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Chartered Accountants are known for having high levels of competence in Excel and but rarely have a matching skill level in PowerPoint. Accountants don’t regard the presentation of their data as a mission critical skill even though the goal of our data analysation is to communicate information clearly and efficiently to executives and clients. Instead, it’s often seen as something to be used to humour executives during big meetings.  When we asked accountants to rate their skills out of five, they consistently rate their Excel skills at four (with a suggestion that modesty featured as a constraint) and their PowerPoint competence at two (with a suggestion that this might be more than PowerPoint deserved).   We rate our Excel acumen so highly because we are experts only at what we do, and we practice the same Excel actions a lot. The sporting adage of “use it or lose it” is particularly apt for technology where reflex keyboard actions and habit all but blind us to changes in the environment.  Excel can change but most of us are too busy to notice and just carry on doing what we always did the way we always did it. Keeping yourself abreast of current updates in Excel is just as important to your job as the output that you get from the programme. The PowerPoint and data visualisation requirement is very different.  As referred to earlier, skills here are lower and discussions with accountants indicate that this is largely down to two misconceptions:  one, that with advances in Excel dashboard functions and general flexibility, PowerPoint will diminish in importance as a tool for presentations of financial information; and two, that data presentation skills are not really core for accountants.   Both are seriously wide of the mark. First, Microsoft explicitly places PowerPoint front and centre in their plans to develop tools (including Excel and Power BI) to improve the way data is converted to information and shared.  Second, Chartered Accountants have a vital role in helping line managers acquire the information they need to make financially informed decisions and therefore a duty to make sure that the information is clearly understood.  Data visualisation enables decision makers to see analytics presented simply, helping them grasp difficult concepts or identify new patterns in the data. Presenting numbers and financial statements in traditional formats that are comfortable for accountants but obscure to others is lamentable, especially when less than a dozen easily acquired techniques can transform the way people react to and benefit from presentations.  Building on your skills in Excel and transferring those skills into more advanced data visualisation programmes like PowerPoint can really help you to add value to your organisation and advance your career.   Jack Foley is a director in FaB Practice Ltd and a trainer in digital visualisation with Professional Training. Jack will be delivering the course Data visualisation with Excel and PowerPoint for accountants on 30 November 201.

Oct 23, 2017

KBC Bank Ireland / Chartered Accountants Ireland Business Sentiment Survey Autumn 2017 Companies report slight easing in pace of growth in past three months. Hiring remains strong as confidence in economic outlook improves. Vast majority of firms don’t see ‘overheating’ in their operating environment at present.  Pay increase of 2% the norm for 2018; very few firms seeing no rise or increases above 5%. Expected Brexit impact varies widely but predominantly negative and slightly greater than first envisaged; adverse impact expected by one in two firms, positive impact by one in six. Roughly half of Irish companies not focussed on Brexit at present, implying a risk of some unpleasant surprises.  Pictured is Barry Dempsey, Chief Executive, Chartered Accountants Ireland and Austin Hughes, Chief Economist, KBC Bank Ireland. Irish companies continued to post solid gains in business volumes in recent months but the pace of growth in activity appears to have eased somewhat of late. The KBC Bank/Chartered Accountants Ireland business sentiment index edged lower to 116.6 from 118 in the previous quarter but the autumn 2017 business survey reading remains consistent with a relatively robust rate of growth in Irish GDP. The slight easing in business sentiment was largely driven by modestly slower growth in companies’ own activity levels in the past three months. It remains the case that a majority of firms are reporting increased business volumes but, compared to the previous quarter, there was a small reduction in the proportion of companies reporting higher activity and a similarly small rise in the number reporting lower output levels. This change was most pronounced among construction firms and hints at some easing in the pace of growth in building activity in recent quarters and the possibility that some firms in this area may already be experiencing capacity strains. However, several other elements of the survey suggest such problems are the exception rather than the rule. The slightly softer pace of growth reported by Irish businesses in the past three months is expected to persist in the final months of 2017. Healthy activity levels underpinning hiring While there was a slight easing in the pace and spread of growth of late, it remains the case that Irish business conditions are very healthy at present. This has translated into continuing strength in payroll trends in Irish companies. New hiring picked up slightly in the past three months but there was an offsetting increase in the number of firms reporting a drop in their headcount. Again, we would emphasise that these findings caution against a ‘one story tells all’ description of Irish business conditions. It is important to note that all sectors continue to report notably larger number of firms expending their payroll than those seeing lower employment levels. The improvement in the Irish jobs market is now broadly based with firms in manufacturing, business services and consumer goods and services all reporting a pick-up in the pace of payroll gains in the past three months. We also asked companies what scale of average pay increase they envisaged making in 2018. Increases of less than 2% are most common followed closely by increases between 2 and 3%, with two thirds of firms falling into this range. Only a very small fraction of firms see average pay increasing by more than 5% in 2018, with most of these concentrated in business services and property sectors. However, construction firms also tended to figure prominently in those companies expecting no increase in pay next year, emphasising significant variation across firms in this sector. Aggregating the responses to this question across all sectors, the survey suggests the average pay increase envisaged in Irish-based companies in 2018 is 2%.  Confidence gradually rebuilding after Brexit shock The survey asked a number of questions to assess companies’ attitudes and actions in relation to the UK’s exit from the EU. We began by asking the direction and scale of impact they envisaged Brexit would have on their business. The responses suggest Irish based companies anticipate a significantly negative outcome overall although there are notable differences the effect of Brexit is seen having on individual businesses; one in two firms expect an adverse impact compared to one in six that expect a boost to their business. Only one in five firms expects no significant impact from Brexit on its activities. The survey went on to ask whether companies’ assessments of Brexit impacts had altered much in the sixteen months since the UK referendum vote. The answers suggest that Irish business has become somewhat more pessimistic in regard to Brexit in spite of the apparent resilience of the Irish economy to the early currency related fallout. Roughly one in three firms is more negative now than in the immediate aftermath of the UK vote while roughly one in five now takes a more positive view. Manufacturing and construction firms were more likely to have downgraded their assessments of late whereas upgraded views were more common among property and business services firms.  Barry Dempsey, Chief Executive, Chartered Accountants Ireland, said: “Companies are still reporting solid growth overall, but the pace of increase appears to have eased of late. This seems to reflect a variety of influences ranging from capacity constraints facing some construction companies to currency movements affecting companies in food and manufacturing but, in each instance, this is seen slowing rather than stopping growth. “A still healthy business environment has seen a slight pick-up in new hiring even though the survey suggests finding suitably qualified employees has become more difficult. While most of firms expect their pay bill to increase in 2018, four out of five expect increases to be less than 3%, with the average rise in earnings expected to be 2% overall.” Austin Hughes, Chief Economist, KBC Bank Ireland, said: “Only one in five Irish based firms doesn’t envisage any impact on their business from Brexit. While expectations vary, about half of the companies surveyed think they will be affected negatively with just one in six anticipating a positive effect. “Companies are now slightly more pessimistic in their assessment of Brexit on their business and roughly half see the peak impact being felt by March 2019. As a result, it is slightly surprising that the survey found no major pick-up in Brexit preparations of late and one in two companies reported they had no significant focus on Brexit at present.”  The KBC Bank Ireland / Chartered Accountants Ireland Business Sentiment Survey reflects the view of Chartered Accountants working in senior positions (CEOs, MDs and FDs) in Ireland’s leading companies. The Autumn 2017 survey was conducted from 25th October 2017 to 3rd November 2017 and the results presented are based on 448 completed responses. ENDS For further reference contact: Karen Jones, Gibney Communications, 01 661 0402 / 086 866 4501 Christine Walsh, Gibney Communications, 01 661 0402 / 085 157 7127 Austin Hughes, Chief Economist KBC Bank, 087 669 6972 Brendan O’Hora, Director, Communications & Marketing, Chartered Accountants Ireland, 01 6377298

Nov 20, 2017
Press release

Chartered Accountants Ireland Leinster Society has announced the shortlist for its Published Accounts Awards for 2017. The Awards, now in their 40th year, are sponsored by the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE) and reward companies for excellence in financial reporting in Ireland. This year’s shortlist includes a total of 25 public and private companies, including not-for-profit organisations. The winners will be announced at a special gala evening event, taking place in The Shelbourne Hotel on Friday, 24 November 2017 with Neil Delamere as MC. Finalists for the 40th Published Accounts Awards 2017 Large Companies - Main Securities Market Bank of Ireland Group plc CRH plc Glanbia plc Kerry Group plc Kingspan Group plc Small/Medium Sized Companies - Main Securities Market Dalata Hotel Group plc Datalex plc IFG Group plc Irish Continental Group plc Kenmare Resources plc Irish Companies listed on a Foreign Market DCC plc Greencore Group plc UDG Healthcare plc Enterprise Securities Market Companies Malin Corporation plc Origin Enterprises plc Total Produce plc Statutory Unquoted Large Entities daa plc ESB IPUT plc Large Not-For-Profit Central Remedial Clinic clg Clúid Housing Association Gorta Self Help Africa Small/Medium Sized Not-For-Profit Aidlink IE Domain Registry clg The Care Trust dac In addition to the category awards, there are four other awards, consisting of an Overall Winner’s Award from across all categories, a Social Responsibility Reporting Award; a Branding, Communication & Marketing Award and a new award for Best Digital Reporting sponsored by Investis. Oliver Holt, Chairman, Chartered Accountants Ireland - Leinster Society said: “The Published Accounts Awards stand out as the most prestigious and long standing business awards in the country.  By celebrating excellence in annual reports the awards have provided welcome encouragement to companies to constantly improve their financial reporting over the last 40 years” Orla O’Gorman, Head of Equity, Irish Stock Exchange said: “We are proud of our long association with the Published Accounts Awards. We are also delighted to see the addition of a Best Digital Reporting Award in 2017, recognising the importance of delivering excellent digital communications that support and enhance the usability of a company’s annual report.”  Ends Media Contact Chartered Accountant Ireland – Leinster Society Bryan Rankin Marketing Manager, Chartered Accountants Ireland T: (353) 01 637 7268 E: bryan.rankin@charteredaccountants.ie Irish Stock Exchange Ailish Byrne Head of Public Affairs and Communications T: (353) 01 617 4266 E: ailish.byrne@ise.ie Note to Editors: Chartered Accountants Leinster Society is a district society of Chartered Accountants Ireland, representing 12,500 Chartered Accountants throughout Leinster. Chartered Accountants Ireland is the largest, longest established and fastest growing professional accountancy body in Ireland with over 25,500 members in 93 countries around the globe.   The Irish Stock Exchange is a world-leading gateway exchange for global issuers providing access to European and North American investors with >36,000 securities from 85 countries listed on its markets. It enables companies to raise capital from international investors utilising a world class trading infrastructure, complementary listing regimes and a diverse trading membership network. The ISE also provides trading in Irish government securities, an executive leadership programme IPOready for companies looking to access public markets, publishes and distributes data and announcements, and provides LEI and ISIN code services. Event details: Chartered Accountants Ireland Leinster Society presents The Published Accounts Awards 2017 Gala dinner on Friday 24 November 2017 in The Shelbourne Hotel, 7pm for 7:30pm. M.C. is well known comedian and radio broadcaster, Neil Delamare Live music from A Few Good Men – a high-energy four-piece band offering a repertoire of popular hits from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Tickets are €85 per person, individual tickets and tables are available. To book or for more information please contact leinstersociety@charteredaccountants.ie or call 01-6377218/9 Dress: business suit Dedicated PAA webpage: https://www.charteredaccountants.ie/Leinster/PAA

Nov 03, 2017

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