Dot.coms share options fright companies, which have relied heavily on generous share options to reward employees, will find their bottom lines particularly badly hit. finance director Julian Culhane said: ‘By putting share option costs in the profit and loss account, they would be just another charge dependent upon the share price over which companies have no control.’

But Sir David Tweedie, Accounting Standards Board chairman, said a significant amount of employee remuneration is going unreported.

‘Sadly, practice has developed in a manner that assumes share-based payments are merely paper transactions that aren’t at the expense of a company,’ he said, asserting his determination to ‘nip the trend in the bud’. He hopes the standard, developed by G4+1, an international group of standard-setters, will have global influence.

International accounting standards are likely to become more important with the consolidation of global stock markets. The London Stock Exchange, Deutsche Borsche and Nasdaq this week launched merger discussions to create a new global exchange, iX. Techmark, the LSE’s new technology inmdex is expected to move to iX in 2001.

Sir David is leaving his post to become chairman of the board of the International Accounting Standards Board. The search for his successor has begun with an advert placed today.

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