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April 30, 2008

Region round-up

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 AmericaHaskell & 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.

 

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