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Finance: update

Joining the Stock Exchange

HW GROUP, the recruitment company best known for its financial arm, Harrison Willis, plans to seek a listing on the London Stock Exchange, in a move expected to give it a market value of about pounds 40m. The company, one of the stars of the latest Independent 100 listing of fastest-growing private companies, dates back to the Fifties, but it has grown especially rapidly since a management buyout in 1997.

How to avoid liability

FINANCE DIRECTORS have changed their minds to support the idea of accountants reducing personal risk from legal claims by forming limited liability partnerships, says a survey by Reed Accountancy Personnel and Accountancy Age; 51 per cent of 200 finance directors questioned backed limited liability partnerships. When asked the same question in 1996, 39 per cent supported such limits on liability.

High price of leverage

COMPETITIVE PRESSURE among venture capitalists is leading them to pay high prices for businesses using highly-geared deal structures, resulting in leveraged buyouts reaching a price peak, according to Price Waterhouse's business regeneration unit. Most venture capitalists do not acknowledge overpayment as a major cause of failure in their portfolio or believe that high prices are likely to give rise to significant problems in the coming years.

Rules of the IASC

ACCOUNTANTS ARE being urged to let the International Accounting Standards Committee get on with the job of devising a single system of accounting rules for the world. Ken Wild, technical partner at Deloitte & Touche and joint author of International Accounting Standards: A Guide to Preparing Accounts, says: "International companies need one set of accounting standards and one only. The IASC should provide them."

The looming euro

THE VAST majority of multinational companies predict that they will have to revamp their compensation packages for staff working abroad following the introduction of the euro next January, yet only a quarter of them have started to look at the problem seriously, according to a survey by KPMG.

Cambridge is top of the league

CAMBRIDGESHIRE RESIDENTS are much more inclined to start up in business than their counterparts elsewhere, according to research from Barclays Bank. Its newly launched "entrepreneurial index" shows that the county has twice as many entrepreneurs as a proportion of the working population as the national average. Among the factors putting the county at the top of the league table are the growth of tourism and high-tech industries linked to Cambridge University and a thriving industrial base.