When I get mail directly, rather than in the comments, it often prompts me to review my approach to the blog, my motivations and my true feelings. Sometimes I change something, sometimes I don’t. I’ve been accused of being an accountant hater, a malcontent, a disgruntled ex-employee, a whiner, an idiot and, one time, the Sage of Omaha.(That one was meant for someone else…)
Today I received a very thoughtful email from Mike Harris, CPA, ESQ. With his permission, I’ve reprinted it below.
Francine, I’ve been reading your blog for a while and while I do enjoy it, it seems that you have this particular dislike of BDO. Whenever you get a chance to dig into them somehow or post something negative about the firm, you do not hesitate. Why is this? Were you burned by BDO the firm or a partner somewhere along the way? Do you think they overstep their bounds and should be sticking with smaller engagements? Do you believe they are just there for the buck and are the first ones to say yes when some public company goes opinion shopping?
I spent several years with BDO before leaving public accounting and my experience up to the senior associate level was for the most part positive and dare I say somewhat enjoyable. It doesn’t appear you worked there so I am not sure how you developed, from my perspective, this disgruntled employee image.
Mike Harris CPA, Esq
Here’s my response:
Hi Mike. Thanks for writing.
I don’t have any animosity for any of the firms, except for maybe a little for PwC. I worked there most recently and (although I met some great people) the (mixed) experience is what led me to do the blog in the first place. My interest is in highlighting what’s going on in the firms, focusing on the Big 4, at the management level. Unless you have been a senior partner at a firm, managing a major client, practice or office, you could live out your days blissfully ignorant of the inner workings of the Big 4.
BDO has, unfortunately for them, been in the news more often recently than the other next tier firms. They are very vulnerable now due to the judgement against them and a very risky choice for a company as an auditor, in my opinion. I did write about GT with regard to Refco. It wasn’t pretty. I have been accused of having a vendetta against each of the firms, especially KPMG, at times. It’s just the way the stories roll. KPMG has had their share of problems, but I liked the firm a lot when I worked there. It’s not the people, it’s the model and the senior management I am commenting on.
No, I don’t think the next tier firms should be auditing the large, complex global public companies, especially financial services. They just don’t have the firepower. I have quite a bit of experience working for one of the other next tier as a client of my firm. That’s where that feeling comes from.
The blog is a critique of the firms and their model of doing business. I’m more often negative and sometimes a little dramatic because that’s what attracts readers. I plead guilty.
I hope you keep reading. I appreciate the feedback.