KPMG hit by #10m Cambridge dispute.

Consultants from KPMG made so many mistakes during the introduction of a computerised accounting system at Cambridge University, academics should ‘try to obtain recompense’, an inquiry has claimed.

The investigation found the disastrous attempt to bring Cambridge’s accounts into the modern world wasted over #10m of public money and almost brought the university to its knees.

But KPMG has launched a counter-attack, complaining of a series of serious inaccuracies in the reports.

Two academics, Anthony Finkelstein of University College London and Michael Shattock from the London Institute of Education, carried out the probe after the system, known as CAPSA, was introduced last year.

They were highly critical of the ‘amateur’ way in which the university sought to implement the new system.

In a statement the university said: ‘The university is determined to address its shortcomings.’ It added that a number of steps had already been taken to improve its financial management, including the recent appointment of Andrew Reid as finance director.

KPMG said it was ‘extremely surprised’ by the comments of the investigators, adding it was ‘actively’ consulting with its legal advisers.

The firm said: ‘We believe that (the) reports contain a number of serious inaccuracies with regard to KPMG Consulting’s role and performance.’

According to the firm, there were already significant problems with the system before it was called in to help.

It added it had asked the university to delay publication of the reports so that it could demonstrate inaccuracies.

Oracle was also heavily criticised in the reports, but a spokesman for the software company said no details could be discussed ‘at this stage’.

For more see reporter/2001-02/weekly/5861/.

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