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Friday News Roundup 21.09.10: KPMG Canuck vs. FRC, Big Four WFH, Big Law and more 

Wrapping up the odds and ends in this week’s Canadian accounting news

Author: Canadian Accountant

TORONTO, Sept. 12, 2021 – With pretty much all the headlines taken up by election debates, platforms and policies this past week, it was easy to overlook the odds and ends from the world of Canadian accounting, but here’s our weekly review to help keep you current. 

Election Debate and Tax Fax

During the English language election debate this week, Erin O’Toole raised the spectre of a re-elected Liberal government taxing the sale of primary residences. We’ve covered this topic in the past on Canadian Accountant with commentary from Kim Moody and Vern Krishna respectively. Global News, however, did a fact check and says the Liberal platform actually speaks of establishing “an anti-flipping tax, requiring properties to be held for at least 12 months.” 

KPMG Canuck slaps UK Audit Watchdog

Did you know that the Global Chairman and CEO of KPMG is a Canadian? Bill Thomas, FCPA, FCA is a lifelong KPMG man who was head of KPMG Canada before he was appointed Global Chairman and CEO in 2017. That’s why it was somewhat amusing to read KPMG’s global boss wades into dispute with UK accounting regulator in the Financial Times. 

It seems that the Financial Reporting Council — the UK audit watchdog — is so peeved at the poor audit performance of KPMG that it threatened to “publish a letter admonishing [KPMG’s] UK arm for persistent shortcomings.” That was enough than for “the head of its global network, who is based in Toronto and leads its international strategy … [who] argued that the watchdog was straying beyond its remit.” 

Apparently the folks at the FRC took some umbrage to be being dressed down by the Canadian but backed down nevertheless. Considering that Canadian regulator CPAB is currently considering publishing the names of audit firms together with their annual audit quality inspections, it looks like doing so in the UK hasn’t helped much to improve audit quality. 

Better nab a jab if you work at PwC Canada

We’ve reported on the growing momentum at accounting firms to implement mandatory vaccinations. reported this week that PwC Canada announces vaccine mandate, hybrid work model. Deloitte Canada has also announced a hybrid work model for its staff but it refuses to talk about mandatory vaccinations, even though its US counterpart has announced mandatory jabs. 

Tax Court releases new safety guidelines for court facilities

Last week we published an article asking When will the Tax Court of Canada resume in-person sittings? On Friday, the Tax Court published a 14-page document titled COVID-19: Safety Measures - Guidelines for Safe Court Facilities and Courtrooms operations during the COVID-19 pandemic,  Suffice it to say that there is A LOT of plexiglass involved.

Is Big Four Law just a sham to impose confidentiality?

Speaking of PwC, this international report, from the venerable Financial Review of Australia, caught our attention. It seems that PwC Australia is in a legal dispute with the Aussie government over its legal wing. In PwC accused of misusing legal privilege to stop ATO scrutiny of clients, we learn that PwC has been accused of putting junior lawyers on its audit teams to “apply a cloak of privilege” to protect tax records from government scrutiny. 

Tax lawyers have always marketed their advantage of client confidentiality over tax accountants. It’s why many accountants and lawyers often work together. But this scheme allegedly took the whole concept to another level. Clever, clever boys. 

Primer for working after retirement

CPA Canada published a good article this past week about working after retirement if you’re an accountant. It’s a short article that nevertheless notes the nuances of retirement from the profession and professional obligations (and, in some case, member fee discounts) of still working as a CPA. One omission from the article: make absolutely sure you check your professional and legal obligations if you still intend to prepare the occasional tax return or, god forbid, audit engagement. 

A4S Essential Guide Series

And speaking of CPA Canada, Accounting For Sustainability has released a guide on how to best engage with investors on environmental, social and governance issues. Complementing the guide are two in-depth case studies, Burberry and Unilever, as well as a series of video interviews with CFOs from our CFO Leadership Network. (CPA Canada launched the Canadian chapter of the A4S CFO Leadership Network.) 

Quick Hits

Big Four Firms EY, Deloitte Report Higher Revenue
Two Alberta firms join the Baker Tilly Canada network
Review flags major accounting errors in city’s internal finances [Penticton]

By Canadian Accountant staff.

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