News in Brief – 22 April

English ICA publishes code guidance

Consultative guidance on implementing the new internal control requirements of the combined code of corporate governance has been published by the English ICA. The guidance urges companies to ensure their systems of internal control are embedded in their operations, are capable of responding to change, and include procedures for reporting weaknesses to appropriate managers immediately. Comments on the guidance should be submitted by 14 June.

Banks await VAT tribunal UK banks are awaiting the decision of a VAT tribunal which they hope will lead to the reversal of a Budget decision depriving them of #200m of VAT relief on outsourcing, which they claim contravenes European law. A decision is expected on the case, involving banking services provider FDR, this week.

Lanthier steps down Spencer Lanthier has stepped down as chairman of KPMG’s Canadian practice after his controversial attempt to merge it with Arthur Andersen. The deal was scuppered after a revolt by partners in the country who wanted to stay with KPMG.

MP Bill on Y2K bug MPs will tomorrow consider a Bill requiring financial institutions and public services to draw up contingency plans for a Millennium Bug disaster. The backbench measure – tabled by Liberal Democrat MP Vincent Cable – follows the government’s failure to detail its plans over the Financial Services Authority warning that some leading institutions are not Y2K compliant and may close.

KMMT joins KPMG A leading black-owned South African accountancy firm, KMMT, has become a member firm of KPMG International. KMMT, which was founded five years ago, has 12 partners and 250 employees.

Ten-point plan for SME help The Better Regulation Taskforce has called on the government to pay more attention to how regulation will be enforced to lift the burden on small business. The task force has set out a ten-point plan for better regulation, demanding consistency, national coordination and guidance, better training and more consultation.

McNulty gets air traffic job The government has appointed Sir Roy McNulty, chairman of Belfast aerospace company Short Brothers, to run the National Air Traffic Service while it goes through privatisation. A chartered accountant, McNulty qualified in Scotland in 1963. He was handpicked to drive through the #1bn partial privatisation of the air traffic control service by the next election.

Euro risk up to taxpayers Trade minister Lord Simon of Highbury – responding to a question from former Tory chancellor Lord Lamont of Lerwick in a debate over possible entry into the euro – has confirmed that if firms pay taxes in euros ‘the exchange risk will be borne by the taxpayer’. Lord Lamont had remarked: ‘If the exchange risk is not borne by the Treasury, the whole idea of paying taxes in euros is simply a gimmick.’

Board website launches The Financial Reporting Council, the Accounting Standards Board, and the Financial Reporting Review Council went live on the internet on 22 April. The websites, available free of charge, provide information about the constitution and membership of the three bodies. Features include a search facility, recent press releases, UITF abstracts and an automatic email alert to highlight new publications.

Related reading