RJH, influenced by a recent sojourn in Latin America, writes...

In the Marquez novel, Angela's twin brothers Pedro and Pablo repeatedly announce their intention to kill Santiago for bedding and thus dishonouring their sister before her wedding to Bayardo. And, indeed, they carry out their intention.

If hardened number crunchers wonder where this is going, point them towards the last iSoft communiqué. It is another masterpiece of obfuscation by the firm and its public relations advisors Financial Dynamics: instead of any reference to the critical issue of what the auditors have been telling CEO Mr Whiston about his accounting, owners are given one new meaningful item of news - an additional profit warning.

This ommission is unsurprising given that iSoft threatened legal action against the last people who wanted to reveal what the Deloitte Touche view of the group's accounting was. Then, in 2004, it was the Guardian newspaper that was compelled to back down from publishing details of the due diligence opinions (as part of the Torex merger).

This time, though, it falls to Deloitte Touche to assume, albeit unannounced, the Pablo/Pedro assassin role; and there now remains no legal or other figleaf with which iSoft might conceal its modesty. The auditors have yet to sign off the accounts (if reports are true) casting Mr Whiston firmly in the role of Santiago (whose penultimate outing with the twins was to the local bordello).

It is not a particular pleasure to see a man deprived of his employ. But without Mr Whiston's departure the group's ability to win business will continue to labour under the strain of financial rumour for which he is currently and rightly carrying the can.

Following the Marquez script, Mr Whiston goes which would make the published accounts, due in June, represent rock bottom. On the other hand, keeping the CEO would mean iSoft resume digging, such is the loss of confidence in the company's accounting and communication.

Angela (iSoft) eventually fell for Bayardo (Misys?) but it took 17 years for him to come back for her. With good sense, the iSoft board will do the right thing for owners long before then and set the company on recovery road.

The writer owns iSoft plc equity

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