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April 30, 2008

Region round-up

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 AsiaDeloitte 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”.

EuropeKPMG 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.

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