Burgeoning emerging markets continue to provide new members for
UHY International. The global network recently added new firms in
the Ukraine, Brazil, Nigeria and the Caribbean.

UHY has admitted two new firms in the Ukraine, bending the rules
on its usual restriction of one member firm in each country. Both
three-partner firm Audit Group Prostir and five-partner firm EBS
have joined the network to extend their international client
bases.

Kiev-based Audit Group Prostir has 19 professionals and
specialises in construction, oil and gas production, marketing,
research and consultancy, and automotive industries.

EBS has 80 staff in two offices and has grown at about 40
percent for the past three years. EBS managing partner Helen Volska
said last year the firm experienced even greater growth of 85
percent, which lifted its fee income to $2.4 million.

The firm is primarily based in Kiev with a small office in
Moscow. Volska said accounting and management consulting
represented about 70 percent of its work. Tax work, IFRS compliance
and legal support contributed to the rest of the firm’s
revenue.

Outsourcing leader

EBS claims to be the leader in accounting outsourcing in the
Ukraine and has a strong international client base, including Nokia
and IBM. About 70 percent of its clients are from overseas and the
firm hopes that having international links within UHY will give it
an edge when competing for work.

“We are not an international firm but I think we bring a lot of
international expertise and best practice and we have a very good
reputation locally but [previously] we were lacking a bigger name
behind us,” said Volska.

She said the market in the Ukraine presents a lot of
opportunities but personnel remains a challenge. “I think the
market is growing. As long as the financial market for Ukrainian
companies is open and as long the Ukraine will increase its rating
for foreign investors, the market will grow here. There is a huge
demand for qualified personnel, the rates are quite high, the
quality is not very good and there is huge competition for
financial people,” she added.

With many businesses choosing to establish operations in Eastern
Europe, the Ukraine is a country with enormous growth potential for
international business.

Brazil remains one of the key emerging markets despite slipping
to fifth in the latest Grant Thornton IBR emerging markets index
behind mainland China, India, Russia and Mexico. Moreira &
Associados is a four-partner firm with 85 staff and offices in
Brasília, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. It
is currently changing its name to become UHY Moreira Auditores.

The firm’s strongest services lines are audit and IT services
but it also specialises in accounting, evaluations of companies,
consulting and tax. In 2007, Moreira & Associados had fee
income of $1.88 million and hopes to break the $2 million mark by
the end of 2008.

The firm has joined UHY International following 20 years with
Polaris International. “We saw that [Polaris] was not helping us to
grow globally and to be in the same umbrella [as] UHY would give us
an advantage to compete for international clients against
PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG,” says Diego Moreira, managing
partner at Moreira & Associados.

Moreira claimed his firm was among the top 12 in Brazil, a
market that is dominated by the Big Four, Grant Thornton and BDO
International.

IFRS challenge

Moreira anticipates the full implementation of IFRS in Brazil by
2010 will be a big challenge but sees the added expertise of UHY’s
network in Europe and internationally as another benefit of
membership.

Moreira & Associados’ business has limited international
clients, mainly from the US and Germany. Moreira said most of the
firm’s clients are mid-sized Brazilian firms although UHY
membership provides the scope to secure work in Argentina, Uruguay
and the US.

Nigerian firm Maaji & Co is a three-partner entity with
eight offices and 68 staff. The firm specialises in serving the
manufacturing, import and export, banking and finance, oil and gas,
and agriculture sectors.

HTR Group Del Valle & Neives is the first member firm to
join UHY International from the Caribbean. Based in San Juan, this
two-partner firm has 28 professional staff. Audit and tax
assignments make up about 90 percent of turnover.

Nicholas Moody