Accountancy firm Ram and McRae on Friday launched the newly-published second edition of its Companies Act Handbook at the Georgetown Club.
The new book serves as a practical guide to the Companies Act and is intended to provide Guyanese business owners and managers, as well as their legal advisers, with the practical guidance and templates to properly complete a Memorandum of Incorporation for their business.
Speaking at the launch, Managing Partner of Ram and McRae, Christopher Ram noted that the book was long overdue and would help to serve the country and to a larger extent, the legal and accounting professions in a meaningful way.
He commended those who helped in the successful completion of the handbook, including seven legal interns who were attached to his company at the time.
“It has taken us 11 years to get here; I hope that you will find it worthwhile. We were able to do this because of the tremendous work of a number of young people from the University of Guyana. It is my humble pleasure to say what a wonderful job that they have done,” Ram said.
The Companies Act is arguably one of the most important business laws in any country. In Guyana, the principal Act (Companies Act) was passed in 1991, based on similar legislation in countries like Canada and Barbados.
It was passed with 140 sections and it was organised in six parts, with each having a number of subdivisions. Since then, the Act has only been amended on six occasions, the last two times being as a result of amendments to the anti-money laundering legislation.
With that Act becoming law, Ram and McRae published the first edition of the Companies Act Handbook in December 1998 which was later sold out.
The updated version of the handbook went through a much longer review process with lots of starts and stops.
Ram said the Companies Act in his view has not been subject to rigorous examination, noting that both Canada and Barbados, countries from which Guyana adopted its principal Act, have both had substantial amendments over the years, something that is lacking here.
The Attorney and Chartered Accountant told the launch that he had written a Government agency asking that it put in the legislation for amendment of non-profit organisations and limited liability companies. “I did the drafting and submitted it and I am still waiting for a response. I believe that we can form companies with unlimited guarantees; shareholders are free to choose,” he added.
The new handbook has 372 pages compared to 338 in the first edition, and 19 chapters compared to 15 in the first one. There are references to 93 cases compared to just 17 in the last edition. Included also are references to the oil and gas sector, securities legislation and taxation of companies.
The Handbook covers topics from company formation to creation in 14 of its chapters, and at the end of each of these, includes a statutory provision section containing restated extracts of the Act itself.
In addition to the Companies Act Handbook, Ram and McRae will also be launching three other books, including one that will deal specifically with anti-money laundering later this year.
“We at Ram and McRae decided that we will do four books this year and we are on target for doing it. In November, you will have the handbook on the anti-money laundering legislation,” the Attorney disclosed.
Earlier this year, the company launched the second edition of its Value Added Tax (VAT) and Excise Tax Handbook. The 12-chapter book contains updated information relating to the VAT Act and the Excise Tax Act, which would be of use to persons desirous of improving their knowledge base within the particular field of law.
Moreover, the Handbook has been outfitted with illustrations and new features aimed at making knowledge acquisition of the subject matter user friendly.
The outlined illustrations have been reported to include, but are not limited to, differentiations between zero-rated, standard-rated and exempt supplies; calculating VAT where the registered business engages in both taxable and exempt supplies; Mixed Supplies; VAT-inclusive pricing; Tax Invoice; setting up and maintaining the VAT account; the VAT Return; specimen Notice of Appeal; the Objections and Appeals Process and the Application for Refund form.