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Region round-up

The Financial Services Agency (FSA) of Japan has outlined its ongoing efforts to improve Japan’s regulatory environment in its inaugural progress report...

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has launched a new desk to help clients better execute trade and investment opportunities between India, South Africa and the rest of Africa.

• The German Accounting Standards Board has adopted a new accounting standard: GAS 16 Interim Reporting.

• The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has issued new standards for performing and reporting on peer reviews.



Asia-Pacific

Asia PacificKPMG Australia has released a sustainability reporting guide to provide directors and senior professionals with a tool when addressing this highly-evolving area of reporting. Sustainability Reporting: A Guide, discusses the mainstream trend towards environmental, social and governance reporting and the need for business communities and individual companies to respond to the sustainable development issues that may affect a company’s long term economic performance.

• The Financial Services Agency (FSA) of Japan has outlined its ongoing efforts to improve Japan’s regulatory environment in its inaugural progress report. The report noted the FSA has increased discussions with financial institutions and expanded its public profile, including speeches, lectures, and a growing use of English on its website. The FSA said it strengthened co-operation with foreign authorities and had expanded research functions, including the establishment of a market analysis office in February 2008.

• The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA) raised more than H$1.5 million ($192,265) last month to help earthquake victims in Sichuan, China. More than 300 members and institute staff donated nearly H$1.2 million, which was topped up to H$1.5 million by the HKICPA Charitable Fund.

The institute said all its contributions will go to the Red Cross to aid relief efforts in the stricken region. The institute established a daily tally on contributions from its members on its website, along with a list of its members who have donated money towards the earthquake appeal.

• CPAs and accounting professionals in Singapore are not confident about the economic outlook for the rest of 2008, according to a survey conducted by the Institute of Chartered Public Accountants of Singapore. The economic outlook expressed by 64 percent of the respondents ranged from neutral to pessimistic, while all the respondents said the local economy would be affected by the recent financial credit turmoil and probable US recession. Inflationary pressure was another area of concern amongst respondents.

• The Australian Accounting Standards Board has publicly disagreed with the International Financial Reporting Interpretations Committee’s Draft Interpretation D24 Customer Contributions. D24 requires the payment of asset handover for network connections, such as connections to pipelines and electrical networks, to be recognised as revenue over the entire period that the network service is provided. In contrast, the current requirement is to recognise the revenue at the time of installation of the network connection.

CPA Australia has opened a new office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. CPA Australia has more than 8,000 members in Malaysia and said it moved to the new premises to accommodate the needs of its members and their prospects for future career growth. More than 120 people were present at the opening ceremony including Malaysian Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Kong Cho Ha, the Australian High Commissioner and CPA Australia president Alex Malley.

Africa, Middle East, South Asia

Africa, Middle East, South East Asia• The corporate laws committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (IACI) is exploring the development of corporate affairs standards that would deal with business valuation, investor protection, corporate restructuring and other areas to guide members and stakeholders on best practice. The ICAI told The Accountant the idea is still in its infancy.

• The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India has approved Accounting Standard (AS) 32 Financial Instruments: Disclosures. The standard requires entities to provide certain disclosures in their financial statements to enable users to evaluate the significance of financial instruments for the entity’s financial position and performance. It also allows users to evaluate the nature and extent of risks arising from financial instruments and how the entity manages those risks.

• The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Cyprus. The agreement is intended to enhance information sharing and co-operation between the two organisations as they both regulate Cypriot firm branches and subsidiaries that operate in the Dubai International Financial Centre.

DFSA chief executive David Knott said: “As a member of the European Union, Cyprus is an active participant in the work of the Committee of European Securities Regulators, adopting and harmonising international standards in Europe and continuing to establish world class standards in the regulation of capital markets.”

• The UK Chartered Institute of Management Accountants has reassessed the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan (ICMAP) syllabus and granted exemption in their certificate level and managerial level papers to ICMAP members and students. Students joining the institute in Stage-3 or above will be assumed to have completed the accredited programme and will be awarded exemptions appropriately.

• UK-based South African chartered accountants have established a Thuthuka Bursary Fund. More than 2,300 UK-based chartered accountants are members of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants. The Thuthuka programme provides education assistance to students from disadvantaged backgrounds and bursary funding to promising students who might otherwise struggle to obtain higher education.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has launched a new desk to help clients better execute trade and investment opportunities between India, South Africa and the rest of Africa. The India-Africa Desk will assist businesses to identify opportunities and potential partners and help manage the commercial uncertainties of doing business in both regions. PwC project leader Troopti Naik said India’s emergence as an economic powerhouse has triggered a rise in trade and investment between the two regions.

Naik added: “Indian companies want to come to South Africa as part of their global expansion plans; and South Africa companies are evaluating expansion opportunities in India.”

Europe

Europe• The European Commission (EC) has become a member of the Public Interest Oversight Board (PIOB) nominating committee.

The PIOB oversees the public interest activities of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) such as the setting of international auditing standards and ethical and education standards for the accounting profession. The committee also reappointed eight current PIOB members and appointed two former EC observers as full members of the PIOB.

• The Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR) has recommended the European Commission accept Canadian GAAP and South Korean GAAP as equivalent to IFRS in the EU until the end of 2011. CESR made the recommendation after both countries declared they would adopt IFRS by 31 December 2011.

• The UK Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) have signed a joint memorandum of understanding in an attempt to drive the professional development agenda and provide benefits to both sets of members. Through the agreement, employer organisations already recognised by the ACCA’s approved employer programme will have the opportunity to become accredited by AAT under its equivalent scheme, without having to go through AAT’s full assessment process.

• Norman Adams is the new president of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants Ireland (CPA Ireland). Adams previously had a 25-year career with KPMG Ireland and now runs an accountancy practice in the coastal town of Malahide, near Dublin. John White and Geoffrey Meagher have been named as the vice-president and junior vice-president respectively.

• Jim Aiken succeeded Vincent Sheridan as the president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI) at the institute’s AGM in Belfast recently. The institute elected Tom Fitzpatrick as its deputy president and Paul O’Connor as vice-president. Meanwhile, the ICAI recently established a post qualification diploma in forensic accounting.

• The German Accounting Standards Board has adopted a new accounting standard; GAS 16 Interim Reporting. GAS 16 explains the overarching requirements of the Transparency Directive Implementing Act and requirements governing half-yearly financial reporting, quarterly financial reporting and interim management statements.

• The Irish Auditing & Accounting Supervisory Authority (IASSA) has appointed three professional staff. John O’Malley has joined as head of legal services and secretary of the authority, Trevor Rushe as project manager in the regulatory and monitoring supervision unit and Maurice Barrett as a project manager in the financial reporting supervision unit.

• The UK Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has appointed the next chair and executive director of its Accountancy and Actuarial Discipline Board. Timothy Walker joins the board after an extensive career within the civil service, dealing with many international and high profile regulatory matters. Walker will take over from Mike Fogden on 1 June 2008.

North America, Latin America

Americas• Jeannie Patton has been appointed to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ newly created position of vice-president – students, academics and membership. Her responsibilities will include overseeing student recruitment and serving the needs of young CPAs.

• The US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is seeking nominations for its 2009-2010 Standing Advisory Group. The group was initiated in 2003 to advise the board in carrying out its standard setting responsibilities. It currently consists of 36 members with backgrounds in accounting, auditing, corporate finance, corporate governance and investment.

• The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has authorised the creation of a new CPA credential in forensic accounting. The Certified in Financial Forensics credential will combine specialised forensic accounting expertise with the core knowledge and skills from professionals in the service area. A CPA must be an AICPA member, have at least five years’ experience in practicing accounting and meet minimum requirements in relevant business experience and continuing professional education to apply.

• The Accounting Standards Board of Canada has commenced discussions on the principles to be used in developing GAAP standards for private enterprises. Principles guiding the project include using the same conceptual framework that applies to publicly accountable enterprises.

• More than 64,000 students graduated with accountancy degrees in the US last year – the largest number in 30 years. An American Institute of Certified Public Accountants report noted a rise in the number of annual graduates of 19 percent since its previous graduate survey of the 2003-04 school year.

• The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has issued new standards for performing and reporting on peer reviews. The standards are intended to produce simpler reports that will provide greater transparency to state boards of accountancy, federal agencies and the private sector. A key difference in the new peer review standards is the elimination of letters of comment and the old three-tier system of unmodified, modified and adverse grades given to firms by reviewers.

• The US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued FASB Statement 162, The Hierarchy of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. The new standard is intended to improve financial reporting by identifying a consistent framework, or hierarchy, for selecting accounting principles to be used in preparing financial statements for non-government entities using US GAAP.

KPMG Canada has released its fifth annual social responsibility report, outlining environmental objectives and providing details on social and economic performance.


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