I’ve been at the FEI Current Issues in Financial Reporting Conference the last two days. Today, Wednesday, is my first day not buried in fair value, IFRS, fair value, and, oh yeah, fair value. It was enough for me to wish that an unjust, unfair, unreasonable standard of accounting be approved just to break up the repetitive rhetoric.
I will be posting more, including reproducing some of my better Tweets, for you later. In the meantime, for the best of the web in reporting on the issues, go to Edith Orenstein at the FEI Blog.
She and I had dinner with Susan Webster
and Steve Burkholder
from BNA on Monday night. It’s hard to believe four otherwise normal people could talk about FASB, IASB
, FAS 157 and FAS 5 for four hours over fries and ‘freshments without going flippin’ loony tunes.
While I was focusing on the conference, my Blackberry was buzzing with more comments, emails and text messages updating me on the reduction in force activities, in particular with regard to KPMG and EY…
As I reported Friday
, KPMG issued a press release in advance of what they portray as “very targeted force reductions” and “fewer than 420″ professionals in both audit and consulting. I characterized these cuts as “significant” last Friday. That may have been an emotional reaction on my part, given that a few days later, Citigroup announced cuts of more than 50,000
and several others also announced larger numbers
as a percentage of their workforce during the past week.
I contacted KPMG and spokesperson Dan Ginsburg made this additional comment in response to my inquiries about further cuts and additional internal communication about the actions:
“Keeping our people informed and aware of firm activities is an important part of KPMG’s culture. This is done through many internal communications channels. In this case, those impacted were advised directly last week, and this week broader communications for our partners to communicate with all of their people are being prepared.”
My use of the word “significant” was an emotional reaction to reports of a large percentage of the “less than 420″ being concentrated in only a few offices, thus the use of the term “targeted” in their press release and strong sentiment on the part of those remaining that more cuts are inevitable given low utilization in some locations. I will let yo decide for yourself whether this number is “significant,” the “end of the beginning” or the “beginning of the end” of reductions at KPMG.
At the same time I began receiving comments regarding “significant” cuts at EY, across all service lines
. A trusted source has confirmed cuts of 3-5% of the workforce at EY, across all service lines, US only. EY did hold an “all hands” meeting where they announced the cuts.
And in further news at Deloitte
, reliable sources tell me that, ” next round of layoffs appear to be coming and possibly starting this week. This layoff will be much more defined and clearly targeted, more specifically at those managers and senior managers remaining that are “on the fence”. Obviously higher salaries and low performers ( “meeting expectations”) will be targeted. It’s an office by office layoff, not been defined by corporate, but by leadership on an individual markets/cities basis. There are partners and directors that the firm has been working on, for months now, to terminate and/or vote out of partnership. …additionally, there are rumors that there will be another round after the first of the year. This targets more specialized groups, such as ERS, that have gotten through YE for most clients and are heading into slower season…”