names forensic head

 Alex PlavsicKPMG has
appointed Alex Plavsic as head of its UK forensic practice. Plavsic
will take over from Adam Bates, who is to become the UK head of
risk and compliance while remaining global chairman of the forensic

During his 18
years with KPMG, many of Plavsic’s cases have involved bribery and
corruption matters, including presenting to the US Securities and
Exchange Commission and UK Serious Fraud Office.

“With the full
scale of recession-related fraud and litigation yet to unfold,
there is no doubt that forensic skills will be much in demand in
the coming years,” Plavsic said.

KPMG said its
forensic practice has seen significant growth in recent years, with
revenue growing about 30 percent in 2008 to more than £80 million
($126 million).

The firm’s
forensic workforce has swelled from about 250 employees in 2006 to
360 this year.

KPMG Australia joins indigenous

claims to have become the first accounting firm in Australia to
enter into a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

The plan aims
to help bridge the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous
opportunities through the development of an alliance between the
Big Four firm, Indigenous Enterprise Partnerships and
Reconciliation Australia.

focuses on building business leadership, cultural awareness and
indigenous employment within the firm and Aboriginal

KPMG’s national
chairman Michael Andrew said it is essential for the business
community to get active in indigenous affairs.

“The gap
between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians remains a major
issue for our nation, and corporate Australia can contribute
enormously to creating opportunities and employment pathways for
Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders,” Andrew said.

GT launches health care
resource centre

Thornton US plans to launch a health care reform resource centre to
help organisations navigate the impact of health care reform
changes being debated by Congress.

Three major
health care bills could introduce significant changes to the US
health care system.

Areas the Grant
Thornton centre will focus on include tax planning and
considerations, readiness needs assessment, gap analysis, solution
selection, security implications and assessments, and programme
implementation assistance.

US financial execs
cautious over new hires

one in four US senior financial executives plan to increase their
staff hiring in the next six months despite many (74 percent)
believing the recession will end in 2010, according to a recent
survey by Grant Thornton US.

The survey also
found only 10 percent of respondents think the US economy will
continue to get worse, 21 percent less than respondents to the
survey in March 2009.

However, less
than half of respondents expected their company’s financial
prospects to improve in the next six months with 13 percent
expecting them to get worse.

Grant Thornton
surveyed 849 chief financial officers and senior comptrollers
across the US from 21 September to 2 October 2009.

US Baker
Tilly member in $175m merger

Parente Randolph, a Baker Tilly International
member firm and Beard Miller Company, a former BDO International
member firm, have officially merged to form a $175 million
mid-Atlantic region practice.

The new firm,
ParenteBeard, will continue as a Baker Tilly International member.
It has more than 170 partners and more than 1,200 staff across
Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and

Former Beard
Miller Company chairman Lamar Stoltzfus has become the chairman of
the new firm. Former Parente Randolph chairman and chief executive
Bob Ciaruffoli is the new chief executive.

A 13 member
board of directors has been formed, comprised of members of each
firm’s partner group.

PwC takes part in water scarcity
impacts study

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is partnering two
US organisations to conduct a study of the impacts of water
scarcity and climate change on US municipal bonds.

US municipal
bonds are typically considered safe investments and are highly
sought after by institutional investors, including life insurers
and pension funds in the US.

PwC’s UK
sustainability and climate change practice will lead the network’s
involvement in the collaboration, which also involves CERES, a
coalition of US investors and environmental groups, and US company
Water Asset Management.

PwC UK director
Celine Herweijer said the US has hundreds of billions of dollars
invested in water infrastructure, plus investments in
water-intensive sectors.

“Many of these
systems are designed assuming that future water patterns in the US
will not change,” she said.

“We know that
with climate change, the past is not the best guide to the future.
Alongside the stresses on water resources from growing populations,
industrialisation and land-use change, climate change will affect
the availability and quality of the US’s water, with negative
implications in some regions and positive in others.

PwC will
provide risk modelling work, which involves investigating multiple
issues of physical water risks, regulatory water risks and
socio-economic drivers of water availability.

According to
PwC, energy production currently accounts for about 39 percent of
all water withdrawals in the US and 31 percent in the EU.

Crowe Horwath launches
reporting solution

firm Crowe Horwath has launched an American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act reporting solution.

The programme,
called Award Monitoring and Reporting (AMR), has been launched as
state and local agencies that received federal funding face
reporting requirements.

AMR is a web
based system that serves as a centralised database where recipients
can collect the information they need for compliance with grant

According to
the firm, the new reporting system streamlines the data collection
that is necessary for those requirements.

Recipients of
federal funding will also be able to view the progress of the data
collection efforts, send email reminders, review summarised
response data, keep track of changes and generate reports in
required formats. 

KPMG UK questions PCAOB

KPMG UK has disagreed with two
judgements made by the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board
(PCAOB) when it inspected the firm in October and November

The US audit regulator said in a public
inspection report published this month that in two of the audits it
reviewed it appeared the firm did not obtain “sufficient competent
evidential matter to support its opinion on the issuer’s financial

These deficiencies were a failure to perform
sufficient procedures to evaluate the issuer’s decision not to
record a loss contingency, and a failure to perform sufficient
procedures to test certain accrued contingencies and reserves.

In response, KPMG said that audit and audit
inspections require judgement and that it believed it did perform
sufficient procedures.

The firm noted that neither of the matters
identified by the PCAOB required it to perform additional audit
work or reissue reports.

The PCAOB inspects all firms that audit
companies listed on US capital markets.

KPMG to provide funding to
international valuations council

KPMG is providing funding to the
International Valuation Standards Council (IVSC).

KPMG US partner Steven Sherman said the
support recognises the need for a single set of global valuation

“In an increasingly global business
environment, the valuation issues surrounding mergers and
acquisitions, financial reporting, restructuring, tax planning and
disputes have become more complex than ever,” he said.

The investment has been welcomed by IVSC Board
of Trustees chairman Michel Prada.

“The support by KPMG is tangible evidence of a
growing consensus of the role the IVSC will play in restoring
confidence in the world’s financial markets,” Prada noted.

“The current global financial and economic
crisis has added urgency to the work of the IVSC – developing
standards and guidance to support quality performance by the global
valuation profession.” 

Big Four firm admits Europe
strategy partner

KPMG has appointed Blair McCallum as
a partner in the firm’s European operational strategy group.

KPMG’s European operational strategy group
leader Martin Scott described McCallum as one of the leading
thinkers on lean management techniques in the market.

“Blair will be working with our key corporate
and M&A clients across Europe who, in a turbulent market, will
need to focus on operational transformation to sustainably adapt
and improve the profitability of their business portfolios, and to
create effective M&A strategies around robust operational
improvements and synergy plans,” Scott said.

Prior to his appointment, McCallum was a
partner at private equity firm 3i and has been a partner at
management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, where he helped
found the firm’s operations practice.

Indian accounting official
commits suicide

The Indian profession is mourning
the death of a senior Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
(ICAI) official after he committed suicide.

K Venkitraman, 46, who spearheaded IT
initiatives at the institute, is reported to have jumped from his
sixth floor apartment in east Delhi at 6.40am earlier this

Police said he was rushed to hospital but was
pronounced dead upon arrival.

Police are not treating the incident as

Venkitraman was alleged to have suffered a
deep depression, which police said may have led to him taking his

The ICAI noted Venkitraman had led
technological changes at the institute for the past seven years
“relentlessly and with great success”.

He is survived by his wife.

PCAOB turns focus on
Mexican firm

The US Public Company Accounting
Oversight Board (PCAOB) identified deficiencies in two audits when
it inspected PricewaterhouseCoopers Mexico (PwC) in 2006.

In both cases it appeared to the inspection
team the firm did not obtain sufficient evidential matter to
support its opinion on the issuer’s financial statements.

The deficiencies included a failure to perform
sufficient procedures to test revenues, vendor discounts and
rebates, inventory existence and valuation, and litigation claims
and assessments.

PwC said it has addressed the PCAOB’s concerns
and that in no cases did the additional procedures change the
audited financial statements or audit reports on the

UK workers understand need
to freeze pay – PwC

Workers at UK companies are
understanding when drastic changes to their pay, benefits, bonuses
and or working hours have been made during the current economic
climate, according to a recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers

Nearly half of the 729 respondents made that
statement while only 8 percent said the changes made them

However, the survey also found that 34 percent
were de-motivated by the decisions.

PwC partner and head of reward Jon Terry
warned that pay and promotion freezes, changes to pension schemes,
cuts in recruitment and slashed training budgets, combined with
poor communication, had eroded the bonds of trust between some
employers and their employees.

“As the long-term impact of people decisions
taken during the downturn begins to be felt, the winners and losers
of the war for talent are starting to reveal themselves,” Terry

“Those who continued to focus on investment
and employee engagement [are] emerging as clear leaders. Those who
continued to offer their employees new opportunities and invested
in their people pipeline are now at a competitive advantage.”

Alvarez & Marsal hires
private equity directors

US firm Alvarez & Marsal has
made nine senior appointments to its private equity performance
improvement practice.

Ron Bernard and Stephen Griffin are joining as
managing directors in New York and Boston, respectively; Joel
Mostrom as a senior director in New York; Paul Kosturos as a
director in San Francisco; and Fabiana Fakhoury, Simon Flax,
Jeffrey Klein, Jennifer Kim and Daniel Schellenberg as directors in
New York.

The firm also expanded its national
transaction advisory group adding eight professionals and two
senior tax professionals.

The transactions advisory group now has more
than 150 professionals in the US.

It offers private equity services,
encompassing transaction advisory, performance improvement, tax
advisory and corporate finance.

Moss Adams grows

Moss Adams has admitted six partners
and two managing directors. The US Praxity member firm has 250

The new partners are Julie Desimone, Jeff Fey,
Shannan Gardner, Don Greear, Stephanie Hathaway and Fred Peterson.
Scott Kallander and Tammy Young are the new managing

Moore Stephens launches
property advisory group

Moore Stephens International is to
launch a global property funds management advisory group.

The group will offer investors an opportunity
to access advice concerning cross-border property transactions from
an international source.

Moore Stephens Melbourne tax partner Stephen
O’Flynn will chair the new forum, which is comprised of members
from Australia, the Netherlands, Argentina, Germany, Greece,
Singapore, South Africa, Spain, the UK and the US.

KPMG appoints human resources

KPMG has appointed Rachel Campbell
as its global head of people, performance and culture. Campbell has
become a member of KPMG’s global executive team, while retaining
her position as head of people for KPMG Europe.

Ernst & Young UK begins
Equitable appeal

Ernst & Young (E&Y) UK has
begun an appeal against the findings of a professional disciplinary
organisation concerning the firm’s work on the audit of the
Equitable Life Assurance Society (ELAS).

The appeal is being heard by a tribunal of the
Joint Disciplinary Scheme (JDS) for Accountants and was scheduled
to run for two weeks this month.

After a near collapse, ELAS filed a civil suit
against E&Y for £2.6 billion ($4.14 billion) for professional

The Big Four firm attempted to block a JDS
probe in 2002, claiming the civil proceedings against it could be
prejudiced by the outcome.

The JDS had alleged that E&Y partner Kevin
Paul McNamara and former partner Richard George Combes submitted
accounts that were not prepared in accordance with the provisions
of the Companies Act 1985.

It also criticised E&Y for giving an
unqualified audit opinion of ELAS’s Companies Act accounts between
1994 and 2000.

Non-audit service debate builds steam

The UK audit regulator is reopening
the debate on audit firms providing non-audit services to listed
audit clients.

In May, a Treasury Select Committee report
called for the appropriateness of the provision of non-audit
services by auditors to audit clients to be revisited.

In response, the Auditing Practices Board
(APB) has issued a consultation paper on the issue.

APB chairman Richard Fleck said the regulator
is seeking to determine the level of support for the Treasury
Select Committee’s view that investor confidence and trust in audit
would be enhanced by a prohibition on audit firms conducting
non-audit work for the same company.

PwC Global appoints
sustainability and climate change leader

Malcolm PrestonMalcolm
Preston is the new leader of the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
global sustainability and climate change business.

Preston is also the leader of PwC UK’s
sustainability and climate change practice.

PwC UK has also appointed Celine Herweijer as
the firm’s new director of risk modelling and adaptation

PwC UK chairman and senior partner Ian Powell
said that with the Copenhagen climate change summit fast
approaching, business is waking up to the fact that climate change
is too important to be left to policy makers and government

“PwC is in a unique position to make a
difference,” he said.

PwC plans to work with both public and private
sector clients to identify the threats and opportunities arising
from climate change.

partner rotation rules finalised

The UK Auditing Practices Board has
amended Ethical Standard (ES) 3 Long Association with the Audit
Engagement to allow audit committees to extend the rotation period
for audit partners from five to seven years in certain

When the extension is granted, there must be
clear disclosure in annual reports of the audit committee’s
decision and the reasons for it.

Changes have also been made to the standard in
respect of the rotation period for engagement quality control
reviewers and further guidance has been included on factors
affecting the significance of the threat to independence where
other partners and senior staff are in senior positions for a long
period of time.

ES 3 (Revised) applies for periods beginning
on or after 15 December 2009.

Mid-tier firm promotes 12 senior staff

RSM McGladrey and McGladrey &
Pullen has promoted 12 employees to partner and managing director

Three staff were made tax partners and two
were promoted to managing directors within the tax business. There
are two new consulting partners and one new consulting managing
director. There are also two new partners within the audit,
assurance and provident financial management businesses.

RSM McGladrey president Charles Andrews said
each of these individuals has made significant contributions to the
success of our firm.

“I am confident that they will be strong
leaders and I wish them much success in their new roles as partners
and managing directors,” he said.

The appointments were effective this

KPMG transaction services
leader named

KPMG UK has appointed John Kelly to
lead its transaction services business.

Trained as an integration specialist, Kelly
began at KPMG as a consultant and moved into the transaction
services department in 2002.

“After the dramatic fall in M&A activity
in the last 18 months, we are starting to see the first tentative
signs of cautious optimism,” Kelly said.

“We have already seen one high profile example
of a joint venture in telcos and we expect to see many more,
particularly in sectors such as energy and banking, as companies
look to tap into growth markets in the East and balk at clawing
back M&A premiums.”