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CA Magazine

December 2008

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Where has the money gone?

As we enter a new era of part-nationalised banks and reduced dealflow, accountants need to help their clients face up to difficult decisions

Audit: What’s your choice?

The audit firm governance working group has issued its first consultation paper, so now it’s over to stakeholders to respond

Fair value worth keeping

Japan a decade ago offers a lesson that politicians whose ears are being bent by banks with diminishing assets would do well to learn

Kroll spins out two companies

Kroll, an arm of the US risk and insurance group Marsh & McLennan, is spinning out two London restructuring businesses in management buy-outs

Pension scheme deficit rises

UK final salary pension schemes have dipped deeper into the red as share prices fall

Trusty accountants

Small firms in the UK trust their accountants more than their bank managers for financial advice, though most seek such advice fewer than four times per year

CBI retracts its forecast and predicts a 2.5% slump in 2009

Britain is set to enter a recession as severe as that of 1991, employers predict. They say the economy will shrink by 2.5 per cent from its peak, reaching a trough late next year

Tough times for Scotland

Scotland will plunge into recession next year, according to the authoritative analysists Fraser of Allander Institute

Late report numbers rise

British companies are struggling to meet deadlines for filing accounts to Companies House

Tweedie warns on ‘interference’

Sir David Tweedie considered resigning over European political interference in the work of the International Accounting Standards Board, which he chairs

Llodys shareholders back HBOS takeover

Shareholders at Lloyds TSB have spoken, with an overwhelming 96 per cent voting in favour of its takeover of HBOS

Private equity chiefs play waiting game

Two-thirds of private equity bosses have stopped investing during the crisis in financial markets, preferring to wait for the economic downturn to throw up more attractive deals

Brussels sums right at last

The European Commission has had its annual accounts passed by the European Court of Auditors, after 14 years of attempts

Non-execs under fire

Non-executive directors contributed to the financial crisis by failing to challenge the management of many top banks, according to Lord Paul Myners, the UK’s City minister

Letters: Are audit standards fit for purpose?

Your correspondent John Topping (Letters, November 2008) questions the role of auditors in valuing bank assets, perhaps with justification. I would, for now, like to give them the bene?t of the doubt for surely, post-Enron, they have at least complied with generally acceptable standards

Movers and shakers

A round up of who's on the move in the profession

Office Auntie

Simple fun for office party in hard times

CA Marta immortalised in bricks and mortar

She already has an OBE to her name for her voluntary work. Now Marta Phillips CA has been bestowed the honour of having a block of flats named after her

Book Review

Corporate confidential by Cynthia Shapiro (Marshall Cavendish £12.99)

A right Royal story

It’s not quite his name in lights – accountants are often modest folk – but Graeme Smith has won a little spot of thespian fame by writing the history of the Theatre Royal in Glasgow

Business travel

British Airways passengers are now able to check in on the go through mobile phones such as BlackBerry

Uphill struggle

Environmental sustainability, health and safety considerations on the farm and in the supermarket, the rising price of land and the falling price of produce – as Anthony Harrington reports, agriculture is tough

Haunted by bad times?

David Robertson suggests ways to ensure that businesses can exorcise the evil spirits of tough economic times

Mind the gap

If business angels stick with their start-up companies instead of selling on to venture capitalists, where will the next generation of budding entrepreneurs go to ?nd their funding?

For what it's worth

It’s not the root of all evil, nor is it the source of guaranteed happiness. Robert Outram reports on what CAs can expect to earn

Share ownership dream shattered

The multiple market upsets of the past 15 months have done serious damage to the City’s reputation among small investors

Independent voice

Brian Ashcroft is entitled to get emotional about the crisis in the Scottish financial sector – “a tragedy” – thanks to his strong reputation as a disinterested economic commentator

Round table: Core Strength

Senior members of Scotland’s corporate finance community had a lot to talk about when they met, but as Robert Outram reports, their conversation was by no means all doom and gloom

Kings of the jungle

It’s dangerous and unpredictable in corporate finance, but the sector’s top names in Scotland are broadly undaunted as we launch our annual who’s who, Andrew Beach, Richard Goslan and Robert Outram discover

Technological fix

Donald Drysdale turns his attention to small firms in his series looking at accountancy in 2025, and sees technology enabling home working and facilitating big combines of practices. Taxes on raw materials may finally be the spur to the paperless office

Official: Christmas isn't cancelled

Christmas may not be quite the spending explosion that the store chains dream of, but Deloitte’s seasonal survey ?nds that many people plan to spend at last year’s levels, the firm’s Jim Boyle and Tarlok Teji report

Ensuring there’s a low risk of provoking HMRC enquiries

Businesses across the UK are striving to be awarded “low risk” status to avoid continual enquiries and interventions from HM Revenue & Customs

Crackdown on transfer pricing

Companies may face high penalties for failing to take reasonable care

Capitalising on green agenda

Companies that are spending on environmentally friendly items can get cash flow benefits

Making the most of IHT nil-rate band

In last year’s Pre-Budget Report, the Chancellor announced that with effect from 9 October 2007, it is possible for spouses and civil partners to transfer unused inheritance tax (IHT) nil-rate band allowances

Hard times

Donald Drysdale hopes HMRC will ease up on small companies when it collects their taxes, to help them survive as the UK moves into recession

Sticking to standards

The big question is not what is in the Combined Code on Corporate Governance but whether UK companies are observing it as they face hard times

Consultation on audit firm governance

Views are being sought on what a code of governance for audit firms might cover

Hedges guidance

The Accounting Standards Board (ASB) has issued its UITF Abstract 46, implementing the International Financial Reporting Interpretations Committee's Interpretation 16 Hedges of a Net Investment in a Foreign Operation in the UK and the Republic of Ireland

Non-EU audit requirements

The Professional Oversight Board (POB) has published requirements to give effect in the UK to European rules for regulation of auditors of companies from outside Europe that have issued securities on regulated markets within the EU. The requirements derive from the Statutory Audit Directive

Hedge FRS amended

The Accounting Standards Board (ASB) has amended Financial Reporting Standard (FRS) 26 (IAS 39) Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement – Eligible Hedged Items

Feedback on audit quality

The Financial Reporting Council has published feedback on its February Audit Quality Framework

Coping with memory loss

Be prepared for a data disaster – Kenneth Mullen warns on recent scandals and likely clampdowns

Clarity query

The APB wants views on UK and Ireland adoption of Clarity Project international accounting standards

FRRP will prioritise media

The Financial Reporting Review Panel is to extend the industry sectors it prioritises to include other entities which derive significant revenue from the provision of services such as advertising, media, recruitment and technology, in view of the deteriorating economy

Companies House clampdown

Stuart Morgan outlines why the deadline for filing business accounts has been reduced from next February – and what it will cost to miss it

APB issues guidance on auditors’ reports

The Auditing Practices Board (APB) has issued bulletin offering guidance on reports by auditors required by the UK Companies Act 2006

Firm conclusion

The Professional Oversight Board’s review of audit training has raised fears that small firms cannot always offer trainees and staff sufficient experience

Selling up?

Catherine Feechan looks at exit strategies and the credit crunch

Pension benefits

A final salary pension scheme, a potential burden to those selling a company, can be the 'ace in your hole' for those trying to defend themselves against a buyer

ICAS calls for volunteers

The accounting standards committee is the ICAS committee that addresses financial reporting and related matters affecting business. Its members have a broad base of expertise and experience, with members from practice, various business sectors and academia

Scotland could be a centre for dispute resolution

Scotland could become the 'Switzerland of dispute resolution' if the right legal reforms are put in place, according to the Business Experts and Law Forum (BELF), set up by the Scottish government to look at how the country's legal system could be made more business-friendly

CPD and the credit crunch

In uncertain times, forward-thinking firms are harnessing CPD to buck the economic trend

Developing procedures

Members are advised to take note as new rules and procedures are introduced to combat non-compliance

Colella urges fairness

As the global economy continues to slow down, businesses should guard against a siege mentality and be reminded that treating customers and suppliers fairly is crucial to reestablishing a stable business environment

Economic adviser

ICAS has appointed a senior CA from the banking world as its Chief Economic Adviser. Hugh Shields took up the post on 3 November

Charity SORP round table

The ICAS Charities Committee, the Scottish Charity Finance Directors Group and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator held a round table for 30-plus preparers, independent examiners and auditors of charity accounts

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