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.

Step Up Managing Consultant Speaks at Yuchengco Museum

Michael Canares, Managing Consultant of Step Up Consulting Services spoke on the topic “Planning, Constructing, Maintaining A Beach Resort in Paradise”. He shared the panel with Marcel Brunner, Swiss architect who built Alona Palm Beach Resort and Restaurant in 2000.

Mr. Brunner talked on the his dream of constructing a beach resort in Panglao, Bohol which he later implemented while Mr. Canares walked the audience through the challenges of maintaining the resort to standards, given the larger problems on spatial planning, environmental condition, and uneven development.

It can be recalled that Mr. Canares was Alona Palm Beach’s management consultant until the time that the property was sold to Hennan Resorts.

The lecture was held last 24 November at the Yuchengco Museum in Makati City.  It was attended by more than 150 people – architects, architecture students, investors, and academics.  The lecture is part of the lecture series that the Swiss embassy sponsors at the Yuchengco Museum in line with the 15oth celebration of Swiss-Philippine Relations.  An exhibit, Swiss Positions: 33 Takes on Sustainable Approaches to Building is also on-going the the museum and the lectures  that come with it runs until the first week of December.

The audience was challenged by Mr. Canares when he argued that much of the built environment in the next 100 years will be shaped by planners, architects, engineers. Mr. Canares challenged the architects in the audience to help society build a sustainable world.

2 Step Up Consultants Attend OEGN Meeting

OEGN TagaytayTwo consultants of Step Up Consulting Services attended the Open eGovernance Research Network Meeting held last 10-11 November 2012 at the Potter’s Ridge Hotel in Tagaytay.  The meeting was sponsored by IdeaCorp, a non-stock non-profit corporation with Dr. Emmanuel Lallana as head.

Resident statistician of Step Up Ms. Jare Arawiran and Managing Consultant Michael Cañares attended the meeting. Mr. Canares presented the research proposal on open egovernance for local government units developed by the firm which initially got the nod of the World Wide Web Foundation and IDRC.  Dr. Lallana is the Step Up’s appointed mentor.

The research network meeting was attended by researchers from across the globe, more notably Uganda, Canada, India, Bangladesh, and the Philippines, who are at the forefront in researching topics related to eGovernance.

Step Up manager presents paper in Helsinki conference

Managing Consultang of Step Up Consulting Services, Mr. Michael Canares, presented a paper in the recently concluded conference on Climate Change and Development Policy in Finland last 26-28 September 2012.  The conference, attended by more than 150 participants from all over the world was held at the Marina Congress Center in Helsinki and was sponsored by the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research.

Mr. Canares presented his paper entitled “The Sudden Shift: What Causes Increased Local Government Response to Climate Change Challenge in the Philippines” in the session on Climate Change and Local Governance.  The paper argues that incorporation of the climate change agenda is more of a result of top-down incorporation than as an agenda understood and owned by local stakeholders.

The paper received mixed reviews with other scholars arguing that the climate change challenge is better responded by macro-actors and instruments especially in the context of mitigation.  Mr. Canares, however, argues, that it is important that local stakeholders are well-informed of the issue and the options for response because ultimately, adaptation measures need to be incorporated to local plans and processes.

Step Up Managing Consultant in Swiss Conference

Michael Canares, Managing Consultant of Step Up Consulting Services was invited by the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne as one of the presenters in the conference “Technologies for Sustainable Development: A Way to Reduce Poverty?”.  The conference was held in the beautiful city of Lausanne, in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, and was attended by close to 250 participants from around the globe.

“The conference was multi-disciplinary and I was fortunate to be the only Filipino in the conference”, Mr. Canares commented.  He mentioned that in the conference, there were economists, political scientists, agronomists, architects, urban planners, biologists, neuro-scientists, medical doctors, among others, who wanted to answer the question as to how  technology development can be advanced so that it can respond to the challenges of poverty, more particularly in the global South.

Mr. Canares presented his paper, “Difficulty to Connect: Impediments to Collaboration for Knowledge Creation Among Developing Country Scholars” in the session on Education and Cooperation.  The session was chaired by Helvetas Board member Dr. Rudolf Dannecker. Other presenters were from India, Moldova, and Vietnam.

Mr. Canares was among the 25 scholars awarded full conference grants to attend the conference and present their work.