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October 14, 2007

Region round-up

Region round-up


Asia Pacific• Australia’s Financial Reporting Council is seeking expressions of interest from people wishing to fill part-time vacancies on the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AUASB) during 2007-2008. The AUASB is an independent Commonwealth statutory body established under the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001. Its role includes making auditing standards for the purposes of the corporation’s legislation, and the formulation of auditing and assurance standards for other purposes.

• The Malaysian Securities Commission has revised the country’s corporate governance code in a bid to strengthen its framework and ensure it is aligned to other globally accepted best practices. The newly revised code supersedes the previous code issued in March 2000. It contains crucial amendments aimed at strengthening the roles and responsibilities of boards of directors and audit committees to ensure they discharge their duties effectively.

• The Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) has issued exposure drafts on proposed amendments to Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement, and Joint Arrangements. Both drafts are in line with the International Accounting Standards Board’s proposed amendments. The financial instruments draft aims to clarify what can be designated as a hedged item in a hedge accounting relationship, while the joint arrangement proposal allows parties to a jointly controlled entity to recognise their interest in that entity using either the proportionate consolidation or equity method of accounting.

• Nanjing University has won first place in the Deloitte China tax championship 2007. Participants came from 47 universities in the greater China region. The championship aims to nurture the interests of students studying tax and help improve the knowledge of the next generation of tax professionals. Alan Tsoi, chairman of the championship organising committee, said: “Through the championship, students achieved a deeper understanding of the tax regime and greater awareness of the latest tax issues.”

• The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA) has thrown its support behind a government proposal to lower taxes. The institute’s chief executive, Winnie Cheung, said that lower tax rates were vital to Hong Kong’s competitive position as a financial centre. “The chief executive [of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region] is in line with the viewpoint of the accounting profession in this regard,” Cheung said. The institute advised cuts in corporate and personal taxes to bring them close to 2002-2003 levels.

• An Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia survey has found 43 percent of young Australian accountants intend to travel overseas in the next two years. The survey polled 680 accountants aged between 21 to 30 years old. Two-thirds of respondents named the UK as the most popular destination. Sheena Frenkel, general manager of the institute’s chartered accountants programme, said the lure of the China Olympic Games has helped Asia dislodge the US as the second most popular destination, compared with last year’s results.

• Ethical conduct, continued professional education and issues to be taken into account when reporting on financial statements were among the topics discussed at a recent Mongolian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (MonICPA) seminar.

Africa, Middle East, South Asia

Africa, Middle East, South East Asia• The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda has elected Joseph Baliddawa as its new president. Narendra Thakkar has been named vice-president of the professional body. The Ethiopian Professional Association of Accountants and Auditors has elected Awoke Gebresilassie as its new chairman and Kokeb Moges as vice chairman.

• Mussa Asaad has been elected as the chairman of the Tanzanian National Board of Accountants and Auditors. Asaad, who is a senior lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, will serve in the post for three years.

• The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya council has developed stronger working relationships with the Kenyan government and parliament. The professional body has met key government and parliamentary representatives in recent months, including Speaker of the Kenya National Assembly Ole Kaparo and Minister for Finance Amos Kimunya. Issues covered at the meetings include how the institute can work with various ministries in promoting accountability and good governance; the safeguarding of the accountancy profession by ensuring high quality professionals; and appointing qualified accountants as heads of accounting units.

• The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has made technology competence a prerequisite for new members. From 2008, every ICAN graduate is expected to acquire IT skills under the institute’s technology competence initiative (TCI) or show proof of such competence before he or she can be inducted.

• The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe has elected Tawanda Gumbo as president and Nyasha Zhou as senior vice-president. The Swaziland Institute of Accountants has appointed Barnabas Mhlongo as its chief executive.

Deloitte Global has appointed two of its global partners to the Middle East in response to a rise in demand caused by the region’s oil and gas industry. Deloitte US partner and global national oil company leader David Traylor, and Paul Navratil, who has relocated form Deloitte Europe, are the latest additions to the firm’s leadership team.

• A keynote address from a Harvard Business School professor will be one of the draw cards at a global management accounting summit in New Delhi, India next January. Robert Kaplan, who is Baker Foundation professor at Harvard Business School, will speak at the event along with other management accounting experts such as the Institute of Management Accountants’ president and chief executive, Paul Sharman. The summit is being organised by the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India to discuss the repositioning of management accounting.

Europe Europe• Accounting bodies in Europe are demonstrating strong commitment to quality and expertise through continuous education, according to research from the Fédération des Experts Comptables Européens. The survey, which includes feedback from 39 European accountancy bodies, concluded that 37 professional bodies maintained a system of continuing professional education, while the remaining two are in the process of developing one with a view to making it mandatory.

• The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) has appointed a new resources director. Chris Harris will join CIPFA in January, after already serving as a council member at the organisation.

• The Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority has published a guide to the financial reporting requirements of the EU Transparency Directive. The report follows the commencement of regulations giving effect to the directive in Ireland.

• The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI) is hosting a conference to spark discussions between statutory regulators and chartered accountants working in business and in practice. The conference will be held in Newtownmountkennedy, County Wicklow, from 23 to 24 November. It will conclude with an address by John McGuinness, Ireland’s new Minister for Trade and Commerce with responsibility for accounting and company law issues.

• Alex McDermott, an audit trainee from Grant Thornton UK, has achieved the highest mark worldwide in the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants exam. McDermott, who joined the firm’s audit team three years ago, scored 89 percent in advanced corporate reporting.

• Medical technology company Medtronic Cardiovascular is the latest organisation to join the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland’s employer partnership scheme. Caroline Healy, learning and development manager at Medtronic Cardiovascular, said: “We are delighted to become members of this scheme as we continue to provide focused learning and development opportunities for our employees.”

• The future of public audit in the EU was the topic of discussion at a seminar to mark the 30th anniversary of the European Court of Auditors, held in Luxembourg recently. Finnish Auditor General Tuomas Pöysti was one of the speakers at the seminar and told participants that the future of public audit lies in the role of audit and accountability in the conception of democracy and good governance. Pöysti said: “The challenges for accountability in the context of social and economic change call for a better connection between audit and the exercise of legislative and budgetary power.”

• A new advertising campaign has been launched by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales which includes a series of cinema adverts promoting the Associate Chartered Accountant qualification. The campaign, called ‘Blah won’t get you far’, will be shown in student cinemas across England and Wales during the next six weeks and will also appear in the national press and business press and on postcards and student websites.

North America, Latin America Americas• The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants has launched a new website that focuses on the country’s upcoming transition to IFRS. The website is designed to help members prepare for a smooth and effective transition from Canadian GAAP to International Standards on Auditing for periods after 15 December 2009. The website will also assist members’ transition from Canadian GAAP to IFRS for publicly accountable enterprises for periods beginning on or after 1 January 2011.

• The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has awarded former chairman Kathy Eddy and former governing council member Gary John Previts the 2007 Gold Medal for Distinguished Service. AICPA’s highest award recognises people whose influence on accounting is notable in comparison to other leaders in the profession.

• The majority of chief financial officers in the US want more accounting firm choices, according to a survey by Grant Thornton US. The survey found that 56 percent of respondents thought there are too few accounting firms to ensure competition and 69 percent thought more competition in the US accounting profession would increase quality of service and decrease price. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they considered only four auditing firms to be global organisations, 20 percent said five were global organisations, 28 percent said six and 12 percent said eight.

PricewaterhouseCoopers US has teamed up with the Professional Development Institute of the University of North Texas to publish the sixth edition of Petroleum Accounting: Principles, Procedures, & Issues. The publication presents an overview of the oil and gas industry’s operations in context with the financial reporting and accounting principles and practices, aimed at US companies and international companies filing financial statements under US GAAP.

• The US Securities and Exchange Commission has named Paul Beswick as a senior adviser to the commission’s chief accountant. In this role, Beswick is to advise chief accountant Conrad Hewitt on complex accounting and auditing matters, and will assist in the development of strategic objectives as part of Office of Chief Accountant’s agenda. Hewitt commented: “[Beswick’s] background in standard setting at the [Financial Accounting Standards Board], and his role at Ernst & Young where he participated in the audit of several large multinational corporations and in a consultative role on complex technical matters, will be invaluable in serving the interest of investors.”

• The US Center for Audit Quality has released three white papers discussing accounting issues relating to the liquidity crisis of the recent markets. The crisis had a pervasive impact on public companies, specifically in investments held. The white papers will articulate accounting practices requirements of GAAP literature relating to the specific issues addressed, with the aim of helping auditors understand the application of GAAP in the context of illiquid market conditions.

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