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April 30, 2008

Region round-up

Region round-up

Asia-Pacific

• Nanjing University has won first place in the Deloitte China tax championship 2007. The competition saw participation from 47 universities in the greater China region. The championship aims to nurture the interests of students studying tax and help improve the knowledge of the next generation of tax professionals. Alan Tsoi, chairman of the championship organising committee, said: “Through the championship, students achieved a deeper understanding of the tax regime and greater awareness of the latest tax issues.”

Malaysia’s Securities Commission has revised the country’s corporate governance code in a bid to strengthen its framework and ensure it is aligned to other globally accepted best practices. The newly revised code supersedes the previous code issued in March 2000. Furthermore, it contains amendments aimed at strengthening the roles and responsibilities of boards of directors and audit committees to ensure they discharge their duties effectively.

• A decision to adopt a single online breach reporting system for dual-regulated institutions has been welcomed by Deloitte Australia as another step towards reducing red tape for superannuation funds. The discussion paper, entitled ‘Streamline Breach Reporting’, released by both the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, proposes eradicating the requirement for jointly regulated institutions to provide separate breach reports for the same incident to both regulators.

• Former Victorian state Premier Steve Bracks has been appointed to the KPMG Australia advisory board. Bracks was one of the longest-serving leaders of Australia’s second most populous state. He will provide strategic advice and guidance to KPMG’s national board and management team. On the appointment, KPMG national chairman Michael Andrew commented: “Clients will benefit from his deep knowledge of how government works and from his insights into strategic issues facing governments, particularly in the area of reform of Commonwealth/state relations and traditional public services.” Bracks becomes the second former state Premier to join the firm. Former Western Australia leader Richard Court is also on the board.

• Ethical conduct, continued professional education and issues to be taken into account when reporting on financial statements were among the topics discussed at a recent seminar held by the Mongolian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (MonICPA). About 50 branch office leaders attended the seminar, which was concluded with a speech from MonICPA president L Dondog. Dondog’s presentation focused on strategies to expand on the activities of the institute’s local branches.

• An Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia survey has found 43 percent of young Australian accountants intend to travel overseas in the next two years. The results reveal that those surveyed from Victoria want to travel overseas more than any other state and those in South Australia are least likely to travel.

Africa, Middle East, South Asia

• South Africa experienced almost 30 percent more economic crime than the global average, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 2007 global economic crime survey. Louis Strydom, of PricewaterhouseCoopers South Africa, said the biennial survey of 5,400 global companies (including 103 South African companies) revealed 72 percent of respondents in South Africa have experienced this form of crime in the past two years. This compares with 43 percent that experienced economic crime globally. South Africa companies reported an average of 23 incidents each in the past two years (compared to the global average of eight incidents), an increase of 110 percent since 2005. South African firms were more intent on prosecuting this type of crime than their global peers, with 64 percent taking criminal action compared to 50 percent globally.

• A keynote address from a Harvard Business School professor will be one of the draw cards at a global management accounting summit in New Delhi, India from 10 to 12 January next year. Robert Kaplan, who is Baker Foundation professor at Harvard Business School and co-creator of the balanced scorecard, will be speaking at the event along with other management accounting experts. The summit is being organised by the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India to discuss the strategic repositioning of management accounting.

• South Africa has become the first country in the world to formally adopt the International Accounting Standards Board’s (IASB) proposed IFRS for SMEs. The decision to approve the controversial standard was supported by the nation’s Accounting Practices Board and administratively by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA). The exact form of the standard will be incorporated as a Statement of GAAP for SMEs in South Africa. SAICA executive president Ignatius Sehoole said the new statement will reduce the reporting burden on SMEs.

• Mussa Asaad has been elected as the chairman of the Tanzanian National Board of Accountants and Auditors. Asaad, who is a senior lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, will serve in the post for three years.

• The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has made technology competence a prerequisite for new members. From 2008, every ICAN graduate is expected to acquire IT skills under the institute’s technology competence initiative (TCI) or show proof of such competence before he or she can be inducted. The TCI programme will cover modules on computer fundamentals, use of accounting packages, audit software and professional technology competence.

• The Institute of Chartered Accountants in India (ICAI) has unveiled the make-up of its disciplinary committee and disciplinary board. ICAI president Sunil Talati is the presiding officer of both bodies. Joining him on the disciplinary board are ICAI council member Rajkumar Adukia and Indian government nominee Suman Kumar Nayak. Other members of the committee include council members S Santhanakrishnan and Abhijit Bandyopadhyay, and government choices RK Handoo and MP Lohia.

EuropeKPMG UK has recruited Brian Dilley as a partner within its anti-money laundering (AML) and financial services practice. He joins KPMG from UBS Investment Bank where he spent three years as a managing director and global head of AML compliance. Dilley has more than ten years of financial crime experience. Prior to joining UBS, he spent four years at the UK Financial Services Authority, where he was head of department in its enforcement division.

Mazars has expanded into the Channel Islands by combining with Moores Rowland Jersey, a former member firm of Moores Rowland International. The firm will be known as Mazars Channel Islands. The Jersey team will be led by former Moores Rowland Jersey partners Adam Budworth and Jason Lees-Baker. Budworth commented: “Mazars’s integrated model, strong international presence – notably in the financial services sector – and commitment to growth were key factors in the decision to join forces.”

• UK firm Haysmacintyre has announced the appointment of its new managing partner. Simon Wilks, a previous partner and a member of the managerial team for a number of years, will replace Bernie Watson, who stands down after seven years. Haysmacintyre is a member of MSI Legal and Accounting Network Worldwide.

• Scottish firm Scott-Moncrieff has admitted Bernadette Higgins and Graham Scrimgeour to its partnership. The Moore Stephens International member firm now has 23 partners. Scrimgeour specialises in the audit of commercial and financial services clients as well as advising on technical accounting, internal control, corporate governance and risk management. Higgins is an expert in the audit of commercial businesses and advises a variety of market sectors, including manufacturing, construction and retail.

PricewaterhouseCoopers France (PwC) has launched a training course for women in leadership roles within the structure of its Women in PwC programme. The Women Survival Course has been developed specifically for PwC and its associated law firm, Landwell. Sixty-four women have signed up for the course, in which groups of eight participants will take part in a day of study, then half a day of practical study. The Big Four firm said the aim of the course is to open the eyes of women to leadership opportunities at the heart of a culture that is dominated by men. Areas of training will include conflict management, exercising influence and relationship and behavioural aspects.

• David Maxwell, Grant Thornton UK’s national management board partner, has been elected as chairman of the Forum of Firms. The forum was established in 2001 as part of the structure of the International Federation of Accountants. It aims to promote IFRS and IAS and encourage consistently high quality standards of financial reporting and audits worldwide.

North America, Latin America • The US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) has approved amendments regarding the inspection frequency for firms that do not regularly issue audit reports. The board adopted two amendments to PCAOB Rule 4003, which eliminate the requirement that the board regularly inspect each registered public accounting firm that plays a ‘substantial role’ in audits but does not issue audit reports. At present, more than 800 registered firms fall into that category under the terms of the amended rule. The amendments will be submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission for approval.

• IGAF US member firm Singer Lewak Greenbaum & Goldstein (SLGG) has admitted two new partners. Rachel Rico has worked in public accounting since 1995 when she joined SLGG in the assurance and advisory department. Harmeet Singh is a member of the firm’s assurance and advisory and securities industry practice group. SLGG was founded in 1959 and is based in Los Angeles. The firm has more than 235 employees, including 31 partners.

• The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants has launched a new website that focuses on the country’s upcoming transition to IFRS. The new website is part of an effort to ensure a smooth and effective transition from Canadian GAAP to International Standards on Auditing for periods after 15 December 2009. The website will assist members’ transition from Canadian GAAP to IFRS for publicly accountable enterprises for periods beginning on or after 1 January 2011 and also assist them to adapt to a new strategy for Financial Reporting by Private Enterprises.

• Tennessee-based firm Petty and Landis has combined with US Leading Edge Alliance member Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain (LBMC). The strategic move forms a new Chattanooga presence for LBMC, one of Tennessee’s largest regional firms. Petty & Landis was formed in 1966 and offers traditional audit, accounting, management consulting and tax services. Its addition means LBMC now employs more than 400 people in offices in Knoxville, Nashville and Chattanooga.

• The US Securities and Exchange Commission has named former Ernst & Young US partner Paul Beswick as a senior adviser to the commission’s chief accountant. In this role, Beswick is to advise chief accountant Conrad Hewitt on complex accounting and auditing matters, and will assist in the development of strategic objectives as part of Office of Chief Accountant’s agenda. Hewitt commented: “[Beswick’s] background in standard setting at the [Financial Accounting Standards Board], and his role at Ernst & Young, where he participated in the audit of several large multinational corporations and in a consultative role on complex technical matters, will be invaluable in serving the interest of investors.”

• The first female signal soldier to achieve the rank of major general in the US army has joined Deloitte US as a senior manager. Marilyn Quagliotti, who is also a former vice director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, has joined the Big Four firm’s federal government services practice. Deloitte federal government services practice managing director Gene Procknow said Quagliotti’s “deep understanding of the defence community and its information technology needs, in particular, will make her a significant asset to our practice”.

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