IRBA appoints CEO

South Africa’s board of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) has appointed Imre Nagy as its new CEO.

Nagy has been acting CEO since February 2021. Prior to this he was the director of inspections.

Nagy took over the leadership of the IRBA in an acting role after then Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, dissolved the board and put in place a caretaker board. At that time, Nagy was viewed as a sound choice with a deep knowledge of the profession and the regulatory environment.

The Auditing Profession Act Amendment was in its final stages of the parliamentary process. The amendment act was promulgated on 1 April 2021, setting out provisions for a board structure that would assure the public of increased independence.

This left the way clear for the Minister to appoint a new board in terms of the provisions of the amended act. In June 2021, the Minister concluded on the successful appointment of a new 10-member board and since then it has been stable and effective in its functioning. One of the board’s first tasks was the appointment of a permanent CEO.

The board prioritised selection around a candidate that had the necessary independence, no conflicts of interest and a solid understanding of the profession and the regulatory environment. While transformation was an important goal, it was not the only consideration.

Board chair Fulvio Tonelli said: “While the process has taken longer than initially envisaged, we have had to acknowledge that we could not overlook the importance of ensuring that we avoid past mistakes with this appointment.

“We are pleased to confirm that following a robust recruitment process, the board has resolved to appoint Imre Nagy as the new CEO. During the intervening 18-month period, Imre has served the IRBA well, earning a clean audit for 2022, and overseeing the process changes arising out of the amended act. He has also operationalised the IRBA’s refocused five-year strategy which seeks to restore confidence in the audit profession and the regulator, enhance audit quality of auditors, ensure the sustainability and relevance of the regulator, and undertake comprehensive stakeholder engagement to collectively strengthen the financial reporting eco-system.

Online route to CIMA qualification launched

The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association) launched its digital learning CGMA Finance Leadership Programme to students and employers in the UK as an alternative pathway to completing CIMA’s CGMA Professional Qualification.

The launch comes in response to increased demand to deliver remote access and flexible self-placed online learning.

The CGMA Finance Leadership Program covers competencies in accounting, business, people, leadership and digital skills set out in the Professional Qualification syllabus and assesses their application across operations, management and strategy. Students can start their learning journey at an appropriate entry level, building on existing education achievement, with their employer able to monitor and support their students as they progress.

There will be two subscription options for the Finance Leadership Program, called Skills Plus and Skills Premium. The Association has partnered with Kaplan, who will provide Skills Premium subscribers with expert-led live online classes for competencies and Case Study preparation, as well as a tutor who can be contacted to give further help on difficult topics.

Upon successful completion of each of the three levels of guided learning and assessments, participants must successfully pass the end of level Case Study exams and meet professional experience requirements to become a CGMA designation holder and CIMA member. It also gives access to the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, the world’s largest body of accounting professionals, representing nearly 700,000 members and students.

ISSB membership completed

The IFRS Foundation Trustees have completed the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) membership with the appointment of former World Bank vice president Jingdong Hua as a second vice chair, effective October 2022.

Hua joins the ISSB leadership team which also includes Vice-Chair Sue Lloyd and Chair Emmanuel Faber. He will be based at the IFRS Foundation’s ISSB office in Montreal.

As former World Bank vice president and treasurer, Hua was responsible for green bond initiatives and sustainable finance capacity-building programmes. He also served as the Administrator of the World Bank Group Pension Fund.

Before joining the World Bank, he served as Vice President and Treasurer of the International Finance Corporation, where he led innovative bond issuances in several emerging markets. He has also previously served as Deputy Treasurer of the Asian Development Bank and has held positions at the United Nations Development Programme and the African Development Bank.

International collaboration in the ISSB’s development of IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards is essential in creating a system that can be implemented globally, resulting in a consistent approach across markets.

The ISSB plans to pay special attention to the needs of stakeholders in emerging and developing economies, as well as to smaller and medium-sized companies, including within global supply chains.

The UK’s Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has appointed Pauline Wallace as the UK Endorsement Board’s (UKEB) first permanent chair.

Following the departure of the UK from the EU, UKEB has been responsible for amending and adopting international accounting standards issued by the IASB for use by UK companies.

Wallace has been performing the role of chair as an interim appointment since 2020. It was during this time she appointed UKEB’s inaugural Board and steered the organisation through its initial set-up and adoption of its first major international accounting standard (IFRS 17 ‘Insurance Contracts’).

Commenting on the appointment, Wallace said: “It has been my privilege to serve as the UKEB’s interim Chair and to lead it through a successful inaugural year. As permanent Chair I look forward to working with the Board and all of our stakeholders to continue to build upon the solid foundations that we put in place in 2021/22.

“I am proud of what we achieved in our first year and confident that the UKEB will continue to maintain the UK’s position as a thought leader and key influencer of international financial reporting.”

Wallace’s three-year term will officially begin on 11 September 2022.

AAT to launch Q2022 suite

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) is to launch its Qualifications 2022 (Q2022) suite on 1 September.

As an awarding body, AAT reviews its qualifications regularly to ensure that they remain relevant and that training adapts to the new demands of the role, in particular due to the increasing use of new technology and software.

To develop Q2022, AAT worked with over 500 businesses and employers globally to explore what is driving change in the profession and the skills required for future success.

As a result of the research, three new skills were identified as being essential for the accounting technicians of the future: analytical, advisory and the ability to use technology.

Four key themes have been embedded throughout the qualification – technology, ethics, sustainability and communication – from being referenced at Level 1 to the ability to understand the impact and analyse the themes at Level 4.

Other changes for Q2022 include:

  • The qualification names will be changed from Access, Foundation, Advanced and Professional to Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4.
  • Three qualifications are being withdrawn – the current Access Award in Accounting Software, Foundation Award in Accounting Software and Foundation Diploma in Accounting and Business. Anyone wishing to study these qualifications must register for them by 31 August 2022 and will have until 30 September 2023 to complete them.
  • The Level 2 and Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping qualifications will now be graded in the same way as the accounting qualifications. A final grade will be calculated based on weighted results from unit assessments and students will receive an overall grade of Pass, Merit or Distinction.
  • Synoptic assessments will be replaced by individual unit assessments, except for the Level 2 Certificate in Accounting which still has a synoptic assessment under Q2022.
  • Q2022 students will now pay a one-off registration fee, rather than an annual membership fee, giving them access to the qualification for its lifetime (typically four to five years). This enables students to register for their chosen qualification, sit assessments and access AAT’s study support resources via a Lifelong Learning Portal, an online platform which enables students to manage their key resources and track their progress.
  • Resit restrictions have been removed from all the Q2022 qualifications at this time. However, they may be applied to 16-19 year olds who study the Level 2 Certificate in Accounting at a later date.

Q2022 will be assessed using ATLAS Cloud, AAT’s new assessment platform. The platform also includes enhanced features, such as the ability to view task instructions and reference materials side by side and to highlight key details.

AAT head of qualifications Rachel Staples said: “As the business world continues to change rapidly, it’s vital that AAT students keep their knowledge up to date to ensure they can provide the right advice to their organisations and clients. Additionally, they need to go beyond the numbers and develop analytic and advisory skills, as well as an understanding of how to apply new technology.

“That’s why we’ve worked closely with businesses and employers to ensure our new Qualifications 2022 suite continues to have the core fundamentals of bookkeeping and accounting at its heart, while adding the new skills that the technicians of the future will need. We’re excited to welcome students onto the course from September, ensuring they’re able to future proof their career in finance.”

Forensic Risk Alliance (FRA) Dubai appoints Temi Labor

Forensic Risk Alliance (FRA), the forensic accounting, data analytics and eDiscovery consultancy, is pleased to announce the appointment of Temi Labor as Associate Director for its Dubai office.

FRA launched its Dubai office in March 2022 to expand its practice across Middle East and Africa (MEA), marking a significant investment in the MEA region. Temi will be joining to help the firm on its strong growth trajectory across the MEA region and its financial services sector. With more than 15 years’ experience in consulting and in-house roles, Temi has international expertise across internal audit and controls, financial crime compliance, forensic investigations, risk management, and regulatory affairs. Within financial services, Temi is a subject matter expert on AML, regulatory affairs, sanctions and risk advisory.

Temi is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Scotland, a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). She is pursuing a certificate in ESG Investing as a Chartered Financial Analyst, and completed the Harvard Leadership and Management Program.

During August 2022, The FRC fined PwC £2.5m over claims it failed to properly scrutinise BT's accounts following the discovery of a £0.5 billion fraud. The FRC said PwC and one of its former partners failed to treat BT’s management with sufficient professional scepticism following the discovery of the fraud. PwC also failed to gather sufficient audit evidence after discovering the fraud in BT Italian operations during its 2017 audit of the firm.

Paul Brehony, Partner at Signature Litigation, commented: "A lack of professional scepticism is becoming a recurring theme in FRC feedback following fines and regulatory findings. It is self-evidently a theme the FRC are alive to given the issuance last month of its ‘Professional Judgement Framework’ to help auditors improve their performance in this area."

"The fine related to PwC’s 2017 audit of BT and was confined to its Italian operations - so it is relatively historic. Time will tell if this is an area the profession is learning to grapple with a little better. It is certainly an area of regulatory focus."