• The Financial Services Agency of Japan has
launched a new electronic disclosure system called Electronic
Disclosure for Investors NETwork (EDINET)…

• The Dubai Financial Services Authority has
registered two new firms as auditor and ancillary service providers
in the Dubai International Financial Centre…

• The European Financial Reporting Advisory
Group
(EFRAG) supervisory board has approved the
re-appointment of six members of the EFRAG Technical Expert
Group…

PricewaterhouseCoopers US chair and senior
partner Dennis Nally has joined the call for a move towards IFRS in
the US…

Asia-Pacific

Asia Pacific• The
Australian Auditing and Assurance Standards Board
is seeking feedback on its proposed Standard on Assurance
Engagements 3500, Performance Engagements, which establishes
mandatory requirements and offers guidance for undertaking and
reporting on performance engagements. It is intended that this
standard will be used for performance engagements beginning on or
after 1 July 2008.

• Australia has entered into a double tax agreement with Japan
that is designed to bring the existing tax treaty up to
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development
standards. Bilateral trade between the two
nations is worth AUS$50 billion ($46 billion) each year and the
nations hope the new arrangement will increase that. The key change
in the agreement is a significant reduction in the withholding tax
rates on dividend, interest and royalty payments.

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By GlobalData

CPA Australia has made its online workshops
accessible to students currently studying certain programmes with
the professional body. Students currently enrolled in CPA 101, CPA
105, CPA 107, CPA 108, CPA 109 and CPA 112 will be able to access
the workshops free of charge. The workshops aim to enhance
candidates’ understanding of certain concepts and are the same as
those delivered in face-to-face workshops. The online workshops
will be available until the date of the relevant CPA Programme
segment examination.

• The Financial Services Agency of Japan has
launched a new electronic disclosure system called Electronic
Disclosure for Investors NETwork (EDINET). EDINET is a corporate
disclosure system under the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act.
All filers will be permitted to submit their financial statements
in eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) format starting in
April 2008. Quarterly securities reports for the fiscal quarter
ending June 2008 will be the first to file under XBRL. The
financial information of about 5,000 companies and 3,000 investment
funds is to be made available for the public in XBRL format through
EDINET.

• The Australian Auditing and Assurance Standards
Board
has released a guidance statement for reporting on
investment management services. GS 007 Audit Implications of the
Use of Service Organisations for Investment Management Services
provides guidance on investment management services. Key features
include expanding the scope of guidance to apply to a wider range
of organisations and clearly separating guidance for ‘user’
auditors and ‘service’ auditors to facilitate usability.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
China has revealed it intends to search abroad for
Chinese with international management skills to increase the firm’s
capacity and expertise. The Big Four firm said a shortage of middle
level managers across China had prompted the firm to implement the
China Sourcing Initiative. PwC Global chief executive Samuel
DiPiazza said high economic growth rates in China has led to the
talent drain, particularly in middle management. “Therefore,
China-based CEOs must develop talent strategies that attract and
retain the right people. The China Sourcing Initiative is one of
the firm’s strategies,” he said.

Africa, Middle East, South Asia

Africa, Middle East, South East Asia• The Dubai
Financial Services Authority
has registered two new firms
as auditor and ancillary service providers in the Dubai
International Financial Centre. Farahat & Co, a member of the
Leading Edge Alliance, and Sajjad Haider Chartered Accountants, a
member of Nexia International, both enlisted as limited liability
partnerships.

• The number of black South African chartered accountants (CA)
has increased due to a targeted programme launched by the
South African Institute of Chartered Accountants
(SAICA). The initiative, Thuthuka, was launched four years ago as a
holistic approach designed to nurture promising black students from
high school and university to prepare them to qualify for
examinations to becoming CAs. An overview of the 2007 university
pass rates of Thuthuka-sponsored students revealed that 88 percent
passed their first year examinations, with 82 percent passing
through the second year.

• Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, chairman of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh
Organization
, has been appointed chairman of the
Encyclopedia of Excellence and Civilisation Committee by the
Encyclopedia’s Board of Trustees. The Encyclopedia is a Saudi
Arabian initiative aimed at highlighting the boundaries of the
country and includes all economic and developmental sectors within
its kingdom. Abu-Ghazaleh said: “It is a great honour to be part of
this endeavour that works relentlessly to promote excellence and
distinction within the Arab-Islamic culture.” Abu-Ghazaleh is well
know within accountancy circles and heads the independent firm
Talal Abu Ghazaleh International.

• The South African Institute of Chartered
Accountants
has opened a new eastern region office in
Durban. The office was launched at an event entitled ‘Opening New
Doors’, where members had the opportunity to meet the
newly-appointed regional executive of the eastern region, Naeem
Asvat.

Horwath International has admitted a new
member firm in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Horwath Mak,
formerly AGN Mak, was established in the UAE in 1981 and currently
has 18 offices and more than 350 partners and staff. Horwath
International chief executive Frank Arford commented: “The
selection of the Horwath Mak firm is in line with the worldwide
strategy of Horwath International, which brings together firms that
share the same key values of quality, service, independence and
representation in key economic centres.”

• Indian accounting delegates have met with Japanese
counterparts to establish a joint approach on the convergence from
present national accounting standards to IFRS, which will be
adopted by both countries in 2011. The meeting, attended by members
of both the Accounting Standards Board of Japan and the
Institute of Chartered Accountants of India,
discussed concerns regarding the future adoption of IFRS. Decisions
were then made to work more closely on future convergence issues
relating to the adoption of these standards.

Europe

Europe• The
European Financial Reporting Advisory Group
(EFRAG) supervisory board has approved the re-appointment of six
members of the EFRAG Technical Expert Group. They include Manuel
García-Ayuso of Spain, Catherine Guttmann of France, Roberto
Monachino of Italy, Anna Sirocka of Poland and Carsten Zielke of
Germany. Françoise Flores of France was re-appointed to the group
and has been made vice chair.

• The Healthcare Financial Management Association and the
Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
(CIMA) have formed a development partnership to promote and
implement the CIMA Strategic Scorecard within the UK National
Health Service. The CIMA Strategic Scorecard is a business tool
that is designed to help boards address strategic issues and
provide structure and processes to deal with them effectively.

• The former head of the UK National Audit
Office
has announced his retirement as chair of the UK
Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) Professional Oversight Board.
John Bourn said he did not wish to be considered for a further
three-year term after serving more than two full terms. He has
agreed to continue as an adviser to the FRC and will commit two
days a week to the role.

• The Chartered Institute of Management
Accountants
(CIMA) has appointed Denis McCarthy as
divisional director of CIMA Ireland. McCarthy joins the institute
from the MBA Association of Ireland, where he has been chief
executive since 2001. He will focus on promoting the CIMA
qualification to stakeholders and building relationships with
education partners and employers in the country. CIMA has nearly
7,000 members and students in Ireland.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Ireland partner
Feargal O’Rourke and Tom Donohue, a senior tax partner with Leading
Edge Alliance member Russell Brennan Keane, are among 18 members of
Ireland’s Commission on Taxation. The commission has been
established by Irish Minister for Finance Brian Cowen to review the
structure, efficiency and appropriateness of the tax system. Frank
Daly, former chairman of Ireland’s Office of the Revenue
Commissioners, will chair the commission.

• The UK government has announced, in its annual budget, a delay
to the implementation of IFRS to public sector accounts until the
2009/2010 financial year. KPMG UK said the extra
year will enable the government to prepare thoroughly and restate
its previous year’s accounts for comparative purposes.

• The UK Financial Reporting Council has
released its proposed changes to the Smith Guidance on audit
committees as part of the implementation phase of its project on
choice in the UK audit market. The first proposed change would
require audit committees to periodically assess the risks
associated with the possible withdrawal of their external auditor
from the market and consider whether any mitigating action would be
appropriate. The second change would involve the audit committee
report explaining to shareholders how it reached its recommendation
to the board on appointments, reappointments and the removal of
external auditors.

North America, Latin America

Americas
The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants
has issued an update on the progress of its simplified non-GAAP
Accounting Framework For Owner-Managed Enterprises (FOME), which
has been designed to meet the needs of companies without
significant external users of their financial statements. The
institute has received almost 300 comment letters in response to
the draft FOME, which it issued in November 2007. The institute
said the letters have shown widespread support for the framework
and common views on a number of issues, including considerable
support for GAAP for all private enterprises initially based on
FOME or a handbook derivative that would be both simplified and
self-contained; and a general desire to avoid multiple GAAP
solutions for the various sectors of non-publicly accountable
enterprises.

• The US Securities and Exchange Commission has
selected six professional accounting fellows for two-year terms
beginning in 2008. Douglas Besch, Brian Fields, Douglas Parker,
Allison Patti, Evan Sussholz and Arie Wilgenburg will join the
current professional accounting fellows and be involved in the
study and development of rule proposals under federal securities
laws. They will also liaise with accounting, auditing and other
professional standard-setting bodies, as well as consult with
registrants on reporting matters.

• The US Institute of Management Accountants
(IMA) has launched a new journal for management accounting
training. The IMA Educational Case Journal features teaching cases
and research on management accounting and related fields. “The
journal will contain cases covering a wide range of topics,
reflecting the diverse skill-sets required by management
accountants today,” IMA director of research and journal editor
Raef Lawson said. “In addition, it will stimulate case writing by
providing the faculty with an additional high-quality outlet for
publishing case research.” The journal is available to IMA members
free of charge through the institute’s website.

• The American Institute of Certified Public
Accountants
has received two Business Champions Awards for
contributions to the Research Triangle Park community. The
institute was honoured for its efforts towards job growth in the
Raleigh-Durham area and its employee training programmes.

PricewaterhouseCoopers US chair and senior
partner Dennis Nally has joined the call for a move towards IFRS in
the US. At the Union League Club in New York, Nally argued that the
transition from US GAAP to IFRS is not only inevitable, but a
positive development that would help make the US capital markets
more competitive. Benefits include reducing the cost and complexity
for US companies operating internationally, Nally said. “If we
continue in the way we’ve always done things, the core foundation
of IFRS will be eroded. The result will be that the US will find
itself out of step with the changes that the rest of the world is
undertaking in financial reporting,” Nally said. “American
businesses, regulators and policy makers must behave differently
over the next ten years, as we participate in ever-increasing
discussions about the convergence of standards, rules and
principles.”