Ulster Society news

Paul Henry, Director of Osborne King and President of Chartered Accountants Ireland has been named as Chair of CCAB for 2020/22. CCAB (The Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies) is an umbrella group of the accountancy profession in the UK and has a combined membership worldwide of 408,000. Its core purpose is to promote sustainable growth in the economy through the accountancy profession. Paul Henry takes over as Chair from Mike McKeon CA, President of ICAS (the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland). During his two year tenure, Paul will lead the CCAB’s work in identifying and capitalising on the opportunities that the rapid pace of change in the business and accountancy world brings in 2020. Equally he will lead the CCAB’s response to the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19 for its members and the wider business community.  Commenting on his appointment, Paul said: “I look forward to engaging with as many members and stakeholders as possible in the coming months to help our profession to adapt to all the changes that affect us, from rapid technological advancements to increased regulatory requirements. This of course all takes place in the context of a business community worldwide that is facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its impact on the way we all live and conduct business.  “Another area of focus for me in the coming 2 years will be strengthening the reputation of our industry to ensure that we can attract the best and brightest individuals. The lifeblood of any profession is the young talent that chooses to join its ranks.” Paul Henry is a Director with Belfast based property consultancy Osborne King and has extensive experience of real estate, insolvency and corporate finance. A resident of Belfast, he qualified with Pricewaterhouse in 1989. Prior to his current role, he held positions with the Industrial Development Board, Enterprise Equity, PricewaterhouseCoopers and ASM Chartered Accountants.  He also served as Chairman of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society in 2014.  The CCAB was established in 1988 to coordinate the representation functions of the participant professional bodies in areas of common interest to the profession. It has a number of committees which respond to Government and regulatory initiatives in their respective areas.

Jul 07, 2020

Maeve Hunt has been elected Chair of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society at its 113th Annual General Meeting. The Ulster Society represents 4,700 local Chartered Accountants and is a district society of Chartered Accountants Ireland, the largest and oldest professional accountancy body in Ireland. Ms Hunt, who takes over as Chair from Richard Gillan, is Associate Director with Grant Thornton in Northern Ireland. She becomes the fourth female Chair of the Ulster Society and follows in the footsteps of her father, James Hunt, who served as Chairman of the Society in 1990. Addressing the Society’s AGM, held virtually for the first time due to COVID-19 restrictions, Ms Hunt said that the key priority would be to help the local economy to recover: “I know that in the year ahead, Chartered Accountants have a crucial role to play in terms of helping Northern Ireland to bounce back from the current health crisis. “Around the world, people are still coming to terms with the impact and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our key aim will be to support our members and their pivotal role in business and the public sector during these unprecedented times. “Bouncing back from this health crisis while dealing with the realities of Brexit will be the challenge of a generation. The skills and leadership of our profession are needed now more than ever. We will be there to give our support.” Ms Hunt said that in the year ahead the Ulster Society would seek to support, inspire and evolve: “As well as supporting members and the economy, we need to inspire the next generation to join our profession and we need to use our voice to inspire our political leaders to make the most of our restored Executive and a new Programme for Government. “As a professional body, we must evolve so that we find new ways to meet the needs of our members, so that we can help Chartered Accountants to meet the challenge of our times. We will be an effective voice for our members, and the wider business community in Northern Ireland. Together we have a key role to play in helping our economy to bounce back.” During her first speech as Chair, Ms Hunt acknowledged her father as an inspiration, having served as Ulster Society Chairman 30 years ago: “I’m very proud to be following in my dad’s footsteps. I’ve grown up watching his dedication and commitment, and I will be doing my best to demonstrate those qualities during my own term as Chair.” Ms Hunt trained as a Chartered Accountant with Hill Vellacott after completing a Law and Accounting degree at Queens’ University. She has a particular interest in the education of trainee Chartered Accountants and is a past pupil of Rathmore Grammar School in Belfast. Pictured after the Ulster Society’s Virtual AGM is new Chartered Accountants Ulster Society Chair Maeve Hunt, with her father James Hunt, who served as Chairman of the Ulster Society in 1990.

Jun 08, 2020

All members are invited to virtually attend the 2020 Annual General Meeting, taking place online on Monday 8th June. Details of how to join will be issued to all members who register to attend (see below) The meeting will commence at 1.00 pm.  Members can register to attend here  Apologies can be emailed to Karen Hewitt [email] Relevant Documents: AGM Attendee User Guide - updated 3 June 2020 FINAL. We highly recommend that any members attending the AGM read this user guide in advance. Ulster Society Annual Report and Accounts 2019 AGM Minutes 2019 AGM Agenda 2020

May 20, 2020

PHC has been working closely with the Ulster Society and Towergate Health & Protection to offer Ulster Society members preferential terms on a comprehensive range of healthcare products. It’s now up for renewal and new members can join and benefit from this valuable offer. PHC’s insurance is underwritten by AXA PPP, the second largest private medical insurer in the UK. Their whole philosophy is built around being different, responsive and agile to meet the often complex health insurance needs of their customers. They focus on providing high quality insurance to its customers and we’re extremely happy to be partnering with them again for the next contract year. Some of the benefits available to you if you elect for PHC health insurance include: Medical History Disregarded (MHD) underwriting, previous medical conditions are automatically covered under the plan when you join the plan between the 1st June and the 1st July. A pre-existing conditions exclusion will only apply for cancer. If you are receiving active treatment for cancer or have recently been diagnosed with cancer, private treatment will not be covered. Plans can be tailored to meet individual budgets. Avoid NHS waiting times for accessing medical treatment, a fast track appointment service is included as standard. Unlimited out-patient cover is included for consultancy fee’s, scans, and diagnostic tests across all plans. In-patient treatment and day case surgery are also covered in full. 24/7 access to a counselling support service is included across all plans. A comprehensive range of Private and NHS hospitals across the UK are available for treatment. Instant referral service for Musculoskeletal & mental health treatment. Your individual plan will be part of a ‘pooled’ arrangement with other members. All premiums and claims are pooled together to help determine your renewal premium. The Society is delighted to offer these terms to its members through PHC and if you would like to find out more on the available plans and prices, please contact Towergate Health & Protection as soon as possible.  To find out more, please contact Towergate Health & Protection by emailing info_health@towergate.co.uk or complete and return the Ulster Society Medical Scheme Application 2020 form

May 11, 2020

The Ulster Society recently ran a webinar covering the UK Government supports for businesses affected by Coronavirus, specifically the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Job Retention Scheme.  Talking about the supports were Mark Sterritt, British Business Bank; Robert McCullough, Danske Bank and Shirley Blair, A&L Goodbody. A recording of this webinar is available HERE. Many members submitted questions during the webinar, not all of which could be answered on the day. A list of FAQs on CBILS and the Job Retention Scheme are given below (info correct as of 15 April). Thanks to our speakers for taking the time after the webinar to answer these. FAQs        CBILS  - Answers from Robert McCullough, Danske Bank EFLG Scheme had such a low take up in NI. Do you see this being the same? Absolutely not. We are seeing a significant inflow of applications and drawdowns already. The EFGS scheme was seen as overly complicated and carried a risk premium priced to the client. The banks pick up the risk premium as part of this scheme. If a business has substantial cash reserves, even if currently business has been severely affected by Covid 19, do they still qualify under the scheme? The Business needs to confirm that it’s been affected by Covid 19 to avail of the scheme but in our experience a business will not borrow until it has to. ie use its own reserves first. There may be an argument that cash reserves were being held for another purpose and have had to be repointed towards Covid support and in that instance there is a case for taking forward Where the business already has a funding facility with repayment terms, how do the repayment terms of a CBILS fit around those? Your lender will take account of those commitments when considering the business future repayment capacity. CBIL terms in Y1 are generous with grant funded interest and the opportunity to avail of capital holidays to try and ease the pressure on business and if that doesn’t work then some form of restructure may be more appropriate. Where existing facilities secure all business assets what form of security is being taken / looked for by the CBILS providers? The scheme sets out that all available security should be taken and then supported by a CBIL guarantee which covers the bank to a value of 80% of any outstanding debt once all security proceeds have been recovered. So if all available security has been utilised then the business should still proceed in seeking a CBIL loan using the government guarantee If a business has cash reserves that will take it through the initial 6 to 8 week period, should it delay applying for a CBILS at this stage? It would be prudent to at least have given some thought to what the requirements might be and certainly communicate your position to your lender in order that any subsequent application has no surprises and will probably flow through the system quicker. When all business restarts it is likely that working capital will be stressed until revenue flows and at that stage there will be further funding requirements - should businesses be building that requirement into a CBILS at this stage? Ideally yes, but just try to use best judgment and the bank will by sympathetic to the lack of clarity around future revenue streams. In event of default on CBIL loan, does bank utilise existing security held before calling on 80% guarantee?  Yes – those are the rules of the scheme. It is effectively a shortfall guarantee Job Retention Scheme – Answers from Shirley Blair Should the 80% gross be worked out on total gross or post salary sacrifice salary? Post salary sacrifice salary though it is open to the employee to waive the benefit and restore their salary to the higher level I have become aware that some staff that have been furloughed have been working from home, even though they have been advised to the contrary. How does that affect my company claiming under the job retention grant? The Scheme makes it clear that no work can be done. It's likely that if a company is aware that employees are doing work whilst they are intended to be on furlough, they should not claim under the Scheme for that employee. Depending upon the circumstances, that may then become a disciplinary issue for the employee. I have clients with essential businesses (e.g. food shop/ petrol stations) getting staff requests to be furloughed, eg. place me on furlough, my child has bad asthma.So family members who haven't received the letter advising them to shield.The employer does have work for these employees.Can employers take comfort in furloughing these employees? Furlough is not limited to redundancy situations. The Guidance states that employees with caring responsibilities can be furloughed. Are the average monthly earnings for the period prior to the date employee was furloughed? Yes Re JRS, the guidance suggests that compulsory commissions are included. What is the difference between a compulsory commission and a regular commission? No current guidance so this area remains unclear What does the guidance say about making up the pay beyond the 80% of some employees rather than others, particularly that of directors.   Nothing other than the making up of pay is at the employer's discretion. Normal employment law principles apply so employers must make sure not to offend any discrimination legislation and comply with the usual duties around reasonableness. The guidance says that directors can be furloughed and can carry out work to fulfil their stautory obligations. They should not do work of a kind they would carry out in normal circumstances to generate revenue or provide services to or on behalf of their company. Where does issuing fees, collecting cash, completing VAT returns and operating PAYE fit here? Can a director be involved in these activities and still be furloughed? A director who is furloughed can only undertake work to fulfil a duty or other obligation arising from an Act of Parliament relating to the filing of company's accounts or provision of other information relating to the administration of the director's company (para 6.6).  This is a very narrow interpretation of directors' duties. For people on Furlough do you have to pay them 100% of their pay for statutory holidays Governmental guidance is awaited Do staff earn annual leave entitlements if they are furloughed?  Governmental guidance is awaited Can you bring a member back to carry out administrative work for a week and furlough them again?   At present this may be possible, provided that the employee is furloughed in blocks of 3 weeks Can public sector / local government use furlough scheme?  Yes Can the furlough scheme be used for an individual employee who has dependents who need to 'shield'? Yes, if the employer and employee agree For employees on national living wage is it 80% of the NLW at 28/02/20 or of the current NLW from 1/04/20? The NMW/ NLW is not relevant to the calculation Can sole directors furlough if they cease working albeit doing minimal director duties A director who is furloughed can only undertake work to fulfil a duty or other obligation arising from an Act of Parliament relating to the filing of company's accounts or provision of other information relating to the administration of the director's company (para 6.6).  This is a very narrow interpretation of directors' duties. When I come to processing wages do I put through normal pay amounts for each employee and file my RTI or do I put through zero for each employee? Guidance awaited Can an employer pay the other 20% so that employee doesn’t lose out at all financially? Yes Can a furloughed employee engage in paid work for another company and be paid a commercial rate from new employer, as well as the furloughed pay? Yes, provided there is nothing that restricts that in the original employer's terms and conditions with that employee  Our company continues to trade as normal. However, some employees have had to self-isolate due to government advice. Can they be furloughed or are they due SSP? Self-isolating employees are only entitled to SSP for the duration of the self-isolation. Once that ends, they may be entitled to furlough  Under furlough, can staff be used as security duties which is NOT part of their normal work. In the case of an hotel, it needs people on-site to protect the premises for obvious reasons. An employee can do no work for their employer whilst on furlough If a furloughed worker can do voluntary work, does this mean general voluntary / charity work or can they do voluntary work for their employer? They cannot do anything that would generate revenue for their employer Can an employee take annual leave 1 day a week to make up full pay? Currently no guidance  How do you define someone whose pay varies? Is it regular overtime? Even though it isn't mentioned on their contract? There must be a contractual obligation to pay (whether implied or express is currently unclear) Re: employee consent if they were put on furlough as a necessity before it was clear that written consent was needed, can we now get them to retrospectively agree even they have started on furlough? No current guidance If an employee is on sick leave and contacts to say now available for work again and wants to be put on furlough – does the employer need a fit note or a return to work interview or other support to agree?  No current guidance requiring this, but it may be prudent to  

Apr 20, 2020

The Chairman of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society has called on the Northern Ireland Executive to implement “much needed reform” in the health and education sectors and to re-energise the local economy. Speaking to over 360 guests at the Ulster Society’s Annual Dinner, sponsored by Danske Bank and MCS Group tonight (5th March), Richard Gillan called on the Executive to provide investment in infrastructure and skills; and to adopt a business-friendly strategy. Richard Gillan said: “This is a testing time for the local economy. Factors such as Brexit and cut-backs in Government spending will be challenging, but our members see the restoration of the Northern Ireland Executive as a very positive move. “Whilst the restoration is most welcome, the last 3 years have left us with a lot of catching-up to do, and the Executive needs to prove itself and show that it can deliver for the wider economy. “There is a steep learning curve when it comes to managing the public finances. Right now, because of initiatives such as RHI, our members need to be convinced that our politicians can step up to the challenge. “The New Decade, New Approach document, promising significant investment, is a fantastic start. But it is just a start. Now we need to see the real benefits of having local politicians making local decisions and tackling local priorities. “Northern Ireland’s health and education systems are in considerable need of reform. We also need investment in skills, investment in infrastructure and an Executive which is willing to back business and help local companies compete on a global stage. “We need a concerted effort to devise a game-changing, business-friendly strategy to re-energise our economy, boost our competitiveness and put entrepreneurship at the fore. “The Executive will need to work as a cohesive unit in negotiations with HM Treasury, and be bold enough to introduce the measures and efficiencies that are so desperately needed in the Public Sector. “What Northern Ireland needs now is strong leadership." Also addressing guests at the Ulster Society Annual Dinner were Double Olympic Champion sailor Iain Percy OBE and former Ulster Rugby and Ireland captain, Rory Best OBE. The Chartered Accountants Ulster Society’s Annual Dinner took place at Titanic Belfast and was attended by 360 members and their business guests.

Mar 05, 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

An event examining the funding landscape for local small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) took place in Belfast this week. The ‘Access to Finance’ event, organised by Chartered Accountants Ulster Society in partnership with Invest Northern Ireland, InterTradeIreland and British Business Bank, brought Northern Ireland business leaders and advisers together to discuss the range of funding options available. At the event at Titanic Hotel Belfast, Gareth Murphy of We Are Vertigo and Yolanda Cooper of We Are Paradoxx talked about their experience of raising finance which has supported them in transforming their companies in a short space of time. As well as looking at the options presented by debt and equity funding, the event looked at the experience of taking a business to an Initial Public Offering (IPO) with Brendan Mooney of Kainos plc, James Fair of Fusion Antibodies plc, and Philip White of Diaceutics plc.  Hoping to inspire other ambitious CEOs to consider a stock market listing, Brendan said: “Becoming a plc is really not that difficult and represents a viable funding option for NI SMEs.” Richard Gillan, Chairman of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society said: “It’s important that businesses and their advisers are not only familiar with the more traditional finance options on offer, but also with the alternative funding solutions available to growing businesses. “Alternative sources of finance, offered across both debt and equity markets, are now more prevalent in the funding landscape and have a key role to play in allowing businesses to effectively execute their growth strategy. We’re very pleased to be able to play our role in examining these sources of finance, and how local businesses should approach them.” Susan Nightingale, Senior Manager for Northern Ireland, British Business Bank said: “Smaller businesses are very important to the NI economy, accounting for 75% of jobs and 71% of turnover in the private sector. Improving awareness of funding options and being able to identify the most appropriate funding package at a particular point in time is an essential component of their growth.” William McCulla, Director of Corporate Finance, Invest NI said: “While statistics show an increased awareness of alternative funding options such as mezzanine debt, peer to peer lending, venture capital, crowdfunding and stock market listings there is still some way to go. Events of this nature are essential if we are to continue to build on that momentum.” Shane O’Hanlon, Funding for Growth Manager, InterTradeIreland said: “Supporting SMEs on their growth journey is central to what we do, we will continue to work collaboratively with Invest NI and British Business Bank to promote the market offerings and to increase the demand for SME growth finance.” Pictured at the ‘Access to Finance - Alternative Finance Solutions’ event at Titanic Hotel Belfast are (from left) William McCulla, Invest NI; Judith Hartley, British Business Bank; Richard Gillan, Chairman, Chartered Accountants Ulster Society; and Shane O’Hanlon, InterTradeIreland.

Feb 07, 2020

Chartered Accountants Ulster Society has called on the political parties to waste no time in getting the restored institutions to deliver for the economy. Ulster Society Chairman Richard Gillan said there’s a long list of measures on the ‘to-do’ list that require urgent attention. Health, education, policing, rights issues and investment in roads and water infrastructure are rightly prioritised and speed of delivery will demonstrate commitment and determination. Mr Gillan welcomed new accountability measures and rules for Ministers and their special advisers, saying the steps were important to restore public confidence and trust. Mr Gillan said: “There is a clear objective to publish a new strategic level, outcomes-based Programme for Government. This will be informed by detailed stakeholder engagement and Chartered Accountants Ulster Society will want to participate in this important process. “We will be seeking early meetings with newly appointed Ministers to set out our views and to offer our professional assistance and advice. “Considerable investment will be required to lift the Northern Ireland economy from the economic doldrums. The lack of leadership for such a long time has had a very negative effect on the local economy, on business confidence and on the provision of public services. “Our members will be expecting our local politicians to put division aside and to deliver for all the people of Northern Ireland. We are hopeful that this can be the start of a new era of our politicians working positively together to secure a brighter future. The negotiation of ‘additional flexibilities and sensible practical measures’ with regards to trading with the EU, as outlined in the New Decade, New Approach document, must be a priority.”

Jan 13, 2020

Ulster’s Chartered Accountants gave out some Christmas presents and provided a boost to local children’s charities by presenting hundreds of toys to the Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul Family Appeal.  Chartered Accountants Ulster Society raised a total of £19,500 with support from event sponsor Barclays. This total will be shared between Friends of Kiwoko Hospital in Uganda and the Alzheimer’s Society.   The toys and funds were collected at the Society’s Christmas Charity Lunch at the Europa Hotel in Belfast, attended by over 500 Chartered Accountants.   Richard Gillan, Chairman of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society said: “Our Charity Lunch is one of our most important events and a fantastic opportunity to make Christmas a little bit brighter for a lot of families. “Chartered Accountants have raised money and donated toys which will bring some Christmas sparkle to children this Christmas. This event is always one of our busiest and most enjoyable events and it’s especially important at this time of year that we can support fantastic charities which make a big difference. We’re particularly pleased that with the support of Barclays we have been able to make this a record year in terms of funds raised.” John Mathers, Corporate Development Director of Barclays said: “Barclays is delighted to support the Ulster Society Christmas lunch, in this our fifth year of doing so.  The lunch is a highlight of the calendar for members and welcomes in the festive season.  Guests have once again been extremely generous in their donations of toys and money, helping to make a real difference to many both locally and further afield.” Pictured before the charity lunch with just a few of the toys collected are Richard Gillan, Chairman, Chartered Accountants Ulster Society; Zara Duffy, Head of Chartered Accountants Northern Ireland; and John Mathers of event sponsors Barclays.

Dec 16, 2019

‘Leadership on the Line’ Conference brings sporting and business leaders together in Belfast A Conference in Belfast next week will examine the leadership parallels between business and high-level sport.  The Leadership on the Line Conference, taking place at Kingspan Stadium on Tuesday 15th October, will examine how leaders of elite sports teams create a winning culture and how those lessons can be applied to business. The Conference, organised by Chartered Accountants Ulster Society in partnership with Danske Bank, will hear from Andrew Trimble, former Ulster Rugby star and founder of Kairos Software; Arlene Boyles, Assistant Coach of the Ireland Hockey Team which reached the Women’s World Cup Final in 2018; and Bryn Cunningham, former player and current Operations Director of Ulster Rugby. Delivering a keynote address at the conference will be Dr. Phil Glasgow, Head of Rehab and Physiotherapy with Irish Rugby and formerly Chief Physiotherapy Officer for Team GB at the Rio Olympics. The event will be hosted by Andrew Toogood of Proclaim Consulting. Richard Gillan, Chairman of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society said: “Culture and teamwork are as vital to the business world as they are on the playing field. Whether it’s in business or in sport, results matter. “Watching from the stands or reading a ghost-written autobiography may be as close as some of us get to understanding the mindset that is required to compete in elite sport. Most of us, however, understand the importance of either leading or contributing as part of a team in our working lives. “The ability to leverage the potential within our organisations is more important than ever before. Leadership on the Line will be a fascinating insight into team and leadership dynamics, and I hope that it can make a real contribution to the discussion around creating a winning organisational culture.” Shaun McAnee, Managing Director of Corporate and Business Banking with Danske Bank said: “Danske Bank is once again delighted to be sponsoring the Ulster Society’s annual conference. Through the bank’s many sports sponsorships we have learned over many years that business can learn a lot from the world of sport and I look forward to hearing the speakers’ views on successfully leading and inspiring high-performance teams. Strong leadership is always important to business growth, and that is particularly true in the current economic and political climate.” The Leadership on the Line Conference takes place at Kingspan Stadium on Tuesday 15th October. More details and booking available at our events page Pictured ahead of the conference are Shaun McAnee, Danske Bank; Zara Duffy, Chartered Accountants Ireland; and Richard Gillan, Chartered Accountants Ulster Society.  

Oct 10, 2019

Registering for an EORI number is just the first step to prepare for Brexit... In order to continue to trade with the EU after Brexit, Chartered Accountants Ireland is urging Northern Ireland businesses to do two things; register for an EORI number and assess whether or not they have gaps in customs knowledge that could prevent them from trading with the EU post Brexit. While customs knowledge is critical, obtaining a customs registration or an EORI number is the first step that businesses must take to be able to continue to trade with the EU after Brexit.   Richard Gillan, Chairman of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society said: “Without an EORI number, Northern Ireland businesses will not be able to trade with the EU after Brexit. Getting an EORI number takes five minutes online with HMRC and while it should be the starting point in terms of their plans it should be by no means the only thing they should do.  Businesses need to look at customs software, get familiar with customs returns and think about who will do the customs administration for trade with the EU. “Regardless of whether customs duties apply, in order to move goods between the UK and the EU, traders will need to have customs expertise and third party software to file these declarations with the HMRC; otherwise they will need to hire an agent such as a broker or freight forwarder to do this on their behalf.   “No matter what form Brexit will take, traders need to file customs returns with HMRC before they can trade goods with the EU.  The returns need to be completed correctly; otherwise goods could be detained at ports and borders because HMRC officials will need to check that the proper declarations are in place.” After Brexit, UK businesses will need to apply the same processes to EU trade that apply when trading with the rest of the world and HMRC estimate that customs declarations are expected to increase fivefold to over 250 million declarations per year once the UK leaves the EU.  Richard Gillan said “Businesses need to be proactive in their preparations to be able to complete paperwork. While some traders are experienced in the customs formalities required to import and export to the rest of the world, it will be a first for many other businesses, particularly the smaller enterprises.  We are urging these businesses to use the time between now and 31 October to upskill in the area of customs. ” Regardless of the form Brexit will take, businesses must do the following to prepare and they must do that now: 1.         Register online with HMRC for an EORI number – it takes a few minutes to apply and a number should issue immediately or within 3 working days if checks are needed 2.         Become familiar with the new customs administration.  Decide whether you will do the customs administration yourself or whether you need to hire a customs agent.   ENDS Notes to editors To move goods into or out of the EU you need an Economic Operator and Registration Identification (EORI) number.  Therefore Irish and UK traders who trade with each other will need to apply for an EORI number. HMRC and Irish Revenue use this number to identify you and collect duty on your goods.  In the UK, you can apply online to get an EORI number on gov.uk. 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.  The Chartered Accountants Ireland Brexit Action Group coordinates extensive lobbying and public information activities to help its members North and South of the border prepare for the departure of the UK from the EU. Reference: Garry Webb, garry.webb@charteredaccountants.ie or Mob 07841 152045 www.charteredaccountants.ie

Jul 31, 2019

Chartered Accountants Ireland has cautioned VAT registered businesses with taxable turnover over £85,000 that soon their quarterly VAT returns must meet HMRC’s ‘Making Tax Digital’ requirements, unless they have an exemption or deferral. Local businesses are being advised to take action now to avoid penalties or surcharges if they get their VAT calculation wrong or file late for the quarter ended 30 June 2019, and future quarters. Alan Gourley, Chairman of Chartered Accountants Ireland’s NI Tax Committee said: “It might feel like holiday time but it’s now time for businesses to check whether and when they are required sign up for Making Tax Digital and if required, get ready to file their VAT returns using software that can talk to HMRC’s systems. “Businesses who haven’t already signed up may need to take action now as registration with HMRC can take up to seven working days. HMRC are also telling businesses that they should wait to receive email confirmation they’ve signed up before filing their first Making Tax Digital VAT return; this can take up to 72 hours to arrive. “The message to business is clear: check the Making Tax Digital deadlines for your business and be sure to sign up with HMRC in good time.” Richard Gillan, Chairman of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society commented: “What this all means is that businesses should not wait until the end of July to take action as decisions may need to be made about which Making Tax Digital approved software to use. “Businesses should also not rely on their Chartered Accountant being able to sign them up at the last minute if they wait until the end of the month. This runs the risk of issues with registration and new systems which can happen the first time a business is faced with a change of this type. “Talk to your accountant now before it’s too late about the steps you need to take to be Making Tax Digital compliant.”

Jul 01, 2019

Local Chartered Accountants did exceptionally well at this week's Northern Ireland Women's Awards. Zara Duffy, Head of Chartered Accountants Northern Ireland (pictured above) won the Award for Services to Accounting and Finance.  Jenna Mairs of Whiterock Capital Partners won in the Woman of Influence category. Claire McFall of BDO Northern Ireland, won in the Corporate Leader category. Caroline Rafferty of Homecare Independent Living was named Managing Director of the year. Sinead Fox-Hamilton, Key Account Manager for Chartered Accountants Ireland was Highly Commended in the Accounting & Finance category

Jun 27, 2019

Chartered Accountants predict stagnation for local economy  Only 10% of NI business leaders support ‘No Deal’ Brexit A survey of almost 400 business leaders shows that over half (56%) believe that the local economy is either contracting or stagnating, with the lack of a Stormont Assembly and Brexit being cited as major negative factors. Chartered Accountants Ulster Society said that 93% of its members felt that the lack of a functioning devolved Northern Ireland Executive would have a negative effect on the local economy in the year ahead.  The Economy The results showed that 35% of local Chartered Accountants feel that the local economy is stagnant; 21% believe that the economy is contracting; 42% felt that the economy was growing. However, only 11% feel that the NI Economy is growing “strongly or moderately”, compared with 46% last year. The survey also suggests that the number of local businesses in financial distress is increasing, with 44% of those surveyed saying that financial distress is increasing (up from 28% in the 2018 survey and 16% in 2017). In terms of the year ahead, 51% rated the local economic prospects as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’, while only 9% rated prospects as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. Along with political uncertainty and Brexit, cutbacks in Government spending and an increased cost of doing business were the main concerns of respondents.  The global outlook was cited as the main positive factor for the local economy, although this was not viewed as positively as in 2018. Brexit Only 10% said that they would support the UK leaving the EU with ‘no deal’ in place. The survey showed strong support for the UK remaining part of the European Union. 48% back revoking Article 50 to stay in the EU while a further 29% back a second EU referendum.  84% of Northern Ireland’s Chartered Accountants said that Brexit was negatively impacting the local economy,. 59% of those surveyed said that Brexit has negatively impacted investment plans for their business; by contrast only 1% said it had positively impacted plans. 46% said it had negatively impacted sales growth (compared with just 5% noting a positive impact).  83% of respondents said that the lack of a Stormont Executive was negatively impacting Northern Ireland’s position in Brexit negotiations. Impact of Stormont Collapse The survey of business leaders revealed strong views about the damaging impact of the suspension of the Northern Ireland Executive. 89% of those surveyed said that the lack of an Executive was having a negative effect on business confidence. 86% said it was negatively affecting business investment intentions.  94% felt that the provision of public services has been negatively impacted. 97% said that the Stormont collapse has negatively impacted Government spending decisions. Corporation Tax A majority of local Chartered Accountants (61%) felt that Northern Ireland could still benefit from the devolution of corporation tax powers and the ability to set a lower corporation tax rate. It was also felt, however, that the chances of a reduced Corporation Tax rate being introduced were low. 78% said it was unlikely within the next 5 years. 60% do not believe that it will ever happen. Skills The survey also showed that skill shortages have become more prevalent over the last year. 48% said that their organisation was experiencing skill shortages, compared to 39% in 2018. The perceived skill shortages were higher among those from larger employers in Northern Ireland.  Two thirds of those surveyed said that it was becoming increasingly difficult to find the right people for jobs generally in Northern Ireland. The same percentage (66%) said that there was a lack of skilled people to fill skilled positions in Northern Ireland. Over three quarters (76%) said that it will be more difficult to attract skilled workers to Northern Ireland if the UK leaves the European Union. Comment Richard Gillan, Chairman of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society which represents over 4,600 Chartered Accountants in Northern Ireland said: “Our members feel that we have taken a considerable step backwards in the last year.  “Concerns about the democratic deficit in Northern Ireland and the uncertainty over Brexit have not been addressed. The longer these go on, the more difficult it is for local business to contribute to growth, jobs and a better quality of life in Northern Ireland. “It is vital that the Northern Ireland Executive is restored as soon as possible. It is now two and a half years since its collapse and the impasse is leading to stagnation, it is affecting business investment and it is affecting the provision of public services. “We want to send a clear message to our politicians that the lack of day to day decision making cannot go on. It is time for them to come together to create a clear vision and a stimulus package which can provide a step change not just for the local economy, but for education and healthcare provision in Northern Ireland as well. “It is time for political stability. It is time to fund local infrastructure and drive forward capital spending projects. It is time to invest in young people. It is time to reform health care. It is time to introduce a new private sector economic stimulus package and to provide a clear economic plan for the decade ahead.  “Our members span every sector of business life in Northern Ireland and represent a tremendous amount of expertise, experience and ability. If the political will exists and agreement can be found, we stand ready to assist in any way we can to help that vision for Northern Ireland become a reality.” Independent economist Maureen O’Reilly, who formulated and analysed the survey of Northern Ireland’s Chartered Accountants said: “There is a clear sense of frustration among Chartered Accountants in the survey, along with worrying signs of stagnation in the local economy and rising financial distress. “The business community’s concerns over political instability and Brexit uncertainty are clearly articulated. There is a strong sentiment that business investment plans are being put on hold, and also that it is becoming increasingly difficult to get the right people for available positions. “An overwhelming majority of those surveyed are reporting that the lack of a Northern Ireland Executive is hugely damaging to the local economy’s performance and profile.” A summary of key findings: • 42% felt that the economy was growing; 35% of local Chartered Accountants feel that the local economy is stagnant; 21% believe that the economy is contracting  • 93% feel that the lack of a functioning NI Executive would have a ‘negative’ or ‘very negative’ effect on the local economy in the year ahead. • 94% feel that the lack of a functioning NI Executive is having a ‘negative’ or ‘very negative’ effect on the provision of public services. • 51% Feel the outlook for the NI economy in the year ahead is ‘Poor’ or ‘Very Poor’; 40% feel the outlook is ‘Fair’; 9% say ‘Good’ or ‘Very Good’ • 44% feel that the number of businesses in financial distress in Northern Ireland is increasing. 40% feel it is unchanged; 10% feel it is falling. • 10% of those surveyed would support the UK leaving the EU with ‘No Deal’. 48% support revoking Article 50, stopping the process of leaving the EU. 29% support a second EU Referendum • 59% say that Brexit has negatively impacted investment plans within their organisation. • 48% said that their organisation was currently experiencing skills shortages (up from 39% in 2018) • 61% believe that powers to set a lower Corporation Tax rate would be beneficial for Northern Ireland. 29% say that it would not. • 393 Chartered Accountants took part in the survey.  

Jun 27, 2019

Leading hospitality entrepreneur Bill Wolsey addressed business leaders at the Ulster Society Summer Business Lunch this week. Addressing a full house at the event, sponsored by A&L Goodbody, Mr Wolsey spoke about the importance of the hospitality sector and the continued potential of international tourism for the Northern Ireland economy. As Managing Director of the Beannchor Group, Bill Wolsey runs the five-AA-red-star Merchant Hotel, over 40 pubs, the popular Little Wing Pizzeria chain of restaurants and Bullitt Hotel. The group is one of Northern Ireland’s largest employers in the hospitality sector. Pictured ahead of the Business Lunch are Bill Wolsey, Managing Director of Beannchor Group and Richard Gillan, Chairman, Chartered Accountants Ulster Society. Photos from the event are available on our Flickr Page

Jun 14, 2019

As a fresh round of talks gets underway to break the political deadlock in Northern Ireland, Chartered Accountants Ireland and Chartered Accountants Ulster Society are reminding the political parties that among the rewards for success is the opportunity to reduce the tax burden on Northern Ireland business. Alan Gourley, Chairman of Chartered Accountants Ireland’s NI Tax Committee said: “The 2015 Fresh Start Agreement included a firm commitment to the final stage of devolution of corporation tax to Northern Ireland and agreed upon a date (1 April 2018) and a rate (12.5%). “The trigger in the relevant legislation requires both the NI Executive to re-form and a clear demonstration to Treasury that Northern Ireland’s finances are on a sustainable footing. Once again, it’s over to Stormont.” Chairman of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society, Richard Gillan commented: “Back in 2015 when the rate and date were agreed, the outcome of the EU referendum was an unknown quantity. It is now clear that Northern Ireland will be the UK region most severely impacted by Brexit. The economic opportunity originally presented by corporation tax devolution now takes on added importance. “A freshly constituted Northern Ireland Executive will face some tough decisions in critical areas such as health and education. These decisions may take time. But there is a quick win which should not be allowed to pass Northern Ireland by. Our message is clear – finish the job of devolving corporation tax and take away some of the impending pain of Brexit.”

May 09, 2019

Over 150 of Northern Ireland’s leading Chartered Accountants will fly to Madrid this week for a Conference examining the future of UK and EU trading relations. The Positive Thinking: Leadership for a New Reality Conference in the Spanish capital, organised by Chartered Accountants Ulster Society and supported by Danske Bank, will take place from 2nd to 5th May. The Conference will consider the prospect of business development between Northern Ireland and the EU and will feature speakers from companies which successfully trade in Spain, Portugal and Latin America. Speakers at the Positive Thinking Conference will include Danish Economist Lars Christensen, Editor in chief of Euroinvestor; Tom McIlduff of Liberty Seguros; Peter McKenzie of Anticipa Real Estate; John Scade of MAS Business; David Radley-Searle of Grant Thornton Madrid; Emma Naismith, Manager of Invest NI’s recently established office in Madrid; and Oonagh Murtagh of Danske Bank. The Conference will discuss possible Brexit scenarios and examine what business leaders can do during this extended negotiation period to ensure that local businesses are in a position to thrive. Richard Gillan, Chairman of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society, said:  “We’re delighted to be bringing a sell-out audience of business leaders to Madrid for what will be a fascinating Conference and an important networking opportunity for our members. “Over the last couple of years Brexit has dominated both the political and the business agenda. I think it’s fair to say that a great deal of the debate has been negative. After all that negativity it’s time to have some positive thinking, showing what leaders can do to help business continue to thrive in a new trading reality. “We have an opportunity to hear first-hand about the current climate for business and investment in the EU. Whatever the outcome of Brexit, trading links with the EU will continue to be important and it’s up to business leaders to continue to find ways to reach out positively to do business  in Europe. “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Danske Bank and very thankful for their input in shaping this event. Our partnership with Danske Bank stretches back to 2001, covering conferences in cities such as New York, Washington DC, Lisbon, Chicago, Munich, Toronto, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Boston and Amsterdam. It’s a partnership which is integral to the success of our Conferences.” Shaun McAnee, Managing Director of Corporate and Business Banking, Danske Bank, said: “Danske Bank has had a long association with Chartered Accountants Ulster Society and we are very proud of this ongoing relationship. Our teams across the bank continue to work closely with the accounting profession and recognise the pivotal role it plays in the development of the Northern Ireland economy. “We are committed to playing our part in that development by supporting our customers as they make important decisions on investment and expansion and, of course, as they plan for the challenges Brexit will undoubtedly bring. We look forward to gaining fresh insights and inspiration from the Positive Thinking conference that will benefit our customers, in particular those who are already trading with the EU or would like to do so in the new, post-Brexit environment.” Part of the Conference will take place in the world famous Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, home of Real Madrid C.F. Pictured ahead of the Madrid Conference are Richard Gillan, Chairman, Chartered Accountants Ulster Society; Zara Duffy, Head of Chartered Accountants Northern Ireland; and Shaun McAnee of Danske Bank.

Apr 29, 2019

Was this article helpful?