The consultant´s journey

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Category: Norway

Index 2015-2016

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In 100 posts this blog covers a lot of topics from the start August 1, 2015 until December 31, 2016. Here’s your helper to find the gems. Happy New year!


Med 100 inlägg täcker denna blogg många ämnen från starten den 1 augusti 2015 till den 31 december 2016. Här är din hjälpreda för att hitta guldkornen. Gott Nytt År!

The dates applies to the entry of each post, not to the event occurred / Datum avser när inlägget publicerades, inte när händelsen inträffade.

There’s really no guessing on which post will become popular, but now we know the results. Below I’ve marked the 10 most visited posts with TOP 1-10! / Det går inte att förutse vilka inlägg som blir populära, men nu vet vi resultaten. Nedan har jag markerat de 10 mest besökta inläggen med TOP 1-10!


International Accounting Standards Board (IASB)


European Union (EU)

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)


Legislation / Lagstiftning

The Swedish Accounting Standards Board / Bokföringsnämnden (BFN)

BAS Account Group / BAS-kontogruppen

Other Authorities and Organizations / Andra myndigheter och organisationer

Legal Assignments / Juridiska uppdrag

Publications / Publikationer


Real Estates / Fastigheter
Performance and Income Planning / Resultat- och inkomstplanering

Articles / Artiklar

Newsletters and Web Articles / Nyhetsbrev och webb-artiklar

Lectures / Föreläsningar

Wolters Kluwer

Other Consultancy Assignments / Andra konsultuppdrag

About the Blog / Om bloggen

Wolters Kluwer Böcker Peter Berg Fastigheter Resultat- och inkomstplanering

”Performance and Income Planning” and ”Real Estates” (Photography Peter Berg)

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Celebrating One Year

World map Världskarta

Today I celebrate my first year blogging with ”The Consultant’s Journey” – And what a journey it has been!

World Communication

Some of the topics are general enough to get readers from multiple countries, which I appreciate a lot. I see a pattern of increasing global reading each time I participate in a group discussion, showing the power of global internet communication, but also when posting about general applicable matters such as harmonization or materiality (see more at the bottom of this post!).

State counting

OK, I’ll confess. I’m collecting states. I guess it’s because of the nature of my profession.

Economy is a world wide matter, especially since accounting developed to be globally harmonized for large and listed entities. That’s not the case for small or medium-sized entities (SME). Harmonizing accounting regulations for SME is therefore one of my big concerns. Within the EU, however, we do have harmonization also for SME, and I’m looking forward to a similar development within the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

This first year of the blog have seen visitors from the following 33 countries.

Asia (10 of 48 states)

  • ASEAN (6 of 10 member states)
    • Indonesia
    • Malaysia
    • Myanmar (Burma)
    • Phillipines
    • Singapore
    • Thailand – My new home country
  • …and the rest of Asia (4 of 38 states)
    • Bangladesh
    • Pakistan
    • Russia
    • Turkey

Europe (16 of 44 states)

  • EU (14 of 28 member states)
    • Belgium
    • Denmark
    • Finland
    • France
    • Germany
    • United Kingdom
    • Ireland
    • Italy
    • Lithuania
    • Netherlands
    • Poland
    • Romania
    • Spain
    • Sweden – My country of origin
  • …and the rest of Europe (2 of 16 states)
    • Norway
    • Switzerland

North America (2 of 23 states)

  • Canada
  • USA, Puerto Rico

South America (2 of 12 states)

  • Brazil
  • Colombia

Oceania (1 of 14 states)

  • Australia

Africa (2 of 55 states)

  • South Africa
  • Uganda

Antarctic (0 states) – I only wanted my list of continents to be complete 🙂

So where did most of my visitors come from? Sweden, not surprisingly, since I lived there for 58 of my so far 59 years. And on third place we find Thailand, also natural since I have a lot of connections here. But on second place, squeezing in between Sweden and Thailand, we find USA!

To all of you who visit this blog, a big Thank You 🙂


Which post had the most visitors then? The winner is…

Is there Audit Harmonization in Europe? (July 13, 2016)

The subject relates to all EU member states and three related states, but this post also got attention from other parts of the world, such as USA.

The following posts were the runner-ups.

2. Lecture on Performance and Income Planning (December 3, 2015)

3. Strengthening the Materiality Principle (March 5, 2016)

I should add that many people also read and comment my posts in this blog on LinkedIn and Facebook, based on the extracts I publish there. That spread makes the impact so much greater.

All this encouragement makes it doubtless that I’ll sure continue blogging and developing better and more useful content. See you in my next post!

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Is there Audit Harmonization in Europe?


Analysis: How well does regional harmonization function when the member states are given a range for implementation? Statutory audit is the test object here.

According to European Union (EU) regulations statutory audit is not required for small undertakings. The question is, however, to which extent the member states have implemented this possibility.

The contents of this analysis is as follows:

  1. The Sources
  2. Small Undertakings
  3. Summary
    1. Balance Sheet Total Thresholds
    2. Net Turnover Thresholds
    3. Net Turnover/Balance Sheet Total Ratio
    4. Number of Employees
    5. Increased or Decreased Thresholds
    6. Patterns of Thresholds
  4. Specified overviews
    1. Balance Sheet Total and GDP
    2. Net Turnover
    3. Number of Employees
  5. Conclusions

1. The Sources

Federation of European Accountants (FEE) have produced an overview of the situation as of April 2016. The overview includes all the 28 EU member states as well as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, totally 31 states: Audit exemption thresholds in Europe.

Despite the recent vote for leaving EU the United Kingdom is still a part of EU and is therefore included in the overview.

Information about the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) is taken from The International Monetary Fund (IMF) World Economic Outlook Database as of April 2016 and relates to the position 2015.

2. Small Undertakings

The EU Accounting Directive requires audit for public-interest entities, large and medium-sized undertakings. The member states are, however, not obliged to require audit for small undertakings.

What is a small undertaking then? According to the EU Accounting Directive a small undertaking is one that for the last two balance sheet dates is below at least two of the three following limits.

  • Balance sheet total: EUR 6,000,000
  • Net turnover: EUR 12,000,000
  • Average number of employees during each financial year: 50

All the 28 EU member states, as well as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, have implemented some kind of exemption, but in very different ways as we will see.

3. Summary

One state is standing out on the large side of the scale: Switzerland, which has thresholds three times larger than the EU maximum for both the balance sheet total and net turnover and a threshold five times larger for the number of employees.

However, Switzerland is not an EU member state although it’s included as an European state. This also goes for Iceland and Norway.

If wee stick to the EU member states there are still some interesting patterns.

3.1 Balance Sheet Total Thresholds

Thresholds for the balance sheet total range from the EU maximum of EUR 6,000,000 for 3 member states (Germany, Netherlands and United Kingdom), all the way down to less then EUR 1,000,000 for 4 member states (Latvia EUR 800,000, Sweden EUR 150,000, Finland EUR 100,000 and Malta EUR 46,600). This means that the top states have a threshold of 129 times the bottom state!

Hungary does not have a balance sheet total threshold, only thresholds for net turnover and number of employees.

The non-member states Iceland and Norway have the thresholds of EUR 1,400,000 and EUR 2,500,000 respectively, well within the levels of the member states.

3.2 Net Turnover Thresholds

Thresholds for the net turnover range from the EU maximum of EUR 12,000,000 for the same 3 member states as above (Germany, Netherlands and United Kingdom), all the way down to less then EUR 1,000,000 for 4 member states (Hungary EUR 965,000, Sweden EUR 300,000, Finland EUR 200,000 and Malta EUR 93,000).

The non-member states Iceland and Norway have the thresholds of EUR 2,800,000 and EUR 625,000 respectively.

3.3 Net Turnover/Balance Sheet Total Ratio

The EU thresholds of  EUR 12,000,000 and EUR 6,000,000 respectively means a ratio of 2 to 1; the net turnover threshold is 2 times the balance sheet total threshold.

This pattern is implemented by 27 of the 28 EU member states, if we include slighter round off differences for Cyprus, Denmark, Lithuania and Malta. Hungary is the member state which breaks the pattern, by not having any balance sheet total threshold at all.

Of the non-member states Iceland follows the pattern, as well as Switzerland if accepting a round off difference. Norway, however, has a ratio of 0,25 instead of 2 because the threshold for net turnover of EUR 625,000 is lower than the threshold for balance sheet turnover of 2,500,000!

3.4 Number of Employees

Thresholds for the number of employees range from the EU maximum of 50 persons for the majority, 24 of the member states, all the way down to below 10 persons for 3 member states (Finland and Sweden, 3 persons, and Malta, 2 persons).

The non-member states Iceland and Norway have the thresholds of 50 persons (the EU maximum) and 10 persons respectively.

3.5 Increased or Decreased Thresholds

Today’s thresholds were to be implemented by the member states no later than July 20, 2015, to be effective for financial years beginning from January 1, 2016.

9 member states increased their thresholds with a range between 3 % (Austria) and 100 % (Estonia). The other 7 member states were Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Netherlands and United Kingdom.

1 member state decreased it’s threshold: Slovenia by 9 %.

The remaining 19 member states, as well as the non-member states Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, kept their thresholds unchanged.

3.6 Patterns of Thresholds

So are there any patterns in the levels of the thresholds or the changes?

I can’t really see that. In the high-end of the thresholds we find large and small economies as well as eastern and western European states.

The top 3 member states, which utilized the maximum thresholds for the balance sheet total and the net turnover, have highly similar GDP per capita ranging from USD 41 K to USD 44 K. The national economies shows a greater variety, ranging from USD 738 B (Netherlands) all the way up to 2,849 B (United Kingdom) and USD 3,358 B (Germany).

Further down the list we can, however, find a mix of big and small economies as well as high and low incomes per capita, without any real linkage to the levels of thresholds.

The bottom 3 member states have quite different GDP per capita, ranging from USD 23 K (Malta) to USD 42 K (Finland) and USD 50 K (Sweden), which places the two later states well in comparison with other member states. The same pattern goes for the national economies, beginning with a relatively small figure of USD 10 B (Malta) but then more average figures follows of USD 230 B (Finland) and USD 492 (Sweden). So at least for Finland and Sweden there´s no explanation in the size of the individual or the national economies to why the thresholds are so low.

4. Specified Overviews

The following are simplified overviews of mine. For more details follow the link above to FEE’s overview which contains important information of the national implementations.

4.1 Balance Sheet Total and GDP

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is mentioned in parenthesis after each state in the format (Total GDP for the state in USD billions – B/GDP per capita in USD thousands – K), and relates to the position for 2015.

1 non-member state have implemented higher limits than in the EU Accounting Directive:

  • EUR 18,203,000 Switzerland (USD 665 B/USD 81 K)

3 member states have utilized the maximum limit, EUR 6,000,000:

  • Germany (USD 3,358 B/USD 41 K), Netherlands (USD 738 B/USD 44 K), United Kingdom (rounded off to EUR 6,541,000) (USD 2,849 B/USD 44 K)

21 states have implemented limits of EUR 1,000,000 – 5,000,000:

  • EUR 5,000,000 Austria (USD 374 B/USD 43 K)
  • EUR 4,837,000 Denmark (USD 295 B/USD 52 K)
  • EUR 4,500,000 Belgium (USD 455 B/USD 40 K)
  • EUR 4,400,000 Ireland (USD 238 B/USD 51 K), Italy (USD 1,816 B/USD 30 K), Luxembourg (USD 57 B/USD 102 K)
  • EUR 4,000,000 Greece (USD 195 B/USD 18 K), Slovenia (USD 43 B/USD 21 K)
  • EUR 3,650,000 Romania (USD 177 B/USD 9 K)
  • EUR 3,400,000 Cyprus (USD 19 B/USD 23 K)
  • EUR 2,850,000 Spain (USD 1,199 B/USD 26 K)
  • EUR 2,500,000 Norway (USD 389 B/USD 75 K), Poland (USD 475 B/USD 12 K)
  • EUR 2,000,000 Croatia (USD 49 B/USD 12 K), Estonia (USD 23 B/USD 17 K)
  • EUR 1,800,000 Lithuania (USD 41 B/USD 14 K)
  • EUR 1,550,000 France (SARL and SNC) (USD 2,422 B/USD 38 K)
  • EUR 1,500,000 Czech Republic (USD 182 B/USD 17 K), Portugal (USD 199 B/USD 19 K)
  • EUR 1,400,000 Iceland (USD 17 B/USD 51 K)
  • EUR 1,000,000 Bulgaria (USD 49 B/USD 7 K), Slovakia (USD 87 B/USD 16 K), France (SAS)

4 member states have implemented limits below EUR 1,000,000:

  • EUR 800,000 Latvia (USD 27 B/USD 14 K)
  • EUR 150,000 Sweden (USD 492 B/USD 50 K)
  • EUR 100,000 Finland (USD 230 B/USD 42 K)
  • EUR 46,600 Malta (USD 10 B/USD 23 K)

1 member state have no limit for the balance sheet total:

  • Hungary (USD 121 B/USD 12 K)

4.2 Net Turnover

1 non-member state have implemented higher limits than in the EU Accounting Directive:

  • 36,405,000 Switzerland

3 member states have utilized the maximum limit, EUR 12,000,000:

  • Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom (rounded off to EUR 13,082,000)

22 states have implemented limits of EUR 1,000,000 – 11,000,000:

  • EUR 10,000,000 Austria
  • EUR 9,674,000 Denmark
  • EUR 9,000,000 Belgium
  • EUR 8,800,000 Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg
  • EUR 8,000,000 Greece, Slovenia
  • EUR 7,300,000 Romania
  • EUR 7,000,000 Cyprus
  • EUR 5,700,000 Spain
  • EUR 5,000,000 Poland
  • EUR 4,000,000 Croatia, Estonia
  • EUR 3,500,000 Lithuania
  • EUR 3,100,000 France (SARL, SNC)
  • EUR 3,000,000 Czech Republic, Portugal
  • EUR 2,800,000 Iceland
  • EUR 2,000,000 Bulgaria, France (SAS), Slovakia
  • EUR 1,600,000 Latvia

5 states have implemented limits below EUR 1,000,000:

  • EUR 965,000 Hungary
  • EUR 625,000 Norway
  • EUR 300,000 Sweden
  • EUR 200,000 Finland
  • EUR 93,000 Malta

4.3 Number of Employees

1 non-member state have implemented higher limits than in the EU Accounting Directive:

  • 250 Switzerland

24 states have utilized the maximum limit, 50 employees:

  • Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France (SARL, SNC), Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom

6 states (excluding France which is already accounted for in the previous paragraph) have utilized limits below 50 employees:

  • 30 Slovakia
  • 25 Croatia
  • 20 France (SAS)
  • 10 Norway
  • 3 Finland, Sweden
  • 2 Malta

5. Conclusions

The EU Accounting Directive seems to have succeeded in one way, to allow small undertakings in every member state exemption from statutory audit. But in every other way my conclusion is that as a harmonization it has failed.

The significant differences in national implementations, and the complexity of some of them, does not support cross-border establishments for small undertakings. There’s still a need for small undertakings to examine the regulations of each other EU member state in which an established is planned. What is allowed in one member state is forbidden in another.

Small undertakings are to a high extent owner managed. My personal belief is that the conditions for owner managed businesses are so different from larger and listed companies that it’s well motivated to exempt them from statutory audit – even if nobody of course should be prevented from optional audit.

This exempt should however be far more harmonized. As it is now the fragmented implementation of this part of the EU Accounting Directive is a remaining barrier to the EU’s single market goal of ”One market without borders”.

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International Mobile Operator Telenor’s Most Lucrative Market is… Thailand


Mobile Market and Accounting

Mobile market in ASEAN is developing fast, and with the big populations of the member states there’s always a question of huge numbers. And what’s that got to do with accounting?

We’ve already seen for some years a shift of focus in western countries such as Sweden, from computers to mobiles. This shift has pushed manufacturers of accounting and analysing software, banking services etc to develop products for mobiles to an increasing extent. Above all, the younger entrepreneurs demands access to accounting and other business matters in their mobiles, rather than in a clumsy computer.

I see a close connection between developing accounting standards for SME within ASEAN and adjusting from start for digital performance based on mobile technique, since smart phones nowadays are widely spread among Asian people, probably to a much higher extent than owning a computer.

All this makes news from an international operator such as Telenor highly interesting.

Telenor sees great possibilities

Telenor is one of the world’s major mobile operators with close to 200 million subscribers in 13 markets. Telenor is majority-owned by the Norwegian state, but half of the revenue comes from Asia and the largest revenue from a single market comes from Thailand – more than 14 % of the total revenue. The prospects is understandable in the perspective of following numbers.

Telenor operates in Thailand by a majority ownership in the Thai mobile operator DTAC, which is the second largest operator in the country with 25 million subscribers of a population of 68 million. DTAC provides both 3G and 4G.

Within the ASEAN Community Telenor operates, apart from Thailand, also in Malaysia (DiGi) and Myanmar (Telenor).

DiGi is the third largest operator in Malaysia with 12 million subscribers of a population of 30 million. DiGi provides both 3G and 4G, and has Malaysia’s widest network of 4G.

In Myanmar Telenor also have 12 million subscribers of a population of 54 million, but there’s no ranking yet for this new market. Telenor provides 2G and 3G in Myanmar initially.

For each country the number of subscribers applies to the third quarter of 2015, and the population sizes applies to 2015.

Digitalized administration

The background described above shows good conditions for developing and providing digital services connected to business administration, including accounting and reporting. Will the ASEAN legislators make use of this?


Bangkok Post 2016-01-09: Telenor maintains Thai ties

Telenor: Webpage

World Population Review: Country Populations 2015

2016-01-22 5 Foto Mobilanvändare thLEGE71Z4


January 24, 2016

Mr. Marcus Adaktusson, Head of Communication Asia, commented to me yesterday that Norway “…is still the largest market for Telenor in terms of revenues (some 20 %)”. Bangkok Post has changed the related article’s wording from “the largest proportion” to “a large proportion” regarding Thailand’s contribution to Telenor.

The correction does, however, not change the interesting core message of neither the Bangkok Post article or this post!

Peter Berg, the blog author

The blog goes international

2015, my first year with this blog, has ended. Since I began in August my starting year comprises of only five months, but I already feel more than satisfied with the result.

Most of my visitors came via Facebook and LinkedIn and they visited from eleven countries, in alphabetical order Denmark, France, Great Britain, Indonesia, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey and USA.

This wide spread, already during the first months, only proves the great impact of internet and social medias.

A big thank you to all readers and I hope you’ll continue to follow what’s going on in the accounting world 🙂


Teaching at HeidelbergCement / Utbildning hos HeidelbergCement

EN: Last Monday October 19 I had the pleasure of meeting a group of economists at HeidelbergCement in Liljeholmen, Stockholm.

HeidelbergCement is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of building materials and employs some 45,500 people in more than 40 countries. I met their economists who are working with the subsidiaries in Sweden and Norway. Swedish subsidiaries are companies as Abetong, Betongindustri, Cementa and Jehander, well known to many Swedes. Within ASEAN they have subsidiaries in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

HeidelbergCement ordered from Wolters Kluwer an introduction to and training in the software Bokslut, for the financial statements they produce for a large number of companies in the group every year. They also needed a technique for implementing their German chart of accounts into the Swedish reporting structure.

I’m proud to be hired by Wolters Kluwer as the teacher of the day at HeidelbergCement and thanks both parties for an interesting experience!

HeidelbergCement worldwide

HeidelbergCement Sweden

HeidelbergCement Norway

SW: I måndags den 19 oktober hade jag nöjet att träffa en grupp ekonomer hos HeidelbergCement i Liljeholmen, Stockholm.

HeidelbergCement är en av världens största producenter av byggmaterial, med cirka 45 500 anställda i fler än 40 länder. Jag träffade deras ekonomer som arbetar med dotterföretagen i Sverige och Norge. Svenska dotterbolag är företag som Abetong, Betongindustri, Cementa och Jehander, välkända för många svenskar. Inom ASEAN finns dotterbolag i Indonesien, Malaysia och Singapore.

HeidelbergCement beställde av Wolters Kluwer en introduktion och träning i programvaran Bokslut, för att upprätta årsredovisningarna de producerar i stort antal för företagen i gruppen varje år. De behövde också ett tillvägagångssätt för att få in den tyska kontoplanen i den svenska rapportstrukturen.

Jag är stolt över att Wolters Kluwer anlitade mig som lärare för dagen hos HeidelbergCement och tackar båda parterna för en intressant erfarenhet!