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April 30, 2008

Region round-up

Deloitte Australia has appointed a new leader for its energy, infrastructure and resources group…

• A group of Indian and French accounting institutes have agreed to work together on international accounting issues following a recent summit in Delhi…

Grant Thornton UK will hold a seminar to reveal information on the pre- and post-merger periods before its combination with the firm Robson Rhodes…

Kolb+Co, a group of business advisory companies operating in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has announced the formation of a new affiliate, Kolb+Co Corporate Finance…

Asia-PacificDeloitte Australia has appointed a new leader for its energy, infrastructure and resources group. Phil Hopwood has been with Deloitte for 12 years. His background is in consulting and he specialises in operational improvement, supply chain, large technology engagements and extracting value from IT. Hopwood said there is room to develop Deloitte’s position in the resources sector. “Infrastructure also presents strong opportunities, particularly given the current resources boom and the strength of the Australian economy,” he said, adding that water is also a crucial issue for Australia.

• The number of women signing up to CPA Australia’s entry programme is exceeding men, according to research by the professional body. In 2007, 14,062 women enrolled to study the CPA Australia programme compared with 10,150 men, a 16 percent difference. Women now account for 41 percent of CPA Australia’s 117,000 members. Ten years ago, women accounted for 29 percent of the overall membership (87,000).

• The Australian Auditing and Assurance Standards Board has issued an exposure draft for comment. The proposed Standard on Assurance Engagements (ASAE) 3500, Performance Engagements, establishes mandatory requirements and provides explanatory guidance for undertaking and reporting on performance engagements. It is intended that this proposed standard will be used for performance engagements beginning on or after 1 July 2008. Comments should be submitted by 15 April 2008.

• An Australian government body, Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency, has named Ernst & Young an employer of choice for women. Criteria for the accolade included recruitment and selection processes, promotion and transfer opportunities, training and development programmes, conditions of service and benefits, and harassment and discrimination policies.

• The Australian Auditing and Assurance Standards Board has released a guidance statement for reporting on investment management services. GS 007 Audit Implications of the Use of Service Organisations for Investment Management Services provides guidance to all organisations that focus on investment management services. Key features include expanding the scope of guidance to apply to a wider range of organisations and clearly separating guidance for ‘user’ auditors and ‘service’ auditors to facilitate usability. It is effective from 1 July 2008.

• The Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants executive board recently approved a series of amendments, including amendments to the ‘Interpretive Guidance for Independence’ and amendments to ‘An Auditor’s Checklist’. The changes have been made in order to conform to Japan’s amended Certified Public Accountant Act, which is effective on 1 April 2008.

Ernst & Young Hua Ming, the network’s Chinese member firm, has been officially appointed the financial adviser for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China. The agreement was signed between the Big Four firm and the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination. More than 70 million visitors are expected to attend the expo, which will run from May to October.

Africa, Middle East, South Asia • A group of Indian and French accounting institutes have agreed to work together on international accounting issues following a recent summit in Delhi. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), Conseil Supérieur de l’Ordre des Experts-Comptables and Compagnie Nationale des Commissaires au Comptes have agreed to consult one another on responses to international accounting and auditing standards. The institutes will also investigate recognition of their respective qualifications. The ICAI and both the accounting bodies in France will also provide technical assistance for the development of the accounting profession in developing and under-developed economies.

• The Dubai Financial Services Authority has registered two new firms as auditor and ancillary service providers in the Dubai International Financial Centre. Farahat & Co, a member of Leading Edge Alliance, and Sajjad Haider Chartered Accountants, a member of Nexia International, have both been enlisted as limited liability partnerships.

• Indian accounting delegates have met with Japanese counterparts to establish a joint approach to tackle the move of convergence from present accounting standards to IFRS, which will be adopted by both countries in 2011. The meeting, which was attended by members of both the Accounting Standards Board of Japan and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, discussed both countries’ concerns regarding the future adoption of IFRS. Decisions were then made to work closely together for future convergence issues relating to the adaptation of these standards.

• The number of black South African chartered accountants (CA) has increased due to a targeted programme launched by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA). The initiative, Thuthuka, was launched four years ago as a holistic approach designed to nurture promising black students from high school and university to prepare them for their qualifying examinations towards becoming CAs. An overview of the 2007 university pass rates of Thuthuka-sponsored students revealed that 88 percent passed their first year examinations with 82 percent passing through the second year. Nthato Selebi, Thuthuka bursary fund manager, anticipates more than 100 Thuthuka bursary funded students will be taking exams at honours level in 2009.

• Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, chairman of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization, has been appointed chairman of the Encyclopedia of Excellence and Civilisation Committee by the Encyclopedia’s Board of Trustees. The Encyclopedia is a Saudi Arabian initiative aimed at highlighting the boundaries of the country and includes all economic and developmental sectors within the kingdom. Abu-Ghazaleh said: “It is a great honour to be part of this endeavour that works relentlessly to promote excellence and distinction within the Arab Islamic culture.” Abu-Ghazaleh is well known within the accountancy profession and heads the independent firm Talal Abu Ghazaleh International.

Europe • A retired PricewaterhouseCoopers UK partner has received an award from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW) for his significant contribution to regional business and commitment to helping disadvantaged groups in Yorkshire. Commenting on receiving the ICAEW’s 2008 outstanding achievement award, Sean Mahon said: “I am delighted, surprised and flattered to be presented with the award for outstanding achievement. To receive the award is particularly special because it is an acknowledgment by my peers.”

Grant Thornton UK will hold a seminar to reveal information on the pre- and post-merger periods before its combination with the firm Robson Rhodes. The seminar ‘Making Mergers Work’ will highlight some of the successes and difficulties faced along the way, and the key learning points that arose from the merge of the two firms. It will be aimed at all senior finance managers across the professional service firms. Grant Thornton UK head of professional practice group Peter Gamson said: “Growth in the professional services sector is more likely to come from mergers than through external finance, so this will be an excellent opportunity for anyone considering a merger in the future to learn from our experience.”

Deloitte UK has announced the appointment of a new strategic adviser to its public sector practice. Norman Warner, a Labour peer and former Minister of State for Reform in the Department of Health, will work with Deloitte’s clients enabling the successful delivery of health and social care policies. Deloitte UK head of public sector Mike Turley said: “Lord Warner’s wealth of experience in formulating and delivering successful health and social care policies will be invaluable to our clients. His insights will inform our thinking and ensure we remain at the forefront of developing solutions to the many complex and challenging issues facing Government and the wider public sector.”

Horwath Clark Whitehill has appointed a new partner to join its risk and assurance group in London. Louis Cooper brings more than 15 years of experience and has previously worked at a Big Four firm. His expertise includes developing and delivering technical support in areas such as: the corporate governance requirements of the UK Combined Code and Turnbull Guidelines; risk management frameworks and internal control; and internal audit advisory, partnering and outsourcing services. Horwath Clark Whitehill now has 71 partners across eight offices.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Ireland partner Fergal O’Rourke, and Tom Donohue, a senior tax partner with Leading Edge Alliance member Russell Brennan Keane, are among 18 members of the nation’s new Commission on Taxation. The commission has been established by Irish Minister for Finance Brian Cowen to review the structure, efficiency and appropriateness of the Irish taxation system. The 18 members include the chair, Frank Daly, who is chairman of Ireland’s Office of the Revenue Commissioners.

North America, Latin America

• IGAF Worldwide US member firm Stone Carlie & Company has appointed Rita Schwager as a principal in the firm’s tax and business services department.

• The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has published a staff notice following a review of compliance with environmental reporting requirements by key industries. The notice summarised key findings following a review of 35 Ontario-based reporting issuers in the environmental services, industrial products, mining, oil and gas, steel, transportation services and utilities sectors. Staff looked at reporting of environmental liabilities, asset retirement obligations, financial and operational effects of environmental protection requirements, environmental policies fundamental to operations, and environmental risks. The review identified several areas of insufficient disclosure.

Kolb+Co, a group of business advisory companies operating in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has announced the formation of a new affiliate, Kolb+Co Corporate Finance, which has been formed to facilitate the expansion of Kolb+Co’s M&A services to middle-market companies. The team will be led by managing director John Kielich, who has more than 30 years of experience in the manufacturing, financial services and public accounting industries. The Kolb+Co group has 100 employees, 14 shareholders and is a member of IGAF Worldwide.

• US certified public accounting firm Hunter Group has promoted Maria Campanella Plucinsky as a director. Plucinsky, who was formerly a senior manager with the New Jersey-based firm, currently oversees accounting and auditing services for both commercial and non-profit clients. Hunter Group is a member of CPAmerica International.

• US firm RSM McGladrey has received an award for its commitment to work-life balance. RSM McGladrey received the Conference Board’s Moving Into the Future Award for its Coach-on-Call programme. The programme offers 8,000 employees free access to work-life coaching services from professional coach Karen Lanson. Lanson helps employees develop, structure and manage ways to maintain an effective work-life balance.

PKF Texas, a member of PKF International, has announced the promotion of its new director for international tax services. Frank Landreneau has been a member of the tax department since 2005. He specialises in domestic and international tax consulting and compliance services to public and private entities. His experience also includes assisting clients operating in various foreign tax jurisdictions with a variety of international tax issues, such as transfer pricing, global tax minimisation, and international organisational structuring.

Deloitte US has appointed a new director to head the firm’s regulatory and capital markets consulting team. Thomas Rollauer will rejoin the firm after working for four years at Citigroup, where he managed the global compliance team. Rollauer’s new responsibilities will include advising global banking clients on the critical issues facing the industry with specific reference to areas such as compliance, controls, corporate governance, regulatory relations and risk management issues.

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