Friday News Roundup 20.08.28: Chinese audit opacity, Sage practice report, ex-CPA fraud
Wrapping up the odds and ends in this week’s Canadian accounting news
TORONTO, Aug. 28, 2020 – The big business and political news this week in Canada was the election of Erin O’Toole as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and leader of the Official Opposition of Canada on August 24th. We also saw some back and forth on Chrystia’s Freeland’s credentials to serve as Canada’s Finance Minister. All this was likened to a fall frenzy by American pundits and is part of our Friday news roundup of odds and ends from the world of Canadian accounting:
Is Trump winning on Chinese audit transparency?
For years, audit regulators in both the US and Canada have been complaining about the lack of access and transparency to the audits of Chinese firms. The Canadian Public Accountability Board (CPAB) has said that “certain countries,” including China, block regulators from inspecting audit work done there. Ever since the Sino-Forest audit fiasco of 2014, which cost EY Canada $8 million (the firm admitted no wrongdoing in its audits of the Chinese firm), the opacity of Chinese audits has been a talking point of Canadian securities and accounting regulators.
On Thursday, however, China appeared to capitulate to pressure from US regulators to open their books for inspection. Under the Trump administration, the US has threatened to delist Chinese firms from American stock exchanges. China in turn has threatened to move their listings to overseas bourses, as there is no shortage of exchanges that would love to collect Chinese IPO fees. President Trump, however, who has ratcheted up anti-China rhetoric, appears to have called China’s bluff and scored a win for audit regulators around the world.
Formalized technology training for Canadian accountants
How do Canadian accountants feel about standardized technology training? The fourth annual Practice of Now report by Sage explored the question, finding that roughly half of all Canadian CPAs “feel that it is important to have a standard training program to which all firms must adhere.” That said, of those who agree with the concept, most practitioners feel training is the responsibility of firms, not governing associations or technology providers.
Sage is of course a provider of technology solutions to Canadian accountants and bookkeepers. For its fourth Practice of Now report, Sage consulted more than 3,000 accounting professionals worldwide, and asked Canadian accountants and bookkeepers about their views on the future of cloud accounting and AI, and their advice for a shifting 2020 landscape. Download the free report here.
Former CPA facing jail time for fraud
James Russell Neilson, who was kicked out of CPA Alberta back in 2016, faces jail time of between three and nine years for a fraudulent scheme of providing outsourced accounting services to accounting firms. The Canmore, Alberta resident told the court during sentencing submissions that he had found religion and was “not the same man,” although prosecution said Neilson “stopped because he got caught.”
Investors previously told the court that, through Abaca Solutions, Neilson defrauded around 40 people of approximately $5.5 million through the company. At one point, Neilson represented himself during trial, and attempted to adjourn the case due to ineffective counsel.
Richmond Hill councillor, Oakville accountant
The behaviour of Greg Beros, a municipal councillor in the City of Richmond Hill, Ontario, has dragged his accountant into the spotlight. YorkRegion.com, which is owned by Metroland Media Group, reported on the real estate transactions of Beros and his accountant, John MacDonald, “founder of JMA Group, an Oakville-based accounting and management consulting firm.”
By Canadian Accountant staff.