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November 19, 2008

Region Round-up

• The Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) has released a discussion paper.. • Deloitte has appointed a new global leader of sovereign wealth services… • Deloitte Netherlands has relinquished another of its regional offices… • Mazars has promoted Jerome Brice to partner within its UK project finance team… • MSI Global Alliance has admitted a new US member firm…

Asia-Pacific

Ernst & Young ShinNihon has launched an IFRS department to strengthen and improve the company’s support system in expectation of future growth in Japanese IFRS-related services. The IFRS department aims to improve the firm’s IFRS service system, strengthen quality management and facilitate responses to the various corporate IFRS needs. This department will operate with a staff of about 600. It will also promote education aimed at helping the firm’s staff develop as IFRS specialists. Japan is due to converge with IFRS by 2011.

Singapore’s Audit Committee Guidance Committee has released a guidebook for audit committees. The guidebook was developed in order to strengthen the corporate governance practices of listed companies in Singapore. It will be distributed to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority and the Singapore Exchange.

PricewaterhouseCoopers China (PwC) has released guidance aimed at tackling forthcoming internal control regulations. The Basic Standard for Enterprise Internal Control was jointly launched on 28 June 2008 by the Chinese Ministry of Finance, the National Audit Office and three of the country’s industry regulators. The standard will become effective from 1 July 2009. PwC’s guidance provides a brief overview of the key requirements of the new regulation including internal environment, risk assessment, control activities, information and communication, and internal monitoring.

The Accounting Standards Board of Japan (ASBJ) is seeking comments on an exposure draft entitled Tentative Solution on Reclassification of Debt Securities. The ASBJ said it has received questions on the reclassification of debt securities since the International Accounting Standards Board issued reclassification amendments to IAS 39 and IFRS 7 in October. The new draft, which is only available in Japanese, was released following deliberations by the Japanese standard setter at its meeting on 12 November.

• The New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA) has signed an agreement that will ease access for New Zealanders to reciprocal membership with several professional accountancy bodies. The agreement renewed reciprocal agreements with chartered accountancy bodies in England and Wales, Scotland, Australia, South Africa and Hong Kong. NZICA members will be able to join these institutes – and vice versa – directly upon application. Access to reciprocal membership was previously dependent upon applicants passing a qualifying aptitude test in local tax and law.

• The Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) has released a discussion paper addressing the inconsistent accounting treatments for particular types of intangible assets. Currently, accounting standards treat intangible assets acquired as part of a business acquisition differently from the same kind of intangible assets that are internally generated. The discussion paper, authored by staff of the AASB, with the encouragement and support of the group of National Standard Setters, is intended to encourage the International Accounting Standards Board to undertake a review of current accounting standards relating to intangible assets.

Africa, Middle East, South Asia

• Internal audit specialist Robert Beattie has been appointed director of the Ernst & Young Europe, Middle East, India and Africa region financial services business. Beattie previously worked as the head of internal audit for British Energy and has worked in the profession for 22 years. In his new role, Beattie will be responsible for developing the financial services internal audit division, working closely with colleagues in the UK and across Europe.

Deloitte has appointed a new global leader of sovereign wealth services and released a report delivering guidance on the recently released set of generally accepted principles and practices for sovereign wealth funds (SWF), known as the Santiago Principles.

Frank Dubas will co-ordinate the firm’s delivery of audit, advisory and other professional services to the special-purpose investment funds. The Deloitte report aims to show that laws, regulations and guidelines, such as the Santiago Principles, are an important step in clarifying the standing of SWF in global capital markets.

SWFs have been created by many Middle Eastern governments, as well as China, Russia, Norway and some South East Asian governments.

Deloitte global tourism, hospitality and leisure industry leader Alex Kyriakidis is to transfer from London to the Middle East. The firm said his experience in supporting clients deal with three recessions over the past 30 years would help the region navigate through the global recession. Deloitte chairman John Connolly said the Middle East has one of the fastest-growing real estate, tourism, hospitality and leisure infrastructure sectors globally, representing about 12 percent of the region’s GDP.

“Alex’s global expertise will help clients with our range of industry-led services to support them in navigating the challenging global environment ahead,” Connolly added.

• The Arab Society of Certified Accountants (ASCA) has issued an Arabic translation of the most recent Handbook of International Public Sector Accounting Standards. The guide consists of standards issued by the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board. The institute has also introduced a certified technician qualification. Arab Certified Accounting Technician holders will become members of ASCA and will be qualified for the Arab Certified Public Accountant examinations, ASCA chair Talal Abu-Ghazaleh said.

• The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has begun training 12 Mongolian accountants in IFRS and English. The training is a result of a memorandum of discussion on bilateral co-operation, signed by the ICAI and the Mongolian Institute of Certified Public Accountants in September 2006 to promote mutual interest between the two institutes.

Since the agreement, ICAI has provided training in IFRS to eight delegates from Mongolia in November 2007 and 10 delegates in April this year. The IFRS and English course will continue until late January 2009.

Europe

Deloitte Netherlands has relinquished another of its regional offices as part of an ongoing centralisation strategy. The Barneveld-based practice, which has 14 employees, has been sold and will now operate as Cooster. Deloitte is the largest professional services firm in the Netherlands and for more than a year has been centralising operations into offices offering the firm’s full range of services.

Mazars has promoted Jerome Brice to partner within its UK project finance team to lead the firm’s growing financial model assurance business. Stephen Fuller has been recruited from Ernst & Young as a director and will take responsibility for infrastructure tax. The appointments follow an increase in project advisory and financial model audit assignments across Europe, the firm said.

• Walter Bickel and Gerald Corbae have been appointed managing directors of Alvarez & Marsal Deutschland. Bickel and Corbae will help to develop the performance improvement business in Germany, an area where the global firm said it is facing strong demand due to the recent economic downturn. Bickel was previously the executive director at risk consulting company Kroll Talbot Hughes Germany. Corbae has more than 10 years of experience in turnaround and performance improvement and was previously a partner at the London office of management consultancy Droege & Comp.

Grant Thornton UK maintained its lead as auditor of the most UK Alternative Investment Market-listed clients despite a loss of three clients, according to the latest Hemscott quarterly auditor rankings. The mid-tier firm’s total dropped to 225, ahead of KPMG UK and BDO Stoy Hayward, who remain in second and third place with 188 and 141 clients respectively. The update was based on data to 10 October 2008.

• UK-based KPMG Forensic has acquired specialist communication consultancy GOS Consulting Limited. GOS Consulting formed in 2001 and provides specialised economic and strategic consultancy services in the communications and new media sector for companies, governments and regulators.

Deloitte UK has strengthened its debt advisory practice with the appointment of Tim Armstrong as a director and Floris Hovingh as an associate director. Armstrong joins from global financial services firm Morgan Stanley and Hovingh previously worked with UK bank HBOS.

James Douglas, head of the firm’s debt advisory practice, said: “The market is experiencing an unprecedented period of upheaval, and businesses are looking to re-evaluate their debt provisions and requirements. Accordingly, we are strengthening our team.”

• Issues related to IFRS implementation by companies from Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States were addressed at a recent conference in Moscow. Key topics, including recent trends and regulation, were discussed at the event, which was organised by Ernst & Young Russia and the International Accounting Standards Board.

North America, Latin America

CPA Associates International has admitted new members firms from Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and the United States. The association’s South American additions include Alliance Auditoria Contabile Empresarial of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and MAP Auditores Independentes of Sao Paulo. SPA Consultores of Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, has also joined as well as Guatemalan firm Garcia, Juarez & Asociados. The three North American firms include ELLS CPAs and Business Advisors of Santa Ana, California; Fiske & Company of Plantation, Florida; and Thomas, Wilson, Ragusa, Uffman & Co. of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

• US firm Spector & Associates has merged with accounting and business consulting firm Burr Pilger Mayer (BPM). Spector & Associates provides tax and estate planning services to a range of individuals, partnerships, corporations, trusts and exempt organisations. BPM’s Palo Alto office has taken on three partners from Spector & Associates and nine employees, increasing the firm to eight partners and more than 50 staff.

Meanwhile, BPM has announced it will be opening its fifth Bay Area office in Novato in Marin County in December. With more than 350 employees, the Leading Edge Alliance member firm is the largest regional accounting firm in Northern California.

Baker Tilly US member firm Habif, Arogeti & Wynne (HA&W), based in Atlanta, has combined with local firm Tauber & Balser (T&B). Approximately 60 T&B staff will join HA&W, bringing the combined staff numbers to more than 350. HA&W managing partner Dan Simms said the additions extends the firm’s range of expertise in forensic accounting, litigation support and serving Securities and Exchange Commission-registered companies.

• Kenneth Weixel has been appointed as the US managing partner of audit and enterprise risk services for the Deloitte health sciences and government industry group. He will play a key role in organising more than 1,000 professionals providing external audit, internal audit and enterprise risk services to health science and government clients.

MSI Global Alliance has admitted a new US member firm. KBST&M has eight partners and is based in Timonium, Maryland. It provides audit, accounting and tax services, as well as wealth management, management advisory services, business valuation and information technology consulting.

• A former US congressman has been appointed director of the Deloitte US federal government services practice. Tom Davis will advise Deloitte’s clients on major trends, opportunities and challenges facing the federal government, with a focus on technology innovation and government transformation. Davis has 29 years of public service experience.

• Charles Postal has been appointed as the North America area co-ordinator for mid-tier association MGI. Postal is the managing partner of Washington DC-based accounting firm Santos Postal. In his new role, Postal will serve as the main point of communications between local area members, the association’s governance committees and the international secretariat.

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