More fallout from the Oscar fiasco

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The aftermath from handing out the wrong envelope at the Oscars continues.

On the long shot that you might be interested in the audit and accounting angle of this mess, here are a few articles for more detail:

3/1 – Variety – New Photos Show PWC (sic) Accountant Tweeting, Mixing Envelopes Backstage at Oscars (EXCLUSIVE) Article reconstructs the moment by moment timeline, with photos. Of particular note is the tweet by Brian Cullinan of best actress Emma Stone was taken and posted after Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were on stage.

Another photo shows Mr. Cullinan standing behind Mr. Beatty holding two envelopes. At a later time I may explain why it is quite reasonable for that to be the exact number of envelopes that ought to have been in his hand at that instant.

3/2 – Page Six – PwC Oscar accountants received death threats – As is almost expected for our completely messed up culture, the two PwC partners have been receiving death threats.

The threats are serious enough that PwC has bodyguards involved.

Quite depressingly, the article has a photograph of Mrs. Cullinan out on a shopping trip with an obvious guard.

3/2 – TMZ – PWC Hires Bodyguards After Wave of Death Threats – Another photo of the shopping trip with a guard escort. Article says photographs of the two partner’s homes have appeared online. So, yeah, it’s time for bodyguards.

3/1 – Associated Press – AP Exclusive: Accountants in Oscar Mistake Are Off the Show – As has now been widely reported everywhere, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy, has banned both of the partners from any future involvement with the Academy. They will not be working on the Oscars again.

3/1 (current version after several updates)- Francine McKenna at Market Watch – Why Oscars may not fire PwC, even as Academy president says two partners now banned – Full disclosure: I am quoted in the article.

Article says the 990 the Academy’s 6/30/15 fiscal year shows $145K for accounting services. That would include reviewing the 990 (the return says the Academy prepares the return and it is then reviewed by the CPA firm) and auditing the consolidated financial statements.

Back in 2010, PwC said the ballot count process involved 1,700 staff hours.

That means the $145K disclosed in the 990 would not be large enough to cover the tax review, audit of the financials, and ballot counting. Obvious conclusion is that the vast majority, if not all, of the time for the ballot count is pro bono.

3/1 – Paul Gillis at Going Concern – PwC’s Recruiting Will Take a Hit Over the Oscars Debacle – Prof. Gillis thinks the firm has taken a significant hit to the brand name, but will not lose much business. He thinks the firm will keep the ballot counting project and the two partners will stay with the firm.

As he sees it, the big impact will be in terms of recruiting a year or two out. Many recruits have no way to differentiate between one big firm and another. He describes his experience as an illustration. “That’s the firm that messed up the Oscars” may be the differentiator for students to accept offers from another firm.

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