Wednesday, July 02, 2008

What to Do When a Client isn't so Healthy

If you're auditing a company and you see signs of fiscal distress, what's your smartest career-related move in reaction to the discovery? Do you act like a rat on a sinking ship and jump to a new assignment where the client is in better shape, or tie yourself to the mast and hope for the best?

That’s what I was wondering when I read this Charlotte Business Journal column about what could happen to the Charlotte business community if Wachovia’s financial troubles lead to a take over.

Staff Writer Katy Finger talked to economists, analysts, civic leaders and Bowman's Accounting Report Publisher Art Bowman. Here's what Bowman told her:

"The acquiring company prevails," he says. In particular, Wachovia’s auditing firm, KPMG, which has 231 employees here, would likely be replaced by the acquiring firm’s auditor, he says. Bowman, a longtime observer of the accounting industry, would not speculate on how many jobs could be cut. Officials at KPMG, which Wachovia paid $33.3 million in auditing fees in 2007, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

If you were on this account, what would you do in the interest of self-preservation? Put in some calls to your company network to check for lateral move opportunities? Would you move now, or wait to see what course the new Wachovia CEO charts?

It may be a tough economy for some, but accountants are still in great demand, so do you need to worry at all about troubled clients?

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