News in brief

Hewlett-Packard, the printer and computer maker, has announced a multimillion dollar joint venture with PricewaterhouseCoopers, to sell technology to the aviation industry. The deal comes just months after a failed $18bn (£13m) bid by HP to buy PwC’s consulting arm. PwC and HP intend to open an Aviation Solution Centre where staff will work on technologies ranging from airport management solutions to baggage handling.
Turbulent times at PwC

ACCA has elected insolvency practitioner George Auger as president taking over from Moyra Kedslie. Hertfordshire-based Auger has been an ACCA member since 1962 and is well known in insolvency circles for his role as a council member of the professional association, ^R3. Auger’s appointment is effective from 10 May. The new deputy president is Jonathan Beckerlegge who is a partner with GCA Accountancy and chairman of ACCA’s audit committee.
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Half of IT directors say there are no cost savings to be made from mergers – and most are not consulted before they happen, according to a survey by the Bathwick Group. Of the 48% of 137 respondents who said their companies had undergone mergers in the last two years, only half said they were actually asked about the technology implications of deals, according to the research.
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A total of 192 million working days were lost in 2000, the equivalent of 861,000 people not working for a whole year and at a cost of £10.7bn to business, according to new research. Workplace absence averaged 7.8days per employee last year or a cost to business of #434 per employee, according to findings revealed by the Confederation of British Industry’s fifteenth annual absence survey ‘Pulling Together’.
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PricewaterhouseCoopers has been appointed to work on the proposed stock market listing of the London Stock Exchange itself. Working alongside brokers Cazenove and City law firm Freshfields, PwC will act as reporting accountants for the LSE’s move to its own exchange, expected to take place before the end of July. PwC currently audits the LSE.
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Under 2% of taxpayers have registered to file their tax return online. The latest figures confirmed by Dawn Primarolo, show that of approximately nine million taxpayers affected by self-assessment, only 134,550 have registered to file their tax return electronically. This represents under 1.5% of the potential users. The service has been available since 3 April 2000. Since 3 July 2000 the facility has been available to submit tax returns over the internet.
Revenue to axe self-assessment CD

The Big Five auditors have continued to dominate the placings in the latest league tables for UK auditors – with one exception, Baker Tilly. According to the latest Hemscott quarterly company guide, BT has rocketed up two league tables because many of its clients are the fastest growing stock market companies. The mid-tier firm headed the tables for clients with the fastest increasing earnings and fastest growing clients.
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The Institute of Chartered Accountants in India is preparing to open a branch in London. A delegation of members were expected to make an announcement today at a reception for the many ICAI members that work in the UK and the capital. Among those visiting from India are Bhavna Doshi, president of the ICAI and central council member Dr Ashok Haldia.
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Chancellor Gordon Brown has launched Labour’s business manifesto with a promise to build the best business environment in the UK. Brown focused on what he called the ‘central economic issues’ and listed them as ‘stability,’ ‘the work ethic and enterprise for all, and investment in education and transport’. The chancellor said business needed a party with a credible economic policy, committed to economic stability.
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