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Five steps the Australian Government must take in wake of the Paradise Papers scandal - Oxfam

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SCANDALS involving the super-rich robbing the world’s poorest of much-needed tax revenues, like those revealed in the Paradise Papers leak, can be avoided if the Australian Government and others take five immediate steps towards tax reform, Oxfam Australia said today.

International tax reforms have clearly failed, with new estimates suggesting that multinational companies artificially shift almost half of their total global profits – 45 percent – to tax havens.

Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said tax dodging by multinationals in Australia was costing Australia and developing countries billions of dollars, fuelling a global inequality crisis where just eight men have the same wealth as half the world.

“Australian-based multinationals are part of the problem, contributing to keeping the world’s poorest out of pocket as governments balance the budget by raising taxes on people and cutting vital public services,” Dr Szoke said.

Oxfam estimates billions of dollars’ worth of tax revenue is lost in Australia each year because of Australian-based multinationals using tax havens, and the Paradise Papers scandal comes just weeks after the Australian Taxation Office released data estimating multinationals avoided $2.5 billion in taxes in 2014-15.

Dr Szoke said the Paradise Papers – involving the leak of more than 13 million files – revealed the extent to which the super-rich were getting away with rorting the system to hide their wealth and avoid paying taxes in places like Australia.

The onus was now on the Australian Government, and other governments around the world, to do something about it, Dr Szoke said.

“Stopping the tax scandals is not impossible, if the political will is there. Oxfam’s five-point plan spells out exactly how governments can stop them,” Dr Szoke said.

Oxfam’s five-point plan to stop the scandals calls on the Australian Government to:

1. Agree a global blacklist of tax havens based on comprehensive, objective criteria and implement strong counter-measures including sanctions to limit their use.

2. End corporate tax secrecy by ensuring all multinational companies make financial reports publicly available for every country where they operate; and make extractives companies also report on a project by project basis.

3. End tax secrecy for the super-rich by establishing a centralized public register of the individuals who own and benefit from shell companies, trusts and foundations.

4. Rebalance tax deals by making sure tax treaties do not exploit developing countries tax bases.

5. Create a global tax body where all countries can work together on an equal footing to agree the fundamental tax reforms that are needed to ensure the tax system works for everyone.

“The Australian public deserves to have this information made available to them, and the government must put the interests of the public over the demands of the super-rich and big business. It is now time to act,” Dr Szoke said.

www.oxfam.org.au

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Select Committee on Regional Development to visit the top end

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THE House Select Committee on Regional Development and Decentralisation will hold a public hearing in Darwin, Northern Territory.

The Chair of the Committee, Dr John McVeigh MP, said, “The Committee is keen to learn more about the issues of importance to the Northern Territory.  We’re particularly looking forward to hearing about infrastructure and the development of northern Australia.”

“The Northern Territory is home to many businesses and its largest industries are construction, mining, public administration and safety, health care and social assistance as well as transport. Darwin also has a significant Australian Defence Force presence, which also employs a large number of residents and the Committee will be very interested to hear how the regions are faring and what can be done to strengthen them”, said Dr McVeigh.

Dr McVeigh indicated that witnesses will include business and community leaders, indigenous representatives, representatives from the arts, local government representatives, and regional development experts.

 

Public hearing details:

9.00 am to 4.15 pm, Thursday 9 November 2017
Litchfield Room, Double Tree by Hilton, 116 Esplanade Darwin City

The proceedings will be broadcast live at aph.gov.au/live.

For the full program of this public hearing, see the Committee’s website.

Interested members of the public may wish to track the committee via the website

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The Future is Now: IIBA highlights business transformation

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THE International Association of Business Analysis (IIBA) is shining a spotlight on business transformation at the 2017 Building Business Capability (BBC) Conference

From November 6-10, IIBA members are convening in Orlando, Florida for keynote speeches, tutorials, networking opportunities and a vendor exhibition.

IIBA members from around the world are meeting at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort in Orlando, Florida for the annual Building Business Capability Conference to explore the evolution of the industry.

Considered the world’s largest global gathering of business analysis (BA) professionals, this year’s conference offers a series of spotlight sessions focused on next generation business analysis led by industry veterans who will share their perspectives on how BAs can prepare their organizations to successfully address impending change and stay relevant. Attendees will also have access to tutorials, networking sessions, and a vendor exhibition.  

“We’re witnessing a digital transformation that is indeed evolving the traditional business analysis role. While fundamental skills are still important to possess, as dedicated BA professionals, we’re constantly being challenged to re-skill with higher level capabilities – that’s just the new business reality,” said IIBA CEO Ken Fulmer. “I look forward to welcoming my peers to BBC and hearing from our esteemed speakers on this subject.”

BAs operate under a variety of titles and are involved in many facets of an organization. However, they all work within the same strategic framework of Business Analysis.

Those attending the conference, and others who want to join in on the conversation, can do so by using the hashtag #BBCCon.

 About International Institute of Business Analysis

International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) is a professional association dedicated to helping the business analysis community create better business outcomes. Through a global network, IIBA connects more than 29,000 Members and more than 300 corporate members and 120 chapters. As the voice of the business analysis community, IIBA supports the recognition of the profession and discipline and works to maintain the global standard for the practice and certification.

Learn more about IIBA through the organization’s Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages.

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New paper helps directors understand financial reporting obligations

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A NEW guidance paper has been released to help directors better understand and meet their obligations when it comes to financial reporting.

The paper, called Directors Responsibilities for Financial Reporting: What You Need to Know, is designed to help directors avoid the pitfalls of financial reporting.

The work is a joint publication between Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) and ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).

Liz Stamford, CA ANZ’s General Manager, Policy, said it was an extremely important tool for directors working across the Asia-Pacific and Europe.

“Directors have a number of requirements. First and foremost, they have a duty of care and must give clear information about financial statements to investors and others,” Ms Stamford said.

“This paper is an easy to follow guide which helps answer a range of questions, including, who is responsible for reporting? What are those responsibilities? And when and how do you discharge those responsibilities?

“Our paper outlines what the duty of care means in practice, what’s needed in terms of keeping records, and the various responsibilities in line with preparing financial statements.

“We’re also looking at what must be done in terms of auditing those statements and providing guidance for overseeing internal controls.

“Directors have their own responsibilities and their own member bodies, but as this paper shows, we are playing a leading role in working with them so they better understand their requirements.”

Maggie McGhee, director of Professional Insights at ACCA, said it’s important for directors everywhere to take their responsibilities seriously.

“Not all directors need to be finance professionals, but it’s crucial that directors are engaged and are able to understand and explain the company’s financial reports,” Ms McGhee said.

“As well as important details on practice and process, this paper provides the questions directors need to be asking to make sure the financial reporting process is sound, and the output of that process provides meaningful information to investors and other users.

”It’s a helpful reminder to our members across the world, particularly entrepreneurs and those working in and for small and medium businesses, of this crucial aspect of corporate governance. This global overview of directors’ responsibilities at different stages of the financial reporting process will hopefully provide an opportunity to start a conversation in the boardroom about financial reporting, and corporate reporting in general.

“It provides guidance for members operating in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and the UK.”

The strategic alliance between CA ANZ and ACCA has extended the global voice and reach of both organisations, and benefits to members.

“Together, we represent 800,000 accounting professionals from 181 countries around the world,” said Ms Stamford.

“That makes us one of the largest alliances in the world and gives us a powerful voice. This paper is one of the many ways we are providing new benefits to our members.”

Directors Responsibilities for Financial Reporting: What You Need to Know is available here:
http://www.accaglobal.com/us/en/professional-insights/global-profession/Directors-responsibilities-for-financial-reporting.html

 

About Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand is a professional body comprised of over 117,000 diverse, talented and financially astute members who utilise their skills every day to make a difference for businesses the world over. Members are known for their professional integrity, principled judgment, financial discipline and a forward-looking approach to business which contributes to the prosperity of our nations. 

www.charteredaccountantsanz.com

About ACCA

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. ACCA supports its 198,000 members and 486,000 students in 180 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 101 offices and centres and more than 7,291 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. It believes that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. ACCA’s core values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and it ensures that through its range of qualifications, it prepares accountants for business. ACCA seeks to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating its qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers.

www.accaglobal.com

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First international financial intelligence Codeathon

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THE first international Codeathon for financial intelligence units (FIUs) is being co-hosted by AUSTRAC, Australia’s financial intelligence unit and Bank Negara Malaysia from November 18 to 19 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The codeathon will bring together developers, designers, analysts, subject matter experts and other skilled and motivated individuals. Participants will form teams and have 32 hours to solve financial intelligence challenges. Their innovative solutions may be presented in various forms, including live applications, websites or prototypes which may well serve as precursors in constructing innovative digital solutions to fight terrorism financing.

Acting AUSTRAC CEO, Gavin McCairns, said AUSTRAC is encouraging participation from Australia’s growing fintech, regtech and start-up communities, financial institutions and FIUs in the region.

“This initiative provides a framework to work with industry and government to continuously explore new opportunities, where we can leverage the latest technologies to fight terrorism financing”.

”This unique event is an excellent opportunity for tech-savvy individuals, including hobbyists, students and software developers, to contribute their ideas to address a serious matter and enjoy some friendly competition at the same time”.

Codeathon 2017 is part of the third regional Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) Summit, which brings together FIUs, industry participants and leading anti-money laundering and CTF experts around the world.

There will be several prize categories which includes awarding the team that can demonstrate the most collaborative way to tackle terrorism financing – being true to the spirit of our CTF Summit.  Winners and outcomes will be announced at the Innovation Forum.

Registration for Codeathon 2017 is open to all members of the public, financial institutions and FIUs. Expressions of interest can be registered via the CTF Summit 2017 Codeathon website..

Follow @AUSTRAC on Twitter and the AUSTRAC website for the latest updates.

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