Archive for July, 2009

Last orders rise as Pubs feel credit crunch.

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

The BBC reports that UK pubs closed at a rate of 52 per week in the first half of the year - a third more than the same period in 2008.  The number of pubs has dropped by 2,377 in the past year, to a total of 53,466.

In research by the British Beer and Pub Association, local pubs were the most vulnerable as communities were hit by the fallout of the economic downturn.  The report suggested businesses that provide food were far more resilient to the recession.

And branded pubs and cafe-style bars were opening at a rate of two a week, according to the BBPA. “Pubs are already diversifying, but unfortunately if you are a community pub, you can’t transform yourself into a trendy town-centre bar,” said an association spokesman.

“The biggest impact is the recession. There are fewer people out and fewer people spending money in pubs and bars, regardless of where they are,” he said.  The rate of closures was the fastest since the number of UK pubs began being tracked, in 1990.

KPMG report highlights rise in UK fraud.

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

UK fraud levels hit a record high in the first half of 2009, figures show, on a CIMA website article

It reads:

KPMG’s Fraud Barometer has revealed that more than 160 cases involving sums in excess of £100,000 passed through UK courts during this period - the highest number in the barometer’s 21-year history.

The total value of cases was £636 million and if this figure is replicated in the second half of 2009, this would lead to the highest value of fraud ever recorded by the index.

However, Hitesh Patel, partner at KPMG Forensic, warned that there is worse to come.

He said: “It will be a number of years before the impact of the recession fully feeds through into the fraud statistics.

“Hard times mean more people driven to fraud by personal pressures, and more investors willing to believe in cooked up investment schemes.”

Internal fraud also remains a major risk, Mr Patel added.

CFOs need ‘more influence’ in Boardroom.

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Chief financial officers (CFOs) should be given more influence at board level, a new study has suggested.

In an article on the CIMA website, a survey conducted by CFO Research Services on behalf of KPMG found that 80 per cent of firms think that the finance function should be given a greater say in strategic decision making.

It also revealed that 83 per cent of CFOs think the best way they can improve their standing with other executives is by improving planning, forecasting and budgeting.

Rodger Hill, head of financial management at KPMG in the UK, stated that he was pleased that so many firms recognise there is a need for change.

However, he also pointed out that the majority of businesses held the same opinion when the survey was last conducted three years ago.

Mr Hill said: “This tells you that plenty more companies have since realised where their shortcomings lie - but also that those who realised this three years ago appear not to have done anything about it.

“What a shame that it has taken a crisis of this magnitude to finally shake people into life.”

Gordon Ramsay’s own Kitchen Nightmares

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Profits at Gordon Ramsay’s UK restaurants fell by 87% in the last year, forcing the chef to inject £3.5m of his own money into the business, the BBC reports.

His father-in-law and partner Chris Hutcheson also pumped in £1.5m to help cope with mounting debts and tax bills.

Their woes in the year to August 2008 were blamed on ambitious expansion plans and the closure of key London restaurants like The Savoy Grill.

Ramsay said the company had “learnt some valuable lessons”.

The latest accounts showed that in 2007-08 pre-tax profits plummeted £3.05m to £383,325.

At the same time, net debt soared from £4.06m to £9.48m.

CIPFA and Northampton Uni offer fast-track MSc

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Professionals with the CIPFA accountancy qualification can for the first time undertake a top-up MSc in Accounting and Finance from the University of Northampton. This innovation follows a new partnership between the University of Northampton and Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).

This MSc programme has been jointly developed to recognise the level and depth of the CIPFA accounting qualification and to further the knowledge of accounting and finance in a manner which provides a sound framework for those wishing to pursue further study, or to enhance employment opportunities.

It is focused on the accounting challenges that the people in public finance face today and how they relate to wider social, technical and economic environment. CIPFA qualified students undertake only three modules to achieve this masters degree. The three elements are practical and highly relevant to public finance professionals keen to advance their thinking and professional practice.