Welcome to the December 2019 issue of Accountancy Ireland

Dec 03, 2019
As the end of 2019 approaches, we reflect on what has been a year of uncertainty for our profession and the wider business community.

The source of much of the uncertainty, Brexit, has now been pushed into 2020 with a flextension which gives a new deadline of 31 January. Members can keep up-to-date in our Brexit web centre while the Institute continues to do all it can to support members and member firms while managing their preparations.

New technology-focused FAE curriculum

Digital disruption is transforming the business world. The accelerating pace of technological change has kicked off a revolution in financial services. 

As an Institute, it’s important that we lead the way. It is part of the role of the accountant to anticipate those changes ahead and to ensure that our client or organisation is not just ready to survive, but to thrive.
That is why we recently announced a new partnership with leading Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software firm UiPath, making us the first professional accountancy body in the world to begin formal training and examination of students in this area.
As part of our augmented education programme, more than 1,300 trainees per year will be studying and developing practical skills in artificial intelligence, RPA, blockchain and cryptocurrencies. We believe that it represents an important investment which will benefit our trainees, profession and the wider economy.

Together, our member firms are the largest employer of graduates in Ireland. It is vital that we give them the best possible business education.

In recent weeks, I was privileged to present certificates to almost 500 new members of our Institute at ceremonies in Belfast, Cork and Dublin. I’d like to congratulate all of our new members (and those who supported them along the way).

The Brydon Review 

At our AGM in May, I said that the future of audit would be a key consideration during my term in office. 

I had the opportunity to discuss the issues with Sir Donald Brydon in October. He is, of course, overseeing the Brydon Review into the quality and effectiveness of audit on behalf of the British Government. 

The discussion ranged from the extent to which the future audit reports should inform as well as assure stakeholders, to consideration of how to enhance the audit process by having greater collaboration between audit committees, company management and the auditor.  

The meeting was the third element in a series of engagements by the Institute, both in writing and in meetings, with the Brydon review team. Sir Donald Brydon’s report is expected by the middle of January, and we will keep members informed of any developments.

IFAC board appointment

At the annual IFAC board meeting in Vancouver earlier this month, I was delighted to be present to support the election of an Irish Chartered Accountant to the board of IFAC. Joan Curry, a Council member of Chartered Accountants Ireland and Principal Officer in the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, is the first Irish Chartered Accountant to serve on the board of IFAC. Her appointment is a testament to her own immense abilities and to the regard in which your Institute is held by the global standard setting body. Joan’s success was acknowledged by our own Consul General in Vancouver, who hosted a lunch in honour of Joan’s achievement.

Annual Dinner

Finally, the 2020 Chartered Accountants Annual Dinner will take place in the Convention Centre, Dublin on Friday 31 January.

I am delighted that our guest of honour will be Irish Chartered Accountant, businessman and philanthropist Lochlann Quinn. Bookings for the event are now open. I look forward to welcoming friends, colleagues and guests to our premier event at the end of January.

Conall O’Halloran