In a joking tone, I say the process isn’t safe and lacks controls. If the ballot briefcase was traveling around the world by itself, how could it be safe? Anyone could take a peek inside and figure out the winners if they were actually in the case.
As a person who has participated in a few audits, this seems like a significant deficiency in controls.
Additionally, this got me thinking. Doesn’t this raise some concerns for the Oscars? I say this partially joking because the ballot briefcase is just a fake, but also want to look at it in a more serious light.
Everyone is allowed to have fun at the Oscars, but I don’t think the accountants should. I’m sure they are making a ton of money for doing this unless they cut the fee in order to be allowed to do publicity. I would expect my auditor to take the task seriously.
Would you expect the auditor of Toys R Us to run around the world playing with toys? No, even though the business is aimed at kids, the auditor is still expected to be professional. Yet with the Oscars, there is an exception now. How did this come about and why is it ok all of a sudden?
How funny would it be if PwC did this with their other clients. What if they did the same thing with AIG’s 10-k. What if they instagramed a stack of papers and said, “Where is AIG’s draft 10-k today? Only 5 days until this baby goes final. Where will the numbers end up #earningsviews.”
What I think happened is that PwC felt like they were missing out on the fun in the past. People used to make fun of the serious accountants at the Oscars. Now PwC, forever appealing to potential millennial recruits, wants to show that they are cool and like the celebrities at the Oscars. These partners really go on a road show and try to become mini celebrities before the Oscars. So much so that you ask how much work actually went into this event for PwC. Optically it looks like they put all their efforts into the publicity and not the vote counting.
Remember the saying that you learn in accounting class – Independence in appearance and in fact. In this case PwC needs to work on their appearance. Not from an independence perspective, but from a hard work perspective. They don’t appear to be hard working. In between pictures of the briefcase traveling, they should insert some pictures of PwC employees with their sleeves rolled up and counting ballots.