UHY International has rolled out
network-wide training on IFRS – the network’s first global
technical training exercise.

Sixty senior level staff from the UHY firms in US, Canada and
Latin and South America attended the course in June and there are
plans to expand training further afield.

UHY International chairman John Wolfgang told the
International Accounting Bulletin the programme was first
conceived by senior partners at the network’s annual meeting last
October.

“Following that, we formed a training group that would be
laddered from an entry level of understanding to an advanced level
of understanding and built a training programme on more technical
capabilities. We can now start teaching our staff about IFRS and
then over two or three years increase their knowledge base,” he
said.

“I think if you are talking about the training as a group you
are looking at putting about 200-300 people a year through that
process,” he continued. “What we started with was training our
high-level people back in June. Those people can utilise that
training in local offices using the same books to do smaller
training sessions. We have 22 offices in the US so having everybody
go to that training programme would be a little bit more
difficult.”

Although UHY International conducts global training on soft
skills, this is the first time the network is sponsoring technical
training, which is normally left to firms or regional clusters of
firms to co-ordinate.

“From the soft skills side we have been globally training for a
while, and we have a lot of internal training at our regional
meetings and at our annual meetings,” Wolfgang explained. “But the
IFRS training group, and what they are looking at right now, is
about having a pure curriculum of more technical training that we
can carry forward.”

UHY efforts to provide IFRS training come at a time when US
regulators toy with the idea of allowing US companies to use the
global standards without the expensive requirement to restate
financial reports in US GAAP. Wolfgang, who is the managing
director of UHY Advisors NY, believes it is likely that the
standards could become a part of the professional landscape in a
couple of years, which raises other important questions in his
mind.

“The concern I have is are we ready for it yet, and that will be
the key question and focus,” he said. “What have we done at the
universities, what have we done in the profession and how are we
dealing with it? Are we going to have international convergence so
that everything is the same or will we have convergence with
exceptions that say country A is going to this way and B is doing
it this way?

“I don’t think we are ready for it at all and we need three or
fours years to get ready from a training perspective and client
perspective. One of the things we have talked about is not just
from training our own people but clients and how are we going to
immerse the clients in this process? We have struggled a little bit
with how we get that information to the clients and how we get them
ready, and I think that will take some time.”

Wolfgang said network-wide training programmes could eventually
incorporate other technical areas as the need arises.