re anxious to slap these sets of accounting rules together like an IKEA ottoman. We also get that you and a certain knight want – nay – need the RW&B to be on board.

But we don’t know who you’re trying to boss here. See, we’re fairly certain you’d be speaking German if it wasn’t for us. Furthermore, in case you haven’t noticed, we like dragging things out until the last possible minute. Or just ignoring things until we have a giant mess on our hands and then we try cleaning up. Why would we treat IFRS any different?


We understand it’s a new century, millennium and you guys have a rough go in the World Cup but you can give it a rest.

We’ll get to IFRS when we’re good and ready and just because today is Bob Herz’s last day at the FASB doesn’t mean you need to get all anxious about it:

The US is due to make a decision about whether fully buy in to international standards in the latter half of next year. There has been speculation that the appointment of a new chairman for the US standard setter, FASB, could determine which way the world’s biggest economy will go on international standards.

In a speech yesterday to a conference organised by European financial think tank EUROFI, Barnier welcomed the involvement of the US in the Basel talks on financial regulation. But he added that the US should not part company with IFRS.

“It’s essential that we adopt the same prudential framework. I say this very simply, we cannot afford to take the risk of divergence in this area. And this is also the case for accounting standards,” he said.

EU chief urges US to buy into IFRS [Accountancy Age]

Analysts Aren’t Concerned About SEC Probe of Vermont Hippies’ Revenue Recognition Policies

Somewhat related: It’s National Coffee Day. Does the SEC have no sense of timing?

Shares of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc (GMCR.O) fell as much as 18 percent on Wednesday, a day after it said U.S. regulators made an inquiry into some of its revenue recognition practices and its relationship with a vendor, which analysts said was M.Block & Sons.

However, most analysts believe Green Mountain’s accounting policies are sound.

“We are comfortable with Green Mountain’s revenue recognition policy, the fact that it does not have control over M. Block & Sons, unquestioned management integrity and strong auditors (PricewaterhouseCoopers),” Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Mitchell Pinheiro said.

At least this analyst knows the name of the auditors. We’re looking straight you, Dick Bové.

Green Mountain roasted on SEC probe; analysts unfazed [Reuters]

Famous Last Words

“The lawsuit is a bunch of BS. They’re throwing everything at me. I’m not afraid of the IRS.”

~ William Alexander, on allegations brought against him by the IRS.

Citigroup Blackballs Analyst Claiming the Bank’s DTAs Should Be Written Down

Fox Business Network’s ace news-breaker Charlie Gasparino reports that Citigroup’s management team, including CEO Vikram Pandit and CFO John Gerspach will not meet with CLSA banking analyst Mike Mayo since he’s been telling investors that the big C should be writing down their $50 billion in deferred tax assets.

Carlito reports that Mayo states that this refusal to write down the DTAs amounts to “cooking the books by inflating its earnings through an accounting gimmick.”

Simple question from Mayo via CG, “I’d like to know why all my competitors get meetings with Pandit and the key people there and I don’t.” It’s not like the guy is one of the top banking analysts in the entire world. It’s not like Citigroup has a solid track record of transparent financial reporting. Or did everyone forget that C has the U.S. Treasury as its backstop?

The KPMG audit team can weigh in on this at any time. Or just email us the details.

Analyst: Citigroup is Cooking the Books [FBN]

Ex-BofA CFO Would Appreciate It if Andrew Cuomo Got His Name Right

Andrew Cuomo must be feeling pretty good about his chances at becoming Governor of New York, even with some new competition entering the race.

However, we came across a little mistake that could worry voters that Drew doesn’t really pay attention to the little things that matter. Like people’s names.


You’d think that if Cuomo was going to traipse all over town throwing allegations at people, he’d at least know what those people’s names are.

Case in point, the first line of the response from former CFO (and current consumer banking CEO) Joe Price had to go to the trouble of pointing out that his name is not, in fact, “Joseph,” it is “Joe.”

Talk about a low blow, Cuomo. You think you can run Albany and just get people’s names wrong? They’ve threatened to shut down the whole government for less than that.

Hey, Cuomo, The Name’s Joe, Not Joseph [Charlotte Business Journal]

Koss Sues Grant Thornton, Blames Firm’s Assignment of Newbie Auditors

Well! You might have thought that Koss would just handle this Sue Sachdeva situation like gentlemen headphonesmiths but you would have thought wrong!

Koss is suing S-squared and Grant Thornton for their respective roles in the alleged embezzlement of $31 million from the Brew Town company.

While it sounds like , that won’t protect her or Chipman & Co. from the wrath of Koss. But one thing is for sure, despite the lawsuits and whatnot, this is not the company’s fault. Just ask Koss’ attorney Michael Avenatti, “I’m confident the company will be exonerated.”


Why? Because
Grant Thornton threw a few young associates on the engagement, that’s why!

Koss hired one of the best accounting firms in the world, Grant Thornton, and should have been able to rely on Thornton’s audits to uncover wrongdoing, Avenatti said. The suit against the auditing firm says auditors assigned to Koss were not properly trained.

The lawsuit lists hundreds of checks that Sachdeva ordered drawn on company accounts to pay for her personal expenses. She disguised the recipients — upscale retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Marshall Fields — by using just the initials. But the suit says Grant Thornton could have ascertained the true identity of the recipients by inspecting the reverse side of the checks, which showed the full name.

Forget the fact that the CEO was also vice chairman, chief operating officer, president and chief financial officer. Oh, and he sat on the audit committee at another company. Apparently Koss wanted GT partners auditing those cash accounts rather than implement anything that even closely resembles an internal control system.

Grant Thornton, meanwhile, is still sticking to the boilerplate statement as reported in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, “We remain confident that we have met all of our professional obligations and that our work complied with professional standards.”

Sigh. Of course no one wants to be responsible, so let’s decide for them. Let’s get a show of hands:

It’s worth mentioning that the lawsuit comes just a few short days before Koss’ tardy restated financials are due. If the company doesn’t cough them up, the Nasdaq will banish them like they’ve got lice.

Koss sues former executive, auditor over alleged embezzlement [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]

Marin County Accuses Deloitte of, Among Other Things, Using ‘Neophytes’ on SAP Project

Deloitte is being sued by Marin County in California, who is alleging fraud by misrepresenting its “skills and experience.” In other words, the County says that D used their ERP project as more or less a training ground for its newbie consultants. And no client likes it when you bring the blades of grass on site. They can’t even turn on their laptops without causing some sort of scene, amiright?


Channel Web has some of the particulars:

The County in April 2005 hired Deloitte to implement its SAP ERP system. However, the County alleged in the court document, “rather than providing the County with SAP and public sector expd the County’s SAP project as a trial-and-error training ground to teach its consultants — many of them neophytes — about SAP for Public Sector software, all at the county’s expense.”

Plus! The County claims Deloitte promised their very best people. From the complaint: “Deloitte further represented that for the County’s SAP implementation, Deloitte had assembled a team of its ‘best resources’ who had ‘deep SAP and public sector knowledge.’ ”

A Big 4 firm promising their best and brightest on the job in an RFP? There’s a shocker. “Best” being relative, as we all know but Marin County (obviously not familiar with a Big 4 sales pitch) must have been expecting a team to fly in from hyperspace that could slap this thing in lickity.

Thankfully, Michael Krigsman explains over at ZDNet that this isn’t exactly rare:

1. The court filing describes sales practices that are common through the consulting and systems integration industry.

For example, the complaint alleges that Deloitte committed to “dedicate our best resources and bring tailored implementation strategies to meet [Marin’s] long-term needs.” Many IT customers complain their system integrators do not follow through on such commitments and use inexperienced labor in attempts to reduce their own costs and increase profits.

We’d be so bold to say that this true of many Big 4 engagements, whatever the service line. Newbies have to get their teeth cut somewhere – why not on a public service job where money obviously grows on trees?

Deloitte isn’t impressed with this gnat of a lawsuit, claiming that they did exactly what they were supposed to do (not to mention to put up with the amateurs at MC that have zilch ERP experience) and the system was working just fine when they left:

As stated previously, we fulfilled each and every one of our obligations under the contract, as evidenced three years ago when all of our work was approved by the County officials responsible for the project. To be clear, the SAP (NYSE:SAP) software was working properly when we completed our work in November 2007. Not only is the complaint without merit, but we are filing our own claim against the County for breach of agreement and unpaid invoices. Although we are confident that we will prevail in court, it remains our belief that this dispute can and should be resolved in a more logical fashion that benefits the County and its taxpayers.

So Deloitte gets a little huffy basically saying, “Suck it, Marin County. MBAs love Deloitte. OH, and btw, you owe us some money,” but ultimately wants to keep things civilized for the sake of the taxpayers. Let’s hope it stays childish just for the sake of entertainment purposes. Taxpayers in California are f—ed anyway.

Marin County complaint against Deloitte Consulting on failed SAP project

California County Sues Deloitte For Fraud In SAP ERP Project [Channel Web]
Marin County sues Deloitte: Alleges fraud on SAP project [IT Project Failures/ZDNet]