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November 14, 2008

Region round-up

• The Accounting Standards Board of Japan (ASBJ) is seeking comments on an exposure draft… • The Malaysian Accounting Standards Board has issued three new standards…• The European Commission has adopted the consolidated text of all IFRS in force in the EU…• The Jordan-based Arab Society of Certified Accountants has issued an updated Arabic version of IFRS…• The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants has issued a special alert…

Asia-Pacific

Asia PacificThe Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) has released a discussion paper addressing the inconsistent accounting treatments for particular types of intangible assets.

Currently, accounting standards treat intangible assets acquired as part of a business acquisition differently from the same types of intangible assets that are internally generated.

The discussion paper, authored by AASB staff with support from the National Standard Setters, is intended to encourage the International Accounting Standards Board to undertake a review of current accounting standards relating to intangible assets.

• Singapore’s Audit Committee Guidance Committee has released a guidebook for audit committees. The guide is intended to strengthen the corporate governance practices of listed companies in Singapore. It will be distributed to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority and the Singapore Exchange.

• The Financial Reporting Standards Council (FRSC) in the Philippines has amended Philippine Accounting Standard 39 and Philippine Financial Reporting Standard 7 to mirror amendments to IAS 39 and IFRS 7. The amendments to the international standards were part of the International Accounting Standards Board’s response to the credit crisis.

• The Australian Auditing and Assurance Standards Board has issued guidance to help auditors understand their responsibilities when conducting audits of self-managed superannuation funds. GS 009 (Auditing self-managed superannuation funds) assists auditors on matters concerning planning, conducting and reporting these audits. It also includes aspects that an auditor should consider including issuance date, preliminary engagement activities, risk assessment procedures and audit evidence.

• The Accounting Standards Board of Japan (ASBJ) is seeking comments on an exposure draft entitled Tentative Solution on Reclassification of Debt Securities. The ASBJ said it has received questions on reclassification of debt securities since the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) issued reclassification amendments to IAS 39 and IFRS 7 on October 13.

The new draft is only available in Japanese. Comments are due by 28 November 2008.

• The Malaysian Accounting Standards Board has issued three new standards, two new interpretations, plus two draft amendments and four draft interpretations. All the documents form part of Malaysia’s planned conversion with IFRS by 2012.

MASB executive director Nordin Zain said: “There are a number of IASB documents which will be effective 2009 internationally and we plan to progressively expose and adopt them in Malaysia between now and 2012 deadline.”

• The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia has made a number of appointments to its regional councils. Chief financial officer at Brierty Limited Tony Bevan has been appointed chairman of the institute’s Western Australia council. He is joined on the state board by Mel Ashton. Both appointments will be effective from January 2009.

Nigel Stevenson and Darren Ball have been appointed as members of the institute’s South Australia regional council. Steven McDonnell, Adrian King and Greg Field have been appointed to the Australian Capital Territory regional council.

Africa, Middle East, South Asia

Africa, Middle East, South East Asia

• The Jordan-based Arab Society of Certified Accountants has issued an updated Arabic version of IFRS. The society has also released a second Arabic edition of IFRS Practical Implementation Guide and Workbook 2008. The guide demonstrates the practical application of IFRS standards using easy explanations and simple examples. It also addresses the challenges faced by an auditor or accountant in applying such standards and reading and understanding the financial statements produced.

Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) has issued a revision of its accounting standard on investment. The standard has been revised with reference to the accounting treatment for unrealised losses resulting from re-measurements at fair value of Islamic financial institutions’ available-for-sale investments in sukuk (Islamic bond) and shares.

The revision will enable those unrealised losses to be recognised in the institutions’ statement of financial position under investment fair value reserve regardless of the balance of such reserves.

• The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has entered into a co-operation agreement with the Financial Supervisory Commission of Chinese Taipei (FSC). The FSC is responsible for the supervision of all Taiwan’s financial institutions including professional services firms, banks and securities firms.

DFSA chief executive David Knott said the signing of the agreement formalised arrangements for co-operation and information sharing between the two regulators. “It recognises that both regulators place reliance on the quality of regulatory standards administered in the other’s jurisdiction,” he said.

• The president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan, Asad Ali Shah, has been elected as vice-chairman of the Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards on Accounting and Reporting, which is part of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, based in Geneva, Switzerland. ISAR aims to enhance the quality of financial reporting, corporate disclosure and transparency within the accounting community. Its members include international governmental departments and global standard setters.

• The Arab Society of Certified Accountants (ASCA) is to introduce a certified technician qualification. Arab Certified Accounting Technician holders will become members of ASCA and will be qualified for the Arab Certified Public Accountant examinations, ASCA chair Talal Abu-Ghazaleh said. 

Europe Europe •The UK Professional Oversight Board (POB) has given practical effect to EC requirements for the regulation of non-EU auditors of companies that have listed on regulated markets within the EU. The POB estimates that in the UK there are about 570 such issuers from 50 countries audited by about 150 third-country audit firms. The requirements reflect a decision by the EC in June on transitional arrangements for audit firms from specified countries in respect of the audits of accounts for financial periods starting between 29 June 2008 and 1 July 2010. Such firms are exempted from most of the regulatory requirements the Eighth Company Law Directive imposes. The transitional period is intended to allow for mutual recognition agreements to be developed between the EU and third-country regulators.

• The UK Accounting Standards Board has issued an amendment to FRS 26 (IAS 39) Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement – Eligible Hedged Items. The changes echo those made by the International Accounting Standards Board in July this year. The amendment clarifies how the existing principles underlying hedge accounting should be applied in two particular situations: when dealing with a one-sided risk in a hedged item; and inflation in a financial hedged item.

• The European Securities Committee (ESC) has voted in favour of granting equivalence to certain third-country GAAP. The proposals will now pass to the European Parliament and Council for formal opinions, and then to the EC for adoption. If adopted next year, US, Japanese, Chinese, Canadian, South Korean and Indian companies will be able to report their financial statements in locally accepted GAAP within the EU until they have fully converged to IFRS. The ESC decision follows recommendations from the Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR) that Indian, Canadian, South Korean, Japanese and US GAAP be granted equivalence. CESR suggested postponing recognition of Chinese GAAP.

• The European Commission has adopted the consolidated text of all IFRS in force in the EU. The document combines all IFRS endorsed to date. It will enable stakeholders to refer to one single legal document. The commission said this is an important element of its simplification programme, which is aimed at reducing the administrative burden on EU businesses.

• Banking, retail, travel and leisure, commercial property and house builders will be the priority sectors for the UK Financial Reporting Review Panel for 2009-10. In view of the deteriorating economy, the panel will also extend its selection to include other entities that derive significant revenue from the provision of services such as advertising, media, recruitment and technology.

• Accountancy trainer Richard Clarke is opening his first UK office in Belfast, where he will train students for Association of Chartered Certified Accountants exams. Clarke was previously a training director for European professional educator BPP. He already has an academy in Malta and plans to open others across Europe in the coming months.

• Assurance consulting increases of more than 60 percent have boosted Deloitte Germany’s revenues by 35 percent from €579 million ($746 million) to €779 million for the year ended 30 June 2008. Despite the increase, Deloitte Germany remains the smallest of the country’s Big Four with its three rivals posting revenues in excess of €1 billion in 2007.

North America, Latin America Americas• Alan Einhorn has been appointed chair of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) tax executive committee. Einhorn is the national director of the quality assurance group for Deloitte US’s tax services business. In his new role, he will help to establish tax policy for the institute.

AICPA vice president of taxation Tom Ochsenschlager said: “We’re going to see a lot of attention to tax policy issues as a new administration and Congress take office and they continue efforts to stabilise the economy. Einhorn’s keen understanding of the regulatory and legislative processes, as well as of the needs of taxpayers and tax preparers, will be invaluable.”

• US finance and accounting staff can expect average salary increases of 3.4 percent, according to new research from Robert Half International. The recruiter’s annual salary survey found companies were showing the most interest in employing professionals who could help their firms reduce inefficiencies and enhance profitability. Those who were familiar with IFRS were also sought after.

Starting salaries for staff accountants at large companies (more than $250 million in sales) who have one to three years of experience were projected to range from $44,500 to $57,250.

Starting salaries for senior accountants in tax services at small public accounting firms (less than $25 million in sales) were forecast to range from $54,000 to $69,250.

• The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants has issued a special alert aimed at providing business leaders advice on how to keep investors informed through the financial crisis. The alert, titled Management’s Discussion and Analysis in Volatile and Uncertain Times, will attempt to help companies supplement financial statements with information through management’s discussion and analysis.

• The Accounting Standards Board of Canada has issued an exposure draft that proposes to amend Section 3862, Financial Instruments — Disclosures. The amendments follow improvements recently proposed by the International Accounting Standards Board to IFRS 7, Financial Instruments: Disclosures. The amendment aims to enhance information disclosed about fair value measurements of financial instruments and liquidity risk. Comments are requested by 12 January 2009.

• The Chartered Accountants of Canada (CICA) has launched a basic e-learning IFRS course to help Canada’s transition to the global accounting standard. The course is aimed at the profession and the wider business community as Canada works towards adopting IFRS by 2011. The free course is available in English and French in Canada and Bermuda. It is divided in four modules and takes about four hours to complete.

CICA education vice-president Tim Forristal commented: “The time to learn about IFRS is now. Canada is about to move onto the same financial reporting playing field as more than 100 other countries. Be prepared for what lies ahead.”

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