Thought leadership

Dr. Caroline McGroary, a Chartered Accountant and Lecturer with Dublin City University (DCU) was recently awarded the Chartered Star by Chartered Accountants Ireland, and will represent the profession at this year’s One Young World Conference in 2021. Here she hopes to contribute to discussions around the role of education in preparing for the fourth industrial revolution, with a particular focus on the challenges regarding accessibility, affordability and the need to keep gender equality at the forefront of the education agenda. Having trained with Deloitte, Caroline wanted to use her qualification to get into lecturing and was delighted to join DCU in 2010. In 2013, DCU signed a partnership with an all-female Saudi university and Caroline, along with three colleagues, travelled to Saudi Arabia to set up a division of DCU Business School. The original remit was acting as Programme Director teaching business, accounting and finance modules through English, as well as training Saudi lecturers, but it quickly became so much more. Caroline became involved in many impactful projects over her time here, one of which was centred around developing the financial literacy skills of her students and women in the wider community. Caroline is now based between Riyadh in Saudi Arabia and her home in Donegal.  Ahead of International Women’s Day, Caroline outlines her experiences of being a Chartered Accountant and her work in Saudi Arabia, and how she will #ChooseToChallenge for this year’s International Women’s Day.  What inspired you to make the move to Saudi Arabia?  I have always been very passionate about the role of education in transforming lives. Through my own experiences both as a Chartered Accountant and Lecturer, I have experienced first-hand the value of a good education. Mindful that education is not something afforded to everyone, which can lead to gross inequality and exclusion in many societies, this was a real driving force behind my decision to move to Saudi Arabia in 2013.  How do you feel being a Chartered Accountant has helped you in your journey?  The Chartered Accountancy qualification is often branded as a “passport” to one’s future career as it is globally recognised and is considered the “gold standard” in accountancy education and training. I completely endorse this view, as being a member of Chartered Accountants Ireland has not only provided me with a set of skills and values which I can apply in many settings, but it has also provided me with an international platform to pursue a very meaningful career. In particular, the global mobility of the qualification has opened many doors during my time in the Middle East, including providing opportunities to work with other Chartered Accountants, working alongside the Irish Ambassador to Saudi Arabia to establish the Irish Business Network, and working with other high-profile organisations including the Saudi government.  On a personal level, being a member of Chartered Accountants Ireland has allowed me the opportunity to meet many inspirational people and to be part of impactful community projects and groups, including the FinBiz2030 Taskforce. It also inspired me to pursue my passion for education and to complete a PhD in the area of professional accountancy education. These experiences have given me a different perspective on how I can use the qualification to achieve positive impact both from a personal and career perspective.  Is there a strong network of Chartered Accountants in Saudi and in other places you have been? I’m grateful to have met many Chartered Accountants while travelling abroad over the years. I’ve also had the opportunity to use the strength of this network in both my role as a lecturer and in the wider business community. A perfect example of the power of this network is demonstrated through a financial literacy initiative developed in 2019. This project helped develop the financial literacy levels of our students, as well as women in the local community, with an awareness campaign reaching over 1 million social media users. Some students described this initiative as “a life changing experience”, with others referring to the knowledge gained as “a life skill which I can apply in business and in my personal life”.  This initiative was borne out of an initial conversation with a former colleague in Deloitte, who then connected me with their fellow partner in Deloitte in Saudi Arabia. The Deloitte team worked with us over a few months to develop an educational experience for both staff and students.  Other Chartered Accountants also engaged with us, from both Ireland and the UK, and by the end of the semester the initiative had gained the support of Chartered Accountants Worldwide, along with other key partners including the Saudi Ambassador to the US. This example is a great reminder of the power of the Chartered Accountant network and, most importantly, what can be achieved when Chartered Accountants come together to work on meaningful and impactful projects. How have you seen Saudi Arabia change since you first arrived in 2013?  Over the last number of years Saudi Arabia has been undergoing an economic and social revolution. As a result there has been progress in many areas, particularly regarding the empowerment of women in Saudi society including changes to guardianship rules and allowing women to drive. However, the reforms that have been of most interest to me are those around the education of women, including the commitment of the Saudi government to increasing female economic participation. I believe these reforms will fundamentally change the future of the country and it has been a privilege to help my students in this way.  How have you seen your students develop over the course of the programmes you teach? It is always a source of pride to observe the development of our students over the course of their degree programmes and their achievements upon graduation. For example, the employment rate of our Saudi graduates stands at approximately 90%, with many of these graduates also going on to pursue further education. This is significant, as it demonstrates the appetite for change regarding the employment and empowerment of women. At an individual level, I also see marked increases in the confidence and social awareness of our students as they progress through their degrees. This is noteworthy, as many student projects were based on addressing global issues yet were applied in their local communities, including the financial literacy initiative outlined above. In your own words, why do you believe financial literacy is key? Financial literacy refers to knowledge, behaviours and attitudes regarding financial decisions and long-term financial well-being. In the absence of such skills, individuals may lack the ability to make sound financial decisions in their professional and personal life, risking their future financial security and that of their family. It is also an essential skill in addressing the gender divide, as in many countries women are considered to be at higher risk of financial exclusion than their male counterparts. Therefore, I believe that financial literacy is an essential life skill and should be taught at all levels of our education system. From your experiences, what would be your advice for anyone thinking of studying Chartered Accountancy? My advice would be that if you want a meaningful career, a globally recognised qualification that provides you with strong technical and business skills across a variety of roles and industries, then Chartered Accountancy is definitely for you.  I would also advise prospective members to talk to other Chartered Accountants, as well as engaging with the Chartered Accountants Ireland “Chartered Career Chat” series, to learn about members’ experiences and perspectives of the qualification.  Finally, as we celebrate International Women’s Day 2021, how will you embrace this year’s theme #ChooseToChallenge? Over the last number of years I have gained a deeper appreciation regarding the importance of education in reducing inequalities in society. Given that I have the opportunity to represent Chartered Accountants Ireland at the 2021 One Young World summit, I #ChooseToChallenge and contribute to the conversation regarding the role of education in preparing for the fourth industrial revolution, with a particular focus on the challenges regarding accessibility, affordability and the need to keep gender equality at the forefront of the education agenda. 

Mar 05, 2021
Press release

Setting of regional corporation tax rate by the NI Executive could put Northern Ireland in unique position to attract foreign direct investment Extension of stamp duty land tax a welcome practical measure Wednesday 3 March 2021 - The decision of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to increase corporation tax from its current rate of 19 percent to 25 percent in 2023 is disappointing for many companies impacted by the pandemic and the effects of the UK’s exit from the EU, according to Chartered Accountants Ireland, commenting in the wake of today’s Budget speech.    Companies were expecting corporation tax to be reduced to 17 percent in April 2020.  Today’s increase to 25 percent by April 2023 will mean large companies will be paying 6 percent more in tax in the space of a few years while smaller companies will not see the promised rate reduction of 17 percent materialise.    The Institute noted that the Northern Ireland Executive should  now consider leveraging its devolved power to set its own regional corporation tax rate, which was originally planned to be 12.5 percent. The Northern Ireland corporation tax rate legislation is now almost six years old but was put on the back burner whilst the region worked to get public finances on a sustainable footing.  Commenting Norah Collender, Professional Tax Leader with Chartered Accountants Ireland said “A lower rate of corporation tax in the region coupled with the dual benefit of having access to both the UK and the EU’s single market for goods could put Northern Ireland in a unique position to attract foreign direct investment into the region, particularly in the manufacturing and distribution sectors.”  Stamp duty land tax The Budget Day extension of the stamp duty land tax zero per cent rate on residential properties in Northern Ireland costing less than £500,000 to the end of June is a welcome practical measure. This will help clear the backlog of property conveyances currently in the pipeline which have been delayed due to the current lockdown. It also puts at least an extra £1,500 in the pocket of anyone buying a house costing £200,000 when they buy this by 30 June. 5 percent VAT for the hospitality sector There can be no doubting the severe impact the pandemic has had on the once thriving hospitality sector in NI. The sector really only benefited from the reduced 5 percent VAT rate for a very short period of time from July until early October 2020. Since then, a series of lockdowns and closures affecting the sector and full lockdown from Christmas has rendered the reduced rate to be of little benefit. The announcement that the 5 percent VAT rate for the hospitality sector will continue until 30 September 2021 means that businesses like restaurants, café and hotels will have a tangible means of enticing reluctant customers back through their doors as life begins to return to normal over the next few months. Taking a typical hotel room costing £150 per night, the reduced VAT rate saves £22.50 per night, meaning the hotel guest has an extra £22.50 to spend during their visit. Today's Budget gives many businesses the financial support and certainty needed as the Government begins to lift public health restrictions. The continuation of the coronavirus job retention scheme to September will give businesses a fighting chance of a viable comeback and will ultimately help protect jobs. Commenting on the coronavirus job retention scheme, Maeve Hunt, Chair of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society said “The job retention scheme has been a lifeline for many Northern Ireland businesses over the last year with almost 110,000 jobs in Northern Ireland currently protected by the scheme. Extending the scheme until 30 September 2021 and keeping the scheme flexible is vitally important and gives employers and employees certainty over the coming months as businesses begin the tentative steps of reopening and bringing employees back into the workplace.” ENDS

Mar 03, 2021
Student Profile

What do you think about Brexit? How do you think the pandemic will affect your career? What do you think is the future of the profession? In every issue of The Bottom Line, we will ask students their thoughts on a particular topic. I anticipate the effects of the pandemic will change the way we work. Hailing from outside of Dublin, I’d like to think it is more feasible to live outside the capital and pursue a ‘hybrid’ work style with a mix of office and remote work. I don’t expect the demand for Chartered Accountants will dissipate and, as such, I can see a healthy increase in competition for roles both locally and further afield. I’m confident there are positives to be taken from the pandemic, and many of us who have successfully migrated to remote work are a testament to that. Kevin Lord, Audit Associate at EY The crisis has transformed the way in which we work and how we work.  Pre-COVID-19, the accountancy profession was in a transitional phase as it embraced new technologies. The pandemic has accelerated these changes. Interpreting  data and analysing data differently will allow accountants to foster a more proactive relationship with clients.  Almost a year on, it looks like hybrid work is likely to persist. I believe hybrid work models, if sufficiently managed, offer the best of both worlds. I enjoy the social and collaborative aspects of office interaction, and the better work-life balance that hybrid work brings. For me, it’s simple things like getting to football training on a Thursday night or walking the dog before work.  However, it may not all be positive. Remote work does create new challenges for both the employee and the organisation. In the long-term, some organisations may look at relocating operations or hiring remote talent to avail of cheaper labour.   Sean Brew, Audit & Advisory trainee at Baker Tilly Due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, many of us are wondering what job opportunities will await us in the future. The pandemic has impacted how the sector works forever. For those of us who have worked through this change, and gained most of our accountancy experience working from home, we are part of a group who have had to innovate how we complete our work, and discipline ourselves to meet deadlines from home. I remain optimistic about my future career, accountancy firms have continued to hire during this uncertainty, and we are gaining new skills by working through these challenging times. Sinead Henry, Trainee Accountant at Northern Ireland Audit Office  

Mar 01, 2021
Tax RoI

Fiona is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland and an AITI Chartered Tax Advisor (CTA). Fiona’s career started in the audit department of Crowe and she later transferred into their tax department. She then worked with KPMG before joining RBK in 2004. Fiona advises corporate and personal clients and specialises in corporate taxation and restructuring. She has a particular interest in international tax providing Irish tax advice for many international businesses and holds an Advanced Diploma in International Taxation. Fiona is a regular speaker at RBK client events and provides budgetary analysis at RBK’s annual Budget Briefing. We are delighted to feature Fiona in the first edition of My Tax Journey in 2021.  How has your work and home life changed since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic? From a work perspective, I predominantly work remotely since March of last year. Moving from an environment where you had constant interaction with your colleagues to the virtual meeting world has been a big change and there is a real challenge in maintaining the connection with your colleagues, both professionally and socially.  We quickly moved to paperless files which is a positive move and one which will continue once we return to the office.  Clients have adapted well to our new way of working making the transition seamless in most cases.  Before coronavirus, I would not have been tech savvy but there has been a huge learning curve over the past year. On the home front I have taken on a new part-time role home-schooling my three children all of whom are in primary school.  This has been challenging but the support provided by the school and teachers has been amazing. On a positive, working from home has allowed me to spend more time with my children that I, as a full-time working mum, would not have otherwise had.  I’ve also lost my commute!  Time is precious in that regard.  What is the biggest tax and/or accounting challenge you are currently facing? Brexit has been a huge challenge for businesses over the past 6 months – from the uncertainty in the earlier days as to whether a deal would be achieved to the practical issues that businesses are encountering on a daily basis such as accounting issues which consume significant time and resources for businesses. COVID-19 has brought challenges for businesses. We have many clients in the retail and tourism sector who have seen their business reduce significantly. They face huge challenges managing cash flows and staff. COVID-19 has brought opportunities for other clients in expanding their business and we have been involved in structuring their new ventures from an accounting and taxation perspective. How has Brexit impacted the business community in your experience? Brexit has been challenging but it has also given companies an opportunity to re-assess their business model and explore new markets and products which they may not have done in the absence of Brexit. Many have been very innovative in their approach to Brexit and have tackled the challenges with careful planning and engaged with us as their professional advisers. What has changed for the better in the profession since you started working as a professional? Consistent with a lot of professions the game changer must be technology.  Whilst there have been many innovations in tax related technology over the years from Taxfind to ROS, the pace and pervasiveness of recent changes in technology is what really stands out for me and I think technology will continue to change the way we work as a profession. Being able to connect and work collaboratively with colleagues or clients in different offices in different countries at the touch of a button, extends the reach of the tax professional and makes the world of international tax a lot smaller. What is the most rewarding aspect of your role? The tax world is constantly changing and evolving on a domestic level and on an international level which can be challenging but is exciting and dynamic. There is a great sense of achievement and satisfaction in advising clients on structuring their business in a tax efficient manner and achieving their objectives. There is never a dull moment when working in tax (or home schooling!) What tax policy issue would you most wish the Government to tackle in 2021? Post Brexit and Covid, our economy will need to be stimulated. The government needs to provide further supports for our SME sector and in particular, our entrepreneurs. There is an opportunity to further enhance supports such as KEEP, EII and CGT Entrepreneur Relief. Remote working will become the new norm and supports should be put in place for businesses to allow them to upskill their employees and upgrade their technology.

Mar 01, 2021
Tax RoI

Several corrections to MyEnquiries functions will take effect later this month, according to an update provided by Revenue at a recent TALC meeting in response to feedback from practitioners.  Revenue also set out how a tax agent can access his/her clients’ LPT records.  The following corrections are planned to take effect from 27 March: The tracking system will change the term “pending” to ‘received’ so it is more intuitive for customers/tax agents accessing myAccount and ROS. The status on the landing page/tax agent’s inbox in MyEnquiries will match the status within the thread except for Revenue initiated queries with no subsequent interactions on the thread. For example, tax agents reported issues with “Revenue Initiated’ showing on the landing page when it should be showing as completed as per the MyEnquiries thread and this issue will be rectified. Practitioners also reported that a client’s tax reference number was not showing in the agent’s inbox when Revenue initiated a MyEnquiries communication, and this issue is resolved following a system update in January. Revenue confirmed that the option to represent clients for LPT purposes is available to agents and they can access their clients’ LPT records via ROS and file returns/payments on their behalf. For LPT purposes, the property rather than the taxpayer is the taxable entity so agents must specify the properties to which they require access.  Tax agents can submit access requests to LPT Branch either in writing or via the email address LPTRegisterTeam@revenue.ie.   Agents must submit the following with their requests: Property ID(s) and property address(es) to which they require access. Written confirmation from the liable person that the agent is to represent them for specific properties. Once an agent request is received, LPT Branch issues a letter of confirmation to the liable person advising that access has been granted to their agent for the specified properties. Chartered Accountants Ireland, under the auspices of the CCAB-I, will continue to engage with Revenue to improve the functioning of MyEnquiries and to suggest functions for ROS to reduce MyEnquiries communication.  Please provide us with feedback on your suggestions to improve MyEnquiries by emailing us at tax@charteredaccountants.ie.

Mar 01, 2021
News

While the Common Travel Area between Ireland and the UK has been preserved post-Brexit, businesses still need to be compliant when it comes to work and travel permission requirements for employees, says Doone O'Doherty. Now that the UK has officially left the EU, many employers have started to see travel and work restrictions apply to certain employees who, before Brexit, could have travelled and worked freely within the EU. Employers need to ensure compliance for their employees and indeed for their own organisations. Ireland is in a somewhat unique position insofar as the free movement of UK and Irish nationals between both countries has been retained under the Common Travel Area agreement. There may be an assumption that Brexit really has no immediate impact on the people agenda for Irish employers and, for many organisations, this is the case. For others, however, particularly those with UK or EU national employees, Brexit throws up a completely new conundrum, with concerns over immigration and global mobility becoming something that employers may need to navigate, often for the first time.  Work permission required   The bottom line is that, since 1 January, freedom of movement of UK and EU nationals between the UK and the rest of the EU has ended. If you have either UK national employees who need to travel to another EU member state, or EU national employees who need to travel to the UK, these individuals are now subject to potential work permission requirements. There may also be restrictions and time limits on the activities they can carry out as business travellers. Where once a UK national could simply move to another EU member state at short notice, and vice versa, attention and planning now need to be given to such travel arrangements. Not only does consideration need to be given to any new movement of people, EU nationals already resident in the UK will have needed to secure their right to live in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme. Similarly, UK nationals resident in the EU will need to secure their status and regularise their position under the specific rules for that country. Thorough review needed  Businesses need to undertake a thorough review of their workforce and identify any frequent business travellers or those who are likely to be affected by immigration restrictions. This includes building potential immigration requirements and robust pre-travel processes into their Global Mobility Policies. Communicating with employees is also important to make them aware of any new pre-travel requirements or steps to secure settlement that they may need to undertake. Consider the potential cost impact of obtaining necessary immigration clearance. There are two aspects to consider: social security and the application of Irish PAYE rules to short-term business travellers. Social security  The Social Welfare Order 2020 came into effect on 1 January 2021. Its purpose is to ensure that the social security rights and entitlements of Irish and UK citizens under the Common Travel Area arrangements are maintained post-Brexit and that social security need only be paid in one jurisdiction. One key aspect is that it applies to Irish or UK citizens only, who may work in either one or both territories. Thankfully, supplementary provisions were included in a new protocol to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement on Social Security Coordination to ensure that EU or UK citizens who move between Member States will continue to be liable to pay social security contributions in one State at a time. Special provision is made for ‘commuters’, which provides that such individuals may be retained within their home country social security system. This is particularly welcome in the case of EU citizens living in the UK who commute or are posted to Ireland to work and who would not have been able to avail of the Social Security provisions above. Employers need to understand where their people work, their citizenship status and how to make the appropriate applications under the revised rules to the relevant social security authority. Irish PAYE and short-term business travellers  There is no change to the underlying tax rules in Ireland because of Brexit. However, there is likely to be increased short-term business travel between Ireland and the UK, largely due to our geographic proximity and the fact Ireland is the only English-speaking member of the EU.   One myth that often exists is the belief that, provided an individual spends less than 183 days in Ireland, there are no tax implications for their UK employer. This is far from the truth – Ireland has a comprehensive set of rules applicable to short-term business travellers/visitors (STBV) that can easily give rise to an obligation to operate Irish PAYE based on an individuals’ Irish workdays. Equally, it is possible to avail of some concessions in respect of STBVs whereby Irish PAYE does not need to be applied, but only if the appropriate due diligence is undertaken.  UK employers need to understand the travel patterns of their staff, the nature of the duties they are undertaking and the intended duration of those activities. Advice should be sought regarding the potential Irish PAYE (payroll withholding obligations) and whether there is a way to mitigate that obligation. Furthermore, the employer should implement a robust system of tracking an employee’s Irish workdays in order to mitigate any potential breaches. Doone O'Doherty is a Partner in People & Organisation at PwC.

Feb 26, 2021
Tax

A scheme to allow Postponed Accounting for VAT on imports has been available to VAT-registered traders in Ireland since 11.00pm on 31 December 2020. This scheme is intended to alleviate cash flow issues which could arise following Brexit where VAT-registered businesses may otherwise have to pay import VAT when the goods are imported, and then recover the VAT when the next VAT return is filed. Find out how the scheme works in practice. The scheme: postpones accounting for VAT on imports from non-EU countries (including Great Britain but not Northern Ireland) enables traders to account for import VAT on a VAT return rather than paying the VAT immediately on imports allows traders to reclaim VAT at the same time that it is self-accounted for on a VAT return (subject to the normal rules of deductibility). Traders in Ireland who acquire goods from countries outside the EU’s VAT area can use the Postponed Accounting for VAT arrangements. Traders who do not meet certain criteria may be excluded from the scheme. Criteria include compliance with tax and customs as well as viability of business operations and capacity to pay VAT liabilities. Revenue’s Tax and Duty Manual VAT-Postponed Accounting sets out more detail. It is not compulsory to use the Postponed Accounting arrangements; import VAT can be paid upfront at time of importation instead. Alternatively, the deferred payment system for VAT on imports may also be used by authorised importers, which defers the payment of import VAT (and customs duties) until the 15th of the month following importation.  

Feb 23, 2021
Tax RoI

The CCAB-I needs your views and experiences to inform important representations on the tax treatment of TWSS related matters, the Tax Debt Warehousing Scheme, and the impact of COVID-19 on an individual’s ability to travel in and out of Ireland so far in 2021 and the implications on tax residency.  The survey will close next Monday 1 March. Please complete the survey now. 

Feb 22, 2021
Tax RoI

A list of employers who received payments under the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) in 2020 was published by Revenue. The list includes 39,800 eligible employers who received over €1.4 billion in respect of 443,100 employees. The amount paid to each employer has not been published, in line with the legislative requirements under which the list must be published. The EWSS was introduced through the July Jobs Stimulus package, replacing the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) on 1 September. The EWSS was initially expected to support around 350,000 jobs into the beginning of 2021, at an estimated cost of €1.9 billion. With the growing prevalence of the coronavirus in Ireland since July, the subsidy available per employee per week under the scheme was increased from a maximum of €203 to €350, in October. The latest COVID-19 support schemes statistics show that there are 45,900 employers registered for the EWSS and €331 million subsidy payments were paid in January. Read the Revenue press release for more information on the publication of the 2020 EWSS employers list.

Feb 01, 2021

Following the launch of the new CRO portal last month, there were a number of concerns raised by members both in terms of system glitches and regarding the introduction of new processes. We communicated your issues in a letter to the CRO on behalf of the CCAB-I. Whilst some of these issues may be temporary in nature, others are structural in nature and we were keen to engage proactively to determine if solutions can be found. The CRO have responded and provided an update on progress made to date. The Institute supports the move towards a fully online process and compliance is important to all members but the system needs to work efficiently to support users in being compliant. We are listening to your issues and concerns and we will continue to liaise with the CRO on your behalf and keep you updated on progress.   Updates are available on the CRO https://www.cro.ie/en-ie/About-CRO/Contact-Us/Whats-Newwebsite and on their twitter account which is updated more frequently.

Jan 26, 2021

Chartered Accountants Ireland is a global organisation, with members living and working all around the world. Our network of very active District Societies are a way for members to network professionally and personally. They are a great way to offer and give support, as well as for those living overseas to keep in touch with us here in Ireland. This week, Tuesday 26 January is Australia Day so we are taking the opportunity to reach out to our 1,037 members who call Australia home. So, where is everyone?   State Number of members  New South Wales  617  Victoria  227  Western Australia  91  Queensland  49  South Australia  6  Northern Territory  3  Capital Territory  3  Tasmania  2  Not stated  39 Australia Day is a national holiday, so we hope our members are enjoying a day off. We invite members to Tweet and tell us what you are doing to mark the day this week, using the hashtag #CharteredAustralia We'd love to hear from you! And don't forget that if you are a member living in Australia, your District Society would welcome you getting in touch. The Society Executive is Cathy McDermott, and she can keep you updated on events and activities the Society arrange.

Jan 26, 2021
News

"Ah, sure, it'll be grand" is an expression widely use in Ireland. Sometimes, however, your staff really do need help. Damian McCourt emphasises the importance of listening to your employees and offering support when they need it. “This is ridiculous,” I said, staring at the influx of work in dismay. “I’m never going to get through all this.” It was 2013, and I was a project manager with far more work than was good for me. I was feeling panicked. My manager looked across at me, shrugged his shoulders in a what-can-you-do sort of way, and announced, “it is what it is”. I put my head down, kept my mouth shut, and proceeded to work myself into a burnout. I didn’t realise it at the time, but I had just been ‘minimised’. Talking about our mental health is never easy. Even if your workplace encourages open discussion on mental health, the desire to appear capable, competent and – above all – strong can be a severe deterrent to asking for help. As a result, it often falls to the manager to ask if someone is okay. This is difficult even at the best of times. It requires planning, privacy and a careful, non-judgmental approach. Try doing this over Zoom with your locked-down kids, and you have a genuine challenge. The good news is that if you’re a careful listener, you won’t even need to initiate this conversation. People ask for help all the time – they just don’t make it obvious. Seemingly off-the-cuff comments on energy levels, mood and workload sometimes hide a call for help, and you can respond in one of three ways: Shift the conversation to you “Oh, I’m up to my eyes too! Wait ‘till I tell you what I had to deal with last week…” Shifting the conversation back to you isn’t helpful but it’s an easy mistake to make as a manager, especially if you’re feeling slightly stressed yourself. Do it often enough, and people will stop talking to you. Minimise the situation “Ah, it’ll be grand. We’re all in the same boat. That’s just the job. Man up and get into it.” Minimise is a put down, pure and simple. Everyone else is OK so you should be too. Pipe down and get on with it. For someone who is already worrying about their ability to cope, you’re doubling their anxiety by dismissing their concerns. Not only are you being supremely unhelpful, you’re giving yourself a harder conversation later on. Offer support “Are things really bad? Anything I can do to help?” We would all like to think that we’d be the one to offer support, and yet we all live with our own concerns and priorities. It’s easy to miss an opportunity to help. Remote working tools can actually make monitoring the health and wellbeing of your staff easier. Keep an eye on your Teams chat and watch for clues in email conversations. It’s easier to ask if someone needs help than if they are okay, and your offer of support might make all the difference. Damian McCourt is a freelance trainer and consultant specialising in workplace resilience, productivity and sensible leadership.

Jan 22, 2021
Press release

31 January self-assessment filing deadline comes as further severe COVID-19 restrictions are implemented across UK A one-off, one-month extension to deadline would help industry to cope in these emergency times – Institute  7 January 2021 – Chartered Accountants Ireland has written to Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Rt. Hon Rishi Sunak MP, requesting that the government responds to the deteriorating COVID-19 situation by extending the tax deadline approaching for businesses at the end of the month. Chartered Accountants Ireland has over 4,500 members across Northern Ireland, and circa 2,500 members in GB who continue to be at the forefront of helping businesses navigate Government supports introduced as a result of COVID-19.  The pandemic has put increasing pressure on businesses in meeting regulatory and reporting obligations due to workplace health and safety requirements, staff resourcing, illness and childcare/caring constraints and the challenges of social distancing.  Chartered Accountants Ireland has been engaging with HMRC officials since last September, to highlight the difficulties businesses and accountants are experiencing in meeting the forthcoming self-assessment filing deadline of 31 January. Commenting, President of Chartered Accountants Ireland, Paul Henry said “The rampant nature of the virus in recent weeks necessitating a further severe lockdown in all regions of the UK introduces insurmountable obstacles to self-assessed businesses and individuals in their efforts to meet the forthcoming 2019/20 self-assessment filing deadline on 31 January 2021. “Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the swift implementation of the Government’s practical COVID-19 support measures has provided considerable support to businesses and taxpayers. It is crucial that businesses continue to be supported now that the situation has evolved so considerably in recent days and weeks.”  Chartered Accountants Ireland highlighted to the Chancellor that the regulatory workload of businesses is already at least two months behind normal schedules due to the national lockdown in 2020 and further restrictions across the various regions introduced from October onwards.  Henry continued “Although accountants will make every effort to ensure that as many tax returns as possible are filed on time for businesses, due to the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic, there will be instances where it is just not practically possible to make the deadline.  “A short once-off extension of one month to the self-assessment deadline would help ease the pressures on businesses who have the necessary information for the preparation of their return but cannot safely provide this to their accountant due to the ongoing public health restrictions.”  ENDS

Jan 07, 2021

About Irina Irina Yotova started out with a degree in Hospitality Management, and worked for several years in senior operations roles in a number of large hotels. Budgets and numbers became a part of these roles and a part she really loved. She trained as an Accounting Technician while working, and soon decided she wouldn't stop there. Irina has recently become our 29,000th member and is delighted with her career choice. We recently chatted with her to find out more about her journey and her advice for others considering making a change. Background and journey I completed a degree in Hospitality Management and spent over 10 years in various roles in hospitality operations and senior management. This gave me the opportunity to engage with finance, including setting annual budgets,  weekly forecasts and analysing and managing actual results. These financial areas became important parts of my daily duties which I have to admit I really enjoyed! I have always had a keen interest and love for numbers, having excelled at maths in high school. So with this passion and my growing experience at work, I joined the cluster finance team which at that time was responsible for the finance and accounting of five hotels.  Production of monthly management and financial set of accounts and cost control were only a fraction of my duties, at which point I felt that pursuing a career in accounting is what I wanted to do. Thanks to exemptions granted from elements within my primary degree, I became an Accounting Technician within a year and at that stage, I knew that becoming a Chartered Accountant was my next goal, so embarked on the Flexible Route. I chose the Flexible Route as it suited my personal and professional life as a mature student. My job involved travel within the island, which prevented me from attending lectures at times. The online materials, the support available to all students and the professional network I created helped me achieve my goal – becoming a Chartered accountant.   What the next years may hold  I currently work as an Auditor at the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General, responsible for carrying out value for money examinations of various government departments and offices and report the results in annual chapters and special reports.  I joined the Office when I commenced studying for my Chartered Accountancy qualification.  Given the fact that the world is changing at such a rapid pace nowadays, who knows where I will be in the next five years.  A lesson learnt from the pandemic is that now, more than ever, we need to be adaptable, to embrace change and to think and act quickly. I see myself continuing to progress my career in the OCAG and I am enjoying the endless opportunities the Chartered Accountancy qualification presents me with. I would like to study again at some stage in the future.  What advice would you give to someone considering accountancy? I won’t lie. It was not easy – but no one said it would be… The rewards and opportunities that go with the Chartered qualification are endless. If I had to do it again, I would not think twice.  It’s worth the effort. What are your top tips on studying and exams that you would give to future students? Take your time and do not stress. Try to stay on top of all subjects. It's easy to focus on the subjects we like most, so be careful not to neglect others. Good preparation and planning are the keys to success. Make sure to find time to enjoy yourself and do not give up on your hobbies while you are studying. Keep your eye on the prize! As Sills once said “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going". What skills from your former qualification and experience have helped you along the way? My hospitality management roles and qualification taught me organisational skills, leadership, open-mindedness, prioritisation and delivery of results. These are all fundamental in accountancy too, of course, so I feel lucky to have taken the journey I did.  Every type of experience is always an asset.  I think having worked with such a wide variety of people allowed me to gain a broad spectrum of experience in many aspects and broadened my business acumen. 

Jan 06, 2021
Careers Development

The annual “Chartered Star” prize has been jointly awarded to two entrants from Co. Donegal and Co. Down by Chartered Accountants Ireland. The decision reflected the high calibre of entrants this year, and both winners will now go on to represent the Irish chartered accountancy profession at the ‘One Young World’ conference in Munich next July. The winners are Aisling McCaffrey, Associate Director with Grant Thornton and Dr Caroline McGroary, Assistant Professor of Accounting in Dublin City University (DCU).  The ‘Chartered Star’ award recognises exceptional achievement amongst young and trainee accountants around the island of Ireland. Each year, it is awarded to someone who will lead, motivate, and inspire as they build their career. In 2020, entrants were challenged to demonstrate to the judging panel the ways in which they are making a difference and working towards, or supporting, the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Paul Henry, President, Chartered Accountants Ireland said “My heartiest congratulations to both winners. It is in all our hands to create a strong and sustainable accountancy profession into the future and Aisling and Caroline’s achievements at a still relatively early stage in their careers are to be commended. I look forward to following their achievements in the coming years, and on behalf of the Institute I wish them success in their engagements in Munich in July. We are fortunate as a profession to be so ably represented on a global stage.” Aisling McCaffrey, Associate Director with Grant Thornton is originally from Holywood, Co. Down and works in Dublin. A member of the FinBiz2030 Irish taskforce, she is also a NextGen committee member for 100 Women in Finance, a global network of professionals in finance working together to empower women at every stage of their career. Sport also plays a huge role in her life. A tag rugby player, she has represented Ireland in two World Cups and is a World Cup silver medal winner.  Her work to support the Sustainable Development Goals is focused on achieving gender equality (SDG 5) and empowering women and girls, as well as climate action (SDG 13). She currently acts as project manager for the team responsible for the creation of the Green Team Network – a forum for connection and empowering change towards a sustainable environment within the Irish Funds Industry. In Grant Thornton, she sits on an internal ESG working group through which she promotes sustainable activity across the firm. Aisling commented “I feel really proud and humbled to have been awarded Chartered Star for 2020/21 by Chartered Accountants Ireland. My qualification has provided me with technical knowledge and skills that I have been able to utilise in all aspects of my life and I am delighted to be representing the profession on an international stage at the One Young World Summit. I am really excited to collaborate with other young leaders at the summit who are passionate about making a social impact and finding effective solutions to global issues.” Fellow winner, Caroline McGroary, originally from Donegal, is an Assistant Professor of Accounting with DCU. Before joining DCU she trained as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte. Over the last seven years she has worked between Ireland and Saudi Arabia through a partnership between DCU and Princess Norah University (PNU), the largest female only university in the world. Caroline particularly impressed the judging panel with an initiative she developed to help women at risk of financial exclusion in Saudi Arabia. The initiative, which was supported at governmental level, had a social media campaign which reached over 1 million users, was nominated for a number of awards and was presented at international conferences. Her work to support the UN SDGs is focused on SDG 4 Quality Education and SDG 5 Gender Equality by improving the financial literacy levels of students; educating students about the UN SDGs; empowering them to help achieve the goals through community engagement; while her PhD research is centered around professional education. In addition, Caroline promotes the UN SDGs in the business community in Saudi Arabia and Ireland, and was a founding member of the Irish Business Network - Saudi Arabia. Caroline commented “This is an award that I am immensely proud to hold and I look forward to representing the profession at the One Young World Summit in Munich, in 2021. I hope to use this summit as a platform to meet with leaders and activists from all over the world, and to identify ways in which we can work together to achieve impact. I'm also looking forward to working with the FinBiz2030 taskforce, whose aim is to mobilise the finance and business community globally to help achieve the UN SDGs.” ENDS  About Chartered Accountants Ireland Chartered Accountants Ireland is Ireland’s leading professional accountancy body, representing 28,500 influential members around the world and educating 7,000 students. The Institute aims to create opportunities for members and students, and ethical, sustainable prosperity for society. An all-island body, Chartered Accountants Ireland was established by Royal Charter in 1888 and now has members in more than 90 countries. It is a founding member of Chartered Accountants Worldwide, the international network of over one million chartered accountants. It also plays key roles in the Global Accounting Alliance, Accountancy Europe and the International Federation of Accountants.  About One Young World: One Young World is an international conference that brings together inspiring young people from 190+ countries that are committed to making a difference. The summit will take place in Munich in July 2021. One Young World provides a platform for young leaders to speak alongside Presidents, Nobel Prize Winners, Global business leaders and other inspiring global leaders. Delegates are an international cohort, sharing their impactful work, personal experiences, views and opinions with around 1,300 Summit attendees and an audience watching around the world.

Dec 22, 2020
Tax UK

Chartered Accountants Ireland recently wrote to Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, TD, highlighting the need to simplify tax compliance on current and future wage supports.  The Institute noted the continued importance to businesses of wage supports in 2021 but called for the associated compliance on the supports to be simplified given the fact that rigorous eligibility criteria and checks are already in place.  The Institute’s letter sets out that tax compliance attaching to wage supports requires a substantial amount of time and management by businesses and their accountants. This is in addition to all other tax compliance obligations of a business operating in difficult circumstances due to the disruption caused by COVID-19.   The recent changes to the eligibility test for the EWSS will be challenging for businesses and the Institute called for a transitional measure to be put in place to help businesses with a legitimate expectation that they qualified for the support up to March 2021. 

Dec 21, 2020
Brexit

Commenting Cróna Clohisey, Public Policy Lead, Chartered Accountants Ireland said “While it is positive to see the EU-UK Joint Committee reach an agreement in principle, the promise of the adoption and implementation of this agreement before the end of the Brexit transition period could be a “red herring” for businesses. The absence of an implementation mechanism does not give businesses adequate time to understand and prepare for the changes before they come into effect on 1 January 2021.    “This will make matters more complicated for traders and businesses, particularly those depending on the finer technical details of the agreement, and their practical application.    “These technical details need to be made available as soon as possible. We are still facing the prospect of a no deal Brexit, but technical detail on today’s agreement would go a long way to providing some reassurance to businesses.”  ENDS For more information Jill Farrelly MPRII Tel: 087 738 6608 PR and Communications Manager

Dec 09, 2020

We were delighted to catch up with Marie-Claire McDonnell, who is now based in Toronto with her family. As you will read, it wasn’t a smooth start but she has some really good, practical advice for new arrivals or those thinking of making the move. In 2019, we launched a Chapter Network Group for members in Toronto, which Marie-Claire heads up, so anyone in the area should certainly reach out!  Tell us about your journey as a Chartered Accountant and how you ended up settling in Toronto?  I trained in EY Dublin in the ICT department (Industrial, Commercial and Technology) and qualified in 2008.  Similar to many in my intake, I took a year out to travel mostly Asia, Australia and New Zealand. I came back to Ireland in the latter part of 2009 worked for three years as Associate Director, Finance in Depfa Bank. It was at Depfa I met my now husband, Cormac, and we decided to move to Canada. At the time it was easy to get a one year working holiday visa, and we chose to live in Toronto as we both had financial services experience and Toronto is a Financial Services hub.  I found it hard to settle in Toronto if I am completely honest, it did take me about a year. We came in September 2012, when the bad weather starts. We knew no one here and I really had to put myself out there to make friends. It takes a few months to get work here also, so I took on temp admin roles to keep myself occupied at the start. I remember asking myself a few times as I was doing data entry for eight hours a day: “did we make a huge mistake?” But we hung tight and both secured great roles by December 2012. I took a maternity cover contract in a pension fund called OMERS ($109 billion in net investment assets in 2019), where I was Senior Financial Analyst in Finance for Venture and Strategic investments. Once I was there four months, they made me permanent and I stayed for three and a half years before I made the move to recruitment. I now recruit qualified accountants in non-financial services industries with Robert Walters Canada, and have a special soft spot for helping the Irish ACAs who have just arrived in Toronto.  What have been the advantages of being an ACA in Toronto? The Irish ACA designation is very well respected in Toronto, and Irish ACAs have a reputation for being extremely hard workers. Employers like the training Irish ACAs get in Ireland. A lot of the time the ACAs from practice have had exposure to audit of large multinationals and are technically strong as a result.  The ACA designation opens so many doors here. Another huge benefit of the ACA designation is that it is a profession which you are almost guaranteed to secure permanent residency with. What advice would you give to members going to Toronto today? Be prepared to have to wait to get a good role and have savings to keep you going for three to four months. Toronto is an expensive city and sometimes it can take a while to get a good role. As you have no credit history in Canada, you might need to pay a few months rent up front. It is important to be prepared for this. I would also encourage people to be open. Contract work is your friend in Toronto, it is a foot in the door of a good company, or it is Canadian experience to secure your next role. Look at contract work with an open mind: what experience will I have after this role to open doors for me? Be confident and put yourself out there. Toronto is a city built on networks. Be prepared to cold message people (maybe Irish ACAs here) and ask them for a chat/coffee/Zoom call. I know so many people here who have secured work by networking. Irish people do try to help each other in Toronto as much as possible which is fantastic. How has lockdown been in Toronto for you? I am sure like everyone, I can say it has been very challenging. We had a difficult few months in that we welcomed our second daughter, Isla, in May in the middle of lockdown. Isla unfortunately was born critically ill with meningitis. Our family were all in Ireland and they were so worried about us over here. Managing their worry on top of our own was difficult. My husband and I did not see Isla together until she was discharged from hospital a month later as only one caregiver could be in the hospital at a time. Daycare was closed so we had to find care for our two-year-old daughter Aoibhinn. COVID just made a terrible situation 10 times worse if that was possible! However, in the midst of the difficulty, the kindness and selflessness of our friends was unbelievable. Our close circle of friends here rallied around, staying overnight with us, minding our eldest daughter, taking our dog, cooking for us, driving us to the hospital and back, cleaning and just being here for a shoulder to cry on when you technically cannot touch people outside your family.  They put themselves at risk being with us as we were in hospital every day.  Lockdown was probably one of the worst times of my life but we really learned how amazing and supportive our friends are here. Thankfully little Isla is a trooper and has made a full recovery.   What will Christmas mean for you this year?   We are actually travelling to Ireland for Christmas for five weeks. We are very lucky to have a house to quarantine in Killarney. My brother is getting married at the end of December and we wanted to take our little miracle baby Isla home to meet her family in Ireland. It will not be the same as years before, but we are content to just be at home with our families. I am also very excited for some grandparent babysitting so I can hopefully squeeze in a few shopping trips! Marie-Claire McDonnell is a Finance and Recruiting Specialist with Robert Walters and also is a point of contact for the Toronto Chapter and would love to hear from any members in the Toronto area. Similarly, members looking to reach out can contact Gillian Duffy - District and Global Member Manager.

Dec 02, 2020

Was this article helpful?