Sustainability

In today’s Public Policy news, take a look at some of the European Commission’s recently published reports. You can read about the latest economic predictions as per the Summer 2020 Economic Forecast report, and Ireland’s performance in the newly released EU Single Market Scoreboard. Also, the European Commission has launched its first call for applications to apply for the new €1 billion investment package towards developing green projects, under the Innovation Fund.   “A deeper recession with wider divergence”, warns the latest European Economic Forecast Released earlier this week, the European Commission’s Summer 2020 Economic Forecast has forewarned that the EU economy will experience a deep recession this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the swift and comprehensive policy response at both EU and national levels.   How are the numbers looking for Ireland? As per the forecast, Ireland’s economy is set to shrink by 8.5 per cent in 2020 and is predicted to only rise up to 6.3 per cent in 2021. This compares with the Commission's Spring forecast of a downturn of 7.9 per cent for this year and a recovery of 6.1 per cent for next year.   What was the major impact on Ireland? The forecast has stated that economic activity in Ireland is expected to have plunged in the second quarter of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated lockdown. Private consumption is set to be particularly hit due to the measures.   Is Brexit contributing to the predicted economic downturn in Ireland? Ireland’s economic outlook remains affected by specific uncertainty concerning the future relationship between the EU and the UK, potential changes in the international taxation environment and the activities of multinationals registered in Ireland.   Single Market Scoreboard 2020: Member States need to do more   What is the Single Market Scoreboard? The European Commission has launched the 2020 edition of the Single Market Scoreboard, which rates members of the European Economic Area (EEA) on how effectively the EU single market rules were applied. The Scoreboard is an online tool, which aims to monitor the performance of the Member States by using clear indicators, with the objective to improve the functioning of the Single Market. A well-functioning single market is crucial for ensuring the free movement of supplies across the EU and vital for the swift recovery of the EU economy, especially in a post-COVID era.   What does the Scoreboard evaluate? The Scoreboard evaluates how Member States have performed as regards to: Implementation of EU rules creating open and integrated markets (e.g. public procurement, trade in goods and services) handling administrative issues concerning foreign workers (e.g. professional qualifications) cooperate and contribute to a number of EU-wide governance tools How did Ireland perform on the Scoreboard? We have given below a summary of Ireland’s performance under key public policy areas:   Key public policy areas Ireland’s performance Single Market governance tools (transposition, infringements etc.) Above average Single Market Policy Areas (public procurement, professional qualifications) Average Integration and market openness (trade in goods and services) Average Note: Ireland has the fourth highest level of trade integration in the single market for services   What were the other key findings of the Scoreboard? Uneven enforcement of single market rules: while Member States significantly improved the transposition of EU legislation, the number of infringement procedures has grown, partly due to incompletely or incorrectly transposed EU legislation   Expanded administrative cooperation among Member States: The use of the Internal Market Information system (IMI), which supports Member States’ administrative cooperation in 16 policy and legal areas, has increased by 52 per cent.   Steady increase in use of tools helping citizens and businesses benefit from the single market: The number of citizens using Your Europe information portal and the Your Europe Advice services has drastically increased.   More work needed in specific policy areas: further improvements are needed to ensure the free movement of professionals, especially to ensure more decisions recognising professional qualifications. The public procurement performance of Member States continues to be uneven, in particular as regards contracts awarded to single bidders.   Commission launches first call for €1 billion investment in innovative green projects    On 3 July 2020, the European Commission launched the first call for proposals under the Innovation Fund.   Take a look at our explainer on the Innovation Fund, which describes the Innovation Fund in greater details, and includes links to apply.   The Innovation Fund is a programme provided by the EU to finance breakthrough technologies. It aims to create the right financial incentives for companies and public authorities to invest now in the next generation of low-carbon technologies and give EU companies a ‘first-mover advantage’ to become global technology leaders.   This first call contributes to the green recovery of the EU economy by helping businesses invest in clean energy and clean industry to boost economic growth, create local jobs and give a competitive advantage to EU industry.     Read all our updates on our Public Policy web centre.

Jul 10, 2020
Public Policy

This week, in Irish stories, take a look at Revenue’s new guidance outlining DAC 6 disclosure requirements. In UK developments, applications for the first self-employed support scheme grant close in three days’ time. In International news, the European Commission relaxes its State-aid rules to take account of COVID-19 disruption.      Ireland Take a look at Revenue’s new guidance outlining DAC 6 disclosure requirements The Tax Appeals Commission have postponed upcoming appeals hearings and inaugural Chairperson of Tax Appeals Commission is appointed. UK Applications for the first self-employed support scheme grant close in three days’ time Claims under the job retention scheme can now be deleted within 72 hours International Read about how State-aid rules have been relaxed for COVID-19, including the General Block Exemption Regulation which impacts Ireland’s EIIS, SCI and SURE incentives.  

Jul 10, 2020
Tax RoI

In a letter to Chartered Accountants Ireland under the auspices of the CCAB-I, Revenue said that employers having difficulty preparing information in response to letters issued under the TWSS compliance programme can contact Revenue for additional time. The CCAB-I wrote to Revenue last week seeking an extension to the five-day response time for employers under the TWSS compliance programme, urging Revenue to take a business-friendly approach in its interaction with businesses under the compliance programme. Revenue has agreed to provide additional time for employers experiencing genuine difficulty in providing information and advises that such employers should contact Revenue for additional time. Reference is made by Revenue to staff shortages or remote working as examples of circumstances where employers may have difficulty providing information within the 5-day deadline. Revenue has provided support to taxpayers in terms of its debt collection and enforcement procedures, and acceleration of refunds since March. Revenue notes in its letter that the compliance programme will be conducted in a supportive manor. Compliance checks are to be staggered over a number of months and seek to impose a minimum burden on employers according to Revenue. The TWSS compliance programme is not an audit intervention.

Jul 09, 2020

Chartered Accountants Ireland Chartered Accountants Ireland has updated the Technical and business updates page on our COVID-19 Hub with updates on Auditing implications of Coronavirus, Financial Reporting implications of Coronavirus and Information for insolvency practitioners.  We have also updated our page on Other Regulator Updates for both ROI and NI / UK in response to COVID-19.   Ireland The Companies Registration Office (CRO) have published their 2019 Annual Report.  UK A SORP engagement process has begun as convenors are appointed to take forward discussions on the next SORP. The Charities Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) sets out the framework for how larger charities prepare their annual report and accounts. The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has announced its ‘principles for operational separation’ of the audit practices of the Big Four firms. The FRC has this week issued a revision of its standard for the identification and assessment of risks of material misstatement in an audit of financial statements. The revised standard (ISA (UK) 315 (Revised – July 2020) - Identifying and Assessing the Risks of Material Misstatement) adopts the revisions made to the underlying international standard issued by the International Auditing and Assurance Board (IAASB).    Europe Accountancy Europe have issued their June SME Update. The Eumedion Foun­da­tion based in the Nether­lands has published a position paper 'Towards a global, investor focused standard setter for corporate non-fi­nan­cial reporting' calling on the IFRS Foun­da­tion to establish such a stan­dard-set­ter. Following an EFRAG Board meeting earlier in the week, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) has issued final en­dorse­ment advice on ' Extension of the Temporary Exemption from Applying IFRS 9 (Amend­ments to IFRS 4)'. In February 2020, the European Com­mis­sion (EC) launched an ini­tia­tive to review the European Non-Fi­nan­cial Reporting Directive, One of the aspects of the review looks at whether to mandate the use of a common set of non-fi­nan­cial reporting standards and whether these should be es­pe­cially developed European standards. The EC has now sent two letters to EFRAG asking it to undertake prepara­tory work for the possible elab­o­ra­tion of such standards.  International The IFRS Foundation has appointed 21 new members and one observer to the SME Implementation Group (SMEIG) for a three-year term starting 1 July 2020. On 7 July 2020, IASB member Ann Tarca delivered a speech at the virtual annual con­fer­ence of the Accounting & Finance As­so­ci­a­tion of Australia and New Zealand (AFAANZ). She discussed digital reporting and included questions for prac­ti­tion­ers, stan­dard-set­ters and re­searchers.      

Jul 09, 2020

At the LCSA we would like to update our members with regard to the solutions that Glennons have in place to insure the cars of family members, including young drivers. This scheme has received fantastic feedback in relation to the exclusive savings and benefits that have been provided since it was introduced.  Having recognised the difficulty in obtaining Car Insurance where there are multiple vehicles in the family, and in particular the high cost associated with young drivers, Glennon have arranged an Exclusive Family Multi-Car Insurance policy for Chartered Accountants Ireland members. This policy provides excellent policy benefits together with significant premium discounts for households with more than two cars in the family and can cater for the following: Cover for your children’s cars whilst residing with you or studying away from home Facilities to add your children or au pair as named drivers to your own cars Luxury, High Performance or Classic Cars Cars registered in a company name Discounts for multiple cars on a single policy Please see an example below of the savings that have been achieved. Total Savings Produced for the member was €3,010 Glennon Family Multi-Car Policy with: 4 Cars (BMW X5, Mercedes C220, Mini Cooper and Volkswagen Polo) 4 Drivers aged 57, 53, 24 and 21 years old. The Standard Premium Based on 4 individual policies was €7,050 The Premium on the Glennon Multi-Car Policy was €4,040. To qualify for this policy the primary car must be valued in excess of €30,000 when new and is subject to eligibility criteria being met. Brendan, Chartered Accountant, Glennon Multi-Car Policy Client “Glennon Insurance have been my motor and home insurance broker for 30 years, providing a professional, competitive and personalised service.  But recently I presented the real challenge. We went from a standard two car quote with two named drivers to needing insurance cover on three cars with two adult drivers and three young drivers aged 18, 20 and 22 with minimum no claims bonus or driving experience. In addition one of our children’s polices needed to be in their own name.  But Glennon had the solution. Their multi-Car Family policy with Chubb offered a very competitive quote, much better than anything I could find in the market (and I tried!).  The policy was flexible and they also facilitated the cancellation and refunds of our existing polices on the new policy date. It was simply great that Glennon had the foresight to introduce a product that meets the family needs of their clients. I have since recommended the products to neighbours and friends and will continue to do so” In order to obtain a quotation contact Glennon’s dedicated Multi-Car team on 01 7075955 or visit Glennons website if you would like more information. Frank Glennon Limited, trading as “Glennon” and “Glennon Insurances”, is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

Jul 09, 2020

By Teresa Campbell The last few months have been a difficult time for employers and their teams. Many employers had to avail of government incentives as businesses were forced to deal with the lockdown brought about by COVID-19. Some employees working from home have struggled with feelings of isolation; others have experienced pressure due to crèches and schools being closed, and those caring for elderly or less able relatives have found that many of their usual supports were unavailable during the lockdown. Workplaces that remained open, or are now reopening as restrictions ease, have had to implement changes to keep staff, clients and other visitors as safe as possible as we learn to live with COVID-19. Concern about the impact of the pandemic, along with the emotional and economic pressures that many people are experiencing at present, makes it more important than ever for leaders to reassure, inspire and motivate their teams. The six Cs of confidence, clarity, communication, cooperation, community involvement and celebrating success all have a role to play in this regard.   Confidence: to successfully motivate your team, you must inspire confidence. With so much uncertainty and change at present, it is important to be flexible so that you can adapt quickly to overcome challenges and grasp opportunities. While you may have fears about the impact of the pandemic, it is vital to remain calm and show that you have a realistic plan to take your business forward. Prioritise wellbeing by implementing effective health and safety protocols, both in the workplace and for employees working from home. Clarity: set clear, short-term goals and empower your team to manage their own contributions. Recognise that people are working in a changed environment, and be open to allowing people to find new ways to solve problems. Monitor performance, and seek and give regular feedback to ensure everyone stays on track. Communication: clarity and consistency are essential when it comes to communication. This helps ensure that employees, clients and other stakeholders share the same understanding of how your business is responding to the changes ahead. Don’t over-rely on email. Face-to-face, voice and video communication channels should also be part of your communications mix. Cooperation: when we work together, everyone achieves more. Teamwork, collaboration and a shared sense of purpose are great motivators. Organising virtual coffee breaks for remote teams and encouraging individuals to share tips on how they motivate themselves is as relevant now as it was at the start of the pandemic. Community involvement: many leaders today want their businesses to be socially responsible. They recognise that encouraging teams to give something back to their community enhances motivation and helps strengthen employees’ pride in the organisation they work for. Celebrate success: recognise and reward successes – whether that’s achieving a goal, winning a new client, raising funds for charity, or individual achievements, such as passing an exam. People are at the heart of every business and leaders need to be supported by teams that are committed to their individual roles, focused on exceeding client expectations and capable of identifying future business opportunities. Now, more than ever, motivating your team is crucial as you adapt and drive your business forward. Teresa Campbell is a Director at PKF-FPM Accountants Ltd.

Jul 09, 2020

By Moira Dunne Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, many people are still working from home over the summer months. Staying focused can be difficult, as home working presents many distractions. In last month’s article, I gave some tips for managing distractions at home. The summer introduces a new set of distractions, however, such as good weather and school holidays. In this article, I will outline some strategies to help maintain motivation and productivity in the months ahead. The challenge is to stay focused so you can get your work done. There are two things you can do: manage yourself and manage others. Manage yourself Managing yourself means understanding what impacts on your productivity while placing a high value on your time. Think of your workday as a simple equation: you have X amount of work to do in Y amount of time. Be clear about the work you should prioritise each week and each day. Then, protect your time for those priorities by negotiating when asked to do additional pieces of work and saying no to non-essential activities. This can be hard to do, but it is essential to stay on track. If you find that summer weather affects your productivity, turn this distraction into a motivator. By setting a goal to finish on time, you will be more inclined to stay on track during the day. You will procrastinate less and not be as distracted by time-wasting activities. Instead, you will be focused on the prize of getting out into that good weather. Be strategic and adjust your plan if you know the forecast is good, for example, starting earlier than usual so you can get through all your work to finish early. Manage others Working at home while minding children is hard. Now that the school term is finished, your homework routine is probably gone. Is it time for a new plan? Involve your kids in coming up with ideas and create a summer routine together. Design the plan to incorporate your work hours. One approach is to work in time blocks to take advantage of the quiet times in your house. To optimise your productivity, plan to work on your priority tasks during these high-focus time blocks. Save your low-level, administrative tasks for periods when there will be more noise and distraction. Here is a sample schedule that may help you plan your alternative workday: 6am to 8am: high-focus work. 8am to 8:30am: breakfast with the kids. 8:30am to 10am: kids’ activities while you do low-focus tasks like email responses or attend an online meeting. 10am to 12pm: outdoor activity with the kids. 12 noon to 2pm: high-focus work while your kids have some downtime and a lunch picnic. 2pm to 3pm: time away from work for an activity with the kids. 3pm to 5pm: low-focus tasks like email responses or online meetings. If necessary, do a short time block later to complete some administrative tasks. Design a plan that suits your parenting and working responsibilities. Perhaps you can avail of a summer camp or childminding by a relative to increase your options and flexibility. Be productive To be productive, you must be pragmatic about your circumstances and do what you can to optimise your working time. By using a well-planned routine, you can give yourself a higher chance of managing your time and productivity. Have a great summer! Moira Dunne is a productivity consultant and Founder and Director at BeProductive.ie.

Jul 09, 2020

By Louise Molloy We are transitioning to the next phase of COVID-19 survival. We have proven that we can work from home, pivot, virtually engage and bounce back. In a crisis, we do what needs to be done. As we face into a ‘new normal’, economic uncertainty and a looming Brexit, our ability to choose our commitments and complete them has never been more challenged. I am increasingly having conversations on how to manage priorities, relationships and commitments. It occurred to me that we Northern Europeans squirm at the thought of saying no, having become addicted to the way the pleasure centres in our brains fire up when we are wanted and our talents are recognised. Now is the time to redefine caring, to redefine empathy and to deliver real, long-term support. We all accept that there are times when we have to say yes. However, there is no point in overcommitting to prop-up a broken system or inappropriate solution. I worked with a significantly challenged project manager who couldn’t say no. Once they reframed asks in the context of overall business deliverables, however, they found their voice and delivered better business outcomes. Saying no is about understanding (yourself, your situation and the asking party) and practice. Self What are my boundaries and values? What am I prepared, and able, to commit to while honouring my health and existing professional and personal commitments? How does the request affect my energy? To do a good job, it needs to inspire, not drain, my energy so that I can fully commit to it and persist when challenged. What decisions am I making when I say yes/no? If I am saying yes to avoid unpleasantness, what is the price? Human beings have finite energy and mental capacity, so investing in this request means taking from another or turning down something else in the future. Am I okay with that? Your situation Clarify the context: why is this ask being presented to you? Understand the ask; confirm the desired outcome and whether the question is the right one. For example, it is common to request more people on a project when, in fact, more ‘bodies’ isn’t the answer. More sponsorship for momentum may be more effective. What conditions are needed to make this a successful fit, and is there evidence that such conditions exist? Identify the reciprocity: put your project manager hat on and assess what you need to invest (time, effort, your advocacy) and what you will get out of it (money, promotion or, less obviously, new skills/networks/brand redefinition). We are often on the receiving end of requests, but there is always something to bargain for. Be clear on how an ask can work for you, and be confident about negotiating it. Others If you never say no, how can someone trust your yes? Be explicit about this, that it is your personal value to only say yes to things you can undoubtedly complete or achieve. You will gain respect and brand authenticity. Give this approach a go. You may find that no becomes redundant as the question becomes a different question, or you are happier to say yes. And if you do have to say no, be clear, direct and give a concise reason. This shows conviction, and that you have respectfully considered the ask. Less is more. Practice on small asks and watch the impact – you might find that the right no is far more supportive than the wrong yes! Louise Molloy is an executive coach, facilitator and independent director.

Jul 09, 2020
Careers Development

Most Chartered Accountant students are rightly occupied with study, exams and lectures for the three and a half years of their traineeship and upon passing their FAEs then need to decide what direction to take their qualification.  This throws up a multitude of questions. Questions... Ideally what should my next job title be? Do I work a year abroad or just do a three-month travelling time-out? Should I stay with my training firm for six months or longer? Should I be aiming for a contract or a permanent position?  PLC versus SME etc. etc. ...So much to figure out so quickly... This can be quite a lot to take on board and decide suddenly what trajectory your career path is going to take from the outset.  Suggestions I would suggest you diarise into your annual timetable breaks from the study at intervals to scope out various paths and options that are going to be available to you once you qualify in 2021 or 2022. As well as being a switch from the pressures of study, this research will also give you a sense that you are on a targeted path. It will give you focus on a clear goal and something to aim for upon qualification.  If there are sectors you are particularly interested in, start researching them now and get close to the exciting companies in those sectors!  Even as early as CAP1, ensure you set up a professional LinkedIn profile and start connecting with CFOs, practice partners and managing directors in your target companies and sectors.  Browse the job specs on LinkedIn and irishjobs.ie that you feel might appeal to you in a few years time and make sure you understand any niche technical requirements as well as the soft skills being sought and focus on building these while you train.  Additionally, even at this early stage of your career it is advisable to work with one or more mentors. Someone experienced in business who you feel has good judgement and will help you with some direction as you head towards qualification.  Finally, use LinkedIn to map the career paths of your peers that are a few years ahead of you and what they did upon qualification and speak to as many of them as you can. Not all of them got it right. All newly quals have to find their feet and explore the market in the initial years and often make a few moves to find the right fit but why leave it to the last minute? Dave Riordan - Career Coach and Recruitment Specialist Email Dave Career and Recruitment Service homepage

Jul 09, 2020

By Rachel Sherlock, Marketing Manager at Bloomsbury Professional Ireland There are few more prominent voices in the world of Irish tax than Tom Maguire. He is the author of three of the most important tax annuals: Irish Income Tax, Irish Capital Gains Tax and The Taxation of Companies. This is in addition to his role as tax partner at Deloitte, leading the firm's tax technical and tax policy team, as well as being an author of a weekly tax column in The Business Post. Earlier this year, Tom was interviewed for the Obiter Dicta podcast to speak on his experience as an author of numerous tax titles. It was also a chance for him to share his wealth of information for students and young professionals starting out in this area. Among his advice, he advocated for solicitors to take the tax exams, stating that "tax is a part of every transaction, doesn't matter what it is... tax is going to be there". He also spoke about how he cultivated his work ethic and the things that helped motivate him early in his career. In one anecdote he stated: "Learn as much as you can from every person that crosses your path. Read everything that's possible to read in relation to it. I had a mentor once, and I'll never forget it. He said to me in a very cold voice at the time: 'If you haven't read about the law, you don't understand the law, you cannot apply the law, then you should not be advising on that law'. And that's always stuck with me." With his prolific work and uniquely broad experience, Tom's interview makes for lively listening, especially for those starting out in a career in tax. You can listen to the full interview here, or subscribe to Obiter Dicta on the various podcast apps including iTunes, Spotify and Stitcher. Each episode features interviews with Ireland's leading legal and tax professionals on their areas of interest and expertise. Tom's tax annual Irish Income Tax 2020 was released last month and can be bought here. This new edition has been updated to cover several new areas including Key Employee Engagement Programme (KEEP) and other relieving provisions, and Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (COVID-19) Act 2020, including the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme. His title, The Taxation of Companies 2020, was released in February of this year and can be bought here, while Irish Capital Gains Tax 2020 will be released later this year. (This article is sponsored by Bloomsbury.)

Jul 09, 2020
Press release

Today, Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a set of new measures to offset the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the UK economy. Alan Gourley, Chair of NI Tax Committee, Chartered Accountants Ireland gave his initial reaction, commenting “The key measures announced in the Summer Statement today are designed to encourage consumers to get back out spending and to have the confidence to enjoy a meal out, buy a home and return workers to regular employment. “Today’s announcements will have a positive impact on the economy in Northern Ireland.  We have the same Stamp Duty Land Tax system as England so Northern Ireland will benefit from the increase from £125,000 to £500,0000 of the zero-rate threshold, a saving of £2,500 on a home costing £250,000. “This zero-rate threshold in addition to measures like the reduced 5% VAT rate for hospitality services, the innovative “eat out to help out scheme” and the jobs retention bonus are all time bound incentives due to expire early next year at the latest. This will hopefully encourage consumers to have the confidence and the money to resume spending in 2020. This can only be a good thing as local businesses in Northern Ireland really need consumer support to get back on track.  “These incentives, combined with a sensible approach to social distancing will help as the economy tries to navigate the post-COVID-19 recovery.” Highlights include:  Jobs retention bonus will be paid to employers from 1/11/2020 to 31/1/21 - £1k bonus per furloughed employee who is returned to work - employee must be paid at least £520 per month on average between Nov 2020 and Jan 2021.  Payments will be made from February 2021. Stamp duty land tax on residential properties – 0% threshold will be raised to £500,000 (currently £125,000) until 31/3/2020 – effective from today for England and NI. VAT on hospitality – food (eat-in or hot takeaway food from restaurants, cafes and pubs),  accommodation (hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites) and attractions (cinemas, theme parks and zoos) cut from 20% to 5% from next Wednesday until 12 January 2021. For month of August – “eat out to help out” discount - meals eaten at any participating business, from Monday to Wednesday, will be 50% off, up to a maximum discount of £10 per head for everyone, including children. Businesses will need to register, and can do so through a website, open next Monday. Each week in August, businesses can then claim the money back, with the funds in their bank account within 5 working days.  

Jul 08, 2020
Sustainability

Calls for proposals to the Government Just Transition Fund 2020 close at 4pm on the 17th of July 2020. The Just Transition Fund (JTF) is part of the Government of Ireland’s just transition plan for the Midlands region. It focuses on upskilling and employment projects in green enterprise. The funds’ objectives are to support sustainable upskilling and employment in green enterprise in the Midlands regions. The target audience for funding are private, public, and community and voluntary organisations and there is €11m funding available. To find an inforamtion booklet and guidance on eligibility and how to apply, visit gov.ie 

Jul 07, 2020

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