Accountant doesn’t know how accountants work

So there we have it. The organisation that appears to be behind PWC’s web site does not trade, and has no assets or liabilities, despite the fact that it has an impressive list of 21 directors from around the world to achieve this goal.

As an exercise in transparency it’s a staggering example of opacity.

It’s almost as if PWC is really Macavity, the mystery cat for when they reach the scene of crime—Macavity’s not there!

You have a little more explaining to do as yet PWC. Why not start with your global accounts that reflect the single entity you really are, prepared on a country-by-country reporting basis?

This one really steps over into gross idiocy. For of course each PwC unit operates in one jurisdiction only. Usually, but not always, as a partnership. They’re all very separate legal entities. Many countries actually insist that they are for tort and regulatory reasons.

Meaning that each organisation does publish its own accounts in full, on a country by country basis. As is pointed out to the Murphmonster in his comments. The particular organisation he’s looking at is just the coordinating arm. And there’s no revenue sharing across the different partnerships either (except in the normal course of business and client referral etc, all done at arms length pricing).

They’re not, in any form or manner, a single legal entity, And they all do publish country by country accounts.


16 thoughts on “Accountant doesn’t know how accountants work”

  1. Wow. That’s astonishingly dumb even for Ritchie.

    (I’m inclined toward the view that accountancy firms *should* be global partnerships that are governed and report accordingly, but we’re at least 25+ years away from that ever happening, largely due to local regulatory requirements as Tim says.)

  2. But, as he always reminds us, he did his training at Peat Marwick and therefore understands every single
    detail of how Big4 companies operate.

    Except he clearly doesn’t. Many years ago I worked for one of the Big4. On the first day you were given a thorough introduction on the global structure. It was made very VERY clear how things work.

    And if you ever did work involving practices in other countries then it became quickly obvious that they were separate operations. The partners watched very closely to ensure work was charged properly; after all it was driving their own income. And things could get very messy (financially and potentially legally) if something was misallocated or someone signed something off in a jurisdiction that they weren’t approved in.

  3. So far he hasn’t had one comment in support. I’m surprised he has allowed any of them, but he just shouts “I’m right, you’re wrong” at all of them.

  4. One wonders if Ritchie’s character could be explained by his seeing rather more than he might have wished of the Blue Goldfish in his schooldays.

  5. For me, it’s reached the stage where it’s like watching the dogs on “That’s Life”, introduced by Harriet Harman’s twin brother, Saint Esther.

    Look! Fido can bark the National Anthem! Well, nearly…

  6. What’s funny is that even people who generally agree with him are pointing out his errors on this and yet he still goes into full “I’m right & you just don’t understand” mode…….

    However, if obstinacy is the main requirement for our future Director of Tax Responsibility we need look no further.

  7. johnb78 says:

    I’m inclined toward the view that accountancy firms *should* be global partnerships that are governed and report accordingly

    Have I understood this correctly – if a firm is not “global”, it cannot practise?

  8. PF – the easiest way to think about it a franchise model. There is a company (partnership) that pays royalties for the right to use the PwC brand in the UK. There is another one paying for the rights in France, South Africa, etc.
    These franchise rights can and do get revoked by PwC International who own the franchise.
    PwC in the UK is very definitely not a global firm (complicated by the fact that PwC did acquire another member firm in the Middle East but that’s an exception).

  9. The most amusing franchise-and-local-partner model consequence is that two of the Big 4 were founded by the first consulting accountant, William Deloitte.

    (the US Deloitte firm merged with Touche Ross and bought out the rights to the name, whilst the UK Deloitte firm merged with Coopers and ended up adopting the PwC name)

  10. Gary, interesting – but didn’t answer the question..

    Unless we are arguing against “accountancy firms *should* be global partnerships that are governed and report accordingly”?

  11. I think the easiest thing would be to have all accountants work for the United Nations, with Richard Murphy as their global dear leader. Those found “going native” by showing any sympathy for the thieves whose accounts they do would be publicly executed to set an example. The global corporate tax rate would be set at 100% of all company income, to ensure a system simple enough for the dear leader to understand.

  12. Ian B

    I have to agree – I’m not sure whether its wilful obstinacy, a lack of intelligence or overwhelming arrogance but the effect is the same. This post was a doozy, however – not quite as offensive as the one on Charlie Hebdo but as evidence of his singular lack of understanding, hard to top.

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