Friday, October 31, 2008

Crowe Horwath Acquires Grobstein

Crowe Horwath LLP, Chicago is acquiring Grobstein, Horwath & Co., LLP, Sherman Oaks, California. The move will add 120 Grobstein employees to Crowe Horwath’s 2,500 employee base. Grobstein has a second office in Costa Mesa, California.

A Crowe spokesperson said the company would neither lay off nor hire employees as a result of the merger.

Grobstein offers tax, assurance, bankruptcy, litigation, estate, SEC, and valuation services to clients in the U.S. and the Pacific Rim, including the People’s Republic of China. Crowe CEO Chuck Allen said the transaction will help his firm better serve its West Coast clients, as well as those with Asian operations. The deal is scheduled to close December 1st.

Options, Demand in Corporate Accounting

Despite layoffs and a tightening job market in various industries, corporate accounting remains a strong line of work nationwide. Not only is there continued need for corporate accountants in a variety of positions, salaries are holding steady - and even increasing in certain high-demand areas.

Here's our story.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What’s Hot and What’s Not

Robert Half’s 2009 Accounting and Finance Salary Guide and Ajilon Finance's 2009 Finance and Accounting Salary Guide are out, and the winners of this year’s highest projected raises are…large company tax accounting managers at 4.9 percent, with second place going to tax managers working for companies with sales above $250 million at 4.8 percent, RHI says.

Ajilon Finance says its winners are accounting and finance professionals in San Francisco and San Mateo, California, where salaries are a whopping 20.4% above the national average. Salaries in finance-centric New York City are 14.1% higher than the average salary in other regions, the company says.

The biggest losers? No surprise here, it’s mortgage originators and processors, who’ll see a 0.4 percent change in base salary in 2009, according to Robert Half’s data. Given that mortgage banking has shed over 100,000 employees so far this year, perhaps the handful of originators who still have jobs and are managing to close any loans in the current environment are thrilled with that 0.4 percent.

Robert Half says the most in-demand positions right now are: tax accounting manger, director of financial reporting, staff or senior accountant, financial analyst, controller, credit and collections specialist and cost accountant.

You can use the surveys to calculate the salary range for your specific position, experience level, company size and region.

No time for that? Here’s our summary of what’s hot and what’s not, in accounting and finance, based on the RHI and Ajilon surveys:

Industry experience
Knowledge of company-specific software
Project professionals
Temporary-to-full-time hires
Cost control and process improvement
Low expectations for company performance
Total compensation
Job location
Work/life balance
Financial analysis
Planning, budgeting and forecasting skills
People skills
IT experience

Social responsibility
Moving to a new job for professional advancement
Sox compliance
XBRL compliance
High base salary
Relocation packages
Lacking certification

Monday, October 27, 2008

Our Latest Poll

For the last several years it's felt like a good accountant is a rock star - always in demand. But will the economy's troubles catch up with the accounting profession? Here's what JobsintheMoney users said:
  • Eventually – 51 percent
  • Sooner rather than later – 13 percent
  • No – 29 percent
  • Not sure – 8 percent
What do you think? Post a comment below.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A NIMBY Attitude About Jobs

A majority of accounting and finance employees think the economy is weakening, but two-thirds are confident in their own firm’s ability to weather the storm, according to The Mergis Group’s latest Accounting and Finance Employee Confidence Index.

The survey found 67 percent of accounting and finance workers are “confident in their current employers’ future.” Only 41 percent said they were likely to look for a new job. About half said they were confident in their ability to find a new position – that’s down 12 percentage points from the second quarter.

"Market uncertainty has certainly increased in the third quarter as a result of the existing situation within the financial services sector. As expected, this uncertainty has affected accounting and finance workers' confidence," says Jack Causa, senior vice president and group executive for The Mergis Group.

"Though we anticipate seeing the continued effects persist throughout the fourth quarter, we remain encouraged by the sector's demand for accounting talent and its growth potential as developments continue in reporting regulations. We also foresee the emergence of new candidate opportunities in response to the government's intervention with financial institutions. Additionally, we have had success in placing financial services professionals in alternative industries where transferable skills can be parlayed into new career opportunities."

Friday, October 24, 2008

BDO Rescinds 11.5% of College Offers

BDO Seidman has rescinded offers to 11.5 percent of the entry-level college graduates it planned to hire.

The company blames the cuts on the Securities and Exchange Commission's decision to defer the application of Sarbanes Oxley 404 to small companies. A company spokesperson explains:

"In anticipation of client needs for small cap 404 services, BDO Seidman has increased staff and maintained it even through the deferrals by the SEC of these requirements over the last two years. However, the most recent postponement of SOX 404 for small cap companies, combined with current economic conditions, make it highly unlikely that small cap companies will be asked to meet 404 requirements in the foreseeable future. As such, we felt it necessary to adjust our hiring plans accordingly and have rescinded 11.5% of our entry-level offers to college graduates.

The spokesperson added that there are no plans to lay off any permanent staff at BDO.

While it's never easy to hear an offer has been rescinded, let Jobsinthmoney share two upbeat thoughts with those students who got the bad news.

First, if you were good enough for BDO, chances are another firm will want to hire you between now and June. Second, don't question your instincts in choosing BDO. At least you almost went with a company that rescinds offers to students. Another firm might have used you to replace the students it hired a year or two ago in lieu of giving those employees a raise.

High Demand for SALT Skills

State and local tax work, once viewed in the profession as something of a weak sister to federal tax accounting, has come into its own in recent years thanks to the hairpin twists and turns of ever-changing New York and New and New Jersey tax rules. One senior partner worries that in spite of its "huge salaries," the specialty may still suffer brain drain because, "You don't need to know as much to be a stockbroker or a lawyer, and we're working 12 to 18 hour days at certain points."

Here's our story.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

IFRS Good for Everyone?

Eighty percent of US CFO don’t have experience using International Financial Standards (IFRS), but just over half of them want to be able to use them, according to a recent survey by Grant Thornton, LLP.

When asked if U.S. firms should be allowed to use IFRS instead of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) in Securities and Exchange Commission filings (SEC), 55 percent of the 688 CFOs Grant Thornton surveyed said yes.

Yet, 59 percent of them disagreed with the SEC’s decision last year to allow foreign firms listed on U.S. exchanges to use IFRS. And, only 20 percent of the surveyed CFOs had experience preparing statements using IFRS.

“The results tell us that although the respondents don’t yet have a lot of hand’s-on experience, they can tell that U.S. companies should not be put at a disadvantage when it comes to reporting requirements that allow for the use of IFRS,” said Gary Illiano, partner-in-charge of Grant Thornton’s International and Domestic Accounting.

The survey also asked about eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) and found while more than half of the CFOs knew what it was, only 2 percent use it. A whopping 92 percent have no plans to use it at this time.

PWC, E&Y Land TARP Accounts

The U.S. Treasury Department continued setting up its Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) yesterday by hiring PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young to handle its accounting and internal controls.

TARP will administer the troubled assets Uncle Sam is purchasing, including whole mortgage loans and mortgage-backed securities.

PwC will be paid $191,469.27 to set up TARP's internal controls. E&Y, meanwhile, was the winning bidder at $492,006.95 for general accounting support and advice. Treasury asked a dozen firms bid on the two jobs. Six firms bid on each request.

All the contracts Treasury lets for TARP will show up at the Federal Procurement Data System. If you're looking to land a government accounting contract for your firm, check the Fedbizops Web site.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ditch Performance Reviews?

Samuel A. Culbert once had a boss he didn't like. And I mean, really, really didn't like.

That's what I concluded after reading Professor Culbert's long polemic against employee performance reviews, in Monday's Wall Street Journal. Although presented as objective analysis by a respected management consultant, author and professor at the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, the personal animus that pervades his essay is hard to ignore. I could almost see the author's brows furrow and his lips curl in disgust each time he placed the word, "boss" in the text.

Performance reviews never got much respect from the ivory-tower crowd. Their unease is rooted in doubts that most managers are capable of giving honest, constructive feedback to workers they supervise. That's also the gist of Culbert's seven-point, 2,500-word treatise in the Journal.

The real "primary purpose" of performance reviews, he writes, is "intimidation aimed at preserving the boss's authority and power advantage." He goes on to say:

Claiming an evaluation can be "objective" is preposterous, as if any assessment is independent of that evaluator's motives in the moment. Missing are answers to questions like, "As seen by whom?" and "Spun for what?" Implying that an evaluation is objective disregards what everyone knows: Where you stand determines what you see.

According to Culbert, everything about the typical review process is dishonest. The ostensible connection with annual salary reviews is a "cover story" to conceal how pay is really determined. Bosses are motivated not by desire to help their teams be more productive, but by "personal preferences, emotional biases, personal agendas and situational motives." Company forms that guide the review process are "one-size-fits-all" checklists with little or no relevance to the employee or the job.

No doubt, these observations are valid for some supervisors, or even some whole companies. But does the above description even come close to the mark for the majority of employers? Based on my experience, the answer is clearly no. Reading his piece, I get the feeling he is focusing on the worst-case scenario for managerial behavior, and treating it as the norm.

Beyond any one person's workplace experience, we can also consult long-term economic performance for a global verdict as to just how effective managers have been over the years, in their decisions to reward or promote subordinates.

For decades, U.S. economic activity has been dominated by institutions governed by just the sort of hierarchical, boss-centric decision-making structures that Culbert so detests. If "bosses" were as consistently dumb, petty, biased and counterproductive as his article suggests, then how is it that the cumulative result of their decisions is an economy that's enjoyed steadily rising productivity and a standard of living that's the envy of the world? It seems to me that the evidence of our senses indicates that over the post-World War II period, those in the executive suites must have chosen at least a few competent managers to delegate authority to.

Get Rid of the Performance Review! [Wall Street Journal]

Can You Blend FAS 109 and FIN 48?

Executive search firm A.E. Feldman says public accounting recruiting remains competitive for candidates who understand international finance and cultures. A number of top firms are also seeking state and local tax accountants, as well as tax managers and partners, says firm president Mitch Feldman.

In a recent blog, the firm says companies are looking for accountants with expertise in FAS 109 and FIN 48, in particular:

Applying FAS 109 and FIN 48 amid vague international tax laws can be challenging. Complicating matters, business and tax issues have become more intricate thanks to language barriers, diverse cultures, different currencies and technology as well as complex international tax laws.

The pace of globalization is accelerating and it’s creating demand for accountants and finance professionals with an international perspective and expertise. As a result, firms are staffing up to ensure they find opportunity and create value in a variety of complex overseas tax environments.

Monday, October 20, 2008

IRS Career Open House

The Internal Revenue Service will hold a career open house in New York on Oct. 28 to provide information about IRS careers for professionals interested in moving over from the private sector.

IRS leaders and newly hired employees from the private sector will be available to discuss goals and interests and answer questions about working at the IRS, said spokesman Kevin McKeon. Generally, the agency is looking for professionals with education, certification and experience in their disciplines, good communication and office computer skills, and U.S. citizenship. Available career paths include accounting, management, customer service, information technology, collection, law enforcement, legal and finance. Specific position requirements vary, and more details are available on the Careers section of

The open house takes place 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 28 at the IRS office on 290 Broadway between Duane and Reade Streets in Manhattan. For additional information, contact

Friday, October 17, 2008

Building Your Internal Network

Building a network within your company can be as important to your success as developing contacts outside. But watch out: The wrong moves can sink you. Here’s how to avoid some of the most common pitfalls.On JobsintheMoney, Suzanne Barlyn explains why. Here's her story.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Agency = New Jobs

If you know Washington, D.C., then you know the solution to a problem as big as the credit crisis always involves an agency.

This time, Treasury will be running the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) through the new Office of Financial Stability (OFS). It's already hired five interim big guns to set up the office, to hire permanent staff and to get TARP running.

The CFO will be Tom Bloom, who’s CFO of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and a former Commerce Department CFO. Jonathan Fiechter, who's deputy director of the IMF Monetary and Capital Markets and a former Resolution Trust Corporation board member, will be chief risk officer.

Donna Gambrell, director of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund at the FDIC, who also served at the RTC, will be chief of homeownership preservation. Don Hammond, deputy director of the Division of Federal Reserve Bank Operations and Payment Systems and a former Treasury Fiscal Assistant Secretary, will serve as interim Chief Compliance Officer.
Reuben Jeffrey, former chair the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), will be the agency’s chief investment officer.

“Recruiting the right people is essential to the success of this program and we are moving quickly on several fronts,” said Treasury Interim Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Neel Kashkari. “It will obviously take time to bring on board permanent members of the team that will manage this program over the long term and provide stability during the transition. These leaders are actively building out their operations and contributing to all phases of the TARP.”

As of today, the only position at the new agency was advertising was a chief counsel slot. However, you can set up an alert at that will email you new TARP positions as they're posted.

BMS, Accenture Extend Services Pact

Bristol-Myers Squibb has extended its service contract with Accenture for 10 years, meaning the consulting firm will continue to handle the pharmaceutical company's accounts payable and other chores. Writes
The contract includes that Accenture will offer financial support services and global IT services to Bristol-Myers Squibb in order to help them attain flexibility and operational cost savings. The contract is designed to help Bristol-Myers Squibb in managing its business effectively, by offering variable cost structure in order to tackle different economic factors such as patent lifecycles.
BMS says the deal allows the two companies to "integrate" their employees into "high-performance teams."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

CalCPA Chair's Ambitious Agenda

Greg Burke, the chairman of the California Society of CPAs, says his state's CPA licensing process is failing to keep up with most of the U.S. The gap with other states' requirements prevents some California CPAs from servicing out-of-state clients unless they get additional education or take another exam. "We're trying to establish rules for licensing and interstate practice amongst the jurisdictions so what we have is similar to a driver's license," Burke says. He's also pushing programs to attract more practicing accountants to obtain Ph.D. degrees and move to academia in order to remedy a shortage of accounting professors.

Here's our story.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Globalize Yourself

A new survey of CFOs finds a large majority believe that international experience will be necessary for accounting and finance professionals five years from now.

We've often observed that an overseas assignment gives a candidate a leg up when competing for positions back in the U.S. The latest finding by Robert Half Management Resources does more than corroborate that - it suggests that foreign experience may morph from a competitive advantage into a basic prerequisite.

Paul McDonald, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources, said,

The accelerating pace of globalization and the impending U.S. adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards will continue to drive demand for accounting and finance professionals with international business experience. Professionals who are bilingual and have had exposure to other countries’ tax, compliance, legal and regulatory issues have a competitive advantage in the job market, particularly among the largest firms.
Job seekers who haven't worked in another country can still enhance their career prospects, McDonald added, by studying different cultures, languages and business protocol to better serve companies and clients around the globe.

When 1,400 CFOs were asked, "How necessary do you feel international experience will be for accounting and finance professionals five years from now?" 71 percent called it either "very necessary" or "somewhat necessary." That was up from 56 percent when a similar group was asked the same question in 2002.

Survey: International Experience Increasingly Important for Accounting Professionals [Press release]

Monday, October 13, 2008

Your Layoff To-Do List

Judging from what I'm reading on, Deloitte is continuing layoffs. I particularly liked this post by an anonymous guest talking about how to prepare if you're thinking you might get called into a meeting with HR this week.

If you feel concerned, go with your gut. You should get ready for the meeting request, with HR present, don't be fooled that it is for a pep talk. Nothing really to do or talk about at that point.

Severance is provided based on years of service and your level, PTO is paid out, an additional 4 weeks is provided if you sign a doc agreeing not to call your lawyer.

Action Items: backup your contacts, do what you need to do, plan to convert your cell number to yourself, get an AmEx Blue card (free) so as not to loose your AmEx points when account is termed (Points remain for 30 days only!!!!).

Now you are ready to begin your Q4 2008 job search. Very straight forward. Keep your chin up and reach out to your network. Just like you are taught here, Network, Network, Network...Be prepared and organized like a good consultant. Once done try to have some fun with the time now on your hands.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Here Come the Non-Cash 'Incentives'

With stock and bond prices cratering and the global economy spiraling into what could be a severe recession, employers expect to have less cash to dole out in bonuses and future paychecks. That's leading such blue-chip firms as Goldman Sachs to scramble for alternate avenues to maintain morale and retain staff.

"What kind of non-cash rewards can HR promote during such a market downturn?" a vice president in Goldman's human capital management division asked on LinkedIn Friday.

The responses were mostly predictable, such as an extra day off, flextime, and a company-sponsored lunch now and then. As for the less obvious suggestions, some were less obvious for good reason. One commenter cited the team-building value of a "Crazy Hat Day," where all employees wear their silliest hats to work. Another suggested luncheons that include prize drawings – "Something simple, like a toaster, blender, etc." (Alright, that one came from the president of a workers'-comp consulting firm, who I presume was talking about blue-collar workplaces. In my former industry, they'd have to give away a Rolex to create any goodwill. Or maybe a Tesla Roadster.)

Attention all cynics: if your employer suddenly gushes non-cash perks or low-rent group outings, it might be prudent to lower your bonus expectations even more than you already did.

On the other hand, some ideas that I think would matter to real employees – at least, the kind of real employees that a real employer would actually want to keep – were posted later in the thread by the same Goldman Sachs official who posed the initial question (giving part credit to a Target Stores HR manager). Those ideas focused on career advancement: "giving people extended responsibilities, assigning a senior mentor, ….role swaps, internal mobility opportunities and stretch assignments."

But perhaps the best answer of all came from the head of a foundation associated with another job board, which I won't name. She wrote:

"It may not be an incentive per se, but I have found that especially in difficult economic times, employees appreciate transparency above all else. Senior management talking openly about the economic climate and how it's being handled by the company will create strong goodwill and thus loyalty with employees. Reassurance that their job will be there in 3, 6, 12 months is more than reward enough. Those that are skeptical about the company's ability to sustain the storm may be ready to jump ship before it sinks."

"What kind of non-cash rewards can HR promote…." [LinkedHR; may require LinkedIn group membership]

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Age Bias: One Executive's Thoughtful Account

We've often taken note of hiring managers' unconcealed preference for candidates in their 20s and 30s – which sometimes prompts readers to chime in with horror stories of their own.

Recently I came upon the best first-person account I've seen yet. It's a May 2006 article by Sheleen Quish, a well known information technology executive. Although Quish's story appeared in CIO, a magazine for corporate chief information officers, it seems equally applicable to finance.

Quish was eased out as global CIO of U.S. Can Co. in 2005 as part of a major management transition. The exit was amicable, giving her ample time to prepare her next step. She writes:

Anticipating changes in the air, I had begun letting people know I was back "on the market" in mid-2005, confident that I would be recruited into another great opportunity in just a few months. And it started out just like the old days: interviews with executive search firms, and the follow-up interviews with key people at some very interesting companies.... Then I found out that the other candidate was selected. Hmmm, this was a new phenomenon for me.

As the scenario repeated, Quish came to realize that something fundamental had changed. Her skills were in fighting shape, her management style had always possessed the now-fashionable focus on communication, and she was better qualified than ever for a senior role.

Upon analyzing and comparing her attributes with those of the successful candidates for each role she had sought, she reluctantly concluded:

It is not about the skills or qualifications. It is not about industry experience or being overqualified. It is about age.
Quish's response to that unsettling realization will resonate with many a Baby Boomer. Like her, we know our capabilities have never been greater and we have never been more alive. Like her, we have built our careers and, perhaps, our self-esteem, around successfully tackling problems, challenges and turnarounds. Yet being rejected as too old is one challenge that cannot be overcome by working either harder or smarter. "I hate to think that age is the issue, because there is nothing I can do to change it," Quish writes. "Age is the most irrefutable thing in our lives."

Turning to her peers, she discovered her experience wasn't unusual. She found a huge number of former IT managers "in transition" – and all were over 50. Her message to colleagues who are still employed is: "Stay at your current employer as long as possible because once you leave there is nowhere to go."

There is a happy epilogue to Quish's story. In June 2007, about a year after the article appeared, she was named chief information officer for Ameristar Casinos Inc., a publicly traded gaming and entertainment company based in Las Vegas.

Job Opportunities: The New Glass Ceiling [CIO]

New York's CPA Firms Feel the Chill

Accountants in the New York area are bracing for a decline in business from financial-sector clients. The consulting realm is certainly going to feel some pressure, as will accounting work from the banking, investment and insurance industries, which provide the lifeblood for CPA firms in the area. One

In preparation, some firms are looking to "upgrade" by replacing lower performers with better, more skilled professionals, especially at partner level. Some expect CPA firms to have their pick of new accounting grads, as entry-level opportunities at hedge funds and investment banks dry up.

Here's our story.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

IIA Salary Survey Predicts 3.8% Bump

A whopping 91 percent of employers surveyed last May by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) planned to increase internal auditor salaries in 2009. And 69 percent said they were going to increase salaries for 100 percent of their audit staff.

However, there’s a catch. The study also found that the average percentage of increase is beginning to wane. Audit staff increases for the next year will be 0.5 percent lower, with increases averaging 3.8 percent, rather than the 4.3 percent average granted to audit employee during the past 12 months.

“The frenzied period spawned by the reporting and compliance requirements of the U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 – when many employers felt compelled to pay whatever the market would bear for internal audit skills – is waning and being overshadowed by the current economic uncertainty,” said Harrington & Associations Principal Consultant Judith Harrington, CCP. “Now that the legislation is a fact of life and they have aligned systems and staffing to ensure their ability to comply, it appears that those in the internal audit profession are no longer being singled out as the target of recruiters as they once were.”

Conducted by Harrington & Associates Inc. for IIA’s Global Audit Information Network (GAIN), the study estimates Certified Internal Auditors (CIA) earn anywhere from $58,250 (plain auditor) to $124,000 (chief audit executive).

In looking at certification, the survey found just what one would expect. The CIA paid off most directly for those in audit, while the Certified Information Systems Auditor boosted those in IT/Audit positions. Those with information technology expertise, on average, out-earned plain auditors.

Not surprisingly, the larger the firm, the higher the salary of its auditors. Companies with annual revenues of more than $1 million paid internal auditors, on average, $12,000 more than smaller organizations.

Which sectors are looking good? “Public accounting firms reported some of the highest increases during the past 12 months, with raises averaging 6 percent,” the survey said. “The consulting sector posted similar rates of increases for internal auditors for the last year at 6.3 percent – nearly double what other employees in that sector received. And internal auditors working in the advertising industry are expected to enjoy average increases of 7 percent next year.”

Monday, October 06, 2008

They Wax Poetic at Deloitte

A few Deloitters literally wax poetic about passing the CPA Exam in a You Tube video that proves accountants very definitely do have a sense of humor.

If you liked the waxing scene in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, check out the Deloitte 2008 New Hire video The 40-Year-Old New Hire, in which a new hire is shown the secret to passing the exam and we find out how to curse in accounting lingo.

Job Fairs and You

Here's a good item from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about how to get the most out of job fairs. Apparently, there's a job fair "season," and we're in the midst of it. Columnist Amy Lindgren provides ten tips for getting the most out of them:
  1. Choose the right fairs.
  2. Make a plan.
  3. Prepare your materials.
  4. Decide what you want from each fair.
  5. Practice your conversation points.
  6. Don’t lead with “What jobs do you have open?”
  7. Stick to the subject.
  8. Pick up handouts, but don’t make that your focus.
  9. Don’t overstay your welcome.
  10. Follow up.
Details on what's behind each item are in her full column, here.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Bear-Market Accounting Skills Gain Ground

Beyond blunt tools like downsizing, CPA firms also are adapting themselves to the slowing economy in more subtle ways. In general, they're trying to tilting their corporate skill-set toward the kinds of services more clients will demand during a recession. For instance, Ernst & Young's Califonria offices are steering current openings toward accountants who practiced during previous downturns in 2001 and even 1991. Accountants with various forms of expertise in helping clients cut costs are in demand, along with CPAs who know how to value property (some clients are selling assets to raise capital, while others look to buy bargain-priced property). Here's our story.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

PwC Global Revenues Reach $28 billion

PricewaterhouseCoopers today disclosed that total gross revenues for its worldwide network of firms rose to a record $28.2 billion for the fiscal year ended 30 June 2008, an increase of 8 per cent at constant exchange rates.

That breaks out to roughly $14 billion from assurance (up 3 percent), $7 billion from advisory (up 14 percent) and $7 billion from tax (up 13 percent).

The firm also announced global leadership appointments and a new organizational structure that divides the company into three geographic clusters each led by the senior partner at the largest national firm in the cluster.

About 16% of PwC employees are Asia (the East Cluster), 41% are in the EU (Central Cluster) and 26% are in North America and the Caribbean (West Cluster).

The Case for an End to Big 4

Over in the United Kingdom, Rob Lewis, a feature writer for, speculates that lawsuits will bring an end to the Big 4 as we know it here in the United States.

He’s not the first one to bring up this argument, but he takes it a step further when he goes on to suggest liability issues could capsize all of auditing.

Whether you agree or disagree with his viewpoint, it’s interesting to read the U.K. take on the U.S. system.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Gearing Up for International Standards

Now that the Securities and Exchange Commission has set a 2011-2015 timetable for moving from U.S. GAAP to IFRS, representatives of the accounting profession expect to come up to speed fairly quickly. SOX 404 was absorbed in only six to nine months turnaround time, a KPMG managing partner remarked. Still, professors who teach accounting are taking it slow. Here's our story.