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Risk and cybersecurity for critical infrastructure

When we talk about cybersecurity, we usually think of information technology systems that manage and access data. But there’s another side of technology that is often overlooked by enterprise security processes -- the industrial control systems that handle physical processes through monitoring or direct control, such as valves, pumps and similar systems that have a physical “switching” function. The reason for this is that most of these systems have traditionally been isolated from corporate information networks, operated separately as they have functions outside of processing data -- such as regulating power or water flow for utilities companies, the control network of a train system, or medical scanning equipment in a health care entity.

Tomorrow’s tax professionals

The global business environment continues to evolve at a rapid pace, with factors such as globalization and technology disrupting traditional roles, processes and operations. One of these areas is in the tax landscape, where the changes are fundamentally and permanently changing how tax professionals operate.

Banks and fintech: the next step

In recent years, the Philippine banking ecosystem has undergone rapid digital transformation driven by sweeping technological advances. The Philippine Banking Almanac states that the Philippine banking industry started as a government venture to provide deposit services and fund production in the agricultural and commercial industries. That was 160 years ago and since then, the industry has evolved to include various aspects of financing, up to the ubiquitous digital systems that are now used all over the world. This is no surprise since the banking industry has always been characterized by continuous, customer-driven innovation.

The Tax Amnesty Act of 2019: Welcome news for delinquent taxpayers

On Feb. 14, the President signed into law Republic Act No. 11213 or the Tax Amnesty Act of 2019 (RA 11213). The law provides for estate tax amnesty and tax amnesty on delinquencies. In this article, we will zoom in on the tax amnesty on delinquencies.

Big data and dark data: Balancing the costs and benefits

Big data is starting to become a cliché among business executives, given that almost everyone is now leveraging big data in decision making. “Big data” was defined in 2012 by Gartner (a global research and advisory firm) as “high-volume, high-velocity and/or high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing that enable enhanced insight, decision making, and process automation.”

Evolving to match future markets

Traditionally, businesses have used the term “markets” to refer to economies. Hence the terms “developed market” or “emerging market” are usually associated with countries at a certain level of development. However, given the changing times and consumer paradigms, businesses may need to shift their focus to smaller “markets.” Cities, for example, are expected to grow further. A United Nations study projects that by 2050, 68% of the world’s populations will live in urban areas, with corresponding effects on infrastructure and the environment, as well as consumption behaviors.

Entrepreneurs inspire!

Every two years, the Entrepreneur Of The Year (EOY) Philippines program stages a road show to announce the start of the nomination period for entrepreneurship awards. In our recent road shows in Cebu and Davao, the local reporters were curious to know our observations on entrepreneurship in the country since we launched the awards in 2003. This was a good point to reflect on after 16 years of celebrating the best among Filipino entrepreneurs.

New lease accounting standard: the road to adoption

The new lease standard under Philippine Financial Reporting Standard (PFRS) 16 has been effective for annual periods beginning on or after January 1, 2019.

A New Green Revolution: The Green Bonds

In the first part of this article, we discussed some of the environmental consequences brought on by the rapid increase of infrastructure and economic development in the country. Although the Philippines maintains the lowest ecological footprint in ASEAN, growing overconsumption, unregulated production, and waste mismanagement all contribute to the environmental burden on the land.

A New Green Revolution: Green Bonds

The Philippines’ GDP growth has maintained a relatively stable upward trend over the last decade. Regionally, the archipelago continues to outpace most of its neighbors, maintaining an average annual growth rate of six to seven percent in the last seven years. The driving force behind this economic and developmental progress is the reinvigoration of the national government’s investment in public works, health and education infrastructure, and improved public financial management. However, the effort and resources expended towards the modernization and overall development of the Philippines still falls short in one key consideration -- climate and environmental resilience and the sustainability of these infrastructural pursuits, and of the overall development and growth path of the country in its entirety.

How non-financial reports can tell your value creation story

Of late, a number of companies in the Philippines have been releasing non-financial reports, either called “Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Reports,” or “Integrated Reports,” or “Sustainability Reports.” However, these are not yet mandatory. In fact, it was just recently that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released Memorandum Circular No. 4, which provides the sustainability reporting guidelines for publicly-listed companies on a “comply or explain” approach for the first three years of implementation, starting with the 2019 reporting period. In the absence of a reporting requirement, a key driver that has influenced companies to disclose non-financial information has been the demand from their investors for such reports.

Revitalizing retirement, pensions and social security

If we evolve our thinking about social security, pension, retirement and voluntary savings, could we deliver better socioeconomic outcomes for the Philippines and improve the financial well-being of millions of Filipinos?

Revitalizing retirement, pensions and social security

If we evolve our thinking about social security, pension, retirement and voluntary savings, could we deliver better socio-economic outcomes for the Philippines and better financial well-being for millions of Filipinos?

Data is power: Using analytics for a Customs audit

Our last four Suits the C-Suite articles have emphasized the need for importers to be audit-ready in the event that the Bureau of Customs (BoC) conducts a Post Clearance Audit (PCA). The BoC has already issued 32 Audit Notification Letters (ANLs) to importers; anyone could be next on the list.

Dealing with common issues in a BoC Audit

When shipments are “cleared” at the border after payment of duties and taxes, importers often assume that the Bureau of Customs (BoC) will simply move on without double-checking the shipment. This assumption is inaccurate. The BoC can actually conduct an audit of past transactions, similar to the function of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). This exercise is the Post-Clearance Audit (PCA). It usually covers the last three years of importations and the PCA is undertaken to check the correctness of importers’ goods declarations, and the accuracy of their tax payments.

To have and to hold: Customs import documents

Many struggle to remember certain details, such as the phone numbers even of those close to them. This is due to the intrinsic limitation of human memory, or perhaps some see the brain simply as an organ to process information but not to store data. In any case, we acknowledge the importance of keeping records appropriately -- not just mentally -- but in some retrievable form. With the current strides in digital disruption and innovation, we now have more tools and devices to assist in storing and accessing whatever information we need.

Prior disclosure or a customs audit: Which is the wiser option?

As discussed in last week’s column, Customs Administrative Order (CAO) No. 01-2019 has been issued. The CAO covers the conduct of the post clearance audit (PCA) and implementation of the prior disclosure program (PDP). Considering the high penalties -- ranging from 125% to 600% of the revenue loss -- to be imposed during a customs audit, it is imperative for an importer to consider if it will be beneficial to avail of the PDP.

Are you ready for a customs audit?

It has been more than a year since Executive Order (EO) No. 46 was issued which revived the post clearance audit (PCA) function of the Bureau of Customs (BoC). Finally, the implementing rules necessary for the BoC to resume audits have now been issued.

Tech-based compliance in emerging markets

The nature of business today is very different from how it was just a few years ago. Technology, innovation and new consumption behaviors are driving disruption every day. Yet, some things – such as fraud, bribery and corruption – have remained constant. This was the main finding of the EY Global Fraud Survey 2018: Integrity in the spotlight, which focused on emerging markets.

Moving forward with our reason for being

It has barely been a week since the New Year and already we have seen or experienced changes. Why? Because we are living in an age of transformation.

Succession and unlocking the future of family businesses

The humble image evoked by the idea of a traditional, family-run business contrasts with the fact that they are considered economic powerhouses, or hold the potential to be, with the right foresight, planning, and management. Conglomerates and well-known franchises may have started out as mom-and-pop stores, before penetrating mainstream retail. And such a tale is not at all uncommon. A recent study from the Harvard Business School on family businesses noted that family firms account for two-thirds of all the businesses around the world. Additionally, 70-90% of global GDP is created by these institutions annually, and 85% of start-up companies even gain footing with capital investments using family money. In short, family businesses have prevailed and continue to do so in every sector and region, on a global scale.

Fast-tracking digital transformation

In a previous article in this column, we spoke about how important it is for company leaders to become digital-enabled in today’s disruption-led competitive landscape. We discussed how digital age leaders are not only better equipped to meet emerging business challenges and changes in the competitive landscape, but are also delivering better financial performance for their companies.

Can the public sector spearhead digital transformation?

In the first part of this article, we recalled that both private and public sectors must take the business of digital transformation an utmost priority if the country is to achieve both local and regional economic success. In particular for the public sector, government must spearhead efforts to create a digitally-inclusive, technologically-capable nation. Otherwise, digital innovations will fall short of mainstream adoption. This idea was touched on during the ASEAN Outlook Conference 2018.

Can the public sector spearhead digital transformation?

In recent articles published in this column, we have highlighted the growing need for digital-ready leadership and the digital transformation of organizations. In today’s challenging environment, leaders must assume the main responsibility of fostering a company culture which is receptive to innovations in both internal methods and offered services.

When equal access brings economic success

SGV & Co. is the first professional services firm in the world to receive the Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE) Assess Certification. The EDGE certification was granted early this month.

What are digitally savvy leaders?

In a world of constant disruption and innovation-led advances, organizations are increasingly leveraging technology to transform their business strategies. However, as revealed in the Global Leadership Forecast 2018 (a joint research project by EY, Development Dimensions International, Inc. and the Conference Board), many companies are unable to keep up with the pace. The forecast also mentions that 50% of the 2006 Fortune 500 companies no longer exist, while futurist speaker Thomas Frey projects that advances in robotics and artificial intelligence will impact over two billion jobs in the next decade. Given the inescapable technological trajectory that the world is on, organizations with digital-savvy leaders who are cognizant of the threats and opportunities brought about by technology are now outperforming competitors with less digitally-capable leaders.

The proper allocation of costs and expenses for financial institutions

The Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati released its decision on the petition of banks seeking the invalidation of Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Revenue Regulations (RR) No. 4-2011, which prescribed the rules for the proper allocation of costs and expenses for banks and financial institutions, for income tax reporting purposes. The RTC ruled that RR No. 4-2011 is unconstitutional, and ordered a permanent injunction on its implementation.

Revisiting the rules on offsetting arrangements

Offsetting (or netting) may arise in business transactions where there is a debtor-creditor relationship. Considering that two parties can be both debtor and creditor of each other, offsetting can be resorted to in order to reduce, or even extinguish the liability, if the legal conditions are present and if the criteria under Philippine Financial Reporting Standards (PFRS) are met.

On filing prior applications for VAT zero-rating of sales

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) recently issued an advisory informing taxpayers that the Large Taxpayers Service and Assessment Service will continue to receive and process applications for Value Added Tax (VAT) zero rating on the sales of goods and services by suppliers of Registered Business Entities (RBEs), who were granted incentives by Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) under special laws. The said advisory also informed the taxpaying public that they need to follow the existing guidelines and procedures for these applications to be processed, which refer to Revenue Memorandum Order (RMO) No.7-2006 issued in 2006.

How are online merchants and intermediaries taxed?

Innovations brought about by information and communication technology have dramatically changed how people behave and go about their daily tasks. As the number of computer-literate, digital individuals increases, the easier it becomes to exchange information and facilitate remote transactions.

Clarifying the cost of filing an amended tax return

On Dec. 19, 2017, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed into law Republic Act No. 10963, or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act. In a speech made after the signing, the President said the TRAIN Act “is the administration’s biggest Christmas gift to the Filipino people, as 99% of the taxpayers will benefit from the simpler, fairer and more effective tax system.”

Revenue growth in financial inclusion

Traditionally, banks operating in emerging markets (EMs), including the Philippines, did not consider financially excluded individuals as profitable target customer segments. These financially-excluded sectors included micro and small to medium enterprises (MSMEs).

TRAIN Law: Revisions to Income Tax Return forms

Controversies continue to surround the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law. Members from both the public and private sectors blame it for the steady rise in inflation, the now weekly increase in fuel and oil prices, and a record currency depreciation that left the peso at its weakest in over 11 years.

Can the PHL fully participate in ASEAN Taxation Cooperation?

Embracing the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEoI), whether in the form of FATCA and/or CRS, affects stakeholders ranging from the government and businesses down to the ordinary consumers of financial products and services. As such, the uncertainties arising from the supposed implementation are definitely not in line with the goal of maintaining a stable financial and investing environment – something that the Philippines needs in order to sustain growth in the years to come.

ASEAN taxation cooperation via automatic information exchange

(First of two parts) IN 2015, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint 2025 was adopted as part of the ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together plan....

TRAIN Law: PEZA tax incentives for registered enterprises

THE TRAIN law is expected to make significant changes to the tax incentives of PEZA registered enterprises. With the enactment of the Tax Reform for...

TRAIN Law: Updating the Certificate of Registration

LIKE its fast-moving namesake, the effects of the TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) Law or Republic Act. No. 10963 continue to have impact on professionals and entrepreneurs.

Great equalizer: TRAIN law introduces uniform transfer tax rates

The variety of transfer taxes is quite confusing. The amendments introduced by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law or Republic Act No. 10963 now provide much clearer rules for taxpayers.

Taxation of fintech companies in the Philippines

Financial Technology (Fintech) companies combine technology and innovative business models to enable, enhance and disrupt financial services. They are dramatically changing the financial services industry landscape in all parts of the world. Blockchain, cryptocurrencies, app-based alternative finance and open-banking are amongst the biggest disruptive themes introduced by these companies.

The evolution of Robotics Process Automation

A recent report by Etventure, Digital Transformation 2018 highlighted that “Digitalization is getting to all parts of our lives and it is deeply disrupting how companies do and therefore structure their business. Most companies (55%) will need to change their business models due to digitalization in the upcoming years. However, the wide majority (62%) of companies state that the knowledge and capability to manage digitalization is not sufficiently available.”

Developing a skill-based talent strategy

Companies around the world are now understanding that the talent paradigm is shifting. There is, in fact, a continuous war for talent worldwide, with a pressing need for businesses to develop a skills strategy that looks at both the need to operate the business in a cost-efficient matter, while redefining the business model at the same time.

The latest improvements to the Conceptual Framework

2018 is looking to be a busy year as far as financial reporting changes are concerned. There will be two major new standards adopted this year -- one for revenue recognition and another one for financial instruments. Furthermore, it is in 2018 that the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), the accounting standard-setting body, issued a revised version of the Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting.

Synergy between the CFO and CEO

A mentor once said, to create value in an organization, the following must be present: strong leadership, strong partnerships that break organizational boundaries, and a perfect opportunity to exploit. In this article, we would like to discuss how a strong partnership between the CFO and the CEO can help companies adapt to the continually changing business landscape.

Current trends in the Philippine M&A landscape

According to the World Bank’s June 2018 Global Economic Prospects report, the Philippines is the 10th fastest-growing economy in the world, stimulated by rising consumption, sustained remittance inflows, stable investment, improved government spending and accommodative monetary policy. These were key considerations for some recent mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals characterized as defensive, synergy-driven, and horizontally and vertically integrated. These recent deals are leading some parent companies to further penetrate the existing market and to also enter into new markets. What this trend tells us is that strategically, companies are doing it because they need to grow and survive over the medium- to long-term.

Use of parametric thinking in provisioning

IFRS 9 is an International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) promulgated by the International Accounting Standards Board on July 24, 2014. It addresses the accounting for financial instruments and features three main topics: classification and measurement of financial instruments; impairment of financial assets; and hedge accounting. It became effective on Jan. 1, 2018 and has replaced International Accounting Standards (IAS) 39 Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement and all previous versions of IFRS 9. In this article, IFRS 9 is referred to as a “science” because of its systematically organized body of information and measurements on specific topics.