Coopers hit over HMSO
Coopers & Lybrand has been criticised for its part in the privatisation of HMSO. A Commons Public Accounts Committee report said: ‘The Office of Public Services and its financial adviser Coopers & Lybrand gave bidders over-optimistic forecasts of HMSO’s future performance. These forecasts were drawn from HMSO’s business plan which they knew was over-optimistic.’
Public-sector pay drops
Public-sector accountants’ pay has fallen further behind those of colleagues in the private sector, according to a new survey by recruitment group Robert Half International. Increases in the public sector averaged 2.8% – down on last year – while in professional practice, the average pay rise was 4.9%.
BT and Novo win award
British Telecom and Danish industrial group Novo Nordisk were joint winners of the second European environmental reporting awards. The prize for the best first-time reporter in the private sector went to Glaxo Wellcome.
Court grants pub man bail
An ‘investigative accountant’ charged with the attempted blackmail of pub group Regent Inns and its former finance director Clive Watson, appeared in court last week. City of London Magistrates granted bail to Leslie Stephen Wright who was charged with making ‘an unwarranted demand for money in exchange for silence’, over an alleged professional misconduct.
Ombudsman complaints up
The number of complaints against the Inland Revenue investigated by the parliamentary Ombudsman last year rose by more than a quarter. In 1997/1998, Michael Buckley compiled 43 reports on the Revenue, up from 34 in the last year.
Revenue must improve SA
The Inland Revenue accepts that it will have to ‘go back to the drawing board in some areas’ of self-assessment, a senior official told the English ICA conference this week. Jeremy Tyler, head of SA policy, admitted that it had complicated some straightforward tax affairs, but insisted: ‘Despite teething problems, it’s going relatively well.’
PAC looks into royal accounts
The Commons Public Accounts Committee is being urged to probe the first ever #19.5m royal travel accounts. Labour MP Jane Griffiths said items needing closer scrutiny included #11,843 spent taking the Queen on the Royal Train to the races. The National Audit Office said no decision had been taken on whether to look into the figures.
Golf regional qualifiers
The fourth regional qualifier for the Accountancy Age Masters 1998 held at Kingswood Golf Club, Surrey last Thursday, was won by Mark Piercy of Piercy & Co. Ten other players from the competition join Mark in the national final to be held at the Forest of Arden course in October. These qualifiers were Bill Jackson of Pall Europe Limited (2nd); Duncan Campbell of James & Cowper (3rd); Colin Barrett of Bishop Fleming; Alan Langford of Screenbase Limited; John Rogers of John Rogers & Co, who also won nearest the pin; Charlie Thomson of Bishop Fleming; David Watson of Saffery Champness; Richard Hill of KPMG; David Auger of Garner Group Limited and Terence Winter of Malinter International. Mike Richardson won the longest drive.
A new head of solutions, Aidan Brennan, has been appointed at KPMG UK
The second largest improvement in ‘significant’ levels of financial distress since the EU Referendum was in professional services, found research from Begbies Traynor
Just one half of UK practices have implemented a pricing structure around auto enrolment implementation and advice - with many suffering increased costs
Deloitte's north-west Europe foray; BDO, Smith & Williamson investment paths; Shelley Stock Hutter; and Wilkins Kennedy discussed by editor Kevin Reed on our Friday Afternoon Live broadcast