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April 30, 2008

Region round-up

• Australian Stock Exchange-listed Horwath International member WHK Group has announced three new acquisitions…

Deloitte Hong Kong has published a practical guide to financial reporting…

Ernst & Young (E&Y) Bahrain has admitted three new partners…

• German firm BDO Deutsche Warentreuhand has appointed 12 new partners…

Asia-Pacific • Australian Stock Exchange-listed Horwath International member WHK Group has announced three new acquisitions. The largest acquisition is accounting and financial planning firm Evans & Metcalfe, which is based in Ballarat, Victoria, and reported revenue of about A$2.2 million ($2 million) in 2007. WHK Horwath Sydney has appointed former PKF partner Genevieve Yan-Colebourn, acquiring A$1.5 million in annual accounting fees in the process. The third acquisition is a financial broking business operating in central-west New South Wales, which will merge with Dubbo-based firm WHK Darcy Kennedy.

• Australian mid-tier firms BDO Kendalls and Grant Thornton Australia came out in front of the Big Four in terms of the number of Australian Stock Exchange initial public offerings (IPOs) they worked on in 2007. According to a report from stock exchange researcher Connect 4, BDO was involved with 31 floats, Grant Thornton 23, KPMG 21, Ernst & Young 19 and Price¬waterhouseCoopers (PwC) 17. The Big Four dominated the larger listings. The total amount sought by PwC clients was A$3 billion and KPMG clients sought $A1.4 billion. By comparison, BDO clients sought a total of A$381.4 million and Grant Thornton clients sought A$332.6 million. A total of 277 IPOs was announced in 2007 – a 42 percent increase on the previous year.

Deloitte Hong Kong has published a practical guide to financial reporting. The book, which contains more than 2,000 pages, provides an outline of current accounting standards in context of the regulatory and economic environment of Hong Kong. Deloitte China partner Stephen Taylor said: “The harmonisation with International Financial Reporting Standards in 2005 represented a major challenge for preparers with a ‘big bang’ adoption of standards resulting in significant changes in accounting policy and disclosure requirements.”

• The Australian National Institute of Accountants (NIA) has called on the federal government to consider an A$2,000 voucher training scheme to help female accounting professionals update their skills and re-enter the work force. NIA chief executive Roger Cotton said addressing the skills shortage is an “economic issue of fundamental importance”.   • KPMG Australia has appointed two new senior IT professionals to its leadership team. Bob Hayward joined KPMG at the beginning of January and Peter Mercieca will be joining in May. Hayward is an internationally recognised information communication technology (ICT) expert who has set up, grown and managed several successful ICT businesses across Asia-Pacific, KPMG said. Mercieca is a global consultant to the information, communication and entertainment industry.

• Climate change, skills shortage and superannuation are three important economic issues the Australian government should consider when developing the 2008-2009 federal budget, according to CPA Australia. Among its recommendations, CPA Australia wants the government to fund the development of water accounting standards.

CPA Associates International has admitted two new member firms in Asia. They are Tam Viet Auditing in Vietnam, and Thomas, Lesmana, Henky & Rekan in Indonesia.

Africa, Middle East, South AsiaErnst & Young (E&Y) Bahrain has admitted three new partners, increasing the number of partners in its Bahrain office to 11. They are Sameer Abdi, head of E&Y’s global Islamic financial services group, Srikant Ranganathan, the director of technology security and risk services, and Fawad Laique, former executive manager in audit and advisory banking services.

• The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and French regulator Autorité des Marchés Financiers have announced terms of co-operation and collaboration to promote fair, efficient and transparent capital markets in India and France. The agreement follows an arrangement SEBI entered into recently with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The two authorities will promote mutual regulatory understanding, exchange information as well as develop an annual co-operation programme.

• The Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan has asked members and other stakeholders for comments on the third revised edition of its cost audit handbook. The handbook is intended to provide detailed guidance to the members of the institute in maintaining proper cost accounting records and conducting cost audit in accordance with the Companies (Audit of Cost Accounts) Rules, 1998. Comments must be received by 31 March 2008.

• The Tanzanian National Board of Accountants and Auditors has announced new members of its governing board committees. Mussa Assad will be chairman of the executive committee, Yona Killagane will be chairperson of both the audit and technical services committees, and Dominicus Kasilo will be chairperson of the education and publications committee. Their positions commenced on 18 January 2008.

Ernst & Young (E&Y) Saudi Arabia recently held a seminar in Jeddah to update new tax laws applicable to all businesses in the country. Organised by E&Y managing partner Sami Farah, it revealed Saudi Arabia has recently signed 17 tax treaties in response to booming oil prices and a World Trade Organization agreement. Five of these treaties have already come into force. Some 150 senior executives, prominent bankers and accountants attended the seminar. E&Y has been operating in Saudi Arabia since 1967 and has offices in Jeddah, Riyadh and Alkhobar.

RSM International member firms in the Middle East and North Africa recently met to discuss the region’s business challenges, increasing needs of international clients and growth opportunities. Managing partners from Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Kuwait, Jordan, Iran, Lebanon, Yemen and Saudi Arabia attended the Dubai meeting. Dahman Awadh Dahman, managing partner of Dubai member firm Dahman & Co, said: “The Middle East is a hugely exciting and fertile economic region and we need to be able to effectively and completely service clients with interests here.”

Europe • Simon Michaels will be the new managing partner of BDO Stoy Hayward when the UK firm’s current boss, Jeremy Newman, becomes the BDO International chief executive in October. The announcement follows a formal election process held this month. Michaels is currently the head of the firm’s business restructuring line and is on the firm’s risk management committee. He has been at BDO Stoy Hayward since 1987 and became a partner in 1999.

• German firm BDO Deutsche Warentreuhand has appointed 12 new partners. The firm, which has 27 offices around Germany, said the addition of the new partners will help fuel growth. BDO board representative Christian Dyckerhoff said: “Expanding the circle of partners is a central pillar for our company’s continuous growth and lasting success on the auditing and tax consultancy services market. Expansion of staff and professional expertise will give additional impetus for the dynamic development of our company.”

Grant Thornton UK continues to audit the largest number of companies in the UK’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) although rivals are closing in on the mid-tier firm, according to financial research company Hemscott. Grant Thornton audited 215 AIM-listed clients in the latest quarterly survey, although the firm added no new clients. Second-placed KPMG UK added six clients in the past quarter to bring its total to 190 clients. BDO Stoy Hayward followed with 145 clients, gaining three clients. KPMG audits the largest number of FTSE AIM 100 clients – 22. Grant Thornton has the largest number of AIM-listed consumer goods and services, technology and industrials clients, while KPMG leads the financial and healthcare sectors.

Deloitte UK has appointed a new partner to work within its debt advisory practice department. Fenton Burgin has more than 20 years’ banking experience, advising both private and public companies on debt capital markets in the UK and continental Europe. The firm has also expanded its environmental, health and safety team through the appointment of due diligence specialist James Holley.

• Leading Edge Alliance member firm Streets has announced it intends to acquire Whitmarsh Sterland, a UK firm with more than 50 years’ experience serving clients across East Anglia. The new firm will have 21 partners and almost 200 staff. It will operate as Streets Whitmarsh Sterland in some areas.

• UK mid-tier firm Cooper Parry has appointed Rob Bennett as a transaction services associate. His role will involve working on due diligence projects. Bennett has previously worked at Ernst & Young UK.

Saffery Champness (SC), a UK member of Nexia International, has recruited a new executive partner. Jonathan Fox joins SC after a 20-year career spanning a variety of executive management positions. Fox’s new responsibilities will include developing and implementing SC’s business plan and managing its infrastructure and support systems. 

 North America, Latin America • Kreston International US member firm CBIZ has reported revenue of $643.9 million for 2007 – an increase of almost 10 percent on the previous year. Same-unit revenue for the year increased by almost 8 percent, while newly acquired operations, net of divestitures, contributed $11.7 million. The New York Stock Exchange-listed firm also reported revenue of $155.6 million for the quarter ended 31 December 2007.

Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) Dispute Analysis and Forensic Services has recruited Holly Clack as a senior director. Clack’s role is to assist clients and counsels involved in complex commercial disputes, and investigate allegations of fraud, embezzlement and financial reporting irregularities. Bill Abington of A&M Dispute Analysis and Forensic Services commented: “[Clack] has worked with clients ranging in size from start-ups to large international companies across a range of industries, to solve complex disputes and investigations.” Clack is a former PricewaterhouseCoopers US director within advisory services.

• US Leading Edge Alliance member firm Marcum & Kliegman has admitted Alan Markowitz as a partner in the audit department of its New York office. Markowitz was previously a partner at a regional accounting firm where he served US Securities and Exchange Commission-listed clients and advised them on capital raising strategies. He is also experienced in developing continuing professional education programmes for staff and clients.

Deloitte Financial Advisory Services has expanded its services to include the issuance of fairness opinions. A fairness opinion addresses the consideration to be received in an applicable transaction.

• A former principal and managing director of KPMG Consulting has agreed to pay $80,000 to settle charges brought against him by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The commission charged Larry Rodda with assisting in a fraud orchestrated by senior officers at Peregrine Systems, a San Diego software company, in a 2004 civil case. Rodda knowingly signed four false software license agreements that allowed Peregrine to improperly record about $22 million in revenue. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and falsification of the books, records and accounts of a public corporation. Rodda has been sentenced to six months in prison, six months of home detention and two years of supervised release.

BKD Corporate Finance has opened a new office in Denver. The new office will extend the regional capabilities of the firm’s existing services.

CBIZ has acquired all the assets of multi-lines insurance agency NAIS. NAIS recorded $2.1 million in revenues in 2007 and has 25 employees. CBIZ chairman Steven Gerard said: “We are excited to welcome NAIS’s talented team to CBIZ. Their expertise and nationally recognised programmes in this fast-growing industry will be an excellent complement to CBIZ’s insurance services.”

• US firm Kresge Platt & Abare has joined the mid-tier association CPA Associates International.

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