Just five of top 10 are euro-compliant

At least four of the top 10 UK firms have still not upgraded their IT systems to cope with the euro, despite claims that compliance is more complex than coping with the Millennium Bug.

The launch of the euro in 11 EU countries is just eight months away, but the survey, conducted by The Lawyer, highlights growing fears among IT directors and consultants that neither the profession, nor its IT suppliers have got to grips with the problem.

While five of the top 10 firms contacted by The Lawyer had already upgraded their systems – allowing them to bill clients in euros and conduct transactions in the new currency, other leading international firms – including Cameron McKenna and Lovell White Durrant – had not.

At the time of going to press, Linklaters was unable to confirm whether or not its systems were fully compliant.

All four of the firms which told The Lawyer they were not compliant have set up working groups to achieve compliance before the end of the year, and expressed confidence they would meet the deadline.

But IT consultant Neil Cameron predicted some of the top 10 firms would not make the deadline.

Eversheds, which is in the process of installing one of Elite Information Systems' practice management packages, aims to be compliant by the autumn.

It is a member of an Elite users group that has set up a sub-committee to consider the EMU issue composed of Lovells, Allen & Overy, Eversheds, Denton Hall, SJ Berwin, Hammond Suddards, and Clyde & Co.

Although confident Eversheds and the other firms in the group would meet the deadline, the firm's IT project manager, Damian Griffiths, predicted that many firms would struggle.

'There will be an awful lot of eleventh hour upgrades and there will be chaos,' he said.

EMU expert, Geoffrey Walkley, the partner in charge of

Penningtons' IP group, said achieving euro-compliancy was harder to achieve than solving the Millennium Bug problem.