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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A delegation from Chartered Accountants Ulster Society met with Colin Perry, Director for EU Exit, Legacy and Economy at Stormont House this week. The Chartered Accountants team presented research on business attitudes to Brexit conducted in Northern Ireland earlier this year, along with the Chartered Accountants Ireland research on the consequences of the reintroduction of a customs border on the island of Ireland. The importance of a free flow of goods and services on the island post Brexit and the difficulties for businesses, particularly agri-businesses, in implementing customs duties were discussed at the meeting. Chartered Accountants Ulster Society will host a half-day Brexit conference in partnership with Danske Bank in Belfast on 14 November. The Conference will examine the key issues for local businesses and look at the steps leading businesses are taking to meet the challenges posed by Brexit. Pictured at Stormont House are (from left) Brian Keegan, Zara Duffy and Crona Brady of Chartered Accountants Ireland; Colin Perry, the Northern Ireland Office; Pamela McCreedy, Chartered Accountants Ulster Society; and Mark Davies.

Oct 02, 2017

The Ulster Society Conference Annual Conference 2018 will take place in Washington DC on the theme 'Icons & Influence'.    With the continued support of our partner, Danske Bank, we are very pleased to launch a Conference in the US Capital. We are sure that it will be an event to remember in one of the most iconic and influential cities in the world.    The 2018 Washington Conference will offer an excellent business programme of interesting and relevant speakers (offering 6 hours of CPD), a strong social itinerary and a mix of optional trips which will help you to get the most from the host city.   The Annual Conference will take place around the May bank holiday, from 3rd to 6th May (Flying out from Dublin at 12:30pm Thursday afternoon and returning to Dublin at 5:20am on Bank Holiday Monday).   We’re delighted to confirm that Danske Bank is sponsoring the Conference.  Our partnership with Danske Bank goes back to Boston 2001 and covers 15 Conferences.   Places are limited to 120 and initial interest has been strong - members are encouraged to secure their booking for Washington 2018 by completing and returning the reservation form (available here) along with your deposit as soon as possible.  

Sep 15, 2017

Chartered Accountants cite political uncertainty and Brexit as key factors in year ahead A survey of 315 Chartered Accountants across all sectors of the Northern Ireland economy suggests slow growth for the local economy in the year ahead. The survey by Chartered Accountants Ulster Society found that its members regarded political uncertainty and Brexit instability as key issues likely to affect the economy over the next 12 months. Cuts in government spending, concerns around the increasing cost of doing business and rising inflation also featured as negative factors affecting the local economy. The Economy In general terms, while 72% said that they believed the economy was growing slowly or moderately, only 13% viewed prospects for the year ahead as ‘good’ or ‘very good’, significantly down from 32% of members in the previous year. 29% saw prospects for the coming year as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’, a rise of 11% points since last year. The issues felt to have the most potential to negatively affect the economy in the year ahead were political instability (95% of respondents) and Brexit uncertainty (80% of respondents). On a more encouraging note, 37% of those surveyed identified an improving global outlook as a potential upside. Brexit 59% of respondents said it was ‘critical’ to protect the Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland, while 95% were opposed to a hard border. 96% said they wanted free trade in goods, services and capital to be an important aspect of any deal negotiated with the EU. 4 out of 5 Chartered Accountants believed that Northern Ireland will be more negatively affected by Brexit compared to the rest of the UK. Corporation Tax A reduced rate of Corporation Tax in Northern Ireland was identified as potentially a major benefit for the local economy, with 63% saying a lower rate would have a positive effect on Northern Ireland’s economic performance. Jobs, Skills & Wages On the issue of jobs and skills, the survey showed that over half of respondents did not expect head count in their own organisations to change, with 27% expecting an increase in employment levels and 16% expecting a reduction. Two in every five of those surveyed said that their organisation was currently experiencing skills shortages. The survey did predict a squeeze on wages, with more than 7 in 10 expecting wage increases for the coming year to be below the current rate of inflation (2.9%, Office for National Statistics, June 2017). Comment Pamela McCreedy, Chair of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society which represents over 4,000 Chartered Accountants in Northern Ireland, said: “Despite an improving global economy our members are predicting more modest prospects locally, with economic prospects slipping back from 2016 and 2015 levels. “The uncertainty created by Brexit stands out. Our members clearly feel that Northern Ireland may be more negatively impacted by Brexit than other UK regions and have sent a strong message that they see avoiding a hard border with the Republic of Ireland and free trade with the EU as vital components of any Brexit negotiations. “I believe that the business community will press forward despite the perceived challenges. We hope that the local political parties will be able to resolve outstanding issues so that a Budget and a new Programme for Government be put into place which can give direction and clarity for Northern Ireland.” Independent economist Maureen O’Reilly, who formulated and analysed the survey of Northern Ireland’s Chartered Accountants said: “The survey results suggest that the broad view of members is that Northern Ireland’s economic prospects are weakening. “Most Chartered Accountants in the survey believe that the economy is either growing slowly or indeed stagnant and do not feel a strong sense of positivity about prospects in the year ahead. Only 13% viewing prospects as good or better. Uncertainty and instability are certainly weighing down on views around the performance of the local economy in the near term at least.” Key findings in the survey include: 60% feel that the NI economy is growing slowly; 12% growing moderately; 21% feel the economy is stagnant. 58% Feel the outlook for the NI economy in the year ahead is ‘Fair’; 26% feel the outlook is ‘Poor’ and 3% ‘Very Poor’; 11% say ‘Good’; and 2% ‘Very Good’ Brexit was rated as ‘strongly negative’ for the local economy in the coming year by 51%; A further 29% viewed it as a ‘negative’ factor. Political uncertainty, Government spending cuts, increased business costs and rising inflation were all highlighted as impacting negatively on the local economy. A reduced Corporation Tax rate for NI and an improving global outlook were cited as the most positive factors for the local economy in the year ahead. 315 Chartered Accountants took part in the survey.     

Jun 19, 2017