Cork Society News

Careers

Working from home has become necessary for many people due to COVID-19. But how can you manage when it comes to working remotely? Eric Fitzpatrick gives us nine tips on how to successfully work remotely without going stir-crazy or losing productivity. The Coronavirus is forcing organisations and workforces to reconsider their current work practices. Non-essential travel has been cancelled, events are being postponed or moved to online platforms and companies and organisations have their staff work remotely from home.   At first glance, working from home can be appealing, but there is a downside to it as well. As someone who has worked from home for more than ten years, the following are worth noting when it comes to remote working.  1. Discipline  The key to working at home is discipline. Be clear about what time you will start and finish. Agree these times with your organisation. You might have more flexibility with your hours than you would in your office but it’s important to be clear about your hours. Build in the times and duration of your breaks. Know that you’ll take a break at 11am for 15 minutes. If you’re not disciplined, 15 minutes could easily become 30 minutes or longer.  2. Get dressed If how you dress is too casual, how you work might be, too. Wear work clothes. Working from home might mean dressing as you would for casual Friday in the office, but dressing for work gets you in the frame of mind for work.  3. Designate a workspace  If you have a home office where you can close the door behind you at the end of the day, great. If not, work from a space where you must be clear at the end of the work day, such as the family dining table. By removing access to the workspace, you remove the temptation to go back to work for a couple of hours in the evening.  4. Work in a room that is bright and airy Working in a dark office with no natural light can reduce productivity and enjoyment.  Create a tidy workspace and an environment that is conducive to effective working. Have a place for everything and place only that which you will need in that workspace. 5. Ditch your mobile Be without your mobile for as much as possible, if not needed for work. Leave it in another room if you’re working on a project from which you don’t want to be interrupted. You can lose up to an hour a day picking up your phone to check social media platforms. Remove the temptation.    6. Skip the chores During your working day, don’t put on a wash, do the weekly shopping, vacuum, change the bed covers, paint the kitchen or replace that lock. You’re being paid to work, not to get ahead of the housework.   7. Keep healthy  If you walk or cycle to work, working from home takes away the opportunity to get that exercise. Can you make time elsewhere to get in some activity? Your kitchen will probably be closer to your workspace that the office canteen is to your office desk. It can be very tempting to take 10 seconds to walk to the kitchen to grab a snack. Working from home, you might find yourself doing less exercise and eating more – a bad combination. Try to manage your activity levels and snack time. 8. Don’t go stir-crazy  Working from home can take a bit of getting used to. You go from working in a busy, noisy office to working in quiet isolation. At first, it seems great, then slowly the walls start to close in. The silence becomes too loud and you find you need people to interact with. Don’t go more than two days without speaking to colleagues or clients. Design your calendar to ensure you have regular contact with the outside world.  9. Turn on the radio Music can be a positive contribution to an effective workspace at home. Played in the background, it can replace the noise of the office and remove some of the quiet isolation.  Working from home can increase productivity, improve your quality of life and may become necessary for many people over the coming weeks or months. Knowing how to manage it can make it as successful as possible.   Eric Fitzpatrick is owner of ARK Speaking and Training.  

Mar 20, 2020
Tax

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has a range of measures to provide income support to people affected by COVID-19. We have summarised the measures announced to date which includes advice for employers and welfare advice for the self-employed and employees. Advice for Employers Employers are directed to the public health advice issued by the HSE for questions arising as a result of COVID-19. It is essential that all employers abide by this advice. The government is urging all employers to support national public health objectives by continuing, as a minimum, to pay employees who cannot attend work due to COVID-19 illness or self-isolation the difference between the enhanced illness benefit and their normal wages. Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme – In a situation where a business has to cease trading as a result of the HSE advice on ‘social distancing’ the government is encouraging employers to retain employees where possible. To facilitate this the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) is setting up a refund scheme for employers which will pay them the €203 per week for each worker who would otherwise have been laid off . This will mean that workers retain their link with employers and there is no need for them to personally submit a jobseeker's claim. Irish Revenue will operate the ‘Employer COVID-19 Refund Scheme’ on behalf of DEASP through the normal payroll process. Amounts paid to employees will be refunded to the employer’s bank account on a ‘next day’ basis. Revenue has published guidance on how to operate the scheme. Welfare advice for employees and the self-employed If you have lost work due to a downturn in economic activity caused by COVID-19 you can apply for a new COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment which delivers income support to the unemployed for a 6-week period. If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or are medically certified to self-isolate as a result of COVID-19, you can apply for Illness Benefit for COVID-19 absences. A range of other supports are also available for: workers whose employers do not supplement/top-up the State Illness Benefit payment (COVID-19) workers who are requested to stay at home by their employer (COVID-19) workers who are laid off temporarily or put on to short time working (COVID-19) workers who need to take time off work to care for a person affected by COVID–19 employees and the self-employed who have lost employment due to a downturn in economic activity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic

Mar 18, 2020

Chartered Accountants Ireland has been engaging with the Companies Registration Office, Revenue, the Central Bank and other key government agencies and stakeholders around the impact of COVID-19. The most up to date information available from regulators is as follows: Companies Registration Office (CRO) – The CRO has confirmed that all annual returns due to be filed by companies between now and 30 June 2020 will be deemed to have been filed on time if all elements of the annual return are completed and filed by that date. The situation will be kept under review and the date of 30 June 2020 may be extended depending on the situation at the time.  Please see the CRO twitter for more information. The CRO have also issued a FAQ document which clarifies some of the issues raised by users. The Registrar of Friendly Societies also has an updated annual return date of 30 June 2020. Courts Service – The Courts Service has published a comprehensive list of amendments to Court schedules and procedures which are available on their website.  There are ongoing updates available on the Courts Service twitter account. A further note was issued on 24 March regarding the interim process in place for the delivery of judgments. Law Society of Ireland (Law Society) – We have been in touch with the Law Society of Ireland regarding the filing of Reporting Accountants Reports. They noted that the obligation to furnish the accountants reports rests with the solicitor and the Law Society is continuing to pursue outstanding reporting accountants’ reports. Where solicitors are in difficulty in furnishing signed reports the Law Society is accepting unsigned reports by email at financialregulation@lawsociety.ie with an undertaking from the solicitor that the original signed report will be filed as soon as is practicable.  Where solicitors are in genuine difficulty filing the reports, additional time is being afforded to solicitors to file the report. Solicitors should notify the Society at financialregulation@lawsociety.ie of the current difficulty. The Law Society is dealing with these on a case by case basis. It is worth noting that there has been no change in the law in relation to the requirements for execution, stamping and registration of deeds. The requirements for registration of deeds in the PRA means that wet signatures on deeds are still required. Central Bank of Ireland – The focus of the Central Bank is ensuring that the financial system can continue to provide services to households and business in this difficult time. They have worked constructively with all of the sectors that they regulate and have published the measures that have been taken to date here.  The Central Bank of Ireland relies on the various regulatory filings in order to monitor the financial system. Should firms believe that they will not meet their regulatory reporting obligations, they should speak to their supervisors or their usual Central Bank contact in the first instance, as they usually would, providing specific information on difficulties faced. Their usual Central Bank contact will be best placed to advise on their individual situation. Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) – The PSRA has issued details of the measures it has put in place around license renewal applications, audits, investigations and general queries to continue the smooth running of its day to day activities. Central Statistics Office (CSO) – The CSO acknowledges that collecting data will be difficult in the COVID-19 period and has issued a press release outlining their priorities and the processes in place during this period. Insofar as possible, they are continuing to collect survey information, so that they can provide statistics that show the changing situation from March 2020 onwards. Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) – The DPC has issued a note which serves as a reminder on data protection obligations when processing personal data relating to COVID-19. They have also published tips to keep personal data safe when working remotely which are included here. Charities Regulator –  The Charities Regulator is currently open and working on ways to continue our regulatory work and provide supports to Irish charities. It understands that one of the impacts of this crisis may be a delay in the filing of annual reports by charities who are due to file over the next few weeks. The Charities Regulator is conscious that all organisations are facing challenges at this time and would ask that charities endeavour to file annual reports on time using the Charities Regulator’s online portal, which all charities will be familiar with. Please be aware that automated reminders to file your annual report will continue to issue. The Charities Regulator will be considerate and proportionate in how we deal with such issues where they arise. While it does not propose to formally extend filing deadlines at this time, we will keep this under review. Charity Commission for Northern Ireland – Some changes have been made to the way the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland delivers its services. Details are available on their website. In terms of annual reporting, they note that, in the current circumstances, “until otherwise advised, no charity will be penalised for missing its annual reporting deadline, which includes that no charity will be marked as in default on the register of charities if they fail to meet this deadline. We would ask that if charities find themselves in this position that they contact us via email to admin@charitycommissionni.org.uk where possible, to keep us apprised of their situation.” Law Society of Northern Ireland – The timeframe in which independent statutory Reporting Accountants’ Reports must be delivered to the Society will be extended by three (3) months from the date on which the report should otherwise be delivered. See full notice here. Companies House – The Companies House is now granting those who apply, a two-month extension to file company accounts.  Companies House advise that companies should act before the filing deadline. If accounts will be late because your company is affected by COVID-19, and your filing deadline has not yet passed, you can apply for an automatic and immediate 3 month extension to file your accounts but you must apply for the extension before the filing deadline. Other We have also collated specific information for both auditing and financial reporting. The auditing updates includes FAQ’s which consider some of the audit challenges faced in this period and updates from regulatory bodies and professional bodies. The Financial Reporting update includes some updates from accounting standard setters/regulators, professional bodies and material from member firms. IAASA has published news articles noting the issuing of: the ESMA public statement (27 March 2020) promoting co-ordinated action by National Competent Authorities regarding issuers’ obligations to publish periodic information for reporting periods ending on or after 31 December 2019 in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak (see below); the ESMA public statement (25 March 2020) on the financial reporting implications of the COVID-19 outbreak on the calculation of expected credit losses in accordance with IFRS 9 Financial Instruments (see below); and an earlier ESMA public statement addressing actions that market participants have to take in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak in order to preserve investor protection, the integrity of markets and financial stability (12 March 2020). The FRC has published guidance for companies preparing financial statements and a bulletin for auditors covering factors to be taken into account when carrying out audits during the current Covid-19 crisis. Previously they issued guidance for auditors arising from the coronavirus pandemic. It has also published advice for companies and auditors on disclosure of risks and other reporting consequences arising from the emergence and spread of COVID-19. Updates from the FRC are available here. The FCA, FRC and PRA announced a series of actions (26 March 2020) to ensure that information continues to flow to investors and to support the continued functioning of the UK’s capital markets.  The European Central Bank (ECB) has announced a number of measures to ensure that its directly supervised banks can continue to fulfil their role in funding the real economy as the economic effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) become apparent. The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) have published a list identifying the current supports which are available for impacted businesses. There is also a comprehensive checklist of issues for businesses to consider. which can be found here. This includes the recently published Business Continuity Planning: Checklist of preparatory actions in responding to COVID-19. This checklist includes planning activities, business issues to address, measures to underpin continuity and responding to workplace risks due to COVID-19, as well as some useful links. Accountancy Europe has collated resources for European accountants including updates from Accountancy Europe member bodies, public authorities and firms. Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) – ICAEW has a useful COVID-19 hub available on their website to support individuals, businesses and their advisors. Members may find the articles on The financial reporting implications of coronavirus and Considerations for group auditors of interest. Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) – The CCPC has set out some steps on its website that businesses can take to assist the CCPC in carrying out its merger review. ESMA, the EU’s securities markets regulator, has issued a Public Statement (27 March 2020) on the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the deadlines for publishing financial reports which apply to listed issuers under the Transparency Directive. ESMA has issued a public statement (25 March 2020) on the financial reporting implications of the COVID-19 outbreak on the calculation of expected credit losses in accordance with IFRS 9 Financial Instruments. In other instances, we advise members to make contact with the relevant stakeholder body for specific advice. Member firms  Several of the Institute’s member firms have produced material to help businesses respond to and manage the impact of COVID-19. To date, we have come across the following updates: PwC Ireland recently published an update which includes information for organisations on crisis planning with information PwC’s global crisis centre also included. BDO Ireland has issued a COVID-19 Business Toolkit: Managing your business in uncertain times includes information on trading and working capital, cash flow management along with updates on banks and funding, employee costs and options, Revenue and turnaround options. The toolkit can be found here. KPMG Ireland as developed practical guidance and support to help businesses in both Ireland and Northern Ireland manage the impact of COVID-19. Mazars Ireland has published information and tips for business owners including resources on insolvency and director’s duties, crisis planning, communication, staff issues and supply chain management.  Grant Thornton Ireland’s website includes managing mobility in the face of coronavirus, the importance of strategic workforce planning, COVID-19: government supports and COVID-19: data protection. There is also specific resources for NI resources available on Grant Thornton’s NI website. EY Ireland's online resources include webinar which discusses the business implications of COVID-19 and an article on how companies can reshape results and plan for recovery. Deloitte Ireland's online resources include Local and Global guidance.  Chartered Accountants Ireland is continuing to monitor the advice being issued by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) and other Irish and international agencies.  Please see our website for further information. 

Mar 12, 2020

(Updated: 15 March 2020) We have taken the decision to close the Dublin and Belfast offices to the public. We have also postponed all our member and student events up to 29 March and we are revising activities after that on a case by case basis. We will contact all attendees directly in relation to this. We will also be writing directly to all students and firms relating to study and exams. In all cases, we advise staff, members and students to the public health guidance for their area, and encourage them to follow any additional advice provided to them by their firm or employer. We will also be issuing further guidance to students and firms relating to study and exams next week. While Institute staff are now working from home, the Institute is still open for business and we are committed to supporting members and students at this time. You can find contact information for all student services and for members below. There are also mental health and personal support resource services for members and students on the CA Support website.  Further links: Latest updates from Revenue, Companies Registrations Office and the Central Bank of Ireland and regulators. Student Services - full contact list Quick access - Students General student queries General queries- StudentQueries@charteredaccountants.ie Training support unit - TrainingSupport@charteredaccountants.ie Course programmes CAP1 - cap1@charerteredaccountants.ie CAP2 - cap2@charteredaccountants.ie FAE - FAE@charteredaccountants.ie Examinations, interim assessment & appeals CAP1 - CAP1Exam@charteredaccountants.ie CAP2 - CAP2Exam@charteredaccountants.ie FAE - FAEExam@charteredaccountants.ie Member Services - full contact list Quick access - Members Renewals and fees Membership fees - registry@charteredaccountants.ie Annual returns - professionalstandards@charteredaccountants.ie Member Services CPD & Diplomas - cpd-mail@charteredaccountants.ie Career service- careers@charteredaccountants.ie CA Support -  CASupport@charteredaccountants.ie

Feb 25, 2020
Press release

Project led by Prince Charles urges accountants to act on climate emergency Chartered Accountants Ireland today announced that it is one of 14 accounting bodies worldwide to become signatories to a call to action on climate change issued by “Accounting for Sustainability” (A4S). A4S is Prince Charles’ Accounting for Sustainability Project and was established in 2004 with the aim of promoting sustainable decision-making in business.  The memorandum of understanding signed by Chartered Accountants Ireland today states that signatories will commit to providing the training and infrastructure that accountants need, as well as supporting initiatives and providing the evidence needed to take action on climate change. In signing the memorandum, Chartered Accountants Ireland recognises that climate change is an economic, social and business risk that accountants must take action on collectively as a profession and individually as professionals working in the public interest.  The 14 accounting bodies signed up to the agreement represent a total of 2.5 million accountants and students worldwide, and now includes the 28,500 members represented by Chartered Accountants Ireland, the largest accountancy body on the island of Ireland. Barry Dempsey, Chief Executive of Chartered Accountants Ireland, said: “I am delighted to sign the Accounting for Sustainability memorandum, which commits Chartered Accountants Ireland to taking a leadership position on the need for greater action on sustainability, and to facilitating that change through our membership. We know that the role of Chartered Accountants is changing as the need to do business sustainably becomes more central to how companies and consumers operate.  We are focused on a future where members and the businesses they advise are better equipped to strive towards a net-zero economy sooner rather than later. We believe the accountancy profession can play a role in achieving climate change mitigation and adaptation. It will take commitment and it will take action, and we are pledging both today.” The signing of the memorandum is one part of a programme of sustainable initiatives already underway at Chartered Accountants Ireland. The Institute’s programme includes an Expert Working Group consisting of members drawn from practice and industry who are working to address the development of research and voice for the profession in the area of sustainability.  The Institute’s programme also includes an ongoing calendar of events, with networking, CPD training and professional development opportunities for members on sustainability, including most recently a Sustainable Finance event held at the Irish embassy in London, where members heard from a panel of experts on the challenges and opportunities for accountants and finance leaders working in this area. As a profession, Chartered Accountants are increasingly relied upon to advise companies on the policies and procedures that underpin doing business more sustainably and reporting on this fact for the benefit of stakeholders, customers and consumers.  About the Memorandum  As a signatory to the memorandum, Chartered Accountants Ireland is committing to the following actions: • To provide members with the training, support and infrastructure needed; • To support relevant market-based policy initiatives and incentives; • To provide sound advice to help governments to create the policy and regulatory infrastructure necessary for a just transition to a net-zero carbon economy.  The memorandum also includes pledges for professional accountants individually:  • To provide sound advice and services as organisations and governments develop and implement plans for climate change mitigation and adaptation; • To contribute to the efforts of their organisations to integrate climate change risk into organisational strategy, finance, operations and communications; • To use and implement existing and developing reporting frameworks such as those from the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures and the International Integrated Reporting Council. • To support sustainable decision-making within their organisations. The memorandum can be viewed in full here: http://www.accountingforsustainability.org/abn-climate-action ENDS Reference Fiachradh McDermott | Gibney Communications | 087 655 7070 | 01 661 0402 About Chartered Accountants Ireland Chartered Accountants Ireland is Ireland’s largest and longest established professional body of accountants founded in 1888. The Institute, which is an all-island body, currently represents over 28,500 members around the world. Chartered Accountants Ireland is a founding member of Chartered Accountants Worldwide, the global alliance that brings together over 1.8 million Chartered accountants and students in more than 185 countries. About Accounting for Sustainability The Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) was established by HRH the Prince of Wales in 2004 with the aim of promoting sustainable decision making in business. A4S works with Chief Financial Officers and finance teams, the accounting community, governments, regulators, policy makers and the wider finance community across the globe. A4S established the Accounting Bodies Network in 2008 to work with professional accounting bodies as they recognise and incorporate principles of sustainability in their organisations.  

Feb 25, 2020
Press release

Chartered Accountants Ireland today announces a three year partnership with specialist accountancy recruitment practice Barden. The collaboration will see Barden support the Chartered Accountants Student Society of Ireland (CASSI) with a six-figure sum investment over three years, alongside a commitment to 1,000 career coaching hours for students and recently qualified Chartered Accountants. Elaine Brady, Managing Partner, Barden Dublin says of the partnership: "This partnership, with the future of the accounting profession in Ireland, is a culmination of years of hard work by our team here in Barden. It was a privilege to be asked to participate and we are proud to be a part of helping the Chartered Accountants of tomorrow make the best decisions for their professional and personal development. It's about more than just jobs; it's about life." Emma Noonan, newly elected Chair of CASSI (Chartered Accountants Student Society Ireland ), says of the partnership: "The contribution Barden will make to support the Chartered Accountants Student Society of Ireland (CASSI) will make a huge impact to the positive services we offer to our members, and we will be in a stronger position to ease the path of future Chartered Accountants as they launch their careers." It is intended that Barden's contribution will be used to support student communications, such as a website and e-newsletters, dedicated sporting events, social activities, and coaching and advisory sessions for future Chartered Accountants. ENDS Notes to editors For reference: Claire Percy, Chartered Accountants Ireland, 086 216 4393 claire.percy@charteredaccountants.ie Ed Heffernan, Barden, 086 209 8701, edheffernan@barden.ie  About Chartered Accountants Ireland: Chartered Accountants Ireland is Ireland's largest and longest established professional body of accountants founded in 1888.  The Institute, which is an all-island body, currently represents over 27,000 members around the world. About Barden: Founded by Ed Heffernan, Elaine Brady and Jonathan Olden in 2014, Barden has grown organically into a thriving team of accountancy, finance and tax recruitment experts in Dublin and Cork, who strive every day to redefine what finance professionals should expect from recruitment. For further information about Barden visit www.barden.ie.     

Feb 03, 2020
Press release

 Annual Dinner speech emphasises leading role of Chartered Accountants in Irish business  Pictured (l-r) at the 2020 Annual Dinner were Institute President Conall O’Halloran with Guest of Honour and Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Lochlann Quinn. The President of Chartered Accountants Ireland, Mr Conall O’Halloran FCA, has said that audit in its current form does not meet public expectation and that the gap between expectation and reality has, in part, contributed to a breakdown in trust between the profession and wider society, particularly in the context of the UK market. In making the comments to over 850 business leaders and industry representatives as guests of the Institute’s annual dinner (Friday, 31st January 2020 at the Convention Centre in Dublin), Mr O’Halloran distinguished recent issues and events in the UK from the Irish market, stating; “I am confident that this is a different market, that the large audit firms in Ireland are absolutely committed to maintaining and enhancing their reputations for audit quality and committed to working with our regulator, IAASA.” “Nevertheless, trust is damaged when the public suspect that the profession is acting out of self-interest. It is damaged when the public expects more of us than we believe we are required to do.” “On the point of self-interest. I believe this emanates from a perception that the big firms use audit as a loss leader to sell additional consulting services to clients. As regards the large public company market in Ireland, this is absolutely not the case – nor has it been for many years.” “Our own recent research supports the fact. It shows that fees paid to the auditor for non-audit services amounted to just 7%. This compares to a maximum threshold of 70% permitted by EU legislation.” Mr O’Halloran observed, “Society at large has rightly questioned what is the true value of audit if it doesn’t express an opinion on a company’s viability?” Referencing the Chartered Accountants Ireland submission to the UK’s Brydon report on audit effectiveness and quality, Mr O’Halloran said, “I believe that society and legislators can expect more than the current audit product is designed to deliver. We made this point directly to Sir Donald in our submission, and again when we met with him in London last November.”  “We indicated that auditors could, and indeed should, express their own views on a company’s prospects and also to report on their assessment of a company’s long-term viability. We did that because it is up to us to take the lead in redefining what we can deliver. We are committed to working with Government and IAASA to ensure audit evolves and responds to the needs of both business and wider society.” One in four Irish PLC board members a Chartered Accountants The profession enjoys a leadership position at Irish PLCs according to an analysis by the Institute examining the qualifications of board directors, with Chartered Accountancy the most prevalent qualification held as cited in the annual reports published. Across some 57 Irish Publicly Listed Companies, one in four board members is a Chartered Accountant. This is a higher percentage than any other profession or qualification and outnumbers all other accounting qualifications combined by more than three to one. At 88%, the majority of PLCs (50 out of the 57 companies surveyed) had at least one Chartered Accountant on their board, with 38 of these companies (67%) having two or more Chartered Accountants as board members. Some 70% of the Finance Directors are Chartered Accountants, with the qualification also held by one in five (20%) Chief Executives.  The President of Chartered Accountants Ireland noted that the profession had enjoyed considerable success in training business leaders, with members succeeding at the highest level of business in Ireland and globally. He further stressed; “by taking the lead, we can ensure that we remain a vibrant profession, and that we continue to attract our brightest graduates and provide them with the best business education available.” ENDS Notes to Editors Auditor independence research from Chartered Accountants Ireland: https://www.charteredaccountants.ie/docs/default-source/dept-public-policy/auditor-independence-in-ireland.pdf?sfvrsn=2 Link to Brydon report: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-quality-and-effectiveness-of-audit-independent-review Research into Irish Plcs: Chartered Accountants Ireland analysed the composition and qualifications of the board of directors of Irish PLCs, using publicly available information from 57 companies. The methodology was a desktop review, based on the 2018 annual reports of each PLC. The companies reviewed are PLCs on the island of Ireland whose primary commercial base is in Ireland. Reference: Brendan O’Hora, Director Members, 086 243 2428

Feb 03, 2020

Study for a specialist qualification on demand with distance learning options from Chartered Accountants Ireland. In the first half of 2020 we will offer 7 online diploma programmes across the areas of finance, tax, technology, governance, and financial reporting. Strategic Finance and Management Reporting Diploma in Corporate Finance – 6 month programme, classes start 7 February Diploma in Strategic Finance and Business Partnering – 6 month programme, classes start 28 February  Tax Diploma in Taxation – six month programme, classes start 29 February Technology and Data Diploma in Data Analysis and Strategy – classes start 13 March [opening soon] Governance and Ethics Diploma in Risk Management, Internal Audit and Compliance – 5 month programme, classes start 27 March Certificate in Cyber Security and Data Incident Management - 4 month programme [opening soon] Financial Reporting new Diploma in Excellence in Financial Reporting (IFRS/FRS/US GAAP) - classes start 3 April [opening soon] Visit our Professional Development section for a full listing of Specialist Qualifications offered by Chartered Accountants Ireland. This includes classroom courses held in Dublin, blended learning programmes delivered through a mix of online content and limited classroom sessions, and online-only programmes such as those listed above.  Remember that all of our certificates, diplomas, and CPD courses can be delivered at your workplace and tailored to your team's needs. Contact our In-House Training team for further details.

Jan 09, 2020
Careers

Like our personal New Year resolutions, work-related goals will slip unless they become embedded in our daily routine, writes Teresa Campbell. At the start of a new year, it is natural to think about what you want to achieve over the coming 12 months, both personally and professionally. We set goals for ourselves and our teams, often investing much time in the process. However, even with the best of intentions, we often slip back into familiar routines, missing out on opportunities to make the most of the year ahead. Getting into the habit When setting out to achieve new goals, it can be useful to focus on developing new habits that can help us succeed. In 2009, Phillippa Lally and her colleagues at London’s UCL defined habits as behaviours that are performed automatically because they have been performed frequently in the past. Their research found that it can take much longer than many people think to form a habit, and perseverance is the key to success. According to Lally and her colleagues, to form a habit, one should be very clear with themselves about what action they will adopt and in what situation, and then carry out that action consistently. Lally says that, over time, it will require less effort. Likewise, in the workplace, when managers are encouraging teams to form new habits (be it good time management, better organisation or to adopt a more independent working style), they need to be clear about what they want the team to achieve, encourage the group along the way and have regular check-ins to be sure these new behaviours are happening consistently. Do as I do Managers also need to reflect on how their work habits impact on team members. Do you lead by example? Do you make time to get to know your team members? Do you give credit where credit is due? Do you take regular breaks, manage your stress and prioritise your health and wellbeing? Do you communicate your expectations clearly and set realistic goals and deadlines? These are essential habits, which all persons should develop to become a productive team member – but your team will struggle to embed them into their lifestyle if they don’t see you doing the same. Consistency is key I suspect that if you were to ask each of your team members and managers about the good habits they would like to nurture in 2020, you would end up with a long list of aspirations covering everything from better time management to cutting back on social media to giving higher priority to health, wellbeing and community involvement. Whatever their goals for the coming year, remind them that persistence is vital. While they may slip for a day here or there, they should try to be consistent and prioritise getting back on track. That way, there’s a good chance their new habit will continue to benefit them throughout the coming year and beyond. Teresa Campbell FCA is the People and Culture Director at PKF-FPM Accountants Limited.

Jan 03, 2020
Press release

Chartered Accountants Ireland launched its online Boot Camp programme to support Senior Cycle Accounting students at an event in Dublin on Tuesday. The programme, which is also being launched at events in Cork and Sligo as part of Chartered Accountants Ireland’s annual school engagement, is designed to help build a strong foundation in the fundamentals of accounting and will give students an understanding of what it’s like to be a professional accountant. Pictured are (L to R): Ian Browne, Deputy Director of Education at Chartered Accountants Ireland; John Munnelly, FAE Paper Development Executive at Chartered Accountants Ireland; Orla Aherne, Marketing Executive at Chartered Accountants Ireland; and Brian Feighan, ProTutor and creator of Boot Camp. The programme is currently open for enrolment. It is free for teachers and only €10 for students. To find out more about Boot Camp, please visit: https://chartered-bootcamp.teachable.com/ Recent independent research highlighted concern among accounting teachers that the new Junior Cert Business Studies syllabus does not adequately prepare students for Senior Cycle Accounting. This is despite the growing popularity of the subject at Leaving Cert level with almost one in every seven students now choosing accounting in Senior Cycle. Boot Camp solves this problem by providing an easily accessible online programme that teachers can run in their classrooms. Students who join Boot Camp can also take part in the Boot Camp Challenge, a national competition which gives students a chance to test their business smarts in a real-life business simulation. The regional and national winners of the challenge will be honoured at a special ceremony at Chartered Accountants House in May 2020. Ian Browne, Deputy Director of Education at Chartered Accountants Ireland, said: “It is great to see so many accounting teachers have already signed up to the Boot Camp programme and we look forward to welcoming many more in the coming weeks. Ultimately, our goal is that every student who chooses accounting for the Leaving Cert will benefit from the skills they will learn in Boot Camp and get a flavour for the profession.” Brian Feighan, FCA founder of online learning portal, ProTutor and the creator of Boot Camp, said: “Digital learning is fast becoming an essential part of the student experience in second level. Practical subjects such as accounting are a perfect fit for this trend. Under the guidance of their teachers, Boot Camp will help students master the fundamentals of accounting and develop their understanding of how to use financial information to make smart business decisions. We hope that Boot Camp will set the next generation of business leaders on their paths to success.” ENDS For editors About Chartered Accountants Ireland Chartered Accountants Ireland is Ireland’s largest and longest established professional body of accountants founded in 1888. The Institute, which is an all-island body, currently represents over 27,000 members around the world.  Reference Fiachradh McDermott | Gibney Communications | 087 655 7070 | fmcdermott@gibneycomm.ie Rachel Pattison | Chartered Accountants Ireland | 01 5233927 | Rachel.pattison@charteredaccountants.ie    

Nov 14, 2019
Tax

A lack of affordable housing coupled with a lack of supply in the wider market has resulted in the housing crisis continuing into another budget year. In an attempt to alleviate this crisis, the Minister promised to increase capital spending on all housing measures to €2.5 billion in 2020. Many of the measures are aimed at fixing supply issues, with the taxation measures involving the extension of the Help to Buy Scheme to 31 December 2021 and an extension of the Living City Initiative to 31 December 2022. Help to Buy Scheme In his speech, the Minister announced that he will be extending the Help to Buy (HTB) scheme in its current form to 31 December 2021. The HTB scheme provides for a refund to first-time buyers of income tax and deposit interest retention tax (DIRT) that they have paid over the previous 4 years (up to a maximum value of €20,000) to go towards the deposit on a house.  Social and affordable housing €1.1 billion has been allocated for the delivery of 11,000 new social homes in 2020. A further 12,000 units are to be delivered in 2021. An extra €80 million will be allocated for the Housing Assistance Payment in 2020 to provide an additional 15,750 new tenancies. An additional €20 million will be provided for homelessness services in 2020. €17.5 million is being provided to the Land Development Agency and €186 million is being allocated for the Service Site Fund and local infrastructure housing activation in 2020. €130 million in urban regeneration and development funding is being allocated for 2020 to support the rejuvenation of Ireland’s five main cities and other larger towns. €2 million has been allocated to the Residential Tenancies Board to support their increased powers to investigate and sanction non-compliance with rent pressure zone measures. Living City Initiative A scheme of property tax incentives for the regeneration of certain areas in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick and Waterford, this initiative will be extended in its present form until 31 December 2022.  This is tax relief is available for money spent on refurbishing or converting residential or commercial properties in these areas.

Oct 08, 2019
Tax

This year the Minister has again reaffirmed Ireland’s commitment to retaining the 12.5% corporation tax rate amidst the changing international tax environment. Recognising the volatility of such receipts, the Minister has published the Fiscal Vulnerabilities Scoping Paper which examines corporation tax over-performance and policy options aimed at ensuring the sustainability of the public finances. The measures introduced are enhancements to the R&D tax credit for small and micro companies, as well as a number of anti-avoidance provisions with immediate effect. As expected, anti-hybrid rules and updates to Ireland’s transfer pricing rules will be written into Finance Bill 2019.   Anti-hybrid rules As outlined in Ireland’s Corporation Tax Roadmap, Finance Bill 2019 will introduce Anti- hybrid rules with effect from 1 January 2020 as required under the EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD). These rules are an anti-abuse measure designed to prevent arrangements that exploit differences in the tax treatment of an instrument or entity under the tax laws of two or more jurisdictions to generate a tax advantage. According to the Minister, consequential provisions are also being introduced to ensure that the existing treatment of stocklending and repo transactions – and of investment limited partnerships – is clear in legislation. The detail of these measures will be included in Finance Bill 2019. Transfer pricing As expected, the Minister confirmed that Ireland’s transfer pricing rules will be amended to transcribe the OECD 2017 Transfer Pricing Guidelines into Irish legislation. The rules will also be extended to cover cross-border non-trading and material capital transactions, and to extend the application of transfer pricing rules to SMEs, subject to a Ministerial Commencement Order. The detail of these amendments will be included in Finance Bill 2019. Research & Development tax credit The Minister announced a number of changes to the R&D tax credit, with a particular focus on small and micro companies accessing the credit. The R&D tax credit will increase from 25 percent to 30 percent for micro and small companies. The Minister also announced the introduction of a new provision that will allow these small companies to claim the credit before the business commences to trade. The credit will be limited to offset against VAT and payroll tax liabilities only. These provisions are subject to state aid approval. Another change to the R&D tax credit is that the limit of outsourcing to third-level institutions of education will be increased from 5 percent to 15 percent of R&D spend or €100,000 (whichever is greater). The Minister outlined that this measure is aimed at benefiting smaller companies who rely on outsourcing to undertake R&D, and also to support R&D activities in the third-level sector. Exit tax The Minster announced that a technical amendment to the exit tax provisions will take effect via a Financial Resolution from Budget night. This amendment is being made in order to ensure that the rules function as they are intended to. The exit tax provisions were amended in last year’s Budget to bring them in line with the Anti Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD), where a new exit tax regime of 12.5 percent was introduced on any unrealised capital gains arising when companies migrate or move assets offshore. Anti-avoidance measures Announced were several anti-avoidance measures aimed at Irish real estate funds (IREFs), real estate investment trust companies, section 110 companies and capital expenditure on scientific research. The Minister outlined in his speech that “institutional investors have an important role to play in terms of increasing supply of both commercial and residential property”; however, he also outlined how “it is essential that an appropriate level of tax is paid by such investors”. Irish real estate funds and section 110 companies The Budget papers highlight that Revenue, following an analysis of the first sets of financial statements filed by IREFs, has identified aggressive activities by some IREFs, including the use of excessive interest charges to avoid the payment of tax in respect of profits from Irish property. To address these issues, limitations on interest expenses based debt to property cost and on an income to interest ratio are being introduced. These measures will come into effect on Budget night via a Financial Resolution. Anti-avoidance provisions in section 110 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (TCA 1997) are also being strengthened to ensure that they operate as intended. These changes will be brought in as part of Finance Bill 2019. Real estate investment trust companies A number of amendments are also being introduced regarding real estate investment trust companies (REITs) to ensure that an appropriate level of tax is being collected, particularly in the area of capital gains, and also to ensure such companies operate in line with the original policy intention of encouraging stable, long-term investment in the rental property market. The following amendments were announced: The distribution of proceeds from the disposal of a rental property will now be subject to dividend withholding tax upon distribution. An existing provision whereby a deemed disposal and re-basing of property values occurs should a company cease to be a RIET is being limited to apply only where the REIT has been in operation for a minimum of 15 years. These changes will take effect from Budget night via a Financial Resolution. Allowance for capital expenditure on scientific research Section 765 TCA 1997 provides allowances for capital expenditure on scientific research. According to the Budget papers, an anomaly has been identified whereby the interaction of this section with other provisions could create the potential for unintended additional claims to relief. The Budget papers outline that this was not the policy intention of the legislation, and the anomaly is being corrected in Finance Bill 2019.

Oct 08, 2019
Tax

The Minister, as expected, increased the rate of stamp duty on commercial property acquisitions to 7.5 percent. With effect from Budget night, stamp duty at the rate of 1 percent is also being introduced for certain schemes used for the sale of a company.   Commercial property increase The increase in the rate of stamp duty for commercial property is expected to bring in €141 million in 2020. The Minister’s rationale for the increase is that the Irish commercial property market continues to perform strongly; he expects the sector to be able to bear this increase “without any significant impact”. The Minister also commented that there are long-standing relief measures aimed at mitigating the increase in certain circumstances.   This increase will be subject to transitional arrangements that will allow the 6 percent rate to apply to instruments executed before 1 January 2020, where a binding contract existed prior to 8 October 2019.   Consequential amendments will also be made to the legislation which will provide for the repayment of stamp duty where the land involved is subsequently used for residential development. This is to ensure that the rate of stamp duty chargeable after a full refund remains at 2 percent.   Anti-avoidance – company acquisitions   The new 1 percent stamp duty charge is an anti-avoidance measure that will be applicable where a scheme of arrangement involving a so called ‘cancellation scheme’, in accordance with Part 9 of the Companies Act 2014, is used for the sale of a company. The expected Exchequer take from this measure does not appear in the Budget 2020 documents.   Full details on both these stamp duty measures are contained in the Budget 2020 Financial Resolutions.

Oct 08, 2019
Tax

The Department of Finance carried out a review of the Employment and Investment Incentive earlier this year.  Changes were therefore expected. But the changes announced are not enough to address the concerns raised by businesses.  Similarly, a public consultation at the start of the summer on the Key Employee Engagement Programme signalled changes were afoot. While enhancements are a move in the right direction, it is disappointing the Minister did not announce any changes to support unlisted shares where practically the market for such shares is limited.   Employment and Investment Incentive (EII) Scheme While, technical adjustments announced will improve the operation of the scheme, they will not fully address the concerns raised by businesses on the stifling impact of the EU General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) for state aid on the scheme in recent years.  Nor will the concerns about the self-certification requirements on companies be alleviated. Perhaps we will see some additional steps towards rehabilitation of the scheme in the Finance Bill.  As of today what we have heard from the Minister is: an increase in the annual investment limit from €150,000 to €250,000 and to €500,000 for investments for a minimum of 10 years;  a substantial change whereby full relief will be available in the year in which investment is made.  Currently relief is given in two tranches, 30% in the year of investment and 10% in year 3, subject to certain conditions.    Key Employee Engagement Programme Employees who have flexible working arrangements or who work part time can qualify for the KEEP. The KEEP provides for capital gains tax treatment on the disposal of shares acquired under a share option agreement instead of income tax, USC and PRSI on exercise of the shares.  The definition of a qualifying employee will be amended to accommodate these more common working practices.  Also, employees who work for different group companies as the need arises can qualify.  Other changes to the definition of a qualifying company were announced.  Changes to tax law are needed to facilitate unlisted companies in providing liquidity in their shares by using mechanisms such as arrangements with the employees to buy back shares over time.  A change to the share buy-back legislation to ensure capital gains tax treatment applies on the disposal of the shares did not feature in the Budget.     Details on the EII scheme and KEEP are expected in the Finance Bill.

Oct 08, 2019
Tax

A feature of every Budget, compliance and anti-avoidance are always hot topics.  Surprisingly, this year the compliance focus is on the dividend withholding tax regime.  ‘Anti-avoidance’ involves correcting an unintended additional relief afforded by the tax legislation for capital expenditure on scientific research.  Dividend Withholding Tax Regime Under the heading of ‘compliance’ we heard about changes to the dividend withholding tax (DWT) regime.  The focus is on tax compliance and addressing a potential gap identified by Revenue between the DWT remitted by companies and the final income tax and USC liability of the individual recipient.  This means that there will be a two-step change process to the current DWT regime.  First is a DWT rate increase from 20% to 25%.  The higher 25% rate is closer aligned to the combined average rates of income tax (20%) and USC (4.5%).  The final tax liability of Irish tax residents will not be impacted.   The focus then must be on non-Irish tax residents who are not exempt from DWT under Irish tax law.  And, secondly, in 2021 information Revenue collects under the real-time PAYE system will be used to allocate a personalised DWT rate to each taxpayer.  No more details are available at this stage.  We expect consultation with Revenue via the TALC process and other suitable forums on how this proposed new system will work. 

Oct 08, 2019
Tax

Overall, electric cars can remain more expensive. While the changes announced to the treatment of electric cars are helpful, it is not an incentive to get half the population to drive electric. Benefit in kind No details were given in the Budget; we have to wait for the Finance Bill to learn more about the extension of the zero rate of benefit in kind on electric vehicles. The move to an environmental rationale for taxing commercial vehicles provided to employees from their employers will also be detailed in the Finance Bill.  Vehicle Registration Tax There will be a change in the way vehicle emissions will be taxed going forward. The 1% diesel surcharge introduced on vehicle registration tax (‘VRT’) last year is being replaced by a nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions-based charge that will be applied to all new cars and used imports from January 2020. Electric Vehicle Infrastructure While electric vehicle infrastructure remains expensive, even with the additional €3 million already given, more funding is to be provided to double the number of local authority electric car charging points and to support the installation of communal charge points at apartment blocks, taxi ranks and other transport hubs. 

Oct 08, 2019
Tax

From 9 October, smokers will once again have to dig deeper.  Old habits die hard The excise duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes is being increased by 50 cents with a pro-rata increase on other tobacco products. This will bring the price of cigarettes in the most popular price category to €13.50. These changes take effect from 9 October 2019 and are expected to raise €57.1 million for the Exchequer in a full year. But you can still enjoy your glass of prosecco or craft beer (responsibly) safe in the knowledge that these won’t cost you anymore from a tax or excise point of view. As the craft beer revolution continues, the production ceiling (the quantity of beer brewed in the previous year) to qualify for microbrewery relief is also being increased from 40,000 to 50,000 hectolitres. This measure is aimed at enabling larger microbreweries to expand especially in the area of export sales. However, the maximum quantity of beer on which relief will be allowed, for any brewery in any calendar year, remains unchanged at 30,000 hectolitres. Fancy a flutter? The Minister announced a relief from betting duty and betting intermediary duty up to a limit of €50,000 per calendar year. However, this relief will only apply to single undertakings and not chain businesses in the gambling sector. Fuel excise Fuel excise duty remains unchanged though the additional €6 carbon tax per tonne will result in higher prices at the pumps from 9 October – fill those tanks up now.

Oct 08, 2019
Tax

No across-the-board personal tax cuts (“the unfunded tax cut of today is the unwelcome tax increase of tomorrow”).  The average employee will not see any difference in their pay packet from 1 January next.  Two tax-reducing measures were announced; increases in both the home carer credit and the earned income credit.  The income tax reliefs under the SARP and FED will be extended for three years.  A first in a long time: we have no changes, up or down, to the USC rates or thresholds, just an extension of the rate for medical card holders.   Tax rates and bands No changes to the standard rate of tax 20% or the higher rate of 40%.  No changes to the tax rate bands.  Home carer credit – increase of €100 so that the maximum credit available will be €1,600. Earned income credit – increase of €150 bringing the credit up to €1,500.  This still falls short of the PAYE credit of €1,650 but is a move in the right direction to reduce the inequity, long in the tax system, resulting in people in employment having lower tax bills than people with similar earnings who are self-employed.  These combined increases will cost €27 million in 2020 and €43 million in a full year.  USC The only change announced is the extension of the reduced rate of USC for medical card holders to the end of 2020.  Nothing else!  Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP) and Foreign Earnings Deduction (FED) Both the SARP and the FED are to be extended by three years until 2022.  The SARP is an income tax relief measure for foreign executives who come to work in Ireland.  The FED is an income tax relief for Irish employees who go to work abroad in certain qualifying countries. 

Oct 08, 2019

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