USA and Hong Kong Sign Mutual Recognition Agreement for Accounting

Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accoun...

NEW YORK and NASHVILLE, Oct. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The U.S. International Qualifications Appraisal Board (U.S. IQAB) and the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants have entered into a five-year Mutual Recognition Agreement that establishes the basis for reciprocity between the U.S. and Hong Kong accounting professions.

“The agreement we’ve signed today with the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants will make great strides in advancing the reciprocity of CPAs in the U.S. and in Hong Kong,” said William Treacy, chair of the U.S. IQAB.  “IQAB has thoroughly evaluated the educational, examination and experience requirements of CPAs in Hong Kong and is confident they are substantially equivalent to those of the U.S. CPA.”

The agreement was signed at NASBA’s 104th Annual Meeting in Nashville.

“Our agreement with the Hong Kong Institute validates our purposeful and determined quest to be truly global in mutual recognition of high quality accounting credentials.  We look forward to our association with the Hong Kong Institute and to more effectively facilitating the professional practice of accountancy on behalf of the public interest of both the United States and Hong Kong,” said David Costello, NASBA President & CEO.

The U.S. IQAB is a joint body of the American Institute of CPAs and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

“This new agreement will allow qualified accountants in the U.S. and Hong Kong to work across borders,” said Barry Melancon, AICPA president and CEO.  “Globalization is rapidly changing the way business is done across the globe and CPAs will continue to play a vital role in the financial systems in the U.S. and abroad.”

via U.S. and Hong Kong Sign Mutual Recognition Agreement for Accounting

Consumer Protection Act explained

There’s always one. One schoolkid – it’s usually a boy – who will direct what he thinks is a terribly clever, brazen question to a visiting speaker.

Last week was no exception. I was talking to a group of high school kids about the Consumer Protection Act at the invitation of their business studies teacher.

They were a lively bunch, flinging up their hands to ask mostly very intelligent questions. Then it came, delivered with a straight face: “So what happens if someone goes to an escort agency, and they aren’t happy with the service…?”

Well, he’d have redress, of course, as long as that service wasn’t illegal.

When the act becomes effective on April 1, it will give consumers the right to demand quality service and to full disclosure of the price of goods and services, and protection against false, misleading or deceptive representations.

Predictably, the section of the act which is shaking up the marketplace most is Section 56: “Implied warranty of quality”.

For decades, many retailers have adopted a “sorry for you” attitude when their customers return problem goods.

Either they refuse to accept that the goods were defective in any way, or they begrudgingly take the goods back and issue a credit note, valid for a short period of time.

In short, they’ve assumed total power to decide how to respond when problematic goods are returned.

Actually, common law has for many years protected consumers against defective goods – though few realise this – but it doesn’t give consumers the right to decide how they’d like to be compensated, leaving suppliers to decide what to do, if anything.

And manufacturer or store warranties limit recourse to repairs, because it’s obviously much cheaper for a company to repair an item than replace it or refund a customer’s money in full.

But the act has turned that status quo on its head, giving the consumer the power to decide on the remedy – and he or she is backed up by a Consumer Commission and Consumer Tribunal which have the power to impose hefty penalties on companies which fail to comply with the terms of the act.

If goods bought by consumers fail in some way, the consumers get to decide which of the three Rs – a refund, replacement or repair – they want.

via Consumer Protection Act explained – South Africa

SMEs also need CPA

According to GRAEME VICTOR, CEO of Du Pont Telecom, the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act should be extended to provide small and medium businesses some defence against being ripped off by unscrupulous providers of goods and services.

It’s not unusual for SMEs to be fleeced by providers of essential business goods and services such as PBXs because they don’t know what they are being charged for.

Du Pont has come across PBX lease agreements entered into by a small business in which the cost of a basic unit has been inflated by 100 percent or more.

I believe that with CPA-type regulations in place, businesses would be less vulnerable to this kind of overcharging. The supplier would have to specify the make, model and specifications of the PBX and also itemise all other charges included in the lease agreement.

Businesses would then know exactly what they were paying for. Armed with this information, they would be able to shop around for the best deal from a position of strength.

Another common rip-off in the business telephony arena occurs when the PBX unit needs to be upgraded to accommodate more lines and extensions. The SME is told that upgrading is “impossible” because the unit is too old, or too small, or too “basic”.

However, all that may be required is the insertion of an upgrade card that costs in the region of R5 000. Replacing a PBX can cost 10 times that.

 

This incorrect advice from the PBX supplier may not always be malicious.

What often happens is that the business’s original PBX provider is no longer around. The new provider may not be familiar with the SME’s existing PBX brand so recommending switching to a brand he does supply is the obvious alternative.

By the time the SME finds out that the old PBX could have been upgraded, it is too late. Extending the protection afforded by the CPA to businesses would make suppliers less cavalier about offering misleading and inaccurate advice.

via Gadget Web Site – SMEs also need CPA

You cannot just break an agreement

To determine if the mistake was reasonable the SCA considered whether Slipknot was culpable in the mistake. Here it relied on Du Toit’s submission that Slipknot was blameless as the misrepresentation as to the nature of the document came from his brother and his nephew. The SCA then considered if there was a duty on Slipknot to inform Du Toit of the terms relating to the suretyship terms and found that “even a cursory glance” at the documents would have alerted Du Toit that he was signing a suretyship. The SCA also considered the submission that Du Toit was a farmer and found it irrelevant as he was a trustee with trusts of his own and that Slipknot was entitled to rely on his signature as a surety just as it was entitled to rely in his signature as a trustee.

The SCA therefore found that Du Toit’s mistake was not reasonable and there was no basis to suggest that Slipknot knew or ought, as a reasonable person, to have known Du Toit’s mistake.

The message here is clear and simple: read what you sign.

via Read what you sign – Lexology

SABC

Official SABC website

A throwback to the Apartheid days, many opposition politicians believe the SABC to be the mouthpiece of the ANC government or “SANC”, just as it was that of the National Party. Despite a change in government, this public perception was reinforced when, in August 2005, the SABC came under heavy fire from non-affiliated media and the public for failing to broadcast a scene whereby Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka was booed offstage by members of the ANC Youth League, who were showing support for the newly-axed ex-Deputy President, Jacob Zuma.

Rival broadcaster eTV publicly accused SABC of ‘biased reporting’ by failing to show the video footage of the humiliated Deputy President, but Snuki Zikalala, Head of News and ex-ANC spokesperson retorted by stating that their cameraman was not present at the meeting, a claim later established to be false when eTV footage was released which showed an SABC cameraman filming the incident.

SABC’s government connections also came under scrutiny when, in April 2005, Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe was interviewed live by Zikalala, who is a former ANC political commissar. The interview held was deemed by the public eye to have side-stepped ‘critical issues’ and controversial questions regarding Mugabe’s radical land-reform policies and human rights violations.

In May 2006, the SABC was accused of self censorship, when it decided not to air a documentary on South African President Thabo Mbeki, and in early June requested that the producers (from Daylight Films) not speak about it. This has been widely criticised by independent media groups. In response, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange issued an alert concerning the SABC’s apparent trend toward self-censorship.

In June 2006 the International Federation of Journalists denounced the cancelling of the Thabo Mbeki documentary, citing “self censorship” and “politically influenced managers”.

Also in June 2006, SAfm host John Perlman disclosed on air that the SABC had created a blacklist of commentators. A commission of inquiry was created by SABC CEO Dali Mpofu into the allegations that individuals were blacklisted at the behest of Zikalala.[11][12]

Critics, including the influential newspaper, Mail and Guardian (Vol 24, No 35) have accused the broadcaster of cultural myopia by failing to recognize the diverse cultural mix of South Africa and excessive favoring of certain ethnic groups in their choice of entertainment offered particularly by the TV services.

via South African Broadcasting Corporation – Wikipedia

Financial Services Board

The Directorate of Market Abuse is a committee of the Financial Services Board with the statutory mandate to investigate cases of Market abuse and to enforce the prohibitions against market abuse in the Securities Services Act, 36 of 2004 (SSA).

Market abuse consists of insider trading (prohibited in section 73 of the SSA), market manipulation (prohibited in section 75 of the SSA), and false reporting (prohibited in section 76 of the SSA).

If the DMA is of the opinion that the SSA has been contravened, it will take enforcement action against the offender. Such cases could be referred to the Enforcement Committee of the FSB, or handed over to the prosecuting Authorities.

The prohibitions against market abuse, the penalties and the DMA’s powers to investigate are set out in Chapter VIII (sections 72 to 87) of the SSA.

The DMA makes a media release after every meeting to update the public on its current investigations. every enforcement action is published once it is completed.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange, in consultation with the DMA, published a booklet on insider Trading and Other Market Abuse, including the effective management of price sensitive information An electronic version of the booklet is available on this page.

Financial Services Board Internet Site

CPA now allows more than 10% cancellation fee

Cellphone operators in South Africa are successfully persuading the government to make changes in the recently introduced Consumer Protection Act, particularly on the cancellation of contracts, The New Age can reveal.

The new law had been criticised by some sectors due to the powers it gives consumers. Operators in particular felt that the proposed regulation on cancellation fees of contracts, which was pegged at 10% of the contract value, didn’t make business sense for them.

via Government backs down on contracts | The New Age Online