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Worthington Nicholls' accounting exposed

The new Board at the Worthington Nicholls Group has expressed disdain at the shoddy accounting practices adopted by the firm, before and after it listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).


In a trading statement issued today, the new board – Simon Beart, William Good and Rodney Mann – wrote: “The Group had no professionally qualified, full-time accounting staff for the two years prior to floatation in June 2006 and until January 2007.


“The Group had no full monthly consolidated management accounts until April 2007, and no meaningful contract accounting for the contracts undertaken by the primary trading entity, Worthington Nicholls.


“The Board has reviewed all trading units in detail and has noted poor standards of budgeting, forecasting, contract management and cash-flow across the Group.”


The statement goes on to hint that the Board intends to seek legal redress for the irregularities. “Since August 2007, the Group has incurred “costs to date of approximately £400,000 in respect of accounting, legal and other advice.


“It is not possible at this stage to quantify the legal costs that might be incurred in respect of ongoing legal matters, but the Board expects to make a substantial, further provision for the six month period ending 31 March 2008


H&V News understands that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has received a document containing a list of allegations of financial wrongdoing at the Worthington Nicholls Group and is considering whether to launch a criminal investigation.


A SFO spokesperson said: “It is against our policy to comment on whether we’ve received a complaint about a company or whether we are investigating a company for fraud. To inform the parties of an impending investigation would only hamper an inquiry if one were to take place.