News in Brief.

Accountancy consolidator Numerica will begin trading on the Alternative Investment Market next Tuesday, 30 October, after the company allocated its shares to institutional investors. It is due to issue a press release today giving financial details and confirming the flotation, news of which was broken by Accountancy Age last week. Numerica raised #30m last Tuesday as investors bought 30 million shares priced at 100p per share. According to a company spokeswoman, the company’s market capitalisation is currently #46.1m. Mid-tier firm Levy Gee is so far the biggest component of Numerica.

It will adopt the consolidator’s name next year. The aim of the flotation is to raise funds to acquire further firms.

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Troubled financial software company QSP has gone into administrative receivership three weeks after its shares were suspended from the stock exchange. Several hundred staff have lost their jobs, but Accountancy Age understands a core of around 50 people have been retained at the Newcastle headquarters. Chairman John Bateman admitted the company’s financial position had deteriorated significantly at its interim results last month, with operating losses of #5.6m. Mid-tier firm Smith & Williamson was appointed administrator on 17 October.

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Inland Revenue chief Nick Montagu has denied there is a ‘cosy relationship’ between the Revenue and the National Audit Office. He was responding to accusations that shortcomings in the self-assessment collection regime were only addressed after being highlighted in an NAO report. The issue was raised by MP Barry Gardiner during Monday’s Public Accounts Committee hearing.

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The UK is likely to avoid economic recession thanks to the attitude of its consumers. Research by Ernst & Young’s ITEM club forecast the country’s GDP growth would be 2.2% this year, slowing slightly to 2% in 2002 and reaching 2.9% in 2003. It said resilient consumer spending provided a bulwark against recession.

The full story is at online editor Matthew Gerry was this week shortlisted for the prestigious British Society of Magazine Editors Annual Awards.

He has been shortlisted in the Online Editor category, alongside editors from music website, women’s magazine and wine publication Gerry was appointed online editor in May 2000, having joined Accountancy Age as a sub-editor in June 1999 and then working as content developer on the website. The awards will be presented at London’s Hilton on 26 November.

The Commons Treasury Committee is to cross-examine Financial Services Authority officials over regulation of Equitable Life. The hearing comes after the FSA admitted failings, and will be followed by a session with Treasury economic secretary Ruth Kelly on possible government liability for its involvement in the failings of regulatory process. The FSA will also review the role of auditors in insurance regulation in the wake of the debacle.

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A deal has been struck between the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers over the final shape of reforms to the European money-laundering directive. The new directive would oblige member states to combat laundering of the proceeds of all serious crime, whereas the current law applies only to money linked to drug offences. The changes also extend rules on reporting of suspicious transactions to more businesses.

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Marks & Spencer is fighting to reclaim #12m of VAT dating back to 1973

from HM Customs & Excise in the European Court of Justice. Backed by the European Commission, the high street retailer told the European Court it was owed over #5.5m plus interest in VAT. Customs admitted overcharging the group but refuses to return the VAT because of a ‘three-year capping rule’.

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Correction: A letter in last week’s Accountancy Age (Auditors face the nightmare of further legislation over charitable reporting) was edited to suggest the company law review ‘proposes that company charities adopt a 31 March year-end’. The review does not recommend this, it recommends that the filing time for private companies is reduced to seven months.

It is expected that charities would then be required to follow suit.

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