PracticeConsultingProfits warning after systems collapses.

Profits warning after systems collapses.

WS Atkins has blamed up to £30m of its £120m financial shortfall on the difficulties that it suffered when it installed a new billing and payroll system.

The company, which describes itself as ‘one of the world’s leading providers of professional, technologically-based consultancy and support services’ issued a profits warning last week.

The warning resulted in its former finance director, Ric Piper having the door slammed in his face at his new employer’s, Trinity Mirror. The problems with the computer system meant Piper was late in invoicing £25m of work.

‘We are owed £20 to 30m by clients, so the bills have not been paid,’ said a spokeswoman at WS Atkins. ‘We knew this was the situation and have taken action to recover the money.’

Brian Burke, vice-president international, executive services at Meta Group, said projects of such magnitude often fail because they are not managed carefully enough. Managing such a major project internally highlights the dilemma companies face of whether to outsource or not. ‘Outsourcers have a higher level of maturity in this area. A lot of projects now are fixed cost, so they have to be carefully managed. This forces project management discipline. With internally managed projects that issue is looser,’ said Burke.

Related Articles

5 tips for SMEs to protect cash flow

Accounting Software 5 tips for SMEs to protect cash flow

5m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
Tyrie on Finance Bill 2017: ‘Making Tax Policy Better’

Consulting Tyrie on Finance Bill 2017: ‘Making Tax Policy Better’

11m Stephanie Wix, Writer
Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Richard Toone, CVR Global

Accounting Firms Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Richard Toone, CVR Global

12m Kevin Reed, Writer
Deloitte 'self-imposes exile' on government contracts to defuse PM row

Accounting Firms Deloitte 'self-imposes exile' on government contracts to defuse PM row

12m Kevin Reed, Writer
Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Julie Adams, Menzies

Accounting Firms Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Julie Adams, Menzies

12m Kevin Reed, Writer
Friday Afternoon Live: Deloitte's tech thing; PAC wants HMRC 'contingencies'; and Sports Direct

Business Regulation Friday Afternoon Live: Deloitte's tech thing; PAC wants HMRC 'contingencies'; and Sports Direct

1y Kevin Reed, Writer
Friday Afternoon Live: HMRC complaints rise; Deloitte scoops big audits; and corporate reporting woes

Audit Friday Afternoon Live: HMRC complaints rise; Deloitte scoops big audits; and corporate reporting woes

1y Kevin Reed, Writer
New head of equity capital markets for KPMG

Accounting Firms New head of equity capital markets for KPMG

1y Stephanie Wix, Writer