You have to go outside of the US to see a trial of a Big Four audit firm to know what I’m talking about. Australia’s Centro case against PwC or Canada’s Nortel case where Deloitte partners testified recently tell you everything you need to know about why the Big Four will settle every time. Rather than have a jury and the public hear and see the pathetic state of the audit profession, its inability to stop executives who want to cheat, and its unwillingness to acknowledge liability as a firm when it screws up, the firms will reach into their seemingly bottomless pockets and pay up.
If you’ve been reading me for a while, you know that I pretty much stick to discussing the largest 4 audit/accounting firms. This is for practical reasons – keeping my sanity in dealing with so much information – and to be realistic. Put the three next tier firms in the US together and they don’t equal either the critical mass in terms of experience and infrastructure nor the client/revenue base of any one of the Big 4. They will never, either individually or collectively, be able to step up and absorb the detritus from another Big 4 firm failure, either in the US or out.
That doesn’t mean the next tier don’t serve the clients they have well. Mostly. Just means that the next tier are not ready to play in the same pitch as Ronaldo.
Not so long ago, Dennis Howlett and I went public with a bet:
Which Big 4 audit firm is the next to fail?
Dennis believes that I’m betting on PwC as next to fail. I don’t honestly remember committing to that, but I’m willing to go with it for the sake of argument. This is in spite of the fact that the other Big 4 have plenty to worry about and the next tier firms are in no way ready for prime time.
The “victims” of the Bernie Madoff scandal are not taking their losses laying down. Why are so many suits suddenly being brought against the auditors of the funds that invested on behalf of their clients in the Madoff funds?
Every once and a while someone asks me, “fm, how do you keep up with all the news, the stories? How do you know all this stuff?” Well…Although I have been accused of conceit, presumption, being “too smart,” being too quick to draw conclusions, painting a whole firm black on very little basis, precociousness, general […]
I laughed out loud when a Google Alert pointed me to the FT article excerpted below. I find this solicitation by the US Internal Revenue Service quite ironic given that four of the six firms mentioned have had serious, and I mean serious, issues with the IRS related to their aiding and abetting the development […]
Just goes to show you how self-serving and silo-ed these firms and the partners who run them are. Didn’t they get the memo? BDO Consulting Forms Corporate Advisory Practice BDO Consulting, a division of BDO Seidman, LLP, announced the formation of BDO Consulting Corporate Advisors. The practice will provide strategic and financial consulting services to […]
Picture Inspiration There are three firms in the US that I routinely refer to as the “next tier”. I pay them some respect by not using the term “2nd tier”. I think that sounds worse. But, it’s been well documented that the gulf between the Big 4 and this group, Grant Thornton, BDO Seidman, and […]
New chief of BDO challenges Big 4 BDO International could be a “credible challenger” to the Big 4 accounting firms, according to its new head. Jeremy Newman, newly appointed chief executive of the company, told the Financial Times that he sees a large opportunity in the market but that becoming a fifth tier to the […]
I’m starting to get interesting emails, from folks who may or may not have their own agenda, but who certainly know more about some things than I do. A little while ago, after writing about the BDO litigation, I received an email from someone who had quite a bit of information and very strong opinions […]
Given all that’s at stake for BDO in the Banco Espirito Santo (BES) judgement, and everything else on their mind it’s a wonder any court considers an agreement like this worth the paper it’s printed on… $19M deal struck to settle Suprema suit The former auditor of failed cheese company Suprema Specialties and several others […]
Neil McIntyre, CA-in-Waiting and Canadian boy-wonder blogger, wrote a post recently called, Sucks To Be Seidman. Neil is feeling this crisis personally and, if his picture wasn’t so darn cute, I would worry he was verklempt. Reasonable assurance is neither reasonable nor assured. Discuss. Neil says: “By now, the verdict in the BDO Seidman lawsuit […]