Big Four & Leading Accounting and Consulting Firms – news, opinion and career opportunities for aspiring & current professionals & alumni

Category: Advisory and Consulting

If it’s Legal Is it Right? The Five Pillars of Integrity in Business

Andrew Sobel New Headshot 2014

By Andrew Sobel, Big4 Guest Blogger

Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s right. And conversely, some things that are right aren’t legal. Clearly, we don’t need a bookshelf full of legal tomes to tell us how to behave. We know in our hearts when we’ve acted ethically and with integrity, and so do our clients.

For example, I watched Hillary [...]


Genuine Listening Helps Us To More Effectively Connect With Our Work Colleagues

Michael VanBruaene

By Michael VanBruaene, Big4.com Guest Blogger

Organization success requires productive human connection. And while there may be an emphasis on how to communicate ideas, it’s also most important that the communicator and recipient of the communication/discussion are effectively listening to each other. It’s the key to understanding the content being discussed – our respective perspectives, motivations, and ideas.

To listen well [...]


The U.C.L.A. Uproar: Don’t Kid Yourself–We all Have Biases

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By Andrew Sobel, Big4 Guest Blogger

The New York Times reported today on the troubling case of the U.C.L.A. Student Council. A Jewish student at U.C.L.A., Rachel Beyda, was being interviewed for possible membership in the council. According to the Times, the first question she was asked was this:

“Given that you are a Jewish student and very active in the [...]


The Most Important Phase Of Your Major Initiative Is Pre-Planning

Michael VanBruaene

Michael VanBruaene

By Michael VanBruaene, Big4.com Guest Blogger

Many times we are too quick to jump to planning a new major initiative without adequately considering its key elements and our motivation for it.  Before we start to plan a complex major initiative we should clearly know what we want to achieve and why.  We also want to have a high level view [...]


Upside Down: How to Change Behavior Through Questions Rather than Commands

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By Andrew Sobel, Big4 Guest Blogger

Many of my clients are successful professionals. They have good clients, make good money, and enjoy their jobs. The challenge is getting them to recognize that they could be even better at what they do.

Just because someone is successful doesn’t mean that everything he or she does is effective (that’s why I don’t bother to [...]


Leading Your Organization Through Crisis

Michael VanBruaene

By Michael VanBruaene, Big4.com Guest Blogger

What are you going to do when your organization has a substantial problem or is in crisis?  What will you do to overcome it and move forward; maybe not fully solve it but successfully move forward beyond it?

Be relentlessly assertive, and aggressive, if necessary.  There is a lot at stake and you need to do everything possible [...]


Management Basics – Guidelines For Developing And Using Efficiency and Effectiveness Measures

Michael VanBruaene

By Michael VanBruaene, Big4.com Guest Blogger

You should be using performance measures to gauge how well your organization is doing, More specifically measuring effectiveness – how well you are achieving your objectives; and efficiency – how well you are using your resources.  As you start to develop performance measures or improve your current measures use these guidelines.

Link Performance Measures to Operating [...]


Organization Processes Inevitably Evolve Towards Atrophy And/Or Rigidity.  The Challenge Is To Keep Them Effective And Resilient.

Michael VanBruaene

Regardless of their complexity, most organization processes will start to evolve towards atrophy and/or rigidity starting soon after they’ve been implemented.  It’s inevitable as it’s tied to our inherent human natures and how we function in organizations.

The purpose of most processes, in addition to achieving an objective, is to become a standardized and routine process that is efficient and effective, [...]


How One Extraordinary Woman—and her powerful empathy—Shaped the Modern Middle East

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By Andrew Sobel, Big4 Guest Blogger

In September of 1921, Gertrude Bell received an urgent message. It was from  King Faisal—the first ruler of modern Iraq—who had been appointed ruler of Mesopotamia, now Iraq, only a few weeks earlier on August 23. Bell, who had been the principal architect of the British government’s reconstitution of Iraq after World War I, had [...]


Just Out! The 2014 Performance Analysis of The Big Four Firms – Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC

The 2014 Big Four Firms Performance Analysis (Big4.com Jan 2015) CoverPage

If you are in the Big Four, or accounting industry, and looking for a unique study, not available anywhere, this is a MUST! http://www.big4.com/analysis

This new 34-page 2014 report provides a detailed analysis of the historical performance of each of the Big Four firms and insights from their combined figures, including:

Analysis of historical performance

Detailed review of 2014 performance by each [...]


Itzhak Perlman and James Taylor in 48 Hours

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By Andrew Sobel, Big4 Guest Blogger

My wife and I had the unusual pleasure of seeing both the great violinist Itzhak Perlman and singer-songwriter James Taylor perform in the space of two days. Their artistry, virtuosity, and passion left me reeling.

This is about the two concerts, but at a bigger level its about the powerful collision of excellence, passion, and joie de [...]


The Powerful Tension Between Relationship Virtues and Commercial Virtues

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By Andrew Sobel, Big4 Guest Blogger

I recently attended a conference where New York Times columnist David Brooks was the keynote speaker. One of the main themes of his speech was the tension between “resume virtues” and “eulogy virtues.” In our success-driven culture, he explained, we strive for resume virtues: achievement, recognition, wealth, and other material accomplishments that are admired [...]


Your Most Powerful Differentiator –The Live Performance

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By Andrew Sobel, Big4 Guest Blogger

An extraordinary shift has occurred in the music business, and it holds an important lesson for us.

Over the last decade, sales of recorded music have steadily declined. This includes all types of music in all formats—CDs, digital downloads, and so on.

At the same time, concert ticket revenue for live [...]


Fair-Weather Friends?

Andrew Sobel New Headshot 2014

By Andrew Sobel, Big4 Guest Blogger

A few weeks ago I interviewed a major British industrialist about “building relationships from the client’s side of the desk.” He had been the CEO of a leading British company for many years, and worked with many outside service providers and advisors during his career. I interviewed him in front of a large group of [...]


The Wisdom of Maimonides: Relationships With a Transcendent Purpose

Andrew Sobel New Headshot 2014

By Andrew Sobel, Big4 Guest Blogger

At the wedding of a dear friend’s daughter this summer, Rabbi Ira J. Schiffer performed a moving ceremony. Rabbi Schiffer, who is an associate chaplain at Middlebury College, based his talk on Maimonides writings. Maimonides was a medieval Jewish philosopher whose is considered one of the leading rabbinical thinkers in history.

The scene before [...]