• UK firm BDO Stoy Hayward has opened a corporate
finance office in Dubai’s International Financial Centre (DIFC) to
act as a hub for corporate finance and restructuring advisory work
in the Middle East. BDO Corporate Finance Middle East will focus on
working alongside regional offices and institutional investors as
well as helping UK businesses to break into the Middle East.

The office will act as a subsidiary of BDO
Stoy Hayward and will be headed by Jon Breach. Breach said the firm
set up the venture in response to a rising number of Middle Eastern
investors acquiring assets in the UK and internationally.

Last September, Deloitte also set up a
corporate finance venture in the DIFC that combined the expertise
of the network’s UK and Middle East firms.

Baker Tilly International
has admitted a member firm from Trinidad & Tobago. Montano
Ramcharitar was founded in 1979, has 20 staff and two partners. The
firm provides audit, accounting, taxation and consultancy services.
Baker Tilly’s Caribbean representation includes firms in the
Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands,
Netherlands Antilles and Puerto Rico.

PricewaterhouseCoopers UK
has appointed Diane Hay as special adviser on international tax
issues. She will be working with the firm’s tax transfer pricing
and international structuring teams, assisting clients to settle an
increasing number of cross-border tax disputes. Hay previously
worked at the UK government’s tax office, Her Majesty’s Revenue and
Customs, as a senior official dealing with specialist and technical
tax policy cases.

BKD, one of the 10 largest
firms in the US, has expanded in Texas by acquiring Dallas-based
accounting firm KBA Group.

KBA provides audit, tax, risk management and
transaction advisory services, as well as family-owned business
services to private companies in a variety of industries. The firm
generates annual revenue of about $16 million, has eight partners
and 95 staff

“We and BKD have exceptional credentials and
both insist on an attentive service style and a people-first
mentality. A wider array of services offered and industries served
will allow us to better meet the needs of all of our clients in
this growing global market,” KBA managing partner Larry King
said.

BKD said the expansion will allow it to better
meet the needs of clients in Texas, where the firm has a presence
in Houston, San Antonio and Dallas.

In its most recent fiscal year, BKD generated
revenue of $354 million. The firm has more than 2,000 staff,
including 250 partners, in 32 offices.

PricewaterhouseCoopers
Global
(PwC) issued a warning that fraudsters purporting
to be from an entity called ‘Coopers & Lybrand Law’ have set up
a website and were approaching potential investors with bogus
advice to buy into companies.

In a press release, the firm said Coopers
& Lybrand Law is a scam that uses the ‘Coopers & Lybrand’
name “without our consent and such use is illegal and infringes our
intellectual property rights”.

The Big Four firm warned investors that the
companies Coopers & Lybrand Law is advising people to invest in
are “worthless”.

• Three out of four US audit committee members
say they have increased their “hands-on involvement” with
management, in particular risk management and oversight, as a
result of the economic crisis, according to a KPMG
US
survey.

The annual joint survey of 280 audit committee
members by KPMG’s Audit Committee Institute and the National
Association of Corporate Directors found risks related to the
financial crisis and oversight of risk management were the top two
agenda priorities for 2009.

Directors were also concerned about the
quality of information they were receiving, particularly
information related to the financial risks posed by the economic
crisis (22 percent), fraud risks (22 percent), risks related to tax
issues (30 percent) and information technology risks (48
percent).

KPMG UK has strengthened
its restructuring practice with three new appointments. Marykay
Fuller, who joined KPMG restructuring in 2002, and Nick Smith, who
has been at the firm since 1996, have been promoted to partner.
Lloyd Gold has joined as director in the total cash and working
capital team.

PricewaterhouseCoopers UK
has appointed Ashley Unwin to lead the firm’s performance
improvement consulting (PIC) practice. Unwin, who will succeed Jeff
Thompson, previously worked at Terra Firma Capital Partners as a
managing director.

Prior to that, he was a partner at Deloitte
and chairman of the firm’s chief executive advisory group. The PIC
practice had revenues in 2008 of £201 million ($322 million) and
currently employs more than 1,100 people.

• Women are making small steps into senior
positions at US accounting firms but these roles are still
dominated by men, according to new research by the Illinois
CPA Society
.

The study, Role of Women in CPA
Firms
, found a slight increase in the number of women in firm
management positions (12 percent), which was up from 10 percent
last year. The number of women in executive positions has jumped
from 11 percent to 19 percent since 2006, although the number of
men in partner/principal positions has hardly changed at about 82
percent.

The International
Accounting Bulletin
recently conducted a survey on
gender diversity that told a similar story – 80 percent of firm
partners and senior executives in the US are men.

“Our challenge is to complete the climb women
have made in the profession, so all young grads know they can take
their career to the highest level,” Illinois CPA Society president
and chief executive Elaine Weiss said.

• Senior chartered accountants in Canada
expect fewer university and college graduates to be hired this year
according to the most recent quarterly business monitor survey from
the Canadian Institute of Chartered
Accountants
.

Although half of the respondents said their
hiring levels were expected to be unchanged from a year ago, 17
percent predicted their company would hire fewer graduates. In
contrast, just 8 percent made that prediction last year.

Only 6 percent of the respondents said their
company planned to increase the number of graduates hired in 2009.
The economic downturn in Canada and decreased sales were the two
main reasons given for the drop in hires.

The respondents to the study included 539
chartered accountants who serve as chief executives, chief
financial officers or chief operating officers in public- or
privately-held companies in Canada.