IT – SMEs angry at Action 2000 ?laggard’ criticism

Finance directors and business groups reacted angrily last week after Action 2000 accused small and medium-sized businesses of lagging behind larger companies in year-2000 compliance.

Action 2000, the government-backed organisation charged with raising industry awareness of the millennium bug, warned that companies with between 10 and 250 employees had put jobs at risk by failing to tackle the millennium date change.

Action 2000 chairman Don Cruikshank said: ?Too many of these companies are playing a high-risk game with their profitability, reputation and their employees? futures.?

He said the ?crucial? role SMEs played in the economy forced Action 2000 to divert its energies from larger companies – 88% of which it claimed had a ?very reasonable chance? of completing compliance programmes in time to ?laggard? SMEs.

But a Federation of Small Business spokesman said: ?We?ve been pushing people to prepare to become compliant with Action 2000 but have been disappointed by the number of bug busters trained by the government.? John Brindley, FD of manufacturer Lerner Burgess, added: ?Big companies write their own bespoke software which is likely to be less easy to unravel.?

Robin Guenier, director of the independent Taskforce 2000, said: ?The vast majority of SMEs are one- to three-man businesses. It will only cost around #300 to upgrade accounting software.?

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