Are The Auditors Getting Savvy About The Media?

During the last year or so, I’ve become pretty savvy about how this blog stuff works. I started out thinking I would just find a place to put all the content I’d built up over the years, content I had not been encouraged to develop or utilize at my last employer. I had been speaking at conferences, teaching and consulting for a long time, as well as building up a repository of articles and other materials I would use one day when I wrote the “Book”.

Who’s my number #1 visitor, by far, overall, from all parts of the world?


Maybe they should have listened to me more while I was there…

One of the most important things for an accountant/consultant type like me is to know when and if you have been successful. Nothing you do matters unless you know what impact you’re having and that impact is hopefully positive and big. So the first thing I did, when only five or ten people a day were wandering over to this blog, was to set up a tool called Statcounter. Someone who is selling something through their site needs something different, but Statcounter works for me. Through it, I can see who and how people are using my blog and it’s enough to give me goosebumps almost every day when I pull up the daily activity.

I’ve also set up an account on Feedburner so that you can subscribe to my feed. As with all things like this, there are a million ways nowadays to perform these technical tasks, but I follow the leaders, as I am an accountant who is very comfortable with technology and a quick study, but I don’t enjoy spending too much time deciding anything. Feedburner is a Chicago based company that was recently bought by Google, so all of my tools kind of fit together – Blogger, Feedburner, Google Search and Gmail, and finally Statcounter. Oh, and I get used by Sphere, but that’s ok. It feels good!

One of my most recent subscribers is a professional from a firm called Public Strategies Inc. One of the interesting side benefits of writing this blog is to be made aware of the other types of firms that are servicing the professional services industry. The purpose of this blog is to shine a light on the professional services industry, in particular the Big 4 audit firms, so the investor public can come to appreciate more the crucial, but under examined role these firms have on global commerce and their money. The professional services industry is, in my opinion, an under served industry category. So, learning more about firms like Audit Analytics, Ames Research Group International, professionals like Dennis Howlett, and the Lemme Insurance Group is an unexpected pleasure.

I was intrigued by Public Strategies’ interest in my blog. Their service, Media Intelligence™, was probably why they were here…

Media Intelligence™

Developed by Public Strategies to support the communications needs of our clients, Public Strategies Media Intelligence™ is a Web-portal where media and other public opinion resources are continuously monitored, assessed and addressed.

Beginning every morning at 5:00 a.m. Eastern Time, a team of Public Strategies media and public opinion experts examines the day’s media and public opinion resources, including international and national print and broadcast media, trade publications and newswires, blogs and chat rooms, interest group Web sites and company Web sites. The most relevant content is then compiled and carefully assessed based on its tone, key messages, quantity, trends and emerging sentiments. We then deliver a brief analysis of the text in an early morning email that includes a daily report with campaign-focused insight, an overview of key news and access to current and archived public materials.

The daily reports, along with media content, are stored on our secure, password-protected Media Intelligence™ Web site. Each client is assigned its own dedicated editor, who is supported by a team of public opinion experts. Media monitoring continues throughout the day.

Our clients value Media Intelligence™ because it allows them to house a range of communcations services and materials on a personalized Web site without the burdens of manpower and maintenance.

Then one day I noticed someone from E&Y accessing my site via their portal. Well, I said to myself, E&Y is the client that told them about me. I knew that Deb Harrington had been watching me. Hell, she even emailed me a few times, but this was something quite different.

Then suddenly I saw more instances of access to this blog via the Public Strategies portal. How do I know? Because I can click on the link that brings those visitors to this site and see that it is a signon page for their portal.

And who are the users of this service? The Big 4 firms – PwC, Deloitte and KPMG, as well as E&Y.

Do they know that this firm is working for all of them? Or maybe this is a service being provided by their membership in the Club?

Update: Accenture is using a service called Cymfony to find me…

I asked a friend for his opinion. He is an expert in this kind of thing, a very big wheel in the world of PR, and he said:

(It looks like)they monitor all of the Big Four’s media presence for them and (if) they’re NOT providing counsel (which makes sense, because why would you want the same firm that provides advice to you to also provide it to your competitor?), I think it IS kosher… because what Public Strategies is really functioning is as the audit industry’s media monitoring shared-cost utility.

Bottom line, I think it’s actually smart for the Big Four to pool their efforts to get one entity to monitor for all of them… provided that’s all Public Strategies is doing.

Well, I find it hard to believe that Public Strategies is not also providing analysis and advice. That’s what Public Strategies says they are selling.

And I can see situations where it’s not kosher for the Big 4 to “pool their efforts”, whether informally or through the Center for Audit Quality to monitor the media on their behalf and build coalitions, develop litigation strategies, lobby and manage campaigns together to address issues. Fee fixing anyone? Collusion on settlement strategies? Sharing of confidential information about risky clients?

Big 4, What do you think? Are you aware Public Strategies is gaining “competitive market intelligence” by having all of you as clients?

SEC, What do you think?

2 replies

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] The PCAOB has issued its report on PwC for 2006 today, Friday, at 4:30 Eastern time. Who said accountants aren’t savvy about the media? […]

Comments are closed.