• The Accounting Standards Board of Japan has
released two accounting standards and an issue paper for public
comment…

• The Institute of Chartered Accountants of
Nigeria
is holding its second annual Western Districts
conference in Lagos from 11 to 14 February…

• Daniel Dunga has replaced Hennox Mazengera as executive
director of the Society of Accountants in Malawi
(SOCAM)…

• Local governments and authorities in the UK are to prepare
their accounts using IFRS from 1 April 2010…

Asia-Pacific

Asia Pacific• The
Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Accounting and Corporate
Regulatory Authority, and the Singapore Exchange have established
the Audit Committee Guidance Committee (ACGC). The
new body will develop practical guidance for audit committees to
strengthen corporate governance practices of listed companies in
Singapore. The ACGC will be chaired by former KPMG Singapore
managing partner Bobby Chin Yoke Choong. ACGC members will be drawn
from the business community as well as stakeholder groups,
including the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of
Singapore and the Singapore Association of the Institute of
Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.

• The Accounting Standards Board of Japan has
released two accounting standards and an issue paper for public
comment. The Accounting Standard for Construction Contracts
(Statement No 15) and the Guidance on Accounting Standard for
Construction Contracts (Guidance No 18) are available in Japanese
only. The issue paper on accounting for research and development
costs has been published for comment until early February.

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• A report from three Australian institutes has highlighted a
selection of areas where they believe the International Accounting
Standards Board’s proposed IFRS for SMEs can be improved. The
CPA Australia, Institute of Chartered Accountants of
Australia
and National Institute of
Accountants
findings include: more clarity is required in
the area of offsetting deferred tax, accounting for contingent
consideration and in the financial assets and financial
liabilities; understanding was limited in relation to the ‘relevant
and reliable’ concept to the selection of accounting policies; and
disclosure reductions were minimal for reporting entities and
increased substantially for non-reporting entities that previously
adopted minimal disclosures.

• The Australian Accounting Standards Board
released an exposure draft on proposed amendments to determining
the cost of an investment in a subsidiary, jointly controlled
entity or associate. The draft incorporates the International
Accounting Standards Board’s exposure draft on proposed amendments
to IFRS 1 First-time Adoption of International Financial Reporting
Standards and IAS 27 Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements
– Cost of an Investment in a Subsidiary, Jointly Controlled Entity
or Associate.

• Foreign companies operating in China are to pay more corporate
tax as part of reforms aimed at equalising treatment of domestic
and overseas companies. The Chinese government is to introduce a
new 25 percent corporate tax rate for both international and
domestic companies. Previously, domestic rates were 33 percent
while many overseas companies paid 15 percent or less, or were
granted tax holidays. Grant Thornton UK China
Group
head Stephen Weatherseed said the tax package also
encourages hi-tech and environmentally friendly industries through
lower 15 percent rates and other incentives.

• Japanese firm Ernst & Young ShinNihon
(E&Y) has completed the inward transfer of 1,065 employees from
former PricewaterhouseCoopers Global (PwC) Japanese member firm
Misuzu Audit Corporation. Misuzu announced a wind-down of
operations and split from PwC early last year following two
accounting scandals. E&Y ShinNihon said the transferees have
been undergoing intensive training in auditing techniques and tools
since early July to enable them to quickly adapt to their duties
with their new employer.

Africa, Middle East, South Asia

Africa, Middle East, South East Asia• The Institute
of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka
has revealed W
Fernando will take over as president for the years 2008-2009. He
will be joined in a leadership capacity by vice-president D
Mudalige.

Arab Society for Certified Accountants chair
Talal Abu-Ghazaleh has called for a preliminary meeting to convene
next month at the World Trade Organization headquarters in Geneva,
to officially announce the launch of the Arab Coalition for
Bilateral Trade. “The coalition will support the role of the
services sector in bilateral trade and national economies of the
Arab countries. This preliminary meeting will determine the
specifics of establishing such a coalition; its administration and
headquarters as a regional and private Arab foundation,”
Abu-Ghazaleh said.

• The National Board of Accountants and Auditors
Tanzania
is holding a seminar on the theme of Audit –
Security, IT and Governance on 2 February in the Southern Highlands
city of Morogoro. The seminar is targeted at auditors, accountants,
audit committee members, directors, heads of accounting
institutions and students. Topics for discussion will include
auditing and risk management, effectiveness and challenges of audit
committees in Tanzania, the continuing impact of the Sarbanes-Oxley
Act on organisations, auditing in promoting good governance and
techniques for dealing with latest IT audit-related issues.

• The Institute of Chartered Accountants of
Nigeria
is holding its second annual Western Districts
conference in Lagos from 11 to 14 February. The theme of the
conference is Corporate Governance Re-Engineering: The Challenges
to the Accounting Profession. The conference will involve two
plenary sessions to address the issues and challenges related to
social responsibility and corporate governance and the role of
chartered accountants regarding ethics, integrity and corporate
governance.

• The Institute of Chartered Accountants of
Pakistan
is seeking applicants from among its final level
accounting students for a student exchange programme with the
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka and the Institute
of Chartered Accountants of Nepal. The exchange is part of the
South Asian Federation of Accountants’ student exchange
programme.

• Daniel Dunga has replaced Hennox Mazengera as executive
director of the Society of Accountants in Malawi
(SOCAM). Mazengera is one of the longest-serving council members on
the Eastern Central and Southern African Federation of Accountants.
In a farewell speech recently, he revealed that SOCAM has grown to
about 500 members in just over a decade and has a net worth of
MWK48 million ($338,000).


Europe

Europe• The
UK Accountancy and Actuarial Discipline Board
(AADB) has proposed changes to its disciplinary scheme to encourage
the principles of fairness, transparency and proportionality. Mike
Fogden, the AADB’s chairman, said: “The board is confident that the
changes it is proposing will further strengthen the disciplinary
process in public interest cases.”

• The Institute of Chartered Accountants in
Ireland
(ICAI) members have approved 13 new
post-qualification specialisation awards to be offered by the
institute. The awards consist of masters programmes, diplomas,
certificates and a specific tax qualifications. They include a
diploma in IFRS, a diploma in managing people, a masters in
corporate leadership, a masters in information systems strategy,
certificate in executive leadership, diploma in US GAAP,
certificate in director’s duties, diploma in wealth management,
diploma in forensic accounting, diploma in corporate finance,
chartered tax consultant, diploma in financial services and a
diploma in project management.

• The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and
Wales
has revealed the three candidates for its
vice-president role. Ian Hayes, the managing director of
Vataxworld, Gerald Russell, a senior partner at Ernst & Young
UK and Paul Wagstaff, a client partner at HLB Vantis Audit have put
their names forward for election. Voting by members of council will
close on 4 February. The result will be announced at the
institute’s council meeting on 6 February. The successful candidate
will take office in June 2008.

• The European Court of Auditors has announced
the appointment of its 11th president. Da Silva Caldeira, who has
been elected to the position for the next three years, has been a
member of the court since March 2000. Caldeira will be responsible
for the court’s effective management and will also represent the
institution’s external relations.

Mazars Group has recruited former secretary
general of the Committee of European Securities Regulators, Fabrice
Demarigny, to head the firm’s capital market activities. Demarigny
spent six years working on the European single market and has
worked at the French securities regulator.

• Local governments and authorities in the UK are to prepare
their accounts using IFRS from 1 April 2010. The Chartered
Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy
(CIPFA)
outlined details of a two-year programme to develop and implement a
new IFRS-based code of practice for local authority accounting.
CIPFA said the timetable should ensure councils have enough time to
prepare for the move to IFRS. It will also allow a review of the
contents of local authority accounts to be undertaken in order to
identify the scope for simplification.

• The UK Financial Reporting Council (FRC) is
to focus heavily on confidence in corporate reporting and
governance as well as potential risks to the profession, including
the impact of credit market turbulence, as part of its strategic
plan for the next two years. The council’s proposed budget for
corporate governance, reporting and accounting related activities
is to increase by 9 percent to £11.9 million ($23.3 million) for
2008/2009. The FRC said it is planning to monitor corporate
reporting and governance, increase participation in the development
of international standards and modify the UK regulatory regime to
reflect changes in UK and EU legislation, such as the EU Directive
on Statutory Audit.


North America, Latin America

Americas
The American Institute of Certified Public
Accountants
(AICPA) has welcomed efforts by the US
Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) to simplify US GAAP as
part of its codification project. AICPA president and chief
executive Barry Melancon commented: “The codification represents a
simplification of the enormous body of accounting standards. It
renders GAAP more understandable and accessible for research.”
FASB’s Accounting Standards Codification project involves
organising thousands of pronouncements into a single and easily
accessible source. The FASB recently launched the verification
phase of the project.

US Securities and Exchange Commission chair
Christopher Cox told a recent American Institute of Certified
Public Accountants conference that IFRS, XBRL [extensible business
reporting language] and mutual recognition are coming to the US.
“Reporting by foreign private issuers using a single IFRS platform
will help American investors analyse and get more readily
comparable information from the US-registered foreign companies in
which they invest. That’s precisely what the commission in 1981
cited as our objective. So now, a quarter century later, we’ve
succeeded,” Cox said. The regulator said XBRL is on the threshold
of becoming the universal language of business information and will
“do for information sharing what IFRS will do for financial
reporting”.

• The Certified General Accountants Association
(CGA) of British Columbia has elected Patrick Keller as its
president for 2008. Keller is an electronic commerce audit
specialist for the Canada Revenue Agency in Penticton. His role at
the CGA chapter is to represent members and students to the
business community, educational institutions, government and the
public. Keller was first elected to the institute’s board in
2002.

• Anthony Hopwood, a professor of operations management at Saïd
Business School, Oxford, has received the 2008 lifetime
contribution award from the management accounting section of the
American Accounting Association. The lifetime
contribution award, which was sponsored by the American Institute
of Certified Public Accountants, recognises individuals who have
made an important mark on management accounting education, research
and practice.

• Canada’s Audit and Assurance Standards Board
has affirmed its decision to adopt International Standards on
Auditing as Canadian Auditing Standards (CAS). The board said CAS
will become effective for audits of financial statements for
periods beginning on or after 15 December 2009. To date, four CAS
have been completed, four are in the final completion stage, 22
have been issued as exposure drafts and five are expected to be
issued as exposure drafts within the next quarter.