S.F. AHMED & CO.

S.F. AHMED & CO

S. F. Ahmed & Co (SFACO) is a registered firm of accountants and consultants in Bangladesh and is nationally, and internationally, recognized as one of the leaders in contributing to professional practice for various undertakings in the public as well as private finance and other relevant sectors. It was established in 1958 and has successfully completed assignments for a large range of clients including the national government and international funding agencies and has been providing accounting, auditing, tax advisory, consultancy, corporate secretarial services and business advisory services to various multinational and local clients, such as, banks and non-banking financial institutions, and those engaged in oil, gas and power generation, telecommunication, mobile phones, manufacturing and trading, government, semi-government, autonomous bodies, non-government organisations, international donor agencies, etc. While SFACO’s emphasis is on the design of appropriate solutions for local problems, its policy is to provide professional services compatible with the highest international standards.

SFACO is the first firm of Chartered Accountants that installed IBM computers in early 1960’s at the offices of the then Habib Bank Ltd of erstwhile East Pakistan, now Agrani Bank Limited of Bangladesh.

For traditional auditing, accounting, taxation, secretarial and management support services associated with practising chartered accountants’ firms, SFACO ranks as one of the leading firms in the country while for rendering allied accounting, international tax planning and advisory services to international clients.

SFACO has, since 1975, been the technical assistance firm with the globally renowned firm, Ernst & Young International, Inc, with headquarters in New York, USA, one of the top four (4) accounting and management consultancy firms of the world. Ernst & Young was formed with the merger of two former global accounting firms, Arthur Young & Company and Ernst & Whinney, both headquartered in USA.

SFACO has successfully completed many remarkable consultancy assignments solely and in association with its foreign counterparts. SFACO is also specialised in establishing companies, and foreign firms’ branches/liaison offices in Bangladesh and assists in obtaining regulatory permissions for its clients from Board of Investment, Bangladesh Bank, Income Tax & VAT authorities, Registrar of Joint Stock Companies, Controller of Imports & Exports, Department of Immigration & Passports, etc.

SFACO is also registered with various financial and regulatory authorities including Asian Development Bank, Regional Inspector General of USAID in Manila, Bangladesh Bank (country’s central bank), NGO Affairs Bureau, DFID of the British High Commission, etc. For more information, please see the firm’s profile.

SFACO has been advising multinational firms engaged in oil and gas exploration, generation of power and other forms of energy, like, Shell Bangladesh Exploration & Development BV of the Netherlands, Cairn Energy Group of UK, Halliburton International Inc of USA, Okland (Tullow) of USA, Niko Resources of Canada, AES Haripur (Pvt) Limited, AES Meghnaghat Limited (the last 2 acquired in Bangladesh by Globeleq/CDC of UK), Mobil of Singapore, Forasol (Pride Foramer ) of France, Schlumberger of France, Siemens AG of Germany, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd of Japan, Pan Asian Corporation Ltd of Australia, Asia Energy Corporation (Bangladesh) Pty Ltd of Australia, etc. For the oil and gas exploration companies SFACO successfully developed models for filing corporate income tax returns and for their assessment in agreement with the tax authorities, while for investors for setting up hospitals SFACO was instrumental in securing the government agreement and release of a notification allowing tax-free imports of all equipment, accessories, etc for hospitals in the country.

SFACO advises Petrobangla (Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation), the government organ responsible for oil and gas exploration in the country and which signs Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) with various International Oil Contractors (IOCs) and was involved in vetting agreements for transfer of ownership/ operatorship of interests in oil and gas blocks from one IOC to the other – specifically from fiscal and foreign exchange control points of view.

SFACO clientele includes firms like Credit Agricole Indosuez of France, Commercial Bank of Ceylon Ltd, Shamil Bank of Bahrain, Citigroup of USA and also a large number of international corporate firms engaged in manufacturing, banking, leasing, etc. on various issues of taxation, foreign exchange regulations, compliance, assurance and other related matters.

SFACO conducted, collaborated and reported on due diligence and subsequent acquisition of ownership of, among others, Rupali Bank Limited (Bangladesh) for the sellers, Government of Bangladesh (1985); Bangladesh operations of Nova Scotia Bank (Canada) for the purchasers, Bank Asia Limited (2001); Muslim Commercial Bank Limited (Pakistan) for the purchasers, Bank Asia Limited (2001); Credit Agricole Indosuez (France) for the sellers, CAI (2003); and 2 power projects of AES, Haripur Power Ltd and Meghnaghat Power Ltd, purchased in Bangladesh by Globeleq/CDC of UK for Globeleq/CDC (2003), as well as twice conducted the evaluation of net worth of Sonali Bank (1997-98 and 2003), largest nationalized commercial bank in Bangladesh keeping liaison with the central bank of the country, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund (IMF) and participated with the foreign firm in evaluating Rupali Bank Limited (2004) for sale. In 2005, SFACO collaborated, organized and participated in Ernst & Young London Office’s handling of the listing for GDR floatation of one of the leading pharmaceutical companies of Bangladesh on the AIM market in London which event has taken place in Bangladesh for the first time.

SFACO has over 150 staff covering a wide range of disciplines and, additionally, employs on a job to job basis, technical and evaluation experts and specialists, such as, financial and management specialists, fiscal and monetary policy advisors, operation and management researchers, economists, bankers, computer professionals, lawyers, social scientists, surveyors, valuers, demographers, engineers and trainers. SFACO has extensive experience in handling and conducting financial, fiscal and macro-economic development projects (specifically concerning organization, management and project performance aspects of various Government institutions) financed by Government of Bangladesh, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, UNDP, USAID, NORAD, CIDA, ODA, SIDA, DANIDA, the European Community, etc.
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SFACO serves on Taxation Committee of American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham); and has been a Member on 4 Sub-Committees for Taxation, Foreign Investment, Commercial Legislation, and International Relations of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bangladesh (premier chamber of the country). SFACO has also been a regular contributor to Ernst & Young publications, like, Worldwide Corporate Tax Guide, The Global Executive Guide, TaxNews International, Global Incentive Compensation Reporter, etc, and writer of the publication titled “Doing Business In Bangladesh” for Ernst & Young in 1996, and subsequently updating that publication annually, and also an occasional contributor with tax-related articles to International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation of Amsterdam, the Netherlands and other international publications and contributor to local publications and dailies as commentator on annual fiscal budgets of the country and on various tax-related issues and problems.

Areas of specialization

SFACO has undertaken numerous assignments for the rationalization and critical review, analysis and evaluation of performance of various levels of management of Bangladesh Government organs and agencies as well as of a wide range of non-Government clients in areas, like:

Performance evaluation of the entire country’s fiscal, budgeting, accounting and expenditure control practices (all computer-based) including standard outputs for presentation of national budgets in the national parliament of Bangladesh
  - Reforms in Budgeting and Expenditure Control Project (RIBEC/DFID-financed)

Indepth critical review and evaluation of banking operation and portfolio management (for country’s central bank, development financing institutions, nationalized commercial banks, foreign and national private banks) and banking economics (macro-level research) –– in most cases, encompassing the entire country ––
  - Financial Sector Reforms Project (FSRP/World Bank, USAID-financed)
- Bangladesh Shilpa Bank (BSB) and Bangladesh Shilpa Rin Sangstha (BSRS)
Rehabilitation Project (USAID-financed)
- Rural Finance Experimental Project (RFEP/USAID-financed)
- Rural Finance Project (RFP/USAID-financed)
- Sonali Bank Restructuring Project (SBRP/World Bank-financed)

Review of life and general insurance management operation (accounting, reporting, regulatory, etc), pension and provident fund operations and of insurance regulations of the country – primarily targetting Jiban Bima (life insurance) Corporation and Sadharan Bima (general insurance) Corporation (ADB-financed)

Formulating policies and detailed implementation plans, in conformity with recommendations of Asian Development Bank and their agreement with Government of Bangladesh, for splitting ICB by functions, formation of 3 new subsidiary companies to undertake functions to separately operate in capital markets, namely, merchant banking, asset management (and mutual fund operation) and securities trading (stock brokerage); preparing financial projections; designing all necessary operational manuals, etc.
  - Investment Corporation of Bangladesh (ICB)

Project management (planning, designing the infrastructure, appraisal and evaluation of projects and logistic support)
  - Numerous projects, targetting manufacturing industries, service-oriented industries, banking and insurance organizations, social projects, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), etc

Business and commercial laws, fiscal and taxation policy, internal resource mobilization and expenditure control

Fund and liquidity management

Accounting, auditing, internal control, budgeting and performance evaluation
  - Numerous assignments covering a large range of clientele drawn from various ministries of Government of Bangladesh, and its bodies and units, multinational companies, national listed and unlisted companies, special and social projects, NGOs, etc.

Reporting techniques and inventory management

Computerized data processing
  - Numerous assignments, both for foreign- and locally-funded business organizations and entities

Resource personnel and human resource management

Valuation and due diligence review
  - Numerous projects with both foreign and local investments

Training
  - Numerous assignments, on our own as well as in association with our local and foreign associates.

Foreign & Local Associates

SFACO has working relationship with international accounting, technical, engineering and management consulting organizations. If a specific problem is presented for which SFACO does not have enough in-house technical expertise, it is possible for it to draw upon the resources of its international associate-firms, of which the following are more important:

International Certified Public Accountants (Chartered Accountants)
and Tax & Management Consultants

• Ernst & Young International
(with offices in over
50 countries of the world)

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277 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10172, USA
 -  Since 1975

Management consultants, economists and evaluation specialists

• Booz. Allen & Hamilton

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10 Collyer Quay
05-02 Ocean Building
Singapore 0104
• International Management
Consultants Limited

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11-13 Cowdray Centre House
Cowdray Avenue
Colchester, Essex CO1 1QB, UK
• Nathan Associates, Inc

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Two Colonial Place
2101 Wilson Boulevard, Suite   1200
Arlington, Virginia 22201, USA
• TMF Corporate Secretarial Services   Limited

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400 Capability Green
Luton, LU1 3AE, UK

SFACO also has many local associates, both individuals and firms, with specialized qualifications and experience, whose services are regularly obtained on a job to job pre-arranged basis. These include bankers, financial analysts, economists, sociologists, computer professionals, lawyers, statisticians, valuers, and engineers of various disciplines, etc.

SFACO has undertaken many assignments financed by World Bank, Asian Development Bank, UNDP, USAID, foreign embassies and donor agencies, etc either on its own or in association with its foreign and local associates.

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