Asia – Pacific
• Ernst & Young has launched its people development framework ‘EYU’ across 15 countries and territories in the Far East. The framework will provide training and coaching to professional and support staff across all parts of the organisation, including assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services. The programme offers a competency-based global learning curriculum, balanced with local content, classroom and web-based learning, as well as learning through planned experiences. Ernst & Young Greater China people leader Loletta Chow said: “Clearly we are operating in a competitive market for skilled people in Greater China and across the region. Identifying and developing talent and future leaders in the Far East is a cornerstone of our strategy.”
• PKF International has appointed Stephen Darley as its first chief operating officer for the Asia-Pacific region. Darley has 20 years of professional experience within the region, including his most recent position as partner for RSM Nelson Wheeler in Thailand. He will report to PKF International chair Wolfgang Hofmann and the Asia-Pacific chair Paul Bull.
• The Australian National Institute of Accountants has established four new faculties to provide technical advice, leadership to the accountancy profession and evaluate policy issues in the areas of accounting education, small business, taxation and the public sector. NIA chief executive officer Roger Cotton said the faculties will be chaired by leaders in their chosen field of expertise and be supported by between four and six eminent professionals. “I see these faculties as groups that will provide specialist information and direction to ensure policy and change is well informed,” he said. The four chairs are Beverley Jackling for the faculty of accounting education, Jean Raar for the faculty of small business, Lance Cunningham for taxation and Tyrone Carlin for the public sector.
• The final of a tax competition that challenges university students’ ability to apply their classroom knowledge to solve real business situations will be held in October in Xiamen, China. Eleven universities will compete for honours in the fifth Deloitte China Tax Championship. The competition attracted 270 students from 24 Chinese cities. In the decider, students will be required to analyse a simulated business case, identify key issues and present their solutions to a judging panel comprising senior tax officials, Deloitte clients and Deloitte tax partners.
• The Australian Accounting Standards Board has released Interpretation 15: Agreements for the Construction of Real Estate and Interpretation 16: Hedges of a Net Investment in a Foreign Operation. The interpretations are based on International Financial Reporting Interpretations Committee (IFRIC) 15: Agreements for the Construction of Real Estate and IFRIC 16: Hedges of a Net Investment in a Foreign Operation. Interpretation 15 applies to annual reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2009 while Interpretation 16 applies to annual reporting periods beginning on or after 1 October 2008.
Africa, Middle East, South Asia
•The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan has elected Asad Ali Shah as president for 2008/2009. Shah has been an active member of the institute for seven years. He has experience representing the institute at International Accounting Standards Board’s annual meetings, the United Nations group of experts on accounting and financial reporting, and South Asian Federation of Accountants meetings. Other appointments at the institute include Farrukh Viqaruddin Junaidy as southern vice-president and Rashid Rahman Mir as northern vice-president.
• The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) Sri Lanka division has elected its 36th president. Gowri Shakar becomes the second woman to head the institute in Sri Lanka and the third female president globally. Shankar said her aim is to reinforce the “professional excellence” of CIMA Sri Lanka. She will also focus on launching Islamic finance as a master course.
• The Jordan-based Arab Society of Certified Accountants has published an updated Arabic translation of the Handbook of International Auditing, Assurance and Ethics Pronouncements. The handbook will be sectioned into two parts. Part one includes information about the International Federation of Accountants, the code of ethics, auditing, review and other assurance services. Part two features information about the clarity project of the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board, an amended preface to the international standards on quality control, auditing, review, other assurance related services and five redrafted standards.
• The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan has established a faculty help programme to nurture a more structured relationship between education faculties and registered accounting education tutors. The institute said the programme should help assist students overcome academic issues.
• PricewaterhouseCoopers India, the nation’s largest accounting firm, has released Technology Forecast, an in-depth analysis of how technology trends are affecting business. Originally published as an annual between 1996 and 2003, Technology Forecast is now a quarterly journal. The current edition discusses three emerging themes in technology: IT complexity management; emergence and use of Enterprise Web 2.0; and convergence of business intelligence, business process management and business rules management into one software suite.
• The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) is changing the timing of part one of its qualifying exam (QE1) in an effort to prevent knowledge loss between examinations. The QE1 is currently held in March and results are released in June. From next year, it will be held in January and results will be released in March or April. The shift to January brings the QE1 closer to the Certificate in the Theory of Accounting, which is written in November the prior year. SAICA project director for accounting Mandy Oliver explained: “Evidence suggests that knowledge can be lost, particularly for students who start their training contracts in January, work significant hours immediately thereafter and accordingly may not have enough time to study.”
• A report on the selection and application of accounting policies by UK Alternative Investment Market (AIM)-listed mining companies is being undertaken by PKF UK. The report explores policies since IFRS became effective in 2007. It reviews areas including exploration costs, amortisation and depreciation, functional and presentational currencies, hedging, segmental analysis and business combinations.
• Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) has appointed nine new managing directors and two senior directors as part of its expansion in Europe, the Middle East and India. A&M said demand for business improvement consulting services should help the firm double in size by 2009.
• Ernst & Young Russia has opened a department which provides students with practical knowledge about business maintenance and other areas of the profession at the State University Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia. The department will have facilities for 700 students and offer training programmes, master classes and optional studies. Twenty Ernst & Young specialists in audit, taxation and business advisory services will participate in the programme. Ernst & Young Russia HR director Olga Molina said: “By opening our own department in the Higher School of Economics we have the opportunity to talk directly to students, promote our company and draw the attention of the most talented students.”
• Grant Thornton UK has appointed a new director to head its government and infrastructure advisory team specialising in transport. Simon Bailey had an extensive career working for train operating company Virgin Rail. His experience includes franchise bidding, customer service, and commercial and project management.
• The 2010 Ryder Cup will officially be partnered by KPMG International. The transatlantic golf tournament will be held in South Wales and extends KPMG’s corporate partnership into a third Ryder Cup. KPMG was an official partner at the 2002 Ryder Cup in England and the 2006 Ryder Cup in Ireland. The competition takes place every two years.
• Paul Stewart is the new managing partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers Czech Republic tax practice in Prague. Stewart will lead the tax team providing specialised services such as corporate compliance, international taxation and tax structuring, transfer pricing and M&A. In addition, he will continue his current role as the firm’s tax and legal human capital partner for Central and Eastern Europe.
• A Russian firm has released an updated edition of International GAAP designed to guide professionals through a range of problems involved in applying IFRS. The updated 2008 edition is prepared by the Ernst & Young international financial reporting group and written in Russian. It has more than 800 pages of new material compared to the 2007 edition.
North America, Latin America
• Kreston International has strengthened its Latin American representation with the addition of a new member firm in Mexico. Agustin C Mendoza Contadores Públicos, based in Querétaro, recently left Grant Thornton to join the Kreston International. The firm specialises in tax and consulting services.
• Deloitte US has issued a report strongly urging corporate tax executives to closely monitor other countries’ transition to IFRS, which could have a significant effect on global tax planning. The report, Global Tax Implications of International Financial Reporting Standards, discusses how companies should prepare for the implications of the transition to IFRS in each country they operate.
• Several valuation-related deficiencies were highlighted by the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) during its annual review of KPMG US audits. The watchdog carried out inspections at 24 of the firm’s 90 offices noting lapses in ten separate client audit reports. The deficiencies included failing to sufficiently test the valuation of the issuer’s securities that it considered “hard-to-price”, and failing to determine the fair value of IT hosting services. In response to the inspection report, KPMG said it had performed additional audit procedures and/or supplemented its audit documentation. In other cases, the firm determined that no remediation of any type was necessary. None of the matters identified by the PCAOB required the reissuance of any of its previously issued reports, the firm concluded.
• Deloitte US has appointed David Fornari as the new national managing director of the firm’s energy and resources federal government services practice. Fornari will lead client services for the practice and will play a key role in the development of client-centric programmes, which are designed to assist the largest national and global energy companies address the challenges of competition, convergence and deregulation. The new managing director has more than 30 years of business and management consulting experience. He has also assisted several companies in the utility and energy industries.
• Paul Beswick has been appointed deputy chief accountant at the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Beswick’s role will involve overseeing the activities of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, managing the resolution of audit independence issues and ethical matters, and monitoring standard-setting internationally.
• Wally Gruenes has joined Grant Thornton US as an audit partner and leader of the firm’s distribution practice. Gruenes previously worked for KPMG and brings more than 28 years of experience to the position. In his new role, he will be responsible for leading the consumer and industrial products practice and driving delivery of services to clients with operations in the warehousing, distribution, logistics and transportation of products. National managing partner of the consumer and industrial products practice Jim Maurer said: “Wally’s experience and focus will add to our success in this industry and help address the complex needs of current and future clients.”