Chartered Accountants Ireland elects Conall O’Halloran as new President

May 17, 2019

Challenges facing audit & access to accountancy profession among priorities for new President representing 27,000 members in Ireland 

Friday, 17th May 2019. Conall O’Halloran has been elected President of Chartered Accountants Ireland for 2019/2020 at its 131st Annual General Meeting in Dublin today.

Addressing the Chartered Accountants Ireland AGM, Mr O’Halloran said his tenure as President would focus on the challenges facing the audit profession, both in Ireland and overseas, while working to broaden understanding of the wider role and value that Chartered Accountants bring to business and society.

In addressing the challenges facing the audit profession, he said;

“I have recently been looking to our nearest neighbour in the UK and reflecting on the fractured relationship with the regulator, the Financial Reporting Council, and with politicians. Many of the reforms recommended by Sir John Kingman’s recent independent review have now been accepted by the FRC and by the profession and politicians generally. However, the wider review by the Competition and Markets Authority and also the independent review into ‘The Quality and Effectiveness of Audit’ being conducted by Lord Brydon, will be fundamental to our future, and the future of business more broadly.

“I think we need to be very careful here in Ireland that what works, and indeed what may be required to work in the UK, is not necessarily or automatically right for Ireland.  I will work very hard as President of Chartered Accountants Ireland to ensure good communication between the profession, politicians and regulators and ensure the very particular strengths that we have in Ireland are protected and nurtured.”

Mr O’Halloran also highlighted that access to the profession at graduate level, facilitating more graduates to train in industry and the public sector, and non-graduate entry routes would be a priority in the year ahead. 

“In Ireland we are currently very much a vocational profession where the majority of our graduates who train as Chartered Accountants come with a business qualification. This is quite different in other countries and I feel there is a win-win if we can demonstrate the value of being a Chartered Accountant to graduates from different disciplines with diverse skill sets and ways of thinking.

“While flexible routes to becoming a Chartered Accountant have opened up opportunities for people in industry and the public sector, the training in business option has declined. When I look to some of Ireland’s corporates there is enormous opportunity in our large companies, particularly those with a global footprint, to train Chartered Accountants in-house.

“The other thing we need to get right is our school leaver route. I think it inevitable that college fees for university education will be reintroduced at some stage and will make third level education inaccessible to even more people. So, while the school leaver route in Chartered Accountancy has become a thing of the past, I am pretty clear that it will become a thing of the future again and we need to be ready for it.”

Mr O’Halloran, who takes over as President from Feargal McCormack, is Partner and recently served as Head of Audit Practice with KPMG, based in Dublin, from 2013 to 2019.  He was previously nominated by the Irish Government to the UK’s Financial Reporting Council’s Audit and Assurance Board and the Company Law Review Group, where he served for nine years. A graduate of UCC, Conall O’Halloran is married with four children and lives in Dublin.

At today’s AGM, Paul Henry was elected Deputy President of Chartered Accountants Ireland. Pat O’Neill was elected Vice-President.

Ends

Reference: 

Brendan O’Hora, Communications & Marketing Director, Chartered Accountants Ireland, 086 2432 428 / brendan.ohora@charteredaccountants.ie

Karen Jones, Gibney Communications, 01 661 0402 / 086 866 4501

Note for Editors: Chartered Accountants Ireland represents 27,000 Chartered Accountants throughout the island of Ireland and in 93 countries around the globe. Founded in 1888, It is the largest, longest established and fastest growing professional accountancy body in Ireland.