Thanks for nothing

Comp Watch ’11: Deloitte Auditor Has PwC Bonus Envy

From the mailbag:

Caleb,

I am reading about PWC getting some spring love in the form of a bonus, and other firms already openly discussing compensation with their employees. Apparently Big D missed that memo.

Everybody at Deloitte had a terrible busy season, that is no secret. We changed our audit methodology, and then in December the powers that be decided to do some last minute tweaking, aka destroy any hope of a bearable busy season. I am a senior working out of Boston and have been pretty busy since October. To reward my hard work Deloitte has given me absolutely nothing. There was no post audit dinner, no monetary reward, not even a free cup of coffee. I did however (and so did everyone else in Boston) receive emails from every executive partner in the NE thanking us for all our hard work, reminding us how much money we made the firm, and telling us to reward ourselves by taking some time off. Apparently being rewarded now means using our own PTO to take a day off. I have had to work both firm holidays up to now (one in January and one in April for the Boston Marathon), so I am not sure when they think we can reward ourselves by using the PTO we already earned. Usually engagement teams hand out “Applause Awards” to their people for hard work, and maybe I am just on a few teams with Ebenezer Scrooge Partners, but I think it is crazy that either Deloitte, or the Boston Office, or one of my engagement partners couldn’t scratch together a few dollars as a thank you for the long hours.

Partners and HR continue to wonder why people leave, but we are continually asked to do more and more and never rewarded for it. With the other firms opening up the piggy banks already, what are the chances that Deloitte follows suit? They missed the mark last year on the compensation, and everyone suffered as a result with the crush of seniors headed for the door. As a result they ended up giving a mid-year raise just to stem the bleeding. Are partners too busy looking to next year or playing golf at their fancy country clubs to remember the little people?

Of course our writer is referring to the PwC bonuses we wrote about on Monday. Don’t know if this is a Deloitte problem or a Boston Deloitte problem but it sounds like Green Dots in Beantown are wicked pissed. How’s your office faring? Tell us below or email us.

Thankless Audit Client: Tui Travel Edition

Tui Travel is “an international leisure travel group” (which is fancy-speak for a travel agent) out of the UK. KPMG has been audited the books for awhile but this year they found a booboo that resulted in a £117 million write off. At the time the company copped to the error, although you don’t get the impression they were grateful.


From today’s report in the Guardian:

Just two months ago, Tui chief executive Peter Long said: “KPMG identified some system weaknesses and ledgers that had not been reconciled … Yes, they identified some of these control weaknesses which had then manifested themselves into the issues subsequently identified through a detailed investigation.”

Nothing unusual really, these things happen, clients usually grin and bear it but not our “international leisure travel group.”

KPMG said its relationship with “certain [Tui Travel] directors became increasingly strained” following “extensive discussions with the directors”. Among the areas where KPMG had raised concerns, the letter added, were the implications arising from the restated accounts and “their disclosure and accounting treatment in the financial statements”. Relations had reached such a low ebb, KPMG concluded, that “we are not confident that in the future we could carry out an audit of the company to the appropriate standard, but others may be able to do so.”

So it kinda sounds like their annoyance with the whole thing slowly boiled over into flat-out bitterness, leading to some increasingly unpleasant conversations. Sure, the directors in question would start out acting cool about it, “You know [chuckling], you really didn’t do us any favors there.” But eventually it became, “Boy, you’ve really outdone yourself, this time.” And finally, “For crissakes! You couldn’t leave it alone, couldja? [extremely patient KPMG partner explaining on the other end] What?!? [increasingly steamed, drumming fingers] We don’t care if it’s your job; we don’t like being embarrassed. [Pause, eyeroll] Stewards of generally accepted accounting principles?!? What does that even mean? [brief pause] Whatever, you can plan on us being uncooperative going forward.”

Or something like that.

Tui drops KPMG after it found £117m hole in accounts [Guardian]

Are Your Firm’s Happy Hours Overrated?

AccountingWeb’s UK site discussed a recent survey detailing the mixed emotions surrounding the typical work happy hour:

A new study entitled “Health of the Workplace” undertaken by insurance firm Aviva found that although nearly three out of five managers take staff to the pub for team building purposes, just over half of employees are not so keen on going out with their workmates and one in five actively dislike it.

The research also revealed that only 23% of bosses think that such socials create a positive sense of team spirit anyway, a third find them a bit of a drag and one in 10 feel obliged to attend to keep their staff happy.

We’ve all been there – out with “the team” to a half-assed planned happy hour finagled into that one Wednesday night between interim work and busy season. Or maybe it’s the Thursday-after-working-32-straight-days-up-to-the-filing-deadline party. Whatever the situation, I feel that many of you can relate to the rough statistics above.


I’m not saying that going out with coworkers is a bad idea, because it’s not. Interpersonal relationships with colleagues is an important factor in building trust and camaraderie on an engagement team. But if a bar scene is not the ideal environment for the group, what do you suggest?

The article continues on to say, “With budgets being tight, it might be better to spend the money on initiatives that benefit both employees and the company, for example, by providing `workplace wellness programmes.’” Big 4 firms have these initiatives already, and do you know who attends them? Certainly not the staff employees who are working from the client site!

With enough team planning, smaller engagements could work from the offices during these programs, but what about the larger, more permanent field sites? Why not have the “yoga at your desk” or “financial planning for your first child” programs visit the larger engagement sites? Book a conference room; make these events work free (no shop talk allowed); encourage people to interact with one another on a personal level.

Or we could all just sit at our desk and bitch about the mandatory Wednesday night happy hour.