IT failures no threat to annual results, say FDs

Despite the looming Year 2000 problem and the increasing dependence of business on complex IT systems, only one in four finance directors fear that IT failures could damage their year-end results.

Some 70% of finance directors questioned in this week’s Accountancy Age Big Question survey, carried out in conjunction with Reed Accountancy Personnel, insisted their IT systems were secure and would not damage year-end results.

The surprise findings come less than a month after Bang & Olufsen, the upmarket hi-fi manufacturer, blamed an installation of software from German giant SAP for a loss of ‘financial overview’ in its 1998/1999 financial results.

Most said their companies’ IT systems were Year 2000 compliant and that contingency plans were in place to deal with any other break-downs in IT systems.

Andrea Wilson, of Personic Software, said: ‘All our software systems are Year 2000 compliant and our software suppliers have confirmed that their products are too.’

Another financial director, who asked to remain anonymous, said: ‘We have back-up copies of our data. I’m not worried about failures in preparation for year end.’

But one in four FDs had less faith in their IT systems. ‘You can do as much testing as you like but there is always an unknown factor,’ said Graham Woodrow of Mercedes Benz dealer Pentagon.

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