Footnotes: Bad News For BlackBerry; Twitter IPOooooh; Some Race Car Dude Owes A Ton to IRS | 11.04.13
Report: Juan Pablo Montoya disputing IRS claim, $2.7 million in taxes [Sporting News]
This tweet about a lame dog breeder getting hated on by the Tax Court just made my day [Twitter]
LOL CNBC [The Market Ticker]
Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $2.2 billion in a drug marketing settlement, according to the DoJ [Washington Post]
BlackBerry Abandons Effort to Sell Itself; C.E.O. to Step Down [DealBook]
Twitter's IPO might debut higher than initially expected because, well, they can [Bloomberg]
How a marijuana tax compares to other "sin" taxes [USA Today]
AIG might sue Morgan Stanley [Reuters]
For those students who made it past the first cut of interviews or will be pounding the internship pavement soon, here is a little advice on how to convert an in-house interview into an offer. Traditionally, second round interviews take place in the firm’s office rather than on your home turf, aka your school’s career center. This change of scenery can wreck your nerves and certainly requires you to step up your game even higher. We hope these nuggets will help you to earn yourself an offer letter and peace of mind that all the studying was well worth it.
Scheduling Your Interview
Your behavior will be evaluated long before your walk into the door. For this reason, you should bring your A game to the process of scheduling your interview. Don’t make the inaccurate assumption that a scheduling coordinator or administrative person doesn’t have a vote on your candidacy, because they very well might.
Email correspondence during this time is a great way for the firm to evaluate your level of professionalism. Do you respond in a timely manner? Do you talk on the phone or do you just text? (I heard of this happening recently- cringe- and recommend you don’t do it!) Are you able to carry a conversation on the phone? Are you flexible with interview and travel dates? Someday you might be talking on the phone with the firm’s clients and scheduled out on jobs. The firms want to know that you have the ability to carry a cordial conversation and that you aren’t going to be high maintenance when it comes to scheduling.
Email is also a great way to evaluate your written communication skills. If you use text message language in your correspondence, the firm may be more apt to TTYL than to extend you an offer. This abbreviated language does not fly in correspondence with clients and firm leaders, nor is it acceptable in work paper documentation. Don’t underestimate the value of a well-written email message during your interview process.
Know What to Expect
The format of second round interviews varies based on firm size and culture. For example, the Big Four round up large numbers of candidates and bring them in all at once, while a smaller firm might only bring in one candidate per day. Note: This is also a great way to assess what type of environment you will excel in: being a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big (four) ocean. You can improve your likelihood of successfully impressing those you will meet by knowing what to expect. Otherwise, you might show up looking like a deer in the headlights instead of a top-notch candidate.
Are you prepared to schmooze your way around a large-scale breakfast/networking event? Do you know how to manage the dynamics of a group interview with three people sitting across from you? What do you know about dining etiquette for an interview conducted during a meal?
You can, and should, ask the firm representative what to expect. You might also check in with a person who recently went through the process, such as colleagues from school or associates who recently started with the firm. By knowing what to expect, you will know what you need to prepare for.
In coaching, we say there are two places from where a person can choose to act: fear or essence. When you think about an interview, you are probably well aware of the fear gremlins. They show up as the voices inside your mind that are telling you that you aren’t smart enough, you won’t have the right answers, and they are quick to point out your errors. If only you did or said something differently, you would have got the offer.
In contrast, your essence is a state of being that exudes an aura of calm, cool and collectedness. It is about being confident but not cocky. It is evoking a sense of trustworthiness. And most importantly, your essence is magnetic. Firms hire people they want to be around and don’t hire people that have awkward interpersonal skills. It is uncomfortable to shake someone’s hand that is dripping with sweat. It is difficult to pull a conversation out of someone who is so freaked out that they can barely formulate a sentence.
Being in your essence can be as simple as having awareness of how you act and from there being intentional about who you want to show up as when you interview. Get some altitude on your life by reflecting on a time when you performed at your highest level. What did it look like? Did you charm people with your humor? Did you impress others with a curiosity to learn more? What do you look like when you are on top of your game? If you can see how you did it before, you will have both the confidence to do it again and a game plan for showing up as a person that attracts offers.
We need to clarify this situation before people start claiming everyone at GT is going to be fired and replaced with humanoids and/or shapeshifting lizards. As far as we know, that is not happening so just relax. What is happening is Stephen Chipman is aiming to hit the door at the end of 2014.
Here are the details (we're going to skip the self-serving part where GT brags about how Chipman was committed to dynamic-ness and growth but not pinstripes because those don't win dontchaknow):
The Grant Thornton LLP Partnership Board announced that it extended Stephen Chipman’s term as chief executive officer. This will result in Chipman serving a five-year tenure as chief executive.
“Stephen’s leadership has successfully guided Grant Thornton through one of the most challenging times of our profession and our economy, and today we are the strongest of any time in our 89-year history,” said Dave Wedding, chairman of the Partnership Board of Grant Thornton. “His management has allowed Grant Thornton to not only find solid footing but make transformational changes on a number of fronts that position the firm for long-term success and better serve our dynamic clients.”
The Chips doesn't say what dynamic instinct for growth awaits him post-GT but he does seem grateful for the time he spent there and will be there to help find an equally dynamic CEO to follow in his own dynamic footsteps:
“It is a tremendous privilege to serve our partners as CEO and I am honored that the Partnership Board has asked me to extend my tenure though [sic] December 31, 2014. As the conclusion of my term draws near, I will evaluate new opportunities in line with my personal and professional goals,” said Chipman. “I am proud to lead our talented people and continue down the path of progress with our firm’s clear strategy.”
The Partnership Board will commence a succession process in the new calendar year and intends to appoint a new CEO in a timely manner to allow for an orderly transition period.
“One of the most important processes for any organization is to have an effective CEO succession process with the full support of the incumbent CEO; therefore, I’m grateful that Stephen will assist us in the process,” added Wedding. “We will seek a CEO-elect who can build off of our very strong market position that Stephen has contributed to and off of the Grant Thornton global network’s vision of serving dynamic organizations in our chosen markets.”
SO. Yes, he's leaving. NO, he's not getting tossed out on his dynamic ass. We're hearing things but nothing concrete so if someone out there has something to say, speak now or forever STFU.
Oh and for those keeping score at home, total instances of "dynamic" in the press release = 3. Just between us, even one is too many for these guys.
Lots of buzz about the fabled green carpet at our opening plenary
— Life at Deloitte (@lifeatdeloitte) November 4, 2013
We can assume they are rolling out the green carpet in Orlando for a new senior manager training based on earlier tweets but who the hell knows based on this cryptic nonsense. More importantly -- I'll go ahead and say it before you do -- who cares?
Pics or it didn't happen. I could say there's a lot of buzz about the dingy PINK sweats I'm wearing as we speak but the truth of the matter is that "buzz" was my cats circling my feet in the kitchen demanding to be fed.
Bonus points to Ashley Goodall for using "plenary" in a sentence.
There is a single guy going off about this Observer piece on Deloitte's Facebook page, and that's between all the randos cussing the D out for unleashing janky software on certain states' unemployed. It's not a good time for Deloitte, that's for sure:
A global consultancy giant has been accused of advising big business, including UK firms, on how to avoid paying tax in some of Africa's poorest countries.
ActionAid has obtained documentation showing that Deloitte, which employs more than 200,000 people in over 150 countries, has been advising foreign companies on how, by structuring their investments through the tropical island of Mauritius, they can enjoy significant tax advantages.
The charity claims that the strategy could help companies to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in tax. Deloitte insists the strategy is not about tax avoidance and attracts much-needed investment to the countries involved.
According to troll and critic Stephen Barna, Deloitte is "ripping off the poorest people living on the planet." However, according to ActionAid tax policy adviser Toby Quantrill, “This document helps lift the lid on the tax avoidance techniques that are being used to deprive poor countries of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax. These techniques may be legal, but that does not mean they are moral. Tax revenues are desperately needed to meet peoples most basic needs and to move countries away from aid dependency. Big businesses have an important role to play in economic development in poor countries. But they also have to act in a socially responsible way. Deloitte is failing Africa for as long as it continues to advise on tax avoidance strategies in the way they have been doing.”
Deloitte -- naturally -- adamantly denies it is ripping anyone off. I mean all they are trying to do is save their clients a few bucks, legally, what's so wrong with that?
The documentation in question is included below.
According to the tip box, here are the details:
One big 4 company figured it'd be best for all of their rejectees to commiserate together, so they decided to CC everyone. When following up after the faux pas, rejected candidates came back from class to a nebulous "I'm from campus recruiting, give me a call" voicemail. Let's just say it got some folks' hopes up, only to have them dashed in the first few seconds of the conversation. Campus recruiting wanted to call to apologize for their indiscretions. Seems like something that could have been settled via email, but I guess that's not their strong suit. Is this level of touche-baggery normal?
It shouldn't be too hard for you to figure out the offending firm, depending on your level of reading comprehension.
If true, what's worse, CCing everyone or the disappointing follow up call afterward?
Accounting News Roundup: A Few Good Thieving Accountants; SAC Capital to Settle; Kobe To Be Taxed | 11.04.13
Acting Ed. note: I don't know about you all but I'm missing Colin right about now. Fear not, he returns later this week. Until then, it's just you and me, kiddo. Let's make the most of it. ~AG
Reagan's supply-side guru to address accountants in Indy [Indianapolis Business Journal] The man most despised by big-government, Keynesian disciples for arguing that lower taxes and lower government spending will spur economic growth is coming to Indianapolis next week, with a cautionary tale for the states. Arthur Laffer, President Ronald Reagan’s go-to guy for supply-side economic theory, will address a national gathering of accountants held by Carmel-based newsletter “Inside Public Accounting,” Nov. 4-6 at the downtown Conrad Indianapolis.
Ex-Traffic Court accountant indicted for theft, money laundering [AP via FOX8] A man who served as chief financial officer for New Orleans Traffic Court has been indicted on charges that he overbilled the city and used court funds to pay for personal expenses. Friday's 12-count federal indictment charges 40-year-old Vandale Thomas, of Prairieville, with theft, money laundering and illegally structuring financial transactions to avoid reporting requirements.
Fargo truck stop accountant accused of stealing $190K from store ATMs [Duluth News Tribune] The longtime bookkeeper at a family-owned truck stop in Fargo is accused of skimming more than $190,000 from store ATMs over an eight-year period. Charles John Putney, 42, of West Fargo, appeared Friday in Cass County District Court on a charge of Class B felony theft. Deanne Eisenschenk, operations manager for Petro Stopping Center in Fargo and in Minot, said it’s been a shock for the family-owned company. “We’ve been physically sick,” Eisenschenk said “My dad works here, my mom, my sister-in-law. And then there was Chuck – and he was stealing every day.”
SAC Capital, US to announce $1.2 bln settlement on Monday [Reuters] SAC Capital Advisors, Steven A. Cohen's multibillion-dollar hedge fund, and U.S. prosecutors are expected to announce on Monday a $1.2 billion settlement over criminal charges related to insider trading, media reports said. Reuters reported last month that the deal, which will likely involve some admission of guilt along with a penalty of more than $1 billion, was likely to be announced within days. The settlement does not resolve a separate civil lawsuit that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) brought against Cohen in July, accusing him of failing to supervise his employees, the New York Times said late on Sunday.
Hooray For Taxes [HuffPo] Joshua Holland of BillMoyers.com offers an important counterpoint to today's slanted political dialogue with his new essay on "the high cost of low taxes." This hidden cost needs to become the center of our public debate. Washington's obsession with tax cuts and deficit reduction is distracting the American people from the slow dismantling of the social contract, and its devastating impact - financial and otherwise - on all but the wealthiest among us. Our political discourse focuses far too much on the cost of taxation, while all but ignoring its benefits. Journalists and politicians rarely discuss the direct or indirect costs Americans often encounter when forced to rely on the private sector for services which might be more efficiently provided through government.
Maryland should hike tobacco taxes again [Washington Post] BOOSTING TAXES on cigarettes is an effective way to cut smoking rates among adults and, even more, among those college-age and younger, along with tobacco-related disease and death. A case in point is Maryland, where the incidence of smoking fell by a third from 1998 to 2010, a period during which the state more than quintupled its cigarette tax. By the same token, states that have allowed cigarette levies to remain low, under the sway of Big Tobacco or anti-tax sentiment, generally suffer from higher smoking rates and the resulting impact on public health. Virginia’s cigarette tax is second-lowest in the nation, after Missouri’s; it is an example of a state that extends its smokers a license to kill — themselves.
Kobe Bryant Reportedly Will Pay $13 Million in Taxes on $24 Million Payment [Bleacher Report] Kobe Bryant may have just cashed in on a $24 million-plus payday this past Friday, but unfortunately for the Los Angeles Lakers superstar, he could lose as much as 55 percent of that to taxes. According to Darren Rovell of ESPN, the Black Mamba may only take home something in the range of $11 million after paying upwards of $13 million to the government via various taxes. Rovell spoke with Robert Raiola—a certified public accountant who works with the sports and entertainment department at FMRTL—who confirmed that Bryant is subject to a top-rate federal tax at 39.6 percent of his earnings, as well as 13.3 percent additional withholdings from the state of California.
Colorado Is Asking Taxpayers for $1 Billion to Help Schools [NYT] In one poor school district in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, students take classes in a bus garage, using plastic sheeting to keep the diesel fumes at bay. In another, there is no more money to tutor young immigrants struggling to read. And just south of Denver, a district where one in four kindergartners is homeless has cut 10 staff positions and is bracing for another cull.
Oh and lastly... [Facebook] I need some victims volunteers to chime in for a magazine piece I'm writing on the CPA exam. Pre-2004 candidates especially, but anyone is welcome and your input is valuable. Basically I'm trying to crowdsource an opinion on which is harder (or easier): today's exam or the "back in the day" exam. The survey only takes a minute and the more responses I get, the better the article. Email me if you want in and thank you!
$500 now can be protected from FSA use-it-or-lose-it rule [Don't Mess With Taxes]
The headline is "Royal Bank to Sell off Citizens" but it doesn't mean what you think it means... [Boston.com]
A NY state accountant was sentenced yesterday to 5 to 15 years in prison for stealing $822,000 from trusting clients “There are people dressing up, pretending to be something they’re not,” Assistant District Attorney Bernard Hyman said in Oneida County Court about Thursday’s trick-or-treaters. Then there’s Podosek, “pretending to be something he isn’t.” [Utica Observer-Dispatch]
Also in NY, a forensic accountant was sentenced to restitution and probation for failure to pay income taxes [Newsday]
Young CPA by day, hardcore motocross contestant by night (or weekends, whatever) [KOMO]
You probably missed this ridiculousness on Twitter today but basically Charlie Gasparino dropped a totally false bombshell and then when he got called out on it, responded with childish insults. #sadiftrue [Jim Romenesko]
Late on a Friday appears to be a busy time for 8-Ks [Twitter]
NY bank regulator vows more consultant oversight [Houston Chronicle]
Note to the pro-legalization crowd, watch what you say on Facebook or you might draw the ire of the local police chief [Gawker]
Of all the SEC's "time management" issues (I need not mention to what I am referring), is lunch really up there? Apparently so:
Add the ability to eat quickly to the list of skills needed to work at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
In a dispute that has sent pangs of resentment -- and perhaps hunger -- across the agency, the SEC’s union chief has warned workers to keep lunch breaks to a half hour or risk being disciplined as “absent without leave.” “Despite the fact that most SEC employees are often told that they may take an hour for lunch, technically, we are only entitled to thirty minutes,” wrote Greg Gilman, president of the union, in an e-mail sent to SEC workers last week. “Do not fall into the trap of believing that because you are a ‘professional’ the rules do not apply to you.”
Apparently lunches aren't the only problem, to hear the union tell it.
“Be careful not to take a walk to get coffee, even with your supervisor,” he wrote. “A case may be built very easily based upon these types of behaviors.”
So, paranoia is clearly the flavor of the day over at the Commission. Because as we all know, it's far more important that employees there count their lunches down to the second instead of doing their jobs effectively, amiright?
Earlier this year, the SEC reached a deal with its union that would allow up to five work from home days a week for some employees, which makes this whole "don't you dare take 31 minutes for lunch" thing a little strange. Should everyone be paranoid or just certain people? Are the employees allowed to telecommute going to be required to install time clocks in their homes? Can they get fired for taking time out of their work day to feed the cat?
Above, we have partners in the Bellingham office dressed -- obviously -- as the Duck Dynasty cast. The office made a donation to the United Way for each costume worn by staff, and Moss Adams reports 80% of the office participated.
We'd say something cynical and smart-assy here but we've got nothing. Nothing.
Congrats, Moss Adams, you are having the best week ever!
Running low on new recruits, are we?
Here's your intro:PwC Busy Season Senior Associate Auditor (financial district)
Are you interested in the opportunity to work for an industry-leading firm that services clients that include the Fortune 500, and will give you the experience and exposure you need to build your career and personal brand? If you are, then PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (www.pwc.com/us) is the firm for you. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC US) helps clients meet the challenges and opportunities of the US marketplace in the areas of assurance, tax, and advisory. We offer the advantage of being part of a global network of firms combined with detailed knowledge of local, state and US national issues. More than 169,000 people in over 158 countries across the PwC network are committed to deliver quality in assurance, tax and advisory services. People across the PwC network share knowledge, experience and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and deliver practical advice.
At PwC US, you will be part of a learning culture, where teamwork and collaboration are encouraged, excellence is rewarded, and diversity is respected and valued. We offer a flexible career progression model that allows for a variety of challenging opportunities throughout your career. We provide unparalleled coaching, mentoring, and career development programs; global opportunities; and state of the art technology-driven methodologies to help you provide quality service to our clients.
All that sounds fantastic however remember it's Craigslist where nothing is what it seems. For all we know, the person behind this ad lives in his mother's basement and drives a sketchy windowless van.
Here's what you need to snatch up this gig:
Minimum Years of Experience Necessary: 3
Minimum Degree(s) and Certification(s) Required:
BA or BS in Accounting or business related
Must have passed the CPA exam, licensure preferred
The Assurance practice will utilize individuals for a defined period from time to time to meet client demands across its various client base of industries. This particular role supports clients within the Asset Management industry.
Not Applicable Below Manager
No mention of salary.
Get on this, right now. And try not to wander over to Casual Encounters while you're over there. Trust me on that.
This, per Another71:
— Jeff @ another71.com (@another71) November 1, 2013
And the tip box:
CPA scores are out
And a bunch of people getting excited on Twitter.
I PASSED THE HARDEST PART OF THE CPA EXAM!
— Katie Hansen (@katieeehansen) November 1, 2013
This should hopefully make or break the weekend for some of you.
Uh, don't take that headline too literally, I don't actually want any of you to let it all go but, you know, within reason.
- interpersonal relationships
- speculating as to where Colin has disappeared to
- job opportunities
- social media best practices
- your favorite lunch joint near your office
- chicks, man
- where the hell this year went
- restroom etiquette
- the Oxford comma
- cats (mine or yours)
- anything you should really be telling your therapist
- hot button items
- what you ate for dinner last night
- Miley Cyrus
Got it? So go for it!
Accounting News Roundup: Pot Smokers High on Taxes; Gen Y is Broke Because Their Friends Are Broke; New IRS Tax Tables | 11.01.13
Pot smokers may get high-- taxes [USA Today] A pro-pot jingle in Colorado last year went like this: "Jobs for our people/Money for schools/Who could ask for more?" Nearly a year after Colorado legalized recreational weed, voters get the chance to decide exactly how much more — in taxes. On Tuesday, voters decide whether to approve a 15% pot excise tax to pay for school construction, plus an extra sales tax of 10% to fund marijuana enforcement.
IRS warns of new phone scam [CNNMoney] Taxpayers, beware: Fraudsters impersonating IRS agents are calling people across the country demanding they pay taxes that they don't even owe. The IRS warned of this "pervasive" scam on Thursday, saying it has been identified in nearly every state. Innocent taxpayers -- often immigrants -- are answering their phones only to be informed they owe money to the IRS and need to pay it immediately by either loading money on a prepaid card or sending it via a wire transfer. If they argue or refuse to pay, scammers will threaten to arrest or deport them, or suspend their business or driver's license. "In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting," the IRS said in a statement.
Couple arrested for embezzlement while working in Wake County [WTVD] A Winston-Salem couple was arrested Monday on embezzlement and workers' compensation fraud charges. Christopher Ingalls, 39, and Samantha Ingalls, 34, were both charged with two counts of embezzlement and one count each of insurance fraud, obtaining property by false pretense and conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense. N.C. Department of Insurance investigators said that the couple, while working for the same company in Wake County, conspired to defraud The Hartford Insurance Company of more than $14,000 worth of workers' compensation benefits.
JPMorgan discloses wider probes of hiring, currency trading [Reuters] JPMorgan Chase & Co, the biggest U.S. bank by assets, disclosed on Friday that the U.S. Department of Justice and agencies from other jurisdictions are investigating hiring practices in Hong Kong that were already being probed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company also said that it is being questioned about its currency trading by various authorities, which are in the early stages of their investigations. Other big banks have made similar disclosures recently about probes of possible manipulation of foreign exchange rates.
New Survey Finds Millennials Rely on Friends' Financial Habits to Determine Their Own [AICPA] Doing alright financially? The answer, if you’re 25 to 34 years old, depends on your friends, according to a new survey from the American Institute of CPAs and the Ad Council. They released the results today to coincide with a new series of national public service advertisements and a redesigned website for their Feed the Pig financial literacy campaign. The national poll found that three quarters of young adults, or 78 percent, use their friends’ financial habits to determine their own. The vast majority, 66 percent, wants to keep pace with their peers on where they live; 64 percent say the same thing about what they wear. Nearly two-thirds experience pressure to keep up with the types of places they eat and the gadgets they carry.
Beanie Baby Billionaire Sentence Comes Amid Tax Leniency [Bloomberg] As billionaire Beanie Baby creator H. Ty Warner awaits his sentence for offshore Swiss bank tax evasion, he may find solace in the sentences many similar felons are getting -- probation or prison terms lighter than prosecutors wanted. Warner, the 69-year-old hotelier and maker of plush toys, pleaded guilty Oct. 2 to tax evasion related to Swiss accounts in which he held as much as $107 million. He owes $5.6 million in taxes and a civil penalty of $53.6 million. Under advisory guidelines for his sentencing, set for Jan. 15 in Chicago, he faces 46 months to 57 months in prison.
Congress Stalls XBRL Exemption, Seeking Compromise [Compliance Week] A House subcommittee considering an exemption from XBRL for smaller companies has decided to hold off and see if it can broker a deal to make XBRL less burdensome to companies and more useful for regulators and investors. Rep. Robert Hurt has said he will not introduce a draft bill he was circulating in advance of a hearing that would direct the Securities and Exchange Commission to exempt companies of $1 billion in revenue or lower -- almost 80 percent of all public companies -- from the requirement to submit financial statements in XBRL, says Hudson Hollister, executive director of the Data Transparency Coalition. Instead, Hurt's staff is working on a more narrow exemption, perhaps only for “emerging growth companies” as defined under the JOBS Act, while hoping to work with the SEC to improve the accuracy and utility of XBRL-formatted data, Hollister says.
Hey, NSA, Get Off of My Cloud [Bloomberg View] Every week seems to bring another revelation about the National Security Agency’s global panopticon. And each disclosure makes it harder to extend the agency the kind of trust and latitude that good intelligence work requires. The latest leak is a whopper. According to documents former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden provided to the Washington Post, the NSA has infiltrated the overseas “cloud” networks through which Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc. move their petabytes of data, which includes users’ e-mail. Because the collection is conducted abroad, it’s subject to less oversight than the agency’s previously revealed programs are. The intrusion is all the more curious because the NSA can already access both companies’ accounts under U.S. court supervision.
IRS releases inflation adjustments for 2014 [JofA] On Thursday, the IRS issued the annual inflation adjustments for 2014 for more than 40 tax provisions and the tax tables for 2014 (Rev. Proc. 2013-35). Among the inflation-adjusted amounts that have increased are the personal exemption, which increased from $3,900 in 2013 to $3,950 for 2014, and the standard deduction, which for married filing jointly status increased from $12,200 in 2013 to $12,400 in 2014. In addition, the adoption credit under Sec. 23 is inflation-adjusted from $12,970 in 2013 to $13,190 in 2014. The revenue procedure also contains the inflation-adjusted unified credit against the estate tax, which is $5.34 million for 2014. The annual gift tax exclusion remains at $14,000.
Husband Kicked Out by Wife After Leaving Stupid Comment on Website [Gawker] "I hope your wife reads this," responded another commenter, "and the first thing you see when you wake up tomorrow is your belongings packed in a bin bag on the floor." Well, as hilarity would have it, the man's wife did see the comment, and soon granted the Internet its wish.
Footnotes: Rich Guy Says Rich Guys Should Pay More Taxes; Who Wants to Work on Wall Street?; Halloween and the Economy | 10.31.13
Fannie Mae is suing 9 banks over LIBOR losses [USA Today]
Investigation IDs IRS Leaker [NRO]
Pimco head Bill Gross pleads with his fellow 1%ers to pay more taxes because it's just the American thing for filthy rich bastards to do [CNNMoney]
We're going to try to write about this before the week is over but in case we forget, here's Arthur Levitt on the PwC/Booz deal [BB]
Meanwhile, in Kuala Lumpur: KPMG has put out a disclaimer on Petrol One [The Star]
US expats are complaining about taxes "While living in the U.S., the Iowa native was able to prepare his returns using TurboTax. That's no longer the case -- Rosenberg's taxes are now so complicated he has been forced to hire an accountant." [CNN]
An interesting piece on what happens when you give money to poor people [NPR]
The kids aren't so hot on Wall Street jobs these days, it seems [CNBC]
Halloween is ruined [Chicago Tribune]
The financial impact of Halloween is NOT scary at all [Reuters]
This article on how many Americans think our government is made up of human-lizard hybrids has absolutely nothing to do with accounting and everything to do with awesome. It's also old as dirt but still awesome. [Atlantic Wire]
Thanks, Becker and Robert Half!
The fine print:
* Example only.
** Large public accounting firms/companies = $250 million + in sales. Salary does not reflect overtime or bonuses which may represent significant portions of compensation for some positions.
*** CPAs may earn up to 10% over peers without professional designations.
**** Advanced degrees or professional certifications are assumed at this level.
We received this snazzy little item in the tip box and while it has not been confirmed, the commentary is so passionate that we can't help but think maybe just maybe this can be trusted. Names have been removed to protect the innocent:
[Marketing Lady] says only 4 positions eliminated but does not mention the waves of resignations across the country and positions that will not be refilled. PEOPLE HATE THIS WOMAN. She is the devil. Sends out a weekly newsletter where she used to talk about all the poncy show-horse riding she does on her stallion. Finally got the message that it was a little irritating to the readership. She has completely fucked the marketing department in every way possible -- loves to talk about retaining talent but also says shit like everyone is replaceable, and if they're not happy don't let the door hit yer ass on your way out. Retains a bloated leadership team of asskissers who LITERALLY do nothing, someone tell me what the brand and advertising director does now that advertising hasn't been in the budget for over a year, and made a big stink about how those poor bigwigs sacrificed their own pay increases so that we the peasants might have a little more gruel in our cups with the new fiscal year. Oh yeah, thanks for the 1.7% pay increase on my 4/5 rating. FUCK YOU AND THE HORSE YOU DANCED IN ON, LADY.
Wow. Why so hostile?
A different tipster writes:
Cuts in GT marketing. THANK GOD the marketing leadership team seems to be unaffected by these cuts!! I mean, we have no fucking clue what they do, especially [redacted], but just thank goodness they are still there to make five times what the rest of us do. THANK GOD.
And now, for the alleged email.
Sent: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 5:07 PM
To: (M&S) professionals
During the past several months, the FY14 business planning process compelled all of us in leadership to take a hard look at where to best focus resources against Grant Thornton’s three strategic priorities: driving organic growth, improving profitability, and expanding talent and capabilities.
As you know from our recent M&S All Hands Call and the announcements I made on July 24 about the reorganization of our content, regional marketing and integrated teams, M&S is committed to helping the firm achieve its FY14 financial objectives.
While we’ve done much to best align our resources, the firm challenged all ECS and ICS functions to look at even more ways in which we could best position the firm for improved profitability. In August, firm leadership specifically requested that M&S reduce both its operating expenses and its compensation expenses in the FY14 budget.
Our first step was to defer some hiring and freeze several (not all) of our open positions. And as natural attrition within M&S occurs this year, we will evaluate each open position against the firm’s evolving business needs.
In addition, to meet the firm’s expense reduction request, four current positions will also need to be eliminated from M&S. These job eliminations are based solely on changing business needs and priorities. The employees that are impacted by this have already been notified and will work through Nov. 8 as a transition period.
This decision was not made lightly. I conducted a thorough review of our team, which includes more than 190 employees. My recommendation was reviewed and approved with full support from MSLT, the Operating Committee, [some guy] and the other members of the Senior Leadership Team.
Job eliminations are always difficult for everyone involved. I am very aware that this decision deeply affects the employees who are departing both professionally and personally, and that this transition is also sobering for the entire M&S team.
I want to thank the employees who are departing for their service to the firm and for their many contributions to our business. I am committed to supporting these colleagues with networking and referrals to help them make the best possible transition to the next step in their careers. Please join me in supporting each of them as they transition from Grant Thornton.
Your MSLT leaders – [redacted] – will continue to work with you to make sure our M&S programs and expenses are aligned with the firm’s goals.
Thank you in advance to each of you for your professionalism as we navigate our way through this challenging business environment.
Not sure how this affects the Regional Marketing Manager position in Charlotte GT posted earlier this month... game on?
If anyone has any additional insight to offer, let it rip in the comments or you can always email us.
There is nothing terrible to say about this because it's just so darn heartwarming:
The Portland office of KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm, has donated 375 children's books to the library at Lowrie Primary School in an effort to promote literacy, inclusion and respect.
Volunteers from KPMG's Diversity and Inclusion Council delivered the books to the Lowrie school library and read to students in kindergarten through third grade. The KPMG volunteers read from books about diversity, inclusion, and accepting each other's differences. The books are among the 30-40 titles donated that also include children's classics such as Charlotte's Web and books written in Spanish.
KPMG's Portland office is supporting Lowrie Primary as part of the firm's national Family for Literacy initiative. In collaboration with First Book, a non-profit with nearly two decades of experience providing new books to low-income children, KPMG raises money to purchase and distribute new children's books to students who need them most. KPMG's Family for Literacy program is the foundation of KPMG's "education continuum" of programs established to advance workforce readiness in communities.
"KPMG's donation to the Lowrie school library creates incredible opportunity for every child in our school. Their generous donation increases the access for all our children to quality literature," says Lowrie Principal Patrick Meigs. "We are fortunate to have a diverse and vibrant student body and we thank KPMG for donating such a remarkable collection of books and promoting the value of diversity throughout our school and community."
"One of KPMG's core values is giving back to the communities in which we work and live," says KPMG Portland Managing Partner Rich Callahan. "We also support diversity in the workplace and our firm devotes time and resources to promoting literacy. So this donation is a perfect fit for KPMG."
As Francine pointed out in the comment section yesterday, diversity starts at home. Or the library. Do those still exist? Apparently so or this press release wouldn't exist. ANYHOO, good on ya, KPMG, that's really nice.
Acting Ed. note: do you have a career conundrum for Amber? Or Colin? Or my cats? Get in touch and all of us will rally together to help you help yourself because we are just awesome like that.
This week we take on a conundrum that comes up for many aspiring CPAs on their quest to earn 150 semester hours: Do the benefits of a graduate degree outweigh the costs?
I wanted to reach out and get your input on the value of a Master of Science in Accountancy degree. I earned a Bachelors in Accounting and I accepted a full-time offer within the Audit practice for a Big 4 firm in Houston, TX. Before I'm able to start full-time, I must be CPA eligible. I also plan to sit for the CIA exam.
Right now I'm trying to determine the long-term career effects of taking extra courses at a community college versus getting a Masters in Accounting to meet state CPA requirements. Obviously the community college option is more affordable and would allow me to sit for CPA exam sooner. The Masters is 20K and I would have to take some of the courses while working in Big 4 to finish the degree. I don't see many job ads requiring a masters in accounting but everyone that I know is getting one.
At this point, I'm thinking I will start looking for Financial Analyst or Internal Audit roles around year 3 of my career in Big 4 auditing. Will not having a Masters degree potentially limit me when I'm searching and applying for industry jobs? Furthermore, If I land a job in industry, will career progression and or salary be limited due to the lack of a masters degree?
You pose excellent questions about the value of a Masters of Science in Accountancy (MSA). First and foremost, for all those tax accountants out there, if you had asked about a Masters in Taxation (MST) my answer would have been a resounding “Hell yes. An MST is the way to go!” There is a direct correlation between most MST coursework and what a tax accountant does on the job.
I don’t, however, feel as confident about an MSA. While I am sure there are a couple of classes that could add value to your professional development, I don’t know that the value of an MSA program would outweigh the $20,000 cost. The trouble is that many of the courses to enable you to become a better auditor don’t necessarily come in the form of classes with university credit attached to them. I believe the best learning for audit comes from continuing education programs and technical conferences. This is why I don’t envision the lack of a masters degree inhibiting future career progression. If our readers have seen it go down differently, please chime in via the comments section.
To your inquiry about salary, the firms might pay you a measly few thousand more dollars more when you first start and that would compound over time. But since everyone now needs 150 hours, I would presume it has become a less common practice to pay more for a graduate degree.
On a final note, I want to share a little story about my personal experience with graduate programs. Back when I was an undergraduate, I was given advice that I didn’t really like: Hold off on a graduate degree until I had a couple years of work experience. I didn't like that advice because I was a classic overachiever set on the idea of earning a masters in taxation. Thank goodness I listened because, after two busy seasons, it turned out I didn’t really like accounting work. I ended up earning a masters in a totally different discipline – a masters of arts in leadership- that was super helpful in my transition to a new line of work and, unlike accounting, I enjoyed the coursework.
I share my experience because I feel like that money was well spent. I never cringe when I pay on my student loans. It was worth every cent and my program cost almost two times as much of what you are considering. Given you likely won’t reap any extra economic rewards, $20,000 for a program that adds little value to your current aspirations and may not support what you truly want to be when you grow up sounds like a high-risk investment. My vote is for the community college classes.
Acting Ed. note: if you're trying to get away with a costume at work today, you better send us a photo. I don't know about you guys but I'm going as a drunken cat lady.
Calif. driver gets ticket for wearing Google Glass [USA Today] A California woman pulled over for allegedly speeding was cited for wearing Google Glass behind the wheel. Cecelia Abadie of Temecula, Calif., posted the ticket to her Google+ page with the caption "A cop just stopped me and gave me a ticket for wearing Google Glass while driving!" Her post has received over 500 comments.
Facebook shares recover as investors shrug off falling usage [Reuters] Facebook Inc shares steadied on Thursday after wobbling in the wake of post-earnings comments by company executives about slowing use and a strategy of not increasing the frequency of ads shown to users. Facebook shares breached the $50 mark in heavy premarket trading after at least 10 Wall Street analysts raised their price targets, to as much as $63. The stock has nearly doubled in value this year.
Tax delinquents by the thousands have security clearances, GAO finds [NBC] Thousands of tax delinquents -- including one who owes $2 million to the IRS -- have sensitive security clearances, posing a risk that has gone undetected by federal agencies, congressional investigators will report Thursday. A report by the General Accounting Office obtained by NBC News found that 8,400 U.S. officials and contractors with access to sensitive government secrets have racked up $8.5 million in delinquent tax debts. The report, due to be released Thursday morning at a Senate hearing, is the latest example of what members of Congress and investigators say are glaring weaknesses in the government’s system of vetting those receiving security clearances.
House Votes to Repeal Dodd-Frank Provision [DealBook] The House of Representatives, with bipartisan support, passed legislation on Wednesday that would roll back a major element of the 2010 law intended to strengthen the nation’s financial regulations by allowing big banks like Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase to continue to handle most types of derivatives trades in house. The bill, which passed by a 292-122 vote, would repeal a requirement in the Dodd-Frank law that big banks “push out” some derivatives trading into separate units that are not backed by the government’s insurance fund. But the debate Wednesday regarding this decidedly technical matter quickly turned into an impassioned dispute over the role the federal government has played since the recession in regulating financial markets. Advocates of the legislation argued on the House floor that the federal government is partly responsible for the slow rate of economic growth because it imposed excessive new regulations. “America’s economy remains stuck in the slowest, weakest nonrecovery recovery of all times,” said Representative Jeb Hensarling, Republican of Texas, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. “Those who create jobs for America are drowning in a sea of red tape preventing them.”
Your Selfish Single Ass Is Gonna Destroy the Economy, HAPPY? [Jezebel] All the single ladies better hurry up and put a ring on it, because Gallup researchers are reporting that what the economy needs is more marriages. They found more than 130,000 people and found that married people throw their money around town like they're doomsday preppers at Costco
Bank Regulator Issues New Guidance on Third-Party Risks [Compliance Week] The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on Wednesday updated its risk management guidance for the third-party relationships of national banks and federal savings associations. The use of third parties, contractual or otherwise, does not diminish the responsibility of the board and management to ensure that all activities conform to sound banking practices and applicable laws,warns OCC Bulletin 2013-29, "Third-Party Relationships: Risk Management Guidance."
GC flashback to last Halloween [GC]
Oh and this [Awkward Family Photos]: