The Financial Week Ahead – Newswatch: PWC Accountants hold key to

Sunday is Oscars night but as the stars anxiously wait for the big show, two accountants are the only people in the world who have any idea of who might be receiving one of the famous gold statues. Greg Garrison and Lisa Pierozzi, partners with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Los Angeles provide the teams and the coordination for counting the Academy votes that determine which of the Hollywood celebs walk away with an Oscar and a greatly enhanced career in the movies. PwC has been involved with the Oscars for the last 66 years. Over the years it has counted more than 400,000 votes, stuffed more than 2,400 envelopes and invested 1,700 man hours annually to count the academy votes. But getting the Academy through the Oscars night is more than a fun evening out in a posh frock. ‘This relationship is a cornerstone of our expanded global entertainment practice,’ says Garrison. But given the complexity and secrecy around counting the votes, PwC may well claim delivering the winners’ names for Oscars night is the hardest job it has. The final ballot closed on Tuesday at which point the counting began. A team of PwC staff retreated to an undisclosed location where, behind locked doors, the tally began in earnest. No-one but members of the PwC team were allowed in and at the end of each day all the ballots were locked away in a safe. The final count should take place tomorrow or Saturday at which point Garrison and Pierozzi have to bear the terrible burden of being the sole keepers of the most sought-after movie information in the world. So concerned are they that the information is protected that the two memorise the results and test each other. The day before the ceremony the pair will stuff the winners’ envelopes and, under armed guard, be taken to the presentation where they remain backstage and hand over the results to the presenters. It’s a tough job counting the votes, stuffing the envelopes and hobnobbing with the stars, but somebody has to do it.

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