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January 27, 2009

Region Round-up

The Ministry of Finance in Singapore has named the members of a committee established to develop the accountancy sector…

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has opened its first office in Algeria…

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI) has launched a new diploma in corporate finance…

• Pedro Augusto de Melo has been elected chairman of the Institute of Independent Auditors of Brazil (Instituto dos Auditores Independentes do Brasil)…

Asia-Pacific • The Ministry of Finance in Singapore has named the members of a committee established to develop the accountancy sector. The committee is intended to allow the government to review the accountancy sector and help position Singapore as a leading international centre in Asia for accountancy services and professionals. Singapore Totalisator Board chairman Bobby Chin will chair the committee.

The 14 other senior representatives are from the accounting profession, business community, academic and public sector, including senior representatives from the Big Four, Grant Thornton and Nexia firms. The firms’ representatives include Ernst & Young Singapore executive chairman Ong Yew Huat and Deloitte Asia Pacific chief executive Chaly Mah.

The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore representative is vice-president Ernest Kan.

• Christina Foo, Simon Bird, Bruce Trebilcock, Penny Egan, Graeme Wade and Kerry Ryan have been elected to the board of directors of CPA Australia. All six will start their two year terms on 1 April 2009. Weng Keong Low, Richard Petty, Steve Chapman, Mark Grey, Paul Cooper and John Cahill will remain on the board.

• The Australian Financial Reporting Council has appointed and reappointed members to the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) and the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AUASB).

PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia partner Victor Clarke and Australian Auditor General Ian McPhee have been appointed to the AASB on a part-time basis. Ernst & Young (E&Y) Australia partner John O’Grady and economic consultant Glenn Appleyard have been reappointed to the AASB on a part-time basis. Other appointments include Auditor General of Western Australia Colin Murphy to the AUASB. KPMG Australia partner Chris Hall, E&Y partner David Simmonds and Auditor General of Tasmania Mike Blake, have been reappointed to the AUASB.

• The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has reappointed Liu-Pak-wai and Shengman Zhang as non-executive directors for a two-year term ending 31 December 2010. Pak-wai has been a non-executive director with the SFC since January 2005, whilst Zhang has been in his position since January 2007.

• The National Institute of Accountants in Australia (NIA) has appointed James Pisano as chief financial officer, succeeding Peter Cocks. Pisano is a fellow of NIA and comes from the construction sector where he worked as executive manager of business intelligence and finance. The institute has about 20,000 members and students.

• The AASB has proposed to harmonise Australian GAAP and Government Finance Statistics (GFS) for entities within the government sector. If adopted, the proposals would change the format of financial statements issued by certain government controlled entities, including government departments and statutory authorities.

The proposals would result in the financial statement formats of those entities and their controlling governments looking broadly the same.

The exposure draft is open for comment until 19 May 2009. If adopted, the changes will be applicable to annual reporting periods beginning on or after 1 July 2010, with early adoption permitted.

• The Australian Accounting Professional & Ethical Standards Board is seeking comment on an insolvency services standard.

The proposed APES 330 Insolvency Services outlines mandatory requirements and guidance for members of Australia’s three professional accounting bodies who work in public practice and provide insolvency services.

APES 330 covers the fundamental responsibilities of members in public practice, professional independence and conflicts of interest, professional engagement matters, dealings with property, expert witness obligations, professional fees and documentation and quality control.

Africa, Middle East, South Asia

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has opened its first office in Algeria. It is the second Big Four firm to do so in three months. The office will be located in Algiers and offer audit, legal, tax and consulting services. Rival Ernst & Young established an office in Algeria in September, offering advisory, audit, legal and finance services. PwC is already present in Morocco and Tunisia and now employs 250 people across the North Africa region.

• The National Board of Accountants and Auditors Tanzania is holding a presentation next month on changes to accounting standards coming into effect this year. These include changes to IAS 32 – Financial Instruments: Presentation, IAS 39 – Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement and IFRS 7 – Financial Instruments: Disclosures.

Topics covered will include the framework for the preparation of financial statements, presentation of financial statements and review of sample financial statements. The board is hoping attendees will include accountants, auditors, regulators, directors of entities, lecturers, heads of accounting institutions, analysts and students.

PricewaterhouseCoopers India (PwC) has acquired operations and human resources consulting services firm ECS. ECS specialises in lean manufacturing and lean services, Six Sigma, cost reduction, and people and change management. Five partners and 100 consultants from ECS will join PwC.

• The Malaysian Accounting Standards Board (MASB) has proposed amendments relating to investments in subsidiaries. The proposed amendment to FRS 1 First-time Adoption of Financial Reporting Standards and FRS 127 Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements are virtually identical to International Accounting Standards Board amendments to IFRS that were issued in May 2008, the MASB said.

The Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan has appointed Hasan Bilgrami as president of its national council.

Bilgrami will be joined on the council by Mohammad Hanif as vice-president, Sia ul Mustafa Awan as honorary secretary and Ghulam Mustafa as honorary treasurer.

Europe

• Esa Kailiala has been elected chair of the Finnish Institute of Authorised Public Accountants (KHT-yhdistys-Föreningen CGR ry). Kailiala, who is a partner at KPMG, succeeds Rabbe Nevalainen to the position. He is joined by PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Hannu Pellinen as deputy chair.

• The members of the two major Dutch professional services institutes largely support a planned merger, according to an online poll. Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut van Register Accountants (NIVRA) and Nederlandse Orde van Accountants Administratieconsulenten (NOvAA) signed a letter of intent to merge in November last year. In a subsequent internet poll, 68 percent of NIVRA members and 79 percent of NOvAA members said they support the merger. The institutes plan to hold a number of briefings on the merger this year.

• The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI) has launched a new diploma in corporate finance. The post-qualification programme has been designed to meet the requirements of those working in, or advising on corporate finance, or who would like to move into the area of work. Subject topics will include the investment in resources, financing investments, valuing companies, maximising shareholder values and evaluating the appropriate time for acquisitions. The diploma will commence in April.

• The UK Auditing Practices Board (APB) has highlighted going concern issues related to the current economic climate in order to assist auditors in making judgements on disclosures in financial reports. The board anticipates an increase in the disclosures in annual reports and accounts and advises auditors to refer to going concern only when appropriate. APB chair Richard Fleck said the economic conditions do not necessarily mean a material uncertainty exists about an entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, or justifies auditors modifying their auditor’s report to draw attention to going concern.

• The APB is seeking feedback on amended Practice Note (PN) 23, which provides guidance on auditing complex financial instruments. The APB hopes to widen the scope of the current PN 23 issued in 2002. The update is a response to current market conditions in relation to valuations and to financial statement disclosures, risk and uncertainties corresponding to complex financial instruments.

• Andrew Harding has been appointed to the senior management team of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). Harding will be based in CIMA’s headquarters in London. He will supervise the institute’s global strategy on alliances and partnerships. Harding previously worked as managing director at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

• The Irish Auditing & Accounting Supervisory Authority has issued guidance on financial reporting issues for boards and audit committees with December year-ends. The guidance covers the valuation and impairment of assets, retirement benefits, going concern/principal risks and uncertainties, financial instruments disclosures and hedge effectiveness. It also looks at judgements, related party disclosures, deferred tax assets, operating profit and alternative performance measures.

North America, Latin America

• Pedro Augusto de Melo has been elected chairman of the Institute of Independent Auditors of Brazil (Instituto dos Auditores Independentes do Brasil). Other senior positions elected by the board include secretary Guy Almeida Andrade and council members Alexandre de Labetta Filho, Ana María Elorrieta, Eduardo Augusto Rocha Pocetti, Juarez Lopes de Araújo, Mário Vieira Lopes, Pedro Lucio Siqueira Farah and Julio Ricardo Rodil. Ana María Elorrieta has become the first female to chair the institute’s national board.

Other national board members include director for professional development Jorge Alberto Moreira da Cunha, technical director Wanderley Olivetti and director of administration and finance Jose Luiz Ribeiro de Carvalho.

• The US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is seeking comment on the proposed FASB Staff Position FAS 141(R)-a, Accounting for Assets Acquired and Liabilities Assumed in a Business Combination That Arise from Contingencies.

The new standard will amend FASB Statement No. 141 (revised 2007), Business Combinations. The document addresses concerns raised by preparers, auditors and members of the legal profession by requiring the use of fair value to value assets and liabilities arising from contingencies only when fair value can be reasonably determined.

• Shelley Parratt has been appointed acting director of the division of corporation finance at the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Parratt has served as deputy director of the division since 2003. During that time she has been responsible for overseeing the disclosure review programme, assisting in strategic planning and developing division policies and procedures.

• The US Financial Accounting Standards Board is seeking comment on the second of two proposed FASB staff positions (FSP) to address concerns arising from the current financial crisis relating to accounting for financial instruments.

Proposed FSP FAS 107-a, Disclosures about Certain Financial Assets would amend the disclosure requirements in FASB statement No 107, Disclosures about Fair Value of Financial Instruments, to increase the comparability of information about certain financial assets that have related economic characteristics but have different measurement attributes.

The second proposal follows the recently released FSP EITF 99-20-a, Amendments to the Impairment and Interest Income Measurement Guidance of EITF Issue No. 99-20, which is intended to reduce complexity and achieve greater consistent determinations of whether other-than-temporary impairments of available-for-sale or held-to-maturity debt securities have occurred.

• The FASB is also seeking comments on an amendment to the accounting and reporting requirements of paragraph 14B of Statement 133. The paragraph provides clarifying language to Statement 133 regarding when embedded credit derivative features are not considered embedded derivatives subject to potential bifurcation and separate accounting. The proposal seeks to resolve some ambiguity about the breadth of the embedded credit derivative scope exception in paragraph 14B. The deadline for comment is 13 February.

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