In October, Accountancy Age revealed exclusively that one in three finance directors had tried cannabis, provoking a storm of coverage in the national press. One FD went as far as to say that he could not have got through his ACA exams without it.
As well as the ethical issues raised by the survey, Accountancy Age looked into the pure economics of legalising the drug. Several experts predicted that there would potentially be billions to be made for the government in tax revenue. A House of Commons library report estimated £1bn, whereas PwC’s John Whiting thought £5bn would be possible. Mind blowing stuff.
After publishing its results, Accountancy Age recalled that questions had been raised at an English institute council meeting following a similar study among trainee accountants.
In this case a mere one in six of the juniors confessed to having inhaled, making their more experienced colleagues seem, well, more experienced.
Firms abandon English ICA for Scots training – By Michelle Perry
The long-term future of the English ICA was brought into question at the beginning of the year when a number of Big Five firms announced their intention to reduce or abandon training students with the institute.
But the decision meant a comparatively gargantuan influx of trainees for the Scots ICA, the beneficiary of the decision, this September.
Its remarkable coup saw Ernst & Young switch all of its accountancy trainees north of the border, and a partial defection north by PricewaterhouseCoopers swelled numbers even further.
The English institute is already training less than half the number of students it trained in the late eighties.
The institute has attempted to turn the tide with the launch of a revamped ACA in September. This December?s intake of 4,320 is down on last year’s 4,594. But institute secretary general John Collier this week said ‘this was not life-threatening’.
Brian Chiplin, executive director of education and training, also moved to allay fears over student numbers. Chiplin told last week’s council gathering that it was not just the English ICA that was suffering from falling numbers. ‘Taking out the E&Y and PwC intake at ICAS, their student numbers are down between 6 and 10%,’ he said.
Major movers in 2000 – By Jerry Frank
The embattled Railtrack boardroom accepted chief executive Gerald Corbett?s resignation second time round in November, and 43-year-old FD Steven Marshall took over. The two had worked together previously in the finance department of the international drinks division of Grand Metropolitan.
New chartered accountant chairman David Newlands at guns to buns conglomerate Tomkins oversaw the resignation of chief executive Greg Hutchings, following allegations of financial misconduct uncovered by auditor Arthur Andersen.
Group managing director and chartered accountant Sir Bruce MacPhail of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, otherwise known as P&O, in October oversaw the break-up of the 160-year old company into separately listed Princess Cruises and its ports and logistics operation.
In September, 57-year-old chartered accountant Sir Ian Prosser relinquished his role as chief executive but remains as chairman at Bass, loosening his 13-year grip on the pub and grub turned leisure empire. Tim Clarke, the chief executive of the group’s leisure retail division, was appointed as Sir Ian?s replacement.
Millennium Dome FD Neil Spence was sidelined in September by city troubleshooter David James who took over control of the troubled Greenwich-based attraction, after a PricewaterhouseCoopers report revealed a ‘black hole’ in the NMEC accounts. Spence resigned.John Millett took control of the wheel as director of finance and strategy at the ailing Rover group in June.
In January, FD John Foster at Hamleys, the leading London toy store, walked out on chartered accountant chief executive Simon Burke.
Blacks Leisure group chief executive and chartered accountant Simon Bentley recovered in a Swiss hospital after surviving a near fatal skiing accident in late January.
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Kevin Reed discusses whether new accountancy group Cogital can rival the Big Four...and its likely direction of travel