Business gets a final warning on Y2K

The Year 2000 Industry Program yesterday issued a "final warning" to Australian businesses, urging them to ensure software packages are Y2K compliant in time for the new tax year.

With the 1999/2000 financial year just weeks away, David Leek, the Program's national information manager, said business should ensure accounting and financial packages will be ready to reference dates in the year 2000.

At the very least, Leek said, businesses should make sure contingency plans are in place, should systems malfunction.

According to Leek, "There will be people out there using noncompliant software who will start to notice errors.

"Don't just assume calculations are correct," Leek warned, explaining that businesses should verify their IT systems' calculations were correct, from July 1.

Meanwhile, Leek said the Year 2000 Industry Program remained concerned about Australian small business Y2K preparedness generally.

"Really the nought to 19 employee base is dragging Australian business readiness down at the moment," Leek said, adding that the Industry Program planned to launch a 30-page book on Y2K preparation in July, aimed at SMEs (small- to medium-sized enterprises).

The book will be linked to an advertising campaign in metropolitan and regional newspapers, Leek said.

"We are going to have one last push at getting [SMEs] to do something about [Y2K]."

Failure to address Y2K could have serious repercussions for businesses, he said, including difficulties obtaining finance from banks and other lending institutions, losing business to Y2K-ready competitors and facing huge repair costs and waiting times for systems which need to be fixed on January 1, 2000.

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