News in Brief – 5 February

Resort Hotels appeal delay

Coopers & Lybrand must wait a month to find out if an appeal to the High Court to strike out a #3m claim for damages brought by shareholders of former audit client Resort Hotels has been successful after the judge in the case reserved judgment. The case will decide if the firm owed a duty of care when it acted as reporting accountant to a fraudulent #20.6m rights issue in 1992.

CIMA disappointed

CIMA examiners complained of declining standards among students, in spite of a 4% rise in exam passes compared with last year. Overall, 3,046 students sat CIMA’s stage 4 exams, with 38.4% passing.

CIPFA’s pride

CIPFA this week declared itself pleased with a 54% pass rate in its final exams. A total of 524 candidates sat the exams and 284 passed. District audit student Emma Taylor achieved the top result, with Richard Harries also of district audit and David Padwick of Price Waterhouse, taking joint second. Accounts win awards

Beecham has won joint first prize in the Stock Exchange and Chartered Accountants 1998 annual report and accounts award. It shared the award with Land Securities plc. Hodder Headline won the smaller company award for the second year running. Competition judge Richard Sykes said all the reports were excellent examples of accurate, fair and interesting corporate reporting.’

Ernst & Young suggests tax changes

Ernst & Young is calling on the government to changes to the way that corporation tax is paid on account, following the abolition of advance corporation tax (ACT). E&Y’s proposals include basing the quarterly instalment payment system on a company’s taxable profits for the previous year, and that instalment payments of this should be 40% of the previous year’s liability, broadly reflecting what is currently collected via ACT.

BAA drops interest

Profits at airports company BAA were restricted by the group’s decision not to capitalise the interest on its prolonged preparations for the building of terminal five at Heathrow airport. Despite this change in accounting procedure, profits were up 4.2% to #401m.

ACCA calls for change of law ACCA has called for the law to be changed to make it easier to set up a business. Compiled by Leeds and Liverpool universities, ACCA’s report advocates expanding the support structures for new enterprises and calls for more training and advice to be made available for entrepreneurs.

New managing partner at PKF

Martin Goodchild took over from John Wosner as managing partner of Pannell Kerr Forster on Monday. Previously the senior partner of PKF’s London and Home Counties office, Goodchild was seen as the driving force behind last year’s integration of the Group A firm’s London, Manchester and Leeds offices.

KPMG poaches City brief

KPMG’s corporate finance arm has poached the senior partner of a leading City law firm as it gears up to fight investment banks for major mergers and acquisitions work. Digby Jones, who will quit Edge & Ellison in April, will become an equity partner.

Kingston Smith rock ‘n’ rolls

Creation Records, which numbers Oasis and Primal Scream among its clients, plus entertainers including comedian Eddie Izzard, are among the newest clients at Kingston Smith. These unusual clients followed entertainment industry accountant Geraint Howells when he joined Kingston from Casson Beckman.

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