President's comment - August 2020

Jul 28, 2020

This is my first Accountancy Ireland comment piece as President. First off, I would like to say that it is a tremendous honour to be elected President of our Institute.

I would like to thank my predecessor, Conall O’Halloran, for his exceptional leadership throughout a tremendously successful year. Conall can look back with great pride on his term in office.

Bouncing back

The current priority remains one of public health but soon, the huge economic challenge of preserving jobs and rebalancing public and private finances will emerge. This has been made even more difficult by the constraints on both consumption and production.

As we move to the next phase in continuing to suppress COVID-19, we as Chartered Accountants will have a pivotal role to play in helping to drive the economy forward and in generating growth.

Working in collaboration with business, political leaders and the public sector, Chartered Accountants Ireland will be a strong supporter and advocate for the business community and the positive impact that a renewed economy can have for all in our society.

I believe that our 28,500 members working in leadership, finance or advisory roles throughout Irish business will play a key role in kick-starting the recovery and ensuring that businesses bounce back strongly.

Priorities for the year ahead

As President, I want to harness the ability, experience, and expertise of our membership network to support economic recovery in the aftermath of the pandemic.

The strengthening of our role with the public sector will be the first of my key themes for the year. I see our profession having a much stronger role to play here.

The second priority will be maintaining and enhancing the relevance of the Institute to our members from the start of their career through to retirement. We must stay connected. It is good to feel part of something, to feel a belonging to the family that is Chartered Accountants Ireland. I am proud to belong.

Members will see that this sense of belonging and active participation is at the heart of the Institute’s new Strategy24, the document that will direct our work over the next four years.

As Strategy24 is rolled out, members will see their Institute become more digitally driven. We believe that members will find a greater sense of connection and will see the Institute focus on being a financially sustainable, digitally-enabled organisation with an agile culture that supports innovation and collaboration.

My final priority is access to our profession for potential students. We will continue to work to highlight the opportunities available to a new generation of potential trainees within an innovative, forward-looking profession.

Looking forward

Following May’s annual general meeting, the gender balance of the Institute’s Council now stands at 50:50. I will seek to promote balance more widely across the Institute. It is worth noting that the overall membership is currently 42% female and 58% male.I am looking forward to the year ahead. Of course, there are challenges – but we have a great team at the Institute, and we will drive ahead. I am counting on your support as we work for members across the island of Ireland and beyond.

Paul Henry