The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of
Singapore
(ICPAS) is encouraging small- and medium-sized
CPA firms to merge…

Ernst & Young (E&Y) has strengthened
its UK restructuring practice with the appointment of Maurice Moses
as partner…

A new bill that could close a legal loophole that helped Bernard
Madoff’s audit firm avoid oversight has been put before the US
Congress…

Asia-Pacific, Middle East

Deloitte Malaysia has appointed former
executive director of Malaysian Accounting Standards Board (MASB)
Nordin Zain as a partner in the firm. Zain was a founding member of
the MASB, which was established in 1997. In May 2000, he was
appointed executive director of the standard setter. Zain is also a
founding member of the Asia-Pacific Financial Reporting Advisory
Group and sits on the board of the Accounting and Auditing
Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions.

The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of
Singapore
(ICPAS) is encouraging small- and medium-sized
CPA firms to merge. ICPAS said mergers and acquisitions can help
firms grow and are the best way for smaller firms to add new
services and take advantage of opportunities in the current
economic downturn. “There is great potential for our small- and
medium-sized practices to grow and expand overseas. Our local CPA
firms need to leave their comfort zone, extend their sights beyond
Singapore,” ICPAS vice-president Ernest Kan said.

Deloitte Australia is encouraging staff to
use networking site Facebook as a tool to recruit new staff,
according to media reports. The firm is said to be offering A$4,000
($2,554) bonuses to employees who successfully help recruit new
talent through its referral programme. If staff find someone that
fits Deloitte’s culture and talent, refers them for an interview
and they are employed, they are entitled to the bonus. The media
source also reported that 25 percent of the firm’s 5,000 Australian
employees had displayed the Deloitte referral programme on their
Facebook profiles.

• The Indonesian Institute of Accountants has
formally announced Indonesian GAAP will fully converge with IFRS by
1 January 2012. In November, Indonesian regulators embarked on a
programme to promote full IFRS adoption by 2012. The institute
began the journey to converge with IFRS in 1994 by adopting the
International Accounting Standards Committee’s framework for the
preparation and presentation of financial statements as the
conceptual framework for Indonesian GAAP. Since then, an increasing
number of IAS and IFRS have been adopted in Indonesia with little
or no modification.

Deloitte has set up an Islamic finance centre
of excellence in Malaysia for the Asia-Pacific region. Deloitte’s
Asia-Pacific chief executive Chaly Mah Chee Kheong said: “The
concept of a centre of excellence will be a core for people to
understand Islamic finance and all the complexities around this
product.” Deloitte’s Islamic finance specialist Daud Vicary
Abdullah added that many traditionally non-Muslim countries such as
Singapore, UK, Japan and Hong Kong have expressed interest in
becoming major players in the Islamic finance industry. The hub,
based in Kuala Lumpur, will be the network’s third following
centres in London and Dubai.

CPA Australia has presented scholarships to
leading Vietnamese graduates from Swinburne University’s Master of
International Accounting programme. Two full scholarships and four
partial scholarships were awarded to students in ceremonies at the
university’s Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City campuses this month. CPA
Australia supports professional development in South East Asia and
has operated in Vietnam for the past 10 years. Last month, CPA
Australia named three honorary members in Malaysia. They are CIMB
Group chief executive Nazir Razak, investment holding company
AmcorpGroup Berhad executive chairman Azman Hashim and Malaysian
Accountant General Mohd Salleh Mahmud.

The Japanese Institute of Certified Public
Accountants
has published the results of its survey on
audit engagements of financial statements. The results, based on
the reports submitted by audit firms, include personnel involved,
hours spent and audit fees broken down by revenue and industry. The
survey covers audits of financial statements from the fiscal years
ended between April 2007 and March 2008.

• About 400 Palestinian accountants have registered for a
scholarship to take the Arab Certified Public Accountant
certificate. The Arab Society for Certified
Accountants
(ASCA) is offering accountants and accounting
graduates from the Gaza Strip the opportunity to qualify at no
cost. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, the ASCA president, is covering all
expenses including registration, exams and curricula fees.
Abu-Ghazaleh is the chairman of the multi-disciplinary firm Talal
Abu-Ghazaleh Organization.

• Richard Petty, a Hong Kong based professor of accounting and
finance, has been elected as the new president of CPA
Australia
. Petty, who is currently the deputy president,
succeeds Alex Malley when his term ends in April.

Europe

• Former Ireland Comptroller and Auditor
General John Purcell has been appointed as a special investigator
to examine the accounting profession’s involvement in the recently
nationalised Anglo Irish Bank, including the involvement of
auditors Ernst & Young Ireland. Anglo Irish
Bank chairman Sean Fitzpatrick and chief executive David Drumm
resigned in December after the bank revealed Fitzpatrick had
concealed €87 million ($111 million) of loans from the bank. The
Irish government subsequently took ownership of Anglo Irish in
mid-January to prevent its collapse.

The complaints committee of the Chartered Accountants Regulatory
Board appointed Purcell to investigate possible breaches of
Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland bye-laws and rules of
professional conduct by its members. Ernst & Young Ireland
issued a statement in January saying all its audits conducted for
Anglo Irish Bank shareholders were undertaken in accordance with
the appropriate auditing standards.

• Receivers of Stanford International Bank and
Stanford Trust Company have identified the amounts invested by
clients of these companies. The founder of the companies, R Allen
Stanford, is currently under investigation by the US Securities and
Exchange Commission for an alleged $8 billion fraud against his
companies’ investors. Commenting on recent progress, Vantis
Business Recovery
partner Nigel Hamilton-Smith said: “We
are now commencing the process of communicating with the financial
institutions that we have identified as holding assets on behalf of
the Bank. We are also seeking co-operation arrangements with the US
receiver to further assist in the asset identification work we need
to undertake.” Partners Hamilton-Smith, Peter Wastell and a team of
recovery specialists from Vantis are currently in Antigua working
with the Financial Services Regulatory Commission of Antigua and
Barbuda.

Ernst & Young (E&Y)
has strengthened its UK restructuring practice with the appointment
of Maurice Moses as partner. Moses, who recently worked for Alvarez
& Marsal and Alix partners, will focus on E&Y’s mid-market
clients. Over the past 18 months, E&Y recruited significantly
in restructuring, including David Hargrave, Bob Ward and Lee Watson
from a Big Four rival, as well as partner admissions Taylor Dewar,
Matthew Evans, Tom Lukic, Angela Swarbrick and Robert Smid.
Meanwhile, E&Y’s Spanish firm has appointed Miguel Ángel Beleña
to its restructuring practice. Beleña comes from ABN AMRO and has
more than 25 years of experience in the service area.

KPMG UK has released a new
guide looking at the impact of carbon trading on financial
statements. The guide, ‘Accounting for Carbon’, from the firm’s
carbon advisory group, examines how a company’s activities in the
carbon arena and accounting policies can affect financial results.
The paper also provides some insight into the initial views of the
International Accounting Standards Board on transactions involving
carbon allowances.

• Jo Wright has been appointed business
restructuring partner at UK firm BDO Stoy Hayward.
Wright has nearly 20 years of experience as a licensed insolvency
practitioner and joins the firm from risk consultancy company
Kroll. In her new role, she will focus on corporate restructuring,
advisory and insolvency.

Deloitte UK has appointed
Jerry Gattegno as a multi-state tax services group leader in the
firm’s US corporate taxes group in London. Gattegno was previously
a partner at Deloitte US and has 35 years of US state tax
expertise. In his new role, he will focus on US state and local
taxation. Minimising tax risks and navigating through the US state
tax system is a key area for UK-based companies with operations in
the US, according to Gattegno. “US state and local taxes are
representing an increasing portion of a business’ US tax liability.
Entities reporting on a GAAP basis have found state tax accounting
to be one of the more vexing issues,” he said.

• UK firm MGI Midgley
Snelling
has appointed Tracey Wickens as audit manager to
lead its audit and assurance team. Wickens has 18 years of
experience and joins from a top 20 firm. She has been working with
clients with turnovers up to £90 million ($124 million). Michelle
Vandrey has also joined the UK firm from MGI Melbourne on a
secondment for five months.

North America, Latin America

• A new bill that could close a legal loophole that helped Bernard
Madoff’s audit firm avoid oversight has been put before the US
Congress. The bill, proposed by Republican congressman Paul
Kanjorski, would give the Public Company Accounting
Oversight Board
(PCAOB) full authority to inspect, examine
and discipline the auditors of all broker-dealers.

“If this legal loophole had not existed,
Bernard Madoff’s storefront auditing company would have had to
register with the PCAOB. Inspection and examination of Mr Madoff’s
accountant by the PCAOB could have identified his Ponzi scheme much
earlier,” Kanjorski said.

Madoff directed Bernard L. Madoff Investments
Securities, which defrauded investors in a $50 billion Ponzi
scheme. The auditors of all broker-dealers must now register with
the PCAOB as a result of a decision late last year by the
Securities and Exchange Commission. Under current law only the
auditors of public broker-dealers are subject to disciplinary
action by the PCAOB.

PricewaterhouseCoopers US
(PwC) has launched a Facebook application, Carbon Bigfoot by PwC,
to promote awareness and understanding of energy use and carbon
emissions. The application allows users to calculate their carbon
footprints based upon the three primary categories of shelter,
commute and devices in a fun and engaging way. A study conducted by
PwC found that 83 percent of employees will only trust an
organisation if it is environmentally and sociably responsible and
the firm recently committed to the task of reducing its own
greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent in the US by 2012. PwC
managing director of corporate responsibility Shannon Schuyler said
promoting responsible practices that benefit clients, its staff,
communities and the environment is at the core of PwC’s corporate
responsibility agenda.

Deloitte US has opened a
centre for its 500 energy solutions staff in Houston. The centre,
which will also operate in Washington, will provide services from
technology integration and operational consulting to tax, financial
advisory and attest services.

PricewaterhouseCoopers US
will provide $700,000 in grants to universities in a bid to prepare
accounting students for the adoption of IFRS. Up to 26 universities
and colleges in the US will receive a grant to help create an IFRS
curriculum in their accounting programmes despite uncertainty as to
whether the 2011 adoption roadmap will go ahead.

US Securities and Exchange Commission chairman
Mary Schapiro has said she will review the current roadmap before
she makes a firm decision on the adoption of IFRS from US GAAP.

The grants are part of a $1 million financial
commitment PwC had previously announced to support IFRS education.
In addition to the grants, PwC will also provide educational
material directly to students and faculties through a suite of
online videos and tools.

• Barry Melancon has been reappointed as
president and chief executive of the American Institute of
Certified Public Accountants
(AICPA) for an additional
five years. AICPA chairman Ernie Almonte said Melancon’s leadership
had strengthened the profession’s voice in public policy debates
and fortified its role in business, finance and capital
markets.

Melancon was a key proponent of the IFRS
roadmap, calling for the US Securities and Exchange Commission to
issue a definitive timeframe for the introduction of global
accounting standards in the US in June last year.

The AICPA is one of the largest accounting
bodies in the world with more than 350,000 CPA members.