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One second is defined as the amount of time it takes for 9,192,631,770 oscillations of the microwave radiation from caesium-133 atoms. How we measure time is, of course, a simple fluke of history. All our hopes and fears for the new millennium would be misplaced today if our numbering system were not based on the number 10. And a simple link between time and space can be made by considering the Greenwich meridian – which will be the focus of so much celebration on 1 January 2000. Which raises the question: isn’t this publication a year early? (We will dismiss the pedants who say that it is two years early.) No, because we are concerned here not just with a single date – abbreviated to the inaccurate shorthand “Y2K” – but with the whole transition between 20th century practice and 21st century ideas. That’s why this issue looks at current budgeting practice – that most forward-planning, backwards-looking, time-consuming, resource-swallowing process – the onward march of regulation, the problems of using the euro (a currency with no history), the prospects for IT budgets once we all survive – or are killed off by – the millennium bug, and so on. Time is money. Better start reading now.

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