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Whistleblowing and Protected D...
Nov 12
Chartered Accountants House

Whistleblower protection is on the rise. In 2014, Ireland adopted The Protected Disclosures Act with robust protections for workers disclosing wrongdoing. The EU 'Whistleblowers Directive' adopted last month will require fundamental changes to the 2014 Act. This course will assist employers prepare for the changes, as well as understanding the risks posed by the North American whistleblower reward programs.

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Chartered Accountants House
Dates:
Social Media and Fraud Investi...
Nov 13
Chartered Accountants House

This course looks at the practical issues in dealing forensic fraud investigations including fraud prevention, fraud detection, fraud investigations and the use of civil and criminal sanctions to pursue recoveries.

Location:
Chartered Accountants House
Dates:
CPD Blitz Conference Sligo
Nov 19

This fast paced day focuses on the key issues impacting accountants in Ireland. Over the course of ten sessions, attendees will receive high impact technical updates and professional and commercial insights, with separate streams for practitioners and members in business where relevant. High profile specialist speakers, who work day-to-day in the specialist field, lead each session focusing on practical matters.

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GDPR Update
Nov 20
Belfast

This course will give a high level overview of the new  General Data Protection Regulation. The session will then address several practical impacts the new legislation will have on Northern Irish professional service firms. Finally, the session will conclude by looking at how compliance with data protection law can be good for business.

Location:
Belfast
Dates:
CPD Blitz Conference Galway
Nov 20

This fast paced day focuses on the key issues impacting accountants in Ireland. Over the course of ten sessions, attendees will receive high impact technical updates and professional and commercial insights, with separate streams for practitioners and members in business where relevant. High profile specialist speakers, who work day-to-day in the specialist field, lead each session focusing on practical matters.

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Ethics

The Institute’s new guide, a five step approach to considering organisational culture,  serves as a useful starting point for a board, or those in executive or senior management positions. By Níall Fitzgerald The Business Roundtable is a group of influential CEOs from America’s leading companies, and it recently renewed its “statement of purpose”. Having spent 22 years following a shareholder-first philosophy, the group has adapted to societal expectations for better business behaviour by expanding its fundamental commitment to deliver value to other stakeholders including customers, employees, suppliers and communities. It is hard to imagine how this commitment will be honoured without changes to organisational culture by the 181 CEOs who pledged to lead their companies for the benefit of all stakeholders. Closer to home, the UK Corporate Governance Code was revised by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) in 2018. Its original source from 1992, The Financial Aspects of Corporate Governance (otherwise known as The Cadbury Report), outlined the importance of a principled corporate governance code “for the confidence which needs to exist between business and all those who have a stake in its success”. The only stakeholders mentioned in that version, and successive ones, were institutional investors and shareholders. Twenty-six years later, the Code not only refers to “a wide range of stakeholders” but also formalises the board’s role in aligning an organisation’s culture with its purpose (vision), values and strategy (mission). Reflecting this trend, investors and business analysts are ramping up their cultural assessments of organisations. A study conducted in 2015 by global culture organisation, Walking the Talk, with Stamford Associates in the UK, revealed that 94% of investment managers based mainly in the United States (US) and UK include culture as an important consideration in their investment decisions. In January 2019, State Street Capital, one of the world’s largest asset managers, wrote to the chairs of more than 1,100 organisations in the S&P 500, FTSE 350 and similar organisations in France, Germany, Australia and Japan, calling on them to review their culture and explain its alignment with their strategy. Investors are voting with their feet, which was evidenced by the dramatic fall in Barclays’ share price in 2017 following CEO Jes Staley’s attempt to identify an internal confidential whistleblower, which went against the organisation’s espoused values and culture. Institutional investors are also taking a more active role in driving change by making their expectations clear – not just around the rate of returns, but also on the organisational culture they wish to align with. The Japanese Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), one of the largest pension funds in the world, implements an environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment decision-making methodology. This methodology considers factors such as the quality of a company’s culture as well as management, risk profile and other characteristics. They are not alone, with many other institutional investors following a similar approach. In producing Chartered Accountants Ireland’s Concise Guide for Directors: A Five-Step Approach to Considering Organisational Culture, we identified a consensus that organisational culture plays an increasingly important role in influencing behaviours in an organisation. Given the importance of organisational culture, several questions were raised during the production process. Four of the most common are outlined below: 1. Who is responsible for organisational culture? The board has overall responsibility for ensuring that an organisation’s vision, mission and values are aligned with the culture of the organisation. In the same way the board is responsible for approving the strategy of the organisation, it is also responsible for agreeing on what the target culture of the organisation (i.e. the culture the organisation should aspire to) should be. Each member of the board, executive or non-executive, has a responsibility to lead by example and promote the target culture; this involves ensuring that adequate time is allowed on the board agenda for discussions on organisational culture. 2. Who influences organisational culture? It depends. This is where the phrases “the tone at the top” and the “echo from the bottom” comes into play. Unlike strategy, culture is an organic and fluid ecosystem, and while a target culture will be agreed by the board, the process of shaping and realising it is gradual. It involves leadership from the top of the organisation (top-down) and engagement from the bottom of the organisation (bottom-up). Who has the greater influence in shaping organisational culture will differ from one organisation to the next. For example, it may be the director(s) in a small owner-managed family business, the CEO in a multinational, the founder in a not-for-profit organisation or the legacy staff in a government department. It isn’t just internal people or politics that influences the target culture. It will be influenced by many other internal and external factors including, but not limited to, regulatory landscape; political environment; social norms; trade union participation; the history of the organisation; leadership capability within the organisation; level of ambition of people to lead change; common values shared across the organisation; and both internal and external drivers of change (e.g. digitalisation). The organisation’s culture ultimately influences and shapes the interactions with all stakeholders. 3. What are the best organisational culture traits to have? There is no one-size-fits-all. What works for one organisation may not work for another in a different stage of development or in a different sector. The objective is to determine common cultural traits that can be embedded across the entire organisation, while recognising and accepting that sub-cultures also exist. For example, larger organisations may have subcultures in different geographies or in various departments or business units. To be effective, cultural traits should be realistic and counterbalanced. Promoting a culture of collaboration and collective responsibility, for example, should be balanced with ensuring that people are individually accountable for their contributions and actions. It is also important to acknowledge that organisational culture is dynamic; it is constantly changing in response to internal and external influences. Culture risks exist, like any other risk, and organisations will need to manage accordingly. Mitigation measures include ongoing communication and reinforcement of the organisation’s core values and behaviours, combined with risk-based culture audits or reviews. Internal controls with early warning systems are useful for alerting management to behavioural changes that can negatively impact culture – for example, where a production line debriefing identifies that downtime is being recovered by taking shortcuts to stay on schedule. 4. Where do I start when considering organisational culture? The five-step approach to considering organisational culture is presented in Figure 1. This approach serves as a useful starting point for a board, or those in executive or senior management positions, to consider organisational culture. It is designed to work in tandem with the vast reservoir of tools and methodologies for assessing, defining and shaping organisational culture. The steps can be summarised as follows: Assess current culture: every journey has a starting point and it is important to understand the current culture of the organisation before agreeing the path forward. Evaluate effectiveness: determine what works well with the current culture, and what doesn’t. Are there opportunities for quick, positive change for better business behaviour? And what will require more effort? Define/refine target culture: what influences the organisation’s target culture? And does it clearly align with the business purpose (vision) and values? Identify gaps: identify, prioritise, risk-rate and cost the gaps between the target culture and the current culture in order to inform the organisation’s cultural change programme; and Close gaps: prepare the change programme to shape the organisation’s culture. Throughout the journey, it is important to communicate the changes, evaluate whether the implemented changes are having the desired effect, and reinforce the reasons for change and how they align with the organisation’s vision, mission and values. Organisations are investing more in getting their culture right. The various roles that Chartered Accountants play within organisations involve a level of influence in assessing, defining and shaping organisational culture. While this influence may not seem obvious at first, it becomes more apparent when you consider that many Chartered Accountants hold positions that provide a strategic, overarching view of what is happening in their business unit or across their organisation. By applying their analytical and reporting skills, Chartered Accountants can use their access to information and insights, as well as their opportunities to observe behaviours across the organisation, to significantly support the development of a healthy culture. Whatever role you play within an organisation, consider how you can positively influence and shape a healthy organisational culture.   The Concise Guide for Directors: A Five-Step Approach to Considering Organisational Culture is available to download from Chartered Accountants Ireland’s Governance Resource Centre. Níall Fitzgerald ACA is Head of Ethics and Governance at Chartered Accountants Ireland.

Oct 01, 2019
Governance, Risk and Legal

New guide aims to answer the question ‘Should we be doing things differently?’ A new guide published today offers a five-step approach for Irish organisations which are keen to assess and improve their organisational culture. The free guide, published by Chartered Accountants Ireland, encourages decision-makers to assess the culture within their organisation and to consider if they need to do things differently to achieve success. Concise Guide for Directors: A Five-Step Approach to Considering Organisational Culture was launched today in Dublin and is based on research into existing guidance and thought leadership, in addition to focus groups and interviews with business leaders from across the island of Ireland. Pictured at the launch of Chartered Accountants Ireland’s new Concise Guide for Directors: A Five-Step Approach to Considering Organisational Culture, were: Ciara Fallon, Director, People & Organisation Consulting at PwC; Conall O’Halloran President Chartered Accountants Ireland; and David McRedmond CEO of An Post Speaking at the Championing Organisational Culture - Practical Insights event in Dublin, Chartered Accountants Ireland President Conall O’Halloran said: “Recently we’ve seen developments which show how seriously organisations are engaging with culture, for example the establishment of the Irish Banking Culture Board earlier this year. This guide is a practical tool which equips directors to address their organisation’s culture in an effective way. It provides those involved in governance with clarity and direction when it comes to organisational culture and helping to make transformational change.” The guide is one of the first resources to be made available on Chartered Accountants Ireland’s new online Governance Resource Centre. The development is seen as recognition of the importance which organisations, both locally and globally, are placing on the issue of governance. Níall Fitzgerald, Head of Ethics and Governance, Chartered Accountants Ireland said: “An organisation’s culture is a critical component of its success. There is an increasing awareness of it in the context of corporate governance.” “Good governance, along with the systems and practices which underpin it, has become a key consideration for all types of organisation as it impacts on their reputation, culture, efficiency and financial sustainability. Our new Governance Resource Centre recognises this importance and will provide a range of helpful, free resources for those involved in, or advising, boards.” Concise Guide for Directors: A Five-Step Approach to Considering Organisational Culture is available for download here. Visit the new Governance Resource Centre at: www.charteredaccountants.ie/governance. ENDS Notes to editors For reference: Claire Percy, Chartered Accountants Ireland, 086 216 4393 claire.percy@charteredaccountants.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. 

Sep 19, 2019