The Comptrollers’ Circle core team, from top left to right: Lanie Caimol (Lopez Holdings), Dory Tirona (Lopez Holdings), Jingle Hernandez (Lopez Inc.), Mina Ubaña (First Gen), Jei-Jei Gertes (Third Generation Holdings Corporation) and Ellen Almodiel (Rockwell)More than 200 professionals across the Lopez Group joined the 2021 accounting and tax updates and general assembly organized by the Comptrollers’ Circle on Dec. 2, 2021.
With program and speakers provided by SGV & Co., Inc., the virtual webinar walked participants through a range of “next normal” topics to equip them with necessary knowledge for the evolving workplace.
SGV partner Carlo Kristle Dimarucut discussed the results of the latest EY Global Information Security Survey that uncovered the key challenges faced by chief information security officers (CISOs) globally. The pandemic saw a significant rise in cyberattacks and the emergence of new vulnerabilities that threaten business as usual. CISOs must now act as enablers of growth by educating their boards and organizations.
Dimarucut also discussed integrated governance and risk compliance (GRC), presenting a template for combining risks, issues and metrics in a single system. He recommended a phased approach toward integrated GRC to ensure tools are appropriate to meet set objectives.
Updates on AML landscape
SGV partner Veronica Arce Balisi gave an introduction to money laundering and terrorist and proliferation financing, as well as updates on the country’s AML/CTPF (Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction Financing) regulatory landscape. The real estate sector is now included in the DNFBPs (Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions) covered by the Anti-Money Laundering Act. Real estate developers and real estate brokers are required by law to report single cash transactions involving an amount in excess of P7.5 million or its equivalent in any other currency.
SGV partner Ma. Emilita Villanueva presented sections of Philippine Accounting Standards (PAS), as well as exercises to ensure understanding, in particular, of how to classify debt with covenants as either current or noncurrent. She reviewed the four-step materiality process in relation to accounting policy disclosures and the definition of accounting estimates as covered by amendments that will become effective on or after Jan. 1, 2023.
SGV associate principal Lisa Marie Escaler recommended practical steps to support employee well-being in a hybrid workplace, based on the similar results of several workforce surveys conducted during the pandemic. She discussed trends that describe the next normal in human resource management, such as increased technology adoption, adjustments in compensation and benefits, managing culture and virtual learning, remote recruitment and the rise of the gig economy.
SGV partner Arlyn Sarmiento-Sy presented tax updates, including the streamlining of documentary requirements for VAT (value-added tax) refund claims and the implementing rules and regulations of the CREATE (Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises) law. She also discussed recent issuances of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), including the procedure for the conduct of online meetings or virtual conferences with BIR personnel and the proper modes of service for an eLA (Electronic Letter of Authority). In addition, she presented a tax assessment flowchart which showed the general steps in a BIR audit.
SGV partner Frances Rose Villamayor focused on provisions of the CREATE law applicable to particular Lopez Group member companies, such as First Gen Corporation and First Philippine Industrial Park; updates on withholding taxes and on the e-invoicing project of the BIR; and other matters such as the use of electronic signatures on certain BIR forms and certificates, and amendments to the documents required for submission in relation to the RPT (related party transactions) form.
SGV partner Benjamin Villacorte talked about creating long-term value with sustainability practices and reporting on them. He presented the results of a review done by SGV on sustainability reports (SRs) submitted by publicly listed companies in 2019. He said the IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) has come out with its own draft SR standards, consolidating existing global SR frameworks. IFRS standards will require companies to provide material information related to significant sustainability matters that are relevant to investors’ decision-making. The draft standards are set for public consultation in the first quarter of 2022.
Villacorte recommended for local companies to begin connecting nonfinancial and financial information to address the apparent disconnection between ESG (environmental, social and governance) reporting and mainstream financial information. He said the discipline in financial reporting must be applied to ESG processes and controls, which will then lead to more robust ESG-related financial disclosures.
In closing, SGV partner Editha Estacio reminded the group of their respective companies’ preparation for the year-end audit and support for a smooth closing and finalization of 2021 audited financial statements.
The Comptrollers’ Circle is a business excellence initiative that has continually improved the Lopez Group’s management information systems since 1999. The current team is headed by Lopez Holdings Corporation president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer Salvador Tirona. Core members are Milani Caimol of Lopez Holdings, Jingle Hernandez of Lopez Inc., Carmina Ubaña of First Gen Corporation, Ellen Almodiel of Rockwell Land Corporation and Jei-jei Gertes of Third Generation Holdings Corporation, who emceed the event. (Story/Photos by: Carla Paras-Sison)