Firm accounting foundation

The Cayman Islands Society of Professional Accountants recently held its AGM at The Ritz-Carlton, with incoming president Jeffrey Short reaffirming the society’s commitment to continuing its relationship with government, to educating and training young Caymanians and to furthering its global reach within the accounting industry.

CISPA was founded 40 years ago, making it one of the oldest professional societies in the Cayman Islands. It is also one of the largest, with over 900 members, many of whom take on individual roles within the society to further its many aims and ambitions.

Outgoing president, Norm McGregor, gave an overview at this year’s AGM of the many successes the society had achieved during his year’s tenure at the top, including the implementation of the Auditor Oversight Body framework, overseen by past presidents Frazer Lindsay and John Ferrari and which required close liaison with the CI Government, CIMA and the Canadian Public Accountability Board throughout the year.

“While the process is moving to the next stage, we continue to consult with these stakeholders and look forward to the implementation of this oversight regime.” McGregor confirmed.

New president Jeffrey Short continued the progress with the society’s International Federation of Accountants implementation plan. The society is an associate member of IFAC and has been working on an action plan to gain full member status by 2013. 

“We’re now entering Phase 3 of the project and provide semi-annual reports to IFAC with regard to our progress. This membership is a serious undertaking requiring hundreds of hours to enhance our infrastructure. An example of which is the latest membership confirmation that we’ve implemented which will be required on an annual basis in order to adhere to IFAC membership standards. As an organisation we are excited to be moving closer to full membership status and international recognition,” McGregor confirmed.

Education and training are key parts of the CISPA’s overall aims and last October the society was able to recognise the accomplishments of 24 young Caymanians who recently obtained either their accounting degrees or professional designations at its annual gala. 

“The furtherance of the study of accountancy is one of CISPA’s main objectives and so it’s very rewarding for CISPA to be able to celebrate the achievements of these young people. CISPA’s liaison officers and the Membership Development Committee went to great lengths to organise the evening and it was a resounding success,” McGregor said.

In addition to their work on the gala, the Membership Development Committee, under Charles Bolland has been active in other ways, McGregor said, including the continuation of their e-mentoring programmes, as well as making presentations on the accounting industry at local high schools and developing a financial services handbook to assist work experience students. 

McGregor furthered: “The MDC is also pleased to have representatives from ICCI and UCCI on their committee now who ensure a cohesive interface between industry and academia. This committee has also been tasked with revamping our membership record keeping process and the website. As a result, the website has been completely redesigned and the annual membership confirmation process implemented. The view is that we’ll undertake the 2012 renewals online.”

Further education initiates include work undertaken by the Training Committee led by Terry Carson, which delivered a number of successful courses with topics covering ethics, fraud, investments and accounting updates impacting the financial services industry. 

“The courses that Terry’s committee organises provide great benefits, both from educational perspective and from maintaining those important CPE credits at a fraction of the cost that would be charged if CISPA were not involved,” McGregor said.

He also spoke about the Public Practice Committee under Graeme Sunley, which issued a new guidance note this year on limited recourse language in engagement letters. He said this committee had been active in providing CIMA and the government with comments and feedback on proposed guidance they are issuing including the proposed administrative penalties rules and the dormant accounts bill. In addition, they organised information sessions on the revised SEC custody rules. 

Secretary Rohan Small leads the Membership and Licensing Committee, which meets on a monthly basis to approve membership and licences, working closely with the Public Accountants Law since its implementation and during the year it made a number of suggested amendments to include IFAC recommendations and allow for better communication with CIMA. McGregor said: “We hope these will be incorporated in 2011.”

Simon Whicker runs the Insolvency Committee, continuing its work with a number of refinements to the local insolvency rules and regulations, McGregor said.

Social Committee head Tony DeAngelis rounded off another successful year of events with the annual golf day. McGregor said that although the main purpose of these events is to encourage members to interact on a social basis, it also allows CISPA to make charitable donations from any profits made, such as donations made to the NCVO and the Red Cross this year. Donations are also made to a variety of education initiatives. 

Incoming president Jeffrey Short said the profession is being increasingly called upon to assist in many areas, such as advising on legislation that underpins Cayman’s leadership in the financial services marketplace. 

“At the same time, our international clients are looking to us to provide guidance through the increasingly complex world of financial regulation, such as the Dodd-Frank legislation that was recently passed in the United States,” he confirmed.

Short said that he would be concentrating on three main areas during his tenure as president: continuing to support education and training and strengthening the society’s ties with the UCCI, ICCI and other local schools. 

“These relationships have been beneficial to the schools, to their accounting students, and to our profession,” he stated. “We must encourage the next generation of Cayman professionals who may ultimately become the leaders of this organisation.”

Short is also committed to furthering the CISPA on its path to full membership in IFAC. 

“This is important because IFAC is a globally recognised organisation for the accountancy profession, and full membership will give both CISPA and, by proxy, the Cayman Islands, increased stature in the international community. I intend to add my efforts to those who have already worked tirelessly on this issue to make this designation a reality,” he explained.

Finally he said that the CISPA would continue with its interactions with government on such important matters as providing guidance on establishing policy and crafting legislation that effects not only our profession, but the Cayman Islands. 

“The importance of this cannot be overestimated,” he said.

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Jeff Short

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