Bill Gates has been the richest man in the world 18 out of the last 20 years according to Forbes. This is no easy task, especially since Bill quit working full time at Microsoft over a decade ago. How does he stay at the top of the Forbes richest people’s list? One explanation could be accountants and financial advisors.
Deliotte is the CPA firm that Microsoft has used for decades to audit its financial statements among other things. It was reported that Microsoft paid Deliotte over $46M in audit fees for the 2015 fiscal year. This type of fee encompasses numerous operations performed by Deliotte, but it does not include assurance fees and other risk management fees. Microsoft employed a separate CPA firm to handle its investment activities and reportedly paid twice as much for these services.
Obviously, Bill Gates is not Microsoft anymore, but he has used several of the same accounting firms in the past few decades to handle his personal fortune and prepare his tax returns. The bulk of Gates’ finances are managed by Cascade Investments, LLC. This investment firm invests his money to hedge it against inflation and grow faster than the market rate of interest.
Today they have invested most of his portfolio in a national waste management company, national car dealership, and several hotel changes. He has a bulk of his fortune invested in think tanks and research facilities that write cpa exam prep books, business journals, and scientific studies on the environment.
Gates has also used his funds to found a social network for scientific researchers. The idea behind this is to create a place where brilliant minds can discuss ideas about scientific and technological advances. Hopefully, the next big break through in artificial intelligence will come from a network like this.
Gates financial advisors have also invested in numerous writings, books, and historical artifacts. He purchase a Da Vinci manuscript that documents many of his scientific discoveries, inventions, and thoughts. He reported paid over $30M for this book. He’s also invested in several education companies that produce materials for under privileged youth. These educational materials mainly focus on the topics of business, finance, economies, and computers. Two of the main books handed out to students are a cpa exam guide and the Adam Smith book of economics.
Gates’ CPA has also advised him to park much of his money in artwork. He reportedly has an expansive art collection including the Last on the Grand Banks that reported sold for more than $36M.
Don’t forget that Gates is also very charitable. He gives away billions of dollars each year to needy people around the world. His accountant and CPA probably help him make these decisions as well.