News in brief – 25 Feb

Euro changes essential, now Company accountants were warned this week that they needed to make massive changes to their systems to prepare for the single european currency.

In an ‘outline changeover plan’ published on Tuesday, chancellor Gordon Brown said companies would have to account in sterling and euros both before and after the changeover and would need to introduce currency converters so transactions such as invoicing and billing can be done in euros. Before any decision on entry, businesses would need to plan the transition of accounting functions, such as open ledger accounts; manage the changeover for both statutory and management reporting; and consider gains and losses from foreign exchange and asset revaluation. A medium-sized firm would need to change up to 80% of IT systems – a process that would take up to a year – with more changes to follow.

Last chance golf saloon The deadline for entries to the 1999 Accountancy Age Masters golf tournament has been extended due to overwhelming demand. Contenders for the coveted Masters jacket now have an additional two weeks to send in their entries, accompanied by the #30 fee. Golfing accountants interested in playing on some of the UK’s most prestigious courses should call 07000 GOLF99 (4653 99). Finalists will play at the famous Forest of Arden course, home of the British Masters.

Tax haven crackdown The Treasury has signalled a further crackdown on the Isle of Man – which last week announced a cut in company tax rate from 20% to 15% – the Channel Isles and other ‘tax haven’ dependencies. Paymaster General Dawn Primarolo said the government expected the islands to play a full part in international discussions on tax competition. But she added it would ‘not be appropriate’ to list what the UK considered tax havens ahead of a forum to be set up following an OECD report, due out by October.

Year 2000 utility threat National Audit Office head Sir John Bourn has warned utility regulators that more work is urgently needed to protect the public from potential life-threatening disasters caused by year-2000 computer failures. Electricity regulator Offer was singled out as being well behind other regulators in discussing contingency plans with electricity companies.

LAs behind on best value The Audit Commission has revealed that 80% of local authorities do not have local targets in place which they will need to comply with the best value regime.

Morse plans to float A trio of accountants are readying IT services company Morse for a placing on the London Stock Exchange ‘by summer’. Morse, which has supplied computer networks to many companies in the City of London, is anticipating a market capitalisation of around #300m. British Aerospace vice-chairman and former FD Richard Lapthorne has been taken on as part-time chairman.

Eurozone by 2002? A third of UK businesses expect the nation to enter the Eurozone by 2002, according to research published this week by accountancy body FEE.

Report lists future success Tomorrow’s investment management firms will have to be better at managing risks, technology and knowledge than their competitors, according to a report issued today by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Economist Intelligence Unit.

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