Africa, Middle East, Asia-Pacific • PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has admitted 52 new partners across the Asia-Pacific region. Thirty-one of the new partners are from China, 12 from Hong Kong, eight from Singapore and one from Macau. These admissions bring the total number of partners to more than 460 in these countries. Since July, PwC China, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore has operated on a combined basis, subject to local laws. The combined workforce of these member firms is 11,000 people.
Within these countries, PwC is located in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Chongqing, Dalian, Guangzhou, Macau, Qingdao, Shenzhen, Suzhou, Tianjin and Xi’an.
• The Institute of Management Accountants has released a report on a two-year study about the development of Chinese accounting standards and accounting systems, as well as the cost accounting system and cost management practices of Chinese enterprises.
Costing Methodologies and Cost Management Practices in the People’s Republic of China reviewed the costing practices of more than 200 Chinese state-owned enterprises, listed companies and privately-owned companies.
The study found that most Chinese companies follow traditional methods for allocating costs to products, although the use of more accurate costing techniques is emerging. It also noted that while differences exist between the costing practices of Chinese companies and those used by Western companies, a convergence of practices is in process.
• PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has made a $4 million donation to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for Darfur refugees as part of its Power of 10 campaign. The ten-day global campaign was established with the UNHCR to mark the tenth anniversary of the firm and involved PwC employees from 102 countries.
Funds are to be used to build and run schools for 20,000 Darfur refugee children living in Eastern Chad. Children and teachers will also receive a daily meal, teacher training and school supplies as part of the programme.
• PKF Australia has promoted Geoff Edwards to director of the firm’s audit and assurance team in Adelaide. The firm has appointed and promoted a series of new partners and principals in offices across the country recently.
• South Africa’s accounting and legal professions have agreed on interim measures to satisfy the compliance requirements of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) and provincial law societies.
The agreement involves standardising the format of the assurance report required for attorneys’ trust accounts. Joint Attorneys’ and Accountants’ Committee chair Vincent Faris said the need to review and update audit procedures was due to a changing technological environment as well as changes to international reporting standards and procedures.
The IRBA is currently drafting a new set of guidelines, procedures and an audit report, which it anticipates will be effective from the end of February 2009.
• The Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) has released an amendment to AASB 2008-7 Cost of an Investment in a Subsidiary, Jointly Controlled Entity or Associate.
The amendment responds to concerns regarding the initial measurement of cost, in accordance with AASB 127 Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements, in the separate financial statements of a new parent formed as a result of a specific type of reorganisation.
It also responds to the retrospective determination of cost and applying the cost method in accordance with AASB 127 on first-time adoption of Australian equivalents to IFRS. Use of AASB 2008-7 is mandatory from 1 January 2009, with early adoption permitted.
• The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) has launched a new training model that combines the competencies incorporated in the institute’s two training models into a single model. At present, SAICA students qualify by either training inside public practice or training externally, in private business or the public sector.
SAICA project director for training Adri Kleinhans said the new model aims to ensure the SAICA programme responds to the needs of the South African economy and ensures the CA designation remains relevant and sustainable.
Kleinhans explained that the competencies currently prescribed for the SAICA training programme would be redefined with a more equal weighting of auditing and other core technical areas such as tax, management accounting, financial management and financial accounting.
• The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has outlined five key market issues it will focus on over the coming months, which specifically respond to concerns emerging from current market conditions.
Audit and accounting issues surrounding present valuation methodologies and disclosure for complicated financial assets were highlighted as areas of importance. ASIC commissioner Belinda Gibson said because financial results for the year to 30 June are due, ASIC’s accounting team will focus on valuation accounting, the correct treatment of off-balance sheet entities and correct classification of debt as current or long-term.
• The US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission have signed a mutual recognition arrangement that will allow US and Australian stock exchanges to operate in both jurisdictions without the need of separate regulatory checks in both countries. Under the arrangement, US and Australian broker-dealers and stock exchanges will be able to promote a freer flow of capital in providing wider investment opportunities where previous investor protection regulatory regimes were in place.
• The Accounting Practices Committee of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants has proposed changes to the standard AC 503 – Accounting for Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Transactions, which brings the local standard in line with recent revisions to IFRS 2 – Share-based Payment. The changes are primarily expected to affect companies that have entered into BEE transactions with non-market performance targets, which are targets that are not linked to the company’s share price. The amendments are due to take effect for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2009.
• Natalia Pryhoda has been appointed senior manager in the tax and legal services department at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Czech Republic. Pryhoda has been with the international network for eight years after joining the PwC US transfer pricing practice in 2000. In her new role, she will be responsible for client offerings in transfer pricing and will contribute to the practice’s development throughout Central and Eastern Europe.
• Grant Thornton UK has appointed a new partner in its corporate finance team. Ian Wilson previously worked at Ernst & Young in both London and New York, where he spent five years as partner and headed up the global network’s aerospace team. Wilson has also worked at Bear Stearns as a managing director within the investment bank’s technology coverage team. Part of his new role at Grant Thornton will be driving industry initiatives in aerospace, defence and related sectors.
• Deloitte UK has expanded its site location services team with the appointment of a new senior manager. Steve Halsall joins the firm following an extensive career within the client services industry. Deloitte’s site location services team helps retail clients assess their store portfolios to determine whether sales from each store reflects the size, location and local market. Halsall’s new responsibilities include leading the site location offering with the banking and leisure sectors, and working with Deloitte’s retail clients.
• Tax specialists Kirsten Tassell and Adam Waller have been promoted to partner in the private client services practice at Deloitte UK.
• KPMG Turkey has established a new company to provide services related to customs and trade. Akis Yetkilendirilmis Gümrük Müsavirligi will offer clients services to help companies move commodities at lowest cost as well as advisory services on judicial and administrative disputes.
• Maggie Stilwell, Richard Indge and Jim McCurry have joined the Ernst & Young UK fraud investigation and dispute services practice in London. The firm said the number of partners in the practice has doubled across the UK in the past year.
Head of fraud investigation and dispute services John Smart commented: “With the current slowdown in the UK economy, we expect companies to experience increased levels of scrutiny from their investors as they attempt to reduce the level of risk held in their portfolios and also from regulators.”
• Tyrrell and Company, a tax consultancy firm based in Cambridgeshire, UK, has promoted Kerstin Meeson-Smith to partner. Since joining the firm 16 months ago, Meeson-Smith has specialised in general practice, business coaching and business development.
• Barry Murphy has been named the new technology sector leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers UK. Murphy joined the firm in 1994 and has worked across the technology, media and telecoms sectors in the UK and US. Murphy’s new role as the head of technology will see him driving research, helping the firm’s practice capabilities when going to market and sharing his expertise across PwC’s global network.
North America, Latin America
• McGladrey & Pullen has added two new partners to a specialised practice that provides audit services to credit unions across the US. Co-founder of the credit union audit practice Gene O’Rourke said the addition of Sherry McCoy and Tracy Whetstone was part of the firm’s long-term strategy to add even greater depth and expertise for better client service and responsiveness.
• Grant Thornton US has admitted 36 professional staff as partners and principals across the country.
Chief executive Edward Nusbaum said: “Grant Thornton is fortunate to have professionals of this calibre and character and we look forward with enthusiasm to their continued success.” Meanwhile, Joshua Bushard has been appointed to head the national hospitality industry practice at the firm after 13 years within audit services. Grant Thornton’s hospitality practice focuses primarily on large restaurant franchises, hotels and resorts, casinos, and sports and entertainment entities.
• The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Christopher Cox has revealed the successor to the regulator’s 1980s era EDGAR (Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system) database. The new system, IDEA (Interactive Data Electronic Applications), aims to provide investors faster and easier access to key financial information about public companies and mutual funds. The decision to replace EDGAR marks the SEC’s transition from collecting forms and documents to making the information freely available to investors to give them better and more up-to-date financial disclosure in a form they can readily use.
• US business services firm LECG has strengthened its finance and accounting practice with the addition of 16 professionals. The staff previously worked at the financial advisory and litigation consulting practice of Aon Consulting. They have expertise in forensic accounting, corporate investigations, auditing and litigation consulting.
• Deloitte US has expanded its discovery practice with the launch of a new electronic discovery solutions centre. Based near Nashville, Tennessee, Deloitte said the new 13,180 square-foot centre will enable clients to address discovery challenges in a more effective manner.
Deloitte Financial Advisory Services chairman Frank Piantidosi said: “In today’s global business environment, multinational companies may need to collect and process data on servers, hard drives and devices throughout the world for just one discovery request… The electronic discovery solutions centre allows us the flexibility to grow as the marketplace advances.” The new centre will employ about 100 professionals.
• Grant Thornton US has published Insights on Revenue Recognition, a guide that includes industry-specific advice on software revenue transactions. The firm said the publication provides a simplified road map that assists users to navigate through the maze of accounting literature related to revenue recognition. It also incorporates examples to illustrate the application of US GAAP and addresses specific guidance for software companies.