Overseas member news

Chartered Accountants Abroad

Five Chartered Accountants consider the benefits of working overseas and share their tips for those who wish to broaden their horizons. Paul Murray Title: Commercial Manager – Sales, Programming & Operations Company: Seven Network Location: Sydney, Australia There are great personal development opportunities in multicultural nations such as Australia. I was fortunate enough to enter the market here at manager level thanks to my Big 4 background and extensive client exposure, something that wouldn’t usually happen in Ireland. Having started my career in Rugby Australia, I am now responsible for $1 billion in revenues and $500 million in costs at Seven Network, the most-watched free-to-air television network in Australia, and manage a team of seven women who all hail from different countries. The diversity in our team has really helped me develop from a people management perspective. My top tip Reach out to recruiters before you make the move abroad. This gets your name into the market and generates early opportunities. It also saves time, which is important as Sydney, in particular, is an expensive place to move to. Sarah McEneaney Title: Partner, Digital Talent Company: PwC Location: Chicago, US I’ve spent my whole career living, working and travelling all over the world. I would encourage anyone to take advantage of these opportunities, whether they present themselves or you have to create them. Working with people from so many cultures, and navigating situations and solving problems – often as a “minority” – are skills that are difficult to acquire without living them. Working overseas can allow you to have impact at a global scale – my experience has truly borne that out. As PwC’s Digital Talent Leader in the US, I am responsible for future-proofing our workforce of 50,000 colleagues and considering the impact of technology on the firm’s people strategy. My top tip A professor of mine once said: “Beware of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that come along every single day”. I wish I had heard this sooner, but I’m becoming more judicious in what I say yes to and what I decline. Oh, and get more sleep – that’s the true magic for better work. Caoimhe Toouli Title: Partner, Audit and Assurance Company: KPMG Location: Sydney, Australia I left Ireland in 2002, bound for Silicon Valley on an international secondment sponsored by KPMG. I really only wanted to go for 12 months, but had to commit to 18 months and I haven’t looked back. In my view, diversity of experience is invaluable for professional development. You can only grow when challenged by new situations, new people and new environments. Working overseas completely tests one’s ability to adapt and respond to change and difference. For me, working overseas in places like Silicon Valley and Sydney exposed me to much larger capital markets than in Dublin, more complex corporate structures and different cultures. This challenged and enhanced my experience, ensuring I continued to learn and develop throughout my career. As change is the only constant, you must remain open to change and continually adapt your managerial style. But if you are thinking specifically of working overseas, my one piece of advice would be to back yourself. Don’t be afraid to change direction; talented people will succeed anywhere in the world. Matthew Britton Title: Manager, Financial Planning and Analysis Company: Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Location: Abu Dhabi   During my four years in Abu Dhabi, I worked for a sovereign wealth fund. The role involved running the strategic financial planning process, evaluating investment projects and providing management with performance insights. My team boasted 11 nationalities and the company itself employed people from 65 countries. This in itself was incredibly interesting, but it was also very rewarding from a communication perspective.  Navigating cultural nuances and understanding how to influence effectively in a diverse environment has certainly benefited my career. In addition, the mission of the organisation is to secure the wealth of future generations so in a sense the “shareholders” are not even born yet. This brings with it a very different mindset to that of a PLC and learning to adapt to that culture – and, more importantly, to respect that culture – was a valuable learning. My top tip There is an understandable tendency for Irish people to gravitate towards other Irish people when living and working overseas, but being overseas gives you a great opportunity to develop a wider international network – something that needs to be nurtured from an early stage. Margaret Berney Title: Senior Financial Analyst Company: Tarion Warranty Corporation Location: Toronto, Canada Moving to Canada certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone, both professionally and personally. Learning from a new culture has expanded my skillset to that point that I now excel in my role and work extremely well with all colleagues, irrespective of their nationality or background. The move also impacted my outlook on work as I no longer see difficult situations as a challenge. I tackle them with confidence and this is perhaps attributable in part to the new environment I work in and the different philosophies and approaches I encounter each day. The only thing I would do differently in terms of my career overseas is to do it sooner. My top tip If you have an inclination to work abroad, follow your gut instinct and make it happen. Most won’t regret the decision and even if it doesn’t work out, you can always move home having learned from the experience. You can read more about living and working overseas in Chartered Accountants Abroad, the publication from Accountancy Ireland for Chartered Accountants Ireland members abroad.

Aug 06, 2019
Chartered Accountants Abroad

Some 4,000 Irish Chartered Accountants hold senior financial and management positions in 93 countries worldwide. In this article, members share their first-hand experience of working in the four corners of the world. Vietnam Name: Derek Stokes Title: Finance Manager Company: Mainstream Renewable Power I work for a global renewable energy developer, which is currently expanding into high-growth markets in the Asia Pacific region. In 2018, I relocated to Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam to implement a corporate structure for the Asia Finance Department and manage the finance and accounting for an 800MW offshore wind joint venture in the country. My overall experience of Vietnam is very positive. Understanding the cultural differences did take time, as doing business in Asia is very different from doing business in Europe. That said, the locals were very welcoming and helpful – notwithstanding the language barrier – and the quality of life is very comfortable. There’s a very active ex-pat community here, good quality accommodation and a range of high-end restaurants and bars. Vietnam is also an ideal base as it gives you the opportunity to explore the rest of the Asia Pacific region. If you’re considering a move, expect everything to take a lot longer to complete – systems and processes aren’t as advanced as they are in Ireland and sometimes, even the simplest of tasks can be quite protracted. Canada Name: Brian McKenna Title: Operations Leader Company: DeloitteEvery city I’ve been to in Canada has been fantastic. Toronto is one of the most, if not the most, diverse cities in the world. It makes for a culturally rich society, diversity of thought and amazing food choices. For me, the ease of transition to working in Canada came as a surprise. The fact that I had a common employer on both sides of the Atlantic certainly helped, but it was more than that; other than driving on the other side of the road, and that crazily cold first winter when the army ended up on the streets of Toronto to clear snow, everything related to integration came pretty naturally. Assuming you make the move, look for opportunities to engage in your local community as a volunteer. Canada is a rich volunteering nation and it is a great way of making a local impact, making new connections and paying forward in a country that will inevitably give you so much. South Africa Name: Eoin O’Driscoll Title: Chief Financial Officer Company: Alphamin Resources Corporation My time in South Africa has been a wonderful experience so far, both personally and professionally. I’m based in Johannesburg and work for a tin mining company that has just completed the construction of the Bisie Tin Mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo – the first conflict-free industrial tin mine in Congo. It didn’t come as a surprise, but the high crime rate in Johannesburg did take a bit of getting used to. Also, frequent electricity outages are the norm here. Overall, though, it is a fantastic place to live. You get 300 days of sunshine each year in addition to world-class health, education and recreational facilities. The outdoors lifestyle also makes it a great place to raise a family. If I had to give a fellow Chartered Accountant considering a move to South Africa one piece of advice, it would be quite simple – go for it. Singapore Name: Myra McSweeney Title: Head of Finance Company: The Working Capitol It’s a complete 180 entering and working in Asia. Every nationality seems to be represented in the area but Singaporeans are very open to foreigners – it’s the most tolerant society I’ve ever experienced. It is expensive, though. There are small trade-offs like not needing a car because public transport is accessible and cheap. It’s also somehow cheaper to eat out than cook a meal at home! There’s also security in Singapore in every sense of the word. That said, most things in Singapore come with a hefty price tag. Rent is unfathomably expensive, clothes come at a premium and going out feels like highway robbery – but all of that contributes to a really high standard of living. That high standard of living has allowed me to rent a condominium in the central business district and I get to walk to work. I also live 10 minutes from Sentosa Island so I can pop to the beach anytime. That said, it can be difficult to find a role in Singapore as companies are required to favour local talent and have quotas for the number of foreigners they can employ. It will be easier if you can transfer with your current company but once you have some experience in the region, opportunities will open up. Japan Name: Lorcan Brophy Title: Director of Corporate Strategy Company: Walmart I work for Seiyu Walmart Japan, a wholly owned subsidiary of Walmart. My overall experience of Japan has been extremely positive, but not without challenges. The Japanese are meticulous when it comes to planning and will not execute until everything is agreed upon by all parties – a plan will rarely change once signed off. Western people tend to take a more flexible approach to planning – executing much earlier based on a rough plan and updating as we go. Much of my time in the workplace is spent bridging these cultural gaps between Japan and our headquarters in the US. I was initially surprised by the level of safety in Japan – you can walk almost any area of Tokyo at any time without issue. However, I was disappointed that the country’s policy and action does not always match – despite huge efforts to promote meritocracy and equality, Japan can be slow to adapt and this results in lost opportunities. Japan in general is a very easy place to live and with 14 million people living in central Tokyo, the city never sleeps. But if you need to get out of the city, you can be half way across the country in just a few hours using the bullet train. If someone was considering moving to Japan, I would advise them to begin networking immediately – recruitment agencies offer little for non-Japanese speakers. Instead, consider reaching out to people in companies you like, through your network or directly through LinkedIn. Join professional groups such as the Chamber of Commerce or any networking events you see a value in. I met my boss at a business networking event; he shared his mandate for his three-year ex-pat assignment with me and thankfully my skills and ambition matched. We shook hands on a deal there and then. USA Name: Shane Scanlan Title: Head of Finance Company: Applegreen (now with Prodieco) My experience in the States was fantastic. Applegreen’s head office was in Andover, just north of Boston, and I lived in Boston itself. At work, I was surprised by how slowly things are done. When dealing with a challenge, I found that Americans talk much slower than in Ireland, and lack the sense of urgency that I was used to when trying to resolve an issue. Outside work, rather ironically, I was surprised with how impatient many drivers are! The quality of life in Boston is very similar to that of Ireland, but things aren’t cheap. If someone was considering moving to Boston, I would say do it. It’s a great life experience but be conscious of where you live – the traffic is crazy in Boston, so a place near the underground would be optimal. Also, do all of the touristy things and make sure to travel but be warned, Americans don’t get sarcasm so be prepared for literal interpretations.

Aug 06, 2019
Chartered Accountants Abroad

Having lived and worked in six countries, I have realised that there is a price to be paid for being an average networker. By Kingsley Aikins At its core, networking is about taking three key actions: changing our attitudes, altering our behaviours and learning new skills. In a world where life is a game of inches, we need to see networking as the key difference- maker. One introduction or conversation can change your life, but they don’t happen when you are lying in bed or sitting at your desk – they happen when you are in motion, when you are out and about, when you develop a reputation and put your talents on display. Networking is the key to career progression – the future leadership of your organisation will not consist of unknown people. The challenges However, there are some real challenges with networking. First, most people say they hate it and it tends to get a pretty negative press. It is sometimes seen as an inelegant way of using people and is regarded as both insincere and manipulative. We tend to mix up networking and sociability, and assume that the most sociable person is the best networker. In fact, it can be the exact opposite. Shy, introvert types can be better at networking than extroverts because they do it with decency, authenticity and integrity – and that comes across. They ask questions and are better listeners. Second, networking is not taught at school and college. Companies don’t have strategies for it, yet everybody says that it’s really important. A third problem is that many people don’t realise that, as their career progresses, the skills and qualifications that enabled them to get their job in the first place become less important (because everyone has them and you can’t compete with what everyone else has). Relationships therefore become more important. Finally, people don’t ask themselves the brutal question – is my network good enough for where I want to be in the next five years? Give and take Key then is to put networking front and centre of your personal and professional life and to realise that there is a process to networking – a learned process which, if followed and implemented, will give you a better chance of success. The bedrock to this is to accept a key foundational concept which, at first glance, might appear counter-intuitive. Networking is all about giving rather than getting. Most people think they have to focus on networking because they want to get something for themselves such as a new job or a new sale. What I am saying is the exact opposite. Think first how you can help other people – how you can put your network at the disposal of others. This is based on a very simple and fundamental premise: in life, the more you give, the more you get. When you give consistently to individuals, it comes back from the network. Networking is not about any one big thing – it is about a lot of small behaviour changes which, when implemented on a daily basis, become habits and, eventually, rituals. They then become the way you lead your life.  A personal asset A harsh reality in life is that you can’t go it alone; you have to network your way to success. The way to opportunities you don’t know is through people you do. Networking can obviously have practical returns in terms of getting more business, staff and investors. However, research shows that people who build strong and diverse networks live longer, are stronger mentally and physically, earn more money and are happier. In a world where people are constantly changing jobs, networking is the way to get your next one – the vast majority of good jobs are not advertised. Also, companies want to ‘hire and wire’ – hire people and wire into their network. Now, when you are being interviewed, people want to know about your qualifications and experience, but they also want to know who you know. We live in a world where it is not what you know or who you know, but who knows you. Networking is the way to get out of your silo and get to know people from different backgrounds. Research shows that if your organisation doesn’t reflect the diversity of the economy in which you operate and the society in which you live, then you, as a company and as an individual, underperform. Also, your network is portable. You own it. It’s part of your personal asset base. When you move, it goes with you. Networking abroad Having lived and worked in six countries, I have found networking to be the glue that makes everything happen and I realised that there was a price to be paid for being an average networker. Having observed good networkers in action, I now realise that they have certain things in common. They work hard at it, they don’t brag about it, they don’t keep score. They are confident it works, even if they are not quite sure how. They understand the power of asking and referrals. They think like farmers who plant a seed in the spring, water and nurture it and look after it, confident that there will be a harvest.  They understand the importance and potential of technology in networking, but also realise the power of personal face-to-face connections. In that sense, they are hi-tech and hi-touch. They are curious and they ask questions. Great networkers are great salespeople because they create a vast and spreading sphere of goodwill around them and they constantly add value to the people they meet. There is a precise four-phase process to networking, which is about research, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship. If you follow this process, there is a greater chance of success than if you don’t. Kingsley Aikins is CEO at The Networking Institute.   You can read more about living and working overseas in Chartered Accountants Abroad, the publication from Accountancy Ireland for Chartered Accountants Ireland members abroad.

Aug 06, 2019
Chartered Accountants Abroad

Three Chartered Accountants who work, or have worked, overseas share their tips for making the most out of your time abroad – whether you’re there for a short time, or for good.Sean Keegan Title: Senior Accounting ManagerCompany: Dome ProductionsLocation: Canada Having arrived in Canada in 2011, I started out in contract work as a Senior Financial Analyst. From there, I moved into more senior and permanent roles, and into media by establishing connections with fellow colleagues, their wider peer group and other Irish people I was introduced to. From both a lifestyle and career perspective, creating a new life in a new city isn’t without its challenges no matter how prepared you are. Cultural norms, office culture and local attitudes – while not drastically divergent to Ireland – have to be embraced and respected. Adopting a positive attitude and embracing elements of Canadian culture are critical if you wish to become part of the fabric. To maximise the opportunity that comes with working overseas, I would recommend taking a step away from your current work experience to try something new. Seeking out new experiences is one of the main reasons for moving abroad in the first place, so why not double down and seek to work as a Chartered Accountant in a new industry or area?Gerald Buckley Title: Finance DirectorCompany: Banc SabadellLocation: Barcelona, Spain Having met my Catalan wife in Ireland, we now live in Spain with our daughter. For me, the transition to life in Spain was a challenge as I didn’t speak Spanish. However, faced with the prospect of a standing start in a country that was struggling economically, I began establishing professional contacts and researching companies in Spain that were hiring people with experience of working in an international environment. To succeed, I knew that I couldn’t approach the move as a ‘stint’ overseas; anyone in this position needs to lay a solid foundation that enables you to deliver long-term. Many people at home were sceptical of the move as Spain had a particularly high unemployment rate at the time, and it was a tough process to be sure. But there are a few things I learned during the move: spend a lot of time evaluating why you are moving, as you need to have a degree of certainty when applying for roles; develop a local network in the area you plan to move to, as it’s important to connect beyond the confines of your comfort zone; have a strategy for the long-term, as those who integrate and have a strategy will have a better chance of success; and research the basics, as sometimes it’s the simple things like manners that matter most.Aoife DugganTitle: Senior Commercial Finance ManagerCompany: Kerry GroupLocation: USA I had the fantastic opportunity to work for Kerry Group in the US for four years, initially as Treasury and Insurance Manager for North America and later as Senior Commercial Finance Manager. Being part of a large organisation meant that growing a network – both inside and outside work – was easier, as there are other ex-pats. Accept invites to meet up and make an effort to get out and join a club or sport; it will make settling in a lot easier and you’ll enjoy your time abroad. For me, getting involved in projects was central to advancement. Showing a willingness to take on additional responsibility opened up opportunities for me but as with any role, getting to know your colleagues/stakeholders and building a strong rapport is essential. I learned about local culture and regulations, for example, much quicker and knew who to collaborate with on specific tasks or projects as a result. If a friend was considering a move overseas, I personally would recommend moving abroad with a large company – one where there is scope for future roles and challenges as you grow in your career. Also, visa and relocation support services in large companies make the move much easier. Speak to people who have already made the move, it will help with the transition.You can read more about living and working overseas in Chartered Accountants Abroad, the publication from Accountancy Ireland for Chartered Accountants Ireland members abroad.

Aug 06, 2019
Chartered Accountants Abroad

Lured by Ireland’s rudely healthy economy and the superior quality of life offered by their native land, an increasing number of Chartered Accountants are choosing to return home to Ireland. Barry O’Leary looks at some of the practicalities involved. Wanting to come home and actually making it happen are two very different things. Many people who yearn to bring up their families in Ireland and have also had the opportunity to do so, haven’t yet made it back. This is usually because of something quite simple, which could have been addressed with some advance planning. The best way to approach this life-changing move is to treat it as a project and plan accordingly. The first stage is to investigate the job market and assess the opportunities that may or may not be there. This is a relatively simple process and a routine scan of recruitment websites, as well as those of reputable recruitment specialists, will give a fair indication of the roles available. This should be backed up with further research to establish the quality of the opportunities. The Leinster Society Salary Survey will give an indication of salary scales, for example. Also, contact friends and reach out to LinkedIn contacts to hear what they have to say about the climate back home. Before you apply… If the results are positive, the next natural step is to start applying for roles. However, a few pieces of the jigsaw need to be put in place first. The first step is to figure out what you are going to do if you do get a job. Clearly, if you are going to start a job in Ireland, you are going to need a place to live, schools for children and so on. Of course, buying a house or even renting one back in Ireland while still living overseas and before you have even landed a new job is an expensive – and possibly unnecessary – step to take. Better to consult with family and friends first and establish if there is a possibility of staying somewhere temporarily, say for three months, while you get settled in the new job and make arrangements for your family to follow you back. That gives you the breathing space to sell up property and other assets overseas while going house-hunting in Ireland. Another essential early step is to speak to the banks about your prospects of getting a mortgage. Having preliminary approval in place will guide the house search. Next is to talk to estate agents and get them looking out for suitable homes. None of this costs money, but it can save a lot of time and heartache in the long run. The other issue to take care of at this point is insurance. Many Irish people returning home are surprised at how difficult, and expensive, it can be to get motor insurance. Shop around the insurance companies to get some prices to avoid nasty shocks later. That can also influence your job search as a company car can suddenly become a lot more alluring. Interview stage The next thing to think about is interview availability. People living in the UK might be able to hop on a Ryanair flight at fairly short notice to attend an interview and be there and back in a day but for those living further afield, more advanced planning is required. One option is to arrange to spend a week at home a month and inform prospective employers of your availability during that time window. Generally speaking, if they are sufficiently interested in you, they will do their best to accommodate you. Having gone through all of that, it’s time for the job hunt itself. This starts with updating your CV and your LinkedIn profile. It might be worth getting advice from a fellow professional or a recruiter back home at this stage. They can help with the design of the CV and what aspects to highlight in the context of the prevailing jobs market. After that, you’ve got to decide on the type of role you’re looking for, and where. Is it practice, industry, or the public sector? If it’s industry, what sector? And where? If it’s Dublin, can you afford housing and can you find schools for your children? You also have to consider your partner at this stage. Will they also be seeking a job when they return home? What area of the country and what sectors best suit them? Dealing with these questions probably requires the assistance of on an Ireland-based recruitment consultant who can help with the job search and move back home.  They can offer independent advice on the process and help ensure that you make the right decisions in all circumstances. The first job offer is not always the best one, and the best paid offer is not always the right one – an experienced consultant can help match the right role to the right person as well as assisting with some of the more practical aspects of the move, such as recommending insurance brokers, mortgage lenders and so on. If you follow this basic roadmap, you will give yourself a much better chance of making a successful move back to the auld sod. Barry O’Leary is the Co-Founder of ACCPRO. Taxing times One of the problems most frequently encountered by accountants returning home is personal taxation. If you want to avoid being subject to Emergency Tax of up to 41%, give your employer your PPS number (Irish people generally have one before returning home) so they can request a Revenue Payroll Notification (RPN) from Revenue. The RPN will show your total tax credits, tax rate band and USC rate band so your employer can make the correct tax deductions from your pay. If you are starting your first job in Ireland, you must register online though Revenue’s myAccount where you can view your personal tax record. You can read more about living and working overseas in Chartered Accountants Abroad, the publication from Accountancy Ireland for Chartered Accountants Ireland members abroad.

Aug 06, 2019
Chartered Accountants Abroad

More and more people are returning to Ireland having worked abroad for a number of years. More often than not, this process also involves starting a new job and, inevitably, paying Irish tax. With that in mind, this article aims to provide a practical guide to some of the tax and pension issues our members should think about as they plan their return home. By Bríd Heffernan Back to basics First, let us briefly cover some of the basics of the Irish income tax system. Employees pay tax through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system which, since 1 January 2019, operates in real time. This means that income tax, pay-related social insurance (PRSI) and the universal social charge (USC) are deducted at source by your employer and subsequently paid to Revenue. As an employee, you can manage your taxes online through Revenue’s MyAccount system. If you have a new job, you will need to register your new role with Revenue in order to be taxed correctly. On your return to Ireland, one of the first practical steps to take is to apply for a Personal Public Service Number (PPSN). As a returner to Ireland, you should already have one but your children (if they were born abroad) or your partner (if he or she is not an Irish citizen) will require one. The PPSN will provide access to social welfare benefits, public services and information in Ireland. Tax residence  On returning home, your liability to Irish tax depends on your residence, ordinary residence and domicile position in Ireland. Residence for tax purposes depends on how many days you spend in the country. Even if you are not actually resident in a particular year, Ireland can still be your ordinary residence as this term refers to the country where you are usually resident over a number of years. The country that is your permanent home is known as your domicile. If you are tax resident in Ireland for a tax year, you pay Irish tax on your worldwide income and any gains you make in that year. Worldwide income is the total income that you earn anywhere in the world. Residence and domicile are taken into account for a number of taxes including income tax, deposit interest retention tax, capital acquisitions tax and capital gains tax. For more information on determining your residence status in any year, visit www.revenue.ie. Tax reliefs You may return to Ireland mid-way through a tax year and therefore, have income on which you may have to pay Irish and foreign tax. In this instance, it may be possible to claim relief from the foreign country if it has a double taxation agreement (DTA) with Ireland. Or, you can avail of a tax relief called “split-year treatment” for the year you return to Ireland. Split-year treatment has the benefit of taxing employment income for only part of a year (any foreign employment income earned before returning to Ireland and becoming tax resident again is not subject to Irish tax), while affording the full range of tax allowances and credits and rate bands of a resident. To avail of this treatment, you will need to contact Revenue in writing. Another relief available to individuals returning home is the Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP). This provides income tax relief for certain people who are assigned to work in Ireland from abroad up to the year 2020. A number of conditions must be met in order to claim SARP and where you qualify, a proportion of your employment earnings are disregarded for income tax. To claim this relief, your employer must send Form SARP 1A to Revenue within 90 days of your return to Ireland. Social security and pension considerations There may be significant differences between the Irish social security system and the system in the country you are moving from. It is therefore worth familiarising yourself with these differences in order to protect your social security entitlements. In the EU, each country has its own social security laws. However, EU rules coordinate national systems to ensure that people moving to other EU countries do not lose security cover and can amalgamate their contributions from member states when applying for a pension. If you are returning to Ireland from a country within the EU or EEA, you should bring an E104 and U1 form back with you as it will provide details of the insurance contributions you made in that country. Ireland also has bilateral agreements with a number of countries outside the EU including the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Consequently, contributions paid in these countries can be added to your Irish social insurance contributions. When it comes to protecting your pension contributions made in Ireland or abroad, there are a number of things to consider. While working abroad, you may be able to claim Migrants Members Relief. This provides relief on pension contributions paid to a pre-existing qualifying pension scheme. If you have made contributions to a foreign pension fund while living abroad, it is important to note that the rules for transferring or accessing the pension’s funds when you return to Ireland are usually determined by the foreign country. Each country will have different rules for such transfers, and you should contact your pension administrator in the foreign jurisdiction to discuss the options available to you. In general, Revenue will allow foreign pensions to be transferred to an approved occupational pension scheme or Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA) provided a number of conditions are met. Conclusion These are just some of the tax, social security and pension considerations to think about on your return to Ireland. It’s important to be familiar with these issues to avoid situations where you could end up paying double tax and to ensure that you protect your social security and pension contributions. Bríd Heffernan is a Tax Manager at Chartered Accountants Ireland. You can read more about living and working overseas in Chartered Accountants Abroad, the publication from Accountancy Ireland for Chartered Accountants Ireland members abroad.

Aug 06, 2019
Chartered Accountants Abroad

Caroline McGroary went to Riyadh for four months, but stayed for six years – and her adventure isn’t over yet. How did you end up volunteering to go overseas? In August 2013, while working for Dublin City University (DCU) as a Lecturer in Accounting, I had the opportunity to travel to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia after DCU signed a partnership with Princess Norah Bint Abdulrahman University (PNU). PNU is the country’s foremost female educational institution and the largest women’s-only university in the world, with capacity for 60,000 students. DCU established a division of DCU Business School within PNU, delivering two undergraduate degree programmes in Finance and Marketing and one postgraduate degree programme in Business Administration. Eager to be part of this project, I volunteered as a member of an initial team of four DCU staff who relocated to Riyadh to initiate the collaboration. What did the role entail? My initial four-month appointment was as Programme Director at PNU and I also held the position of Lecturer in Accounting, Finance and Business Strategy. The task of establishing a women’s business school in a foreign country was in many ways similar to a start-up business venture. Leaving the cultural differences and language barrier aside, we assumed responsibility for all business school operations as well as lecturing responsibilities. We were required to train our Saudi academic colleagues and to liaise with the senior management of PNU, on behalf of DCU, on a regular basis. Navigating the challenges of the first semester required immense teamwork and organisation. At the end of the term, I took the decision to extend my contract for the remainder of the academic year. Six years on, having overseen the graduation of over 500 students with DCU degrees, I am still living in Riyadh and embracing the opportunities and experiences that this collaboration continues to offer. What in particular struck you about life in Saudi Arabia? Saudi Arabia is routinely portrayed in mainstream Western media in a negative light, primarily due to its strict legal, religious, cultural and societal norms. However, the experience of living in Riyadh at a time when the country is undergoing dramatic economic and societal change has given me a very different perspective on life here. Through my position, I’ve both educated and worked alongside Saudi women and I’ve witnessed first-hand my Saudi students and colleagues undergo increased empowerment and social participation, contributing fully to the development of their country. How did you benefit as a result? While there are many highlights from my time here so far, there are a number of key experiences that have benefited me both professionally and personally. First, the most notable has been educating young, bright, tenacious Saudi women, which is an extremely rewarding experience. Second, participating in initiatives such as setting up the Irish Business Network in Saudi Arabia (IBN-SA) in partnership with the Irish Ambassador, His Excellency Tony Cotter has served as an important platform for my professional engagement with the Irish business community, the Saudi business community and other communities in the Kingdom. This has led to many other opportunities, such as working with high-profile companies and governmental bodies on projects that have had educational, economic and social impact, with much of this work achieving international recognition. You took up some non-profit work while in Riyadh. What was your experience of volunteering overseas? Since moving to Saudi Arabia, I have actively sought out ways to give back to the local Saudi and Irish communities. I am one of the founding members of the IBN-SA and I volunteer with the local Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) club (Naomh Alee), teach Irish dance classes, engage in charity events – including the ‘Riyadh Darkness into Light’ event which raised funds for Pieta House in Ireland – and regularly create opportunities for my students to engage in local community events, such as the promotion of physical activity among their local communities and engaging with local charities. What advice would you give someone who is considering moving overseas? The prospect of moving overseas can be very daunting. However, my time in Riyadh has taught me to be open-minded about new experiences and to use challenges as a platform for growth and development. Personally, my time living in Saudi Arabia – one of the most conservative countries in the world – has been the experience of a lifetime. Not only has it allowed me be part of a historical movement centred around the empowerment of women through education, it has also afforded me the opportunity to immerse myself in a new culture, contribute to the local community and to travel extensively. The experience has enabled me to meet people from so many different backgrounds and cultures, which has been an incredible personal as well as professional journey. For these reasons, I’m a strong advocate of gaining international experience and I actively encourage anyone who has this opportunity to embrace it.   You can read more about living and working overseas in Chartered Accountants Abroad, the publication from Accountancy Ireland for Chartered Accountants Ireland members abroad.

Aug 06, 2019
Chartered Accountants Abroad

Chartered Accountants considering a career abroad can benefit from a number of mutual reciprocity agreements with fellow Institutes worldwide. Chartered Accountants Ireland, through the Common Content Project (CCP), has been working with leading European Institutes to develop a new education benchmark for professional accountants that is fully EU and IFAC compliant and which supports auditor mobility within the EU. Following the agreement of the new benchmark, the Institute’s own education and assessment processes were assessed, confirming compliance with the CCP requirements. If you are a registered auditor in Ireland, you can gain audit rights (and depending on the country, membership rights) through the passing of a local law and tax examination. Further details are available about the project at www.commoncontent.com.   Other agreements include: Access to membership Chartered Accountants Ireland has mutual reciprocity agreements (MRAs) with a number of other leading global Institutes, which allow Chartered Accountants Ireland members to apply for membership of those bodies and allow members of those Institutes to apply to Chartered Accountants Ireland for membership. Applicants to Chartered Accountants Ireland will usually have access to membership without examination. To do so, you will need to contact the relevant reciprocal body and provide evidence of good standing and pay the requisite fee. Retention of membership is a requirement of this process. Practice rights Access to practice rights is not automatic and will normally require the passing of local company law and taxation (or similar) exams. Should you wish to gain practice rights, it is suggested that you should preferably gain rights in Ireland before seeking rights overseas. In those jurisdictions where practice rights and membership are synonymous, an examination must be passed. Audit rights are not automatically covered by these agreements as there can be specific local requirements in some cases.  Irish Chartered Accountants who are planning on gaining audit practice rights should gain Irish audit rights first before leaving home.   Chartered Accountants Ireland has MRAs with the following Institutes: The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)/National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). This agreement provides access to membership, practice rights and audit rights subject to members meeting the specific entry criteria and the passing of the IQEX examination. NASBA administers the IQEX and issues the AICPA license; Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ, formerly the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia and the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants); Chartered Professional Accountants Canada (CPA Canada, formerly the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants); The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA); The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS). No examination is required to gain practice rights); The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW). No examination is required to gain practice rights; The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (ICAZ); The Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA); and The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA). For more information, contact Paula Dreelan on +353 1 637 7216 or email registry@charteredaccountants.ie. For any technical queries, contact Ronan O’Loughlin, Director of Education and Training at ronan.oloughlin@charteredaccountants.ie or 01 637 7329. You can read more about living and working overseas in Chartered Accountants Abroad, the publication from Accountancy Ireland for Chartered Accountants Ireland members abroad.

Aug 06, 2019

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