Deloitte – The Worst May Be Yet To Come

By • Sep 30th, 2008 • Category: Deloitte, Layoffs at Deloitte (And Others), Pure Content, Your Career

I’m reprinting, verbatim, a comment made this morning on the August 29th post, Update: Deloitte Statement on Layoffs.  Many people have asked me about the rules for public notice prior to a layoff.  I believe that notice requirements depend on the size of the cuts and their geographical concentration. Organizations like the Big 4 have an advantage given the dispersion of their workforces across multiple locations.  The rules are oriented towards “layoffs” in a particular plant or factory, per the typical definition of a “layoff”.  But it seems others have now done the research and perhaps spoken to counsel.  These are not layoffs, but reductions in force, cuts, terminations, firings.  

Ain’t no going back…
Text below comes from a comment posted anonymously on September 30th to my post of August 29th. I have added nothing nor have I edited it.  For the original comment go to the August 29th post.
US CEO Barry Salzberg sent out an e-mail on September 22 informing all US employees that there will be a “headcount realignment” due to the current economic crisis and that “some people will be leaving us.” (even though they have already performed a substantial “headcount realignment”)     

I think everyone on this blog knows that Barry didn’t send this e-mail out of the kindness of his heart to give his people a “heads up” about the “headcount” issue.

In my mind, this e-mail was sent out to comply with WARN Act requirements, which mandate that if you plan to layoff more than 30% of your employees, 60 day notice must be given. So, yes, more layoffs are going down. Since they are complying with WARN, this layoff could be much larger – possibly massive. In my mind, the next round of layoffs will be like looking at casualty levels in World War I compared to WWII. Image-conscious Deloitte wouldn’t have made such an announcement unless they planned to cut many, many more people and stay in compliance with WARN.

Merck sent out a similar letter last year, and lo and behold, 60 days later, a massacre occurred – massive layoffs were conducted.

Keep in mind that the latest cuts were not performance based – they were based on salaries and accumulated severance. Who knows what the criteria will be next time (late November – just in time for Thanksgiving!), but I trust the criteria will be similar.

So, if you get an e-mail that says “FYO9 Planning” – run the other way and don’t look back! Some useless person from HR will give you the bad news to justify their existence.

 

 

 

 

is
Email this author | All posts by

470 Responses »

  1. Holy s**t!!! Francine, is it time for people in Big 4 to start looking elsewhere (those not at DT)?

    Where to look is a better question – it’s like jumping off the Titantic – just because you are off the sinking boat doesn’t mean you won’t drown or freeze to death.

  2. @1:02:00 I always advocate professionals at any point of their career to have more than one option and never believe the hype. Students who have excellent grades, internships, and other great attributes should look beyond the obvious. Either tell them you want another area besides audit (such as investigations/forensics, or bankruptcy or workout group ) or look at healthy companies instead. Some of you may want a challenge. Then you should demand a premium. If they’re not willing to work with you, look elsewhere and stay strong.

  3. And if we are not in audit currently but a specialized advisory practice? Does that mean we are more insulated from the large cuts?

  4. @1:33:00 Depends on the firm. However, consolidation and slowing economy mean less consulting, especially technology related. There are many articles out right now about slow down for software and services firms in technology sector. Every company is going to be more careful and spend only on a discretionary basis. Firms that had a lot of financial service firms as clients, whether on the audit and consulting side, are going to see less work. So, if Deloitte was auditor of Bear Stearns or Merrill Lynch or WAMU, one of the other firms was doing the consulting work. Both lose when a firm gets bought or goes out of business, since vendor relationships shift, in particular to respond to independence and concentration concerns.

    So, as an upcoming post will elaborate on, in the current economic scenario the Big 4 are not going to see growth in their consulting side to make up for the losses on the audit side. Their bankruptcy and workout guys, as well as the investigations and litigation support folks will be busy, but those engagements are short, sweet, spurts, not long term annuities. In many cases the Big 4 are playing in one or the other side same of the same failing organization.

  5. I didn’t see Barry’s email with quite the same chicken little view.

    First, not all offices had either year end reviews or headcount cuts at the same time. Some offices still hadn’t executed cuts. I saw this email as more of a response to the complaints about the poor communication since this started in August.

    Will offices like Atlanta be hammered again, because of Bear Stearns, ML, WAMU, etc? Probably not. New York? Probably should be. Will anything else happen to KC or Dallas? Doubt it. New cuts in non client service staff? Maybe. Fewer people to support, why not?

    I think the biggest hits will be Audit and IA, since their business drivers are so similar. I don’t have much visibility into some of the more esoteric offerings like FAS, though. There’s simply less flexibility to cut people from Security, DQI, etc. You can’t definitively say that any particular function, role or person is insulated from cuts, though. We carry marginal performers longer than necessary when times aren’t hard, and some more of those people will go.

    Also a part of this email were ways to re-target for client needs. The only difference to some of us is squeezing engagement sizes to fit within client budgets a bit better (which naturally follows with slightly decreased scope of services.)

    No panic here.

  6. Think of the decrease productivity/utilization at Deloitte now that people are focused on looking for other jobs, rather than doing their jobs. How can you focus on doing your best for a firm that you know is out to screw you over.

  7. It seems to me that Salzberg’s memo is missing almost every required element of a WARN notice (as defined in 20 CFR 639.7):

    1. The name and address of the employment site where the plant
    closing or mass layoff will occur, and the name and telephone number of a company official to contact for further information

    2. A statement as to whether the planned action is expected to be
    permanent or temporary and, if the entire plant is to be closed, a
    statement to that effect

    3. The expected date of the first separation and the anticipated
    schedule for making separations

    4. The job titles of positions to be affected and the names of the
    workers currently holding affected jobs

  8. First, they would not need to comply with the warn act even if mass layoffs were to occur. They will not be laying off more than 500 at a single site of employment, nor will they do it all at once. And they will not be laying off more than 33% of their workforce. If this was to happen, it would be an amazing event, but as it will not, why would they need to comply with any provisions set before with the WARN act?

  9. To 2104 Anonymous: Attitudes like that result in slacking work product, that will push you to the front of the line. Your work carries your reputation, even if you’re a second year staff. Protect your quality no matter what.

  10. wow. how about the obvious need that this POS firm may need us for “busy season”?

    what is your response to that?

  11. To 8:15 Anon-

    I suspect you are a partner at Deloitte and want to scare whoever reads your comment into working hard. Whatever. If someone thinks they are in the firing line, then no amount of hard work in the next 2 months will save them.

  12. I am a partner at Deloitte (not the previous poster). Please do not lump all partners into the same group. There are the leaders of the firm and then everyone else (partners included). In the last round of layoffs the average partner was not made aware of who was being let go even if that person was on their engagement. We were as surprised as the people who were let go and did not have a chance to provide our input.

    As for the email, I was shocked, I figured it must be a mistake to send this to all employees without providing more information. Maybe it is related to the WARN act. However, losing ML, Bear Stearns, WAMU, DTE and others there has to be more cuts (partners included). While I have not heard anything I guess most will be centered in the Northeast.

  13. @12:02:00 Thanks for your input. You make an important point. Most partners in the firms are in a bad position. They have quite a bit of potential liability and downside risk and very little say in what they do, how they do it, and who they do it with. This has nothing to do with the fact most of them are married .(Just a little single person humor there…)

    I am not surprised many did not know who was being cut. They are not trusted to make P&L or personnel decisions (which are big P&L decisions in a professional services firm) because most of them have not had the training and mentoring needed to make them real business leaders. They are accountants, nice people for the most part, many very good at what they do from a technical perspective, some good at client relationships and growing business and a few more good at managing and coaching people with integrity and sincerity. Pity the average partner. They are next and many don't know how to do anything else.

  14. What a mess…how about not laying anybody off (or not as many) but cancel or severely restrict campus recruiting…why hire newbies out of college with no training and layoff experienced workers…

    Partner from DT – that kind of email from your CEO is astonishing. While it is an admirable attempt to open up a communication channel to the entire firm and giving advanced notice I can only see it as creating the scenario of rats (no offense DT employees) fleeing a sinking ship. It would seem that second motive of the email was to force the attrition rate upwards and therefore not have to make so many cuts this time…either way – its poor leadership to announce it nationally and not allow local or practice leaders to discuss among a smaller group. IMHO.

    Talk about using a chainsaw instead of a scalpel.

  15. You argument that 30% of the workforce could be terminated is utterly unsubstantiated and reckless. The notification in no way implies that anything near 30% would be cut and in my opinion that is a ridiculous number that you are using in order to generate web hits. You yourself have said many times that you get your most hits when you discuss layoffs and you have a history of drastically overestimating their size.

    The notification should be an important topic of discussion, but please do so without unsubstantiated claims, that could put unnecessary levels of stress on the people that work at these companies.

    -IJustWorkHere

  16. @IJustWorkHere I am only giving higher visibility to what those inside the firm have already commented. I added no conclusions of my own. My post of August 25 regarding the reductions that started that day was on the money and my post about other firms’ reductions, including PWC’s have been proved to be accurate. What’s sad are those that continue to defend leaders that hide, disperse, and obfuscate data so it cannot be easily compiled. When the firms start disclosing publicly the real verifiable numbers then I will correct or retract if needed. Until then, judge for youself but at least you have been warned.
    And BTW, I don’t relish the traffic that’s generated because of the poor folks who have lost a job. I have a clear conscience that I am providing a service in having a place to disseminate useful information.

  17. I commend Francine in that she is provide a service, a well needed and important service to everyone in the auditing world and the world in general. Don’t attack Francine for her knowledge and great insight to this secret auditing world.

    This business is so well hidden from society that no one knows what they do or how they act. I am so thankful that Francine has started this blog to show how the Big 4 truly act and how they exploit their employees and then just treat them like dirt and spit them out when times are tough.

    Big 4 auditors (and all auditors) are here to protect the investors and the general public from disastrous events like Enron. However, from working in the business I have found that the auditors are not protecting anyone but themselves. They give the clients what they want to keep them happy and keep the money rolling in. If they actually stood up to their clients potentially some of this mess could have been provented.

    I hope that this bad publicity on Deloitte and the Big 4 firms will finally show these places are not necessarily the best places to start a career, not the best places for women, not the best places for work/life balance, and not the best places for diversity.

  18. Just to very very clear here… The words in italics in this post are not mine. They come from a comment that was posted that day on the original post of August 29. I just reprinted them. I add no conclusions and do not confirm them other than to say others had told me about this email but this commenter is the only one that gave me the text.

  19. Francine,

    I don't think your PwC figures were that accurate…I believe you claimed somewhere in the ballpark of 20% in Advisory. It was more like 3 – 5% in February…if anything there has been net growth in headcount over the past year.

    Also, related to the macro-economic conditions…the loss of audit clients may be punishing to some firms through no fault of their own, but there is a lot of regulatory, compliance, and M&A work out there related to what is happening. I can't say that I feel personally optimistic about the economy (or my own job security as a tenured professional at a Big 4), but it's certainly not a bad business to be in right now.

    And contrary to the previous poster, I have had a generally positive experience…I've personally seen many of our audit partners stand up to their clients on accounting matters and personally seen our firm walk away from several lucrative audit clients over accounting disputes. There is so secret society or agenda…its certainly not a perfect system but I've not seen a better proposal or alternative suggested on these boards.

  20. @6:32:00 The PwC number that I repeated form sources in February was 1000 people. http://www.retheauditors.com/2008/02/follow-up-pwc-advisory-services-layoffs.html

    I have heard for many sources that, since February, staff cut from Advisory by various offices has exceeded 1000. You may feel staff has increased because of the transfer of the remaining SPA folks to Advisory. Those kinds of moves and changes are not transparent to the outside. In general, the numbers, on a national basis and a reconciliation of them, are not publicly available. So we may never know. That’s the problem. But I stand by the contention I will make in my next post: Advisory services in all of the Big 4 firms will not see the growth they are hoping for to replace the decreasing growth in audit.

  21. Deloitte partner, your honesty is refreshing. I am sure that you would agree that once a person, in this case, firm, loses creditability with its clients or employees, it is incredibly difficult to remedy. As a partner, what can you do to remove these responsible people from power/abuse? If you know and do nothing, aren’t you just as guilty? As the poster above suggested, the firm could stop spending $$$ on recruiting and hiring. If the existing staff aren’t busy, what does it say to them if the firm continues to hire? Trust goes both ways. In this case, the employees trusted Deloitte, and many got burned. You shouldn’t blame people who now chose to focus their energy on finding new jobs. Perhaps you should think about whether you would want to be a partner in this firm.

  22. It is really sad when strong, independent, and intelligent people are brainwashed into believing that they have no identity without the firm. Why else would any reasonable sane person endorse such leaders and behaviors, over and over again. Unfortunately, public accounting is not about thinking outside the box, although its partners and employees market themselves to clients in this manner. People today wonder how Hitler was able to convince so many people to succumb to his evil ways. Well, partners of Deloitte, would you like to explain how you can implement termination practices that you claim not to support the first time? What about the second, third, and fourth time? Think about it!

  23. Deloitte partner responding to the last annonymous poster. You asked, “as a partner, what can you do to remove these responsible people from power/abuse”? The answer unfortunately is absolutely nothing. There is no power in the partnership agreement to remove those in charge unless you get a majority vote (which would never happen). In fact, at Deloitte, we do not get to vote for who we want as CEO. They have a “nominating committee” that screens for candidates and makes a recommendation to the Board. We can only vote yes or no on the individual nominee, but there are no other candidates to vote on. As far as continuing recruiting, you always need younger staff to do the job at a lower cost than more experienced staff. In other words, it would cost too much to have a senior manager perform a staff person’s work. It is the business model whether you like it or not. Also, you noted that I should ask myself whether I want to be a partner in this firm. Well the answer is a resounding yes. Despite the way in which layoffs were handled (very poorly by all accounts), I firmly believe that Deloitte treats its people very well and cares about their success. It is a business and as an “owner” of the business I realize that tough decisions need to be made including layoffs. Despite what everyone thinks, partners (especially younger ones) do not make as much money as you think. This year I am sure that some young partners will make less than senior managers. There is a high risk to being a partner both financially and personally. I have decided that it is a risk I am willing to take. While I might not agree with every decision at Deloitte, I realize that the grass is always greener on the other side and every organization has similar issues. To me, at Deloitte the grass is green enough for me to enjoy my job and more importantly, enjoy the people I work with from partner on down to first year staff.

  24. At Deloitte, it takes more than a 66% partner vote to remove a partner. So your partner position is not at stake. Your compensation could be reduced, but you will still have your job. Stop trying to make people feel sorry for you. If you really feel bad, you could volunteer for a pay decrease from $1 million to $500,000 a year. That would save 8-10 new staff jobs in your group.

  25. To the poster that just said “At Deloitte, it takes more than a 66% partner vote to remove a partner. So your partner position is not at stake. Your compensation could be reduced, but you will still have your job. Stop trying to make people feel sorry for you. If you really feel bad, you could volunteer for a pay decrease from $1 million to $500,000 a year. That would save 8-10 new staff jobs in your group.”

    First of all, I am not trying to seek pity from anyone. I am trying to provide some insight into the partnership that others on here only speculate about. First of all, I wish I made $1 million, let alone $500k. You are way off base. No doubt, the top 20% of partners make big $’s, but at Deloitte, well over 50% of the partners have less than 10 years experience. In other words, we do not make big $’s (relative to employees yes, but not relative to average partner earnings). Also, please do not discount the risk partners take on. It is huge and therefore, part of the higher comp relative to employees reflects this. Plus you assertions are way off. You are correct that it takes 2/3 of the partners to vote another partner out. However, that is not the only way to get rid of them (and by the way, currently about 120 partners are being “fired”). The partnership agreement allows you to reduce the partner comp to about $120K (based on my estimate of FY09 unit values). At that level, the risk/reward is not worth it so those partners leave. Plus I stand by my comment that there will be a fair number of senior managers this year that make more than 1-2 year partners. I am not looking for sympathy, rather just trying to state facts.

  26. @1021…thats funny.

    Would you do the same? Or maybe you should work for half so one of your friends can keep their job and make the other half…would you do that? Big 4 are profit based businesses – we are in this to MAKE MONEY. All the community accolades and “Best place to start a career” are nice – but money talks and bullshit walks.

    DT Partner – your honesty that the layoffs were not handled well is refreshing – have you communicated that much to your direct staff/group?

  27. @1120…120k…for a partner? Is this audit? Either way that is a joke. All that demonstrates (if true) is DT is a horrendously run business – or far too many people are made partner with out the stones or business acumen to be in such a position.

  28. @DT Partner – as a manager at Deloitte, I appreciate your honesty. I was teaching new hire a few weeks ago when the cuts started and it was a challenge to keep morale up with our newest colleagues.Thank you for having the courage to post your comments here.

  29. DT Partner – I am a DT staff. Thanks for your posts. It’s nice to have direct information that isn’t based on rumors going around the manager ranks (who knows where they get it from).

  30. All the anti-partner talk is a bit much. I think we are missing a big general point. Deloitte is showing more candor than ever before. We are reacting negatively right now because we have never heard the tough messages.

    With that said, there are right ways and wrong ways to lay off people. At least with an email like this, you send a message to the marketplace that the people are not leaving because they are simply poor performers. Macro economic business drivers are at play. It’s a step in the right direction.

  31. @DT Partner If you’re for real, I’ve got an anonymous guest post slot for you. Better way to make your point all at once. And it’s fun. Call or write. 312-730-4884 or fmckenna@mckenapartners.com

  32. Hi, I’m a senior at DT. I just wanted to point out that the 8/29 post mis-quotes Barry’s 9/22 email. Barry’s email said, “That means some people are leaving us.” The person who posted on 8/29 said “some people will be leaving us.”

  33. DT sr…tomato/tomato

    Thanks for the lesson in semantics. People are still getting laid off is the real point.
    Please go back to finishing your FAS157 reading. Oh wait – DT doesn’t have anymore banking clients so don’t bother reading that!

  34. Fannie Mae is not a banking client? Hmmm…news to me as I am working on that audit currently.

    I’m so glad you think layoffs are a joke. I just think you’re obnoxious.

  35. if you think FAS 157 applies only to banking clients, i am very glad you are not working Deloitte. your joke makes no sense.

  36. i was not responding to you, i was responding to the poster that indicated Deloitte should not be worried about reading FAS 157 because they have no banking clients. That comment was obnoxious or sympathetic — but most of all, very ignorant.

  37. @3:57:00 I deleted my comment when I realized that.

  38. Hi, DT senior responding to “lesson in semantics”

    The point I was making is that people are speculating over whether there will be MORE layoffs based off of Barry’s email, which the 8/29 poster incorrectly quoted. Yes, there have been layoffs as indicated by Barry’s usage of the past tense. The poster used the future tense, thereby creating the speculation that there will be more layoffs. Go back to elementary school and learn correct grammar.

  39. What will DT do with all the people that were staffed to those audit clients that have been acquired or failed and then acquired?

    DT made layoffs well before a bunch of these firms merged – so is another round coming?

  40. 157 is going to be moot – news reports are pegging that it MAY get repealed in some form or another by the SEC/FASB – or perhaps SEC already revised the rules in the last few days?

    Any word on this – news reports are all over the place probably because they don’t understand (same as with most anybody outside of accounting/finance). Francine, perhaps a post on this? CAQ is against a change in the rule…PwC specifically was mentioned in the article I saw.

  41. Check out the TaxDiversity.com website sponsored by PwC. The Big 4 seem to be tripping over one another trying to tout their diversity (women and minority) programs. Maybe all the minorities and preggers laid off by Deloitte could join PwC so that PwC could be the diversity firm of choice. Funny how the percentage increase in women and minority are at the staff and senior level and not at the leadership level.

  42. There is some speculation that the next wave of layoffs will be at the beginning of 2009 and that Deloitte leadership is trying hard to clean up its image now, due to the negative publicity received on the internet. Francine, thanks for keeping that powers that be in check.

  43. Of course the next wave of layoffs will be in 2009. Deloitte is going to keep the employees they have now to get them through busy season and then once that is done they will lay them off. The same thing happened this year around May-June; Granted those layoffs this year were performance based but they still waited until busy season was over and then let them go.

  44. It sucks either way.

    And how many the last time were truly performance based rather than just framed as performance based.

    Or are performance ratings made that much harder to attain so managers are forced to rate people lower thus presenting the appearance of lower performance.

    Only one thing rules right now in the Big 4 – chargeability/utilization.

    To turna phrase from Red in Shawshank – “Get busy billing [living], or get busy dying.”

    It’s a huge crap sandwhich.

  45. And now the partners’ attention turns to who they want to keep busy versus not busy in order to substantiate the future layoffs. At the end of the day, the partners control the flow and deployment of work in the organization. Kissing up is more important than ever, or risk being starved out. As the previous poster indicated, if you aren’t being utilized, don’t think it is temporary. Start looking for a job now and move on to a better working environment. You are only a victim if you let yourselve be treated as one.

  46. agree @815…but many of those partners are unable to bring in work in the first place – so instead of them taking a walk for not feeding their people work they show how many articles and conferences they attended as marketing efforts.

    A-B-C…always be closing. COFFEE IS FOR CLOSERS.

  47. Whoever posted this blog obviously does not know how Deloitte is formed. There are multiple entities which all roll up into the one that Barry leads therefore wouldn’t this notice have to come from each CEO?
    I would suggest that this blogger go join the pool of other failed Big 4 auditors, that being the PCAOB! It is another way to try and create chaos among the Big 4 without really knowing what you are talking about!

  48. I feel very disheartened in all of these comments above. First, thanks to the Partner that posted above for being honest and opening yourself up for a verbal beating. Second, the layoffs were hard, for all. I found many Senior Managers, Managers, and others, myself included, trying to help the people laid off find jobs. It is a difficult time for the entire economy.

    That being said, there are many DT, or other, people on here complaining about DT. If you are not happy or cannot manage to work through lower raises, while maintaining high utilization and staying under budget, and conveying that DT is a good place to work while recruiting, until the entire economy gets back on its feet, then leave. It is as simple as that. DT is tasking us with multiple goals which tend to contradict the others. This is not easy, however, those of us that choose to stay get frustrated listening to the conspiracy theorist. I feel just a slighted as some others at times, but I also realize that I am the one that put myself here.

    So take the opportunity to show them what you are made of, or choose a different path. When I have had enough, then I will leave. Until that point comes, realize that DT is just another company, trying to make a profit. And if you began working for DT, or any other public accounting or consulting firm for that matter, and did not realize that you would be worked hard and paid little for at least the first 5 years, then you didn’t do your research before starting work.

    That being said, there are opportunities at DT for high performers. Sometimes the opportunities do not always present themselves to high performers, and therefore, some choose to leave for better opportunities.

  49. @2:43:00
    ” Barry Salzberg
    CEO, Deloitte LLP US
    Barry Salzberg was elected as Chief Executive Officer of Deloitte LLP in June 2007, after serving as the U.S. Managing Partner from 2003 to 2007. He also is a member of Deloitte’s U.S. Board of Directors, the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Global Executive Committee, and the DTT Global Board of Directors.”

    The US is one legal entity. What’s the point?

  50. @2:55 pm – wow, you sound exactly like the partners in our office when they communicated our poor raises and encouraged us to work harder. Motivation is important.

  51. @4:03…and thats the rub. It’s funny when a partner who can’t bring in (meet) their revenue goals and then talk that game to staff…

    I’d feel like saying well maybe if you focused on the right clients and won the right engagements worth some $$$ we’d be in better shape.

    But I digress…back to my spreadsheet.

    – MORT

  52. Deloitte partner, thank you for your attempt to honestly assess the situation from your perspective. At this point, the mistakes have already been made, and people are angry. However, with the right attitudes, the right people at Deloitte can use the lessons learned from these mistakes to make a difference.

    It is also evident that you are fighting an uphill battle, given the tone of the other e-mails from presumably other partners in your group. Stay strong, as your staff who depend on you to do the right thing will surely appreciate.

    As Francine indicated above, most of the partners in public accounting firms are not bad people. However, perhaps you can speak up for what you believe in more, as you no doubt have a better pulse on the organization than your C suite executives.

  53. Time to hit the job boards!

    http://www.linkedin.com (professional networking)
    http://www.indeed.com (aggregated job listings)
    http://www.realmatch.com (matches you to jobs)

    you’ll be back at work in no time!

  54. @11:40:00
    I also encourage those looking and getting ready to look to reach out to me on Linked In. You may find some interesting folks to connect with on my contacts lists and I am always willing to have an off-line discussion with someone looking for ideas.

  55. D&T-US is a unified partnership, and B.Salzburg is the boss. The US Firm is comprised of four business units (audit, tax, consulting and valuation), and each of these units has a "CEO". This set-up is to manage the overall firm, as there are no overt legal advantages.

    Prior to Barry election to CEO of the overall firm, he served under the prior CEO as "managing partner". Barry eliminated the position of managing partner last year.

    From a governance perspective, Deloitte also has a Board of Directors, and there is a Chairman (Sharon Allen). Barry serves on the Board, along with maybe 10 other partners or so.

    There is also a Global Board of Directors and a Global Chairman (from the UK Firm) and Global CEO (from the US Firm, and Barry's predecessor) . But since these are all separate partnerships, these Global activities are basically like the United Nations…lots of bark with little bite.

  56. 4 CEOs? CEO of this and that – managing partner now no managing partner….lot of fancy titles. I give you Mr. Gekko’s speech (insert DT for Teldar)…

    “Teldar Paper, Mr. Cromwell, Teldar Paper has 33 different vice presidents each earning over 200 thousand dollars a year. Now, I have spent the last two months analyzing what all these guys do, and I still can’t figure it out. One thing I do know is that our paper company lost 110 million dollars last year, and I’ll bet that half of that was spent in all the paperwork going back and forth between all these vice presidents. The new law of evolution in corporate America seems to be survival of the unfittest. Well, in my book you either do it right or you get eliminated.”

    - Red

  57. Red – I'm guessing that you probably have never run or managed a business, or perhaps you make your living as a celebrity. It makes good business sense to have a leader of each business line. What would be your brilliant idea to manage a business that has four different product lines? I'm not a D&T apologist, but your commentary makes no sense. So, I'm asking you for your proposed structure as to who run the business, or to go crawl back into your rabbit hole.

  58. @1233…I don’t think Red was saying the structure was wrong but I read it as why have 4 people as CEO? Isn’t the point of a CEO for there to be only one? I understand having a practice chair or managing partner for each business line but it seems feeble to name them all CEO…

    Are you Salzberg? You seem to take particular offense to what was obviously a satirical comment regarding the quote.

    You may say you are not a DT apologist but your comment does not read any other way given how hostile and condescending you attempt to be.

    Cheerio mate.

    Francine – get this guy a good shot of some of that exquisite tequila you mention from time to time. he needs it. one for me too!

  59. English dude…

    Yeah, I’m Salzburg. I don’t see hostility in my comments, what I do see is a bunch of little people making complaints without offering any constructive ideas or thoughts. I’m asking that the bar be raised a little bit here. Until then, perhaps Red and others like that can stay contained in their little cubicles scanning the TMZ website.

  60. @11:38:00
    Why do you get so offended by the truth? Seems like someone needs a little anger management class……is there a class on DeloitteNet????

  61. @1008…agreed.

    Salzberg’s doppleganger here is getting quite bent out of shape.

    “Raise the bar a little…” This is not HBS…it’s an internet blog with a free form exchange of ideas. If you can’t stand to lower yourself to comment here – then don’t. But if you feel that the honor of almighty Deloitte has been impugned by all means defend its honor and defend it with vigor. But expect for people to call you out – and there is no requirement for us as commenters to offer “constructive ideas” – this is a blog not a management consulting forum to resolve the problems of DT or any Big 4 for that matter.

    If you think DT is A-okay than by all means you are entitled to that opinion – no matter how short sighted that may be. I think many readers on this blog would disagree and believe DT needs some fixing – but that is up to the masters of the universe at DT to do – not commenters on a blog.

    Send your constructive ideas to them. Or if you would like us to give any we may have please provide contact info for those at DT whom you believe should be informed. As well as your contact information so we can CC’ you on any information exchange. Thank you.

    Kind Regards,
    Howard Roark

  62. In the Senate hearings on Monday the first questions were asked about why the auditors did not say something? If the current FBI investigations determine that some CEOs knew the true state of their businesses but lied to the market there will be more focus on the audtors. If I were a big 4 partner I would be very worried

  63. I find it hilarious how anytime you post a comment disputing the "negativity" you are labeled a D&T drone. I think some people watch the Bill O'Reilly show too much and are quick to label others if they don't follow their opinions.

    FYI, the Fountainhead was horrible Mr. Roark.

  64. One of the shared services groups is having a mandatory conference call for everyone on the U.S. team. Hmmm, I wonder what’s going to be discussed.

  65. 6% reduction of work force yesterday for one of the shared services group.

  66. what is a “shared service group”? and, are you referring to Deloitte?

  67. Shared Services is the administrative group (administrative assts, etc.). Having recently been laid off from Deloitte after working 15+ years have to say I’m very disappointed with the way everything was and is being handled. For years Deloitte did whatever it took to look good on paper but then bailed on loyal and dedicated employees without batting an eye. Sad — not sure how they can possibly be considered one of the best places to work. Inmates running the asylum.

  68. How does WARN work in practice? As a way of getting around the requirements of WARN, could accounting firms, such as Deloitte, terminate employees on the “pretext” of job performance issues? Almost any development needs, no matter how minor or insignificant, in a performance evaluation can be trumped up as poor performance.

    In addition to determining if WARN was properly complied with or if one’s termination was proper and by the book, should some people join the pending overtime lawsuits that Deloitte (www.dtlawsuit.com) and its competitors (www.eylawsuit.com, big4overtimecases.com, http://www.big4lawsuit.com) are currently defending? If one were to sue a big four accounting firm, what are the chances of facing retaliation?

  69. DL not the only ones..KPMG let my wife go today..Excuse given..The economy. Sad, but I hope she ends up better off. Good luck to all of you.Dan from Boston

  70. Oh man. As a former DT’er for almost 10 years, I can’t believe there is a site dedicated to this biz. What an incredibly boring and unfufilling occupation. I don’t miss it at all (and can’t believe I spent so long there. Greedy B*st*rd that I am). The constant push for utilization. The pressure to constantly retool for the next ‘big wave’, whether that’s a package implementation, SOX, option backdating, or a myriad of other areas of expertise that Deloitte claims to hold. I’m sure it’s no better at the other 3. In fact, I hear Deloitte is one of the better when it comes to treating it’s people (#40 in “Best Places to Work” afterall). Still, it’s abysmal for anyone who seeks creativity, spontaneity, and informality. For those who got the axe, believe me, when the dust settles, you’ll be happier elsewhere. But I still feel your pain. And Francine, I know from folks let go in the Aug08 round that their partners had a FULL WEEK’S NOTICE of their layoff’d folks. And none of them had the balls to be frank with those people. Boo hoo for the $750K partners out there. Maybe they should pocket only $450K in tough times and keep the average joe in a job. Read the Lincoln Electric business case sometime. It’s a case study in real leadership. Changing operations with the times to keep your team intact.

  71. No one should trust Deloitte and what they say in these “layoffs” or should I say terminations. Back in Sept I was told by HR and a Director that I was being laid off due to the down turn in the economy and that they would not deny my unemployment benefits with the state. However, I am in a fight with the state over my benefits because Deloitte said I was terminated not laid off. They are back stabbing two faced people at Deloitte. I will never trust them again and if at any part of my career I have a chance to deny their services I will be glad to shut the door in their face.

    Even thought I signed a general release with Deloitte and I can’t sue them; is it possible that I can sue the HR manager and the Director in a civil case for lying directly to my face which cased me emotional and financial hardship due to the denial of my unemployment benefits…..is that possible? I don’t want to contact a lawyer yet as I have used up all my savings and everyone other dime to keep my home, car, and care for my family.

  72. If your separation agreement states (as mine does in writing) that DT will not opposed UC benefits, check your general release it likely states that you can’t sue for anything they’ve done PRIOR TO the date of the release. Any breach AFTER the date of the release may provide you with a cause of action against Deloitte. You might check with an attorney (they’ll probably look at that issue on contingency and give you an opinion as to whether you can sue Deloitte, irregardless of your release-i.e., they breached the contract they crafted).

  73. […] the last 18 months, and especially the last 8-12 months.  The largest reductions seem to be at Deloitte and KPMG.  But significant cuts have occurred at EY and have been rumored  to have occurred, […]

  74. some Partners and directors will be leaving D&T in teh next couple of weeks before fiscal year end. At my office, some tax directors were gone last week. Also, if you end up as a 4 rated by consensus, you’ll be out as well. DT wants to start the new FY very lean…off course they go and acquire 4000 people from Bearing Point at the same time. Now they will have to lay off more people to absorb this increast in head count…..idiots.

  75. @74, could you repost your comment under the “Deloitte Statement on Layoff” thread? There’s 400+ posts under this thread, including others who have made the same claim. D and the other Big 4 are taking this industry down the toilet.

  76. @74 – agree with the idiot comment, but can you tell us which office (if not, which region)?

  77. Does anyone have any info on the size of this latest round of layoffs at D&T this week? I know the Hartford office cut 19 people but I haven’t heard anything about the New York office.

  78. People that were laid off this week are still temporarily in Schedulink but their schedule are maxed out under “DNS.”

  79. Layoffs started at my office yesterday (D&T Midwest office). I received a few goodbye emails, so it looks like they are giving people a chance to get their things in order before they leave.

    Best of luck everyone.

  80. Normally, the D’s top management will go around saying something, such as the “straight talk”, to hint or justify coming layoffs. However, I did not hear anything this round. Did I miss something or they were spreading the rumors instead?

  81. I know in NYC, they did one batch in Audit on Tuesday and one batch today. ERS will have one in next week.

    Can anyone talk about if you hear any Partner/Director leaving the firm in your office/group? The PR machine calls it “Early Retirement”. Don’t be fooled by that. Any Partner/Director who left or leave by 5/29 or some in early June are got “kicked out” involuntarily. They are usually 1-5 year partners/directors…

  82. The layoffs are happening, but the impact is different for each office. I know the CT offices in Northeast did their cuts this week, haven’t heard anything yet about the bigger offices (NY/NJ/Boston) but considering how much the NY area relies on financial services I would imagine that the NY office will have some significant cuts as well.

  83. @74 – you should have read my comment @496 on how the rating system works in the previous thread (Update: Deloitte Statement on Layoffs). If someone is rated 4 they should be happy that “D” has been supplying them with a pay check for all this time.

    I do not agree with the toilet comment either – the industry is going where it is because of the general worldwide financial environment.

    The big 4 are just trying to cope with it. Their staffing numbers were overinflated before, which was great for the staff. They were constantly bringing new grads onboard in “On the beach” positions in order to garner a share of the new grad market in hopes of obtaining the brightest. That was a race that all 4 were involved in.

    Now they have to cut what they don’t need. The whys and hows are only something the top level PPDs probably understand, and I don’t think they are in-tune with the lower levels of staff to understand how “off” some of their choices are.

    Separate Subject only slightly related: It is like a story I remember reading in FREAKONOMICS: This guy Feldman was supplying bagels, on a honor system of payment, to businesses and found that the executive floors cheated (didn’t pay for the bagels they took) him the most. He “wondered if perhaps the executives cheated out of an overdeveloped sense of entitlement.” The author(s) follow with this comment: “What he didn’t consider is that perhaps cheating was how they got to be executives.”

    That seems to sum up a possible answer to the root of a good deal of the comments that I’ve read on re:The Auditors.

  84. Everyone has been stressing with rumors of another round of “realignments” coming in June that would be tied to PPDs expectation of the value of their “units” and the state of the revenue stream and pipeline @ fiscal year end. It appears they are here 2 weeks earlier than expected. We are seeing some cuts in NY both in client and shared service. The SS cuts seem to be National staff that “sit regionally”, so maybe those are true realignments that DT is fulfilling at this opportune time in comparison to the ERS, Tax, etc cuts that seem to be part of that unit/yr-end driven rumor

  85. for everyone who thought they could get a MCC instead of a layoff there’s a great PR article on Time.com on the subject of MCCs that will most probably piss you off big time: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1898024_1898023_1898076,00.html

  86. Midwest, Texas, NE… what’s happening elsewhere?

  87. I suggest perhaps some of us posting a comment on Lauras blog (the author of the MCC article in Time) with a link to this website to raise awareness of what life at the Big Four is really like. Going through the PR channels will no doubt sing praise for MCC, but ask any senior or manager at the D, and they will confirm its the biggest joke to come out in years. http://laurajfitzpatrick.blogspot.com/2009/05/future-of-work-were-getting-off-ladder.html

  88. @87

    I think that’s a great idea. I’ll be the first.
    Francine

  89. From the article on Time.com:
    “An employee can request to do more or less travel or client service, say, or to move laterally into a new role — changes that may or may not come with a pay cut.”
    The part that’s missing there is the impact that will have on your career – possibly terminal at this point. In this environment, you’d have to be crazy to request less client service work….. Even in the good times, those on flexible schedules are definitely perceived (rightly or wrongly) as slackers / low performers / less promotable. I’ve seen it myself and can’t see how that is going to change in DT any time soon.

  90. Wow – I posted the comment at #89, then went to this thread and read comment #491… I guess that’s an example…

    http://retheauditors.com/2008/08/update-deloitte-statement-on-layoffs/

  91. I have a question. In case, Deloitte artificially raised the bar of annual review to push more people to 4s and 5 s, which would help the layoffs since low rated people more likely to quit or easily to be fired. However, D would face the possibility of lawsuits or EEOC investigations. It is a very fine line. Why does D want to take the risk?

  92. @91

    Because they think no one will have the cojones to sue them and you won’t talk amongst yourselves to find enough similar cases to be sufficient for a class action. So, go ahead, I dare you… Prove them wrong.
    Francine

  93. FM@92 – it is probably more geared to severance incentives – if you want the d\money you are going to take anything the dish out – if you are on the way out you probably want the money more than anything else.

    Everyone else- I’ve heard from 2 individuals that HR made mistakes on their packages that looked like they might have been on purpose when calculating severance packages. Example 1:used an incorrect yearly salary. Example 2: used incorrect # of years in service.

    If these individuals hadn’t paid attention and asked questions they would have been out of considerable $s.

  94. @92

    I am not talking to myself. I am over the D and move on. I am just concerning my friends left behind. D has about 45K employees. If they did that to 1% people which is 450 and it is enough for an EEOC investigation or class action. But I am not a lawyer.

  95. @93 The so called severance calculation is as mysterious and guarded as the Colonel’s secret recipe. See the Greendotlife blog for more information on this. But in my case for example, I was with the firm for a total of 6 years, but I received no credit for the 3 years I worked for Deloitte overseas. Upon my bringing this fact up to HR, I was essentially told to take it or leave it.

  96. thats a lot of money you are being shortchanged…get an attorney to send a notice and you will get even more…

  97. @95 – is it true that D&T in various countries are actually different companies? That is the case for KPMG. If that is the case, then when you were working overseas you were not working for D&T/US. I doubt they are responsible for your years at a different company even if it is a sister company. It is worth investigation though.

  98. I was a former Deloitte employee, and I am convinced that they are picking their favorites and letting go all the rest. I have compromised myself so much for the company that I hardly recognize myself anymore (including all night drinking and strip clubs with Partners). I have “networked” so much, but it paid off very little. I have to say that I was a bit broken-hearted. Working for the big 4 is what every new college graduate is supposed to do. How do I do that if Ithey won’t let me even if I work my @$$ off??!

  99. @95/97 – yes, the individual country firms are separate legal entities. Service for one does not count to another – the US firm views only the time you have been in the US firm as your service. you could have worked overseas for years, but when you walk in the door of the US firms you are a newbie like anyone else who has just been hired.

  100. Hey FM, have you been able to get anyone from Deloitte on the phone for an actual statement about the recent layoffs? I can tell you that since the first big wave back in August 2008 there have been at least 3 other equally large rounds of layoffs (December ’08 for ERS, March ’09 for Audit, and May ’09 for both Audit & ERS) that I know of. And this doesn’t include any other layoffs impacting Tax and Consuliting, which may have taken place over the last year.

    I can tell you as someone from the Northeast AERS practice that these rolling layoffs are becoming more and more frequent. Back in August we thought it was a one time situation but now it’s become a quarterly event and morale is in the gutter.

  101. @100 – you can add Shared Services (both Field Operations and ITS) staff realignments to all three of those rounds.

    As far as any of this being a 1 time event if I remember correctly there was some grapevine talk about the possibility of another round. Barry might have alluded to it in one of his “Straight Talks”. I believe someone has posted here something about legal requirements to notify staff, so it appears that they were properly following the legal procedure.

    I also believe that a good deal of D staff had some forewarning about the May (pre-June partner unit assessment) round (whether from the rumor mill or some management/leadership resource unofficially passing a statement along), so people have been thinking about it since just around the time of the March round.

    I know people don’t like what is going on, and no one can blame them, but you also have to look at things from the other side. They certainly could handle things better but no matter how you slice it, I feel that, this is a daunting exercise that no one is happy about having to do.

    ……………………+

    @95 – @99 is 100% correct – you only worked for D/US for the amount of time that they are compensating you for. Working for a different “D” is like working for a different company. Like @97b said: “That is the case for KPMG” . . . and probably every other global partnership.

  102. @ 101 – Most of us understand that the layoffs are not unique to D&T and that a certain amount of belt-tightening is needed. However, it takes brass ones for Barry Salzberg to get up there during his “Straight Talk” sessions and lament the layoffs of employees as unavoidable business necessities and in his next breath give us a pep talk about the new $300 million training facility that they’re building in Texas. And for those out there that say the cuts are just clearing dead wood and low rated slackers, I have news for you, the last round of cuts in my office consisted entirely of 2 and 3 rated people. We’re cutting deep into the muscle at the same time that we’re slapping on a $300 million layer of fat in form of an unnecessary training conference center.

  103. $350 million for BearingPoint (instead of figuring out how to get the Federal business using the Deloitte name) + $300 million fixed cost for Deloitte University (vs variable cost for an abundance of conference hotel/facilities throughout the country) = expensive toys that need to be paid for somehow.

  104. Not to mention the leverage model BearingPoint had; one Partner/Director had managed almost 100 managers/seniors/staff, compared to DT that one partner/director has 20-30 managers/seniors/staff. There will be a lot of layoff on the way….

  105. @104: Maybe they can give those extra staff / managers to the folks who made partner in the last few years of the gold rush, haven’t sold anything and are now finding themselves being demoted to director…..lol. What could possibly go wrong?

  106. @105 – don’t you mean demoted to senior managers? These guys generally update their titles quickly on Linkedin. Wouldn’t it be interesting if Linked in would search their database for Deloitte partner to senior manager title changes?

  107. @102/103 – not being the CFO I can’t comment on the how and where from of the 300M $ price tag for the DU, but I can read between the lines enough to know that nowhere on DeloitteNet has anyone announced the breaking of Texas ground. A project like this can run up to the last minute and still be cancelled (something I experienced quite often @ dot coms). I think Barry’s statements showed that D is looking to the future (when the good times will be back) with the expectation that when they come D will be scaled up to handle them. Heck, when all is said and done, it could be a flop of a crap shoot, but we won’t know until . . .

    350M for BearingPoint is a different story. Getting that business using the “D” name is an even more different story. The “B” partners who own that business and some of the contracts weren’t just going to evaporate. They, and those contracts, had to be bought up. It’s the same thing that occurred with the Anderson acquisitions. The thing people don’t seem to understand is that these organizations (“D” included as discussed in post 95/99 and the bottom entry of post 101) are set up as individual (even beyond the national organizations) limitedly affiliated companies, hence the LLP designations so many of them hold. Each partner heads their own. In the case of a BRAND collapse (Anderson/BearingPoint) the individual partnerships go out and buy-into (more technically correct are bought-up by) another BRAND. The bad ones are either left holding the bag or go out and start a new organization/partnership under a new-name/BRAND.

  108. @107

    BearingPoint was a publicly traded company. It had a corporate structure. There are no “partners” in the traditional sense other than the myriad creditors they couldn’t pay.

    Francine

  109. @106 – wow – I hadn’t heard that. If that’s true that’s got to hurt. I know personally of ex-partners who are now Directors, but had not heard of any getting bumped to SM. Is that really confirmed (not doubting – just interested)?

  110. @107 – I recall the $300 million figure for Deloitte Univ. coming from one of the articles posted internally on Deloittenet. And if Barry’s straight talks are accepted at face value they have no intention of backing away from DU now. All in all, it’s a questionable investment to be made in even in the best of times and an obscene waste of money during a recession. If you don’t agree right now wait until late August when you see how disappointing your raise/bonus turns out to be and they blame it on lack of cash available for comp.

  111. Layoffs announced in Boston AERS yesterday…those affected were informed on Memorial Day to come meet the day after. Am told it was across the board from senior audit assistant to senior manager….the number floating around is 40 or so.

  112. @ 111 – the memorial day massacre.

  113. Only 40 in Boston? Heard it might have as high as half that for Hartford alone. Then again, Hartford is a zombie office. If HIG ever officially went down — it’s probably already insolvent, the whole office would probably be obsolete.

  114. Speaking of raises, has anyone heard of if there will be raises or what the average pool is for Deloitte this year? Clearly no one is expecting much, and I’ve heard managers joke about how there’s no reason for us to work too hard since no one is getting raises this year. I’m curious how that would work with some folks being promoted to senior and manager. Do they go without raises along with the folks not being promoted? Is it possible to have salary reductions?

  115. several in d tax BOS the past few days, experienced staff through s. managers

  116. Does anyone have any info on the New York office? If Boston chopped 40 and Hartford chopped 19 then I have to imagine that an office the size of NY must have been hit even harder.

  117. No numbers but the word is that it was indeed hit – seems there’s been some stealth to how it has been handled and unless you realize that someone you knew is no longer there/here you won’t know that they had been let go.

  118. @114 – Talk at our office (Midwest region) was no raise or minuscule raises for those not being promoted to senior or manager. Word was a small raise for those being promoted. Office leadership implied that there probably wouldn’t be salary reductions. Take all this with a grain of salt as that was a few months ago, around the time that they “hoped the last of the layoffs were over”.

  119. Another way to play the numbers game is to promise a raise with a promotion, and then impose reduced-pay leave.

  120. @118 and 114, what’s funny is that at our all-hands meeting this time last year, the PIC explained that firm leadership decided to give very small raises in 2002 (the year following 9/11), and that in hindsight firm leadership realized that it was a mistake to give small raises in a bad year because they ended up losing a lot of their best talent that year. They said that never again would they give small raises in a down year, thinking that it was short-sighted. They said this LAST YEAR. I’m eager to see just how far they back away from that statement.

  121. I was in NY WFC yesterday. OMG, that place was like a ghost town. My admin told me that they just had a big cut in HR, Telecomm, IT support, Printing, and even some janitors. Also, she told me that they “pretty much fired everyone in the mail room except two guys in wheelchairs”… As far as the admin group, she said that “there are waiting to see how many partners/directors are gone by end of month so they can consolidate all the admins, so they will do a layoff in next few week”…

    This place is so miserable… Run away from it as fast as you can….

  122. Is this only Deloitte or other firms also cutting? What is wrong with Uncle D? They always boasted that keeping consulting and the audit/tax business together was the best thing that ever happened but maybe that is not the case? There is talk on the Deloitte Consulting that the Bearing Point transaction needs cash and heads are rolling throughout thanks to that deal.

  123. Just learnt Boston also let go two audit directors…too much politics in the Boston office…

  124. Question @120… is this simply a down year. This is arguably (actually I think it is pretty well univiersally accepted but I say arguably to be conservative) the worst economic downturn since the great depression and… it isn’t that every other downturn wasn’t much and this one is just a worse yet still minor downturn. This is a major economic downturn. I’m wondering if this isn’t something more than just a bad year. I have been working since the early 80s… and never have I even been aware that these other downturns were even happening. OK – the news told me about it, but there was never an ounce of fear regarding my job, my raise, my promotion, or anything like that. This does seem much different.

  125. One thing I have found about Deloitte over the past weeks from looking at my colleagues that have been furloughed is that there is no consideration of the future. Not that many clients have been lost – however, the layoffs continue. Come time for interim audit work to commence, there will be a skeleton staff to do these audits. This will only lead to increased risk as well as enormous efforts on remaining staff. If I were the SEC as well as PCAOB, I would start targeting significant client engagements that D&T still audits. I am almost positive that you would find errors and misstatements that were missed due to client staffing constraints – all in the name of increased partnership units.

  126. @124 – I complete agree with your sentiment that this isn’t so much a down year as a major downsizing of the auditing business. I still find it interesting how quickly the rhetoric changes.

    @125 – Please man. As long as you have a memo addressing the “nine areas of focus”, you’re golden come PCAOB review time :)

  127. @124 – I think this downturn is more serious because it will mark a watershed shift in history in terms of global economic balance of power. I-Banks with more than a hundred years of history going down and dragging with them every remotely related financial company into distressed territory. GM falling from top world automobile manufacturer even 2 years ago to No. 3, 4…? and now essentially on life support as a zombie GSE. In any case, Fiat looks to cement the No. 2 position. And let’s not let the BLS blind us, the real unemployment rate is 20%, with layoffs hardly having any sight of even slowing down. They can take their discouraged workers and marginally attached obfuscations and shove it. I think the era of financial engineering is behind us and with that the last bastion of American ingenuity. The question I always want to pose to those that remain perenially optimistic, the ones that always come back to you and say the stock market always goes up in the long run — does that trend hold if a country is fundamentally in decline? We don’t have to look any further than Japan to see where this country may very well be going.

  128. @Jazz/127

    The idea is that the stock market, while experiencing volatility during certain periods, will eventually go up in the long run — ceteris paribus (all things being equal). If you note the part about “all things being equal”, you’ll see that this statement is true under the condition that everything else is going smoothly. But in reference to your valid point, this country is still not economically healthy. Firms and companies are still laying off as you’ve mentioned and consumer spending is still at a less than desirable level (due in part to layoffs). So I do agree, the idea that the stock market will eventually rise is in question because everything is “not equal”. You make a very good point, but I think we still need to remain optimistic and confident. Because the stock market, in essence, thrives on investor confidence.

  129. Hey FM, all,

    What’s the feeling about the general release that D is giving people to sign? Does signing it mean that one can’t sue them for anything ever or has any one any idea about parts that may be inadmissible in court and thus the signatory would not be bound by it?

    I agree with FM’s comment @ 92 that they think that ex-Deloitters won’t be smart enough to talk amongst themselves and notice similarities (e.g. as has been mentioned above that foreign nationals on work visas (I personally know of at least one top performer that was laid off) or working mothers or people who had reduced hours on MCC have been targeted).

    FM, what’s your suggestion on signing (or not) the release?

  130. @128 – No. The stock market is based on profits. Optimism is simply the expectation of future profits. Unwarranted optimism is what got us here in the first place

  131. @129

    It’s always best to have an attorney look over the release before you sign it, even if you have to fax it to their office from yours. If they are pressuring you to sign and saying if you walk out extra severance is off the table, then that is a chance you take. But a release signed under duress or that is missing key clauses if you are part of a protected class such as over 40 years old is not valid and can be contested by a lawyer later. For example, if you are over 40 you can legally rescind the release and they have to give you extra time to review. Don’t be pushed to anything. By signing the release, you are giving away rights – for a reason! Make sure it is a fair exchange.
    Francine

  132. I consulted an attorney about signing the general release. He basically said that once I signed the general release, I could be a sitting duck, defenseless should the firm decide to take future action against me. To illustrate, if I worked on Project X and Project X blows up, the firm could conceivably attribute blame to me. For that matter, they could sue me. In such a situation, I would not be able to defend myself by referring to events that happened during my employment period. For example, if Partner A had it in for me, I could not raise that as a defense.

    These things mean different things in different states. I live in an employer friendly state.

  133. If you decide not to sign the general release, do not be surprised if someone tries to suggest that you are being fired “for cause,” rather than simply laid off. By firing you “for cause,” you would not be eligible for any severance payments.

    By refusing to sign the general release, you give the firm the impression that you may sue, which scares them to death. Why would you not sign the general release and get an extra 4 weeks of pay, unless you intended to sue?

    You know how nasty this firm can be on a good day. If you give them cause to feel defensive, do not be surprised by what they pull.

  134. I also visited WFC – lots of shared service people that I knew are no longer there.
    I heard that on the both the Regional and National levels there are, and will continue to be, ongoing cuts to the shared departments.
    Just like 121 I heard all of Telecom was let go and that no one knows what to tell people if they have a problem with their phone. That last item must just be a figment of the rumor mill because there are still IT people around so why wouldn’t anyone just say call them.
    I heard a rumor that all of Recruiters in HR are going to be realigned, and that some HR people were already.

  135. Take your sweet time looking over the release. In one instance, I never signed anything to begin with, so why did I need to sign upon leaving? I was never going to use them as a personal or professional reference, did not need the money, and already had another job lined up. It was a toxic enough environment (with enough questionable professional practices going on) that the symbolic goodwill gesture behind the release was meaningless.

  136. I also visited WFC – lots of shared service people that I knew are no longer there.
    I heard that on the both the Regional and National levels there are, and will continue to be, ongoing cuts to the shared departments.
    Just like 121 I heard all of Telecom was let go and that no one knows what to tell people if they have a problem with their phone. That last item must just be a figment of the rumor mill because there are still IT people around so why wouldn’t anyone just say call them.
    I heard a rumor that all of Recruiters in HR are going to be realigned, and that some HR people were already This is one that I find hard to believe.
    Maybe the rumor mill needs to take a break..

  137. Still no official statement on the ongoing cuts?

  138. @ 137

    Uncle D moves in stealth circles! There is no official statement going to come out. They had a round of cuts in Sept 08 when there was an announcement but the press picked that up and so they realized it was a mistake. There was no word with the March cuts and now with the May cuts.

    Just imagine less than a year ago, the idiot in his Straight Talk Express had stated that the firm is doing great and vowed not one person would be impacted by the state of the economy. He had the foolish audacity to state that the firm had been modeling extreme situations such as the 2008 recession and all’s well. Hopefully, the wheels have come off the express now.

  139. Word is the Hermitage and IT have been cut to shreds. Those with deferred layoff dates are essentially remaining to train their replacements in India.

    Any specific information about hits within the tax function?

  140. @129 – so, did you sign the general release? Inquiring minds want to know.

  141. So, given we seem to agree that this downturn is something quite different – here’s the next question. If we look historically there are eras when the “progress” of a culture depends upon success in some specific area. OK we can argue about what these eras are — hunters/gathers, agrarian, manufacuring, computerization, services… seems like in the US we reached a point where all we do is think about stuff (consulting) and argue with each other (law). We aren’t producing stuff anymore as others do that cheaper. I am thinking that this lack of production lead to the false financial markets/investments that have now crashed around us. Some here seem to think we have to be pessimists — which I assume means that the western world has failed, China will take control, our quality of life will never be the same and we will go back to the days of old when we had little and could afford to do very little. What about the optimists — how will we reinvent ourselves? What part does the Big4 play in that reinvention? I believe there will be fundamental changes – but I’m not sure in what… so I am curious what you all see. Could the pessimists agree that the Big4 need to hit bottom before they can rebuild and find a successful niche in this new world vision — and that not every employee at the Big 4 now will be there for the duration of that transformation?

  142. @122 – other firms are cutting, but the finger gets pointed at D because they called attention to their layoffs when the media picked up on it in September. I know folks cut from KPMG and others. Working for a firm in the next tier, the cuts have been very subtle – an empty office here, an email address that bounces there – but nothing with the voracity of Uncle D.

    It makes me wonder – is my firm more agile, or does the Big 4 know something that we do not?

  143. Well, I got an email this week to say that I would be assigned a new Deloitte transitions coach as my current one was “leaving the firm” this week – so I know there have been cuts at WFC. This will be the third coach since I was “realigned” – thankfully I don’t need them any more as I have a job that, regardless of what happens, will surely be better than where I was….oh well. Good luck to those still at DT – you might need it. Sadly, I don’t envy you.

  144. I had an illusion before I joined Deloitte that Big4 = Best 4. By working here for 9th, I got the letter. Go figure! Senior managers and seniors on my projects are all fired in March.
    It is better for me to be out sooner than later.

  145. everyone is an at will employee
    When HR put together severence agreements, to show that they were not discriminating against people they put a listing of all people in a department down and have to explain why certain people were chosen and the approach to make it appear a meritocracy is for managers to rate the people in order and explain why some were chosen over others.

    If there is any chance of discrimination do not sign the severence agreement, if you are over 40 in california you are allowed to sign it and revoke signing it within 7 days. Discrimination encompasses age over 40, sex, disability and minority.

    If you think you have been discriminated against go to the EEOC (equal employment opportunities commission), however if you signed the severence they wont do anything, however you can make them strongly aware and encourge them to go audit the HR department if you believe that is the case (this is costly for the firm being audited)

    Truly the firms rely on people being cash poor and a lawsuit is pretty scary, I mean why sue your prior employer and come up in a public records search when your next employer does a background check, however from my experience of doing audits, normally companies settle for the money that would have been paid for a severence…. but years later

    its horrible im sorry

  146. Aunt D has dug herself a hole that will take at least two years to dig herself out of. She has created a self-fulfilling prophecy with her excessive cuts. Nobody internally or externally believes the “realignment” rhetoric anymore that places sole blame on the economy (with management’s ineptitude getting a free pass). Little hope for non-partners to get promoted anytime soon to partner level. Partners’ leverage model has been unleveraged at a time when competive pricing is very important. Talented and honest people will be better off in the long term being redeployed to more productive market pursuits via “realignment” or resignation.

  147. Thanks for the EEOC tip. Deloitte’s HR department cannot withstand an audit. Months after I was laid off, Deloitte had not removed me from their benefits, and the benefits people had no idea why. Plus, I know they did not any cause (or documentation) for laying me off. Now, with the HR and shared services massacre, they have even less resources.

    Attorneys are costly, and the process is time consuming. However, I think it is worthwhile to look into the EEOC.

  148. EEOC contact number is 1-800-669-4000. Let’s flood them with Deloitte calls.

  149. Deloitte Tax Minneapolis hit this week. Between 15-20 people. Some were expected but even cut some that had “2” ratings.

  150. Los Angeles Tax lost 10 people – first year staff and managers in all lines.

  151. @149, audit, tax, consulting, shared services, or other functions?

  152. I’m a university student and I’m about to start next year my first work term at one of the Big 4. Are we students your replacements? I met some former employees and they keep on referring to this “Region 11″ (somewhere in India) that work keeps on getting outsourced too. Apparently, it’s cheaper to use people there than anywhere else.

    .

    Scary isn’t it? Doubt there’s going to be anything official about this. And they promised us so many opportunities. Ironically, most of the work probably could be done by a bunch of students who haven’t even graduated; it’s not nearly what they cut it out to be. At my school, Deloitte hired more students than it ever did and the recruiters promised us there would be even more hirings next year.

    Out of curiosity, what happens to newly graduated people that get hired from campus? They don’t seem to be rescinding any offers. Do they keep them and the dispose of them a few months into their work or something?

  153. http://ilovebig4.org.ua/2009/04/wrongful-dismissals-at-big-4-in.html

  154. @151 shared services hit earlier in 2009 along with the rest of the country in the graphic department restructuring. Audit has been getting rid of people in small pieces since late 2008. Not sure about Consulting. Tax avoided any non-performance based until May.

  155. Partners of a certain Big 4 would love nothing more than to send every last bit of work to that little extension of the firm in India.

    The writing is on the wall. For non client site jobs, like tax, some day they will get their wish, along with the insane cost savings (when you start, look this up on the intranet. I can almost guarantee you will be surprised).

    Fortunately for those of you starting your careers in the near future, your colleagues across the Pacific just aren’t capable of taking over everything. Yet.

  156. @154 – I disagree with your statement about tax. They have demoted tax partners and gotten rid of senior level tax people since early 2009. It is just done quietly.

    @152 – many of the new tax hires last year were forced out to make room for the new students. They were told that they had a certain amount of time to look for jobs. It may not look like layoffs on its face, but the new hires were indeed forced out. Not performance based, because many of them really had potential.

  157. @150 – any truth to the rumor that S Cal office laid off 1/3 of its international tax practice several months ago? Someone posted this on TaxTalent.com.

  158. @142, kpmg did one sweeping cut a few months ago — all at once. Lots blogged at the time, but have moved on. PwC is still proclaiming that it has no intentions to layoff, unless performance related. EY has been the quietest. Recruiters have heard about a few EY layoffs, but their people don’t seem to blog about it.

    Deloitte, on the other hand, gets the most amount of negative blogging. To sum, the Deloitte people disagree with the manner and rationale behind the handling of the layoffs. There is complete lack of integrity and creditability. When Deloitte consistently targets its strong performers for layoff, to buy security for the weak performers who are in charge, people will protest.

    Certain leaders at Deloitte are using this opportunity to get rid of people that they view as threats to their own positions and strengthen their own positions. As many have commented, the layoffs are not based on merit. When you have an organization with so much internal battling (from the ex T’s to the Andersonians), there are many opposing teams. If you are on the wrong team, you better watch out. Performance and HR records can be doctored after the fact to support the decisions.

    Deloitte would be an excellent EEOC audit candidate.

  159. Being on the “wrong team” could have happened when you refused to do certain “naughties” requested of you by certain partners. For example, partner A despises individual B and ask you to write a negative review. You protest and indicate that individual B has done a great job to date. Partner A smiles and says okay. Don’t think that you just got partner A to agree with you, because you successfully debated the merits. In fact, partner A has likely moved on to another individual (let’s call her C) and asked for the same thing. Alliances are formed well in advance of the eval meetings, and by the time the meetings happened, the results have already been decided. It is just a show for HR, who are clueless.

  160. New hire (tax) headed to Atlanta. My start date was pushed back – but I’m not hearing much about what’s going on there. Should I be worried?

  161. @160 Yes

    @126 I think the individual makes a good point despite your mentioning the “nine areas of focus”. after reading some of the memos, I agree that it is a good summary. However, it is just that – a summary. What actually lies in the workpapers could be totally different and I know of plenty of engagements that D&T had audited for several years, but errors were found potentially due to a lack of time on either preparer’s/reviewer’s fault.

  162. @152- First of all it’s Region 10 which is Hyderbad India and not “Region 11.” As far as being the replacements perhaps you could be for the first year. Basically D&T had to lay off some 2nd years to make way for your first years to still look like the firm is doing well. Hopefully things will turn around by year two so that you don’t end up making room for the next new hires.

    Good luck!

  163. The Director I worked for this year was a great guy to work for, he was one of the few D&T people at the Partner/Director level who would speak frankly and honestly about the topic of layoffs and the one piece of data he kept impressing on me was this: last year D&T was a $5 billion business, this year they expect to earn only $4 billion. The other cost cutting measures unrelated to headcount (reduced training budgets, cancelled holiday parties, etc…) amounted to about $500 million in savings. That means that in order for the Partners to get the same per unit payout as last year they need to layoff enough personnel to make up the other $500 million that the Firm is down. Think about how many employees need to be cut in order to save $500 million.

    Don’t expect the layoffs to stop until after this recession is over and D&T starts increasing its revenue again. And who knows when that will happen….

  164. @163, what about nixing the build out of the Deloitte training center, at a cost savings of $300 million? Marry that with the selling of the acres of land purchased in Westlake should bring the total closer to $500 million.

    It is really troublesome that the partner group refuses to take a pay cut in a bad year. I thought being a partner was about risks? They seem to have all the upside and none of the downside. In other words, they seemed to have successfully shifted the risk to their employees.

    Someone please remind me again where Deloitte stood in the rankings on the Fortune “Best Company” list? Were those guys smoking dope?

  165. FM, once again thanks for providing this forum.

    About a month ago I began a little survey of college classmates and individuals who started their big four careers the same time I did (2007) and that I remain in contact with. My population isn’t big enough to be statistically relevant (40 and skewed towards audit) but it seemed staggering that after approximately 20 months and only one year end review that 12 (30%) of them are no longer big four. They can’t possibly have lost 30% of their clients or found efficiencies to justify those kind of cuts. (my understanding was that standard attrition was 10-13% a year). Still it seems the response to the economic downturn is to audit less!?! Anyone else care to chime in with a similar “survey” of classmates, friends or otherwise so we could get an idea of whether this is national, regional or global situation?. (please no rebuttals regarding flaws in my sample due to reliance on one school /firm/office/LoB/etc…just trying to start a dialogue…)

  166. @164 – That would be the logical action to take but based on Barry Salzberg’s “Straight Talks” the Firm as no plans to back away from the $300 million training center. Either they have locked themselves into some long-term contracts with builders or they just don’t want to look bad by cancelling a big project.

  167. They would rather look bad in the eyes of their employees (or, former employees). However, in Barry’s double (sorry, I mean “straight”) talk, he never acknowledges the manner in which the layoffs have been handled or any negative ramifications. In fact, he continues to talk about Deloitte’s investment in their people to the media, who print the BS and do not know the wiser.

    As long as Deloitte continues the propoganda (really, lies), no one will know the wiser. See 160’s post, which is representative of most new hires.

    Once the economy improves, they will fully utilize their propaganda machine to control the spinning of the “facts.” Lots of bull shit recruiting posters around the firm, with pictures of full time employees quoted as saying that D is the best place to work.

    Wonder if Deloitte could be sued for false advertising then? Right, no one will sue them, because no one has the money or time to waste. Plus, their team of attorneys, along with those general releases, pretty much cover their a@@es.

  168. exPdubC @ 165 — Traditionally, personnel turnover in the Big 4 is roughly 20%, though in some post-SOX years it was in the range you describe (good times!)

    So your sample indicates a 50% higher-than-normal turnover rate, not a doubling. Which doesn’t surprise me given the layoffs we’ve all been reading about here.

    Philip J. Fry @ 163 — “That means that in order for the Partners to get the same per unit payout as last year they need to layoff enough personnel to make up the other $500 million that the Firm is down.” Yes, exactly. That is the logic, and it is so transparently wrong-headed it’s unbelievable to anybody who hasn’t spent time in the Big 4. The only thing that matters is current year compensation. What’s best for the firm in the long-run or for future partners is irrelevant to decision-making. Partners point out all the time that they deserve the mega-compensation because “we have all the risk” … but it times of downturn, it’s obvious that the real risk lies with the staff, who get terminated to protect the partners’ income.

    I have concluded that the current Big 4 business model is based on limitless greed and supported by lies.

    — Tenacious T.

  169. Co-worker whose fiance works at EY told me that they were pretty open about their layoff plans well in advance. They said right away that they weren’t going to lay off any first-years. Don’t know the numbers, but it sounds like they handled it pretty well, which may be why there hasn’t been much info coming out of EY.

  170. @133
    You mentioned that signing the Gen Release wd award me 4 weeks of extra pay, but I was offered on two weeks. What is the norm here: 2 weeks or 4 weeks?

  171. Tenacious Truman – you hit the nail right on the head. Hopefully, we (the non-partners) learned a valuable lesson that we will not forget. When the economy rebounds, D will be recruiting again, with its talk of minority, women, MCC, and other supposedly networks. Unless there is a complete leadership change, we know that is is just political mumble jumbo. A bunch of cheezy salesman who will say anything to conclude a sale, with no warranty on the product.

    @169 – I suspected that EY and perhaps others handled themselves better, given the lack of negative comments.

  172. Anonymous(es) —

    Another point I should have made is that first year salaries tend to be cheaper to the firm than more experienced staff salaries, compared dollar to dollar.

    What do I mean? Well, I can’t say that ALL firms are this way but, for at least some firms, employees cannot participate in the 401(k) plan until they’ve been at the firm for at least one year. That means no firm matches, of course. Also, employees vest in the firm matches over time. So if you get RIF’d before you’ve vested, that’s money in the partners’ pockets.

    I’m sure the foregoing has had no impact on the partners’ decision to RIF first and second years, and to replace them with college recruits. No impact. None at all.

    Greed and lies, in my opinion.

    — Tenacious T.

  173. @133
    As concerning the general realease DT asks you to sign after getting laid-off, you mentioned that signing it would get an extra 4 weeks of pay. In my case, the the HR person told me 2 weeks of extra pay.
    Whats the norm here: 2 weeks or 4 weeks?

  174. @173, it has historically been 4 weeks. I’m surprised that they are lowering it to 2 weeks. Check out greendotlife.com blog re: massive layoffs, and you’ll see the the norm has been 4 weeks. I wonder if Uncle D is running low on cash?

    Someone made mention of stealth layoffs and that is indeed the case. People are gradually disappearing from the office. One day you see them, the next day, they are gone. Desk cleaned and no where in sight.

    When noticed and inquiries made, some person (usually the most useless partner ass kisser) will spread some false story substantiating the layoffs. However, anyone with any intelligence knows it is just more lies.

  175. @172 — good point and disgusting.

  176. So are we there replacements when the economy rebounds?

    A lot of the new students have a fair dose of reality right now. Apparently, the nickname for companies like PwC is “People working constantly”. PwC may have had a 4th wave of major layoffs (they seem to have a mixture of saying we have no more layoffs, then laying off and axing people one by one every now and then so you won’t notice it). Several alumni have also come back and told us not to stay in the Big 4 beyond the rank of manager. Some offices may have laid off too many people and even in the non-busy season (audit is always busy) for everything else, working 70 hours has become the sort of status quo. They’re dreading the busy season. Get certified and find a different job they tell us. (Even if you want to stay, you will likely be dismissed anyways, so you might as well go – even in this economy, 20-40% raises are not uncommon stories when you transfer.)

    I talked to an alumni who told me that he has now had 3 senior managers leading his team at DT because they’ve been laid off so frequently and he’s been at the firm since only September of 2008. Apparently, the seniors weren’t “the ideal fit for leading the team and are therefore being let go” – he works for some FAS speciality, forget what it was (I think it was valuations maybe or forensics or something like that). Is this common?

    Does anyone have the real picture of how DT is really doing? Or any of the big 4? They seem to be really secretive on this sort of information. The debate among students that have bothered with research is whether or not you should just go to a smaller local firm for sheer job security these days.

  177. Anyone know if D will lose GM after the bankruptcy protection? If they did, I bet more layoff will be coming..

    Also, does anyone watch the Barry’s Happy New Year Video on DeloitteNet? It is hilarious…

  178. Watching news about GM today, it makes me think the similarities between the big 3 and big 4. They all have shortsighted management, solely focusing on short-term profits. They all don’t pay attention on the quality of work/products. They all have expensive unfunded pensions for retirees. They all believe (or once believed) they are too big to fail… (feel free to add more guys)

    For those don’t believe any of BIg4 will go down one day, look at GM now.

    Do we have to wait for the Chinese to save us again?

  179. @177 — providing services to companies undergoing bankruptcy is extremely lucrative. Service providers are among the first in line to be paid. The partners at Uncle D are probably tripping over themselves to bleed GM while they can. After Uncle D has fully milked GM, it will not continue to generate revenue from the account.

  180. @176

    Do it for 2-3 years to get the rubber stamp on your resume and then move on to a smaller firm or out of public (unless you find that you really love it). Don’t drink the kool-aid and once you feel the job is detrimental to your personal life start looking at other options. Even if you go big four and get laid off you will land on your feet within a month or two.

  181. Deloitte – international tax stealth layoffs occurred last week and still happening this week. Staff through managers confirmed in all regions. Sr managers and directors are next on the chopping block. Some were warned to look for other options, and a few were successful. These successes were spun as better opportunities, but the people leaving really had other choice but to leave. The one’s who were unsuccessful (not that they were given lots of time) were pushed out, regardless of not having found positions. Glad to see that the partners have been able to successfully preserve their unit value, at the expense of other victims.

    Barry’s finally laying deep into his own, although the international tax practice is historically Anderson.

  182. @179, Oh yes, you see how D is milking Lehman now. They are making millions dollars every week… I just don’t know if D can continue to serve GM as its auditor…

  183. Has anyone laid off from Deloitte been successful in collecting your post-RIF expense claim? Just curious. I sent mine in weeks ago for my final PDA and aircard bills and havent received anything.

  184. @Student, maybe some people are working 70 hours a week right now, but personally, my entire summer is nearly blank right now, as are many others I know of. I hear we might be put on engagements as they come up, but I am getting a very uncomfortable feeling that we are being hung out to dry for the next round of layoffs (August, right?). Probably going to start putting my resume out there and wait for the axe to fall.

  185. @jazz I don’t want to cause alarm, but I think you’re doing the right thing by looking for a new job now if your summer is empty. I’m an experienced audit senior. In years past, if your calendar was empty during the summer, it just meant that you had some quality time to study for the exam. This year, it seems that anyone whose calendar isn’t full is being let go. I keep thinking after every round of layoffs that it will be the last because we barely have enough to staff our jobs, but I think they see the writing on the wall and aren’t planning for any new big wins. Enjoy the down time while you can and I hope they find a spot for you or that you find something else quickly.

  186. i overheard a partner (who is a true POS!) excited about the layoffs since he could use this to clear up the competition for his favourite senior manager so she could be a partner soon…he was heard saying that this is a good thing, and D should have done this before and he wants to make sure that this is done gong forward EVERY QUARTER!!! POS!! Leaders should take away hs units every quarter, now that would be interesting, wouldnt it? scum bag.

  187. @185, yup, after witnessing three rounds, I know the drill pretty well. Good thing I haven’t used any PTO yet this year, lol.

  188. @139 You are correct – substantial cuts in IT, including people with 20+ years with the firm & predecessors. Included most of Telecom since the move to VOIP means you don’t need phone people any more – it’s all computer-based now. Slashing headcount to match the budget without knowing if the budget is good.

  189. Northeast ERS had 16 people got laid off last week. Again, 80% of them are minorities. I did the count, the group comprised of 20-30% minorities, but for the past 6 layoffs, average 70-80% of staff that got laid off were minorities.

    I understand it is hard to fit in the “short white boy club”, but could they do this more obvious? Shame on them…

  190. same thing in dallas office

  191. @189

    If these professionals, who look to have been disproportionately displaced, don’t stand up for themselves, there’s nothing we can do. But this is sadly not surprising. Politics, fraternity, loyalty, clubbiness rule when folks are feeling under siege. Those that made it in one at time, not as part of the typical “tribe” are often the first to file out alone. If anyone needs a referral to an attorney to help, please contact me directly.
    Francine

  192. @fm, it is not only a matter of people not standing up for themselves. The employment law in the U.S. (particularly, in various states, such as the home state of George Bush) are extremely employer friendly. Other than the negative publicity that a lawsuit would generate, it is virtually impossible (and extremely costly) to prove discrimination.

    For a class action law suit to occur, enough individuals have to come together. D is taking advantage of the surprise and shock element to get employees to sign the general releases. People need the extra money and sign these releases. Once they have been signed, there is nothing that can be done. D has the advantage of preparing for the layoffs for months, while the employees have very little reaction time.

    In this economy, people are concerned about their livelihood and need to find jobs. They don’t have the time (or the luxury) to engage in costly lawsuits. D has a full staff of employment attorneys on hand, who are adept at wasting time, stalling the process, and wearing people down.

    The problem is not these professionals, but the U.S. (state) employment laws and legal process. Big corporations (with their legion of lobbyist) are in control, and those who cross them rarely live to tell about it.

  193. Those who can’t afford attorneys and want to explore other options should consider reporting Deloitte to the EEOC. Contact number posted by @148 above.

  194. @189

    you forgot bald in your list of descriptions.

  195. @192 It’s not true that once the release is signed, “nothing can be done.” If the release was signed under duress, did not have appropriate provisions for the protected class or did not follow local law (lots of standard forms get created during big volume periods) then a lawyer can contest. Need recommendations of attorneys wiling to confer first consult free? Let me know. I repeat. Let me know.
    Francine
    fmckenna@mckennapartners.com

  196. I was wondering if anyone out there would be so kindly as to offer some words of wisdom on what I should do next as I’m trying to carefully weigh all my options before I take a definitive step. I’m a first-year recently affected by all the fiasco going on at Deloitte, and I’m debating between the merits of staying in public accounting vs. jumping into corporate accounting/finance which is where more of my interest lies in the first place. A part of me thinks that I should go back to public accounting for a little bit longer and get the experience to become certified as I’ve already passed all 4 parts of the CPA exam. However, based on my personal experiences with Deloitte as well as the general consensus being expressed by people here on this blog, I certainly do not feel like subjecting myself back in an abusive, disrespectful big 4 environment. I’m skeptical about going to a regional/local firm as well since they don’t seem to be doing so great either. As I’m doing some light job searching, I noticed that a large number of jobs I see posted don’t really specify that they desire a big 4 accounting experience. Further, a large number of the more corporate-oriented positions don’t specify public accounting experience at all. Unless these jobs happen to be vanishing along with the jobs at the big 4 (or I’m blind), is there any particularly strong reason I should continue to pursue a job in public accounting?

    Oh and @189, I noticed that all 7 of the first-years that were laid off (at least the ones I knew of personally) were minorities. I thought my office would possibly be an exception because it’s in a really diverse city, but apparently not. Ridiculous.

  197. Everyone in my office that has gotten laid off except one was a good old run of the mill white U.S. citizen. So 1 out of 26 isn’t so bad if you ask me. All this racial nonsense is really depressing to me.

  198. I’m in one of those rare offices where minorities are the majority, at least among associates and seniors [although we might have a few more female partners than the average big 4 office as well.] Where I definitely see the discrimination is in age—a lot of the cuts they’ve made so far have been of older associates.

    There are a lot of working moms here too, I’d be interested to see how many will be determined to have “performance related issues.”

  199. For me, the root cause problem that brings up the various comments on race, gender, etc seems to be that 1) there is NO identified criterion, and 2) the layoffs continue, in an even more stealth mode than when they first started. The lack of communication from leadership has not helped to put a timing or some type of marker around them, so understandably anxiety builds as employees search for answers that are not forthcoming. There has been and appears that there will continue to be no closure.

    As one who was severed in the middle of a number of high-value projects (in my view), I continue to fall back on one core thought – what a waste of talent and resources-why would leadership not see this?

  200. fm/195

    You pointed out some great exceptions, and people need to know them. However, please keep in mind that Deloitte has been plotting to lay off masses well before the Aug 08 actual layoffs. They are even trying to sell headcount management as part of their consulting practice.

    This firm has always been the first to dump headcount. Most recently, after 9/11, but really started the practice after the DHS and TR merger. They know how to do it and keep people quiet. They are so confident that they will not be caught that they aggressively target minorities and women (even pregnant one’s), despite their BS minority and women initiative BS. They do whatever they want and rely on their marketing team to spin, spin, and spin.

    Do you realize that “rightsize” is a commonly used term now? You remember who coined the term, right?

  201. I feel like the minority as I actually like Deloitte. I guess everyones experience is different. I just dont like the long hours during busy season but the rest of the year is alright. To be fair most of us knew the nature of the Big 4 firms before we signed. In addition I haven’t noticed any minority targeting in the layoffs- i just think a lot of people are getting laid off across the board. Also a lot of the early firings were for people with work visas which would explain why it appeared to target minorities.

  202. @194, I did not forget “bald” in the list. But if I want to add that, I have to talk about the layoffs on the partner/director level, which was just as nasty as the ones at staff level. In Northeast ERS, based on what I found out, the partners/directors who got forced out or demoted could be classified into 3 groups: “Bald”, “Women”, and “Asians”. Sorry that we don’t have (probably will never have) African American or Latino partners, otherwise I am sure they would be added to the list as well. This shows how arrogant those members of “short white boy club” are. They could do anything they wanted, and get away with it.

  203. I wonder how many partners/directors were layed off or demoted. Does anyone have any idea?

  204. @202

    I liked your explanation. You are right about Deloitte targeting the old (I guess “bald), female, and Asian partners/directors. They also targeted the old, female, Asian, and other minority staff. When the economy rebounds, I can already see Deloitte trying to spin itself into the employer of choice for females and minorities.

    Hmmm … what did they use to say? Right, our clients are not all “short white boys,” and thus, our staff have to be representative of what we see at our clients.

  205. Well, I’ve read all the posts now – “greedy”, “lazy”, “money-grubbing”,” stupid,” racist, misogynistic, etc etc – I thought I was just a partner doing my best in tough circumstances but oh my god, I’m a monster.

    All the firms have similar models based on expected turnover. Tenaciout T commented earlier that turnover in a good year can reach 20%. That is at least 5,000 – 10,000 people per year in the US at any of the Big 4. I know that is true and can recall years during the dot.com boom when it exceeded that. Most of that turnover was voluntary – we could not bring people in the door fast enough to have the luxury of turfing even marginal performers. When voluntary turnover ceases – as it effectivelly has – we cannot carry an extra 5,000+ people a year when revenues are not growing, nor can we cease hiring on campus. I’m not in audit anymore so don’t know what the first year equivalent of phtocopying files is today, but I’m pretty sure once in your second or third year you would like to do something different, perhaps something more challenging. Yet someone must photocopy (or today’s horrible equivalent) so we must take in new people -at least under today’s model. Could the model be improved? Probably, I hope so, but not before the current crisis abates so for the moment it is what is is, and wishing won’t make it otherwise. Clealry I’m oversimplifying this – there are many good reasons why a large firm would never cease hiring from colleges – but in the end we must generate the involuntary turnover (i.e. the sack). Part of the model – a part in my view that is broken because it leads to short-term thinking and sub-optimal asset allocation – is the partnership model that requires tax to be paid on the partnership’s income every year. Even if the partnership wanted to hold large reserves for investment you – the individual partner – couldn’t afford to pay the tax on it today. In the immortal words of Mr. Snoop D – O -Double G, we gots to get paid. So could we take a 50% reduction in income and carry an extra 10,000 people? In theory, sure. In practice – go back to Russia buddy. I’m sorry, it just doesn’t work that way.

    I don’t doubt there are true individual stories of unfairness, favoritism and worse when it comes to layoffs, but in the main I’ve observed that process has been fair, based on either performance or demand for a particular, perhaps specialized, service. We would be fools to handle it otherwise, and I did not see foolish in the lengthy list of perjoratives in earlier messages.

    And it is no doubt cold comfort, but the partners are taking it on the chin as well, both in terms of layoffs and reduced income. Like you, I look forward to the end of this mess.

  206. @205

    did you get a chance to read the additional 499 posts (rants, etc.) under the deloitte statement on layoffs blog? see link below.

    http://retheauditors.com/2008/08/update-deloitte-statement-on-layoffs/

    one question for you: why not such continuous negative blogging from employees of the other Big 4 and second tier firm? could it be that deloitte seems to have cornered the market on handling the layoffs in the most backstabbing way possible?

  207. @205 — you stated:

    “I don’t doubt there are true individual stories of unfairness, favoritism and worse when it comes to layoffs, but in the main I’ve observed that process has been fair, based on either performance or demand for a particular, perhaps specialized, service. We would be fools to handle it otherwise, and I did not see foolish in the lengthy list of perjoratives in earlier messages.”

    In response, I am of the opinion that many of the partners at Deloitte got to their level by kissing ass and doing someone else’s dirty work, not because they are truly talented (i.e., sales, technical, management, etc.). In times of threat, those people target their strongest performers to ensure their own job security.

    Say partner A has director/senior manager B handle X number of accounts for him during the good times, so that said partner can leave the office early. Client loves said director/senior manager B. Economy goes down. Partner A reinserts himself and ensures that said director/senior manager B has bad stats in a means to rid the competition.

  208. Wow – spoken like a true George W kind of way. “foolish”, “idiotic”, etc if not specifically mentioned, were clearly implied…or is it your eastern new york early upbringing that blinded your eyes? reinforcing the “idiotic” is your statement of hiring new hires from campus to do photocopying (when you cant carry people (assume partnership risk or against lowering your own pay) ). Idiot – if you want someone to photocopy for you, I can have people do that at 1/25 the cost – not 60,000/year plus associated costs and benefits. what message are you sending the potential graduates that want to join your firm? talk about asking people to go back to russia – which country did you arrive from – or your great grandfathers? you clearly dont belong to the folks whose land this was – this is a land of immigrants and land of the free. its the people like you who need to be fired if this firm will ever get its glory back in the eyes of the people,students, employees, clients, etc….no amount of PR will help with people like you….your attitude and behavious is what is pejorative (spellchek pls).

  209. @ 205 –

    “And it is no doubt cold comfort, but the partners are taking it on the chin as well, both in terms of layoffs and reduced income.”

    How many partners/directors have actually been subject to layoffs? Are these genuine layoffs or just some old timers being asked to retire 2 or 3 years ahead of schedule? I’ve seen several partners in my office announcing their retirements this year (more than in previous years) but I haven’t heard of any being actually layed off.

  210. Fair enough, times are tough and headcount needs to be reduced. But if you’re serious about making cuts based on performance then why haven’t we seen any significant reductions in the ranks of under-peforming Partners/Directors? Considering the lack of services being sold these days it seems like there are plenty of P/D’s who are not earning their keep (especially in the FSI practice). After all, they are the most expensive people on the payroll, an under-performing Partner makes a much bigger dent in the Firm’s net income than some under-performing staff kid.

  211. the frist round of layoffs in my department were older white guys – the reality was that they were selected for performsance and utilization reasons and we all recognized it – and welcomed it

    The next round appeared to be a mixed bag of minotities – again a good dela of them were performance related

    The most recent round that I heard of included both minorities and white guys – some of the names on the list were ones that plenty of us have been wondering why they were still here for years now

  212. @250,

    I certainly would not call you “greedy”, “lazy”, “money-grubbing”, or “stupid” etc, but you have to ask yourself a honest question: As a partner, or may be a senior partner at the firm, are you competent of what you are doing during this difficult time? If the answer is no, then you are a monster for all of us.

    As you can see, the readers on this blog are very anger at Deloitte. I don’t think everyone here is having problem that the firm need to layoff people in order to make profits. But what we really need are some leaders with basic business sense and a little bit of humanity and respect. If the reality is that you “ cannot carry an extra 5,000+ people a year when revenues are not growing”, then do a layoff with 5000+ people at once and get done with it. You know it, DT did not do it that way, instead, they tortured the little people by doing small cuts here and there for the past 18 months. We have been watching our coworkers and friends disappearing one by one quietly. And we are all living in the fear and worrying about job security. Why are you doing this to us?

    Ok, if you think the little people are nobody, how your own peers? Remember you called each other “partner”? What is the definition of partnership to you guys now? I suggested that someone should print a copy of the definition and put in front of the 1633 office. Look what you are doing to each other, stabbing each other’s back, stealing each other’s clients, manipulating the evaluation rating in order to demote a partner, kicking out your competitors so your buddy/neighbor/husband/brother/cousin would have a chance to make partner next year. Some partners /directors left the firm are very knowledgeable people who has been loyal to the firm for the past 20-30 years. You could not just throw them out of the bus one year after your “record breaking year”, right? Where is the sense of partnership here? What kind of example you set up for your senior managers and mangers? You partners love to talk about “unintended consequences”. What would be the unintended consequences of all these?

    I don’t care what you call it, business model or economy model. Those are just a bunch of numbers, sometimes, useless crap. In reality, should you conduct the business by using our brain (to think) and heart (to care)? No one wants go back to Russia, but at same time, we don’t want to be ruled by someone only have the $ in their eyes.

    Good luck, monsters!!!

  213. @ 205 – I am sorry that you see your first years as “photocopiers”. As a senior manager in a big 4 firm, I expected all members of my engagement teams to contribute to our audit process. True, a first year doesn’t have the wisdom that comes from experience, but they bring a fresh perspective and energy to the team that can be lacking with more seasoned staff (or partners). A motivated first year could make a world of difference, especially when the senior got pulled to another engagement in timbuktu (or sadly, laid off). When times were bad (economically speaking) seniors were hard to come by.

    I agree with the other comments – if times are so bad, where are the partner layoffs?

  214. hello 212, there is no rhyme or reason to vent your frustration. in good times everyone jump ships makes money.. bad times get canned.there is no loyalty anywhere if you are looking at big bucks. .IMHO, i want to make a million bucks and settle for a while. if i were a partner thats all i care.

    if you dont like D or other firms that implement these types of business decisions, please do a due diligence before you join a firm.

    all said and done it is a dog eat dog world

  215. There have been partner layoffs/demotions

  216. Are there really partner layoffs? Or just some gentle encouragement for the older partners to retire a year or two ahead of schedule? I’ve seen several partner retirements in the past month but nobody actually getting layed off.

  217. jonathan/@214 – I generally agree with your statement that in good times people CAN jump ship and make more money. BUT, do those who jump ship do it with professionalism and integrity? They don’t lie and convince the partners that they will never leave, so that one day they can unexpectedly quit and leave the partners in a lurch. Even if they did, it would still be 100% better than the tricks that Deloitte has pulled on their employees

  218. Yeah, okay tough guy, dog-eat-dog world. But real leaders know that the best way to deal with layoffs is to cut deep but cut only once. For some reason the partners in charge of D&T would rather spread it out with random, unannounced layoffs every 2 or 3 months. By doing it this way they are undermining the morale among those still employed. Even those who were not layed off fear that they could be next, which is toxic to the culture of any organization.

    You pull the band-aid off with one hard yank, you don’t peel it off slowing and prolong the agony. The Firm is alienating a lot of people by doing it the wrong way, and they are setting the stage for a massive brain-drain once the economy recovers and people have more options…..not smart.

  219. 212’s comments about the backstabbing at the partner level is true. I have seen and witnessed it. Having worked at other firms, I can attest that the politics at D is the worst. No wonder D was always the weakest of the Big 4. How can a firm be successful when its own partners focus all their energy on screwing each other? I heard that this horrible behavior started with the merger of D and T. It is now part of the culture, and the long timers think it is normal behavior.

    D will be back for talent when the economy improves and will pay top $$$. They have no other choice. Hopefully, people will have learned their lesson and boycott this firm in many respects — i.e., clients, job seekers, university students, etc.

    The only improvement that can be made to D (in my opinion) would be for it to follow Anderson’s path to meltdown.

  220. @218

    D is still trying to convince everyone else (other than those who have been laid off) that they are not actually laying off. They are fearful of what the layoffs will imply about D in the market place, especially since the other firms aren’t cutting headcount the way D is. So, they would rather risk moral issues, than be honest with their people and everyone else.

    If I could analogize D’s behavior to the image of a perfect family (carefully crafted on picture), where behind close doors unsightly events occur. As long as no one knows about it, it must not be happening.

    Remember a couple of months ago, Salzberg was quoted in an interview where he said that D was investing in their people? Wow, how does someone say that with a straight face.

  221. I see a pattern of certain comments to say, “You should have done your homework on the Big 4,” or, “You should have known what you were getting into.”

    I might take this to mean understanding that the Big Four has/is:

    1. Made up of highly competitive, talented people who aren’t always nice to one another
    2. Has both winners and losers, i.e. the rating system
    3. Long hours for relatively low pay until higher-up promotions
    4. A for-profit entity, which has good and bad years

    But those same comments are justifying:

    1. Poor communication between partners and everyone else
    2. A cold, clueless lack of emotion/basic humanity in handling layoffs
    3. A compensation and promotion structure that is perceived as too political and cliquish.
    4. Hypocrisy from leadership that often does not live up to its promises.

    Now you might think those last four points are untrue or unfair, that they paint too broad a brush. Fair enough. You have hundreds of comments here, and many more reading those comments daily, because there is at least that perception.

    Want to change it? Stop telling people they’re crybabies. Try some actual Straight Talk, and turn perception into reality.

  222. I cannot understand why this blog has become entirely focused on Deloitte. The other BIG 4, such as PricewaterhouseCoopers is run by a bunch of con artists and thugs too. They are congering up phony ‘performance issues’ on people as a justified excuse to lay them off.

  223. @203

    I know of one former partner in the Boston office who is now a director.

    Boston has been laying off a lot of minorities in its March and May layoffs. Deloitte is the master of spin.

  224. @206-213 or therabouts – my aplogies for the delay in responding, I had to read the other recommended thread of 499 posts, and holy crap, I’m even worse than I thought. Six different kinds of a son-of-a-bitch. But I feel the need to briefly respond to a couple of observations, lest I leave the impression that I am a crazed photocopying anti-Russian illiterate.

    @208 who wigged out about the photocopying, and @213 who would never make his first year students phtoocopy today – understandable – neither would I of course. I feel like I’m explaining to my daughter what a ‘record album” was. My first year was 30 years ago, we had no computers and so the files were photocopied to bring forward the schedules and information – like hand-drawn flowcharts – that we needed for an audit then. Having the grunts like me do it served to teach me how our files were put together, and unless you did it with your eyes closed a little bit about audit methodology and the client. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t pine for those days, but that was the only way we had to do it. It gets worse – we were paid so poorly (and were worked so hard) that our time was cheaper than many of the secretaries. Minimum wage, no fooling, and “free” as in no overtime pay, so there was no cheaper labor. While Francine is younger (and much, much better looking) than me she may remember similar stories from her early managers or partners. I do not miss those days at all and am glad we treat staff a little better today. I don’t know what passes for tedious first-year work now, but the point was really that no-one wants to do it for two or three years. They want to do more challenging, intellectually tougher work and manage others. Hence the continued intake even when some must leave.

    Re “Go back to Russia” – I thought that was a common joke, something you said to a friend who suggested something vaguely liberal (as Barney said in The Simpsons) and not a slur against Communists, fellow travellers or immigrants like myself. While I expect most people would get that, if you were offended I am sorry.

    Re the typos – good god man, I’m not writing to a client, I’m contributing to a casual dialogue. You need to lighten up or your life will be hard.

    It is tough to get to be a partner and stay one without growing a thick skin, but I’ve never encountered the level of front-or-back stabbing referred to here, and beleive me I’m not special. But there are less than 100 partners in our office so you need to get along, maye its harder in a big office.

    I disagree with the observation that talented senior managers could be thrown under the bus by their partner for the partner’s personal gain. Most people will do work for several partners who would object, and their ratings are available many people to see and the action to question. I would never do that or put up with it, and just don’t buy that it happens even infrequently. Sorry.

    Yes there have been partner separations and demotions. It should be no shock that they are handled quietly and delicately and that many are early retirments. If they’ve been around a while, they probably have developed significant personal goodwill with clients and in the community that is valuable to the firm. So we won’t be marching them out the door any time soon. Some are done so quietly it is six months before I figure out my former partenr is now a director.

    In any event I appreciate the feedback and the service Francine is providing by running this forum. There is a lot of valuable information in the comments here, and while I probably disagree with more than half of what is said there is some painful truth in the balance that may help me and the profession. Good luck to all.

  225. I look back on my time with Deloitte (largely) positively, and contrast that time quite favourably with my stint at PwC where I encountered … well the sort of behaviour and attitudes I’m reading about here. I have had a growing sense of amazed disbelief reading today about the firm where I learned so much of my trade. And when I got to #212, it (without wanting to sound like a cry baby) kind of broke my heart. I guess that’s when I realised how much of the green dot kool aid I had drunk. And maybe if I was still there I would have written the reply at #214. So really, I’m better off out of there, and (I think) a better person out of there.

    And so again I find myself agreeing with Truman here. He talked about greed and lies. The thing I like about my current gig is that my purpose in life amounts to more than making greedy rich people richer. Greed is kind of like oxygen in the big accounting partnerships — without a sufficiency of it these firms can’t survive. At least not like they are. I used to pull their cart, hoping that they would one day notice what a good donkey I was and give me a turn on the reins, with the whip. Without the greed — no donkeys.

    And the lies: “We’re a global firm” — “Until you try to sue us for negligence”. “We are all about our people and straight talk” –“Until we have to bone you and don’t want you to find out beforehand”

    Oh dear. The Buddha teaches us that everything is impermanent. And my ex-colleagues at Deloitte will probably find out soon that that includes my “friend of the firm” status at my current employer…

  226. @222 – obviously, there are more D&T con artists and thugs. Or maybe, PwC’s con’s aren’t so blatantly obvious, because their partners are better con artists as compared to the dildo’s at D&T. Great question though!

  227. So what advice do you have for new hires waiting to start with the big 4?
    Is the offer letter and binding agreement that they will sue me if i decided to look for employment else where?

  228. @206 – I can’t speak for the other Big 4 firms, but are people in the next tier as miserable as those at Deloitte? Yes, and the layoffs are happening here too – there just aren’t as many of us.

    Deloitte employees / alumni have the advantage of safety in numbers when complaining. My firm is 1/8 the size of Deloitte. If I were to make specific complaints, I’d be too easily identifiable. I would fear to be the scapegoat for speaking out despite how much I hate my job, don’t trust firm leadership, and am there only until the job market improves.

  229. Truly PwC are managing out – the ARC (annual review ratings committee) is truly a RIF – reduction in force- I know that there is reason to reduce headcount by force of increasing the numbers of 4 rated people- ridiculous- its truly a lay off

    I hope someone notifies the department of labor- what they are doing is illegal- if more than 50 people go in one location this is in violation of the WARN act

  230. Are you in New York and they are going to lay off more than 50 people and they have not given notification – then here is a way your case can be heard

    http://www.law29.com/pages/cases-we-handle/overtime-wage-cases/warn-layoff-cases.php?gclid=CM2t2JK68poCFQwxawodvT0QcQ

  231. Dear 212:

    Deloiite’s disingenuous “realignments” and excessive/reckless spending on the part of our federal government are two subjects that really p*** me off. As such, I try to ignore both subjects and focus on more productive thoughts/pursuits. However, as is the case with a trainwreck, I can’t help but to take a peak every once in a while. Anyway I noticed your 5,000 # for layoffs. In 2008 and 2009 the combined real firing tally is somewhere north of 13,000. This of course does not include demotions and “voluntary” resignations and early retirements (which might not really be voluntary). Good luck to all.

  232. @ 224 – I’m glad to see that at least one Partner at D&T is participating on this blog (at least openly posting as a Partner). The ongoing layoffs is a topic that is on every one of your staff’s minds so you’re wise to tune in and get some honest feedback here even if much of it is laced with venom. As someone who was layed off recently I understand the anger that people have towards the Firm, especially after slogging through a brutal busy season and then getting rewarded with a pink slip at the end of it.

    If you really want to glean some useful info from this blog to improve your practice then relay this to your partners: stop with the piecemeal, sporadic layoffs. If you need to cut 1,000 people do it in one chop instead of spreading it out in little installments. You’re pissing off a lot of people, creating tension among the troops, and undermining morale. If you were honest with us up front and just made one big painful layoff there wouldn’t be a blog like this with hundreds of people spewing venom at D&T. Instead, we have spent the last year watching people get layed off in little batches, in a very quiet and very sneaky way, as if you’re hoping we won’t notice the people that keep disappearing every 2 or 3 months.

    And if you want people to stop accusing the Firm of being liars and con-men then tell that fat slob Barry Salzberg to stop hosting “Straight Talk” where he says how committed he is to “our people” and then a month later we chop another 100 people. The Firm loses a ton of credibility when Barry says one thing (in the Spring of 2008 he said in a mass e-mail the Firm has no plans for personnel related expense reduction, i.e. layoffs) and the does the opposite (in Summer of 2008 the first round of layoffs began). And it’s not just Barry making untrue statements, the partner in charge of my office said in March that the March layoffs were the last ones for this year only to have another round just 2 months later in May. When partners in a leadership role say things like this they are seen as either (1) not knowing what they’re talking about; of (2) being dishonest, either way you lose credibility and the trust of the staff.

  233. @205/224

    “When voluntary turnover ceases – as it effectivelly has – we cannot carry an extra 5,000+ people a year when revenues are not growing…”

    Ok. True. As that is the case with any company during periods of economic strain, right? Well, perhaps you can answer this on behalf of Deloitte’s ‘competent’ leadership. If you guys have less $$$ to compensate staff due to impacted revenues, then from where the hell do you and your buddies at leadership scower the funds for the Bearing Point deal (a $350 million deal) and that joke of a training center you guys plan on erecting – a price tag of roughly $300 million??? (I really don’t see what’s wrong with renting out quality hotel/conference facilities for a much lower price as has been done in the past.) I think you and your leadership army need to get together on Saturday nights and tune in to Suze Orman on CNBC. Maybe she can offer some tips on financial management for firms. Oh, and be sure to invite Mr. “Straight Talk” himself to your nightly gatherings . I’m sure he’s in dire need of some advice too. Maybe while you all are there, you guys can learn some compassion (Suze’s rule: PEOPLE FIRST, then money, then things).

    “Part of the model – a part in my view that is broken because it leads to short-term thinking and sub-optimal asset allocation – is the partnership model that requires tax to be paid on the partnership’s income every year…”

    Wow! Clearly your view of what’s wrong with the partnership model is totally different from what the rest of us think is wrong. Goodness, you guys really are disconnected and out of touch with your staff (and perhaps the rest of society, but that’s another story). You must not be worried at all about partners abusing the model for profit gain versus using the model to best serve investors. Instead, your mentality is “Oh no, the model is flawed because there’s less money for me”. You probably don’t realize your way of thinking. But see, you’re subconciously telling us you’re more worried about paying an expense which leaves you with less profit – less money in your pockets.

    As one poster said earlier – good luck…Monsters!

  234. @205/224 …

    what WBS element are you using to read the 700+ posts? do your clever responses just roll off your tongue or do you have to spend time thinking about it? yes, make fun. see who ends up laughing at the end.

    business must be slow. question: is the slowness due to the economy only or also attributed to clients now boycotting dt? personally, i am boycotting D&T. i’ll take your bogus marketing meetings and smile at you while you peddle your stuff. i may even act interested. but, i’ll never buy anything.

    do you know who i am? how many people with my mindset will you encounter in the future? that’s the surprise. enjoy!

    p.s., tell barry to stop sending the bs alumni relations emails talking about the importance of alumni. it just further undermines dt’s creditability.

  235. “Living off the backs of the workers” – It might not make you many fans, but I am glad to see your honest feedback on here. You raise important points.

  236. D&T is clearly impacting the community, and I am not talking about Impact Day.

  237. I think there is general consensus that the wheels have come off Barry’s Straight Talk Bus. Heads need to roll at D&T’s leadership level. No other firm appears to be in a greater mess than us.

    They kicked John Manley out of the NE in late 2008; it is time for some of his deputies to go.

  238. Who is John Manley?

  239. A recent post on greendotlife.com indicates that Deloitte canned people ON Impact Day. To echo one posters reaction, shame on them.

  240. Thanks Tony Rezko. I don’t regret anything I’ve said here but in hindsight, and with the benefit of other’s comments, I regret the way I said it. Someone asked if I sat on my ass all day dreaming up bon mots to post anonymously. I don’t, that would be pretty sad even for a Monster. I just say it like I think it, but I realize that there are some justifiably angry people here and so my sense of humor, which is not for everyone in the best of times, is misplaced on this thread. The name I use was courtesy of my dad, a union steward who’s congratulations when I made partner was to tell me “So you’ll be livin off the backs of the workers then”. I still think that was prettty funny, so there you have it.

    I wasn’t kidding about learning from these comments, even the tough ones. I would love to continue this dialogue, but in a more appropriate forum. If one starts let me know and I’ll rejoin the discussion. In the meantime, we have a partner dinner coming up at the end of this month. I’m thinking a “Monster’s Ball” theme….

  241. @Living off the backs…

    What’s wrong with the forum????

    Perhaps you’d like to make a guest post? Let me know.
    fmckenna@mckennapartners.com

    Francine

  242. Francine, nothing is wrong with the forum, I think it is great and very much appreciate the work you are doing (I’d better subscribe after saying that), but I’m upsetting people unintentionally and would prefer to speak freely and openly without doing so. Which is probably wishful thinking for a partner, but there you have it. i don’t care, and expect people will disagree with me, but I’ve already learned a few things and am happy I’ve tried to add a small amount of balance. I will think about the guest post – there are two sides to every story and we’re not all Monsters.

  243. @Living off the backs…

    Yes, as you can see…sarcasm, irony sometimes don’t translate well on line unless there’s an expectation that it’s all ironic or satirical. And in this case, few are in the mood for tongue-in-cheek mockery. Many feel let down, sold-out, and in some cases figuratively punched in the stomach.

    There are many sides to any story, but there is only one truth. The more varied the voices, the more quickly we can get to that. A guest post can be anonymous. You only have to identify yourself to me. It’s been done before and they’ve all lived to work for the man another day. :)
    Francine

  244. It’s interesting reading this blog. I was someone who was a life long DT person, having consistent ratings of 2 or 3, (although, much as I hate to admit. not a consistent 1 performer) until one ot the rounds of “realignments”. My last set of scorecards, all from partners were rated “2” – so technically I couldn’t have been rated any higher. I know though (and I did at the time), that it’s all down to who you know – I’m not naive. It’s sad that the partner who lets you go calls you up to say “I’m sorry, but I was told you had to go” especially when the people you work with are being told it’s down to “performance reasons”. Oh well – good riddance.

    I wouldn’t say I was a devout Koolaid drinker but based on my experiences I would have ( and have in the past ) certainly sold my story to potential recruits for a very varied experience which I very much enjoyed for a long time.

    Unfortunately, between my experience and the experience of others I know, I will now be suggesting to anyone who asks, that going outside the big 4 is probably a smart move. That is a shame, as the reason I initially joined was to get a good, varied business grounding to launch my career.

    It’s only now, a good few years down the line that I’m moving outside the big 4 that I really appreciate the difference. I really wish I’d done it sooner. good luck to those who are still there.. you might need it.

    I came across this site like many others after I found myself with time on my hands. Sadly I found that many views I thought were pretty much my own were held a lot more widely, So for everyone who is still there i’d like to offer some light relief…. If the link doesn’t work, go to Dilbert.com for June 3rd. Enjoy.

  245. @ 242 – It’s really great to see a DT partner take the time to post here. Kudos to you. I hope you can sleep at night.

  246. @ 242 – btw, i’m a first year canned after less than six months of working straight out of college. that’s my side of the story. i have no problem about photopying and filing for a year, i think it’s part of the process of learning. i just can’t stand the double speak from the partner level.

  247. […] me to ask tough questions. It inspired me to do comparative research, and some things I found out didn’t please me. Other things did. Today, I had to make a final decision, since I had received two offers: one […]

  248. the big 4 world lacks of 3 key points:
    1. ethics
    2. quality of the work
    3. sufficient resources to perform a quality job and resources training

    Lay off are taking the Big 4 exactly in the opposite direction they should go. Just saying aloud.

  249. Having worked for Deloitte a few years ago, it is not surprising seeing some of these comments. Here is all you need to know about Deloitte as a firm, and this is the God’s honest truth I am about to post.

    I was a senior at the time this happened. I was summoned to take notes at a law firm in mid-town Manhattan. There were several very upper level partners in the room (now I know why I was there…God forbid they actually use their Mont Blanc pens, right?!?!). So, they are going over the case and inquiry thus far with regard to certain individuals in a class-action shareholder lawsuit of a what then was a very, very well known NASDAQ company. This case had a lot of juicy ingredients….think sex, drugs and back-dating options! Seriously.

    I turned to one of the partners, having been an former AA, and I was bewildered at how none of this case is not even in the press. To quote the partner, “we have friends in the press that take care of us.” (Ace Ventura voice) OHHHHHH REALLY?!??! All the news that’s fit to print, or in this case….not!! Toodles!

  250. @fm – do you honestly think there is only one truth? Obviously you have not lived long enough. Truth is in the eyes of the beholder. Different people see it differently, and there is no way to reconcile to find the “one true truth”. Perception is what counts and there are many perceptions — we all must deal with all the various perceptions and form our own perspective and opinions. Sit down and talk to a devoutly religious person of some faith different from yours. They honestly believe they know the one true truth – and you will be dead certain that they are wrong. Who is right? Which one is the truth? How can you actually prove it? There are very few things that ALL can agree upon as a truth. And there are no ABSOLUTES in life — except maybe the fact that there is no absolute. If you think you know the one truth, or that this blog will lead to it — I believe you should rethink that idea. It is not possible. You may, though, be helping individuals arrive at their own opinions on what is true.

  251. The Washington DC offices are laying off. Seems like in our office they lay off one or two people a day. I was one of those…I returned from a two week client engagement in the middle of nowhere to receive “the e-mail.” Thanks to Francine I knew what was coming – I have been following this blog since September. I am a first year with a little more than 9 months experience and TWO DT internships. I was told off-the-record by HR that many people had spoken during consensus about how I was covering a lot of ground and continuously improving but what it came down to was that my managers and counselor did not have the biggest voice – any other year this would not have happened to me. I have been seduced and lied to since 2004 – of course it took me a move across the country and evil and greedy partners to discover this fact and I have been suicidal from September (when I started full time) to May 29 when I was laid off.

    I was only unemployed for 4 days as I was able to find a job very quickly – I already had something in the works. I am certain that I will soon find my soul again and will begin to repair relationships (was almost “divorced” before I even had my own wedding) that were destroyed during the 9 months where Deloitte ruined my life. I cannot tell you what a relief and how much happier and better off I am/will be at my new job. There really is life after Big 4. If you have been laid off this is not the end for you – DO NOT FEEL SHAME BECAUSE THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT D WANTS YOU TO FEEL.

    TO Students joining Deloitte: RUN. Do not let this organization let you forget for one minute what you stand for – they will likely succeed no matter how strong you think you are. The green dot owns you.

    TO Partners of Deloitte who read this blog: My father once said to me pigs get fat; hogs get slaughtered. I know that I was laid off because you are no longer making the amount of money that you once were and choose to get rid of good people to maintain your “lifestyle.” Greed will be the ultimate demise of the Firm. I hope your children never figure out what you do for a living.

  252. Our office also targeted the 9-month staff for layoff and when possible, placement. There was nothing that these 9-month staff did wrong. In fact, in a good or even modest economy, these staff would have plenty of work, gotten the training promised, and one day promoted up the ranks (if they had chosen to stay in public accounting). However, because of the economy and the politics surrounding the layoffs, they were targeted. While their careers at D&T have been (or will be) cut short, the open slots they leave behind allow D&T to continue to recruit and extend internships to the soon to be new grads from the same schools.

    Is this fair? No. Will this continue? Yes, unless someone stops its. What can you do to help? If you are a university professor, do your due diligence so that you can properly advise your students. See pass the political BS, free lunches, endowments, and monetary gifts. If you are a Big 4 professional, stop letting firms USE YOU to spew their BS. Tell the truth, and if it is not allowed, stop participating in recruiting.

    A lot of people have visited this blog to complain about D&T and what D&T has done to them. Well, how are you going to stop it and change things? Do not let the partners use you to further their agenda. By all means, if you truly believe in D&T model, say it. But do not LIE or MISLEAD the new students for your own job security. It makes you no better than the partners you despise.

  253. @252 makes a good point about the university professors. Just to add to that point, most university profs know what’s going on with the Big 4 layoffs yet they’re still stubbornly promoting them to their ‘top’ students as if that’s the only career path for them. Sadly enough, some professors are so narrow-minded they think any other accounting career outside the Big 4 is not worthy of being brought to their students attention. So what happens? The good students jump on board to the big 4 and some end up getting canned within their first year (or perhaps later on) and end up feeling discouraged, confused, and in a sense betrayed. I swear it’s sickening. While the Big 4 does have its obvious advantages, professors need to open their eyes and share with their students the benefits of working at smaller-tier firms, private firms, non-profit, and even government orgs. And if they are aware of what’s really happening right now in the Big 4 environment, they need to relay that to their students also. I mean, if they were really looking out for ALL their students’ best interest, you’d think the profs would be out disseminating the truth. Of course, that will be hard for them to do because 1) some professors have had a long tenure with the Big 4 (some may have been partners – go figure!) so it’s like their given right to defend them and promote nothing but golden gospel to their students and 2) some profs and their accounting department receive grants from the Big 4 firms for research or to start some cutting-edge initiative so it wouldn’t be in their best interests to ‘bite the hand that feeds them’. Either way you look at it, some profs are just as evasive, elitist, and narrow-minded as the partners.

    @252 is right. We need to create more awareness of the despicable things that are going on right now.

  254. I’m a little confused by the fact that so many people are attacking Barry for not telling the truth in his ST’s – maybe I dreamed this – and I doubt I did – but – in every ST that I either attended or listened to Barry said something along the lines of how he couldn’t say that the realignments were over – or – he discussed the economy and the possible affects

    Even my function head has said the same

    The state of the economy and its affects is in the news everywhere

    So why are so many of the posts here making like they had no idea that layoffs would occur?

    Yes, Deloitte hasn’t made a news broadcast of their financial situation, but they are a Partnership, not a corporation like GM, so why would anyone except them to or think there is some reason they should.

    I owned my own company before coming to D. During the course of that ownership I often had to lay people off and even went thru a couple of downsizes. I never told anyone. I didn’t announce it to the press. And my only staff announcements where that I let so-and-so go and either passed the work to someone on the payroll or hired a replacement (before anyone flames me on this one let me state that my first 2 employees were with the company the day I left it, and the majority of my staff were what I would call lifers).

    As for who is being let-go/realigned at “D”, what do all the first year and just out-of-school people posting here think should happen – should someone who has been at a company for many years be let go to keep someone fresh out of school or newly hired (even given the new blood infusion & fresh ideas aspect). A first year person, unfortunately, quite often hasn’t had the time-in to show that they can, or are willing to work at the level of a (productive) long term employee.

    Then there’s the fact that organizations like D, just like corporations, carry a lot of non-producing staff. Every graduate should know the 80/20 rule. In lax work timeframes 20% of any staff is performing 80% of the workload, with the expectation that the 80%ers will ramp up when the workload gets too hot to handle. Unfortunately, those 80%ers often get complacent and don’t always do so. Example: A is told to monitor X and let B know if it reaches a certain threshold (if B is not able to react within a certain timeframe A is to take corrective action). Over time A notices that every time they contact B, B has already taken the required action, so A slowly self-redefines his/her role and no longer contacts B, making a determination that all A needs to do is monitor to see that B has taken action. Eventually A decides that B has it covered and that there is no longer any need for A to even monitor the situation. A then becomes self convinced that no one else on the payroll notices that they are no longer productive. In a realignment A is indignant that they were chosen to be let go.
    I can honestly say that when looking at the list of staff in my department that have been let go I don’t see a single name that didn’t belong on that list. Where some women, yes, and they were women that deserved to be let go. Were some minorities, yes, and they were also people who deserved to be let go. Were some the traditional old (young) white guys, absolutely, and they deserved to be let go just as much if as the selected women and minorities.
    Now, before everyone gets out their flame throwers, yes I can be considered an old (not a young) white guy. Yes I am still @ Deloitte (so you can claim that it’s easy for me to talk). But, my path was no easy ride. And I am neither a PPD nor in upper management. And for those who cry about the P/P/D/Sr/Mg who let them go because they would outshine them – I’ve suffered that as well. One of my previous Sr. Mngrs constantly looked to demote me because in her (minority orientation) view I was making the “other staff” look bad by being so good. Which was funny as the “other staff” all believed she was on my back because I was outshining her.

    The antidotal minority calculations voiced on forums like this one are just that and nothing more. It’s like complaining about there not being equal representation of a specific minority in accounting instead of looking at why that specific minority does not chose Accounting as a career, or using the self-fulfilling prophesy as fact that there aren’t more of that specific minority looking at Accounting as a career or studying it in school because they don’t see any representation of that specific minority in Accounting positions, when the reality is that Accounting is just not a career that readily interests people who weren’t raised to look at it as a career. Years ago the phrase “My son the doctor!” was on the lips of every Jewish mom.

    If you study Accounting/Finance (or any other industry/career for that matter), and you don’t know about the ups and downs then you didn’t do a good job of studying your chosen field.

    If you though a partnership was 100% fair then you didn’t do your research.

    If you chose to enter into a partnership then you obviously did so because you had the big dollars on your mind. If that is the case you should have been willing to take the risks involved and do the level of work required. Years ago everyone knew that one could make some of the biggest money possible by becoming either a lawyer or a doctor. And everyone also knew that to become a doctor you had to give up years of your life/youth in order to become successful. With the amount of lawyer jokes that exist I should have to detail this same course for anyone.

  255. Under the WARN act there is a requirement that notices must be timed to reach the required parties at least 60 days before a closing or layoff.
    The exceptions to 60-day notice are:
    (1) Faltering company. This exception, to be narrowly construed, covers situations where a company has sought new capital or business in order to stay open and where giving notice would ruin the opportunity to get the new capital or business, and applies only to plant closings;
    (2) unforeseeable business circumstances. This exception applies to closings and layoffs that are caused by business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable at the time notice would otherwise have been required; and
    (3) Natural disaster. This applies where a closing or layoff is the direct result of a natural disaster, such as a flood, earthquake, drought or storm.
    If an employer provides less than 60 days advance notice of a closing or layoff and relies on one of these three exceptions, the employer bears the burden of proof that the conditions for the exception have been met. The employer also must give as much notice as is practicable. When the notices are given, they must include a brief statement of the reason for reducing the notice period in addition to the items required in notices.

    Anyone who doesn’t think that the layoffs currently being experienced are justified under item #2 hasn’t been paying attention to the state of the global economy for the past 10 months.

    Wake up . . .

  256. @254

    #2 is a cop-out. If anyone could have foreseen what was coming it should have been the business advisors advising Fortune 500 companies about their own financial circumstances. Deloitte has been cutting for more than a year and had serious issues with clients that I’ve been writing about for more than two years. Pretty disingenuous to say that an accounting /consulting firm who purports to be a trusted advisor did not see what was coming and plan, forecast, and execute responsible strategy to address these issues within their own organization without having to take such extreme measures.

    Stand up and take responsibility. I know where you’re posting from.
    Francine

  257. Question about WARN act applicability… I looked through the employers guide and it says that WARN is NOT TRIGGERED if “50-499 workers lose their jobs and that number is less than 33% of the employers total active workforce at a single site”.

    So doesn’t this mean that so long as layoffs were below 33% of a site’s workforce, no WARN notice would be required? Could this be their protection?

  258. Rumbling on greendotlife site suggesting that D&T may be freezing salaries, perhaps cutting salaries. I am shocked by D&T directionless handling of its practice, in response to the economy. They seem to be charging in different directions (massive layoffs and now salary cuts?), depending on perceived “poll ratings” (if you will), rather than a clear mission. The information from the leadership level has been contradictory at best, with many official announcements followed by actions to the contrary. Who is in charge over there? Or is it just a bunch of political sects, rising in and out of power (like the upheaval in various unstable countries)? Well, at least if this is true, people will have some amount of job safety. But how much and how long, before leadership (whoever they are) start to head in another direction. What a mess!

  259. #254 reads like Deloitte spin on these boards. The writer claims to have had his/her own former business and has now joined D as a staff personl!!!! Nobody thinks that a partnership is fair…it is just the load of crap that D spews. If D was so straight-forward and were laying off only non-performers why did they wait after the audit busy season was over and many of these people had put in 80+ hours to break them the news???

    Re: minority issue, I know of one PIC of a North-east office who claims in every all-hands meetings that he could not end any of his presentation without talking about Diversity and what the office is doing about it. Guess what does this person consistently do when he meet a “diverse” person alone in the hallway, elevator, bathroom….he consistently ignores that person!!! In short, hypocrisy runs deep in D.

  260. “So why are so many of the posts here making like they had no idea that layoffs would occur?” what an idiotic statement! – if you read the comments, you should have realized that the theme is about transparency, caring for people and handling it well rather than the fact there wont be ANY layoffs. – Also, of course for the fact thatlayoffs were used to potect Partner compensation…im not wondering why you didnt make partner at all….

    thanks for writing the post – you dont look like a nice man with nice thoughts – looks like a selfish person…that makes you partner material at “D”…smartness isnt what counts there…

  261. talking about Diversity at Deloitte? You must be joking! There isnt any left. For those left, they are finding ways to lay them off as well by mid year if not earlier…you know the standard – scorecards, ratings, managed revenue, utilization – the things that are easy to manipulate.

    in fact, i havent seen many folks -partners or not – at Deloitte, who bother to even look at their face, let alone work or hang out with them….exceptions being the good looking ones and the “white” diversity folks….your note about the elevator,hallway etc is a standing joke at D too…and did I say, they hate R10 even if they have never interacted with them?

    does anyone know the total number of employees at D and their break up in terms of diversity (R10 separately)….it would be interesting to track the graph over the last 5 years….

    how do you expect to have productivity and quality work with all these negativeness, stress etc going around in this organization? What a mess! why arent heads rolling? absolutely no accountability or rather no one with accountability…

  262. repost:

    Cost cutting without revenue is similar to a guy without work who keeps cutting his food bill. In the end he dies a painful death of dehydration and starvation. Right now, Deloitte is cutting off the hands and feet with the hope that those will grow back in better times.

  263. Can someone tell all those Senior Managers who are doing the work of the Managers that they should know their job descriptions?

    You arent paid all this extra money to do the work of the Managers and Seniors – you should be out on the street selling stuff and not be hiding your head in the books and stealing Manager, Senior work/hours to boost your Utilization and claim to have no time to sell….and complain about not having the opportunity to be a partner!

    Here is an idea – use 40% of your time to do Selling, 40% of your time doing client service and the rest administrative, PTO etc – go get some business for the firm – and the reward? you could be Partner! If you end up with High Utilization at Mid Year and Year end, we will know what you have been upto !!

    And hey- stop doing those dirty work of cutting existing work hours and asking client to give back the cut hours to do something just on a new engagement letter so you could count it as a NEW sale….we know all about it….

  264. How much input can seniors and staff put into the ratings process at D? I know of several who look like they want to vomit everytime they see me. This all stems from April when I rolled off a client and decided to take a long weekend at my alma mater to relax. I got back that Sunday to a request to work another week on the client. When i mentioned what I did with the weekend they all looked like they wanted to kill me. Not like i was scheduled to be there beforehand. THey were openly nasty to me and another first year actually yelled at me when i requested he walk with me to the lobby to get delivered food. Should I worry? I am a first year FYI. If I were to get laid off I think I would not even care one bit.

    @Ms. McKenna-Great site, gives a lot of insight to the “other side” they so conveniently forget to talk about in training and recruiting.

  265. @264 Seniors actually do have a lot of imput, but the input generally don’t/can’t relate to what you do on your free time. At least it isn’t in our office. I understand the pressure to try to be the hardest working person in your office, at least in terms of hours, but avoid that temptation. If you are billing the most hours in the office or on your job, it will usually mean that you are the least efficient and you will burn out. Obviously don’t work the least either because first years who just decide they need to be the first to leave every day are let go pretty quick. When the senior, manager, or partner tells you to be somewhere…be there. When they tell you to leave, leave then. Covet your personal time, weekends off, and PTO. No one else is making sure that you don’t get burned out.

    Also, if people can’t stand you, entertain the thought might be other than the fact that you had a nice weekend. That sounds petty. It might be another reason. If you are just hard to get along with, you won’t last long.

  266. I have worked at D for two years and have been trying to get a sense for whom they are laying off. It seems that they are letting go of (1) poor performers (2) non-citizens with work visas (3) people who are overpaid for level/rating (i.e a ‘3’ paid $70k and a ‘3’ paid 65k who turn out the same work product) (4) people who do no have their CPAs (5) people in non-compliance (i.e time sheets, expense reports)

    I have not recognized a pattern of (1) strong performers being let go. I have also not noticed a pattern of minorities being let go based solely on the fact that they are a minority. It has seemed like a very equal spread of the current employee base being let go. Also I have heard that during the process race isn’t even considered and a matrix including attributes such as the five points mentioned in the first paragraph is what determines your fate at Deloitte.

    Wouldn’t there be more lawsuits against Deloitte and other Big 4 if the terminations were based on race ? Does anyone know anybody that has filed a lawsuit for this reason against any of the Big 4 ? If the accusations were true wouldn’t you expect an increase in filings as terminations increased ?

    Also, if Big 4 employees are so mistreated why not unionize ? I have asked around my office when I first started ( I come from a union family and am having a hard time adjusting to a non-union world) and most people said they ‘didnt want to pay the dues’ and ‘fear’. Now, that times are bad and people are being let go alot of employees are complaining. There are a lot of things Deloitte does wrong, but there are also things that employees do wrong as we become complacent during good times.

  267. @fm post 256

    But consider that this is their lead firm economist: _http://www.deloitte.com/dtt/article/0,1002,sid%253D15288%2526cid%253D152742,00.html

    He is a very persuasive speaker, by the way.

  268. @266, have you not read all the posts on this thread and the Deloitte statement thread about general releases and nondisclosure statements? Too bad the general releases and nondisclosure statements could not limit the negative blogging on the internet.

    Question for you — if all companies are laying off due to the bad economy, why is it that Deloitte (out of the Big 4) has garnered the most negative blogging? You think a few individuals posted all 700+ posts (between the two threads, not to mention the 100+ of posts on greendotlife)?

  269. I have not been laid off YET so I don’t know what the procedure is and how courteous or uncourteous they are, or what the severance package is but I could assume that Deloitte is getting the most flack as they are laying off the most people. I think (haven’t done my homework) Deloitte lost the most clients out of any of the Big 4. Also Deloitte went from being #1 to #2 without any significant layoffs. In other words, they have the highest headcount and do not have the revenues to support it. PWC, KPMG and EY are definetly laying people off as well. Again, I do not know their processes but I do not think they are reducing headcount as drastically as Deloitte .

    That being said anyone can make a comment on a message board. I do not think citing the number of negative comments on this site and greendot during a recession for a firm thats laid off the higest number of employees is a fair measuring stick to compare to other firms. In my opinion if the claims were valid people would take real action and not blog about it – and I have not heard of anyone taking any real action against Deloitte. It is just people complaining that they were let go – wouldn’t you expect that ?

    Im curious how many of the laid off D employees that are blogging fell into the buckets I mentioned in my previous post. If they fall in those buckets, the lay offs were unfortunately justified. If not then I am wrong. Perhaps Deloitte could have handled it better as far as how they go about telling people; however, I do not think there is any such thing as a good lay-off. In times like these you would expect a firm that realized such a drastic decrease in client base to lay-off in droves and offer non-impressive severence.

  270. @269 There are lawsuits against Deloitte related to the layoffs in the last year and there have been several requests to me for referrals to lawyers. The categories that I am aware of are age discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, sex discrimination, and combinations of all of the above. There are people taking action and there are lawyers and others who will support you if you want to explore this option. Let me know if you need a lawyer to talk to or any other info.

    Francine

  271. @259 – There is no Deloitte spin involved – every bit of what I stated is from my own perspective. As to thinking a partnership is fair, I’ll have to go back and re-read my post. As I remember I said the exact opposite. Anyone joining the staff of a partnership should know it is not a fair partner/staff relationship just like anyone joining a single proprietor firm should know. If they don’t well that’s their own misfortune. They should have done some homework before taking that career move. Like that old saying goes “They are always hiring at the post office”. As for how D handled it I’m not saying they were correct – I think they could take some lesions on how to do it better (the next time – which I hope doesn’t happen anytime soon).
    ***************************
    @260 – You seem to have confused life somewhere along your journey. I never mentioned not making partner, in fact, I’m not even in client services, I am in Shared Services. After decades of running my own businesses I no longer had any desire to chase the $buck$. So your “…im not wondering why you didn’t make partner at all….”comment is a s flat as your (and others) statement as to the ascertain that since so many people are posting on the subject makes the subject fact. First off, the percentage of the population who just doesn’t understand life is huge. Second, there are just too many underachievers walking around thinking they are top notch, and Third, every fresh out of school first year I’ve ever meet thinks they should be immediately in the client CEO’s office instead of thinking they need a few years developing themselves with ACTUAL (not book/workshop) experience.

    I got a laugh out of your “you dont look like a nice man with nice thoughts” comment – the biggest prick I’ve ever met in my life was the nicest looking guy you could imagine, so it looks like you are a little confused on that life aspect as well.

    As for “…smartness isnt what counts there…” – I truthfully believe that no one gets to partner level without a great deal of SMARTS. Now what type is open to question. If one revisits my lawyer comments with some investigation they would find that it takes a whole lot of SMARTS to execute the level of backstabbing and underhandedness (un-ethical action) required to make the grade in law school. I doubt making partner at a firm the likes of D, or any other of the top 4 of any industry, isn’t too far off that mark.

    **************************
    Seems like no one wants to work through the apprenticeship career structure anymore.

  272. So non-citizens with work visas deserve to be laid off? I think for the most part, the average H-1 holder is harder working than the average “citizen.” They’ve had to climb over more obstacles to get to where they are. Look pal, it’s obvious what you’re trying to do by posting is to reassure yourself D will not can you in the future rounds of layoffs. Unfortunately, there is no strict criteria that is being adhered to. I’ve heard some managers and partners openly admit some people were laid off because enough people didn’t like them (even if they were a good worker) or not enough important people would care if someone was laid off. In the end, it’s headcount that needs to be reduced. I think under-performing, over-performing are really overrated concepts from the staff to the senior level. It’s not a hard job…you’re not selling…not screwing anything up major and it’s all the same in the eyes of the partner.

  273. @271

    R u one of the partners that violated independence and was put by D in shared services so that they can circumvent firing your ass? I assume you are not Flanagan because I think D “separated” him from the firm and is supposedly suing him.

  274. @271

    Lawyers (perhaps those at Above the Law) would take offense at your comment. Are you calling them bottom feeders too?

  275. The reason why D&T is getting more bad press than the other Big 4 is because D&T is shedding the most workers. D&T lost Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns and Washington Mututal all in one year. These 3 alone represented over $100 million of annual audit fees (this estimate is based on what I know about the fees charged on Merrill and Bear from people in my office who used to work on them, no idea what WaMu was but I’m sure it was comparable to Bear), that’s a big hit to take in one year. And guess who picked up all those audits….PWC. I’m sure PWC has made some cuts of their own this year but thanks to all the work they just picked up from D&T they probably won’t need to cut very deeply.

    E&Y lost Lehman, which was a big one but was still just one client. Of all the Big 4 it seems to me that D&T suffered the most in terms of lost business, which of course has resulted in the drastic and ongoing layoff situation at D&T.

  276. Francine – I think you have me all wrong – I was posting the information with what I believed is the tactic Deloitte will be using against any wrongful termination lawsuits – so I’m not sure what you what me to “Stand up and take responsibility” for. Plus, I don’t know what mileage you think you will get threaten me by saying you know where I’m posting from. I’m more that glad to stand up and state that I’m posting from Deloitte. And when all of the other posters start using their real names I’ll do the same, but as long as this forum is anonymous and anyone is allowed to post I think you should back down from further threats of this sort. Maybe there are so many Deloitte did me wrong posts because their competitors are paying people to do so. Obviously we’ll never know that will we.

  277. You seem to make a good point – how is a work site defined and how much latitude will D be extended in the application of that definition?

    If we look at it from the client function side (ARES, FAS, TAX, Consul) it could be a specific physical location. What about from the Shared Services side? Take the previously mentioned Telecom layoffs. These are National resources who are most probably 1 per physical office location. Letting even 1 of them go, let along the whole department as numerous posts have stated, would equate to a 100% cut in staff. If we take that example and go back to CS, especially Consulting – though I haven’t seen a great deal of posts specifically addressing C layoffs – we could possibly find the same situation. If we looked at TAX, FAS, AERS we might find something close in a department but I doubt it would be as high a percentage when looked at from a Practice Office viewpoint.

    Possible Francine has some insight on this one that she can share…

  278. You are so on target – if you read through the posts you’ll see there are people admitting that the layoffs they have seen aren’t minority based, and most often are production based (or better stated: lack of productivity).

    I guess it’s like TV news. They report the bad because that’s what most people want to hear.

    On a site like this I would take it that most of the posters are posting here because they believe they got a raw deal, not because they have some great perception.

    There are probably a lot more people not posting because they are happy or because they thought their deal was fair.

    It is well known that people who are happy with their situation don’t generally look for a venue to voice that feeling, whereas people who are unhappy are usually the first in line when a venue is offered.

  279. @275, I respectfully disagree. Deloitte is getting the most press, because of the underhanded way in which they handled the layoffs. They treated their employees poorly and thought they could keep it out of the press through the general releases and nondisclosure statements.

    Another important point is that Deloitte obviously could not spot the viability (going concern) of these failing audit clients either — another discussion for another day — but collected the fees in the past just the same. Someone once asked when the federal government would go after Deloitte. We shall see. It speaks well for PwC that clients who leave Deloitte choose them.

    Perhaps you can address the amount of $$$ Deloitte has for the $3 million training center (not including the $$$ paid for the land) in Texas and the Bearingpoint purchase. Deloitte is apparently courting the Bearingpoint employees, while laying off their own consulting guys. Explain that!

  280. You are so on target – if you read through the posts you’ll see there are people admitting that the layoffs they have seen aren’t minority based, and most often are production based (or better stated: lack of productivity).

    I guess it’s like TV news. They report the bad because that’s what most people want to hear.

    On a site like this I would take it that most of the posters are posting here because they believe they got a raw deal, not because they have some great perception.

    There are probably a lot more people not posting here, or on similar sites, because they are happy or because they thought their deal was fair.

    It is well known that people who are happy with their situation don’t generally look for a venue to voice that feeling whereas people who are unhappy are usually the first in line when a venue if offered.

  281. fm, any news on Flanagan? Can’t wait to hear him sing

  282. Anony @ 273,

    You may not like the comments posted by @Deloitte but his/her tone is civil. You and others should extend to the poster some effing courtesy. In my opinion, your ad hominem attacks are completely unwarranted.

    If you read my “good-bye letter” to the Big 4 (posted on Fran’s blog as “Music for Chameleons”) you would see that @Deloitte’s comments are not too far removed from mine. I agree with @Deloitte that anybody expecting fair treatment has been misled or is misinformed. The only obligations the partnership has to extend to the staff are those (a) imposed by statute and (b) those it chooses to extend (which can be modified or withdrawn). That said, I think @Deloitte glosses over the signficant point that the partnerships generate consistent messaging regarding “trust us, we know what we’re doing” that are designed to increase retention and to minimize questioning/criticism regarding firm leadership’s decision-making. That the evaluation process, including the promotion process, selects for “smoothness” and conformity (as well as competency) and weights those traits higher than “smarts,” “technical knowledge,” and “quality” also tends to create a culture of blind obedience, in my view. That culture didn’t help Andersen and it doesn’t help the current Big 4 firms promote independence and integrity, assure quality, and to develop leadership.

    I also disagree that a lawyer needs to be unethical or otherwise lack integrity in order to succeed. In fact, some of the best attorneys I have known, and I’ve worked with quite a few, have exhibited the highest integrity. Here’s a link to one such attorney, a man I had the privilege of working with for a while, whose integrity is so above questioning that … well, you can google the rest of his story.

    http://www.pattonboggs.com/mnardotti/

    So, if an attorney does not need to act unethically to succeed, neither does an accountant. Especially one who’s a CPA and has agreed to follow a certain set of ethical standards. To suggest otherwise is to lower the bar to unacceptable levels.

    — Tenacious T.

  283. @273/274

    Given the comments @273 I surmise 2 things:
    1.) Your only argument is to insult people – I pity you for that
    2.) You obviously do not know how to read – I pity you for that even more
    @274 – your statement makes as much sense as stating that since one partner is a cheating unethical backstabber all of them are.

    Stranger still – given the immediacy of these two posts (they hit the forum the exact same time my post cleared moderation – a lot quicker than my post did) I realize that they could only come from the moderator, which I must assume is Francine.

    Gee, Francine I though much higher of you than that. This puts a different light on some of the anonymous postings.

  284. A lot of people with visas are very smart and very hard working. Unfortunately I believe that Deloitte offices based on the US should protect its citizen workers. ‘The purpose of the h-1 program is to help companies hire foreign guest workers on a temporary basis when there is not a sufficient qualified American workforce to meet those needs. However, the program is not intended to replace or displace qualified American workers.’

    Your statement on how its OBVIOUS that I am posting here reassure myself that D will not lay me off is inaccurate. My post here will not effect Deloitte’s decision of my employment. Also, I am not looking for people to write back saying ‘oh no, you are ok – they will never fire you!’

    The purpose was to demonstrate that there are buckets that you can stay out and buckets that you can put yourself into to HELP keep your job. I was outlinig the buckets which I knew for a fact threaten employement at Deloitte. For instance if you are a first year senior and you dont have your CPA – get it! If you are a low ‘3’ ask what you can do to increase your responsibility and become a ‘2’ or ‘high 3′. Dont be the team jerk that no one likes to work with – chances are youll be let go.

    As far as ‘not screwing anything up’ and ‘its all the same in the eyes of a partner’ – that kind of attitude will get you laid off. In my experience the partners care about the work product and the team members. Granted there are some bad eggs, but for the most part my experiences have been positive.

    @275 – thats basically what I was trying to say in an earlier post. Thanks for the research to support that part of my post.

  285. @276, I read your post (@255) and interpreted your message the same way Francine did. Others should read and be their own judge. I can tell that you are a Deloitte partner because your are using the tactics so many of your fellow partners use when backed into a corner. You start making unfounded accusations and divert the attention away from yourself. Unfortunately for you, this is a written forum, so it will be hard for you to deny saying (really writing) things that you actually posted. Thanks for giving the readers most examples of Deloitte BS and games.

  286. @276 — let me get this straight. It is okay for Deloitte to layoff due to the reasons you listed. Plus, everyone else is doing it. By the same token, you are now accusing the everyone else that is doing it (“their competitors” — your words) of “paying people” to post, amidst all the cost cutting measures being implemented everywhere. Are you for real? Does this kind of logic stand up at Deloitte?

  287. @Deloitte 276 and 283

    First of all, I have no reason to post anonymously to my own blog. That would be silly. Comments may be moderated out of order. That happens sometimes when I do so from my phone. But the time stamp is when you submitted it. I think. Darn Blackberry. Everybody says I should get an IPhone. Say being in blogging and social media with a Blackberry is like going to Sturgis on a Honda. But I like my black Blackberry Pearl that I can hold and type on with one hand while drinking coffee and driving.

    As far as “threatening” you or asking you to stand up and take responsibility… Since you admitted posting from the Deloitte network, I will confirm that. And that is all. The point is that if you post from the Deloitte network and defend the firm as you did, I ask you to also acknowledge the thousands of complaints about how Deloitte has handled the layoff and demotion issue. Whether you are a first year senior, a Manager, A Director, a partner, or an HR professional, if you’re staying in the firm, I am asking your to face reality and not discount the complaints, stories, and concerns of your former and current colleagues. There are many more than are posted in comments. I know. They call and write me and tell me in person. Not everyone who complains is already gone. Sadder still to me are those who are unhappy but must stay because of financial or family obligations. Staying out of fear of change is not an excuse and staying out of some misguided loyalty to someone that would throw you under the bus in a minute if their job was dependent on it is weak.

    Bottom line is this is my blog, my forum, and readers and commenters are my guests. You are also here of your own volition and are welcome to not be here whenever it no longer suits your needs. Whatever…

    What suits my needs is providing a forum for information and opinions that have no other forum, including at times my own. I am not anonymous. Many have overcome the obstacle of being anonymous to me by introducing themselves personally, via a phone call, email, linked in or personally. And then they post comments anonymously to protect their job, career, or whatever they are concerned about. But I respect their confidentiality. It just helps me understand their point of view, whether agreeing or disagreeing with me or anyone else, much better.
    Francine

  288. LOL, you’re a second year and you’re talking like you own the firm. In case you haven’t kept up with the other threads that have been maxed out in comments on this blog, “plenty” of people fall out of your buckets. I would attribute most of the people that I knew that were laid off as simply unlucky. The partners making the decisions didn’t know them and they were singled out. You don’t need any more after-the-fact rationalization. As for H-1B holders, I would wager that nearly all of them are above average. You’re probably not familiar with the process but accountants are a dime a dozen, and most Fortune 500s shun anyone that needs sponsorship like lepers. DT laying off these people are more likely than not laying off some of their best people.

  289. @286

    “…..Does this kind of logic stand up at Deloitte?”

    Given that Deloitte decides to shamelessly throw money at a consulting firm deal and a stupid training center amidst cost cutting via reducing headcount, I’m afraid it does my friend….I’m afraid it does.

  290. @283

    Not sure why you have chosen to attack Francine. You claimed not to be a Deloitte mole on the board looks like a calculated move to disrupt these posts.

  291. Ten-Tru – I appreciate your opening line and thank you – but – it seems you got me both right and wrong – I wasn’t saying one had to be unethical, etc to be a successful lawyer just like I said saying so was the same as saying if one partner is then they all are. You may think that I have glossed over the significant point that the partnerships generate consistent messaging regarding “trust us, we know what we’re doing” that are designed to increase retention and to minimize questioning/criticism regarding firm leadership’s decision-making. Far from it. I completely agree with your comments. But, I do so recognizing that partnerships hold that power and make that decision in a vacuum. Yes it would be great if the opposite were true but that is not the reality, so if there are people who want to complain then I’m not telling them not to – I am just saying the same thing that Francine said @256 “Stand up and take responsibility.” that is without the “I know where you’re posting from.” threat.
    **********************************************************

    @285 – I made my statements and I won’t back down from them – I am not a partner – I never considered being one – I am not in CS – I never considered doing so – I am in Shared Services. Believe what you want – you’ve obviously got your ax to grind. I’ll tell you what – You figure out how FM can prove my status and I’ll be more than happy to follow, as long as I stay as anonymous as you do in the process – at least I have been willing to state that I am still @Deloitte. FM has already proven that I have been truthful on that point.

    I’m not trying to divert anything from any unfounded accusations (I’ll go toe-to-toe on anything I’ve stated), and I’m not trying to divert the attention away from myself (in fact there are probably plenty of people @Deloitte who, if they read all of my posts one right after another, could easily figure out who I was). Everything I have stated is my own belief and or perception.
    **********************************************************
    Being an ex sole proprietor who has decided to join the ranks of the non-owner workers I am grounded in my beliefs, and hold my understandings based on decades of hands-on business knowledge. Something all the first year (and a lot of the other) staff need to develop.
    **********************************************************

    Now, as for my posting/mediator accusations I stand by my comments – the first post I was responding to was a minute after mine – If the so-called timestamp is accurate I don’t see how anyone could have read my comments (while they were still in moderation status as it took almost a minute after I posted for them to appear) and posted the response so quickly unless it was someone on the inside.

    As for why FM would post anonymously I can think of plenty of reasons – the first being that FM could use that as a tactic to draw in more complainers. Another is to broadcast righteous indignation without having to appear unbiased in FM’s own posts (though in my opinion quite a few of FM’s posts are more than just slightly biased). How about, being able to stir up emotion when the list postings seem to have become too favorable.

    Whether or not FM is actually doing any of these is not something I have any further desire to argue. I state it as an observation and a possibility.
    **********************************************************

    Fault me as you please – accuse me as you desire – do whatever you need to be able to continue to feel your indignation towards the Deloitte partnership – but the reality is what it is whether you like it or not.

    Seeing as it is now post 11:00 I am retiring for the evening. I will probably not post tomorrow as I will be toiling at my job – looking to keep my job – doing my best to do what the partnership and my manager expects of me – while recognizing that there is no contract of any value other than the one I hold with myself.

  292. @Deloitte

    Not sure what the heck you’re going for with this anonymous moderator posting conspiracy crap. Your #271 was posted at 3:04. #274 and #275 were posted at 3:41 and 3:54 .

    I have no problem with showing my bias and I have no problem with traffic.

    If you’d like to send me an email and identify yourself, I would be glad to provide evidence of independent posting of those comments. Otherwise, go jump.

    Francine

  293. @ Deloitte

    I am not sure how you come up with all your thoughts and pov… “Shared Services” comprised of IT, HR, Admin, Internal Accounting, Marketing etc. There is no way that you would know the real insider info from what I’ve read. Are you a secretary (no offense to anyone here) with too much time on your hands?

  294. Interesting – @fm obviously checks IP addresses and is not afraid to reveal information about posters without their permission. With @Deloitte she held the information until @Deloitte confirmed that he/she is with D. With me (many months ago) she opted to reveal I am with KPMG without giving me that same respect. She lost lots of ethical points with me at that time.

    Now I learn she likes to text on her blackberry while driving — lost all my respect with that one. The day you kill people because you can’t pay attention to your driving I will look for them to throw the book at you. Incredibly irresponsible to text while driving, and says a ton about the kind of person you are.

    I could care less if she posts anonomously… but I offer to you that @Deloitte isn’t talking about the posted time recorded on the blog. He/She is noting that He/She observed the other posts appearing at the very same time. That while the original post was recorded as 3:04, it did not show up on the blog until after 3:41 and that the 3:41 post appears only a minute later. There are several reasons that could happen only one of which is FM posting anonomously.

    What I do agree with is that FM has a purpose to rile up the masses and make mountains out of mole hills and twist truth to suit her purpose of some kind of rebellion.

  295. FM; I will eternally be in gratitude to you for the source of information, candor, and (at times) inspiration this blog has become. Never change! After nearly a year of reading this site–this is my first post. Frankly, the vitriol and polarization seen on the D&T comments of late confuses and concerns me. Honestly I am not sure what to make of them: why are so many supposed “insiders” including Partners, Seniors, etc. so flush with spare time to browse these posts and retort?

    Don’t know about anyone else but prior to being let go I was so busy with and burdened by client service I would not have had the mental bandwidth to spare here if I wanted. Much less cared to defend or explain broadly the actions of an incalculably large and complex organization where even in “good” times left much to be desired in the way of straightforward rationale.

    I choose not to comment on the internal politics of Deloitte however the way some here are defending or dismissing the claims of bias and less than forthcoming communication as “just the way business is done” is an insult to the collective ethics we as professionals should at least aspire. Besides, unless you were present–make that omnipotent–there is no way to definitively judge the merits of any single claim here. I think the recent attacks here are telling of the battle scars this bloodletting has left on this “white shoe” organization and in that way say more about the true state of the firm’s people than perhaps intended.

    Francine, you can elicit a response like nobody’s business; please never change a thing.

  296. FM – Thanks for the nice link to the Deloitte Research article… I remember partners in the firms quoting this in 2007 and early 2008 as reasons for not worrying about the economy…

    I loved the last line in the article by Carl. I hope somebody forwards this to him and asks him if he has changed his opinion

    “Quite noble of those iTulip folks not to draw attention to us housing bubble boosters. So here we are nearly two years on and interest rates have risen, mortgage lending practices have been tightened up and housing has cooled. Do we find the middle class wiped out? Are they seething with righteous anger with pitch forks and torches in hand? Are they ready to storm the bastions of so-called housing boosters like the closing scene in some modern day Frankenstein movie? Or does the ‘I’ in iTulip actually stand for idiot?

  297. There is nothing funny about being proud for the firm you work for. Deloitte does have a lot of good people that I have had the pelasure to work with. You probably did not have as good as experience as I have had hence your differing opinion. I make decent money, have had good experiences and am learning a lot at Deloitte. I have nothing to complain about.

    People don’t post the truth as to why they get let go on these boards. Everyone thinks they are the best and therefore I take the information I get here with a grain of salt.

  298. Holy crap FM, what have you gone and done? Everyone hates you now. (/sarcasm)

    I’ve read like the most recent 50 posts and I don’t think there’s really an actual conversation (other than finger pointing) going on. Can we all just agree that:

    1. There are a lot of pissed off people who have or are worried about losing their jobs at the Big 4
    2. The partnerships of the Big 4 (especially) have not handled the layoffs as well as could be hoped

    I’d throw in my “#3 – You’d all do the exact same thing if you were in the partnerships too,” but that’s obviously going to be widely refuted.

    I don’t get it. What is there to talk about at this point????

  299. @298 Oh, I only worry when my Rottweiler growls at me. She’s the one who shares a pillow.

    I am not one to cut off discussion or ask what else there is to say. Heck, we have 200 more comments before I cut this one off at 500!

    I think there is a significant dichotomy between the disillusioned, whether they have been put in that category by their own hand, by circumstance, or both, and the still deluded. In the case of Deloitte, I think there is enough evidence to say there were some major muck ups and a lot of people are being hurt badly by that. You only have to read the Chief Economist’s Alice in Wonderland 4/07 take on the fallacy of the housing bubble that was posted here in comments @267 and by me again in Twitter late last night to know that there are some really deluded folks in leadership at Deloitte.

    On the other hand, I’ve never said, “Don’t work for a firm, don’t get what you can out of the experience, don’t try to be the best, highest ranking, most successful whatever you want to be, including partner, if that’s what you truly want.” But the key is self awareness – knowing whether the firm, the job, the career, the colleagues are right for you. Live for yourself and according to best use of your talents. And more and better information is necessary in this profession to do that.

    BTW. I had dinner last night with a friend who is a next tier firm partner. I told him that, in rank order, in terms of which firms handled the cuts the worst, based on my knowledge it goes like this, from worst to marginally best.
    1. Deloitte
    2. KPMG
    3. PwC (But only because they intimidate alums into not talking and feeling alone)
    4. EY

    Curiously, he said he saw the worst quality issues coming out of EY clients. In other words, they may have cut, but it was perhaps too much in some places and on some client teams.

    If only the PCAOB had some teeth, we would see those issues dealt with, but instead they just spin.
    Francine

    PS. Some have obviously not heard me tell the joke about driving, blackberrying, and drinking coffee before. If not, for a different version, check out my Disclaimer on the About page. Lighten up. And yes, I do read IP addresses for the safety and security of the site. I moderate. And add commentary. Many consider it a value-add. And that does color and sometimes inform my comments. It’s my forum. Comment at your own risk. As long as I allow Anonymous, and don’t require registration, (and I see it as a necessity to allow anon) you should probably not post from your firm network if you do not want me to know who you work for.
    fm

  300. @FM

    You made the point that I think everyone should pay attention to: Use the big firms for what you want to get out of your career. Here’s the part no one seems to get: They are using you too!

    I think the best part of this blog is that it helps the not-yet-disillusioned (yes, it is inevitable) to turn that corner and see what’s going on. The worst part of the blog is that it attracts some of the whiniest comments from “professionals” I’ve ever heard. But I think the positives far outweigh the negatives. Keep up the good work, FM.

    And everyone else… seriously… stop swallowing everything recruiters and partners tell you about their firms outright. Be realistic. Of course the firm doesn’t REALLY care about you more than they care about the bottom line. None of the big accounting firms are brave enough to see what would happen if they actually put their people first. Until the day someone tries that, it’s profits first. Live with it.

  301. Let’s face it, anyone that has worked at any of the big 4 will tell the same story.
    You will work long and hard at all of them, you will gain valuable experience at all of them and you will accomplish things that you never thought you could at all of them.
    Hopefully you will gain good friends and mentors that will stay with you for many years as a result of working there.
    The firms are there to be profitable and will do what they need to do to be as profitable as they can. You in turn should get the most out of the experience you can.
    If you aspire to be Partner and stay around long enough to do so, great – if not, that’s great also.
    Which firm did the “best/worse” job of cutting heads? It doesn’t matter to those that were cut. Will it influence a college grad’s decision to join one firm over another, perhaps, but only if you have that luxury. Most will go with what they have.

  302. FM — certainly you will know from where readers are posting… the comment is that it was inappropriate for you to share that with your readers. That was your mistake. It is your information to keep to yourself. Glad to here that you really do not text while driving.

  303. @302

    I revealed a firm name a long, long time ago in a situation where I thought it was relevant to my response. I did not do it this most recent time. I have not done that since and have no expectation to do so in the future. The complainer is still reading and commenting, as we can see.
    Francine

    PS I only text at stoplights and stop signs, which causes me to get beeped at a lot. So don’t follow too close if you’re in Chicago and the impatient sort.

  304. I had not checked the blog for a few days. OMG, what happened to the past 100 comments? First, you had a partner pretending to “learn” something from us. Then you had a “non client service” person accusing Francine of manipulating the response. Of course, SocalPizza was back with his “You’d all do the exact same thing if you were in the partnerships too”. Awesome! What is next? Turning this blog to another DeloitteNet?

    For those current or ex D people, do these just sound like your daily life at D?

  305. @FM – the complainer is me… I am with KPMG (so you need not reveal it this time). The reveal of my company was not relevant to your response and was completely inappropriate. I do occassionally read now – but opt to stay quiet most of the time. Your reveal was infuriating… and truly showed a lack of integrity on your part. I read from time to time now mostly as comical relief. I read in an effort to gain some insight into the psychology of the blog. I support the people like @Deloitte who while maybe not the most eloquent, has the right ideas and gets attacked for it. It is like watching the democrats and republicans fight. If you are a democrat you probably think the democrats make valid and logical points while the republicans simply retaliate with name calling and empty comments of nonsense. If you are a republican you would say the opposite. The same thing happens here. What I see though is that the people defending the B4 on some level usually have some logic and content to their posts — and the others resort to name calling and unsubstantiated rumor. Interesting. But give it up FM – at least apologize for doing something that was inappropriate — earn my respect back.

  306. @ FM 299 – I hadn’t read the 2007 ‘housing bubble mythology’ manifesto from Steidtmann yet – oh, my. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

  307. @ Anonymous 8:03pm

    I think you’re on to something with the categorisation, but I don’t like your model. I think we’ve got a good old 2×2 matrix here on the commentators, with one axis splitting “still in Big 4″ and “Out of Big 4″ with the extreme ends reading maybe something like “Lifer, love it here, never leaving” and the other end “Never ever ever going back”. The other axis splits bitter and angry people from accepting/resigned/adjusted to it folks. The blog needs comments from a good mix of all 4 to be interested. You need a bit of anger and bitterness to stirr up the settl;ed people into conversation. And people on either side of the In/Out divide need each others’ perspectives.

    So: can’t we all just get along… and agree that the Deloitte partnership are the spawn of satan, out to ruin everyone’s life?

  308. I have had 2 instances (a big 4 and then a mid size firm) of not being paid the full amount of earned PTO (vacation) that I had accrued (unused) as of the “date of separation”?

    In both cases I was paid out roughly half of the amount. Deloitte eventually paid me the remaining balance once I showed them the printout from deloittenet, but at the other firm I wasn’t able to print a similar report out on my last day.

    Since the amount due to me is approx $1k, suing isn’t cost-benefit efficient, so what do you recommend I do? What are my options?? I even have a signed letter saying this is what we owe you (which is correct) and then the actual paid is a lesser amount.
    Has anyone else had a similar situation with these Cheapo’s?

    I would urge all who have been fired to double check to see that you’ve been paid the proper amount owed and for those that have yet to be fired, make sure you print out your unused PTO balance at least monthly since you may not have time to once your time has come to be realigned.

  309. @308 File a claim with your State Department of Labor or City Department of Labor. It’s free and it’s a matter of doing the paperwork and providing the proof. It’s illegal for a company to not pay out earned wages, vacation or legitimate expenses claimed and that’s the law in most places. They will do the work for you. Let me know if you can’t get to the right place where you live.
    Francine

  310. @304 Anon

    I thoroughly enjoyed your summation. It hurts a bit that all you came away with from my posts was my most cynical comments of “you’d do it too,” because it sounds like I’m defending the partnerships. I’m not; I’m just saying they’re not indefensible. If they wanted to be praiseworthy rather than “not indefensible,” they would put their money where their mouths are, pay their people well, and watch as their short-term hit in their bonuses (due to increased salary expenses) turn into long-term customer satisfaction and increased revenues… and bigger bonuses. They’re just too short-sighted and want the money they can capture now. Now now now. But that’s all they’re guilty of in my opinion (other than HR screwups in the firing process… can’t blame the partners for that really).

  311. @304, well said.

    All others – I posted #273 and #274 and am laughing about the silly accusations made towards fm, although I doubt she appreciated it (sorry, fm). The accusations are just as senseless as the layoffs. One thing is for certain, fm’s blog is getting more attention than Uncle D likes. Welcome, partners and “shared services” people. Spin your spin.

    TT – sorry if my tone offended you. If you can’t tell already, I am NOT a friend of the firm.

  312. @311/7:22 pm posting again

    Someone please accuse fm of posting all the negative comments on greendotlife. See link below.

    http://www.greendotlife.com/topic4477-deloitte-consulting.html

    Did fm post the comments on all 147 PAGES? Note the usage of the word PAGES (not posts).

  313. @Deloitte @271

    thats me @260 – yes, your comment directed at 260 was hilarious – about being confused – im as clear as can be – crystal clear – the problem is that you are looking at this world through fudged glasses….ever occur to you that you may be the confused one? if not, all these responses to your comments should help you introspect in detail over the weekend….shared service or not, you seem to have a lot of time to do this at work…probably that counts you to be the first to be laid of ahead of the hard working client service staff!

  314. @307 I see your matrix and would love to agree that the commenters on the blog represent all the boxes in this matrix. It seems to me like most of the people fall into the hate the B4 and probably are no longer with them box… and they are attacking the ones still there that make attempts to remain positive. The interesting thing for me is that I am currently extremely unhappy being at my firm. I am currently very uncomfortable with the partners I work with. I currently don’t trust senior management. And I currently feel all the unethical things going on. Yet when I read this blog — I find that the commenters here are worse, and I wind up supporting the B4 on this blog. I am not with D – but everything I have observed and heard about D is terrible and I would never consider working there. But again, the commenters here seem too naive and their complaints are mostly ridiculous. I do agree with the one person who has repeatedly said that the issue isn’t that there are layoffs or that there are reviews and such — but the way in which these things are done… and I tend to believe that D is doing these things pretty poorly. But as a person looking to retire in fewer years than the number of years I have been working (and hopefully less years than I have worked at a B4)… it seems that most posters here are young and very naive. With time, I wonder if they will come back to this blog and look at some things they said and see how different things are after they have had a couple decades of experience.

    I repeat my challenge — fm… have the fortitude to apologize. Prove me wrong – show me that you are an ethical person. It is not your place to reveal information about the commenters on ths blog… you have allowed anonymous posting and you need to respect that.

  315. @314 – fm has the right to do as she pleases – this is her blog and its her right to disclose information as she judges – so far, she has displayed good judgment except one case where she felt she could have considered alternatives in hindsight ( or i think)…if she feels you are a mole, she has the right to let everyone else on this blog know and be aware…too bad you did not exercise your judgment while considering where you are posting from….

  316. @ 279 – “It speaks well for PwC that clients who leave Deloitte choose them.”

    Just a minor point, Merrill and Bear Sterns didn’t choose PWC. Both companies had gun to their head and were effectively forced by the government to be acquired by BoA and JPM. The fact that PWC audited those companies was an after thought and a good piece of luck for PWC. (Yes, you can say PWC may have stronger clients, but that’s a completely different statement that implying clients are choosing PWC over Deloitte).

  317. @315 – what the heck is a mole on a blog. If the stated purpose from fm is for people to voice opinions and have discussion… how can anyone be a mole? I believe a mole is someone who is essentially under cover trying to reveal someone or something. What the heck can anyone reveal on this blog? If a mole is a person challenging others on this blog to look at things from a few different angles — that seems to be one of the desired purposes of this blog.

    As for what fm can and can’t do. She can do whatever she pleases – agreed. But she represented herself as a person who honors the rights of people to blog anonymously. She has the legal right to reveal what she wants. But violating her own implied if not stated intent to allow anonimity is a statement about her integrity… that she will change the rules to suit the moment and please herself. Is that not what some are accusing the B4 partners of doing — giving good reviews when it suits them and changing their tune to facilitate legal yet unethical layoffs.

    As for posting from a KPMG IP address — fm’s reveal was not harmful and people may not really care about the fact that their IP address shows their firm. What is distressing is the reinforcement of the fact that one cannot really trust others — another chink in the armor of the human race… it would be nice to be able to believe we can trust in others. The point is merely this — fm is guilty of the exact same things that the partners at the B4 are guilty of… being human. Human beings make mistakes and human beings apologize for them.

    As for fm feeling she “could have considered alternatives in hindsight” — she has made no such statement to date. In fact, she defended herself with a comment that she felt it was appropriate to do what she did. Further evidence that she feels that she can change the rules when it suits her. If maybe you @315 are fm posting anonymously (as @Deloitte has accused her of doing)… then it was a good attempt – try a tiny bit harder.

  318. Wow – reading this has shown me how different things are over in the US. I’m from Australia, and I thought there were a lot of sackings and anger at the Big 4 here. The comparisons between the two countries is stark. It seems that the majority of firings in the US are at Deloitte correct? And that their management has handled it extremely poorly in many people’s eyes.

    Here in Australia, the story is competely different. In fact, it is polar opposite. Deloitte are seen as the ‘good guys’, so far engaging in no mass firings. This is compared to KPMG and PwC who have been ruthless and at times underhanded. KPMG it seems have suffered the most in Australia and as a result has lost a lot of respect amongst undergrads applying for Graduate positions. Amongst my friends there is much anger towrds both firms for not being upfront as to their true position and as a result have been seen to be misleading to their summer interns. It is largely deemed that in Australia, Deloitte is the only firm that has handled the downturn well and has been the favourite amongst many students looking to apply. Whilst on the other hand KPMG and PwC have taken massive reputation hits. How different this is when compared to the US…

  319. You can attack fm all you want, by essentially screaming fire in a crowded mall when there is no fire. All of us who have posted to this blog (not to mention other blogs) can see an attempt to divert attention from the true issue. And to accuse fm of being just like a DT partner based on that logic? Shame on you! Why don’t you focus your attention on cleaning up your disgusting firm, rather than making false accusations. Next you’ll tell everyone that greendotlife does not exist.

  320. P.S.

    Before I am attacked as some “paid poster” or am accused of being Francine, anonymously posting, I’d like to say…

    Although some of you choose to come here and attack people like me, in defense of the reprehensible firm culture you are trying to protect and sell to other poor suckers who just want an honest job, it strikes many of us as what it truly is: cronyism.

    I don’t like to wish harm or ill will on others, but I fear that some of you will experience the firm culture from the wrong side, at some point. Then, you will be singing a different tune, and Francine is one of the only people who you will actually be able to turn to. I kid you not! She is golden, and is not paying me to say that. I have not even posted here in over a year, and the posts I originally made were deleted by Francine, at my request.

    I was horrified, depressed, and devastated by the way I was treated by one of the firms (you’ve only heard a fraction of my story, and nothing about the aftermath…). Francine, a complete stranger, called me on the phone, long distance, from Chicago (I believe it was Chicago?), and spoke to me on HER DIME, for over an hour, just to let me vent, and comfort me. She did not know me from Adam, and had nothing to gain from me. She was kind, caring, understanding, and encouraging, all selflessly!!

    O.K, before you start making fun of that “koombaya” moment, just know that it meant a LOT to me, and kept me from going over the deep end, which I was rapidly approaching secondary to genuine hurt/pain, from the firm I busted my hump to “join!” I practically worshiped them (my bad!) because I bought into their bologna about equality, diversity, teamwork, etc… IT WAS ALL A CROCK OF LIES!

    Rock on, Francine!!!

  321. P.P.S.

    I realize I am getting too verbose, but for goodness’ sake, my dander is up! :-)

    If the firms were such great places to work, and they actually cared about their reputations, they would not infuriate some of their best, brightest, and smartest employees, by abusing them. Moreover, they would never treat them in such a way that when they leave, they are SO angry, that blood shoots out of their eyes every time they think about the firm!

    Rather, they do what they did to me — they WARN you not to talk about them, and your experiences at the firm, by saying what a senior partner (among others) said to me: “Don’t overreact, you’ll see all these people again around town, and if you p*ss them off, you’ll never find another job in the field!” I consider that blackmail, under the proper, legal definition…

    They also force you to sign contracts which are basically “gag orders” and “waivers of all your rights,” so you can get your measly severance pay…

    Oh my, what a wonderful word of diversity and teamwork they operate in. Too bad it is all bologna…

  322. I can’t resist:

    Francine kindly spoke to me on the phone for quite some time, and comforted me after my horrible “stint” at a Big 4 firm. That was before she got as famous as she is now. Francine is downright saintly for providing this forum, and she could probably charge big bucks for all the counseling she does to help people like me, who were/are at our wits ends. Alright, I know, this might sound over the top. I just think Francine rocks!

    Sooooo, I shall give a quick recap of my experience (I can’t name the firm, for good reason!), which I blogged about a year ago. I had Francine remove my posts for me, as I thought the people I had worked with might know it was me, and they would blacklist me.
    Well, the truth is, they blacklisted me anyhow. So here it is again. I don’t care if they know I am speaking the truth about them, because at some point, I know deep in my heart that I will be avenged.

    I was sexually harassed by a gay male partner (yep, I am gay, too…so I guess he thought we were all promiscuous…). He and his “partner” talked to me about their threesomes, and what kind of men they like, etc… That is NOT professional behavior — they all (about 10 other gays there, too, partying on the Firm’s tab, even though some of them didn’t work there) stayed for an “impromptu” dinner, while I ran home to my partner and kids of 7 years, asap! That was not well tolerated by the partner — I think I was “supposed” to go home with this guy, but that was NOT in my job description!

    I was written up by a backstabbing 25 year old senior who said I did not know an asset from a liability (literally). She just didn’t like me, and so she made things up on my reviews…typical Big 4 tactic. You’ve read it here many times! Yep, if somebody does not like you, they will make up anything they can to make you look stupid, and lose your job. Don’t even bother to “call them on it,” because if you do, you will be worse off than if you had just remained totally silent and accepted the false statements as truth, and testimony to your actual abilities…

    I was bombarded by a notorious, inebriated lush of a partner (female), who was talking about obscene things, and an HR “lady” at the same time, talking about blood and gore stories. Then I was reprimanded when I shared my experience of being gay-bashed as a teenager (they asked me to share a story to go along with their blood and gore stories…we were at a bowling event!). I was told I was not professional, and asked what would have happened if I said that to a client… I came right back with “what would have happened if you were talking about truly obscene things, and all your gory stories with a client? ” ” Why the double standard? ” “Of course I would never talk about ANY of the topics you brought up, with a client…I worked for 8 years with a reputable law firm (still do — they wanted me back!) and the clients loved me…”

    My other question back to them was “how do you define professional?” Because I have experienced so much un-professional behavior here, I can’t even shake a stick at all of it.”

    I mean, during busy season, while I was sitting there trying to do tax returns, a partner’s SON (employee, senior) and his cronies would sit there half the day, shooting rubber bands at super hero dolls hanging from the window blinds, making raucous noises, grunting and groaning, while rubber bands bounced all over my desk and the desks of those around me… Is THAT professionalism? I also saw some nepotism there — if anybody but the partner’s son was the ring leader of that “game,” there is NO WAY they would have lasted at that firm. In all fairness, it was a game, and they kept some kind of score based upon which rubber bands “stuck” to different limbs of the dolls, etc…I think there was a special bonus for getting it around the dolls’ necks. But I must also say there is a time and a place, and people like this should not be preaching professionalism to anybody unless they are walking the walk!
    Bottom line: What these people say is true. The BIG 4 are full of this ridiculous behavior, which nobody answers to. It is a system based upon cronyism, and posterior kissing! They waste time redoing work that always needs to be redone a myriad of times secondary to poor organization and management, then they simply overcharge their clients. They flirt and play sex games all the time. They drink like fish, get drunk and act like morons. They mostly have cruddy family lives because they “live” for the office (yes, it is good to be dedicated to your work, but you should go home and love your wife/husband, and kids, too!). These places are full of hypocrisy, nastiness, and just plain immaturity. Finally, when you look at all the scandals around with regard due diligence (or lack thereof), is it any surprise?

    Francine is right, and she knew long before many of us: The model is broken — the way these places are run is not working, and must be changed if they are to survive.

    I could go on for hours talking about all the crud I encountered during a very short period of time (needless to say, I did not last there — but as Francine pointed out to me, I would not have been happy, or a “good fit!”). It is downright scandalous, and the way they treat people there is reprehensible… Thanks, Francine, for giving people like us a place to share our experiences, and vent our frustrations when need be!
I apologize if anything I said is untoward or over the top, but I swear on my own life that it is all true…

  323. @319 took the words right out my mouth. @314/317 picks up on one shortcoming by FM and then makes a bold (and rather silly) analogy. @314/317, I have a simple exercise for you. Count the number of times you’ve witnessed FM demonstrate lapses in judgment and ethical responsibility. Now, do the same for the partners and senior managment you said you worked with. I bet you’ve ran out of fingers (and perhaps toes) to account for the latter.

    If I were you I’d be more worried about your partners and senior management exposing you and your professional well-being than to be worried about FM simply exposing where you’re typing from.

  324. @314/317 is making a point that is much larger than one shortcoming of FM. FM has motivations. She is using this blog to serve her own purposes. We all do that – we have our motivations and we act on them. Be aware of those motivations and how she (without malice) may use you to serve those purposes. In life we must all be aware of the motivations of others we interact with — partners, co-workers, friends, spouses, family, and yes even FM. If we do not pay attention to this and evaluate it, we are setting ourselves up to be hurt. Many on this blog neglected to question the motivations of their firm and the partners there — and they got hurt. Because FM’s motivations appear on the surface to be in their favor — they are also neglecting to really look at her motivations. I hope she will not let you down in the future.

  325. @324

    You make an excellent point. I have been transparent with my motivations. I have been transparent. I am not anonymous. Keep that in mind when you judge information provided by me and by other guest writers on the blog and by commenters. Anyone who posts a guest blog post is known to me.

    My motivations are very simple: To inform the general business audience, investors, regulators, and other interested parties such as attorneys about the roles and responsibilities of the public accounting firms in the global capital markets infrastructure. Given that few traditional media outlets cover these firms as an industry on a regular basis, I fill a niche and am qualified to do that based on my interest, aptitude and experience with the firms and professional services, in general. I tend to be critical because that is the coverage I see missing. Many others say nice things. Yes, I have chosen that niche for marketing purposes, as one reason, but it’s because I think it is underrepresented and the need for critical information under-served.

    I urge you to read the About page and my disclaimer. Those are the only promises or representations I make.

    I focus on the Big 4 for practical reasons – their dominance of the public company audit market and the practical challenge of trying to cover in a deeper, thoughtful way any more than those four firms. I will talk about the next tier and smaller firms when I think it informs the conversation about the industry.

    I won’t please everyone all of the time. It’s one reason why I work for myself and choose consulting engagements very carefully.

    If I can support myself (and Rosie Rott, too) based on writing, speaking, and teaching/training for pay then I will be happy girl.

    I’m a Gemini and an oldest child. Both circumstances of birth have informed my personality. ;) Want to understand me better? Read my horoscope for today. It’s my birthday.

    Oh, and last I (or anyone else) checked, I am human, flaws and all.
    Francine

  326. PS to @324 — to state the same thing maybe more clearly…

    People work well together, find friendship, find love together to the extent that their purpose, motivations, goals, dreams, worldview, etc are in allignment. So, when you evaluate your boss, managers, co-workers, friends, family, spouses, and fm — be aware of how much you are in allignment with that person. If you fall out of allignment — disaster can strike. In the event you fall out of allignment with a spouse or boss… the consequences can be devastating. Some on this blog have experienced that. Most have experienced allignment with fm… I hope that works out for you.

  327. Happy birthday, fm! You rock.

    Following on 322’s lead, I’ve got a personal story that I would like to share with your readers. When circumstances permit, I will also post my Deloitte story in detail, and those who read it will know exactly who I am. Until then, you’ll see me as an anonymous poster who appreciates your blog and am not a “friend of the firm.”

  328. @327 Thanks.

    If you or anyone else wants to post a personal story in more detail, longer length like TT did with Music for Chameleons or James did with his experience in the Peace Corp, let me know. I am willing to post the story anonymously, if necessary, as long as you are willing to make yourself known to me so I can verify time place, circumstance, etc.

    I am very interested in giving professionals with a desire to express their stories in writing an opportunity.
    Francine

  329. @fm – thank you for the clarification. It supports what I believed were your motivations. I do believe you are a smart and compassionate person. I think that your motivation to support yourself through writing and to represent this under-reported aspect of the business is a worthy cause (although I may disagree with the methods you employ). To the extent that your compassion and the fact that you are a good person is confused as your primary motivation – people are confused. I feel bad for people when they are hurting — but when you call them on your dime it is a tax write off and you are gathering information for your next article. People are confusing your motivation of making a living with genuinely caring about them. If a lawyer chases an ambulance and shows concern for the injured party — but the primary motivation is to win the case and make money by winning the law suit… they are condemned. Maybe that lawyer genuinely cared about the injured party and really believed in the cause. But in the end – they were ambulance chasing.

    I actually believe you are honest with your motivations. I believe many posters are confusing your compassion and good nature as something it isn’t (even though I believe it to be genuine). I believe you are seeking anecdotal information to use to serve the writing and making a living purpose… and in order to do that you use the fact that you are a caring person to gain the trust of others. I admire people who can work for themselves — and to that extent I am jealous of you… way to go.

    I hope you have a wonderful birthday — I really do — even though I question you a great deal. To be honest – I think we’d get along real well in the real world.

  330. @329

    This is the real world. I’m always glad to make it more real by meeting – on the phone, in person, via email.

    You are correct when you say that everything I hear, see, read informs me. Most often it serves to validate and add detail to what I already know and believe. Every once and a while I hear a really good positive story and if you look hard you will see those, even about PwC! (There’s two about PwC. A prize to first one to find both.)

    But there are many more stories I hear that never make it to the blog, in any way, shape, or form. Will they eventually go in a book? With that person’s permission and more fact checking and verification. But I can only say, anyone who has taken advantage of my time and my ear will tell you I’m not trying to sell anything except self-awareness, personal responsibility and a dose of reality. How can I do that? I’ve had to learn those hard lessons myself in my career.

    As far as calling anyone on my dime and tax write-offs and whether my intentions are mercenary… Well, you’re an accountant/auditor/tax person. I have a big smile on my face right now. Perhaps someday you can look at a person’s heart and see it beating rather than see $ and tax returns and financial statements. (You need income to use a write-off! This is a modest operation.) Nothing wrong with being cynical. I want you to be cynical. But at some point you have to hang it up and give a person the benefit of the doubt. Professional skepticism is much needed in our profession. But try to imagine that maybe I could be trying to live the dream – do what I love (FINALLY) and the money will hopefully follow.

    I am sorry I mentioned the firm name so long ago for the loss of faith it seems to have caused. (And I have no problem imagining someone out there fist pumping saying, “Yes, I got her to apologize.” I have been humbled in much worse ways, believe me) I made a decision and I am willing to take responsiblity for it. I have not done it since and will not do it again. But my goal is not for anyone to have faith in me. I’m human, will make mistakes again, and certainly not perfect. In fact, I can be downright bad, at times. ;)

    Faith in yourself, your abilities, and your own informed conscience and world view is the goal.
    Francine

  331. Happy Birthday, Francine — you really do rock! You have many friends out here in cyberspace, so please don’t ever let the “meanies” get you down! Please give Rosie Rott a pat from us, too…

  332. I for one have no problem with Francine trying to make an honest living. I also enjoy reading her writing… We all have the right to make a living, and if we find something we enjoy, or have passion about, it is even better! I am here to tell you that she is the real deal — a good person (as in “human” being…).

  333. Francine — thank you. No fist pumping of any kind. Just thanks and some genuine respect.

  334. alright can we stop this bickering, i would appreciate if we dont waste anymore posts on francine vs. anonymous/deloitte etc. i am here to read only meaningful post related to layoffs and sad to say that most of the last 50 posts have been spent on defending francine or defending the anonymous. i hate to have wasted this post only to illustrate this request. if anyone wants to wish her on her birthday please email her and not post in this thread as they are unrelated

  335. @334 johnson

    Happy belated birthday Francine. Plus I hate you and everyone that posts anonymously. You’re all moles. The end.

    Just kidding (about the middle 2).

  336. I still can’t believe Deloitte continues to execute the layoffs in a piecemeal fashion. I have friends in FAS that keep having layoffs nearly on a monthly basis at a 5-10% magnitude each time. That’s ridiculous given what the function CEO has said as late as March 2009! The severance is also ridiculously little at 4 weeks. Luckily, some people have been able to negotiate for some more but it gets tacked onto the general release from 2 to 4 weeks.

    What makes even less sense is that it’s supposedly reaching it’s original projections, but positions from new hires to sr. mngrs (and maybe 1 director) have been cut. Some groups have huge projects and they still cut people. How does it make sense to cut staff rather than managers and up? The continued top-heavyness makes them less profitable and less leveraged utilization wise. Also, it seems that none of the new hires coming in later this year have rescinded offers, so they will probably cut even more later this year with the additional surplus, depending on how busy season will be. None of this makes sense considering last year’s new hires were trained and good performers. Now they are going to have to retrain new new hires and cut the ones they just trained that are doing well. Those cut seem to be minorities to boot!

    These actions are ridiculous and reduce morale an incredible amount. Of the people that still remain, many want to leave because of these actions but can’t because of the economy and job market. But when layoffs finally subside, the turnover is going to be high since people will want to leave under such management.

    Good luck guys!

    Postscript: Great site FM!

  337. Actually, they are laying off managers and sr. managers. Not in the same numbers that the staff are getting cut but that’s probably because there are more staff than managers. I also know of 3 partners in the NY office who recently demoted to director recently.

  338. @johnson — what is meaningful? seems to be in the eyes of the beholder!

  339. You think this is bad? Wait untill PCAOB gets struck down (there’s always the chance) by Supreme Court and SOX also goes down with it. The assurance practice will be hurt real bad.

  340. Over the past year, Deloitte NE ERS has either let go or demoted at least 7-9 Partners/Directors. Its interesting that the majority are over 50.

    Its also interesting that the power in the US firm has shifted away from the NE and now resides in the SE region. Some may describe those in “real” power as the “Miami Mafia”. My observation has been that some former AA partners have strongly influence how the “firm” is managed and behaves. Is all this for the better r worse? – depends on which side of the “employment fence” you are on.

  341. A customer once walked into a restaurant and saw a sign that read, “Price or service, you pick”. The niche of the Big 4 has always been higher priced service with the understaning that quality is higher and it was generally perceived as so.

    As a Big 4 client in control of annual billings in excess of $1mm, I am disappointed to see such underhandedness, backstabbing and pettiness at these firms right now. The worst part of this bickering and infighting at your firms is that the client is becoming an afterthought. Well, we clients are aware of the disfunctionality at Big 4 firms right now. It has been presenting itself to us as nothing more than overpriced service. Clearly morale is down and so is professionalism and service levels.

    As such, we will be taking our business downstream and seeing if we can get better AND cheaper service from Grant Thornton, McGladery, JH Cohn or Crowe. What do we have to lose?

  342. @341

    “As such, we will be taking our business downstream and seeing if we can get better AND cheaper service from Grant Thornton, McGladery, JH Cohn or Crowe. What do we have to lose?”

    My friend, the only thing you’ll miss is the ridiculously overpriced bill for service that can be provided by almost anybody else at a much more reasonable price. At my big 4, you wouldn’t believe how many visits we’ve had in the last several weeks from second-tier firms that came to see our files and workpapers of clients that have said ‘so long and good riddance’ to us. In fact, tommorow and Friday 2 more lower-tier firms will gleefully pay our office a visit.

    I guess the truth about the firms is getting out to more people each day…

  343. @342 – I don’t think the “truth about the (big 4) firms is getting out to more people each day.” I think the business world, at large, is oblivious to all the politics and internal crap that goes on at the firms. The world sees KPMG on Phil Mickelson’s hat, then decides they need a new auditor, and they think, “Hmmm, I know KPMG is big, they’d be fine” and the decision is made.

    Right now, firms are having to take a second look at pricing because of the economy. Now the thought process is “Well I could go with the Mickelson firm, or I could go for the cheapest firm, which is the easiest decision to defend to my superiors\other partners.” So they take the cheapest firm.

    As soon as* the economy picks up again (*barring more bailouts, thanks anyways Obama), firms will gravitate back to Mickelson’s hat.

  344. Is this the calm before another storm? Many pissed off partner and director candidates who are finding out as we speak that they will not be promoted.

  345. The accountant wants to play economist. Cute.

  346. @340,

    Completely agree with you, and this thing is far from over. Now the “slow bleeding” strategy is happening to partners/directors. Rumors around that they will continue to “remove” another 450 – 500 partners/directors throughout the nation this years. Of course, as a comment mentioned above, “old, “women” and “Asians” are always the first targets.

    Know what, one thing really disappointed me so far is that none of those partners/directors who got “pushed out” or demoted would stand up and filled a lawsuit against D for discrimination. Based on what I know, those happened in many groups, departments or offices. I know, by fact, that they were manipulating things like evaluation ratings, in order to demote certain partners or even “pushed” them out. If one of them filed a high profile lawsuit against D, I am sure others would follow. It is not a hard case to make. If you were in certain groups, you could see these things very obvious.

    On the other hand, while partners are leaving, layoffs for the rest are also on the way. I heard that there were some talks about another round of layoff in Aug. Seriously, to this point; the selections of people to be put on the list could be pure random picks. I don’t know if you are still loyal to D. But my friend, this is really a dead end career at D. Who do you want to get from it? Becoming a partner?

    Jump!!!

  347. So, did DT finally wise up and cut off access to retheauditors.com website? Hail to stealth layoffs …

  348. Many H1B Visa workers from India have been offered to go back and working for Deloitte R10. Otherwise they would face certain layoffs. However, the salaries with R10 are only 25% vs working in US.

  349. @345 – That was perhaps one of the worst rebuttals I’ve ever read.

    Short of economists themselves, who’s more qualified to “play economist” than accountants, who have to take several economics courses in college, then spend their careers out in the business world where economics happens every day?

    At any rate, I’d love to respond to something with a little more meat than what you wrote. I’m fine with you disagreeing, but throw me a bone here. What exactly do you disagree with from what I said in post 343?

  350. @347 – to the best of my knowledge D has not cut access – but I am not in the office today so I can’t verify this.

    I doubt there’s any wising up involved – sites like this one a greendotlife probably perform some service to an organization like D. They probably have someone monitoring the content so they know what is being said about them. They are obviously well aware of the site – within this thread alone there has been at least 1 self identified partner posting.

    As for stealth layoffs, to the best of my knowledge D has always trimmed staff (including PPDs), and on a yearly basis to boot.

  351. @SocalPizza

    “who’s more qualified to “play economist” than accountants….”

    The answer is simple buddy…AN ECONOMIST!!!!

    Now, get back to your workpapers…accountant!!

  352. @ 351

    Obviously putting on Phil Mickelson’s hat makes an accountant cuter, not smarter….

    See what kind of people we are dealing with at big 4 every day?

  353. SocalPizza @343

    The world sees KPMG on Phil Mickelson’s hat, then decides they need to change the auditor, and they think, “Hmmm, I know KPMG’s auditor is dumb, they’d be fired” and the decision is made.

  354. @johnson thought the earlier part of this thread wasn’t meaningful and was off topic… I wonder what @johnson thinks of 351-353 and the related ones. These seem incredibly meaningless to me. What the heck is their point? As for #353 — who the heck is KPMG’s auditor? And would KPMG care if someone fired KPMG’s auditor — especially if they then hired KPMG? as for the economist/accountant discussion — this is not a discussion at all… what is it you guys want to say. Say it and stop name calling or trying to one-up each other with snotty comebacks.

  355. Let’s sum up your position.

    “I am qualified to pronounce judgement on an economic policy which causes vigorous debate among Harvard PhDs because I once took ___________. Also, I have drawn extensive macroeconomic conclusions from in depth analysis of an income statement.”

    Fill in the blank for me. Principles of Economics? Or maybe you even made it to Intermediate. Money and Banking?

  356. @SocalPizza – you are correct that @355 has no rebuttal at all – and is just trying to provoke you for no real reason. But if you want to discuss the economics of it — well, seems you want to weigh the issues of quality (as associated with branding) against shall we call it quantity (as in more hours for the buck). Your thought is that in a good economy people will pay for “perceived quality”, as I think the Mickelson cap does not prove quality but suggests it based on branding. And you also postulate that only in a bad economy will they stray from this and go for what is cheaper. As soon as the economy picks up they will return to the brand name.

    I suggest the following — people will pay for quality that is for sure. But if the down economy provides the impetus for going to a cheaper firm, an up economy may not be enough to return to the brand. It depends on whether their experience with the cheaper company shows them that they were not indeed receiving the quality they were paying for or whether the cheaper company can match the quality they got from the brand. It also depends on whether the brand in and of itself carries value.

    It continues to come down to a cost/benefit analysis — just once the client has jumped ship to the cheaper firm they have new information with which to evaluate the benefits. And I don’t see how one can guarantee the return to the brand name. If you can guarantee it then you are stating that the brand (KPMG in this case) is by definition higher quality and that is why they will return. Personally, I hope that is the case. But I am not convinced that an audit is rocket science and as such that there are large differentiators between the various auditors. If it is a check the box job – then have a trained monkey do it. If it is much more — then your argument could be correct only if the brand actually provides the service at a higher level.

    I have played the game before where clients feel we are too expensive or require too many hours… and i have rolled the dice and watched as they opted to use someone else. I have been lucky and had them return most of the time. But I don’t think they would return unless my team truly offers better quality. If you are a Hellmans Mayonaise person and when money gets tight you buy the stor brand — and find out to your surprise that the store brand is as good, maybe even better… why would you return to Hellmans.

    So my question — what are the differentiators and why is it so clear that they would return to KPMG? I think everyone at a B4 should be addressing the issue of what are the differentiators — cause that is how you can win in the marketplace.

  357. @353 – who audits KPMG?

  358. Was he really arguing economic policy that would require a Harvard Phd in economics ? Don’t have time to read all the follow up posts but it doesn’t seem like he said anything that earth shattering/off base.

  359. @357 – I’m pretty sure he thinks I work at KPMG, and he’s trying to say I’m an idiot. I don’t work at KPMG, I just used a notable instance of Big 4 brand recognition (Phil Mickelson’s hat) to illustrate my point.

    @356 – I’m fully aware he\she was trying to provoke me. I was trying to provoke an actual conversation out of him\her as well. Unfortunately, some of the people on this board have a hard time reading. Allow me to illustrate.

    My post: “SHOR OF ECONOMISTS THEMSELVES, who’s more qualified to “play economist” than accountants?” (emphasis added)
    Response: “The answer is simple buddy…AN ECONOMIST!!!!”

    Reading comprehension, 351. Reading Comprehension.

    Back to 356 – I’m not supporting the Big 4 by saying I think once the economy turns around, they’ll get a lot of business back. That’s just how I think it will happen. I don’t think they’ll get 100% of their business back (or even 100% of those clients that are still in business by the time this mess gets turned around), for the very reasons you mention. Some clients will have enjoyed paying less for the same (or perhaps more) level of service from lower tier auditors. In my experience, the lower tiered auditors do a great job with what they have, but they may not have enough staff\expertise to deliver, despite their best intentions.

    Virtually all auditors are hated by their clients at some point. I refuse to believe otherwise. So down the line, once the economy picks up, the lower priced firms will eventually alienate their clients (disagreements, fees, simple human nature\interactions between partners and CEOs, etc) and the clients will say “eh, screw it, let’s just go back to the big 4″ because of brand recognition.

    That’s my thought at least. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

  360. that should have read:
    (emphasis and spelling error added)

  361. Anony @ 156 —

    It seems to me that the engagement decision factors are different between assurance and advisory. (Not really sure about tax.)

    Assurance decision-making definitely takes into account firm branding. There is a certain cachet to being audited by a Big 4 firm; to some extent, it says the company is successful and can afford to pay Big 4 prices. Using a well-branded name gives some measure of assurance to shareholders. On the other side of the equation, the cost is huge and many companies balk at paying Big 4 prices unless they see a clear quality differentiator. The obvious example is ability to audit across borders but, as we’re starting to learn, that quality differentiator may have been an illusion.

    Advisory decision-making seems to hinge on two factors — (1) clear expertise or demonstrated quality, and (2) ability to marshal resources and “scale-up” to meet client needs. Branding does not seem to be as significant a factor in the advisory decision-making environment.

    I have been on both sides of the desk — having done the auditing and being audited, having performed consulting work and made hiring decisions regarding outside consultants. Here are my take-away points:

    1. Auditors are a necessary evil and are not perceived to add much value. If a company could avoid paying for outside audit, it would.

    2. Auditors are fungible. The differences between PwC, EY, DT and KPMG are not apparent from the outside looking in.

    3. Auditors are inscrutable and work in a black box. The auditing process is a mystery to the majority of corporate employees. The companies largely do not understand what the auditors are doing at any particular time or why they are asking the questions they ask. There is little if any perceived relationship between the audit process and the audit opinion.

    4. Outside consultants are hired based on business needs. If a company has a need, there is no problem bringing in outside resources to assist. If there is no need, no amount of wining, dining, or sales effort will create that need.

    5. If the need is acute, the company will pay for top-quality. If the platform is not burning, price will be an issue.

    6. Firms that price themselves above perceived value will not win work. Firms that demonstrate quality below their price point will not win repeat work. Firms that demonstrate quality and value above their price point will create an annuity for themselves.

    7. The macro economic environment is largely irrelevant to the outside auditor hiriing decisions. Clients will always push back on engagement pricing, regardless of economic conditions. Clients may be won based on agressive pricing, but they are rarely lost based on excessive pricing.

    8. The macro economic environment is largely irrelevant to outside consultant hiring decisions. The business need is the business need. Which is why the blaming of the economic conditions as the reason for the tanking of advisory service revenue is a joke.

    In my opinion.

    — Tenacious T.

  362. @TT – you have never heard this from me… I agree with you.

    I will however engage a bit farther regarding the comment that the economy is not the reason for advisory tanking. I think you are mostly right here. But I would add that due to the economy companies are scrutinizing the business need more and taking as much as possible in-house. They may decide the platform wasn’t burning, just smoldering and that the work can wait. They may decide that they have more in-house availability now. In these ways, there is less work for Advisory — but I concur that Advisory isn’t losing the work because of the economy… they win/lose it based on whether they deliver good value for the buck.

    Other than that — I actually can’t find anything to disagree with this time.

  363. @TT

    Having relatively little advisory experience, I was mostly talking from an audit standpoint. I agree with everything you said regarding the auditor\client relationship. I always like when I agree with you; it lets me know I’m probably on the right side of the argument.

    I do disagree a tiny bit on the advisory portion, for mostly the same reasons 362 gave. People are scrutinizing costs like they haven’t done in decades. Advisory has a large price tag attached to it; it will be reviewed and reviewed by committees to see whether they can figure out a way to get around it. When they can, they will. Also, some advisory clients for big firms have simply disappeared.

    On the whole, however, I agree that the economy is not to be blamed for mass advisory layoffs and lost revenues.

    Thank you again for pulling sanity back into a lost thread.

  364. FM, please change the title of this thread as the title and content of the posts are no longer related and everytime i see updates to this thread and come in and see the postings which are non layoff related posts.. i understand that there are audiences following the postings of socal pizza and TT and we can rename this thread as appropriate.

  365. @358 – It’s one thing to say you know a thing or two about economic concepts because you’ve taken a couple of courses in economics. It’s another thing to say just because you’ve taken those same courses, you’re the next best qualified person behind trained economists to step into such a role.

    Apparently some accountants get way ahead of themselves thinking they can do it all. I wonder if this is a reflection of the culture/mentality of the big 4….

  366. @SocalPizza — being from advisory I also concur. But I would say that different practices have been hit harder/lighter. In particular, IT audit has been hit harder than others — they do a lot of external audit support. Internal audit is probably a harder hit than say transaction services (mergers/acquisitions) or forensic. It really depends. In forensic, more law suits are expected – so more work… and more contract scrutinization should also bring in work where forensic can recover $ for a client. In transaction services — there should be more mergers/acquisitions and related activity… should help them. So each advisory practice is in a different situation.

    What I disagree with is that the economy is not “to be blamed for mass advisory layoffs” — it is the largest reason for these layoffs, the impacts I mentioned in @362 are severe.

  367. SocalPizza (163) and [Repeat]Anony @ 162,

    Thanks for the feedback. My point re: Advisory services is simple, perhaps too simple to accurately describe a complex situation. But here goes:

    Corporate America needs proven and trusted business advisors in good times and in bad times. In bad times, it needs them more than ever. Firms that add value are not costs, they are investments with a demonstrable ROI. If you can help a company chart a course out of the rocky shoals without foundering, then you are worth your weight in gold. Companies will not only hire you, they will compete like mad for your time.

    If, on the other hand, you are full of puffery and hot air, and can’t deliver on your marketing promises, then you will flail about, trying really hard to land work, without much success.

    Of course, that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.

    — Tenacious T. (channeling Dennis Miller from when he was incisive and funny)

  368. @364 johnson

    I’m going to close this thread. What’s funny is if I had set up organized forums, I don’t think we would have this kind of response. You all have used the posts and the discussion to develop the conversation organically. It’s neat. That being said, if you think I should set up organized forums, anon webinars or con calls, and other ways for you to talk to each other in a moderated format, let me know. I am open to that. I have an intern working with me this summer and we are looking at my long to-do list to see what we should do next for the readers.

    I suggest that those that want to continue updates on layoffs at Deloitte and others use the following post:
    http://retheauditors.com/2009/06/taking-your-pulse/

    Given that I am updating it once a week with the latest searches that are bringing people to the blog, it should be a very good gauge of whether primary worries are layoffs or other things. It has also been a good predictor for other topics.

    If you want to talk about layoffs vs other ways to cust costs, generate business, and retain good people, I woud suggest this post:
    http://retheauditors.com/2009/04/hey-big-4-if-i-were-you-heres-what-id-do-instead/

    If you want to follow TT and SocalPizza and others on structure, model and advisory vs. audit related topics, I would suggest this post:
    http://retheauditors.com/2009/04/what-id-do-part-2-first-focus-on-the-client/

    Remember, if you go to the site itself, http://retheauditors.com you can see all the latest comments, regardless of which post they have been written against in the right hand column, about half way down.

    Feel free to comment in whatever post makes sense for you. The conversation will follow.

    I’m going to also offer to the most frequent commenters again, the opportunity to do a guest post like Tenacious Truman did
    http://retheauditors.com/2008/12/music-for-chameleons-a-visitors-view-of-the-firms/

    I encourage you to write in longer form and it can be anonymous, as long as yo are willing to make yourself known to me so I can verify your interest and aptitude for the topic you want to write about. Just email or call.
    Francine

  369. Just testing

  370. PWC preformance lay offs are in full force. Start of the fiscal year started in July. Time to ramp up the forced outs!

  371. Hi – Does anyone have news re: Deloitte in Boston? I heard two directors were let go in the last week of June. Wanted to know re: staff.

  372. I decided to go in-house after working for Deloitte. I always thought Deloitte was full of incompetent a**kissers, who can’t do work. Well, it appears that the outside world knows as well. I’ve been on many conference calls, where Deloitte comes up, and someone makes reference to receiving a large bill for crap. It has gotten to the point that when I introduce myself, I tell people that I was recently in public accounting and do not mention Deloitte.

    Uncle Deloitte, the outside world knows you suck too. While the names of other Big 4 firms also come up in conversation, no one has yet (when I’ve been present) so vehemently express distain. Now, it makes sense why Deloitte has done the most layoffs. When times are good (and there aren’t enough resources), companies may use Deloitte. When times are bad and companies make choices, they obviously don’t choose Deloitte.

  373. Employed @ 372,

    Funny you should mention that issue. Today we discussed a nationwide project that, when I was in the Big 4 world, I would have loved to have gotten. We discussed using Deloitte and Navigant–not sure who would have gotten the gig. Nobody had anything bad to say about Deloitte but, when my turn came around, I reminded the meeting participants what the average hourly billing rate would be. (Again, it wouldn’t be any higher than EY or PwC or FTI, so I’m not knocking Deloitte.) I asked if we really wanted to pay $500 an hour (or higher!) for the additional expertise and resources. I offered another solution — to use internal resources from other business units, either at our internal transfer rates or perhaps even for free. My suggestion was favorably received. Sorry Deloitte (or Navigant) I think I just took away about $100 – $250K in potential Advisory fees. Not that you’d know it, since our opportunity hadn’t even hit your radar screen yet ….

    — Tenacious T.

  374. Why is no one talking about the layoffs happening at PWC right now? The cali office has fired so many people. They claim it’s based on ratings but I know people in the Boston office who were 3’s but still have their jobs. I think it’s just something they want to have as backup. Anyway, check this link out…. the big 4 might be forced to change their ways yet.
    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23718653-details/Accountant%20treated%20like%20a%20prostitute%20sues%20City%20firm%20for%2040million/article.do

  375. big4employee @ 374 —

    Fran posted recently about the conundrum that is PwC — from which there are few public posters, but many private emails and calls. If PwC and ex-PwC folks don’t post here, then nobody will be talking (publicly) about what’s going on at PwC.

    Second, there have been a number of posts predicting just this situation — when PwC changed its rating system at the same time it changed its compensation planning, several people (including me FWIW) guessed that the firm was positioning itself to continue its tradition of mass layoffs disguised as performance-related separations.

    It’s interesting that you know about 3 ratings who kept their jobs while 2’s were separated. That doesn’t seem to fit the plan, but again also seems to continue the tradition of termination decision-making that lacks apparent rationality. That said, if a 3 rating had a ton of chargeable hours in the near-term forecast, then why lay that person off? If the termination decision was a combination of rating AND near-term forecasted revenue, that would make perfect sense to me … and would seem to be more rationality than has historically been displayed.

    So, when you couple a lack of willingness to publicly post with a predictable situation, you get a lot of meh. Not that helps those getting pink slips — best wishes to those individuals.

    — Tenacious T.

  376. I’m an employee at PwC Boston getting laid-off tomorrow I guess!
    I think what they are doing is disgusting, the lay-offs are supposed to be base on “Performance”. I am not sure what they are talking about… my performance reviews were at 90% accomplished, well above the average for my class… Oh wait I know why they are laying me off, because I formally complained to HR about gender discrimination in my department back in January! Ok now that makes more sense!

  377. @374

    Maybe if you were a little more specific…? I didn’t know there was only one PWC office in California… You have to keep in mind that California is getting hit harder than most other states because the subprimes were a huge part of the industry there. Everything is connected. If the California PWC offices aren’t pulling in the revenues (which I assume is because half their clientele disappeared overnight thanks to the subprime collapse), why should Boston staff be fired before California staff, especially if their utilization is higher?

  378. @ 374 is correct, I have witnessed first hand a number of individuals in the San Francisco and San Jose offices (both tax and audit) get fired for no apparent reason. A few are being plucked off each and every day. They are very SNEEKY about it.

    Stamm Lied, People lost their job

  379. to number 376- you should go to the EEOC (government agency), or hire a lawyer, this is known as retaliation also

    You can fill in on line with the EEOC – that way PwC will have to go through an investigation

    Typically they lay off minorities more than others- so if you are in that bucket get that out in the public domain, have them investigated and made accountable

  380. SocalPizza@377,

    Not sure I agree with you about the root cause; PwC did not seem that heavy in the subprime audits, but maybe they were deep in Advisory market share …

    Other potential causes might include:

    1. Audit clients headquartered out of the SoCal marketplace, being audited by people flown in from the HQ area rather than by local staff. (I know for a fact that is happening.)

    2. Dysfunctional leadership. (Several PwC people, both ex- and current, have applied that adjective to the current and previous market leadership. Of course, that’s subjective.)

    3. Postion play. NY partners jockeying for position given the recent leadership changes, with ripple effects nationwide but focused where leadership is perceived to be weakest.

    4. Not sure about Tax.

    — Tenacious T.

  381. @TT 380

    I wasn’t speaking so much to PWC directly as I was to the entire CA (and especially Socal… cough… SocalPizza… cough.) economy. I have little if nothing to say about PWC directly. I can only comment on what I’m seeing as business after business folds, often because of ties to the real estate market.

  382. I’d like to see more discussion of PwC too. But, I think it is pretty clear. We aren’t having layoffs, but some people are being asked to leave, and some are being asked to find new jobs and given time to find them, and it appears people in California are being RIFFed on the spot. Is that not clear?? It does make my head spin. Hey, when everyone is scared people seem to be working hard!

    Obviously, I’m not surprised people are being asked/forced to leave. The economy isn’t certainly rosy. My group has less work. Client budgets are being cut and that filters down to us. If you thought people weren’t eventually going to get cut with the economy continuing to tank I’m quite surprised. Maybe that’s why all our audits suck? where’s the professional skeptiscm to what management says? – ok, maybe that was a little mean to my auditor friends :)

    From reading this blog I know to keep my personal stuff on my computer backed up and took anything of importance home from my desk. Since I know I’m not 1 rated I’m probably at risk!

    Best of luck to all!

  383. A tax group in NY was just told that everyone had to charge 55 hrs a week and those that had more than a 15% discrepancy btwn their timesheets and retain had to send a memo explaining why. I don’t know if people are supposed to pull work out of their a$$. On top of that how can mgt not see that all this emphasis on retain accuracy matching up with t&e is just going to cause people to start being creative with their time and cause inefficiency.
    PINK SLIP made a point that really bothers me. In the Boston office, most people were told by their coaches to “start looking for another job”. So far, from what I’ve heard in the NY and San Jose Offices, people are terminated on the spot and have to pack up immediately.

    I know some people in the NY office who have been told that their rating is not available. THIS IS A LIE. All ratings were finalized on the same day so I am guessing these folks will be fired. Why not tell them now so they can look elsewhere. Most of the people I know in this particular situation are on H-1 visas and it would be more humane to at least give them the opportunity to find other work (if they can).

    I agree with bechargeable, go in 2morow and back your personal stuff up onto ur flash drive.

  384. @382: “We aren’t having layoffs, but some people are being asked to leave, and some are being asked to find new jobs and given time to find them, and it appears people in California are being RIFFed on the spot.”

    Sounds like layoffs to me…..

    @383: Close monitoring of target hours and explaining (stupidly small IMHO) differences in timesheet hours is not unique to pwc….. And you are right, if partners ask people to charge (not necessarily work) 55 hours, guess what will happen? So much for accurate billing to clients……

  385. E&Y Advisory Services went through 4th round of lay-offs in Pacific North West. 34 people have been separated.

  386. @ex E&Y

    Looks like EY is finally going to enter the limelight. There will be more there. I also heard today that E&Y just booked a $5-6m accrual for client-service severance costs. They also booked one for non-client service staff. At least they’re still paying severance.
    Francine

  387. I am torn — KPMG has done some shall I call it forced/highly encouraged resignations. The offers were quite sweet, and the argument was all about performance. In this case the people involved were suffering from the market — their specialty area had very little work going on for quite some time now. I cannot say these folks were poor performers, but I can say they were caught in a political situation that isn’t appropriate. I will also say that the cuts made some sense — and they were treated fairly on some level (i.e., given a sweet package, and an offer to stay under certain conditions should they choose to accept them). But the group they work for isn’t known for high integrity. So, it does happen — but it isn’t the rule that I have observed. This one is hard to call — in terms of whether it was understandable and appropriate or completely out of line and unfair.

  388. Deloitte Dallas international tax partners held a meeting to communicate to the staff that they not aware of any more waves of layoff. A few days after the communication, a new staff person was let go. The person was being considered for an overseas tour, before being laid off. Nice!

  389. Hey guys…is there anybody here @ Deloitte who feels like they got Royall f**ked by the Ratings this year?

    I just got mine and it definitely seems like they played around with my ratings. Anybody else here feel like they were screwed over with theirs?

  390. Probably happening everywhere. I’m being shown the door at PwC. Had 90% accomplished on PFF’s, but got a 3 rating (which is now below expected). 5/6 reviews actually specifically mentioned I was ready to take over as Senior associate on those engagements. Promotions are so political, and the firm is using just about any excuse possible to get rid of people.

    I’m glad its over. I don’t know how people can do this for longer than 4-5 years.

  391. Often it is that in the good years ratings were Royally F’ed with. Until they have to – leadership may not bother to be honest about what they are thinking. It is easier to try to ignore something or hope it goes away. While I have seen people get under-rated this year… I haven’t seen anything outrageously out of line (KPMG). I have also seen people getting free rides in the good years. Neither is a good thing to do… be lazy and not communicate the whole truth in the good years, and then surprise people in the bad years with either the truth or being overly critical – that is the lethal combination.

  392. Just heard from a friend this week. He’s an MD in PwC Advisory. He’s “leaving the firm” without a job to go to …. just after year-end. He joined as an experienced hire (from Deloitte) and called it “the worst mistake I ever made”. In his view, he couldn’t overcome the PwC politics and cliques; it had nothing to do with his sales numbers, which were okay if not stellar (for an MD).

    Anyway, chalk up another “underperform” separation from PwC.

    — Tenacious T.

  393. i’m a senior manager at deloitte and just got my yearly evaluation rating and it was lower than it has been in 10 years of public accounting…and i thought i had a good year. bummer. wish i could understand how i worked harder than ever and got my worst overall evaluation ever. and was just told that they were equalizing all rankings because too many high rankings have been given in past years and that last year’s 2 is now this year’s 3. i get it. just don’t get why the underlying criterion of “exceeding expectations” and “meets expectations” didn’t change on the evaluation form, just the overall conclusion reached…why not be up front and say the criterion for exceeding expectations is now the meets expectations and that you have to have an overriding business case to make a higher rating. I was told that peers of mine were in more emerging industries (mine is financial services) and that my industry is not growing. what does that have to do with my performance? it has a lot to do with the firm’s client base, but should have no bearing on my overall ranking. if you want to give me a 2 rating but then tell me that my industry is in the tank and you don’t need me anymore, fine, i can handle that…but to lower my ranking to a 3 and say my industry is not providing opportunity right now is ridiculous. while we may be losing clients in financial services, the issues we are facing relating to accounting for this troubled industry provided me plenty of opportunity to exceed expectatons. thanks for providing a forum for me to vent.

  394. Last year D&T had a very large wave of layoffs the week before the annual raises/bonuses were scheduled to go into effect (September 1). I’m curious to see if they repeat themselves this year during the last week of August.

    FM, keep your eyes and ears open during the end of the summer. Let us know if you hear of another Labor Day Massacre at D&T.

  395. For the other Deloitte folks out there complaining about the ratings process, why care so much? It’s been openly stated in my experienced senior training that compensation adjustments are going to be lower than normal this year, and ask any manager or higher after a beer and they will tell you that they don’t think there will be comp adjustments at all this year. I’ve got my counseling meeting this week, and I’ve gotten mixed twos and threes on my jobs. I’ll tell you that if I’m not going to lose much sleep if I walk out with a four, nor am I going to be popping champagne if I get a 2. Here’s why.

    If you busted your ass this year and you get a 2, your comp adjustment is still going to be shit. And if you get a 3 or a 4 through some sort of reverse grade inflation, what are you scared of? That your comp adjustment will suck? See above. Are you afraid that you’re going to get fired? The fact is that they’ve been letting people go of all ratings all year. If you can run an engagement and they need you, you have a job. If they don’t need you, you don’t. I may be wrong, but in my mind, this year’s evaluation process means less than it ever has in my career.

    Really, my hope for any comp adjustment went out the window when I heard through the grapevine that the board met recently and revised down this year’s revenue plan. Two months into the fiscal year.

    Here’s the thing, if you’re sitting around waiting for “market to turn” so that we can go back to 10% comp adjustments, regular team lunches, and extravagant office parties, you’re going to be miserable in the meantime. You need to get tunnel vision on this bitch and find your own slice of heaven. Get your staff in line and run a solid audit on your jobs so that you can finish your job working what’s on the calendar. Believe me, one of the nice things about management obsessing about the schedulebook and engagement budgets is that a lot of jobs aren’t defaulting to what’s in the book + 10 hours like they used to. Focus on your own personal development as a CPA, and that of your staff. For God’s sake get a life outside of work now. The mask is off on compensation. There is no money to compensate you for working your life away. Work what you need to and not a minute more. No one ever got fired for running a lean audit. And if they start, at least you’ll get a good severance package.

  396. So do the Big 4 pay out severance to the “underperformers” or are they just let go?

  397. @395 – I’m an experienced senior too, but when you graduate from Old Style I’ll take your life lessons. I got busted down to a 3 as well, and like everyone else at D&T, I knew raises would stink. One word – principle. So you’re correct that it isn’t going to “move the chains,” but career-wise, I’m not thrilled about getting bumped. Especially when they say they shifted the bell curve, when all they did was lop off the left side, continue to hook up people on large engagements (i.e., keep a disproportionate # of 1s and 2s, despite what they say), and move a few of us down.

  398. @397 I hear what you’re saying, but i have to disagree.

    You recognize that all true 4s and a lot of true 3s (at least by the old standard) are now gone. Is it really useful for management to have everyone this year be mostly twos, some threes, and a few lucky 1s? That makes no sense. And it’s not like a three is some objective measure. They have always been relative measures. Think about consensus each year. You group all the staff in different buckets and argue about how so and so cannot possible be in the same bucket as this other guy, so put him in the higher category. Or think about when you give out rating on your engagements. Don’t you determine how good everyone is based, at least in part, on how good they are relative to the others on the team? That may seem unfair based on who is in your team or who is in your class, but human nature made it much easier for us to make relative comparisons than objective ones.

  399. absolutely agree with @397. in my office, if you are not on a big OCEO client, you are destined for lower ratings. it is all about principle. Absolutely, couldn’t agree more.

    @395, if you are content with a 3 rating then i hope you never aspire to do an MDP, GDP or any other program that requires a higher rating. i would think with all of your talk of personal development as a CPA, you would realize that higher rating means — better projects and more opportunities…not just a tiny salary bump and small bonus. Please don’t classify someone who has spent 10 years in public accounting as just sitting around waiting for the market to turn…I am someone who has worked hard and take great pride in always striving to exceed expectations and look for additional learning opportunities and have found public accounting a great place to build a vast skillset that will serve me well in all aspects of life. It’s not just about the tiny raise — ridiculously short-sided. Maybe it’s just showing that your lack of experience that you are content with a standard rating. i realize that my employment with Deloitte is a two-way street and as always i am re-evaluating if what they offer is better than what i could get in the market. Regardless of what i ultimately decide, the sting of being forced into lower buckets for the sake of justifying lower raises/etc. won’t go away or be forgotten. Out of principle would rather be respected and valuated and talked to honestly and told that …hey — we value what you do but are unable to pay any raises this year…this doesn’t mean that you didn’t exceed expectations. We hope you’ll continue to stay with Deloitte and realize we do provide opportunity and value outside of your paycheck. crazy me for expecting honesty. silly silly me.

  400. @398 you make a lot of sense…but your logic does not hold true when all of the 1’s and 2’s are on the larger clients and the 3’s are left to fend for work and fight for the potential of a two…ideally, you logic makes sense, but once all of the token 2’s are given to the large jobs to protect the key players on the OCEO jobs from layoffs…then the hardworking and well deserving few on the other small engagements don’t have any 2 spots left to take. So it is no longer the best 25% get the high rankings. At least in my office, the 25% 2’s are given to the key players on large engagements and then we have so few people left, the rest of us are defaulted into the 3 bucket. (OGC has said you can’t layoff a 2 if there is a 3 at that same level…)… This shouldn’t be surprising as the same thing happens at the PPD level.

  401. @398 and @400. I see where you guys are coming from. I’m not at a particularly large office and so we don’t have many people who do MDPs or GDPs. The thought, at least in our office, is that everyone plays such a crucial role on each engagement they are on that they are afraid of brining up doing something like that because then it would put a huge hole in their job that can’t easily be filled by someone else. Also, most people don’t do a whole lot of shifting around to different jobs after their first year or so, so we don’t really see a lot of benefit of being a 2 rather than a 3. However, I can understand where this might make a bigger impact at a larger office.

  402. @400 – You hit the nail on the head. I’ve seen the same dynamic at my office. For the last 3 years I’ve noticed that 90% of the 1 and 2 ratings ended up going to people on one large OCEO client. The managers work their staff like dogs but then pay them back by giving everybody a 1 or 2 rating. There is one client in my office that has 5 seniors and 8 staff and none of them got below a 2 rating. They wouldn’t back down from their inflated ratings so that one team ended up screwing the ratings for everyone else in the office since they needed to smooth out the bell curve.

  403. I discussed with my counselor this phenomenon and he indicated that OCEO clients provide unique challenges that aren’t present in smaller clients. I disagree. I’ve served a large fortune 500 client, but now serve little clients. I would argue that each type of client provides different challenges. For example, a large SEC registrant may provide more disclosure/technical challenges but a lot of hours are what I would classify as “busy” work (still necessary). On my small/medium clients, the client staff are not as well-versed in literature and don’t have a technical accounting group that kicks around the issues and provides you with a summary of the company’s thoughts…often times it is just me working through what I think is relevant to their industry and sitting down with the CFO/controller and explain which emerging FASB’s are critical and need to be addressed. Forces the teams on the littler jobs to work with a whole different set of dynamics. Also forces you to work on your people skills because it’s not always easy conversing with someone on a topic that they feel is unnecessary. Budgeting skills are also heightened, if I spend an extra day at a smaller client, I have to think…what does this do to my budget. When utilization becomes increasingly scrutinized, the managers in our office that are on big jobs, just camp out at the big client even when not necessary because their job has room to carry a few extra hours and they can find “work” to do. Those on small jobs have nowhere to camp out. I would argue in this economic downturn, the managers on smaller jobs have it twice as hard to manage/hit utilization/leveraging goals as those on big jobs do.

  404. 395 – first of all, I had a bit of an attitude last night, no need for my snark. Anyhow, 399 raises a fair point because up this point, I had wanted to do an MDP, and I have a lot of ground to cover to make that possible.

    Just to give you specifics for my peering group – last year, when I was a 2, there were roughly 47% of people getting 1s and 2s. This year, with the 3s and 4s gone, there are 70% getting 1s and 2s. You read that correctly. So your logic is valid, some of us are going to go down due to relative performance when the pool has only top performers left. But that being said, it’s clear they hooked up enough of the 1s and 2s despite this shifting. I admit, I’d be bitter either way, but it’s a tougher pill to swallow when a 3 puts me in the lower 30%.

  405. I do not know the D&T rating scale… is it a scale of 1-4? That might explain a little. But 47% of your folks being in the top echelon makes no sense. Generally the majority would hang out around the middle echelod. If it is only 1-4 I would expect the 2 and 3 folk to make up 75% of the staff — maybe more.

  406. i’m a new hire starting soon and from previous comments, it seems like it will be better career-wise to get onto a larger client? can anyone confirm this or shed a little more light on it?

  407. @406 – Choice more than likely won’t be yours. You can express interest but there has to be a need. Also, no one in our office has been let go from the private client group, all have come from public clients. Only one data point, but something to consider. Also, working on a large client can make it more difficult to seperate yourself from your peers. There are benefits and drawbacks either way. The most important factor IMO is how well you work with and enjoy the team members, followed closely by how good the client is. Those two factors make your life heaven or hell. I spend half my time in each.

  408. @406

    Most important thing for you to worry about right now? When are you going to start and making sure that happens. Followed by what to do that’s fun and/or productive in the interim.
    Francine

  409. @394 – I got the chop in the wave you mentioned last year – received my (not large) annual bonus along with the separation payment. So I’m not sure the bonus payment is a trigger in itself.

  410. I think it has more to do with the promotion than the bonus. If there is a large class of experienced seniors up for manager this year and too many current managers for your office to support then expect some headcount reductions. If you don’t have your CPA then that puts a big target on your back.

  411. D&T Midwest just took a large hit losing UAL (http://www.reuters.com/article/companyNewsAndPR/idUSN2819286920090728). What are people’s thoughts on how this effects the layoff picture?

  412. Even in a good year, wouldn’t you say probably 60-70% of people get 3s? How could a lot of “true” 3s be gone unless Deloitte did like a 50% seppuku? I think some of you are overestimating how awesome you really are.

  413. @FM#408

    Dead on.

    “What is the maximum amount of influence I can have over allocation decisions concerning me, and how do I achieve that influence” is the question I always attempted to answer for my ‘counselees’ at Deloitte, however they phrased it. The answer was always wrapped up in “which partners run the clients you want to get on to, what makes them fight other partners for particular people, and how do you get them to see you that way?”.

    The question I always got them to answer for me is “Are you enjoying it here? What do you enjoy the most and why?” because without that, it’s never worth it. In the end if you enjoy small clients, mid market stuff much more than top end of town then do it, because “at least I didn’t get fired today” can be no consolation for someone who hates their job. (in fact it makes it worse, surely?)

    The people who got the best out of my coaching were the ones who could be honest about what they didn’t enjoy, as well as what they did. At Deloitte the environment was conducive to those discussions (the US sounds a tad different though!) At PwC everyone was too afraid to break the “rah rah rah”, even for a moment…

  414. # 403 – well said. are there are a lot of seniors out here who are up for manager and that have no knowledge if they are getting promoted or not?

  415. Here’s the Dallas international tax ploy used by the partners to scare you into quitting. The partner(s) come in your office and tell you that there are open positions in Houston and Belgium. They ask you to go. If you say no, they say “well, you won’t work with us, so see ya.” If you say yes, they shit in their pants ’cause there aren’t as many positions as they want you to think. Games, games, games. Someone please tell the public accounting firms that the days milking your clients for cash under SOX are over. Get ready to actually work and substantiate your value. HA!

  416. I can tell you that Midwest PwC had associates as 10% as “1” and “2”, 80% as “3”, and 10% as “4” and seniors at roughly 15% “1” and “4” with the bulk at “3”. I do not understand why other firms cave in as stated above and give 70% to “1” – that defeats the whole purpose. Since PwC has no raises unless you are promoted this year, I guess it doesn’t really matter what the rating is and they can use to motivate and actually give feedback to what you need.

  417. Which one of the Big 4 recently took out a loan to cover salary costs?

  418. Deloitte Partner’s unit value are $970 something for the year. The partners are thrilled that it came so close to plan of $1000/unit.

  419. Does anyone know if all fifth years have been promoted to manager in D&T this year? Seems lots of “3” got cut in March.. assume everyone left will get promoted.

  420. @418, is that all? Given what must be done to earn this money, I am certainly not envious. Good luck getting by St. Peters at the Pearly Gate.

  421. how many units do most partners have?

  422. @421
    You asked the relevant question. Let’s put it this way, if the firm made “plan” for the year, figure that a partner will make anywhere from $300k (newbie) to $1-2.5mil (level E). In addition, if u make it to retirement, there is real money in the pension plan and you also would have built a sizeable nest egg in your PSP.

  423. Well, I guess that much money justifies all the backstabbing and lying you have to do (sarcasm).

  424. Not only will the partners have disgustingly high take home pays, they’ll be getting new iPhones. See article on goingconcern.com. Think of all the accidents that will occur with these old farts trying to send emails on the iPhone keyboard while driving on the road. More layoffs to fund the switch?

  425. E – In my office, no 5th years will be promoted unless they are a “1”, a little crappy they aren’t being consistent nationally

  426. #425 – Only 2s in northeast office were promoted. 2.5s were pushed down to 3.0 and not promoted due to “business need”

  427. @425

    If this true, I agree that is pretty crappy. If you are in that position, I would start looking for a job ASAP.

    FYI, in the NE. they had set a minimum salary for all new managers a few years ago, I think it was $90K. For some, it was a windfall, for others, not so much.

  428. All 5th year seniors in my medium sized office were promoted to manager

  429. All 5th years in my small office were promoted to manager (all that were left after layoffs, of course!)

  430. All 5th years in the STL office were promoted, but after layoffs there were only 3 left. Morale is low, raises were terrible, even though those promoted to manager were compensated better than the rest but still less than those promoted last year, who were else then the ones promoted the year before.

  431. Deloitte is helping out the world by stating on their homepage how to help with employee retention: http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_US/us/Insights/hot-topics/article/bea5c92f19a03210VgnVCM200000bb42f00aRCRD.htm

  432. @ Johnny

    Wow…just wow. I have no words in response to that piece you just shared.

    I swear it’s like Deloitte is the Two-Face in this Gotham City of a profession.

  433. wow. Good spot Johnny. That is a great top ten – shame DT doesn’t take their own advice… It actually reads like a summary of the threads on here about DT layoffs – amazing.

    Do take care of top performers and critical workforce segments.
    Don’t give leaders bonuses while expecting employees to go without.
    Don’t cut employee compensation to avoid layoffs without first looking at your company’s tolerance for compensation cuts.
    Do hold managers accountable for retention.
    Don’t kill downsizing survivors by overloading them with extra work.
    Don’t be afraid to communicate what is really occurring.
    Don’t ignore the loss of valuable institutional knowledge caused by downsizing.
    Don’t make small cuts over and over again to avoid the press coverage and shock of large layoffs.
    Don’t buy into the belief that across-the-board layoffs are good for your company.
    Do refresh talent strategies.

  434. @433
    Maybe they should have kept some of the HR consultants that they fired and put them to work on the firm itself.

  435. Deloitte recently posted this advice on the website:

    Top 10 List for Employee Retention During a Recovery

    Publish date: Wednesday, August 12, 2009

    Executives may be tempted to downplay the effects that cost-cutting survival strategies have on employee retention. After all, voluntary turnover rates have been low throughout the downturn. But decreasing focus on human capital management may cause an increase in turnover intentions, with many employees (particularly critical, high-potential talent) planning to jump ship once the economy improves. The following suggestions can help organizations keep and grow a strong team and avoid scrambling to replace employees while others are capitalizing on the upturn.

    1. Do take care of top performers and critical workforce segments.
    2. Don’t give leaders bonuses while expecting employees to go without.
    3. Don’t cut employee compensation to avoid layoffs without first looking at your company’s tolerance for compensation cuts.
    4. Do hold managers accountable for retention.
    5. Don’t kill downsizing survivors by overloading them with extra work.
    6. Don’t be afraid to communicate what is really occurring.
    7. Don’t ignore the loss of valuable institutional knowledge caused by downsizing.
    8. Don’t make small cuts over and over again to avoid the press coverage and shock of large layoffs.
    9. Don’t buy into the belief that across-the-board layoffs are good for your company.
    10. Do refresh talent strategies.

    see http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_US/us/Services/additional-services/Talent-Human-Capital-HR/article/bea5c92f19a03210VgnVCM200000bb42f00aRCRD.htm

    Does this organization honestly have any credibility left?

  436. This organization has no credibility. They’ve had this crap on their website for months. They are a marketing firm and prey on unsuspecting clients. When a manufacturing industry sells a defective product, people hear about it and boycott. The accounting firms seem to be able to easily buy themselves or market/lie themselves out of these situations. However, they seem to be running out of money, so let’s see how long they can keep up the bullshit. Remember what happened to Enron and Anderson? Relax, sit back, and just watch. Some buttery popcorn to munch on would also be nice.

  437. How were the raises in your regions?

  438. Shady Deloitte is laying low these days. Planning another round of “performance related” layoffs this go around? They like to layoff before Christmas.

    I’m interested to hear what you know, Francine. However, if your waiting to write a zinger, I can wait. Thanks for the blog.

  439. @435
    Uncle D is feeling the after shock… The DT working class with skills (experienced seniors and managers) are packing their bags and leaving at a noted excelerated pace to recovering industry and gov’t entities. Firm is losing the more experienced Advisory staff largely burdoned with pulling the ever increasingly load after the layoffs with less qualified staff. Morale is hanging heavy with low year end raises, AIP and 401k matching at a pitaful 10%. An alarming bulk of staff is largely inexperienced new hires forced on the client service management layer as the “go-forward” staff.

    Sort of unfortunate scenario as Advisory and Consulting move to the forefront of the previously A space driven entity… the advisory staff are largely inexperienced college grads with advisory managers still on the 5 year audit manger schedule. Compare that to boutiques and industryconsulting manager level positions largely populated by tech saavy’s that were professionals in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Imagine paying the hundreds of $s an hr for child managers to provide advisory services designed to keep your Fortune 500 company off the front page of the WSJ when they’ve never even pulled a first mortgage themselves?

  440. @439 — “manager level positions largely populated by tech saavy’s that were professionals in the 90’s and early 2000’s. ”

    This describes my KPMG Advisory team — Sr Associate and manager level both. Not all B4 or all offices within the same B4 have the same model.

  441. I’ve been associated with D for some years and I’ve never seen it in its current state. With the continued shift of operations, people, and focus to India – combined with the BearingPoint takeover of its federal practice – it seems to be searching for identity from a cultural perspective. It may survive, but it won’t be the firm it used to be. Think less strategic consulting and C-level interaction; more outsourcing to India (except the federal stuff – expect a lot of low-end staff augmentation there, marketed as ‘federal consulting’).

  442. To all those who got laid off by Uncle D in last year, Deloitte is hiring 11,000 people now:

    http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2010/fortune/1001/gallery.bestcompanies_mosthiring.fortune/14.html

  443. @442

    The firms have no shame.
    http://goingconcern.com/2010/01/big_4_promotion_fortunte_100_best_companies/

  444. Francine – someone (or maybe some firm(s)) are trying to limit traffic to your site. I use to be able to access you site by typing in retheauditors under google search. Now, I can’t find you site, unless I specifically type in your web address. Since traffic has only increased on your site, me think that something doesn’t seem right.

    I happen to know that Deloitte (and a number of other firms) are either demoting or cutting at the senior levels (partner and director). Funny that they are posting 11,000 openings. Will they actually fill these openings or is it another game from our scheming friends? Maybe Fortune changed it criteria this year to companies who are hiring, and we all know that Deloitte will do whatever it takes to get on the list.

    Just because they post 11,000 positions, doesn’t mean that they will actually fill it. And, are these 11,000 positions in India? Were the positions created because Deloitte laid off 11,000 in the U.S.? Lies, lies, lies.

  445. @444 Anonymous

    Thanks for comment and heads up. I will check into the Google issue.

    fm

  446. Query whether DT or someone influential within DT own a large share of Fortune? How many of the companies on the Fortune list have relationships with the BODs or E suite people at Fortune.

  447. Between 16,000 and 18,000 layed off at Deloitte U.S. since 2008.

    1,162 job openings for experienced hires currently listed on Deloitte’s website.

    If the 11,000 figure is correct, then they would be looking at around 10,000 student hires.

  448. @William Roberts

    16-18k cut at Deloitte since 2008? That’s a really big number. Where does it come from?
    Francine

  449. The sad fact is that, even as hundreds or (perhaps) thousands were “separated” from DT, EY, KPMG, & PwC, those very same firms continued to make strategic acquisitions and hires. As always, the business case rules; and those who could sell themselves (and of course their books of business) to a partner or three found themselves at another firm, doing mostly the same ol’ same ol’. Different title, different firm, same ol’ song & dance.

    I know this because I watch my LinkedIn connections and I see it happening. Not every day, but enough to provide evidence of a trend. I also turned down three unsolicited offers in the past year (2 Big 4, 1 Regional). In addition, several of my former co-workers went from Sr. Manager/Director to Partner, though they had to leave the Big 4 to do it. They are now at local & regional firms, apparently quite happy. Something about work/life balance ….

    — Tenacious T.

  450. @ 47

    That 16,000 figure seems way too high, the entire U.S. firm only employed about 40,000 people or so as of 2009. No way they’ve culled 40% of the entire firm.

  451. What I find disgraceful is that Deloitte can’t manage its own business properly yet it is supposed to be a trusted advisor to clients. If the powers that be had any understanding of th business model Deloitte wouldn’t be in the low morale, understaffed situation that it is in now. Many engagements are understaffed substantially(20 to 40%)… this hiring would have been great BEFORE busy season. The model of firing and hiring only works if you are ahead of the curve and in an industry that doesn’t depend heavily on internal training.

  452. Deloitte announced today no more involuntarily layoffs and to relax. Bring on the rain makers and the upturn…

  453. who announced that and where is it? my sources tell me that the reason mid years are not being discussed, is that legal is trying to build cases of potential cuts of certain people and they are taking their time disecting the numbers and the metrics for support of future upcoming cuts. They did that last year at mid year and they are doing so again. Watch out advisory and audit…just wait till March. I know Partners and Directors have had their mid years and most of them had at least a comment about being off track in some area….enough to support a potential layoff. Morale is so low, people are just saying “F” it. and not doing anything…waiting to be fired. the market is getting better and those still around are being called by recruiters. Any one heard anything similar or different?

  454. I did hear from a webcast that some senior partners said that there would be no more layoff. However, no one really believed them or was serious about what they were trying to say. We all believe, if Uncle D was set to lose another major client tomorrow, such as Microsoft or Boeing, they would cut more people without any hesitation. Given the reputation of Uncle D nowadays, I wouldn’t be surprised that would happen tomorrow.

    On the other hand, I know they lost so many audit seniors/managers during last year. Therefore, they don’t have enough people to do work during this busy season. I know a lot of audit staff have contacts with recruiters. When they find a nicer job, they will definitely jump the ship without having second thought.

    Tell me if I am wrong, and you have to be inside to feel it. The morale in the firm is so low. No one really cares what they are doing. It will be fun to see the PCAOB review this year.

  455. @leavingDT, what do you mean Partners and Directors have had their midyears and had a comment about being offtrack? You mean during their own midyears, PPDs made comments of their staff? If you don’t mind, what particular region are you talking about in terms of low morale and the potential cuts?

  456. I have heard from p/p/d’s who are friends of fine who said they have had their mid years…and they were told that while they maybe on track overall, they have certain areas where they are off track (i.e, utilization, sales, etc..). Since the PPDs know what that means since they are doing the same to the staff, it serves as just a reason for a potenial RIF if need be. These are folks in the Southeast…where morale is in the toilet in both advisory and audit.

  457. To echo 456’s point, people are essentially being set up to substantiate an upcoming RIF. Have you been told that you are (or are slightly) off track? Are you all of the sudden being excluded from meetings with clients that are assigned to you? Have goals that are impossible to meet being set for you to ensure that you never will be on track? Are you being told that more RIFs are coming, but no one (except “management”) knows how many and who? Have you received more calls that usual from recruiters targeting you for positions that are clearly beneath your current role?

    The firm would prefer that the pressure and stress would force you to leave on your own. They save on severance and can continue to pretend that they are not laying people off.

    Rest assured that the same people who are playing these games with you now will they themselves be targets in the near future.

  458. Based on the whisperings around our peering/rating process this year, I envision a more passive/aggressive reduction a la low ratings and raises at D&T and probably everywhere else, which will force voluntary turnover. Not many specifics have been given on the nature on the raises, other than “not as bad as last year, not as good as the SOX years.” That could mean just about anything, but I would expect a lot of people to feel lowballed based on the amount of additional slack we’re asked to pick up, and the firms’ unwillingness to address the low morale.

    There’s been some tweaking in the way teams are rating people, making for more “average” people with below-average raises. This is short-term thinking, and highly disrespectful to a lot of the people who’ve done a tremendous job in the past year given the circumstances. I have to think the Big 4 is going to lose more senior/manager talent than it expects (it’s already happening in my office).

    Wonder what the chances are that I”ll stick around to do the work of 1.5-2 people for a 4-6% raise? Whaddya think, partners?

  459. My prediction on raises – average raise will be 4%. top performers will get 6%. Bonuses will be about 1/2 of what they were at the peak….

  460. They delibertly lowered all competent performers last year in ITS without any reason so underperformers could be awarded due to the Minority push. Still the same bs today, that’s all they talk about “we need to hire more minorities”…….only in ITS. If you are a competent non-minority, stay away from ITS because you will be a sacrifice to that organization. The incompetent leadership of the CIO and his appointees are disgusting. When economy gets better, competent non-minorities are getting out. ITS at big D has become a joke !!

  461. @460, when was International Tax Services (ITS) at the Big D ever not a big joke? ITS deliberately focused on minorities when laying off last year. Now, they are trying to buy back the minorities, by actively going into the market place and recruiting them. Got to make the numbers work. Rumor is that the top ITS guy moved on to a different role, and perhaps the new guy is trying to fix what the old guy did. Well, new guy, don’t forget to take care of all the old guys’ henchmen.

  462. @461, ITS (Information Technology Servicest)…..obviously you must be a non performing minority since you can’t associate a CIO to Technology and not International Tax Serivice…..sounds like you need to be replaced because you are one of the appointees that doesn’t have a clue !! You are as clueless as your response because you can’t associate terms in my original response. Good grief, that is why Big D has problems because reasoning skills are not needed, just dumb head nodders. If you are not in Information Technology Services, maybe you should apply….sounds like the sky is the limit for you !!!

  463. It’s interesting to look back at this thread 2 years later. It seems like the high-water mark for layoffs was May of 2009 and then things seemed to stabilize at D&T after that. I was one of those cut in the May 2009 round of layoffs and I’ve been wondering what things are like at D&T these days. I’ve heard from friends still at the Firm that they stopped laying off people after May ’09 because people began quitting on their own in mass numbers and now it sounds like things have returned to normal (i.e. pre-2008 status quo).

    Francine, what’s your take on things in Green Dot land? Have things really returned to normal over there? Or did the 2008-2009 layoffs leave a permanent mark in the morale at D&T? Considering that the layoffs went all the way up to the Partner level, I imagine that the way D&T handled the recession has left behind some permanent changes to the culture of that place. Or maybe not. Maybe the fresh crop of newbies with no memory of the recession have already embraced the “Best Place to Work” mantra and everyone else has a short memory. Either way, it would be interesting to get an insider’s assessment of life at D&T 2 years post-layoffs.

  464. Funny you should ask! Word on the street is that PwC has been successfully raiding a number of the other firms, tempting senior level employees with high pay and advancement. One Deloitte partner was trying to convince a number of people that big bad PwC had laid off too many people and was now trying to raid innocent and loyal Deloitte which did not lay off like PwC did. If one did not know better, one might have actually believe this. Coincidentally, Deloitte is attempting to replicate PwC’s newly announced (more lucrative) pay structure, likely in an attempt to curb a mass exodus.

    With the direction that the economy appears to be heading, perhaps more layoffs may follow. Committments to high multi-year raises right before another 2008 ish downturn might force Deloitte to resort to the behavior it knows best – circa 2003 and 2008. Judging by the posts on this site, the Greendots are not a silent bunch and will likely post, if more layoffs occur.

  465. On the tax side – layoffs will be coming …. forced number by office at manager and above … attribute to the double dip … they tried to keep long as they could … ugh

  466. I’m surprised that during the last round of layoffs Senior Managers were largely spared. I know a lot of Senior Mangers who are very well paid and have been at the Senior Manager level for many, many years. These people aren’t moving up because they don’t sell anything, and they aren’t moving out because they’re too comfortable where they are.

    On the one hand, the firms don’t want to lay off people who could soon be customers for their services (don’t want to poison that alumni network). But on the other hand, this growing army of redundant Senior Managers represents a very expensive layer of middle management that is hard to justify keeping around during a double-dip recession. I wonder what the future holds for these people if the economy takes another dive.

  467. Strange, the other Big 4 firms are aggressively recruiting tax people, from one another and from industry. I doesn’t sound like the Deloitte taxoff is due to lack of work in the market place. Could something else be going on – for example, is Deloitte about to lose a big lawsuit?

  468. […] is the same firm that’s made the deepest, and most brutal cuts in their workforce during the last three years of all the Big 4. They were the first to admit, on […]

  469. just on a lighter note, when I was at Deloitte slogging through year end audits and wondering if what we did added any value to the clients, we would call ourselves DoLittle TouchALot

  470. ahsendemir.freehostia.com

    re: The Auditors » Blog Archive » Deloitte – The Worst May Be Yet To Come

Leave a Reply