NEW YORK - 13 June 2006 - PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata, the new Japanese accounting firm that is being set up with the support of the PricewaterhouseCoopers global network, has now completed the necessary steps to open for business. These include confirmation of incorporation and registration from the Legal Affairs Bureau in Japan and permission for the use of the new name from the Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants (JICPA).
In addition, PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata has applied for registration with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) in the United States.
PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata, which will be a member firm of the PricewaterhouseCoopers global network, will adopt international best practices in accounting and auditing. It will also use the experience of the PricewaterhouseCoopers international network in developing best practice systems of risk management, audit quality and controls, all of which stem from a "tone at the top" focused on quality, trust and compliance with a clear foundation of ethical business conduct.
In addition to working on the development of its new member firm in Japan, as previously announced PricewaterhouseCoopers is also committed to continue working with and providing international support to ChuoAoyama, its established Japanese network firm.
PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata will be open for business from 1st July 2006. It is expected that by the end of the year it will have grown to have approximately 80 partners and will then grow substantially over the next three years. PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata takes the sanctions passed on ChuoAoyama by the Financial Services Agency (FSA) of Japan very seriously and will fully respect both the requirements and intent of these sanctions.
The name "Aarata" which signifies "new and fresh" was chosen to reflect the new perspective that PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata will bring to the Japanese auditing market.
PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata will service both domestic and international companies in Japan however it is anticipated that at least initially the firm will primarily focus on Japanese multinational companies, Japanese companies listed on exchanges outside Japan and companies which are Japanese subsidiaries of major international multinationals.
PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata will provide a full range of audit and accounting services, as well as advice relating to Sarbanes Oxley 404 reporting and internal controls.
In order to address the increasingly complex business environment that many companies operate in, PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata will segment its audit services into three main industry groups; Consumer and Industrial Products (CIPS); Technology, Information, Communications and Entertainment (TICE); and Financial Services. This segmentation will help to improve industry knowledge amongst partners and staff with the aim of enhancing levels of audit quality.
A clear management structure has been set up for PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata and from September 1st 2006 a management board comprising an interim Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Quality Officer will be appointed, emphasising the firm's commitment to implementing the highest quality standards.
The interim CEO will serve for one year during which time the proper processes and procedures will be put in place to elect a permanent CEO who will take office in September 2007.
PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata will also put in place an oversight board to review the policies and practices of the management board.
Until the management board is appointed on September 1st 2006 PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata will be led by Mr Kazutaka Iwashita, one of the founding partners of the firm. Mr Iwashita was previously an audit partner of Price Waterhouse Japan with extensive client experience both in Japan and internationally. He has also worked on technical and professional affairs for the JICPA.
"I am delighted to announce the incorporation of what will be the newest member firm of the PricewaterhouseCoopers network" said Sam DiPiazza CEO PricewaterhouseCoopers International. "We face a number of significant challenges in Japan but I am confident that the strategy that we have developed, supporting the establishment of PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata and continuing to work with ChuoAoyama on its reform programme, will be the best way of improving audit quality and serving all of our clients both internationally and in Japan."
"We are dedicating a substantial amount of time and effort to working with PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata to put in place best international practices for audit quality and risk management and will continue to work closely with the management team of PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata as the business grows and develops in the coming months and years."