Letters – 18 February

Greater awareness

Your leader (4 February) echoes concerns expressed in a recent survey by the Institute of Directors, which revealed that 60% of company directors are ignorant of accounting principles.

One of the projects currently being undertaken by the Accounting Education Research Centre focuses on financial literacy with particular reference to councillors, school governors and marketing managers.

Financial ignorance is clearly not restricted to either the public or private sector. Since all managers have responsibility for aspects of resource acquisition, allocation and utilisation, it is imperative their awareness of the financial consequences of their decisions be improved in the interests of economy, efficiency and effectiveness.

Professor Richard M S Wilson, Loughborough University

IN SUPPORT OF HARSHER FINES Thank you for your leader of 11 February. After over 25 years since qualifying, I have reluctantly come to the view that the profession is incapable of self-regulation because it is rarely seen to have the courage to give out penalties which match the severity of misdemeanours. Remember Tim Smith?

Coopers & Lybrand should have been fined a much greater sum; #3.5m is not a penalty in relation to the size of the fees earned – merely a slap across the knuckles and hardly a fitting punishment for something so serious.

I wonder how much it cost the JDS to investigate the case.

I applauded the ACCA for its approach in the Robert Jackson case, until I learned of the penalty. If a member, on the Council or not, fails to match up to the conduct demanded and expected of a professionally qualified accountant, then he/she should be thrown out – no ifs or buts. The soft or convenient option just will not do.

The profession will continue to be scorned both from within and without until it wakes up to what it should do in such cases and then has the courage of its convictions to actually do it. The profession will then command the respect it really deserves.

Ken Stones FCCA, Financial Controller, St Paul’s Cathedral

The sport and business mix I was very interested to see your article ‘British Sport has too many hurdles’ (14 January) and I must say I agree with every word.

I work for an international financial services provider supporting four up and coming British athletes.

As well as giving the athletes the opportunity to compete for their country, the company uses the initiative as a motivational tool for staff.

Sport and business are similar. To be successful, both have to set objectives and prepare a strategy to meet them. The athletes have talked to staff about their objective of winning gold in Sydney and their strategy to achieve this. Staff have been able to follow, and be involved in, the athletes’ progress and relate this to their own work.

As a result, we have a more focused and motivated workforce.

Rob McCann, Kent

Playing the numbers game Surely EA Russell (‘Letters’, 4 February), who knows no person referring to the current century as one thousand nine hundred, is either parochial or very much tongue in cheek.

As school children in his home town will tell him, some peoples first language is not English, and in France for starters mille neuf cent, one thousand nine hundred has been used for some years.

DA Coomber, FCA, Great Malvern, Worcestershire

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