BusinessCompany NewsWeek in review: 11-15 November

Week in review: 11-15 November

This week saw an accountant step in to handle the rape tape crisis at St James' Palace, a leading pub group reveal a massive hole in its accounts, and the head of the new US accountancy watchdog and the finance director of Marconi both resign their posts.

Monday

began with news that Sir Michael Peat, the former KPMG partner and finance director to the Queen, would face his biggest challenge yet- attempting to find a way through the rape tape crisis in his role as private secretary to Prince Charles.

There was also discouraging news for women in business when it was revealed that just 3% of FTSE 100 executive directors are women, according to new research from Cranfield University.

Tuesday saw SFI, which owns the Slug & Lettuce chain of pubs, suspended the trading of its shares after revealing errors in its accounts worth £20m.

Also on the same day Scotland’s leading accounting institute called for the establishment of a new independent regulator, backed by government statute, to monitor company auditors throughout the UK.

On Wednesday the Queen delivered her speech setting out the government’s legislative programme for the coming Parliament, promising legislation to allow judges to sit alone in complex fraud cases and new action against corruption.

And a story that many had been predicting for some time, William Webster, the former head of the FBI and CIA recently appointed to lead the US’ new accountancy watchdog resigned, becoming the latest victim of the controversy surrounding his arrival in the post.

Thursday, an Accountancy Age survey showed that fewer than one in ten finance directors thought the profession was wholly honest when it came to charging for accounting and audit work, while controversial Marconi finance director Steve Hare finally stepped down.

On Friday PricewaterhouseCoopers said it was now set to adopt limited liability partnership status on 1 January 2003 with a view to publishing fee income by country at the end of next year.

The firm was also appointed by troubled tour operator MyTravel to review its finances as part of a deal struck with banks to establish a £250m credit facility.

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