In Brief

NINETIES ACCOUNTANTS are shaking off their boring image by hanging up their pinstripes for trendier clothes and rating people skills above number crunching, according to research from the Co-operative Bank Business Direct.

Just a fifth of accountants under the age of 30 put "interest in numbers" as the most important reason for success, as opposed to half of their colleagues over 60, says the study.

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THE INSTITUTE of Chartered Accountants claims to have broken new ground with the issue of guidance aimed at helping directors of listed companies to prepare pro forma financial information included in Stock Exchange prospectuses and circulars.

Robert Hodgkinson, chairman of the institute's financial reporting committee, says there is a need for such assistance because otherwise "investors will only try and do it for themselves on the back of an envelope".

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PRIVATE COMPANIES are being urged to respond to the spectre of recession by focusing on product development and market research.

Kingston Smith, the accountancy firm, says that research by Bristol Business School carried out in the wake of the last downturn suggests that investing in new products and researching new potential markets could help a company stand out from its competitors.

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DEFINITIVE ADVICE on such areas as "conversion", "rounding" and "triangulation" is carried in a new guide to the accounting implications of a European single currency. It is published by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales.

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THE FINANCIAL costs of the long-hours culture will be examined next month at a conference organised by the accountant firm, Smith & Williamson.

The one-day event, to be held at London's Lanesborough Hotel on 15 October, will bring together representatives of government, business and the professions to examine the financial realities of the work/life debate.

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HAINES WATTS is seeking a boost to its aim of becoming the UK's leading accountancy firm in the field of advising owner-managed businesses by joining BKR International, one of the world's top 20 global associations of accounting firms.

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MIKE SUTTON, a former chief accountant at the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and John Coombe, the finance director at Glaxo Wellcome, will be among the speakers at a conference investigating whether harmonisation of international accounting standards is possible.

The event, being held at 1 Whitehall Place, London, tonight (23 September), is being sponsored by Deloitte & Touche and is supported by the International Accounting Standards Committee, which is holding in December its own conference on the development of standards.

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THE WELL-ESTABLISHED academic tradition of teaching accountancy students by representing accounting years in the form of 19x1, 19x2 and so on is the latest area of life to be threatened by the Millennium Bug, according to Philip Cahill, a lecturer at Portsmouth University.

However, he points out that his textbook Elements of Accounting is one of the first to adopt a date convention based on the 21st century and is therefore fully 2000-compliant.

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