About the Ulster Society

Chartered Accountants Ulster Society is the oldest district society of the Institute and serves around 4,600 members throughout Northern Ireland. The Chair is Maeve Hunt.

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.


Richard Gillan has been elected Chairman of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society at its 112th Annual General Meeting in Belfast. The Ulster Society represents 4,600 local Chartered Accountants and is a district society of Chartered Accountants Ireland, the largest and oldest professional accountancy body in Ireland. Mr Gillan, who takes over as Chairman from Niall Harkin, is Managing Partner of Grant Thornton in Northern Ireland. Addressing the Society’s AGM Mr Gillan said: “What the business community needs now - and what Northern Ireland needs now – is strong leadership. With so many unknowns around Brexit and the democratic deficit at Stormont, Northern Ireland is in a period of huge uncertainty. “With the challenges facing our country and our economy, the skills of our profession are needed more than ever. “As Chartered Accountants, whether we work in practice, in business, in the public sector or the voluntary sector, we have a vital role to play in the year ahead. Our members will be at the forefront of helping local businesses to deal with the reality of Brexit. “Our members are hugely frustrated by the democratic deficit at Stormont. We will continue to engage with the local political parties in the hope that we can help them to find a way to work together and to display the leadership which is needed. “We will do what we can to move Northern Ireland forward, to be a strong advocate for business and to be a strong voice for the Chartered Accountancy profession.” During his first speech as Chairman, Mr Gillan also said that he would seek to encourage a new generation to the profession by showcasing the value of Chartered Accountancy skills and training and by highlighting the varied career paths offered by the qualification. Prior to joining Grant Thornton in 2014, Mr Gillan successfully owned and managed a manufacturing business and then an outsourcing company. During his career he has worked in London, Luxembourg and Johannesburg. He trained as a Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse after completing an Accounting degree and postgraduate diploma at Queens’ University. Pictured after the Ulster Society’s AGM is new Chartered Accountants Ulster Society Chairman Richard Gillan (left) and outgoing Chairman Niall Harkin.

Apr 08, 2019

All members are invited to attend the 2019 Annual General Meeting, taking place on Monday 8th April at Chartered Accountants Ireland, 32-38 Linenhall Street, Belfast.  The meeting will commence at 12.30 pm.  Tea/coffee and sandwiches will be available from 12.00 pm. Members can register to attend here Apologies can be emailed to Karen Hewitt, Karen.Hewitt@charteredaccountants.ie The Ulster Society Annual Report and Accounts for 2018 are available here AGM Minutes 2018 Full AGM Notice 2019

Mar 28, 2019

The Chairman of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society has warned that the UK Government’s ‘no deal’ plans could put Northern Ireland businesses at a competitive disadvantage to those in the Republic of Ireland.   Niall Harkin said: “The open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is very welcome from a supply chain perspective. However, though the proposals suggest no tariffs and very limited checks on trade from Ireland into Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, as part of the EU, will have to fulfil its obligations under the Union Customs Code.   “This could involve quality assurance checks and even tariffs on goods going into the Republic of Ireland from Northern Ireland under this scenario. This will potentially put traders in Northern Ireland at a competitive disadvantage to traders in the Republic of Ireland and give rise to a confusing arrangement for cross-border exporters particularly those with integrated cross-border supply chains.”   Mr Harkin also said more detail would be needed on the quality control checks that would be implemented in the case of a ‘no deal’ Brexit: “More clarification is needed about how, for example, foodstuffs are going to be regulated for quality control purposes. The tariff regime announced doesn’t deal with the question of how the UK will manage the regulation and quality control of food coming into the UK market.”  

Mar 13, 2019