News in Brief – 24 June

CIPFA hearing aid

CIPFA has revamped its procedures for dealing with errant members as the number of cases coming before the institute’s disciplinary committee has soared in recent years. CIPFA’s council has agreed changes to increase the number of committee members. The changes are also intended to allow more frequent disciplinary hearings and to reduce the waiting time for hearings to take place.

DTI backs ethics The government has given a cautious response to calls for the framework of company law to be used to promote social accountability and ethical trading. The DTI said it was ‘conscious that company law should not be used as a vehicle for implementing change on matters to which it is unsuited as a method of regulation’. But it recognised the potential, in particular, of rules and best practice on disclosure – pointing to the practice of a number of companies which already publish environmental and social statements.

Pistols at Dawn Representatives of the English ICA and Chartered Institute of Taxation are to meet Paymaster General Dawn Primarolo to voice fears over the Inland Revenue’s crackdown on personal services companies. The minister agreed to the meeting after receiving a letter of protest signed by the Confederation of British Industry and the Law Society.

World Service tightening The all-party Commons Public Accounts Committee has expressed ‘disappointment’ that measurable World Service objectives ‘might not be good enough for the new requirements under resource accounting and budgeting’. MPs said the Foreign Office, which pays the BBC to provide the service, need much tighter performance targets.

Whitehall good practice Five key Whitehall bodies, including Customs & Excise and the Inland Revenue, have adopted a commitment to follow good practice when enforcing regulations. The enforcement concordat, which outlines what businesses and others who have to comply with regulations can expect from central and local government, was published last year.

Accountants backed 83% of UK directors believe their accountants’ advice improves business performance, according to a Royal Bank Invoice Finance survey.

Poor credit ratings Accountancy practices have credit ratings in the worst 10% of Britain’s self-employed and partnership businesses, according to an ICC Information survey. The report indicates that professional partnerships do have better credit ratings than unincorporated businesses as a whole, but they are far from leading the way. Accountancy practices are ranked at 385 from bottom, from a total of 911 sectors examined.

Merry head hunted Accountants across the world view the introduction of the euro as an opportunity, according to members of the Association of International Accountants. Some 80% of respondents within and outside of the eurozone said the euro presented a great opportunity for their companies.

Pensions loss Existing pensions providers could face a 40% reduction in new business following the introduction of the stakeholder pension, according to research conducted by KPMG Consulting.

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