News in brief

Accountancy firms are in danger of becoming complacent in their attitudes towards implementing new technology, according to the third Sage/Accountancy Age IT skills survey. The report found the fallout from high profile dotcom crashes, coupled with a feeling the millennium bug was an anti-climax, had led to a slowdown in the number of firms looking to invest in IT and computerisation.
For more technology news turn to page 8
The full findings can be found on pages 20 and 21

Former auditors of the collapsed Barings Bank are to face a #1bn lawsuit next month for negligence brought by liquidator Ernst & Young on behalf of the bank’s creditors. Coopers & Lybrand Singapore, now merged into PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Deloitte & Touche Singapore were the external auditors. Barings folded after #860m worth of unauthorised transactions by rogue trader Nick Leeson. The trial will begin on 18 June. More on Barings at

Huge transaction and money laundering risks are likely to accompany the introduction of euro notes and coins on 1 January next year, according to KPMG. Alex Plavsic, fraud investigation partner at the firm said he believed a lack of familiarity with the new money, coupled with exchange rate calculations based on the new currency, would create risks. He added: ‘The risks are especially relevant to retailers and consumers who will need to be especially vigilant when dealing with the new currency.’
More information can be found on the firm’s website on

PricewaterhouseCoopers has signed off the external audit of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development for the year up to 31 December 2000. The firm said the organisation’s operations and cash flow were in accordance with international public sector accounting standards. The accounts showed that the OECD made a loss of EUR 14m (#8.49m) on revenues of EUR 286m. The OECD subjected its accounts to external scrutiny following criticism that its systems were outdated and inadequate.
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Maurice Fitzpatrick, the Chantrey Vellacott tax partner, is set to join accountancy-based business services group Tenon. Fitzpatrick, frequently quoted in the media, will join Tenon on 1 August after spending eight years with the mid-tier firm.

He will join the company as director of taxation services and head of economics.
For more on Tenon see

The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators has published a guide to limited liability partnerships. The ICSA guide provides a practical overview of this new business structure with a commentary and analysis on the potential benefits and pitfalls.
For more details, visit

John (Jim) James Foggon, 56, of Worsley Road, Swinton, Manchester was sentenced to two years in jail when he appeared before Manchester Crown Court on 11 May. He was also disqualified from serving as a director for four years. Jim Foggon was the chairman of Vaclensa plc, a firm supplying and servicing cleaning machines. He had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to defrauding the Inland Revenue by diverting in excess of #1m of company money into a concealed bank account.
For another tax prosecution, see

Election promises made by the Conservative Party in its business manifesto have been ridiculed by both Labour and the Liberal Democrats during parliamentary debates this week. Labour claimed Tory promises contained in ‘Common Sense for Business’ were based on sums that were out by ‘billions of pounds’, while the Liberal Democrats said the Tories planned to raise taxes, despite what they promised in their manifesto.
Full details at

Accounting in euros has been taken up by fewer than five per cent of businesses in the eurozone, according to a European Commission report. The Commission’s quarterly review of the use of the euro said: ‘The picture is clear: apart from Luxembourg and Belgium, few firms have switched over to euro accounting.’
For more on the euro, see

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