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Latest News

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After a bout of bad governance in charities and not-for-profit organisations in Ireland, trust in the sector is at an incredible low. For charities to continue their work, they need to build back the public's confidence. Diarmaid Ó Corrbuí explains how accountability and transparency can achieve that goal. Only 50% of the public trusts Irish charities, according to recent research by nfpSynergy. This is below the level of trust in our schools (74%), the Garda (62%), the EU (55%) and the civil service (53%). Some consolation might be taken from the fact that trust in charities was above that of the banks (41%), but our banking institutions are on the long journey of trust-recovery after the banking failures 10 years ago. Back in April 2012, charities were getting a trust score of 74% but they fell to a low of 43% in November 2016 after the fallout from the Console scandal, and upward progress has been ever since. Charities need to continually work on generating and building back public confidence. Major failures in corporate governance by charities, such as Console and not-for-profits like the Football Association of Ireland, are extremely damaging for the sector as a whole, particularly given the criticality of public trust for charitable organisations and their sustainability. Restoring the public trust To restore and build public trust, charities need to be strongly committed to the principle of accountability and transparency – one of the six core principles in the new Charities Governance Code. Grappling with change and implementation of a new governance code is not always easy, especially with limited resources. The Charities Regulator itself has said that 2019 will be a year of learning before registered charities are expected to fully comply with the Code in 2020, or report on it in 2021. Taking the steps to apply the six principles of the Code will make its implementation – and, in turn, building the public trust – that much smoother. Luckily, there is a good range of guidance available from the Charities Regulator that can assist, as well as a number of resources from other organisations (e.g. Carmichael, The Wheel, Chartered Accountants Ireland, etc.) that can help charities develop and embed good governance practices. Charities could also consider entering the Good Governance Awards. Investing time and effort in such an initiative can really build the public’s confidence while showing the charity’s commitment to improving its organisation’s accountability and transparency. The charity and not-for-profit sector has long been an important backbone of our society and communities across Ireland. The selfless desire to help others is core to what they do as trustees, volunteers and staff working in the sector. Through good governance and transparency, those within the sector will earn back the trust they deserve. Diarmaid Ó Corrbuí is the CEO of Carmichael. Carmichael established the Good Governance Awards for Charities and Not-for-profits in 2016. The 2019 awards are now open for entries, closing date 13 September. For more information, see the awards website at www.goodgovernanceawards.ie.

Jul 05, 2019

Chartered Accountants Ireland today, 20 June, launched its inaugural programme of Pride celebrations. Over the summer, the Institute will be running a range of events and online resources in Dublin and Belfast. The programme commenced with the unveiling of building branding in the Dublin office and a staff event on diversity & inclusion. The Institute was delighted to welcome Chartered Accountants Ireland member Brendan Byrne, Finance Director and LGBT Network Lead at Accenture Ireland, along with Sara Philips, Chair of TENI who was the Grand Marshall of this year's Pride parade. Though members and member firms have a long history of supporting Pride, this is the Institute’s first participation, and the activities build on the wider remit of the Institute and its Diversity and Inclusion Committee. To mark the occasion, Diversity and Inclusion Committee member John McNamara shares his thoughts on Pride celebrations and how people can be allies all year round. Importance of LGBT+ allies all year round Each year, June sees a month-long global celebration of Pride and it’s a time for everyone to recognise and celebrate the importance of diversity and inclusion both in and out of the workplace. Why June? June was chosen to commemorate the Stonewall riots in New York, which occurred at the end of June 1969 and therefore this year marks its 50th anniversary. The riots grew from police raids on the Stonewall gay bar which in turn led to wider demonstrations and is now recognised as the birth of the modern LGBT+ rights movement. Pride was born out of the struggle for the gay community to be seen. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that LGBT+ individuals and groups have had on society and highlight areas where further progress is required. Very appropriately, the theme for Dublin Pride in 2019 is ‘Rainbow Revolution’. Notwithstanding the rapid and important hard-won recent achievements in this country, Pride won’t magically make everybody comfortable enough to come out at work, and it won’t encourage everyone to think twice about the discriminatory language they use in and out of work often disguised as ‘banter’. A recent UK study showed 62% of LGBT+ graduates who are already out to their friends and family feel they have to go back into the closet when they get their first job. The Institute’s Diversity and Inclusion committee plays a role in drawing attention to the importance of business strategies ensuring an inclusive environment for LGBT+ employees. We understand that when we can be ourselves at work and are able to live our values every day, we are empowered to reach our full potential. We also know that when people from different backgrounds with different points of view collaborate together, they create the greatest value - for our business and our customers. The role of LGBT+ Allies is vital in this regard. An ally is a term used to describe someone who is supportive of LBGT people and includes non-LGBT allies as well as those within the LGBT community who support each other. How can you be an ally? Here are 4 basic ways: EDUCATE YOURSELF: Make time to learn about the issues. Go away, do your research and give yourself a good idea of what it all means. BE VISIBLE: From simple things like wearing Pride badges or lanyards, taking part in Pride activities in your work to talking about experiences of your own, about gay family-members or friends you have. Be natural. If you are a leader, people will watch you and take cues from your behaviour. INFLUENCE OTHERS: Use whatever platform you have to share your perspective and to share other people’s stories. Have those conversations. Being an ally goes beyond just LGBT and you can show your support in other areas equally as well. LISTEN: When someone confides in you, listen. Reassure them. Ask open questions. If someone has come to you as a trusted ally, that is a great thing. So, while we celebrate Pride this month it’s important to remember why it’s important that we do so. We equally need to carry that understanding and commitment past June and through to the rest of the year. John McNamara is Managing Director of Canada Life International Assurance (Ireland), a member of the Institute’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and Chairperson of the organisation behind SpunOut.ie and Crisistextline.ie. Related links: Institute diversity statement - https://www.charteredaccountants.ie/about-us/what-we-do/Diversity-and-inclusion-statement Member and students event – Pride in our profession https://www.charteredaccountants.ie/prideinprofession Featured story: Broad parental leave policies help families and organisations thrive https://www.charteredaccountants.ie/News/broad-parental-leave-policies-help-families-and-organisations-thrive FLICKR photos from the Chartered Accountants Ireland Pride festivities https://www.flickr.com/photos/irishcharteredaccountants/albums/72157709174395818

Jun 20, 2019
Press release

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.

May 17, 2019