Pleasant surprises

2011 CPA Exam Pass Rates Aren’t *That* Bad

  Well another year down, and that means another year of comparing CPA exam candidate performance to that of years' previous so the old folks can complain about how easy it was back in the day. The fine folks who own this domain and sign my checks were kind enough to provide me with a […]

Latest Madoff Lawsuit Filed Against Ernst & Young Is Refreshingly Brief

Bloomberg reports, that E&Y was sued for “negligence, malpractice and breach of contract in connection with audits of financial statements over a five- year period,” which sounds like the standard fair in these matters. The pleasant surprise being the brevity of the suit. “The two-page filing doesn’t provide any details of the allegations against Ernst & Young,” which may cause you to wonder if it’s really just a one-page lawsuit (unthinkable, I know) with the second page simply stating, “This page is intentionally left blank.” Of course the downside here (aside from another lawsuit being lumped on the pile) is that E&Y’s lawyers won’t get a chance to rack up many billable hours just yet. Which is to say, there is no downside. [Bloomberg, Earlier]

Bonus Watch ’10: KPMG Announces Mid-year and Year-end Bonuses for Exceeding Chargeable Hour Targets

Fresh off yesterday’s news of an improved FYE ’10 (and possibly more red meat!), KPMG announces their mid-year surprise. This should make busy season interesting, no?

New Above & Beyond Award for Staff Linked to Chargeable Hours
A Message from Jim Liddy, P. Scott Ozanus, and Mark Goodburn
8:11 AM ET, December 17, 2010

As we near the end of the first quarter of FY11, we are pleased to report that the firm’s business strategy is working well and yielding financial results that exceed our operating plan.

We are busy across Audit, Tax, and Advisory, with many of our client service professionals—especially staff—working particularly hard. While we are increasing our hiring efforts to meet the demand for our services, we also feel that it is important to recognize and reward outstanding efforts of our team members.

To this end, we are introducing a new Above & Beyond award that will provide all eligible Audit, Tax, and Advisory associates and senior associates who exceed chargeable hour targets with meaningful FY11 cash awards.

Above & Beyond awards will be paid in April 2011 and October 2011 and will be in addition to any year-end variable compensation or merit increases.

More details about the program, including award amounts, chargeability thresholds, and program guidelines will be communicated functionally by January 5.

The Above & Beyond award recognizes associates and senior associates for extraordinary effort while we continue to address our resource needs. And, in line with our compensation philosophy we will continue to monitor the marketplace to ensure that all our people are provided with competitive compensation that differentiates exceptional performers with superior rewards.

Our commitment to the highest-quality service to our clients requires that each one of us continues to do our best work and meet our objectives. Thanks again for your continued hard work, your outstanding contributions, and for all you do to help our firm succeed!

So, House of Klynveld pre-managers, what’s the consensus? It’s an extra bonus, paid twice, all practices are eligible and the firm will “continue to monitor the marketplace” (translation: read Going Concern) to make sure things stay competitive. It seems like a decent deal, although the award amounts are TBD. The only problem that we foresee is the time-honored tradition of some people putting in face time merely to run up their hours. Granted, budgets should help self-regulate that phenomenon but we all know how well that works.

Anyway, discuss your thoughts and let us know when you hear the award amounts.

Compensation Watch ’10: Grant Thornton Kicks Off Hanukkah

From the mailbag:

I work at GT as an associate in [a Southwest] office. Partner called to tell me i got a 1k bump to salary. It appears that GT is giving out raises in December. They are calling them market adjustments…

There seems to be confusion as to whether this is a bonus, lump sum raise, or spread out over the year. My partner told me it’ll be spread out over the year and it was a permanent raise. Others have been told it is a lump sum bonus. The new A1’s found out yesterday their starting pay was increased. I’ve talked with seniors and none of them have heard anything I know about, and they seem pretty pissed at the whole situation.

Are SAs getting blanked? Is this happening anywhere else? Inform everyone below or email us if you know the scoop.

McGladrey Gives Thanks with News of Bonuses, Extra Holidays and Babysitters

C.E. Andrews and Dave Scudder interrupted McGladrey employees regularly scheduled spreadsheets a short time ago to share all kinds of good news. For starters, Mickey G’s is letting all employees blow off December 23rd and 30th which is pretty nice. Secondly, concierge services will be available starting January 1st, as well as a new arran”http://www.sittercity.com/”>Sittercity for in-house care caregivers.

And yes, there are bonuses.

But not just the year-end bonuses, mind you. No, C to the E and Scuds heard your incessant bellyaching and in addition to the year-end pool they are implementing “a new program to provide real-time recognition and monetary rewards” for those of you that go above and beyond the call of duty.

[caption id="attachment_21691" align="alignright" width="105" caption="Scuds"][/caption]

Our tipster was pleasantly surprised and told us, “McGladrey matches PWC – well not quite but certainly more than expected.”

True, McG isn’t hosting Thanksgiving up in Minnesota Nice country to our knowledge but it seems like a nice little surprise from the punch and cake crowd.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we’d like to take time to reflect on the things we are thankful for this year. The last twelve months haven’t been easy, but we have made some important changes in our organization that will create a solid foundation for our future success. We are thankful to have made it through this time of transformation, and we are beginning to see early signs of new growth for our firms, which will be aided by our new brand, growth strategies and the improving economy.

We have only accomplished this because of your tremendous efforts, and we are grateful to lead such a dedicated group of people. Today we’re happy to share some of the things we plan to do to show our thanks to you and to help you experience our people promise.

A gift of time
We’ve asked a lot from you during the last year, and we are truly thankful for the time you’ve invested to make our firms and our clients successful. To show our gratitude, we are giving you two extra paid holidays on December 23 and 30 to relax and spend time with friends and family. If you have conflicting client obligations, you may consult with your work team leader to find alternate dates.

Support for your busy schedule
You have a lot on your plate at work and at home, and we’re pleased to offer two benefits to help offset some of the stress you might be feeling. Starting January 1, all offices will offer concierge services to help you complete a variety of errands and personal to-do’s. We also will provide access to Sittercity, a new client whose business offers a program that connects you to local in-home caregivers for your child, elder, pet or home. Look for more details and information from your regional leaders in the weeks ahead on how you can take advantage of these programs.

Recognition and rewards
We know that you’ve been wondering about the bonus pools for year end, and we want to confirm that we have planned for bonuses this year to reward eligible employees for exemplary performance in support of our firms and our clients. We’ll commit to a baseline funding level in dollars, and the pool will grow based on our year-end performance.

But you’ve told us that year-end rewards alone aren’t enough – you also want to be rewarded throughout the year for your important contributions. In January, we will be introducing a new program to provide real-time recognition and monetary rewards to those of you who go above and beyond to serve clients, develop colleagues and support our strategic objectives. It will be similar, but not identical, to our former SPOT bonus program that many of you may remember. You will be hearing more specific information about both of these plans from your region after the Thanksgiving holiday.

We are truly thankful to have you on our team, and we hope that these things help demonstrate our appreciation. They are just the beginning of more good things that will come as we continue to strengthen our business. We look forward to reconnecting with you via our quarterly webcast on December 16 to discuss the progress we’ve made so far. Watch for an invitation next week.

In the meantime, we hope you have a relaxing holiday and that you enjoy reconnecting to the people and things that are important to you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Bonus Watch ’10: PwC Announces Across the Board Mid-year Bonuses

We reported last week about a rumor that PwC would be paying bonuses and making salary adjustments this December and we now confirmation of the bonuses, courtesy of an email from PwC’s Bob Moritz.

BoMot that thanks to a solid first quarter, the firm would like spread a little wealth around in the form of $1,000 bonuses for “client service and IFS” employees who were with the firm prior to June 30, 2010 and $500 bonuses for those hired after June 30.


The firm is letting employees choose their “recognition payment” from one of the four following options:

• Net payment of $1,000/$500 included in the December 15 pay cycle.

iPad

• Visa gift card

• $1,000/$500 charitable contribution to the PwC Foundation in your name – Aka the PwC Human Fund

In addition, Roberto informed everyone that the spot and bonus pools are being increased across the firm. There was also the standard words of encouragement, repeated “thank yous” and whatnot. The email appears in its entirety below.

So, P. Dubbers – doesn’t look like a mid-year salary adjustment but it beats a sharp stick in the eye. Discuss your contentment or your undying resentment in the comments.

Recognizing your contributions
Thanks to your efforts in providing quality service to our clients, our first quarter results are showing a strong revenue increase year over year. We all should be proud of these results. We’ve supported one another, served existing clients and stakeholders at the highest levels of quality in an extremely competitive environment, and won new work–all achieved through delivering the PwC experience and the new brand promise!

Rewarding your efforts
Because your efforts helped us drive our results, we want you to share in the rewards. Last month I told you that we have taken the results of our top-line growth and have begun reinvesting in you through our holiday time off and celebrations, in-person training events, and more. To further acknowledge the role you have played in our success to date, every staff member–both client service and IFS–will receive an after-tax “recognition award.” Those hired prior to June 30, 2010, will receive $1,000. Those hired on or after June 30, 2010, will receive $500. We debated whether the recognition payment should be in the form of cash or a gift, and concluded that you should decide. So, every staff member can choose from one of the following:

An additional net payment of $1,000/$500 to be included in your December 15 pay period.

Order from several versions of the iPad (total value of iPad and gift card will depend on whether you’re eligible for the $1,000 or $500 gift award).

A Visa gift card valued at $1,000/$500 to use for the holiday season, vacationing , technology gadgets or anything you’d like to purchase for yourself or others.

We will make a $1,000/$500 charitable contribution to the PwC Foundation in your name.

More details to come shortly on each of the options above, as well as how to choose your recognition via a special website.

Increased bonus pools
In addition to the benefits we announced previously and the recognition award mentioned above, we have also decided to increase our spot and bonus pools across the firm, enabling us to better recognize and reward those individuals who are truly delivering for our clients and driving our results. As our top and bottom line continue to improve, we are committed to sharing those results with you. Shortly, you will be hearing from your LOS on how these increased bonus pools will be earned and rewarded over the remainder of FY11.

Increased hiring to help your workload
You’ve been working hard, and we recognize that monetary rewards and compensation are only part of the value you look for from your PwC experience. You have told us that personal and professional development, career advancement potential, peer and team relationships, and even having a little bit of fun along the way, are also important to you. We want you to know that we are also working hard to relieve some of your workload through our increased hiring efforts. In fact, to help lighten your load, we’ve hired more than 1,400 new experienced people in the first quarter alone (for comparison, we hired a total of 1,725 in all of FY10), increased our campus recruiting from last year and are bringing resources to our practice from around the world. Many of you played a key role in bringing in that new talent, whether referring people, interviewing potential candidates, or on-boarding new people. Again, we thank you for those efforts and encourage you to keep them up. We will continue hiring resources to support our current and future needs as we look ahead towards achieving our long term goals, while also providing appropriate work-life flexibility for you.

Thanks for all you do
Again, on behalf of the partners, I want to recognize you for all you do for your teams, our clients and other stakeholders. To me, this demonstrates the power of 30,000 people coming together to build relationships and add value for our clients and one another–delivering on that new PwC brand promise! The fact is, you are making a difference, and our collective efforts are paying off.

Join me on Wednesday!
I look forward to speaking with you on Wednesday at 3pm ET during our third firmwide Town Hall webcast. If you haven’t already, check out the blog and help your colleagues get ready to put me and the LOS leaders on the hotseat with your questions.

In the meantime, I look forward to continuing this journey of success together!

Regards,

Bob

The Latest Results from the Deloitte Mid-year Salary Adjustment

Deloitte Raises 2.0 rolls along with the latest news from New York and Cleveland. Continue to keep us updated.


New York:

I am a senior at Deloitte based in New York.
Our engagement partner and I had a brief meeting- a 8k raise for seniors.
The second year was told a $5k raise for his level.
My manager also spoke to a partner and was told a $6k raise.
Nothing for new hires and senior managers.

There will not be a retrospective adjustment to pay us more for the past two months as if the increase happened in end of August.
The increase is effective starting 11/1/2010, meaning the first paycheck to reflect the increased pay will be 11/12/2010.

Cleveland:

1st years – $0
2nd years: $2,500
All seniors: $4,000
All Managers (excluding sr. managers): $3,000
Sr. Managers and up: $0

UPDATE – Friday circa 12:50 pm:

The latest from Houston:

2nd year: $3,500
Seniors: $5,000
Manager:$6,000

Compensation Watch ’10: Deloitte Wants to Keep Up with the Joneses

Or the Kylnvelds, Ernsts, Coopers (aka “c”). Take your pick.

From the mailbag:

All staff just received a voicemail from the firm stating that they will be performing a salary adjustment for all staff 2nd year through manager as they have realized the marketplace is providing different salaries than expected and would like to stay competitive. No word on amounts, one on one meetings with partners are occurring in the next week.


This little Friday Surprise was brought to you by Carlos Sabater (listen to the full message below) and the salary adjustment will be for audit professionals only. We’ll definitely be interested to hear what comes out of the meetings next week so keep us updated.

Reactions welcome.

Listen to voice message here

Grant Thornton Was Not Impressed with the SEC’s Waffling on IFRS

We really weren’t expecting much of a reaction from accounting firms on the SEC’s conclusion that there’s no rush on the IFRS issue. The Commission statement that it supports “a single set of high quality accounting standards” was good enough for PricewaterhouseCoopers, who issued a press release the day of the announcement.


The press release sounds eerily similar to the SEC’s statement with a quote from Bob Moritz thrown in for good measure:

“PricewaterhouseCoopers continues to support the goal of moving toward a single set of high quality global accounting standards,” said PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP U.S. Chairman and Senior Partner Bob Moritz. “We believe that IFRS is in the best interest of stakeholders, including investors both here and globally. We are, therefore, encouraged by these statements from the SEC.”

So PwC is encouraged by the recent development. This isn’t shocking. P. Dubs will be on board because they don’t strike us a bunch that will rock the boat. Presumably, any a hint of discontent from the Firm could potenitally jeopardize their ubiquitous magazine list presence.

On the other hand, we were surprised to see this Tweet from Emily Chasan of Reuters that pointed us to the Grant Thornton press release that came out today.

GT was NOT IMPRESSED with the SEC’s latest commitment to non-commitment, “like many in this country and elsewhere, we were hoping that the SEC would announce a mandatory date for switching to IFRS by U.S. public companies. Instead, the Commission reaffirmed that it expected to decide in 2011, provided resolution of certain issues.”

Now in case you’re questioning GT’s sincerity in this matter, they make their case for why this feet dragging is unacceptable:

Whether the U.S. races or crawls toward IFRS could mean the difference between staying in front or falling behind. The rest of the world is moving forward, boldly. Major economies like Japan, China and India have already chosen IFRS. It is unrealistic — and risky — to think that we can stand outside looking in forever. If we don’t want our influence and opportunities stripped away, we must make sure that we keep a seat at the table.

This is probably as insubordinate as you can expect an accounting firm to get over an issue that is “largely academic” but it is refreshing to see a little public honesty out of GT.

Grant Thornton LLP statement regarding SEC and IFRS Roadmap [Press Release]
PricewaterhouseCoopers States Support for SEC Move Toward Single Set of High Quality Accounting Standards [Press Release]