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EY first Big Four firm to offer assurance services in Myanmar

EY has added Burmese firm EY UTW to its network and as a result will be the first Big Four firm to offer assurance services in Myanmar.

So far international accounting firms have been offering tax and advisory services as Myanmar Accountancy Council (MAC), the regulatory body, has stringent criteria on who qualifies to perform audit work.

In order to qualify as an auditor, practitioners need to be certified public accountants (CPAs) or hold an accountancy certificate or degree from any foreign country recognised by the MAC. Additionally, auditors have to be Myanmar citizens and registered with the MAC to obtain a Certificate of Practice.

EY new member firm EY UTW, a local Burmese firm, already has a license to provide audit services in Myanmar, an EY spokesperson told the International Accounting Bulletin.

More firms are expected to follow suit as a change in regulation is expected before the end of the year. The new regulation is likely to liberalize further the Burmese economy and make it easier for international accounting firms and businesses to operate in Myanmar.

ICAEW head of international capacity building Mark Campbell told sister magazine The Accountant last month that this would "lead in a very large influx of big audit firms into Myanmar".

It would be the latest development in the country's opening to the world. After five decades of isolation and military rule and following Myanmar's 2010 general election, the first in 20 years, the country has seen an influx of foreign businesses quickly followed by the accounting profession.

In April 2013 EY was the last Big Four network to enter Myanmar since the political and economic transition started. KPMG established a presence in October 2012, followed by PwC in November 2012 and Deloitte in January 2013. And a few mid-tier firms such as BDO have follow suit.

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