To Whom It May Going Concern: ‘If Going Concern were to go public, who would you pick as your auditor?’

As we may have mentioned, we get bombarded with a number of strange questions. Either most of you have been enjoying summer because things have been relatively mundane or we've been relatively uninspired by the barrage of tips, suggestions, and inquiries, because TWIMGC hasn't appeared for a while. This seems like a good enough of a day to bring it back.

If Going Concern were to go public, who would you pick as your auditor?

What an interesting question. It's interesting mostly because it forces me to imagine an improbable scenario where the wild success of accounting news/trolling demands the need for public financing. Anyway, it seems like a fun exercise so let's talk it out, shall we? Yes. Let's.

The RFP would be open to all public accounting firms in the United States, however, I suspect the Big 4 would pass up the opportunity to win our business for reasons too numerous to list here. Which is fine because the Sift brass are a chintzy lot, and we all know that Big 4 audits are like Tiffany diamonds — you're paying for a name. Nothing more.

Of course there's a good chance the bankers underwriting this thing would get in Sift management's head about the importance of having a Big 4 auditor on the report. We'd end up handing the audit to one of them (doesn't matter which), and then our audit would get selected for PCAOB inspection. Widespread audit failures would be found, Jonathan Weil would expose us in a Bloomberg post, and we'd have no choice but to fire the firm post haste. The whole thing would be a giant mess, so everyone KNOWS we're not going down that road.   

The second tier firms — Grant Thornton, BDO, McGladrey — would wrestle with the possibility of snagging such a prestigious client, but ultimately would remove their names from consideration which is fine, we don't want a second tier firm either.  

That would leave numerous reputable firms from across this great land lined up for their chance to adding the GC name to their roster of clients. Since we're a remote company, auditions would occur around the country in select locations, minimizing any regional bias within the company. 

Is this getting an Auditor Idol feel to it yet? Good, then we're on the same page. Hell, the judges are even familiar: 

  • Colin — brutally honest, loveable, smug, asshole, has insider knowledge.
  • Adrienne — questionable sobriety, also lovable, frequent quibbles with other judges, tough but fair.
  • Greg — says lots of funny things, also an industry insider, even more lovable than the other two so he's everyone's favorite.

We'd choose the best of the regional RFPs and then it would move on to a national competition where we, against our better judgment, would allow the GC readership vote on who our independent auditor would be. After the announcement of the winner, we'd all express our acceptance of your choice, although privately we'd resent it, knowing that the best firm had been underappreciated. 

Frankly, I don't see any other way to do it. Any other method would be second-guessed by you all and there'd still be backlash about the lack of a forum for discussing the audit firm candidates. 

In the end, we'd get listed, Sift brass would start obsessing over earnings and the whole business would get corporate-y and lame. Adrienne would let the money get to her head, Greg would go back to the stand-up circuit but luckily, I had a sense that all this would happen, sold out after the lock-up period and watched it all from the sidelines. 

Jesus, that all sounds awful. We're not going public.

Have something to add to this story? Give us a shout by email, Twitter, or text/call the tipline at 202-505-8885. As always, all tips are anonymous.

Related articles