The World Bank has published its Doing Business 2010 report with participation by tax specialists from the Russell Bedford global accounting group.
According to the World Bank's report, a record 131 economies around the globe reformed business regulation in 2008/09.
That is more than 70 percent of the 183 economies covered by the report — the largest share in any year since the annual report was first published in 2004. And this progress came against the backdrop of a global economic crisis.
Doing Business 2010 recorded 287 reforms between June 2008 and May 2009, up 20 percent from the previous year. Reformers around the world focused on making it easier to start and operate businesses, strengthening property rights, and improving commercial dispute resolution and bankruptcy procedures.
Singapore, a consistent reformer, is the top-ranked economy on the ease of doing business for the fourth year in a row, with New Zealand as runner-up. But most of the action occurred in developing economies. Two-thirds of the reforms recorded in the report were in low- and lower-middle-income economies. For the first time a Sub-Saharan African economy, Rwanda, is the world’s top reformer of business regulation, making it easier to start businesses, register property, protect investors, trade across borders, and access credit.
Reformers were particularly active in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and the Middle East and North Africa. This year, there were 4 new reformers among the top 10: Liberia, the United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan and Moldova. Others include Rwanda, Egypt, Belarus, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Colombia. Colombia and Egypt have been top global reformers in four of the past seven years.
The Doing Business project analyses regulations that apply to an economy’s businesses during their life cycles, including start-up and operations, trading across borders, paying taxes, and closing a business. The data and analysis are used to help the World Bank to advise policy-makers in developing countries and by governments worldwide in identifying regulatory reforms to improve the ability of entrepreneurs to do business.
Russell Bedford International joined the World Bank Doing Business project in January 2009 as a pro-bono Global Contributor. Russell Bedford member firms contributed data to the Paying Taxes survey, which measures the number of payments and time necessary for a business to comply with the applicable tax regulations. In addition, it measures the real tax burden faced by entrepreneurs by looking at all the taxes and mandatory payments they have to make.
Established in 1983, Russell Bedford International is a global network of independent accountancy firms, business consultants and specialist legal advisers.
Ranked as one of the world's top 15 accounting networks, Russell Bedford is represented by some 460 partners, 5000 staff and 200 offices in more than 70 countries in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific.
All Russell Bedford affiliates are well-established firms offering international business advice and services to local and multinational clients. Most provide a full range of services comprising accounting, auditing, tax advice, general business guidance and financial consulting. In addition, many have special expertise in particular fields, such as international taxation or information technology.
In January 2008 Russell Bedford International was named one of the first 17 full members of the IFAC Forum of Firms after reporting it has implemented a globally coordinated quality assurance programme, committed to the use of International Standards on Auditing (ISAs), and met other specific ethics requirements.