Problems

Busy Season Problem of the Day: Approaching a Co-worker About Their Disgusting Bodily Functions

Over at our British sister site, AccountingWEB UK, the following problem was put to the group:

We have an employee at the practice where I work who constantly makes a pretty horrible snorting sound with the back of her throat. It happens all year but is worse when she has a cold, which she does at the moment.

Several colleagues have asked me to have a word with the partners to ask them to say something to her about it because they find it so distracting and even nauseating. Incidentally it’s an open plan office so it’s not like people can avoid hearing it.

So my question is, if I did have a word with the partners, is there anything they could actually do about it? And if not, should I tell them anyway just to get it recorded and so that I can tell my colleagues that I have had a word? Nobody feels close enough to her to talk to her quietly themselves, which would have been my instinctive first suggestion.

Okay, so after getting over the weirdness of idea of “recording” of this conversation just to prove it to your co-workers, we admit that this is serious work environment issue. We’ve all been there. That certain someone who, for whatever reason, feels necessary to dig deep in the far ranges of their physiology to get some phlegm out but just can’t seem to EXCUSE THEMSELVES to do so. Or see a doctor, because you know, there might be something seriously wrong that COULD KILL YOU.

And it doesn’t stop with the throat clearing. What about the the co-worker that sounds like Tony Soprano when they eat?

What about the dude that’s obviously enjoying those four to six sodas a day because you can hear him slurping from three cubicles away? And then there’s the subsequent burping. And not like frat boy burping; we’re talking about the gas that he tries to internalize quietly but it’s actually more annoying and disgusting than if he belched the entire alphabet. YOU FEEL ME?

So what to do? Well, first off, despite your desire to FLIP OUT and scream at the offender(s) in question, they probably aren’t even aware that they are causing you to throw up in your mouth a little bit every day. But you certainly don’t want to embarrass the person (maybe some of you do) and buying noise-canceling headphones for the entire office isn’t really economically feasible, so what’s the solution? Here are some initial thoughts:

1. Slipping he or she some Emily Post.

2. Quit your job.

3. Humming at audible levels. (We realize the risks associated with this approach but desperate times, amiright?)

4. Hiring a “personnel monitor” whose sole task is to quietly address these issues with the offender and to issue written warnings, fines and punishments depending on the repulsion level, number of individual co-worker complaints and simultaneous offenses (e.g. slurping and burping).

Seems like a good start. Now it’s your turn.

The Restatement That Never Ends: KPMG Hasn’t Received Necessary Docs for Satyam

Back in June we told you about Satyam requesting just a wee bit more time to nail down their restatement of their financial statements. It wasn’t because KPMG and Deloitte weren’t working their asses off, it was more of commitment to get things right. Putting good numbers out there, repairing broken trust, so on and so forth.

Well! The three month extension ends next month but as you might expect, there’s a bit of a problem. More specifically, KPMG is now saying that they haven’t received the documentation necessary to finish the job. Unless everyone is okay with some wild-ass guesses, in which case they can proceed.

[F]or all its documents, KPMG had to depend on the [Central Bureau of Investigation (“CBI”), which is investigating the scam.

NDTV has learnt that KPMG’s analysis of the documents don’t match with the CBI’s. There is a discrepancy between the two which amounts to over [$200 million].

CBI has based its calculations on estimates of Satyam’s assets and liabilities while KPMG says they need documentation to base their estimates.

KPMG says that they didn’t get all the documents needed to make a clear assessment which is why the accounts are likely to be re-stated full of riders.

But again, if you’re cool with some double-entry hocus-pocus, that can be arranged. There’s a merger at stake after all, “This confusion in the numbers could hold up Satyam’s merger with Tech Mahindra, which needs the go ahead from market regulators in India and the US, since Satyam is also listed in the US.”

Good luck getting that U.S. approval.

Satyam accounts restatement: KPMG’s analysis differs with CBI’s [NDTV]

Accountant Claims That She Has Trouble Controlling the Volume of Her Voice

This is understandable. We know a few people that have been accused of being “angry” when, in fact, they are just being “loud.”

Negros Occidental Provincial Accountant Merly Fortu denied on Sunday that she acted with arrogance and hostility when she met with the elected provincial government officials on July 1.

Fortu, who faced administrative charges for grave misconduct and gross insubordination for allegedly shouting at elected provincial government officials during the meeting, explained that her normal speaking voice was “a little bit louder” than others.

It is similar (albeit the opposite) to having shy/asshole confusion.

Infuriating Problem of the Day: Accountants Quitting During Busy Season

Seriously people. For most of you, this isn’t a problem. You gird up your loins, duck your head and bulldoze your way through this time of year just like you’ve done in years past. Busy season sucks. We all know that.

Who in their right mind interviews with the Big 4 et al. and is thinking, “The hours won’t be that bad,” or “I probably won’t have to travel” OR “Big 4 salaries are good enough for me”?


The Big 4 Exodus is something that has been discussed at length here but until we’ve yet to discuss this particular topic.

Yes, the trend of accounting firm layoffs is demoralizing and yes, merit increases were mostly frozen, and there were virtually no bonuses> Hell, you may working your ass off knowing that your staff makes more than you but if you’re working in mid-February, what ton of bricks hits you that causes you to conclude that bailing out on your team is the best option?

All the people we’ve had the pleasure of working with, despite all of them having multiple “F— THIS!” moments, pull it together because they have a job to do. Why the hell didn’t you quit prior to busy season? You really felt like sticking it to everyone?

Fine. Perhaps your desire for sweet, sweet revenge against your senior/manager/partner/firm is more powerful than any shred of integrity you may have but for crissakes, that makes you a very bitter person. More so than the average accountant.

Seriously? It couldn’t wait? There isn’t that much time left in busy season. And besides, if you’re patient, they may pay you to leave.

Non-Profits Are Feeling the Pain

WSJ has a Monday piece “Once-Robust Charity Sector Hit With Mergers, Closings” (the Recession Forces Nonprofits to Consolidate) that may be found here. It tells the story of a “homeless” woman with terminal lung cancer and a charity no longer able to afford to help her out. Sad.

When one charity’s COO says “we’ve had funding cut after funding cut, and we never know when the next shoe is going to drop,” that is a bad sign.

Hit by a drop in donations and government funding in the wake of a deep recession, nonprofits—from arts councils to food banks—are undergoing a painful restructuring, including mergers, acquisitions, collaborations, cutbacks and closings.

“Like in the animal kingdom, at some point, the weaker organizations will not be able to survive,” says Diana Aviv, chief executive of Independent Sector, a coalition of 600 nonprofits.

I saw that on the Discovery Channel and it wasn’t pretty.

Note: the Service says the value of your blood is not deductible as a charitable donation but cars are. As of 2005, cars are only deductible at FMV, not Blue Book. Damn you, fair value, foiled by the free market again!

Blame the Service for tightening its charitable donation rules at the worst possible time? Not sure on that one. While you’re reluctant to donate your $200 Toyota (ha) to charity because you could have claimed $2,000 under old rules, find some comfort in the fact that (alleged) terrorist “non profits” can not file for 2 years and somehow get away with it. You wonder why I advocate fixing the system from the ground up?

You can text $10 to Haiti but what about the “Economic Homeless” here in America? asks Young Money.

If this were a survey and you asked me “What do you think the IRS could do to encourage charitable donations?” I would answer “Tax breaks. It isn’t the Treasury’s job to distribute bailouts.” Yet they continue to behave as though it is their duty.

See the problem yet?

Who Has Advice on Picking a Subgroup in a Big 4 Tax Practice?

We received a request from a young reader who got an email for their start date this summer and now needs some help picking a subgroup.

I am trying to decide between pass-throughs, C-Corps, and Consulting/research/writing.

Personally, our take is to remember some of the people that recruited you. If you felt like you would enjoy working with a particular person that you met during that process, start there. Shoot them an email asking them about the practice that they work in, what the work is like, what are the pros, cons, etc. Chances are they’ve spent time in other practices, so you ask for their opinion on those as well.

Since there are plenty of seasoned Big 4 tax gurus out there, help the soon-to-be new associate out. Advice along the lines of, “You’re screwed, they all suck,” and “Stay in school as long as you can, the real world is a bitch,” while grounded in some truth, is not what your future associates are requesting.

Problem of the Day: Do You Quit Your High-Paying Job with the Idiot Boss?

Thumbnail image for lumberg1.jpgThe BBC reported last week that 49% of workers in the UK would leave their jobs if it meant working for someone that didn’t make bad decisions.
As we’ve noted, the Brits seem to be less hung up on money than us but that still doesn’t mean you wouldn’t leave for less money if you could get away from that boss who can fuck up a cup of coffee not to mention every decision that affects your work directly.
So we have a simple question for you. Under normal circumstances, would you leave your high paying job if it meant you didn’t have to work for an idiot boss?