Groupon hires new accounting officer in wake of financial woes

The company continues its push to bring in more business-savvy professionals after an accounting snafu led to a higher fourth-quarter loss.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Brian Stevens faces some challenges as Groupon's new chief accounting officer.

The daily deals site found itself in financial hot water earlier this year after admitting to an accounting error that triggered a higher fourth-quarter loss and lower sales than initially reported. This past April, the company was forced to restate results for last year's final quarter, increasing the net loss by $22.6 million and cutting revenue by $14.3 million.

The accounting snafu triggered shareholder lawsuits and concerns from the Securities and Exchange Commission. The "material weakness" in controls over its financial statement followed an earlier mistake in which accounting revisions from the SEC forced Groupon to revise its 2010 revenue from $713.4 million down to $312.9 million.

The company staged a financial comeback in the first quarter, reporting results higher than expected. But the stigma of the earlier accounting errors persists. Since the start of the year, Groupon shares have continued to plummet, today reaching a low of around $4.27 in morning trading.

Groupon CEO Andrew Mason lectured his employees in April about the need for the company to grow up, especially after going public late last year. Shortly after, Groupon announced that it was bringing two people with financial experience to its board of directors -- CFO Daniel Henry and Deloitte vice chairman Robert Bass.

The hiring of Stevens is the company's latest step in its effort to "grow up."

Stevens' new job is effective immediately. In the chain of command, Stevens will report to Jason Child, Groupon's chief financial officer. Current vice president and global controller, Joe Del Preto, will report to Stevens.

Before signing aboard Groupon, Stevens was employed by accounting firm KPMG for 16 years where he worked his way up the ranks to become an audit partner from October 2007 to August 2012.