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Accountancy briefs
IT expert on inquiry:

Lord Woolf has appointed an information technology consultant to his inquiry into the civil justice system.

Explaining that he sees IT as providing key benefits to "lay litigants and lawyers alike", Lord Woolf says that Dr Richard Susskind's appointment will give the review better understanding of the application of new technology.

`Ban false use of title':

John Moore, president of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants, used last night's annual dinner at London's Guildhall to call for a change in the law to prevent those who are not professionally qualified from using the title "accountant". He also told guests that he hoped the professional accountancy bodies were entering a new phase of co-operation.

Acca unlimited:

The Chartered Association of Certified Accountants is proposing the creation of a small business entity with unlimited liability in answer to what it sees as the Department of Trade and Industry's lack of understanding of small business's problems.

In a response to a DTI consultation paper on the law for private companies, Acca said last week that it believes the department fails to recognise how unsuitable incorporated status is for many small businesses.

KPMG to audit BBC:

The BBC has replaced Coopers & Lybrand, its auditors for 30 years, with KPMG. The five-year contract starts on 1 April and will involve the audit of accounts for the BBC, BBC World Service and wholly owned subsidiaries. The decision was part of the BBC's commitment to market testing of key contracts.

ICAS training option:

Arthur Andersen, BDO Stoy Hayward, Grant Thornton and French independent Mazars have joined Coopers & Lybrand, Ernst & Young, KPMG and others in offering students the option of training for the Scottish chartered accountant qualification as well as that operated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Raymond Pennie, London training manager for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, says more firms are taking this route because not only do ICAS students perform well in their exams but also they are not sitting exams at the same time as their English counterparts.

Roger Trapp