IT – KPMG chief urges EMU delay

The head of KPMG Management Consultancy this week called for economic and monetary union (EMU) to be delayed to give businesses more time to upgrade their computer systems to handle it.

Alan Reid, who heads KPMG’s global consultancy, said introducing the single currency while businesses were trying to fix IT systems to cope with the year 2000 date-change ‘may send companies out of control.’

Reid criticised the Labour and Conservative governments and civil servants for letting businesses down by not getting them to prepare IT systems earlier for the millennium. It was very late in the day for the government to launch its recent year 2000 campaigns, ‘but they have to be seen to be doing something,’ he added.

‘If it really wanted to demonstrate leadership on the issue, it would use its European presidency to do what it could to delay EMU until after the year 2000.’ His comments echo the stance proposed by President Bill Clinton when he discussed the millennium bug issue with Tony Blair in Washington last week.

KPMG’s chief said the firm’s policy was to avoid taking on any risks associated with year 2000 rectification work and the point was approaching where it would turn away customers seeking advisory work. ‘If a company is taking on the problem now, it probably has not got enough time,’ said Reid.

Guidance on bug at final draft, p6.

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