Business Analysis: Digby Jones's troubleshooting record deserves scrutiny
(Observer (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Here's a tip for Digby Jones, Lord Jones of Birmingham, who will grace our screens as BBC2's The New Troubleshooter on Thursday: in order to shoot trouble, you first need to be able to spot it. You won't find this on Jones's expansive website, but he was formerly director of NHS software provider iSoft, which in the early 2000s appeared to be one of Britain's brightest tech success stories, a stock market darling which was rocketing to a market value of pounds 1bn. Unfortunately, the company had been cooking the books. Exactly who was behind the creative accounting was never determined after a prosecution attempt by the watchdog was botched. That there had been a fraud was never in dispute.
Jones was certainly not to blame and he appeared as a prosecution witness. Since then he has repeatedly insisted non-executives can't be blamed if they are lied to.
That is not good enough. Last year, a damning report by accountancy regulators at the Financial Reporting Council was unsealed. It revealed that iSoft's auditors had simply not been doing their checks properly in 2003 and 2004, specifically in the area of "revenue recognition", where the iSoft abuses lay.
Jones had been an iSoft audit committee member - but he hadn't spotted trouble brewing.
(c) 2014 Guardian Newspapers Limited.
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