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Latest News


Ever gotten a group together to brainstorm and felt like it was a waste of time? Anne Byrne feels your pain. She provides some practical tips to banish the brainstorming blues and to make your next brainstorming session more effective and innovative. I have a confession to make: I hate brainstorming sessions. I often find them unproductive, a bit chaotic and leave me wondering – what was the point? I used to think this made me a lousy innovator. Surely, brainstorming was the epitome of innovating? Lots of people in a room, coming up with lots of ideas – that’s innovation, right? As time has gone on, and I’ve learned more about innovation, I’ve come to realise two things: Brainstorming isn’t innovation, but it is an essential step in the innovation process. Brainstorming isn’t bad; it’s often just not done right! So, here are my tips for better brainstorming, learned from my own mistakes and experience. Tip 1: I wouldn’t start from here... Getting lots of people in a room and writing down loads of ideas isn’t productive unless those people understand the problem at hand and user's needs. Too often we rush to brainstorm when we haven’t entirely defined the problem. We need to understand the issue at hand before we start. Next time you’re thinking about holding a brainstorming session, take a moment to think about whether it’s the right time to do so: do you and the team understand the issues and trends? Have you articulated the problem? Have you spoken to the impacted users? Sometimes it’s a matter of timing. If you can get the groundwork done first, you’ll find brainstorming more productive, relevant and engaging. Tip 2: Stay quiet! I’m one of those people who will rush to fill any silence in a room – but one of the things that I’ve learned is that sometimes I need to zip it. Silence in brainstorming is powerful. Five or ten minutes of silent thinking and idea generation at the beginning of a brainstorming session works wonders. It allows people who may be more naturally introverted to gather their thoughts and more actively participate, and for more ideas to be generated, and it avoids the group getting sucked into “group think” around the first few ideas thrown into the ring before anyone has fully thought them through. Tip 3: Bold is beautiful To be truly innovative, we need to be bold, to put forward the big ideas that seem a bit scary or silly. Many innovations sound ridiculous or unfeasible when first pitched. The innovation process is about taking the big, bold, ludicrous ideas and refining them to make it work. Sometimes, we filter ourselves, and therefore limit the ideas that put forward when brainstorming. We are afraid of being criticised or ridiculed, so we stay in the safe zone.The challenge is to silence that inner voice; the one that tells us to play it safe or stay quiet. Taking a bit of time at the beginning of a brainstorming session, or at the formation of an innovation team, to focus on establishing trust is essential. Simple measures, like developing a team charter of behaviours or conducting an ice-breaker designed to build trust, can make a big difference. Tip 4: Be ruthless! Too often I’ve left brainstorming sessions with a wad of post-it notes, but no real idea what any of them mean, and too many ideas to feel like I can do anything useful. Brainstorming is itself a process: step one is creating lots and lots of ideas free from constraints, but step two is to whittle these down and start to tease them out further. By narrowing down your ideas, you can focus on developing the strongest ones. Tip 5: Let go Letting go of ideas is hard, so how do we do it? Set some rules and limits, apply them in a fun way, and do so in an environment of trust. Fostering psychological safety in a group is a key factor for letting go. People need to understand that it is an idea that is being rejected, not the individual who came up with it. A team that can trust and let go together can also foster critique and challenge ideas constructively.  Anne Byrne is the GovLab lead in Deloitte.

Jul 10, 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