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Step Up Strategy Advisor Keynotes University Academic Forum

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Holy Name University held its university days last February 13-18 2018 with the theme “Honoring Traditions, Celebrating Milestones”.  Step Up strategy advisor, Mr. Michael Canares was invited to keynote the Academic Forum held at HNU Main Campus on 15 February 2018. The theme of the academic forum was “Realizing Dreams of Financial Stability”.

Mr. Canares dedicated his well-received talk to Atty. Mia Manuelita Mascarinas-Green, his teacher in both accountancy and law school. Atty. Mia, who died a gruesome death on 15 February 2017, exactly a year ago, is one of the university’s esteemed professors.  In his talk, Mr. Canares emphasized on key strategic and operational financial skills that every person should possess to ensure not only financial stability, but more importantly, financial sustainability.

The academic forum was attended by close to 200 university faculty members and staff.  It can be recalled that Mr. Canares has also taught in the university for 10 years. His teaching stint was capped by the Most Outstanding Finance Educator of the Philippines award conferred to him by the Central Bank of the Philippines, the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, and Citibank.

 

Step Up Presents at ICEDEG Conference in Ecuador

The Panel Members and ICEDEG 2015 Ecuador

The Panel Members and ICEDEG 2015 Ecuador

Managing consultant of Step Up Consulting Services joins the panel of four speakers conducting a tutorial on Open Government and Open Data at the International Conference on E-Democracy and E-Government.  The conference was held at the Universidad de Las Americas in Quito, Ecuador, last 8-10 April, 2015.

Michael Canares spoke about Open Government and Open Data in Asia and joined Sandra Elena and German Stalker of the Centro de Implementación de Políticas Públicas para la Equidad y el Crecimiento (Argentina) , Francois Van Schalkwyk of African Minds (South Africa), and Carlos Jimenez (Spain), founder of the IEEE e-government initiative.

The participation of Michael Canares in the conference was funded by a paper dissemination grant from the International Development Research Center through World Wide Web Foundation.

Step Up Presents Research in 8th ICEGOV – Portugal

Michael Canares with other members of the ODDC network

Michael Canares with other members of the ODDC network

Michael Canares, managing consultant of Step Up Consulting Services, presented his research entitled – “Full Disclosure Policy and its Impact on Local Governance in the Philippines”, in the recently concluded International Conference on the Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance held in the historic city of Gumaraes, Portugal. The research paper was one of the outputs of the Open LGU Research Project which Step Up implemented in 2013.

Mr. Canares also facilitated the session on Open Data Intermediaries together with Sumandro Chattapadhyay of Data Meet India. The study on Open Data intermediaries is one of the Web Foundation-funded synthesis papers on Open Data in Developing Countries research that Step Up manages together with a team of researchers from India and South Africa.  In the session, Mr. Canares was joined by other members of the Open Data Research Network – Leo Mutuko of Ihub (Kenya), Sandra Elena of CIPPEC (Argentina), and Ricardo Matheus of Brazil.

ICEGOV is a series of International Conferences on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance taking place annually around the world. The series focuses on the use of technology to transform the working of government and its relationships with citizens, businesses and other non-state actors in order to improve public governance and its contribution to public policy and development (EGOV).

The ICEGOV conference series is coordinated by the United Nations University Operating Unit on Policy-Driven Electronic Governance (UNU-EGOV), based in Guimarães, Portugal, in continuation of the work of the Center for Electronic Governance at UNU-IIST in Macao, China, which founded the ICEGOV series.

Step Up Represents the Philippines in European Evaluation Society 2014

Mr. Canares during one of the EES sessions

Mr. Canares (seated, first row, second from left) during one of the EES 2014 sessions

Step Up Managing Consultant Michael Canares attended the European Evaluation Society Conference in Dublin, Ireland last September 26-30 and is the only author presenting a research paper on the Philippines. Mr. Canares was also the chair of one of the sessions on “Evaluation for Organizational Effectiveness”.

The European Evaluation Society  is Europe’s premier evaluation organization that seeks “to promote the theory, practice and utilization of high quality evaluation in Europe and beyond. This goal is pursued inter alia by bringing together academics, policy makers and practitioners, by setting up events and by offering platforms that connect relevant disciplines, partners and sectors and encourage knowledge exchange, good practice dissemination, professional co-operation and bridge building.”

The conference in Dublin was attended by more than 500 academics and practitioners on evaluation coming from different countries across the globe.  The conference was held at the Conference Center Dublin.

 

Step Up Managing Consultant speaks at GDI Conference

GDI DIE Green and Social

Canares, Loewe, Perch, and Schafer in the panel on Effects of Poverty-Oriented Policies on the Environment

Michael Canares, managing consultant of Step Up Consulting, was one of the few invited speakers in the recently concluded conference on Green and Social: Managing Synergies and Trade-offs at the Deutsche Well, Bonn, Germany last 12-14 March 2014.  The conference, jointly sponsored by the German Development Institute and the Poverty Reduction, Equity, and Growth Network (PEGNet), aims to bridge the gap between environmental and social perspectives on development. Mr. Canares represented the HNU Center for Research and Publication as editor of its academic journal, the Lumina.

Mr. Canares presented his paper entitled “Making Conditional Cash Transfers Green:  Opportunities for a Welfare and Environmental Agenda in the Philippines.” It looks at the potential and trade-offs of adding environmental conditions to the Philippine government’s cash conditional transfer program – the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, otherwise known as 4Ps.

He was in the same panel as Leisa Perch of the World Center for Sustainable Development in Brazil.  The panel was moderated by Markus Loewe of the German Development Institute while George Schafer of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) was the panel discussant.   According to one of the organizers of the conference, Carmen Richerzhagen, there were a total of 90 paper submissions received, and only 14 were accepted for presentation at the conference.

The conference was attended by roughly 200 people from all over the globe.  Marianne Fay, chief economist for sustainable development and climate change at the World Bank, and Ernst Ulrich Von Weizsacker of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) were the keynote speakers.

Step Up is Finalist at U4 Proxy Competition

u4 workshopStep Up Consulting Services is one of the five finalists at the U4 Proxy Competition launched by the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Center based in Bergen, Norway.  Mr. Michael Canares, Managing Consultant of the firm, presented his idea in front of scholars, aid agency representatives, and students, of how corruption at the local level can be measured using locally-generated tax and fees as a proxy indicator.

U4 is one of the leading think tanks focusing in anti-corruption.  It concentrates its efforts in assisting donor practitioners to address corruption challenges more effectively through their development support.  The centre is operated by the Chr. Michelsen Institute – an independent centre for research on international development and policy – and is funded by AusAID (Australia), BTC (Belgium), CIDA (Canada), DFID (UK), GIZ (Germany), Norad (Norway), Sida (Sweden) and The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

The proxy challenge competition was launched last year “to address the perennial problem of assessing whether anti-corruption efforts are successful. “The Proxy Challenge” calls for greater use of bespoke proxy indicators. To assemble a body of promising ideas, U4 selected 5 finalists coming from development practitioners, monitoring and evaluation professionals, and researchers and convened these researchers in Bergen to present their work.

The five finalists were  (1)Integrity Action; (2) Bernard Gauthier (HEC Montréal), Frédéric Lesné (CERDI), Joël Cariolle (CERDI); (3) Mihály Fazekas (University of Cambridge and Corruption Research Centre); (4)  Joël Cariolle (CERDI), Frédéric Lesné (CERDI), Elise S. Brezis;  and Michael Canares (Step Up Consulting). Mihaly Fazekas was the winner of the competition.

Michael Canares said that having been selected as one of the five finalists was already an honour in itself. In his presentation, he thanked the panel for giving him the opportunity to present his idea. Mr. Canares is the only presenter and finalist coming from the global south.

Canares speaks at the 67th PICPA Annual Convention

4673877Michael Canares, managing consultant of Step Up Consulting services served as one of the plenary speakers in the recently concluded 67th Annual Convention of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants held Butuan City. Mr. Canares spoke at the sectoral forum on Education, Commerce and Industry, and Public Practice.

Mr. Canares’ talk was entitled ‘Beyond Accounting: What can CPAs do to contribute to development?”.  The abstract of Mr. Canares talk which was well received by the audience is reproduced below:

Accountancy curriculum in the Philippines is developed to prepare students to handle complex accounting information needs of corporate businesses. To a large extent, students become involved in discussions that highlight their role to the growth of businesses as a major contributing factor to the economic growth of a country and the world. But little attention is made on how accountants can participate in a process of ‘development’ that widens the range of human choices (Gasper 2002), on the concept that clearly distinguishes means and end (Sumners 2003), on that which expands the real freedoms that people enjoy (Sen 1999). In effect, accounting as a practice seems to serve only the interests of those who have the capacity to hire accountants. However, accounting knowledge and skills are important whatever be the size of business, and probably even more to those enterprises struggling to survive, to those engaged in non-profit work, and to those who depend on informal entrepreneurship for daily existence.

Literature is replete with a multitude of cases that require the attention of accountants. For example, while entrepreneurial condition in the country is high (GEM 2007) which in turn creates jobs for the poor, these are mostly necessity entrepreneurs and are informal in nature(Siba and Serrano 2006) with less technical support (Habito 2007) especially in the context of finance and financial knowledge (Canares 2011). While cooperatives constitute more than 10% of the Philippine domestic economy (OCDC 2010), several fledgling cooperatives are unable to hire auditors. While it is legislated that local
government units should create internal audit departments, most LGUs in the country do not comply for lack of knowledge and professional personnel. While stricter financial controls are imposed on profit enterprises, lesser attention is drawn on non-profit organizations implementing ‘development’ projects that even resulted to questionable transactions of high-profile NGOs in the country.

This paper argues that there are different avenues where accountants should be able to, and must contribute to a rather unexplored area in the profession – engaging in the development discourse and in helping build a country. The Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants in the country recognizes that the distinguishing mark of the profession is its responsibility to the public and that accountants accept their “duty to society as a whole”. This will provide concrete examples on how accountants in government, in education, and in public practice can fully respond to the current challenges of good governance, growth, poverty, and inequality.