News in brief.

Gordon Brown’s Budget speech will be delivered on Wednesday 7 March. The move follows the trend set in November’s pre-Budget report, when the chancellor preferred Wednesday over Tuesday, the day on which all Budget statements since 1980 have taken place, with the exception of his post-election mini budget in 1997. will be covering the 2001 Budget in detail, providing news and analysis from the moment Brown stands up at around 3.30pm.

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The financial reporting standard for smaller entities (FRSSE) has been put under review by the Accounting Standards Board. Mary Keegan, the new chairman of the ASB, is seeking views on how the standard is working in practice, two years on from its original launch. The FRSSE brought together the requirements of other accounting standards and Urgent Issues Task Force abstracts which could be used by companies and other organisations with a turnover of less than #2.8m or gross assets of less than #1.4m.

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The Department of Trade and Industry’s report into the collapse of media mogul Robert Maxwell’s empire is not set to be released for several weeks. A spokesperson for the DTI confirmed that the 1,000 page report was still with the inspectors and had yet to be delivered to the secretary of state Stephen Byers. It is believed the report will be critical of several advisers involved with the Maxwell companies, including banks, lawyers, and auditor Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte, now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers. More on this at

Jarvis, the rail contractor, has this week appointed Robert Kendall as finance director of the group. The company said Kendall – a chartered accountant who trained with KPMG – had effectively been carrying out the FD function since last June, when the then FD Henry Lafferty was promoted. The company last year lost a High Court battle with former auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers over audit fees.

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David Illingworth, a partner in KPMG’s Manchester office, has been elected vice-president designate of the ICAEW in a ballot of institute council members. Illingworth, who will take office formally on 6 June, said he looked forward to participating in the opening of ten regional offices in the summer, which he said would ensure that the views of members in district societies were better represented in regional government and other business forums.

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Fraud value dropped to £192m in 2000 compared to £667m in 1999 – a decrease of 71 per cent – making it the first time since 1996 that the upward trend in the value of fraud has been reversed, according to KPMG’s Fraud Barometer. The figures show the average value of each case recorded was down from #9.4m in 1999 to #3.1m in 2000. The number of fraud cases also decreased slightly – down 13 per cent – from 71 in 1999 to 62 in 2000. The survey also showed that company managers were three times as likely as their employees to commit fraud.

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ICAS is bringing in lay members to sit on its council. The move by the Scots institute follows the decision by public sector accountancy body CIPFA to introduce a mixture of lay people and institute members to its disciplinary committees. But in what it claims to be the first move of its kind for an accountancy body, ICAS has invited two lay members to join its council. Christine Glover, currently president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, and dental surgeon Tom Macadam, who has previously served on the General Dental Council, will sit on the council for three years.

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Mid-tier firm Baker Tilly has appointed John England as its chairman, following the resignation of Clive Parritt last week. England, 60, was previously managing partner of the firm’s Birmingham office and has served as deputy national managing partner from July 1996. He has also been a member of Baker Tilly’s national management team since 1991. Parritt quit the firm to join independent corporate finance house The Business Exchange as chief executive. He had been managing partner of the firm since 1986, becoming chairman in 1996.

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