Region round-up

Asia-Pacific

• The Malaysian Institute of
Accountants
has held its 2007 regional conference with the
objective of developing the understanding of business, accounting
and finance professionals on key developments in the Iskandar
Development Region, which is the new main southern development
corridor in Johor. The aim of the conference was to provide advice
on the development of effective strategies to enhance regional
development.

Deloitte Australia is launching a production
pilot of eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) for the
preparation of financial reports for a selection of middle market
clients. Deloitte Digital chief executive Peter Williams said he
expects the XBRL-based solutions currently being developed will
“deliver huge cost savings” for business, regulators and
government. “It’s a big pilot but we need scale to convince our
stakeholders that this is a worthwhile investment,” he said. “We
needed to almost get in ‘harm’s way’ by testing just how far XBRL
can revolutionise the way the financial reporting community use
financial information.”

• The Australian government has proposed changes to the thin
capitalisation rules in income tax legislation in an attempt to
address what it called the “adverse impacts” of the adoption of the
Australian equivalents to IFRS (AIFRS). Differences between AIFRS
and the former Australian GAAP resulted in the thin capitalisation
positions of some entities being substantially affected. The
government has implemented a transitional period during which
entities can elect to use either AIFRS or Australian GAAP to make
thin capitalisation calculations. The transitional period will
begin to expire from 31 December 2008.

• Filipino certified public accountant firm Diaz Murillo
Dalupan and Company
(DMD) has promoted four senior
employees to full partnership. Arnulfo Romero and Bethuel Tanupan
have been named partners in the tax and corporate services
division. Romero joined the firm in 2005 as a tax director; prior
to that he was chief of the tax fraud division at the Philippines
Bureau of Internal Revenue. Tanupan was an academic and was once
the youngest chairman of the Department of Accountancy at the Cebu
Institute of Technology. Jozel Francisco Santos and Rowie Evacitas
have been made partners in the audit and business assurance
division. DMD has been a member of the Leading Edge Alliance since
March.

Deloitte China has become a sponsor of China’s
first global business journalism programme that launches at
Tsinghua University this month. Deloitte said the goal of the
initiative is to create a new generation of business journalists
able to produce insightful, balanced coverage of China’s markets
and the global economy. The Big Four firm joins Merrill Lynch, the
John S and James L Knight Foundation and Bloomberg as founding
sponsors. This initiative is part of Deloitte’s long-term
commitment to China. Deloitte China expects to increase its
headcount in the country from the current 7,000 to 10,000 by
2010.

KPMG Malaysia celebrated its second annual
community day recently. More than 900 of the firm’s staff were
deployed throughout the Klang Valley to support a range of
community activities. This year’s focus was preserving the
environment.

Africa, Middle East, South Asia

Deloitte Middle East and Deloitte South
Africa
have joined forces to create a Middle East
technologies practice. Based in Dubai, Deloitte said the practice
will enable it to capitalise on specialist industry knowledge and
large technology project experience in one of the fastest growing
enterprise resource planning implementation markets in the world.
This new venture builds on recent success in the United Arab
Emirates and will now gear up to support clients as well as new
projects in the Middle East.

KPMG East Africa has admitted four new partners.
Philip Muema has been admitted as a tax partner. He was a senior
tax manager and his areas of specialisation include assisting
clients in setting up operations in Kenya. Benson Ndung’u has been
admitted as an audit partner and will be responsible for the KPMG
Uganda practice. Ndung’u was previously the resident director at
KPMG Uganda. David Leahy, who joined from Qatar Petroleum, has been
appointed as a partner in the advisory services with particular
responsibility for internal audit services. Jacob Gathecha has been
admitted as an audit partner in the KPMG Kenya practice.

• A total of 171 new cases of alleged improper conduct from
chartered accountants (CAs) in South Africa was opened during 2006,
the South African Institute of Chartered
Accountants
(SAICA) has said. SAICA project director for
ethics and discipline Jan Dijkman said that while the number is
marginally higher than in 2005, “improprieties remain minuscule”
compared to the more than 26,000 registered CAs in South Africa.
Dijkman said many of the cases related to minor complaints, such as
failing to respond to correspondence, or the late rendition of tax
returns. The statistic was released by the joint disciplinary
process run by the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors and
SAICA.

Kemp Chatteris Deloitte, the Mauritian member of
Deloitte Global, is holding an IFRS update on 15 to 16 October
2007. The seminar will put emphasis on new standards such as IFRS 7
Financial Instruments – Disclosures and IFRS 8 Operating Segments.
There will also be a focus on amendments to existing standards and
new International Financial Reporting Interpretations Committee
interpretations. The facilitators will be Deloitte South Africa
financial institutions partner Hugh Harrison, who has been involved
with the US Financial Accounting Standards Board, and Deloitte
South Africa accounting and auditing technical partner Trevor
Derwin.

Deloitte South Africa has backed the South
Africa Institute of Chartered Accountants qualification. The Big
Four firm said the qualification is internationally accepted,
respected and highly paid. “It opens up opportunities to specialise
in disciplines as interesting and diverse as auditing, corporate
finance, information technology, marketing, fraud investigation and
investment advice,” Deloitte stated. The Big Four firms also
contribute significantly to the pool of CAs in South Africa,
describing itself as “akin to a corporate university”.

Europe

KPMG Russia and the Russian Institute of
Internal Auditors
have begun a research project on the
state and development trends of internal audit in Russia. Chairs of
audit committees, chief executives and directors of divisions
performing internal audit functions are being asked to take part in
the study. Questions in the survey include: What is the main reason
for forming an internal audit department and what functions should
be performed by an internal audit department? KPMG is asking for
responses to be returned no later than 30 September.

• Flexible working hours are more important to female accountants
in business than their male counterparts, according to a survey
from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and
Wales
and recruiter Robert Half.

• Dutch Baker Tilly International member firm
Berk has launched a new ex-pat service. Baker
Tilly International chief executive and president Geoff Barnes told
IAB the firm is working with groups such as Shell and
shipping company Maersk to provide assistance where there is a
movement of staff and management directors across borders. “If you
move from Sweden to the Netherlands to work, or from the
Netherlands to China, there’s a whole bunch of things that
individual needs looking at,” Barnes said. The service will provide
assistance in areas such as tax, employment and service
contacts.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Switzerland (PwC) has
sponsored the creation of a new professor specialising in financial
accounting at the University of Bâle, Zurich. The five-year
position is the first partnership in a series of engagements
between the Big Four firm and educational institutions. PwC said
the new professor will reinforce the competences of the
university’s finance faculty and help shape students in the
financial management of businesses. Markus Neuhaus, PwC chief
executive, said: “PwC have at heart to encourage the transfer of
the knowledge between the economy and the high schools.”

• The UK Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has
announced the appointment of its new director of corporate
reporting, starting from 1 December 2007. Ian Wright, who has also
been appointed deputy chair of the Financial Reporting
Review Panel
(FRRP), will be responsible for the strategic
outcome on corporate reporting and the needs of investors for
high-quality information. He will also be responsible for ensuring
effective staff support is provided to the Accounting
Standards Board
(ASB).

• The Institute of Chartered Accountants in
Ireland
(ICAI) has launched a new €200,000 ($278,032)
advertising campaign to raise the profile of CAs. The campaign will
utilise TV, cinema, radio and online media. The ICAI claims it is
the only marketing campaign of its type by an Irish accounting
institute.

KPMG Switzerland has opened a new audit
financial services and legal centre in the city of Lugano. The firm
said the growing importance of the Ticino region as a financial
centre was the impetus for it to establish the new centre in
addition to its existing centre for industry and commerce.

North America, Latin America

• Zafar Bin Basher has joined New York firm Marcum &
Kliegman
as partner in charge of business valuation. The
Leading Edge Alliance firm said Basher has a
diversified background in accounting, auditing, tax and business
valuation. Prior to joining Marcum & Kliegman, Basher was a
partner in a regional accounting firm and a senior manager in the
litigation consulting and bankruptcy services department of a large
regional public accounting firm. He has also taught accounting
courses as an adjunct professor at various colleges in Charleston,
South Carolina.

• The Certified General Accountants Association of
Canada
(CGA-Canada) has launched an interactive web-based
tool to assist auditors of federal political campaigns. The
Elections E-Guide includes new changes to Canada’s Elections Act
which came into effect in January 2007. President and chief
executive of CGA-Canada Anthony Ariganello said: “Although a
general federal election is not on the immediate horizon, the guide
will help in educating and informing campaign workers while
assisting with compliance.”

• US firm BDO Seidman has won an Alfred P Sloan
Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility. The awards
are designed to recognise businesses that are dedicated to making
work places “work” for the employer and employees. BDO Seidman said
it views flexibility as a core part of its 21st century global
business strategy.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada (PwC) has released
a book titled 100 Years of Excellence to commemorate the
firm’s 100th anniversary, which is being celebrated this year.
According to the firm, during the past 100 years PwC alumni have
held military positions and served their country through several
wars, competed as Olympic athletes, worked as high-ranking
government officials and gone on to lead some of the largest
companies in Canada.

• The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
has charged 69 auditors with issuing audit reports on public
companies despite not being registered with the Public
Company Accounting Oversight Board
. The SEC administrative
orders have named 37 unregistered audit firms and 32 audit partners
who it claims participated in the preparation and issuance of their
unregistered firms’ audit reports. The firms and partners named in
the actions were collectively responsible for issuing 60 audit
reports for 53 companies between November 2003 and October
2005.

• The US Center for Audit Quality has named its
first public board members in an attempt to introduce an “outside
perspective”. The new members are: former US Securities and
Exchange Commission
head Harvey Goldschmid, Directors’
Council co-founder Michele Hooper and Harvard School of Business
professor of business administration Lynn Paine.

• Mat Young has become the inaugural director of congressional and
political affairs at the American Institute of Certified
Public Accountants
. The 32-year-old will cover several
issues for the institute, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and tax
policy.