Week in review: 3 – 7 February

The week began badly for the beleagured Inland Revenue.

On Monday a former director of the Inland Revenue slammed the establishment for being an ‘abject failure’ at cracking down on tax-dodging companies.

Also on the day, the National Audit Office made recommendations to improve project management, following the high-profile mismanagement of a government scheme to roll out a national IT system for magistrates’ courts.

Tuesday our parliamentary staff revealed that chief treasury secretary Paul Boateng is considering inviting comptroller and auditor general Sir John Bourn to assume a watchdog role over the work of the Financial Services Authority.

Across the Atlantic, the Securities & Exchange Commission announced it was to receive a massive pay rise – enabling it to hire more accountants – after US president George W Bush asks congress for an increased budget of $842m (£512m) for the year beginning October 2003.

Wednesday a new survey of fund managers on both sides of the Atlantic found greater confidence in the veracity of UK audited information, then in US data.

Back home, UK industry remained gloomy about its prospects in every region of the UK according to the latest survey from the Confederation of British Industry.

On Thursday, Accountancy Age reported PricewaterhouseCoopers as claiming the threat to auditor objectivity had been removed because firms are no longer earning as much from non-audit services.

Nearly two in three of those who responded to this week’s Accountancy Age/Reed Accountancy Personnel Big Question said ‘yes’ when asked whether the UK can afford to host the 2012 Olympics. By comparison, less than 3% thought it would be impractical for a London bid to go ahead.

Friday, the European Anti-fraud Office said it would summon accountants from the European Commission and other officials to conduct an inquiry into allegations of misuse of European Union funds donated to the Palestinian Authority.

And bizarrely, the Inland Revenue upset a Bristol resident by insisting that she was dead.

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