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President's welcome - August 2018

Aug 01, 2018
This is my first Accountancy Ireland comment piece as President. First of all, I would like to say that I consider it a tremendous honour to be elected President of our Institute. I would like to thank my predecessor, Shauna Greely, for her exceptional leadership throughout a tremendously successful year. Shauna can look back with great pride on her term in office.

Caring and people-focused

I am confident that in the year ahead, we will do everything in our power to ensure that Chartered Accountants Ireland continues to be a progressive, outward-looking organisation that is engaged with its many constituencies and is driven by a vision not just for itself, but for the community it serves.

I believe that a caring approach, combined with talented people and taking time to develop relationships, is the key to business life. Therefore, my overarching theme for my Presidential year will be for our Institute to be caring and people-focused. This means we will be caring for members, staff, trainee students and the community. Our aim will be to encourage positivity and a united, collective team effort to unleash the energy within people.

It is an approach which recognises that we must move forward and get things done as we address the three key themes of our strategy – attracting the brightest and best to our profession; being relevant to our membership (through improved connection and engagement with members both at home and the growing diaspora of members overseas); and by being the authoritative public voice of our profession.

Delivering innovation

We are experiencing challenging global political and economic times, including the continuing uncertainty around Brexit, and changing regulation. It is my belief that leadership in the corporate setting should be centred on the ability to deliver change. Only adaptive organisations endure in today’s rapidly changing business environment. To put it simply, I believe you either innovate or evaporate.

Chartered Accountants Ireland is currently in a healthy state, but there is no room for complacency. We don’t have the option of standing still. Indeed, the greatest risk is to take no risk at all and that is why our organisation must continue to demonstrate its commitment to continuous improvement.

New education programme

The latest example of this approach to innovation is the recent launch of our new student education programme, currently serving 6,665 students across the island of Ireland. The new programme, starting in October, will seek to address current market and employer needs, anticipate future skills requirements and put additional supports in place for our student body. The updated programme will include new final year specialist elective subjects, some for the first time anywhere in the world.

Of particular note is a new financial services FAE elective in partnership with the Institute of Banking; a new FAE elective in finance and accounting in the public sector in partnership with CIPFA; a new advisory FAE elective; and new pathways to membership – including more exemptions from the Institute’s professional exams for those who have already passed corresponding exams at university or with other bodies.

I believe that this initiative is a significant development in improving our education offering. It is an important measure in attracting new talent to our profession and a strong indicator of our commitment to respond to the needs of our members and wider society in an innovative, flexible way.

TEAM Chartered Accountants Ireland

Working with colleagues, my style will be to encourage a joined-up family TEAM Chartered Accountants Ireland approach (i.e. working Together Everybody Achieves More), and endeavouring to make every moment count. I believe that TEAM Chartered Accountants Ireland can approach the future with confidence in its ability to exploit opportunities and address any challenges that may arise. Onwards and upwards on our forward journey, with direction.

Feargal McCormack