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March 24, 2009

Region Round-up

Richard Petty, a Hong Kong-based professor of accounting and finance, has been elected as the new president of CPA Australia

• The US Center for Audit Quality has launched an online tool to help member firms deal with audit implications arising out of the current economic environment…

• The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is establishing a women’s steering group to work towards empowering female members of the accountancy profession…


• Richard Petty, a Hong Kong-based professor of accounting and finance, has been elected as the new president of CPA Australia. Petty will succeed Alex Malley when his term ends in April. Petty is a professor and associate dean at the Macquarie Graduate School of Management as well as chairman of an investment company. He is the current CPA Australia deputy president and will become the institute’s first president to be based outside of Australia. At 38, he is also the youngest president.

• The Australian Accounting Professional & Ethical Standards Board (APESB) is seeking comments on an amendment to the standard that governs quality control practices in Australian accounting firms. Exposure draft 01/09 APES 320 Quality Control for Firms would replace the existing APES 320 and bring Australia in line with international standards. Changes include minor amendments to topics such as leadership responsibilities for quality within the firm, relevant ethical requirements, human resources, and acceptance and continuance of engagements and engagement performance.

• The Indonesian Institute of Accountants has formally announced it will fully converge Indonesian GAAP with IFRS by 1 January 2012. The Accountant reported in November that Indonesian regulators had embarked on a programme that intended to see full IFRS adoption by 2012.

• BDO McCabe Lo director Johnson Kong has been elected president of the Hong Kong Institute of Accredited Accounting Technicians. The institute was founded in 1988 and is a subsidiary of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants. It has more than 9,000 student members and a reciprocal agreement with the UK Association of Accounting Technicians.

• Members of listed companies’ audit committees should have more knowledge on accounting and finance, according to the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS). A survey of 500 companies, commissioned by the institute, found that only 14 percent of audit committee members were formally trained in accountancy and finance and just 26 percent had accountancy and finance as their major full-time experience.

• Three individuals named as honorary members of CPA Australia represent ideal role models for the institute’s young members, according to CPA Australia president Alex Malley. Banking group CIMB Group chief executive Dato’ Sri Nazir Razak, investment holding company AmcorpGroup Berhad executive chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Azman Hashim and Malaysian Accountant General Dato’ Mohd Salleh Mahmud were all recognised for their contribution to the finance, accounting and business profession in Malaysia.

• Michael Carmody is the new chief executive of the National Institute of Accountants in Australia (NIA). Carmody was formerly chief executive of personal training accreditation organisation RABQSA International. He succeeds Roger Cotton, who NIA president Greg Dennis said has overseen a transformation of the organisation in almost eight years at the helm.

“Under Roger’s leadership, member numbers have increased by 44 percent, non-subscription revenue has increased by 217 percent and the organisation’s equity is up by 117 percent,” Dennis said.

North America, Latin America

• US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Mary Schapiro wants to use $17 million of unspent SEC funds to prevent the agency from making staff cuts during the current financial crisis.

The SEC budget for 2009, which was authorised by the previous administration, was recently disclosed as $943 million, an increase of only 1 percent from 2008.

In her testimony to the House Appropriations subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, Schapiro said the current budget of $943 million would have resulted in a cut of nearly 100 staff.

• Accounting rules and regulatory policies must be reviewed to ensure they do not induce excessive procyclicality, according to US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke.

“The ongoing move by those who set accounting standards toward requirements for improved disclosure and greater transparency is a positive development that deserves full support,” he said.

“However, determining appropriate valuation methods for illiquid or idiosyncratic assets can be very difficult, to put it mildly. Similarly, there is considerable uncertainty regarding the appropriate levels of loan loss reserves over the cycle.”

• The US Center for Audit Quality has launched an online tool to help member firms deal with audit implications arising out of the current economic environment. Auditing in a Changing Economy tackles issues including fair value measurement, internal control over financial reporting, accounting for estimates, impairment and disclosures.

• The US Institute of Management Accountants has issued a collection of IFRS education resources to help management accountants perform their jobs during convergence of US GAAP with IFRS. The resources include an online self-study course, Embracing IFRS: A Background Primer and a special webinar series, Inside IFRS.

• The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has appointed four new members to its Auditing Standards Board. The new members are Mayer Hoffman national director of professional standards Ernest Baugh, Wilson Price director of accounting and auditing Thomas Ratcliffe, Creighton University chair of accounting Mark Taylor and Grant Thornton partner Phil Wedemeyer.

• The US-based Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) has published guidance on monitoring internal control systems. The guide was developed by COSO and Grant Thornton in the US and Canada.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported a drop of 4 percent cent in employment across the accounting and bookkeeping industry over the past year to 920,800 people. Between January 2009 and February 2009 employment in this sector dropped by 2,400 people.


• Claude Cazes has been elected as president of the Compagnie Nationale des Commissaires aux comptes (CNCC). The CNCC is responsible for statutory audits in France and is under the authority of the Ministry of Justice.

Cazes was elected last month and succeeds Vincent Baillot who has held the presidency since 2005.

The CNCC has also named its new board, including three vice-presidents Francine Bobet, Denis Lesprit and Antoine Mercier. Other board members include Angel Bricola, Dominica Lévêque, Yves Nicolas, René-Charles Perrot, Paul Prud'homme and Frédéric Rogier.

• Andrew Hubbard will become the new president of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) following its AGM in May. Hubbard, currently the deputy president, takes over from Nick Goulding.

Hubbard is the national tax policy director at the UK firm Tenon, where he specialises in the taxation of entrepreneurial businesses and their proprietors. He is a past president of the Association of Taxation Technicians and in 2006 won the LexisNexis Butterworths Tax Writer of the Year award.

Vincent Oratore, currently CIOT vice-president, will become deputy president and Anthony Thomas will take on the position of vice-president at the UK body.

• The European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) governance and nominating committee is calling for candidates for the new EFRAG supervisory board.

Candidates should include senior figures interested in the global development of financial reporting, with an appropriate balance of professional backgrounds, including users, preparers and accountants.

The deadline for applications is 20 April 2009.

• The UK Auditing Practices Board (APB) is seeking comments on amendments to Ethical Standards for Auditors. The proposed amendments include changes to the rotation period for audit engagement partners on listed company audits and remuneration and evaluation policies for key partners involved in audits.

There are also changes to the provision of non-audit services relating to securitisation and restructuring, the provision of direct assistance to the audit team by internal auditors and the definition of an audited entity’s affiliate. Comments are due by 15 June 2009.

• The UK Financial Reporting Council has published an update on assessing going concern for directors of smaller companies. The Financial Reporting Standards for Small Companies requires companies to assess whether the use of the going concern basis is appropriate and to make disclosures of uncertainties.

• More than half of Spanish executives said the new General Accounting Plan (Nuevo Plan General Contable – PGC) has come at a cost to companies, a recent KPMG survey found.

The survey of 494 Spanish executives revealed 76 percent of companies needed external support to adapt to the new rules. Forty-six percent of business executives also admitted to a lack information on the tax implications of the PGC.

Some of the key changes in the accounting plan, which came into force on 1 January 2008, include the adoption of IFRS and the move towards fair value accounting from what was previously historical cost.

Businesses said they felt well informed on transition rules, information requirements, intra group transactions and financial instruments.

However, 50 percent of respondents said they were not informed enough on business combinations.

Africa, Middle East, South Asia

• The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is establishing a women’s steering group to work towards empowering female members of the accountancy profession. The steering committee will help educate female CAs on how to successfully integrate their personal and professional lives.

It will also establish strategies, priorities, policies and programmes for the welfare, development and empowerment of women and work towards removing any gender bias within the profession by profiling female CAs as equally versatile and competent professionals.

In recent years the institute has experienced an increasing number of female students.

It is also finding they perform better in exams than their male counterparts.

In exams held in December last year, the pass rate for females was 42 percent compared with 37 percent for males.

Fifteen percent of the institute’s 150,000 members are women, while 40 percent of students are women.

• The Saudi Organization for Certified Public Accountants’ (SOCPA) Saudi-international accounting conference, to be held in Riyadh this month, will have the theme ‘accounting and investment: support and development’.

The conference aims to highlight the significant role the accounting and auditing profession plays in serving the national economy, supporting and protecting investments and providing relevant information that satisfies the needs of financial statements’ users.

• The ICAI has issued two new audit standards. The revised SA 500 Audit Evidence and SA 720 The Auditor’s Responsibility in Relation to Other Information in Documents Containing Audited Financial Statements are both based on international equivalents.

The revised SA 500 contains greater guidance for auditors on aspects of audit evidence such as what constitutes appropriate evidence and how to respond in the case of inconsistencies. It is effective for audits of all financial statements for periods beginning on or after 1 April 2009.

SA 720 is the first standard of its kind to be issued by the Indian institute and requires the auditor to read non-financial information found in annual reports, such as management and directors reports, to identify any material inconsistencies vis á vis the audited financial statements.

It is effective for audits of all financial statements for periods beginning on or after 1 April 2010.

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