Region round-up

Region round-up

Africa, Middle East, South Asia

• A senior partner of Grant Thornton
Pakistan
has been elected as the president of the
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan
(ICAP). Imran Afzal, a graduate of the Punjab University, qualified
from the institute in 1986 and has been actively involved in its
affairs. He also represents the ICAP at the Confederation of Asian
Pacific Accountants. His new post will commence from January 2008.•
The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of
Uganda
has elected Joseph Baliddawa as its new president.
Narendra Thakkar has been named vice-president of the professional
body. The Ethiopian Professional Association of Accountants
and Auditors
has elected Awoke Gebresilassie as its new
chairman and Kokeb Moges as vice chairman.

• Lowering standards will not solve
South Africa’s skills shortage problems, South African
Institute of Chartered Accountants
(SAICA) president
Ignatius Sehoole said. “I have no sympathy for the growing number
of pleas entreating us to shorten the qualifying process; to reduce
the levels of difficulty in the examinations; to do away with the
apprenticeship requirement – in short, to lower current standards
in order to generate a large and growing number of
‘professionals’,” Sehoole remarked. “I believe I speak for my
colleagues in other high-demand professions when I emphasise that
buckling under pressure to reduce standards is a short cut to
economic disaster.”

• The Chartered Institute
of Management Accountants
(CIMA) has been commissioned by
the government of Bangladesh to lead a project to strengthen the
capabilities of the main accountancy body in Bangladesh, the
Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh. The
project is being funded by the World Bank and will provide a model
for other World Bank projects with CIMA in developing countries.
Gordon Grant, CIMA president, said: “Bangladesh is a growing
economy with potential to attract significant inward investment. It
is therefore vital that its people are equipped with the
appropriate level of financial and management skills to further
grow this expanding economy.”

• The Dubai Financial
Services Authority
(DFSA) has entered into a memorandum of
understanding with the US Banking Supervisors. The initiative
reflects each agency’s commitment to co-operation in relation to
prudential oversight and inspections. The memorandum adopts the
model for information sharing developed by the Basel Committee on
Banking Supervision and follows similar arrangements the DFSA has
with other significant banking supervisors.

• Muhammad Ayub Khan Tarin will
serve on the national council of the Institute of Cost and
Management Accountants of Pakistan
for the rest of the
council’s 2006 to 2008 term. Tarin was nominated by the Pakistan
government. He replaces Arif Mansur who died in a road accident in
August.

• The Institute of
Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe
has elected Tawanda
Gumbo as president and Nyasha Zhou as senior vice-president. The
Swaziland Institute of Accountants has appointed
Barnabas Mhlongo as its chief executive.

Asia-Pacific

• Leonard Gardner and Sheryl Hunter have been named young chartered
accountant of the year and accounting technician of the year,
respectively. They were presented with their awards at the
New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants
gala dinner in Auckland recently. Gardner is a director of Foster
Construction Group. He won his award after showing exceptional
entrepreneurial characteristics in accountancy and business. Hunter
won her award after helping business services provider Rentokil
Initial become a more customer-focused organisation.

Deloitte
Australia
is merging with data analytics firm
Analytic Insight. The company’s team of eight
senior analytic consultants in Sydney and Melbourne will join
Deloitte’s existing national practice of 70. Deloitte’s chief
executive, Giam Swiegers, said data analytics was considered to be
the “last frontier” in managing information overload and achieving
strategic growth. Swiegers added: “This merger increases Deloitte’s
capacities to assist organisations navigate data identification and
acquisition, through to implementation of operational and market
facing solutions.”

• Graham Crombie has been elected president of the New
Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants
at the
institute’s AGM in Auckland. He will hold the post for the 2008
calendar year. Crombie is a partner at the independent chartered
accountancy firm Polson Higgs, where he holds the
role of chief executive and oversees the firm’s audit and assurance
services and business consultancy teams. He is an expert in
internal and external audit and has been recognised for his work in
professional development, corporate governance and reporting areas.
Linda Turner was elected as the institute’s first vice-president
for 2008 and Dinu Harry is the second vice-president.

• The Auditing and
Assurance Standards Board
(AUASB) has announced that the
Australian Auditing Standards (ASA) will be further revised and
reissued, based on the new clarity format versions of the
International Standards on Auditing. AUASB chair Merran Kelsall
said revised ASAs will be operative in Australia for audits of
financial reports for periods beginning on or after 1 January 2010.
“The AUASB will release the proposed revised Australian standards
as exposure drafts during the course of 2008 and early 2009. The
full schedule for the review has not yet been confirmed, however,
early application of the new ASAs will not be permitted,” he
said.

Australia’s National
Institute of Accountants
(NIA) has released a paper that
analyses how business accounting principles can be used to account
for Australia’s water resources. The paper was put together with
the help of experts from the University of Melbourne. Water
resources have become an important issue in Australia, many parts
of which are experiencing drought conditions. NIA president Greg
Dennis said the paper “sets out a strong case for the use of
financial accounting principles and methods to record and report
what is happening to our water resources”. Dennis has asked “all
interested parties to review this important issues
paper”.

North America, Latin America

Haskell & White (H&W) has promoted Dan
O’Connor to tax partner. In his new role he will lead the firm’s
tax services group. O’Connor joined the Leading Edge Alliance
member firm in 1999. Wayne Pinnell, H&W managing partner, said:
“Dan’s history at our firm, as well as his previous experience, has
armed him with the exact blend of strengths we are looking for in a
partner.” O’Connor said he is eager to take a lead role in the
growth of the firm.

PricewaterhouseCoopers
US
(PwC) has proposed a new framework to help aerospace
and defence companies transform programme management. The Big Four
firm suggested that while the defence industry remains robust and
growing, programme execution is still one of the biggest challenges
for companies in the industry. PwC partner Glenn Brady noted:
“Company management and their programme managers need a balanced
framework to guide them in transforming culture, processes and
technology in order to support successful execution of existing
programmes.”

• Finding qualified staff is the
biggest challenge facing accountancy firms in the US, according to
the American Institute of Certified Public
Accountants
. Its 2007 Top Management of an Accounting
Practice Issues survey gathered information from a wide range of
practitioners. Staff retention is also a growing concern,
especially for larger practices. The survey also found that sole
practitioners were most worried about tax complexity. Other issues
included work/life balance.

• Hugh Quinn, an expert in fraud
and forensic investigation, has joined Alvarez &
Marsal
(A&M) Dispute Analysis and Forensic
Services
, an affiliate of the A&M global firm. Quinn
has joined as a senior director with more than 25 years’ experience
in fraud and forensic investigation. Previously, he worked as a
consultant for Navigant Consulting in Washington. Quinn also
co-founded BW Realty Advisors, which focused on structured
financing in the real estate marketplace. Jim Barratt, a managing
director of A&M Dispute Analysis & Forensic Services,
commented: “Hugh’s background and capabilities make him an
outstanding addition to our growing team.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers
Canada
(PwC) has announced the admission of 25 new
partners and 20 associate partners. PwC senior partner and chief
executive Chris Clark said: “This group of professionals will help
us to maintain our commitment to deliver distinctive quality
service to public, private and government clients across
Canada.”

Deloitte US has
released a virtual reality version of its online business
simulation and classroom curriculum competition for pre-college
students. The Virtual Team Challenge for High Schools consists of a
four-week in-classroom curriculum based on four key professional
platforms: business, ethics, money and decision-making. The game’s
objective is to produce a fundraising event that raises the most
virtual money for the United Way’s Operation Graduation programme.
Deloitte will present $1,000 to the top seven teams, to be donated
to their local United Way chapter, as well as a $500 grant to the
school. The United Way is one of the US’s largest community-focused
charities.


Europe

• Two UK professional services firms have warned that the incidence
of personal insolvency is set to escalate in the next 12 months.
PKF UK has blamed interest rate rises, growing
consumer debt and tightening lending practices as major reasons for
the spike, while KPMG UK has thrown rising council
tax and other household bills into the mix. Insolvency Service UK
shows that 111,359 people went into bankruptcy or entered into an
individual voluntary arrangement in the 12 months ended 30
September 2007, an increase of 13 percent over the previous 12
months.
 
• Matthias Weimann and Björn Kirsten are the inaugural winners of
the Deloitte Germany awards for excellence offered
to business studies students at the University of Trier. The two
winners have been personally taught by Deloitte Germany managing
partner and honorary professor Friedhelm Kläs.

KPMG UK has
expanded its corporate finance team with the appointment of Raj
Mehta as a director. Mehta brings more than 12 years of M&A
advisory experience, having previously worked in corporate finance
at investment banks Rothschild and Merrill Lynch. He will focus
primarily on identifying and exploiting opportunities for the firm
in the life insurance and asset management areas. In welcoming
Mehta, KPMG’s head of financial services, Mark Davison, said: “The
financial services team has worked on 20 deals this year with the
total value approaching £1.5 billion ($3.08 billion) and we hope to
build on this with Raj’s appointment.”

• Nottingham-based IGAF
Worldwide
member firm Cooper Parry has
promoted three of its team members to managerial roles. Debbie
Caine will become a private clients team manager, Sarah Walford
will become a manager within the business turnaround and insolvency
team, and Laura Gray will manage within the business tax team.

Baker Tilly UK
has announced a merger with Slater Maidment, a London-based
specialist accountancy practice. The Slater
Maidment
partners and employees will operate as a third
Baker Tilly office in London and will focus on the private client
and small- to medium-sized owner-managed business market (OMB).
Baker Tilly regional managing partner Jon Randall said: “The merger
with Slater Maidment demonstrates our strategic commitment to
entrepreneurial businesses of all sizes and will complement our
existing specialist offering to the larger OMB, listed company,
transaction and specialist advisory areas”. The new London office
will bring the number of offices in the Baker Tilly UK network to
28, covering 26 geographic locations.

Grant Thornton
UK
has appointed Caroline Harwood as share plans client
service director. Harwood was formerly head of KPMG UK South’s
performance and reward practice. Martin Brown, previously at KPMG
and Deloitte, has been appointed share plans manager. Clive
Fathers, head of Grant Thornton’s national employer solutions team,
said the additions will strengthen the firm’s expertise in
employment solutions.