News in brief.

– Small and medium-sized businesses feel they are being strangled by rules and regulations, a PKF survey titled ‘A vote of no confidence’ has revealed. There was ‘low confidence and awareness levels amongst SME employers on a wide rage of issues’ including human rights and tax regulation, the survey said. Key issues facing SMEs included new IR35 rules, which only one quarter of employers were aware of, and only one-eighth had taken action on. The survey also found one in five respondents were not confident their business would stand up to Inland Revenue scrutiny. Almost one third said they were not fully conversant with the latest PAYE and NIC regulations, and 34% said managing the records for the annual P11D return was ‘tedious and time consuming’. For the full survey go to

– Accountancy bodies will have to register employees in their security departments as private investigators with the new Security Industry Authority after the government rejected an exemption plea from the ICAEW. Ministers agreed registered accountants could forego the licenses, but said exempting non-qualified staff would give accountancy firms an unfair advantage over other security operations. The ICAEW had complained to the government saying the exemptions, included in an amendment in the House of Lords, did not go far enough. Visit

– British Airways has appointed John Rishton chief financial officer to replace its current head of finance, Derek Stevens, who retires this autumn. The CIMA-qualified accountant, who will take up his position on 1 September, will also take a seat on the airline’s board. He is currently BA’s financial controller, and sits on various finance committees within the company. Rishton joined British Airways in 1994 after 15 years in various finance roles at Ford. For more on the story go to

– In the run-up to the general election chancellor Gordon Brown has promised a package of ‘radical new measures’ to boost the enterprise culture, including lower taxes on small company profits and special tax credits for employee training schemes. Trade and Industry secretary Stephen Byers has also pledged a change in the current insolvency laws if Labour remains in power. Meanwhile, as part of their election manifestos, the Liberal Democrats promised to crackdown on capital gains tax, and the Conservative party pledged it would abolish IR35 and fuel duty. Brown said the Tory tax cuts of #8bn were irresponsible and the LibDems measures unsustainable. For more information, visit

– Accountancy and management consultancy firms’ share of the UK’s GDP are close to those of the chemical and transport equipment industries, a survey has shown. The new report, by International Financial Services in London, revealed growth in accountancy and management services firms has increased to 1.8% of the country’s GDP by 1998, compared to 1.4% in the early 1990s. The Big Five, which dominate the global market, account for three-quarters of the $80bn revenue generated by the world’s 50 largest accountancy-related firms. The IFSL website can be found at

– The ICAEW has welcomed the Liberal Democrats election manifesto promising a new bill to allow for greater consultation on tax. The manifesto called for tax reforms, including a new annual Tax Bill, separate from the Finance Bill. The ICAEW’s Tax Faculty said it was pleased the LibDems had taken the issue of tax on board and that in the past tax changes enacted in a tight Budget timetable were often ill considered. The faculty said it believed the UK tax system had ‘spun out of democratic control’. More details at or

– A study by Andersen has found most senior executives believe customer and employee relationships were essential to the long-term success of their businesses – yet these sources were largely overlooked by their companies’ current business models and practices. In partnership with research firm DYG, the firm found inconsistent management by most companies in regards to their most valuable relationships. Andersen’s Barry Libert, the director of the research, said: ‘This research shows that while companies and executives intuitively know their relationships can create incredible value, they are struggling to find ways to measure, manage and connect these relationships.’ For the full study visit

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