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News Digest

PwC Netherlands appoints board member

Peter van Mierlo has joined the board of Pricewaterhouse-Coopers Netherlands.

Mierlo will take over from Ruud Dekkers, who stepped down after completing his term. Van Mierlo, the firm’s chief operational officer, will continue his responsibilities for assurance, risk and quality. He graduated with a doctorate in business economics from Erasmus University in 1987 and has been a partner at the firm since 1996.

Madoff auditor pleads guilty to fraud charge

The man who audited Bernard Madoff’s investment securities firm has pleaded guilty to fraud, despite denying he was aware Madoff was engaged in a Ponzi scheme.

When the Ponzi scheme was revealed in December last year, it emerged that Madoff’s firm had been audited by David Friehling, who worked out of a small suburban New York firm that was not registered with the New York State Society of CPAs.

Friehling, who provided professional services to Madoff for 17 years, was allowed to remain free on a bond of $2.5 million until he is sentenced next year.

He pleaded guilty to securities fraud, investment adviser fraud, making false statements to the US Securities and Exchange Commission and breaking tax laws.

Write-offs take shine away from Vantis results

UK publicly-listed mid-tier firm Vantis has reported pre-tax losses of £6.5 million ($10.7 million) in the year to 30 April 2009.

Revenues fell to £90 million from restated 2008 revenues of £92 million.

The HLB International member firm delayed the release of its preliminary 2009 results in August due to on-going discussions with its auditors, Ernst & Young, regarding the treatment of non-cash accounting items.

Despite solid trading from its business recovery, business advisory and tax divisions, the firm reported significant exceptional costs of £13.7 million principally relating to the prudent treatment of investment plans and rationalisation costs, the firm said.

Vantis chairman Paul Gourmand said the group has had mixed fortunes due to substantial write-offs on the value of its balance sheet.

RSM Bentley Jennison names senior appointments

UK firm RSM Bentley Jennison has promoted Vinodh Josh to partner and national head of wealth advisory services and has appointed Matthew Geale as head of the forensic accounting team in Leeds and the North East.

Josh joined the firm four years ago as part of the acquisition of the financial management arm of Robson Rhodes. He has nearly 20 years of experience in the profession and comes from a Big Four background.

In his new role, Josh will be responsible for national wealth advisory services.

Geale has 20 years of experience in a variety of sectors and project types. He has also acted as an expert witness and forensic accounting specialist. He trained with one of the Big Four accounting firms.

Geale joins RSM Bentley Jennison from Mall & Co Forensic Accountancy Services.

PwC names global communications practice leader

Colin Brereton is the new leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) global communications Colin Breretonindustry group. Brereton qualified as a chartered accountant in 1982. He has been working within the technology and telecoms industries for almost 20 years.

A senior partner at PwC, Brereton specialises in leading global multidisciplinary teams (from assurance, advisory and tax) on delivering solutions for business challenges.

Russell Bedford adds to its Mexican national network

Russell Bedford Mexico is to add a 20-staff firm to represent its national network in Culiacán, Sinaloa.

Gaxiola Ortiz y Asociados SC is to be rebranded as Russell Bedford Culiacán.

Headed by Francisco Gaxiola, the firm will initially operate as a branch office of Russell Bedford Guadalajara, providing services in the North West Pacific region.

The firm’s principle services are financial audit, local and national tax consulting, accounting, financial consulting and legal consulting.

French watchdog declines PCAOB inspection requests

The French audit watchdog has rejected inspection requests from the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) because conditions for co-operation between France and the US have not been not fulfilled.

The Haut Conseil du Commissariat aux Comptes released a statement in relation to a PCAOB programme to inspect French audit firms in autumn 2009.

This setback follows the EC’s comments last month regarding the co-operation of EU member states. Canada, Japan and Switzerland were judged to be willing to fulfil the requirements in Article 47 of the Statutory Audit Directive but the US did not fulfil the same requirements.

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants chairman Robert Harris said the PCAOB is working with US politicians and foreign regulatory counterparts to find a solution.

PwC UK plans to maintain graduate levels in 2010

PricewaterhouseCoopers UK plans to recruit more than 1,000 students and graduates in 2010.

The majority of vacancies will be in the firm’s assurance practice, followed by advisory and tax.

PwC UK said it will offer more than 200 internships, including in management consulting. More than 100 new vacancies will be in the firm’s advisory team and there will be trainee positions within the firm’s legal practice.

Chairman Ian Powell said the firm’s decision to maintain recruitment levels made good business sense.

“It would short change our business in the recovery if we failed to maintain our investment and confidence in graduate skills now,” Powell added.

Applications to the firm increased 48 percent in 2009, with jobs offered to graduates from more than 90 universities. More than 80 percent of new joiners were aged between 20 and 24. Forty percent of applicants qualified with non-business degrees, including the arts, geography, science, engineering and languages.


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