News in brief.

Reed Executive’s internet strategy and the breadth of its service offering across the professional, commercial and public sectors has helped the company survive the share price downturn currently hitting many other companies connected with the accountancy business, FD Derek Beal told Accountancy Age this week. Reed’s shares jumped 15% in the week to 27 September during which it issued interim results reporting a 7% rise in profit before tax but warned of ‘a continuing slowdown for the foreseeable future’. Beal said: ‘Accountancy-related shares … are clearly vulnerable at the moment. However it seems that, following our interim statement last week, the market believes Reed Executive has the managerial and strategic strength to buck the trend.’

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Minister for competition, consumers and markets Melanie Johnson has urged accountants to ensure their clients are ready for the transition to the euro. Writing for Accountancy Age this week, Johnson says: ‘Clearly, the more trading links a business has with the euro-zone, the more action they will have to take and the sooner they will need to take it. Preparing now gives businesses a competitive edge. Leaving it too late means a trick is missed and initial business could be lost.’

To read Johnson’s column turn to page 4 Scottish accountants’ failure to boost their profile in the business community despite positive research has prompted ICAS to launch two new services to promote the chartered accountancy brand. Research commissioned by ICAS found that 74% of more than 300 respondents trusted the advice they received from accountants. This figure compared favourably with the results of the same question put about lawyers. Only 44% said they trusted advice from lawyers. Read more on this story at Digby Jones, secretary general of the CBI, has expressed his support for multi-disciplinary partnerships but has warned lawyers not to compromise their independence. Speaking at the international partners’ conference of KPMG’s legal arm KLegal, the former lawyer said the marketplace would determine the demand for MDPs, but said: ‘You are independent lawyers; you could lose your reputation in 15 seconds.’ KPMG has also announced its German law firm, KPMG Treuhand & Goerdeler is to merge with BBLP Beiten Burkhardt Mittl & Wegener to form the largest legal firm in the country. For more information on KLegal go to The latest CBI survey of the UK financial services industry has found optimism about the business environment at its lowest level for the last three years. Of the 133 companies surveyed almost half said they were less optimistic about the business environment then they were three months ago. Less than a tenth felt the future would be brighter for business. The majority of the companies were surveyed before the 11 September attacks in America, and included a large number of insurance companies. For the full story go to Ernst & Young has been appointed administrators at snack foods producer Snackhouse. The appointment followed ‘continued difficult trading conditions and severe cashflow problems.’ Snackhouse, one of the UK’s largest snack food manufacturers, employs around 470 people and comprises its core brand Bensons Crisps in Kirkham, Country Harvest Natural Foods in Shropshire and K Snack Foods in London. Go to for more details Xerox, the struggling US copier group, is hunting for a new chief financial officer to replace Barry Romeril who has announced he will retire at the end of the year. Romeril was formerly FD at British Telecommunications and chemical group ICI where he built his reputation as a ‘cost cutter’ before being head-hunted across the Atlantic and joining Xerox in 1993. For more information go to PricewaterhouseCoopers has made 245 redundancies at Atlantic Telecom, after it was appointed administrator at the cash-strapped network operator last Friday. Atlantic is the first publicly-quoted victim of the telecommunications downturn. PwC’s Steven Pearson, joint administrator, said: ‘Unfortunately the redundancies were essential to reduce the cash needs of the business and provide the maximum possible time to find a buyer.’ Go to for more details.

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