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Region round-up

ASIA - PACIFIC

• KPMG Australia
has acquired independent economic consultancy Econtech to service the rising demand for macro-economic modelling from the private and public sectors. Chief executive Geoff Wilson said there has been a surge in demand for macro-economic modelling and analysis capabilities, particularly around the impacts of climate change, skills shortage, tax reform and the credit crunch.

“In this increasingly sophisticated global environment we are experiencing strong demand for macro-economic analysis from our clients so this acquisition will bolster our existing team as well as complement many of our related business lines such as demographic analysis, risk advisory and actuarial services,” Wilson said.

KPMG Australia chief economist Brendan Rynne said the acquisition would greatly assist his team to meet the demand from private and public sector clients requiring more detailed analysis on investing in new projects and policies. The nine team members of Econtech started at KPMG on 1 August.

Deloitte New Zealand has appointed Bruno Dente as partner. Dente, previously based in South Africa, joins the firm’s Hamilton office audit practice. He has experience across a wide range of industries including financial services, mining, transport, property, advertising and manufacturing. The Hamilton office now has eight partners and 130 staff.

• The Australian government’s response to climate change must include other complementary policy initiatives over and above the proposed emissions trading scheme to ensure Australia remains economically competitive, according to the head of the country’s largest accounting institute.

CPA Australia president Alex Malley suggested several possible policy initiatives, including an investment allowance of up to 20 percent for capital expenditure on new low emissions technology. He also proposed higher research and development tax concessions of up to 200 percent into low emissions technology, and allowing companies, particularly electricity generators, in a loss situation to exchange their tax losses for emissions permits.

• David Evans has joined KPMG Australia’s risk advisory services practice in Perth from Westpac bank, where he was the chief manager for the Fijian Islands. Evans has more than 30 years of senior banking and finance experience in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

KPMG Australia chairman Steve Scudamore said: “Our focus at KPMG is to deliver a high level of service to our clients in the financial services industry and David’s appointment will complement the skills of our existing team and bring new insight that will benefit our clients.”

CPA Australia is seeking comments from members about the Australian Accounting Professional and Ethical Standards Board’s proposed standard on forensic accounting services. APES 215 Forensic Accounting Services includes mandatory requirements and guidance on fundamental responsibilities, professional competence, confidentiality requirements and professional engagement matters. It also covers witness services, quality control requirements and professional fees.


AFRICA, MIDDLE EAST, SOUTH ASIA


• South Africa is set to implement 17 accrual-based public sector standards of Generally Recognised Accounting Standards within the next year. Modelled on International Public Sector Accounting Standards, they will apply to all public sector entities and lead to enhanced financial reporting, transparency and accountability.

Patrick Kabuya, the project director for public sector at the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, said the application of the standards will bring to fruition a reform process that started in 2003. He said the implementation will make South Africa one of the few countries in the world to adopt accrual-based standards in the public sector. The standards were developed by South Africa’s Accounting Standards Board.

• The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) is to open an office in Dubai. IMA Middle East business development manager Faten Dabboussi will head up the office and is responsible for the development of membership, corporate involvement, training partners and individual member services.

IMA president and chief executive Jeffrey Thomson said: “The expansion of IMA into the Middle East is a huge milestone for the institute, its members and accounting and finance professionals around the world. As Dubai becomes a financial powerhouse, it is only fitting that IMA has an office to serve the thousands of finance and internal accounting professionals in the region.”

• The implementation of IFRS 7 Financial Instruments: Disclosures is causing greater problems for South African companies than originally predicted, according to Ernst & Young South Africa (E&Y).

IFRS 7 deals with the disclosure requirements surrounding an entity’s financial instruments. When the standard was released, E&Y said, clients perceived IFRS 7 would only focus on disclosure requirements and not present implementation difficulties. However, the comprehensive disclosure requirements of IFRS 7 create a complication because current financial reporting systems are not equipped to generate the required information, according to Laura Elliott, a senior manager at E&Y’s Johannesburg office.

“Even though IFRS 7 requires disclosures based on management’s perception of risk, systems were not created with IFRS 7 requirements in mind,” Elliott said. “More detailed disclosures are seldom recorded.”

The new requirements necessitate preparers and auditors have an intimate knowledge of financial instruments. Elliott said this is a problem in a country with a skills shortage.

The Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh recently discussed the economic impact of Cyclone SIDR, which devastated Bangladesh in November last year. The impact was outlined in a survey report, Devastations Caused to the Bangladesh Economy by Cyclone SIDR-2007, presented by a past-president of the institute, Nurul Hassan.

The report estimated the total cost to the economy stands at BDT307.9 billion ($4.4 billion).


EUROPE


Ernst & Young has appointed UK partner Karl Havers to lead the technology practice across Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA).

Havers will be responsible for a technology team that operates across 87 country practices in the firm’s new EMEIA area. The new area generates $11.2 billion in revenue with more than 60,000 people and 3,300 partners.

• Patrick Potter has joined PKF UK’s Guildford office from Ernst & Young. The mid-tier firm’s new assurance and advisory partner has more than 26 years of experience working within the manufacturing, technology, communications, leasing, and transport and logistics sectors.

Ernst & Young Slovakia has promoted Robert Srnka to director of business advisory services. Srnka, who has been with the Big Four firm for two years, will help to develop the team and services, focusing on business advisory, internal audit, forensic services, fraud detection and solutions in project management and risk management.

National managing partner Stan Jacubek said: “We perceive the economic growth in Slovakia through the ongoing growth of our department. We have also witnessed a steady increase in the number of clients and their demands and we have therefore decided to strengthen business advisory’s management and appointed Robert, who is an experienced senior manager.”

Deloitte UK has promoted four members of its insurance team after significant growth at the practice. Paul Coulthard has been appointed as a partner; Amish Desai has been promoted to associate partner; and Philip Oliver and Julia Holden have become directors.

Deloitte life actuarial and insurance practice lead partner Roger Simler said in spite of current market uncertainty, the insurance practice at Deloitte had seen significant growth this year and the promotions highlight the firm’s investment in client service.

• UK Morison International member firm Tenon has appointed a new national head of financial services to drive the growth of the business. Peter O’Sullivan, previously regional director, embarks on his new role at the same time the firm is preparing to launch a new range of services and products.

• Gavin Phillips has become the new head of PricewaterhouseCoopers UK (PwC) London Market and Lloyd’s insurance group. The PwC partner has also become a member of the UK insurance leadership team at the firm. Phillips takes over from Philip Calnan, who will continue to work with clients both in the Lloyd’s, London Market and wider insurance sector.

Baker Tilly UK has won the Pension Scheme Accountants of the Year title at the inaugural European Pensions Awards. UK firm RSM Bentley Jennison was the runner-up.

Baker Tilly head of pensions Ian Bell commented: “Our strategy of putting scheme trustees first, building up their knowledge and confidence and preparing them for the many changes in the industry has clearly been recognised by the judges.”


NORTH AMERICA, LATIN AMERICA


• Northeast US firm Marcum & Kliegman (M&K) has expanded its real estate financial services group by admitting two new partners. Matthew Pinto has more than 20 years of experience in finance and accounting for real estate, construction and asset management, while Robert Weiner specialises in financial statement preparation, accounting systems, financial modelling and investor reporting.

Jeffrey Weiner, managing partner of the Leading Edge Alliance member, said: “Matthew and Robert bring a highly-successful track record to M&K. They will each play an integral role in expanding our growing real estate and construction practice areas.” M&K has six offices and 500 professionals.

• The Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean (ICAC) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants have signed an agreement to implement a regional practice monitoring programme in Barbados, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Firms within the three regions will be monitored to ensure audit reports and audit procedures are in compliance with international standards on auditing and other internationally recognised rules. The programme is a regional initiative of the ICAC and is intended to put the Caribbean region on par with the UK, US, Canada and many other countries that have already implemented similar programmes.

Deloitte US has completed the acquisition of systems integration firm Solbourne. The Big Four firm said the acquisition will improve its ability to capitalise on enterprise software company Oracle’s strategic direction by broadening and deepening the firm’s service capabilities in core and emerging applications.

The management team and more than 120 professionals have joined Deloitte and are expected to move into the firm’s enterprise applications, technology integration and human capital service areas. Deloitte’s worldwide Oracle service line has access to more than 5,400 professionals.

• CPAmerica International firm ERE has merged with small Manhattan-based CPA practice Goldman and Company. As part of the combination, Lewis Goldman and Melissa Goldman will join ERE as principals in the firm’s international tax and private client services group.

Lewis Goldman has worked for more than 40 years as a tax attorney, CPA and a business consultant. Melissa Goldman has 20 years of experience as an attorney in tax law.

ERE is a full-service accounting firm with 125 staff, 20 partners and principals. It has offices in Manhattan and Westchester, New York.

• Elisse Walter has been sworn in as a commissioner of the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Walter was appointed by US President George Bush and inaugurated by commission chairman Christopher Cox.

• Leading Edge Alliance Arizona member Henry & Horne has admitted new partner Jeremy Smith.

Smith specialises in taxation and cost segregation and has worked at Henry & Horne for nine years.

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