News in brief.

The Inland Revenue has been told it needs better management information so it can improve its self-assessment system and appraise its effectiveness. The report comes from the National Audit Office which is generally favourable to the Revenue. Sir John Bourn, head of the NAO, said: ‘The self-assessment system is providing an effective framework for managing the risks associated with the assessment and collection of tax.’

For more see

The Confederation of British Industry has urged the government to extend tax credits to all research and development expenditure. In a letter to chancellor Gordon Brown, the CBI said his proposal to extend tax credit for additional R&D spending would only discourage companies investing in innovation regularly. It added a volume-based approach would be more beneficial.

More on this at

The number of businesses going to the wall has increased 15% in the second quarter compared to the first three months of this year, a recent study by Dun & Bradstreet has revealed. D&B senior analyst Philip Mellor said this rise was in partly due to foot and mouth and its effects. But according to R3 smaller practitioners issues committee president Peter Hughes Holland, the findings should be treated with caution.

The full story can be found at

KPMG could be the main target for creditors wishing to recoup losses incurred after the collapse of Independent Insurance. If it is found guilty of negligence, the Big Five firm is considered to be the most cost-effective target for action by a group of 2,000 creditors. Independent went into liquidation after it decided to stop writing new business. KPMG has been the company’s auditor since 1986.

Read about Independent’s downfall at:

Accounting group has released an XML compatible enhanced version of XBRL, the computer language that will enable companies to compile, maintain and publish operational and financial data online. The company hopes harmonising the language will encourage worldwide adoption of XBRL.

Click on for more on this

PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Ian Brindle has been appointed deputy chairman of the Financial Reporting Council. Brindle, who was instrumental in the merger between Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand, is also a member of the Accounting Standards Board. According to FRC chairman Sir Sydney Lipworth, Brindle was chosen for his technical qualifications and his role in developing accounting standards.

More on Brindle’s appointment at:

Ernst & Young has become the first firm to convert its business into a limited liability partnership. The move comes after the government conceded to allow firms to register for LLP status in April 2001, bowing to pressures from E&Y and other large firms. The firm’s chairman Nick Land said the introduction of LLPs would give businesses added protection in an increasingly litigious society.

For the full story click on:

Gus Macdonald, the former transport minister, has been tipped to get ministerial responsibility for putting government services online. There is already an e-envoy, Andrew Pinder, but the work is yet to be placed under the oversight of a minister. Since moving to the Cabinet Office after the June election, Macdonald’s full portfolio of responsibility has not been fleshed out but an announcement, according to Westminster sources, is said to be imminent.

More on this story at:

Amendment – Information from MacIntyre Hudson about the firm’s fee income did not reach us in time for inclusion in our Accountancy Age Top 50. But the firm tells us that its income for the year ending 31 March 2001 was #27m, an increase on the previous year of 15%. The firm’s 45 partners saw an increase in consultancy fees of some 50% and the firm increased its take in corporate finance work by 49%. This puts the firm at number 20 in the Accountancy Age Top 50. Meanwhile, our apologies to Saffery Champness staff. With fees of #122,624, it is they who take the prize for most productive mid-tier staff rather than Levy Gee.

The Top 50 league table can be found at

Related reading