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October 30, 2008

Region Round-up

Ernst & Young (E&Y) India has launched a policy advisory group to help clients on taxation, international trade, aviation, defence, trade and commerce, finance and capital markets, and energy… Michael Rudberg has been appointed head of media and entertainment at Ernst & Young UK… US firms PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Ernst & Young (E&Y) have each won contracts to assist the US Treasury Department in the implementation of the Troubled Asset Relief Program as part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act…

Africa, Asia, Oceania

Ernst & Young (E&Y) India has launched a policy advisory group to help clients on taxation, international trade, aviation, defence, trade and commerce, finance and capital markets, and energy. E&Y says the group will assist organisations to anticipate policy changes and assess their impact on clients and the broader community. The group will be led by E&Y India partners Ganesh Raj, Satya Poddar, Utkarsh Palnitkar and Ashvin Parekh.

The Accounting Standards Board of Japan (ASBJ) has refuted claims made by an international newswire that the Japanese government has accepted a recommendation from the ASBJ to ease mark-to-market accounting rules and allow companies to calculate asset values themselves.

The ASBJ told The Accountant that board has recently taken actions to remain in step with the IASB and the FASB but has not moved beyond them. According to the board, on 30 October the government released an economic stimulus package that supports and facilitates the ASBJ’s moves.

• The Ministry for Finance in Singapore and the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority have established a committee to develop the Singaporean accountancy sector. The committee will review the profession and help position Singapore as a leading Asian centre for accountancy services and professionals. Singapore Totalisator Board chairman Bobby Chin has been appointed to chair the committee, which will include 14 other senior representatives from the accounting profession, business community, academia and public sector.

CPA Australia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) in a bid to advance sustainability reporting. The institute has also provided seed funding to the St James Ethics Centre to help establish a GRI base in Australia.

Speaking at CPA keynote sessions, GRI chief executive Ernst Ligteringen stressed the need to build trust through transparency and argued that public disclosure on how organisations are responding to critical issues of the day is essential in order to address sustainability issues. He also described the accounting community as critical in enabling an effective business response to sustainability issues.

• The Arab Society of Certified Accountants in Jordan has issued an updated Arabic version of IFRS. The society has also released a second Arabic edition of IFRS Practical Implementation Guide and Workbook 2008. The guide demonstrates the practical application of IFRS standards using easy explanations and simple examples. It also addresses the challenges faced by an auditor or accountant in applying IFRS and understanding the financial statements prepared under the standards.

• The Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions has issued a revision of its accounting standard on investment.

The standard has been revised with reference to the accounting treatment for unrealised losses resulting from re-measurements at fair value of Islamic financial institutions’ available-for-sale investments in sukuk (Islamic bond) and shares.

The revision will enable those unrealised losses to be recognised in the institutions’ statement of financial position under investment fair value reserves regardless of the balance of such reserves.

Europe

• Michael Rudberg has been appointed head of media and entertainment at Ernst & Young UK. Rudberg has more than ten years of experience in the media and entertainment sector specialising in broadcasting, advertising and music. He moved to the E&Y London office in 2000 after starting his career at E&Y Canada. In his new role, Rudberg will focus on assurance, advisory, tax and transaction services.

Deloitte has appointed two UK partners to leadership roles in the network’s global life sciences and health care industry group. Consulting partner Dean Arnold has been appointed health care sector leader for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. David Jones has been appointed as the financial advisory services leader in the life sciences and health care group. Jones joined the UK firm in 2001 and is also responsible for European wide co-ordination. The life sciences and health care industry group has more than 4,000 Deloitte specialists across 47 countries. Deloitte advises the world’s ten largest pharmaceutical manufacturers, the ten largest biotechnology companies and nine of the ten largest medical equipment manufacturers.

• Former Kreston international member firm Exco Atlantic has joined Ernst & Young’s western regional network. The Nantes-based firm has 45 staff and fee income of €5 million ($6.3 million). The firm provides auditing and consulting for SMEs in the region. The E&Y western region earned a revenue of €21 million in its most recent fiscal year. An E&Y spokesperson said the integration reinforces the firm’s market position. Exco Atlantic’s Jean Gravier said the decision to join the Big Four firm was in response to the firm’s desire to grow its range of services and to accompany them in their international development.

• David Raistrick has been appointed as manufacturing industry leader for Deloitte’s UK and Switzerland firm. Raistrick is a specialist in the automotive sector and leads Deloitte’s indirect tax practice across the UK and Europe. He takes over the role from Jane Lodge, who will continue as lead manufacturing partner for the UK Midlands.

• Morison International UK member Tenon has launched a fund management business. Tenon Capital Management Limited (TenonCap) will invest capital in distressed businesses with revenues of between £5 million ($7.8 million) and £30 million that have turnaround potential to capitalise on current economic conditions.

TenonCap chief executive Matthew Bowker said: “Having seen several economic downturns we are greatly aware of the opportunities they can produce. We believe we are well placed to identify the best opportunities and to achieve successful turnarounds and profitable exits for our investors.”

Tenon is an adviser in the UK recovery sector with 40 directors and 320 staff across 30 offices in the country.

• Paul Lavercome has been appointed as a tax partner at BDO Stoy Hayward’s Gatwick office. Lavercome will be focused on developing the firm’s local property sector practice and supporting the corporate financial team.

• Tim Ferris has been appointed tax partner at BDO Stoy Hayward. Ferris has joined the firm’s eastern region business tax team from Grant Thornton’s international tax group.

Prior to this, he worked for Deloitte. In his new role, Ferris will provide practical and commercial tax advice to a wide range of companies, including those with international operations and businesses in the technology media and telecoms sector.

• David Alexander has been appointed director of the forensic services team at UK firm Smith & Williamson. Alexander has 20 years of experience in forensic accounting and previously worked for Ernst & Young and KPMG. He most recently ran his own forensic accounting firm based in Birmingham.

Smith & Williamson forensic services leader Doug Hall commented: “Alexander joins us to lead our fraud and investigations team which, working closely with our forensic technology specialists, will take advantage of the growing opportunities in this market by providing a holistic investigations service. He will also strengthen our forensic services team in the recently opened Smith & Williamson Birmingham office.”

North America, Latin America

• US firms PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Ernst & Young (E&Y) have each won contracts to assist the US Treasury Department in the implementation of the Troubled Asset Relief Program as part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act.

The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act provided the US Treasury with the authority and ability to purchase up to $700 billion of troubled assets. The programme was designed to boost liquidity and confidence in capital markets and create opportunities for current holders of troubled assets and those looking to acquire such assets.

Treasury said the two firms will help with the accounting and internal controls services required to administer the complex portfolio of troubled assets the department will purchase, including whole loans and mortgage backed securities. PwC will help establish a sound internal control system and E&Y will provide general accounting support and expert accounting advice. The initial orders are worth $191,469 and $492,007 respectively. The two firms were selected from 12 applicants. The two agreements last until 30 September 2011.

• Gordon Krater is to take over as managing partner of Praxity member Plante & Moran. Krater’s term as managing partner begins on 1 July 2009, when the firm’s current managing partner, Bill Hermann, concludes eight years as leader. Plante & Moran claims to be the 12th largest certified public accounting and business advisory firm in the country. The firm has 1,600 staff in 18 offices in the US, Mexico and China. As group managing partner in charge of the firm’s industry groups, Krater is to co-ordinate and oversee client service growth and people development directed at industry specialisation and customisation. He has also led several mergers with accounting and consulting niche practices.

Deloitte US has appointed David Williams as chief executive and Kerry Francis as chairman of the firm’s financial advisory services practice. Williams, who will replace current chief executive Frank Piantidosi, has worked at the firm for seven years. He has held various leadership roles within advisory and forensic and dispute services.

Francis is the leader of the organisation’s national corporate investigations practice and previously served as regional managing partner of Deloitte’s Northern Pacific region.

Grant Thornton US has launched an economic crisis resource centre to help companies find opportunities created by the US government’s bailout. The mid-tier firm’s new resource centre will provide services including corporate advisory and restructuring, corporate finance, forensic accounting, fraud and investigations, valuations, litigation and dispute consulting, forensic technology services, transaction advisory services, internal controls testing and tax planning and considerations.

• US finance and accounting staff can expect average salary increases of 3.4 percent, according to new research from Robert Half International. The recruiter’s annual salary survey found companies were showing the most interest in employing professionals who could help their firms reduce inefficiencies and enhance profitability. Those who were familiar with IFRS were also sought after. Starting salaries for staff accountants at large companies (more than $250 million in sales) who have one to three years of experience, for example, were projected to range from $44,500 to $57,250. Starting salaries for senior accountants in tax services at small public accounting firms (less than $25 million in sales) were forecast to range from $54,000 to $69,250.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada has acquired retail advisory firm Karabus Management. The combination brings opportunities for both companies to expand their retail consulting capabilities and assist retailers to improve their business performance. Under the agreement, Karabus will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of PwC. Karabus will continue to be led by its founder and chief executive Antony Karabus.

• US firm RSM McGladrey has promoted three senior staff members to managing director roles: Lisa Brock in financial services, Dominic DuBois in audit and Gabe Massuda in the tax practice. Brock has 15 years of experience in public accounting and audit within the financial services industry. DuBois has more than ten years of experience in public accounting and auditing within commercial real estate, construction, wholesale distribution and technology companies. He also provides assurance services to portfolio companies owned by private equity groups in various industries. Massuda has more than 25 years of experience providing tax services to large companies in the real estate, manufacturing, distribution, online university and health care industries.

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