Friday, August 31, 2012

Impact Study - What is it?

Of late, there has been a lot of request for us to conduact an impact study of "something" - a program, a project, a treatment, a medical intervention and even a financial decision.  The Wikipedia provides some very interesting definition and practical implication of such study.  An exceprt underpinning an impact study is provided in this entry.

"Impact evaluation assesses the changes that can be attributed to a particular intervention, such as a project, program or policy, both the intended ones, as well as ideally the unintended ones. In contrast to outcome monitoring, which examines whether targets have been achieved, impact evaluation is structured to answer the question: how would outcomes such as participants’ well-being have changed if the intervention had not been undertaken? This involves counterfactual analysis, that is, “a comparison between what actually happened and what would have happened in the absence of the intervention.” Impact evaluations seek to answer cause-and-effect questions. In other words, they look for the changes in outcome that are directly attributable to a program.  Impact Evaluation helps us to answer key questions for evidence-based policy making: what works, what doesn’t, where, why and for how much? It has received increasing attention in policy making in recent years in both Western and developing country contexts. It is an important component of the armory of evaluation tools and approaches and integral to global efforts to improve the effectiveness of aid delivery and public spending more generally in improving living standards. Originally more oriented towards evaluation of social sector programs in developing countries, notably conditional cash transfers, impact evaluation is now being increasingly applied in other areas such as the agriculture, energy and transport."

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cost Effectiveness of MMT and NSEP Programs

Researchers from two national research institutions: Accounting Research Institute (ARI) and the Institute for Research in Molecular Medicine (INFORMM) met up in USM, Kubang Kerian campus to discuss research progress.  Currently, the two institutions are engaged in a collaborative research project on MMT and NSEP harm reduction programs for HIV patients.  ARI in particular has been tasked to evaluate the cost effectiveness of both programs using the "4C" methodology at two locations - an NGO clinic and a public hospital in Kota Baru, Kelantan.  The 4C technique groups costs into four categories namely preventive, appraisal, internal consequences and external failures.  In managing the research project more effectively, INFORMM Director, Prof Dr Rusli Ismail has appointed a project manager, Mr Adib to coordinate research progress.  The researchers meet up quarterly to update the groups on issues and progress.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Islamic Finance Commendable Growth

A recent report by the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) said the Islamic finance industry that is currently estimated to be worth about US$1 trillion (RM3.058 trillion) had made further headway in the Islamic traditional markets such as Malaysia and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, while penetrating new markets such as in Europe and Africa.  Whilst traditionally, the Islamic banking assets account for a large part of this value, the segment that has enjoyed especially strong growth in the more recent years is sukuk.  As of May, the value of sukuk outstanding globally increased by 30% to slightly above US$140bil (RM428.1bil).  Malaysia, the biggest market for sukuk, has implemented a 10-year $444 billion development program to build power plants, roads and railways. Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population, plans to tap last year’s $2.5 billion budget surplus to fund construction projects.  According to Mr Zainal Izlan Zainal Abidin, executive director for Islamic capital markets at the Securities Commission, “Islamic finance has developed not only in traditional Muslim markets like Malaysia and the Middle East, but also in conventional markets,” .

Friday, August 24, 2012

IFCTF 2012 to address insurance fraud, cyber secruity issues

For the second time around, the Accounting Research Institute (ARI) will be collaborating closely with the Compliance Officer Networking Group (CONG), financial institutions and other agencies to co-organize the International Conference on Financial Crime and Terrorism Financing 2012 (IFCTF 2012).  Themed "Compliance, Challenges and Effectiveness: The Next Level", IFCTF 2012 is a continuance from the previous 2011's "Raising The Bar In Compliance And Enforcement".  In a recent interview with Bernama, CONG Chairman, Mad Yusof Yazid said that IFCTF 2012 will address insurance fraud, cyber security and cash movement.  The inclusion of cyber security into the conference was due to the growing threat especially of Internet scams in the country involving financial institutions.  "The inclusion of insurance fraud will give a better scope and coverage of the financial sectors as the insurance sector is another growing area of fraud and potential anti-money laundering target," he said. It would also increase the industry awareness towards insurance fraud and threat and able to share the best practices from other parts of the world in terms of managing and detecting fraud and money laundering. During the event, he said there would also be a session to discuss the implementation of the new guidelines by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international body to develop policies to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. "It will be a good avenue for the regulators and also the banks to actually to understand how the new recommendations will affect us and find the best way to execute it, he said.  CONG has invited up to 40 speakers to give presentations including prominent figures from the World Bank, Asia Pacific Group (APG), AUSTRAC Australia, Royal Customs of United Kingdom, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Royal Malaysian Customs, Security Commission, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, representatives from universities and notable compliance officers from other parts of the world such as Hong Kong.  IFCTF 2012 will he held on 24-25 September at the Shangri La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

APMAA Conference 2012

The Asia Pacific Management Accounting Association or APMAA is a global academy dedicated to the continuous and effective development of management accounting theory and practice.   Established in 2003 with steering committee members from Japan, Korea, China, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, APMAA which is based in Japan, has now grown to a much bigger entity to include other members from United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Taiwan, Emerates, Nigeria, India and many others.  One of APMAA's major activities is the organising of an annual conference.  Every year, different member countries would host the event.  Whilst Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) hosted the previous conference in 2011,  APMAA Conference 2012 will be hosted by Xiamen University, China.  Themed “Management Accounting: The Optimization of Management Control System”, the conference which will be held on 14 - 17 November hopes to provide a unique platform to facilitate the exchange of leading-edge ideas for advancement of knowledge in management accounting research. Like in previous years, one of the conference attractions is the factory visit of renowned manufacturing company in the host country. Equipped with a strong team of faculty and staff, Xiamen University provides a complete range of educational programs, and has become a first-class comprehensive university with extensive international influence. Xiamen, known as the international garden city on the sea, is a successful Special Economic Zone, has comfortable weather, clean air, and beautiful beaches and gardens. It offers a unique combination of traditional Chinese, European colonial and modern architecture.

Friday, August 17, 2012

International Islamic Accounting and Finance Conference 2012

In support of its niche research in Islamic Financial Criminology (IFC), the Islamic Accounting & Muamalat Research Centre (IAMRC) of the Accounting Research Institute (ARI) will be organizing an International Islamic Accounting and Finance Conference 2012 (IIAFC 2012) on 19-21 November 2012 in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.  IIAFC 2012 will be jointly organized by the Faculty of Accountancy, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia; Universitas Islam Indonesia (IIU), Jogjakarta, Indonesia; Centre of Islamic Banking & Finance, Royal Docks Business School, University of East London, United Kingdom; and Elshaarani Centre for Islamic Business and Finance, Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom.  Themed "Steering Innovations And Competitiveness in A Dynamic Economy: New Frontiers, New Lessons", the conference acts as a platform in giving opportunities for participants to network and share experiences in a unique inter-disciplinary environment among Islamic Accounting and Finance practitioners, academicians and other professionals who interested in this area. This event will also invite paper presenters to publish their empirical works in selected indexed journals.  Topics for this conference include, but are not limited to: Islamic Accounting; Shariah Auditing; Ethical Issues in Islamic Financial Institutions and Financial Markets; Islamic Finance and Banking; Strategic Management from the Islamic Perspective; Accounting for Takaful; Comparative Study of Islamic & Conventional Accounting; Taxation and Zakat Accounting; Intellectual Capital in Islamic Organizations; Waqaf and Sadaqah; Islamic Microfinance; Reporting issues in Islamic Organizations; Corporate Social Responsibility from the Islamic perspective; Corporate Governance; Human Governance; Assurance in Halal Product Producers; Cost & Management Accounting; Islamic Accounting Theory; Accounting Education; Internal Audit in Islamic-based entities; External Audit in Islamic-based entities and Forensic Accounting from the Islamic perspective.  The conference hopes to showcase potential new products for the Islamic Finance industry. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

International Public Sector Conference 2012

The Public Sector Research Centre, of the Accounting Research Institute (ARI) will be organizing its inaugural international conference on 25-26 September.  The International Public Sector Conference 2012 (IPSC 2012) will be held in the beautful Sutera Habour Hotel, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.  Themed Re-shaping and Energizing the Public Sector, IPSC 2012 will be joined by a range of influential and international speakers from South Africa, Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Switzerland.  In addition, prominent speakers from the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board will be presenting at the conference. The event will also attract participants from among academics and practitioners locally and internationally.  The main objective of the conference is to provide a platform for participants to present their research findings in public sector, to share knowledge relating to public sector and to exchange information between academics and practitioners. The conference will provide informal gathering of researchers, lecturers, students and practitioners concerned in landscaping the public sector towards excellence in public sector performance.  Selected papers will be published in ARI's two indexed journals: Malaysian Accounting Review (MAR) and Asia Pacific Management Accounting Journal (APMAJ).

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Accrual Accounting Courses for AG

As part of its preparation to educate its staff on the upcoming convergence from cash to accrual accounting, the Accountants General Office has requested the Accounting Research Institute (ARI) to conduct related training programs for the years 2012 and 2013.  The  Accrual Accounting training programs for both accounting and non-accounting staff will cover fourteen states (including the federal territory).  This nationwide training program will be coordinated by one of ARI's research centres - The Public Sector Accounting Research Centre (PSARC).  In implementing the program, ARI will be collaborating with researchers from the Faculty of Accountancy and state campuses of Universiti Teknologi MARA.  Today, researchers from ARI met up with officers from the Accountants General Office and the National Institute of Accountants to discuss content details of the training program.  Some of the cited reasons for the switch from cash to accrual accounting by the public sector include:
  1. To provide better quality information to stakeholders
  2. To improve the quality of financial management
  3. To increase value for money
  4. To reduce risk of manipulation
  5. To enhance compatibility with the national accounts

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Research on Islamic Microfinancing

In driving its research niche in Islamic Financial Criminology (IFC), the Accounting Research Institute (ARI) is promoting a research agenda related to Islamic Microfinancing.  Recognising the gap in the existing microfinance business framework, ARI researchers are proposing on the need to link entrepreneurs with a reputable business partner to provide a total value chain to the microfinance agenda of business sustainability and poverty eradication.  Today, ARI researchers met up with a prominent business owner, Dato' Ameer, who is the Managing Director of Mydin Holding.  Mydin is the largest and most well established Malaysian retail and wholesale organization with more than 72 outlets.  Currently, Mydin products range from food line, household, soft line and hard line items.  From the meeting and discussion, Dato' Ameer has agreed in principle to participate as "viable business partner" in the Islamic Microfinance research project.  A pilot project which will commence in September/October 2012 will involve selected entrepreneurs to be jointly decided by ARI and Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM).

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Welcome Post Doc Dr Bashir

The Accounting Research Institute (ARI) welcomes Dr Bashir, a post doctoral scholar who just reported for duty this week.  Dr Bashir, a Nigerian, graduated recently from Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) with PhD in Corporate Governance.  As a post doctoral scholar, Dr Bashir will work closely with Prof Dr Rashidah, ARI deputy director and with other members of the Corporate Governance Research Centre (CGRC).  His main task is to write and publish at least twelve articles in indexed journals per every year of attachment.  In support of ARI's niche research area in Islamic Financial Criminology, Dr Bashir will also participate in ARI's research activity.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Working Visit to Brimal Stampress Engineering

The Accounting Research Institute (ARI) was recently involved with the training program of the "Groom Big" project organized by the Malaysian Productivity Corporation (MPC).  One of the aspirations of the program is to elevate participating companies to focus on the export market.  Today, a group of ARI researchers visited one of the participating companies, Brimal Stampress Sdn Bhd in Kapar, Klang.  Brimal Stampress principal activity is to manufacture and supply automotive parts to automotive manufacturing companies.  Currently, its three main customers are namely Proton, Perodua and Modenas.  Basically, the main aim of the visit was to get Brimal employees to participate in ARI's management  accounting project on Target Costing Implementation Decisions.  Target costing is essentially a management philosophy in dealing with how companies make decision on matters related to product costing, product pricing and product quality.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

ARI-IBFIM Working Collaboration

In its effort to involve practitioners and industries for all its research projects, the Accounting Research Institute (ARI) visited the Islamic Banking and Finance Institute Malaysia (IBFIM) today.  ARI was represented by four of its researchers.  The group met up with IBFIM's Chief Executive Officer, Dato' Dr Adnan Alias and researchers of the institute and had a discussion  on possible research and working collaboration between the two entities.  Specifically, ARI researchers proposed a project related to Islamic CSR (i-CSR).  i- CSR is an ongoing joint research project between two Malaysian universities (UiTM & USM) and  two Indonesian universities (Sebelas Maret Universiti and Muamalat Universiti).   Basically, the proposed i-CSR dimensions are premised on Maqasit-based principles as well as global CSR framework.  An earlier pilot project had reviewed CSR disclosures of six Islamic banks in Malaysia and Indonesia.   Based on some preliminary findings, the group now needs feedbacks from both practitioners and industry players on the suitability and viability of the measurement.  IBFIM, as a leading Islamic Finance Solutions Partner can certainly play an important role in linking a research institution such as ARI with the Islamic Finance industry.  i-CSR has great potential in supporting Malaysia's vision of leading the Islamic Finance industry globally......

Monday, August 6, 2012

Research Cluster Publication Workshop

The Accounting Research Institute (ARI) congratulates Associate Professor Dr Zuraidah Sanusi (ARI deputy director and head of research cluster) and her team from the financial criminology research cluster for organising a successful 3-day publication workshop cum research progress presentations in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan.  Essentially, this cluster is currently focussing on several research projects which include fraud detection programs for internal auditors; the use of artificial intelligence in fraud detection system and  developing fraud risk indicators to investigate financial statement frauds.  The workshop has successfully finalized eight papers that would be submitted to various indexed journals.  Members of the cluster were also exposed to the use of a "user-friendly" Mendeley software (free download) by Mr. Mohd Daniel Mohd Nassir, our PhD student.  Basically, Mendeley is a bibliographic or referencing software that could be used to assist the referencing of articles in a more systematic and effective manner.  Congratulations all. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Mazda Seven Guiding Principles

In an interview with the Star Newspaper, Mazda Motor Corp representative director, president and chief executive Takashi Yamanouchi spoke of the "seven guiding principles", a management philisophy that is being practiced successfully by the company to maintain its competitive edge.  Basically, the principles are built on the belief that investing in people is important to build a company that employs people who enjoy their work.  Premised on this belief, the seven guiding principles are namely: integrity, basic & flawless execution, continuous improvement (kaizen), challenger spirit, self initiative, tomoiku or mutual learning and 1Mazda.  The concept of 1Mazda aims to instill into employees of Mazda to be sincere, faithful to the basics, to have a challenging spirit, to mutually develop others and oneself.
Note: Some captions of this entry have been extracted from the Star Online Newspaper 5th August 2012 - Business section

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Meeting Prof Clive Walker

The Accounting Research Institute (ARI) welcomes the visit of an important guest from the University of Leeds, UK: Prof Clive Walker.  Prof Walker who is an international expert in Criminal Justice, met up and had a discussion with ARI researchers yesterday. He delivered a talk titled "Terrorism Financing and the Policing of Charities".  Globally, charity organisations are the least regulated entities. He posits that whilst charity causes are genuine, some irresponsible individuals may abuse the system for personal gains.  Some others may misuse charity organisations to carry out money laundering activities or to finance terrorism.  One of the initiatives undertaken by some countries to facilitate genuine charity organisations is the formation of charity commission.  At the end of his visit, Professor Walker gave ARI his latest book, "Terrorism and the Law".  The book is a good read as it:

  • Offers an up-to-date discussion of the key materials on terrorism law
  • Provides comprehensive coverage of the major domestic, European, and international laws and their impact on the UK, plus comparisons with other jurisdictions such as the US
  • Contains an extensive examination of the implementation and practice of terrorism laws
  • Includes insightful and original analysis, reflecting widespread research on the laws and interviews with key practitioners, from a leading commentator on terrorism law

Friday, August 3, 2012

Research Ethics Committee

Essentially, a university's research ethics committee (REC) examines ethical issues in research proposals and ensures that research projects conducted at the university are in compliance with the national and international conditions and guidelines.  Traditionally, only medical-related research proposals are subjected to stringent review of the REC.  In essence, all proposals must therefore comply to the requirements stipulated in the Good Clinical Practice Guideline, Ministry of Health (MOH), Malaysia and the Declaration of Helsinki, World Medical Association (WMA). The responsibilities of REC are to protect the rights and wellbeing of human subjects, ensure no intentional harm inflicted on them and protect the rights of the researchers and the university. Safeguarding human subjects in research is an international requirement in the best interest of the public.  Increasingly, other non-medical related proposals are also implicated with ethical issues.  As such, they are also submitted for REC review.  The Accounting Research Institute (ARI) is also requiring some of its research proposals to obtain REC approval.  Today, UiTM REC had just completed its document audit by assessors from the Ministry of Health.....

Thursday, August 2, 2012

DNFBP Sector

A 2004 amendment  to the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act (AMLA) redefined “reporting institutions” to include accountants. In the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) context, accountants are part of the Designated Non-financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) sector.  FATF research highlighted a trend in the use of complex commercial arrangements by money launderers and terrorism financiers to hide their money trail. These arrangements often use the services of professionals such as lawyers, accountants and company secretaries. Arising from these typologies, the FATF standards require countries to improve their Anti- Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) measures on DNFBPs.  In Malaysia, DNFBPs consist of casinos, real estate agents, dealers in precious metals or precious stones, lawyers, company secretaries, accountants and other independent legal professionals. All have been made reporting institutions (RIs). Dealers in precious metals or precious stones were incorporated with effect from December 2007.  (Extracted from the Accountants Today - August 2008).

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Researchable Topics in AML-CFT

"Money Laundering" and "Terrorism Financing"  (ML/TF) are two buzz words of the new millennium.  The impact of both types of fraud on a nation economy could be detrimental.  Globally, various mechanisms have been set to mitigate ML/TF.  The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the leading agency entrusted to monitor this sort of fraud.  Through its Anti-Money Laundering and Anti Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) programs, FATF has proposed various "Recommendations".  The latest "40 New Recommendations" issued in February 2012 will form the basis of FATF upcoming Mutual Evaluation on AML/CFT regime.  For Malaysia, the following AML/CFT-related research topics would be forthcoming:
  • Study on AML-CFT Initiatives at Designated Non-Financial Businesses & Professions (DNFBPs)
  • Money Laundering through Tax Evasion: Development of Fraud Risk Indicators
  • Risk-Based AML-CFT Evaluation of Non-Profit Organizations
  • FATF Mutual Evaluation: Comparative Analysis of Country Assessments
  • Money Laundering: Analysis of Predicate Offences and their Applications
  • AML/CFT Implications on Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs)
  • Effectiveness of  System in Detecting Suspicious Transaction Report (STR)
  • DNFBP - Regulation, supervision & monitoring
  • AML-CFT Cost of Compliance
  • Suspicious Transaction Report for Terrorism Financing
  • Assessment of Ongoing Strategy to identify and mitigate AML/CFT risks within NPO sector
  • Cash Courriers: Evaluation of Current Tools to Mitigate ML/TF