About the Ulster Society

Chartered Accountants Ulster Society is the oldest district society of the Institute and serves around 4,500 members throughout Northern Ireland. The Chairman is Niall Harkin.

The Ulster Society provides professional, educational and social services and events for its members (in practice, in business, in the public sector and charity/ voluntary sector) and is a strong voice for Northern Ireland's business sector. The Society also actively fosters relationships with other accountancy, professional organisations and government bodies.


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Zara Duffy, Head of Chartered Accountants Northern Ireland, welcomed the Secretary of State’s announcement that she will bring forward legislation to allow NI government departments to make decisions while the NI Executive is suspended. She said: “We welcome the decision to allow civil servants to make decisions in the public interest  during this extended period of political uncertainty. We hope that this will lead to key projects being fulfilled and have a positive effect on the economy, jobs and infrastructure in Northern Ireland. “This new arrangement is a modest substitute for the return of elected representatives at Stormont, particularly considering the need for a local voice in Brexit preparations, but we hope the Secretary of State’s schedule of meetings with the local parties will lead to a restoration of the Executive sooner rather than later. The democratic deficit at Stormont has gone on too long.”

Sep 06, 2018

A high demand for Chartered Accountants is providing Northern Ireland’s school leavers with superb opportunities to enter employment whilst studying for their accountancy exams part-time according to the largest professional body of accountants in Northern Ireland.   The Higher-Level Apprenticeship Programme, available at 6 further education colleges across Northern Ireland, is a work-based programme which enables students to earn while they learn as an employee with a local accountancy practice.   Hundreds of young accounting apprentices are currently studying on the school-leaver programme in Northern Ireland, having taken the alternative entrance route to a career in accountancy and finance.   Zara Duffy, Head of Chartered Accountants Northern Ireland, representing over 4,500 Chartered Accountants in Northern Ireland said: “There is currently a high demand for Chartered Accountants across all sectors, which presents some fantastic opportunities for young people who want to go straight into employment with a local firm. Our school leaver route allows students to embark on the Chartered Accountancy qualification straight from school.   “It’s a cost effective way to complete a qualification with multiple locations and a variety of distance learning options as well as the ability to earn while you learn with a reputable local accountancy firm. The school leaver route offers an alternative, part-time alternative to university for students who are ready for the world of work.   “Our member firms are registered training organisations and are well placed to provide a collaborative and supportive learning environment. They provide excellent career development opportunities and through Chartered Accountants Ireland, students will have the opportunity to attain an internationally recognised qualification which offers the ability to work all over the world including destinations such as Australia, USA, Canada and the Caribbean.   “Chartered Accountants Ireland also offers the opportunity for anyone to study to become a Chartered Accountant outside of the apprenticeship programme. Students of any age who have completed A-Levels or the Leaving Certificate can study with our sister body, Accounting Technicians Ireland and then progress to study Chartered Accountancy after two years, or after their first year with a merit pass. Studying to become a Chartered Accountant is very flexible with part-time courses, distance offerings and competitive fees.”   Apprentices will typically be recent school leavers who have undertaken A-levels or other suitable Level 3 qualifications. Applicants must be at least 18 years old on or before 1st July in the year of entry to the apprenticeship.   Applicants should have a minimum GCSE ‘B’ grade in English language and Mathematics and must have three A Level subjects at a grade ‘C’ or better.   The Higher Level Apprenticeship in Accounting is currently available at Southern Regional College; Belfast Metropolitan College; Northern Regional College; North West Regional College; South Eastern Regional College; and South West College.   Further information is available at www.charteredaccountants.ie/study    

Aug 16, 2018

Chartered Accountants Ireland, which represents over 4,500 business professionals in Northern Ireland, has responded to the Government’s call for evidence on the impact of VAT and Air Passenger Duty on the Northern Ireland (NI) tourism industry. The call for evidence, which was issued as part of the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, seeks to understand the ways that these taxes impact the tourism industry, and how the industry can be supported to build on its growing success. Niall Harkin, Chair of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society commented: “Dragons, breath-taking scenery and the Titanic all feature in the rich tapestry of the tourism industry in NI and all have helped tourism in the region perform strongly in recent years. However Northern Ireland is at a competitive disadvantage when its nearest neighbour, the Republic of Ireland, charges 9% VAT on tourism activity, a staggering 11% less than the 20% rate charged in NI. “As an all-island body, Chartered Accountants Ireland has direct first-hand experience of the impact of a reduced rate of VAT in stimulating tourism in the Republic of Ireland. A 9% rate of VAT would be a tremendous boost for the Northern Ireland tourism industry”. The Chairman of Chartered Accountants Ireland’s NI Tax Committee, Alan Gourley said: “As recognised in the call for evidence, it will be important to consider the potential fiscal cost of lowering the VAT rate on tourism in NI. Useful precedent for this already exists in the form of the exercise undertaken when corporation tax devolution was being considered.” “Any assessment of the potential fiscal cost in this context should be under the ‘net’ cost approach and should reflect the positive dynamic impact on VAT receipts as a result of additional taxes etc. which would flow from extra investment and jobs in the industry.”

Jun 14, 2018