CEO comment - October 2019

Oct 01, 2019

Brexit deadline

The 31 October Brexit deadline is fast approaching and clarity on the issue is as far away as ever. At the time of writing, many options seem possible, including a Brexit delay and a UK general election, but perhaps the most likely prospect is a no-deal or limited-deal Brexit.

Both the Irish and British governments have urged businesses to prepare for Brexit, particularly those that import, export or transport goods, animals or animal products.
It seems that the UK government is operating on the assumption that a hard border will return to the island of Ireland, as revealed in a UK no-deal contingency document codenamed ‘Operation Yellowhammer’, which was eventually published in mid-September after leaks to the press.

The document warns of potential unrest in Northern Ireland along with road blockades, job losses and disruption to the agri-food sector, as well as an increase in smuggling and the potential for disruption to electricity supply. We must hope that this is a dire overestimation of a worst-case scenario.

Meanwhile, in Dublin, Institute President Conall O’Halloran recently met with Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, to discuss the post-Brexit scenario as well as the Institute’s 2020 Budget submission and other business issues.

Brexit support

Our Institute will do everything it can to support members and member firms at a time of great uncertainty. You can read our latest updates on, particularly in our Brexit Web Centre and our page dedicated to no-deal Brexit planning.

We are encouraging businesses across Ireland and the UK to ensure that they can continue to trade with each other post-Brexit. Applying for a customs registration (an EORI number) is just the first step in the process. Getting an EORI number takes between three and five minutes and can be completed online.

While some traders have experience in the customs formalities required to import and export outside of the EU, it will be a first for many – particularly smaller enterprises. Businesses need to upskill in the area of customs using Government supports. They should also assess whether they have gaps in customs knowledge.

Revenue estimates that customs declarations are expected to increase from 1.4 million to 20 million per year post-Brexit. HMRC estimates that declarations will grow five-fold to around 250 million. It’s best to be as prepared as possible.

New academic year

As we move into October, our Institute is about to welcome a new crop of students following a campaign to recruit the brightest and best to the profession. A new programme of specialist qualifications covering areas as diverse as corporate finance and cybersecurity are also getting underway.

A central part of our strategy is to train the very best business professionals so that they can make a significant contribution to the economy on the island of Ireland, and further afield.

We’re working hard to ensure that whatever the economic climate, we’re providing high-quality Chartered Accountants who will make a valuable contribution to firms and businesses. On behalf of my colleagues in the Institute, I’d like to offer our best wishes to all of our new students as they start out on their Chartered journey.

Barry Dempsey
Chief Executive