MILLENNIUM – Guidance on bug at final draft

Staff at the Accounting Standards Board’s urgent issues taskforce are finalising draft guidance that would require companies to disclose what they have done to ensure computer systems can cope with the year 2000.

Responses from bodies such as the Auditing Practices Board generally favoured required disclosure, but some taskforce members held back from the position that companies should quantify the costs of their millennium fixes precisely.

‘We’re confident the UITF will reach a consensus, even if it takes more than a week to find the right words,’ said ASB deputy technical director Andrew Lennard, taskforce secretary.

With the government calling for the profession to take a more active role in year-2000 preparations, Robert Hodgkinson, chairman of the English ICA’s financial reporting committee, warned of a growing ‘expectation gap’ around the issue.

‘The profession has been keen to ensure that it is seen as a management responsibility. It isn’t an issue dealt with by writing something in the accounts,’ said Hodgkinson.

While the government awaits further guidance for accountants, Tony Blair has called for the year-2000 computer bug to be included on the agenda of the G8 summit meeting, which is scheduled to take place in Birmingham in May.

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