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Journalism - The Guardian

City diary
Thursday November 21, 2002

  • The world congress of accountants hardly conjures up images of bacchanalian frenzy but this year's could be quite different if two of Britain's top beancounters are not kept apart. Peter Wyman, the president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales, and Jonathan Beckerlegge, president of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, are at loggerheads over comments made by Mr Wyman regarding the difference between chartered and certified accountants. "There are many great certified accountants out there, but there are also many who wouldn't pass muster," he announced at a conference in October. "Our average is better than their average." This elitism has clearly rankled Beckerlegge, who has sent a letter to Accountancy magazine accusing Wyman of being "out of touch" and "bringing the profession into disrepute". With both of them loose at the congress in Hong Kong this week, anything could happen. And probably won't.

  • Oh, and in case you're wondering what the difference between chartered and certified accountants actually is - it's some harder exams, a higher salary and a lifelong sense of superiority.

  • If you've got $250,000 to spare, a world exclusive on Osama bin Laden could be yours. That at least is what the president of Index Corp, Masami Ochiai, is reported to have asked CNN for his unique interpretation of the recent Osama terror tape. Who is Mr Ochiai? No less that the man behind the near-legendary "Bow-lingual" electronic translator that relays your dog's feelings into a possible 200 words just by listening to its bark. Given that the dog device appears to offer "I want to go walkies" for virtually every canine utterance, CNN saw the price tag as less super scoop and more pooperscoop.

  • Carrying on from the euro cheque saga of a few days ago, Britain isn't the only country to be affected by hefty clearing charges. In fact, Europe lacks an entire cross-border cheque facility, meaning that a paying a cheque from any eurzone country into a euro account in any other will incur a clearing charge. And it's never going to change. A spokeswoman for UK clearing house Apacs makes it plain: "There is never going to be a cross-border clearing facility. There's no demand and no debate." So you clear all payments electroncially or pay the consequences. Wait till the Tories get hold of this one.

  • Talking of Euro-sceptic Tories, indisputable character, failed MP, old Etonian and son of former Times editor William, Jacob Rees-Mogg has given a remarkable insight into fund managers' thinking. Justifying his decision to buy shares in Mexican paper maker Kimberly-Clark, he brushed aside profits, dividends and balance sheets to concentrate on the essential. "Just 35% of Mexicans use loo paper. I don't know what the others do. But there must be a market there," he said. Well of course, dear boy, of course.

Link to copy on Guardian





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