System failure criticised

EU system failure criticised

Accounting consultants were this week criticised in a Commons report on problems implementing a computerised accounting system at the Intervention Board, which handles #4.2bn in EU farm subsidies. The failure led to qualification of the board’s accounts. The new accounting system cost #7m more than its #5m budget. KPMG, which repaid an undisclosed sum for incomplete software, received #2.84m in fees and Price Waterhouse #1.2m.

Wife murderer jailed for life An ACCA student who stabbed his wife more than 60 times after she told him ‘she’d had enough’ was jailed for life for murder on Tuesday last week. Nicholas Smith, 33, a financial adviser in Surrey County Council’s education department, failed to take his medication for mental problems. He killed his wife, Trudy, 32, in a ‘frenzied’ attack on 13 August last year weeks after completing his latest ACCA exams.

Data errors at Benefits Agency Poor data recording by the Benefits Agency prompted the National Audit Office to call for external checks on its performance information in its published annual reports. The NAO and agency internal auditors identified ‘significant inaccuracies’ in data recorded against 5 of its 21 targets.

Jersey claims Treasury boost Jersey has claimed its status as an offshore financial centre was boosted last week when the Treasury said it could advertise long-term insurance business in the mainland after it decided the island’s laws gave adequate protection for policyholders’ business.

Revenue cuts ‘unworkable’ Civil service union PCS claimed plans by the Inland Revenue to cut 3,000 jobs as part of its self-assessment staffing review were unworkable. The union claimed the scope for tax avoidance had grown and taxpayers needed more support and not less.

PAC demands MoD improvements The Ministry of Defence has been condemned by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee for financial control failures. It was warned that, unless there is a dramatic improvement, it will be unable to deal with resource accounting.

Builders want more control The Inland Revenue came under pressure last week from building union UCATT to crack down on bogus self-employment in the construction industry. The union said it would lobby government to make contractors responsible for defaults on tax or national insurance contributions by sub-contractors.

Car taxes hypthecated Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has persuaded the Treasury for the first time to allow taxes raised to be ‘hypothecated’ to a direct purpose. Chancellor Gordon Brown has agreed money raised by local authorities and central government from new motoring taxes should be used only for improvements in public transport-related matters.

PwC looks into World Bank The World Bank has called in PricewaterhouseCoopers to investigate possible fraud, embezzlement and kickbacks involving the bank’s employees.

Racing board drops Pwc The British Horseracing Board sacked PricewaterhouseCoopers as its auditor last week after Coopers & Lybrand consultants criticised a financial plan earlier this year put forward by BHB management.

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