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  • IFAC announces CPA Ireland and the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria Partnership to Focus on Accountancy Training, Examination Systems

    Press release by IFAC - CPA Ireland and the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria Partnership to Focus on Accountancy Training, Examination Systems

    The International Federation of Accountants® (IFAC®) today announced the selection of Certified Public Accountants Ireland (CPA Ireland) to partner with the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) and its training arm, the Nigerian College of Accountancy (NCA), to review and strengthen its study materials and examination processes.

    NCA is a postgraduate professional college established in 1994. It is responsible for determining the standards of knowledge and skills needed by potential ANAN members and promoting the highest standards of competence, practice, and conduct. NCA provides tuition to 1,000 full-time residential students every year, as well as to part-time students through its mature students program.

    In working with ANAN, CPA Ireland will review, update, and make recommendations for ongoing maintenance to the syllabus, study materials, and examination for NCA's professional and conversion programs.

    "CPA Ireland is no stranger to the accountancy profession in Nigeria, having worked with ANAN on a number of projects in recent years," said Eamonn Siggins, CPA Ireland Chief Executive. "We have a strong understanding of ANAN, its position in the accountancy profession in Nigeria, and the Nigerian profession. We look forward to continuing our strong relationship with ANAN through this partnership to advance accountancy education."

    "Working with CPA Ireland to strengthen their training and examination will help NCA elevate their accountancy education in line with good practice, and position them to make a strong contribution to building public sector accountancy capacity as well as attract increasing numbers of students," said Alta Prinsloo, IFAC Executive Director, Strategy, and Chief Operating Officer.

    In 2014, IFAC received almost £5 million from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) to fund PAO capacity building in ten emerging countries over seven years. CPA Ireland joins other global accountancy organizations that have been selected to develop the profession in specific nations. Each partner organization was selected following global Calls for Expressions of Interest and an extensive proposal and review process involving multiple global organizations and the IFAC PAO Capacity Building Program Oversight Committee and Independent Selection Panel. Work stemming from these partnerships are currently underway in Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe and a planned project in Kyrgyzstan is in development.

  • Major tax reform legislation during the Trump administration

    American Institute of CPAs president and CEO is expecting Washington to pass major tax reform legislation during the Trump administration, and some Democrats may even cross the aisle to help Republican lawmakers enact it.

    Speaking Tuesday in New York at a meeting of the Accountants Club of America, Melancon gave his predictions for tax reform and addressed a wide range of other topics of interest to CPAs.

    Melancon acknowledged that nobody knows exactly what’s going to happen with tax reform in the political process. “There are some pretty interesting provisions that are being debated, and I think they will have huge ramifications to anybody that’s in the planning area and the tax area,” he said.

    Read more at: http://www.accountingtoday.com/news/aicpa-ceo-melancon-anticipates-major-tax-reforms?feed=00000158-20c2-d6a2-adfb-70eb85460000

  • Davos initiatives: 'responsive and responsible leadership' addressing the trust deficit (By Richard Howitt, chief executive officer of the International Integrated Reporting Council)

    The official title of the World Economic Forum this year may have been 'responsive and responsible leadership'. But all the talk was of how business can respond to the challenge from the growing loss of trust, anti-globalisation sentiment and its political consequences.

    There was a stout defence of the Paris climate change agreement and against any prospect of a trade war in the main forum, in the light of some of those political consequences.

    But for the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), it reinforced the belief that the current corporate reporting system has to change, if the growing trust deficit is to be reversed.

    This was summed up by PwC global chair Dennis Nally who said this week: "CEOs haven’t yet mastered how to measure the long-term success that comes from being a trusted company and good corporate citizen."

    For the IIRC, this throws greater emphasis on the importance to business of the human, social and relationship dimensions of a multi-capital world.

    Two positive initiatives emerged in Davos this week, in response to these concerns.

    The first was in the final report of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, established at Davos a year earlier, examining the business contribution to meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    Its recommendations reinforces the prevailing view that a profusion of different frameworks is an obstacle to investors properly assessing and rewarding companies who embrace a better long-term perspective.

    It is a challenge to the 'Corporate Reporting Dialogue' (CRD) convened by IIRC, but bringing together eight principal global financial and non-financial standard-setters on equal terms to better align amongst each other.

    If there is a truly 'integrated reporting' approach, it paves the way for the Commission's recommendation to move towards SDG benchmarks for businesses. The IIRC will support work on this proposal amongst our partners in the CRD in the year ahead.

    This week's second big event at Davos for the IIRC was the publication of a new study on how current enterprise risk management also fails to properly address wider long-term risks.

    Entitled ‘First Steps to Integration’ the headline finding was that in more than one-in-three companies, none of the risks identified in sustainability reports were contained in the risks registered and addressed in their annual reports.

    This is yet more compelling evidence of the cost associated with a lack of integration within the business.

    But I found the corresponding finding equally notable: in eight per cent of companies, all and every one of those long-term risks were fully integrated in the company's financial filings.

    Not yet the norm but, as a separate study from EY confirms, this demonstrates integrated reporting to be both possible, to be being adopted by leading companies and to being beneficial to the business overall.

    I want to give credit to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and IIRC Deputy Chair Peter Bakker for ensuring the goal of integration has been central to both of these debates.

    I leave Davos reinforced in my own belief that the IIRC must be central to the action which can restore both trust, address growing risk and help business deliver on the Global Goals.

  • One rule for the rich and another for everyone else”, Public Accounts Committee (British Parliament)accused HMRC

    HM Revenue and Customs’ failure to get tough with Britain’s richest individuals is undermining confidence in the whole tax system, MPs have warned.

    In a scathing report, the Commons Public Accounts Committee accused HMRC of creating the impression in its dealings with taxpayers there was “one rule for the rich and another for everyone else”.

    Since HMRC set up a specialist unit for dealing with “high net worth individuals” in 2009, the amount of income tax they paid had fallen by £1 billion – even though income tax receipts from the public as a whole rose by £23 billion over the same period.

    The committee also highlighted concerns about “potential abuse” of image rights by top footballers and people in the entertainment to minimise their tax liabilities.

    It disclosed that HMRC currently has “open inquiries” relating to the use of image rights by 43 footballers, 12 clubs and eight agents.

    The MPs said they were “appalled” to learn that not all clubs were providing HMRC with the data it required under the terms of a voluntary agreement with the English Premier League.

    Overall, the committee found HMRC had not been tough enough when it came to dealing with tax evasion and avoidance by the very rich, and had little idea what impact the deterrent measures it took were having.

    Since 2009, each of the estimated 6,500 individuals worth £20 million or more has been assigned a “customer relationship manager” by HMRC to administer their tax affairs.

    But while HMRC said it had resulted in the collection of an additional £2 billion in tax revenues, it was unable to explain why the income tax they paid fell by 20% – from £4.5 billion in 2009-10 to £3.5 billion in 2014-15 – when the overall income tax take rose by £23 billion, a 9% increase.

    The committee said it was “alarming” that any one time around a third of the individuals concerned were likely to be under inquiry for unpaid tax by HMRC – with cases with a potential value of £1.9 billion currently under investigation.

    However, the report found HMRC had a “dismal record” when it came to prosecuting the very wealthy for tax fraud in the criminal courts.

    In the five years to March 31 2016, it completed just 72 fraud investigations into such individuals, with all but two having been dealt with using its civil powers. Only one case resulted in a successful criminal prosecution.

    Of the 850 penalties issued to the very wealthy since 2012, the average charge was £10,500 – a figure the committee said was likely to be too small to act as a deterrent to multimillionaires.

    It expressed concern the problem was likely to become more acute as such individuals increasingly moved from off-the-peg tax avoidance schemes – the “high street equivalent of Primark or Next” – to bespoke “made-to-measure Savile Row” arrangements.

    The committee chairman Meg Hillier said: “If the public are to have faith in the tax system then it must be seen to have fairness at its heart. It also needs to work properly. In our view HMRC is failing on both counts.”

    A HMRC spokesman said there was “absolutely no special treatment” for the wealthy. “In fact we give them additional scrutiny, with one-to-one marking by HMRC’s specialist tax collectors, to ensure that they pay everything they owe, just like the rest of us do,” the spokesman said

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