Western Society News

Tax

A lack of affordable housing coupled with a lack of supply in the wider market has resulted in the housing crisis continuing into another budget year. In an attempt to alleviate this crisis, the Minister promised to increase capital spending on all housing measures to €2.5 billion in 2020. Many of the measures are aimed at fixing supply issues, with the taxation measures involving the extension of the Help to Buy Scheme to 31 December 2021 and an extension of the Living City Initiative to 31 December 2022. Help to Buy Scheme In his speech, the Minister announced that he will be extending the Help to Buy (HTB) scheme in its current form to 31 December 2021. The HTB scheme provides for a refund to first-time buyers of income tax and deposit interest retention tax (DIRT) that they have paid over the previous 4 years (up to a maximum value of €20,000) to go towards the deposit on a house.  Social and affordable housing €1.1 billion has been allocated for the delivery of 11,000 new social homes in 2020. A further 12,000 units are to be delivered in 2021. An extra €80 million will be allocated for the Housing Assistance Payment in 2020 to provide an additional 15,750 new tenancies. An additional €20 million will be provided for homelessness services in 2020. €17.5 million is being provided to the Land Development Agency and €186 million is being allocated for the Service Site Fund and local infrastructure housing activation in 2020. €130 million in urban regeneration and development funding is being allocated for 2020 to support the rejuvenation of Ireland’s five main cities and other larger towns. €2 million has been allocated to the Residential Tenancies Board to support their increased powers to investigate and sanction non-compliance with rent pressure zone measures. Living City Initiative A scheme of property tax incentives for the regeneration of certain areas in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick and Waterford, this initiative will be extended in its present form until 31 December 2022.  This is tax relief is available for money spent on refurbishing or converting residential or commercial properties in these areas.

Oct 08, 2019
Tax

This year the Minister has again reaffirmed Ireland’s commitment to retaining the 12.5% corporation tax rate amidst the changing international tax environment. Recognising the volatility of such receipts, the Minister has published the Fiscal Vulnerabilities Scoping Paper which examines corporation tax over-performance and policy options aimed at ensuring the sustainability of the public finances. The measures introduced are enhancements to the R&D tax credit for small and micro companies, as well as a number of anti-avoidance provisions with immediate effect. As expected, anti-hybrid rules and updates to Ireland’s transfer pricing rules will be written into Finance Bill 2019.   Anti-hybrid rules As outlined in Ireland’s Corporation Tax Roadmap, Finance Bill 2019 will introduce Anti- hybrid rules with effect from 1 January 2020 as required under the EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD). These rules are an anti-abuse measure designed to prevent arrangements that exploit differences in the tax treatment of an instrument or entity under the tax laws of two or more jurisdictions to generate a tax advantage. According to the Minister, consequential provisions are also being introduced to ensure that the existing treatment of stocklending and repo transactions – and of investment limited partnerships – is clear in legislation. The detail of these measures will be included in Finance Bill 2019. Transfer pricing As expected, the Minister confirmed that Ireland’s transfer pricing rules will be amended to transcribe the OECD 2017 Transfer Pricing Guidelines into Irish legislation. The rules will also be extended to cover cross-border non-trading and material capital transactions, and to extend the application of transfer pricing rules to SMEs, subject to a Ministerial Commencement Order. The detail of these amendments will be included in Finance Bill 2019. Research & Development tax credit The Minister announced a number of changes to the R&D tax credit, with a particular focus on small and micro companies accessing the credit. The R&D tax credit will increase from 25 percent to 30 percent for micro and small companies. The Minister also announced the introduction of a new provision that will allow these small companies to claim the credit before the business commences to trade. The credit will be limited to offset against VAT and payroll tax liabilities only. These provisions are subject to state aid approval. Another change to the R&D tax credit is that the limit of outsourcing to third-level institutions of education will be increased from 5 percent to 15 percent of R&D spend or €100,000 (whichever is greater). The Minister outlined that this measure is aimed at benefiting smaller companies who rely on outsourcing to undertake R&D, and also to support R&D activities in the third-level sector. Exit tax The Minster announced that a technical amendment to the exit tax provisions will take effect via a Financial Resolution from Budget night. This amendment is being made in order to ensure that the rules function as they are intended to. The exit tax provisions were amended in last year’s Budget to bring them in line with the Anti Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD), where a new exit tax regime of 12.5 percent was introduced on any unrealised capital gains arising when companies migrate or move assets offshore. Anti-avoidance measures Announced were several anti-avoidance measures aimed at Irish real estate funds (IREFs), real estate investment trust companies, section 110 companies and capital expenditure on scientific research. The Minister outlined in his speech that “institutional investors have an important role to play in terms of increasing supply of both commercial and residential property”; however, he also outlined how “it is essential that an appropriate level of tax is paid by such investors”. Irish real estate funds and section 110 companies The Budget papers highlight that Revenue, following an analysis of the first sets of financial statements filed by IREFs, has identified aggressive activities by some IREFs, including the use of excessive interest charges to avoid the payment of tax in respect of profits from Irish property. To address these issues, limitations on interest expenses based debt to property cost and on an income to interest ratio are being introduced. These measures will come into effect on Budget night via a Financial Resolution. Anti-avoidance provisions in section 110 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (TCA 1997) are also being strengthened to ensure that they operate as intended. These changes will be brought in as part of Finance Bill 2019. Real estate investment trust companies A number of amendments are also being introduced regarding real estate investment trust companies (REITs) to ensure that an appropriate level of tax is being collected, particularly in the area of capital gains, and also to ensure such companies operate in line with the original policy intention of encouraging stable, long-term investment in the rental property market. The following amendments were announced: The distribution of proceeds from the disposal of a rental property will now be subject to dividend withholding tax upon distribution. An existing provision whereby a deemed disposal and re-basing of property values occurs should a company cease to be a RIET is being limited to apply only where the REIT has been in operation for a minimum of 15 years. These changes will take effect from Budget night via a Financial Resolution. Allowance for capital expenditure on scientific research Section 765 TCA 1997 provides allowances for capital expenditure on scientific research. According to the Budget papers, an anomaly has been identified whereby the interaction of this section with other provisions could create the potential for unintended additional claims to relief. The Budget papers outline that this was not the policy intention of the legislation, and the anomaly is being corrected in Finance Bill 2019.

Oct 08, 2019
Tax

The Minister, as expected, increased the rate of stamp duty on commercial property acquisitions to 7.5 percent. With effect from Budget night, stamp duty at the rate of 1 percent is also being introduced for certain schemes used for the sale of a company.   Commercial property increase The increase in the rate of stamp duty for commercial property is expected to bring in €141 million in 2020. The Minister’s rationale for the increase is that the Irish commercial property market continues to perform strongly; he expects the sector to be able to bear this increase “without any significant impact”. The Minister also commented that there are long-standing relief measures aimed at mitigating the increase in certain circumstances.   This increase will be subject to transitional arrangements that will allow the 6 percent rate to apply to instruments executed before 1 January 2020, where a binding contract existed prior to 8 October 2019.   Consequential amendments will also be made to the legislation which will provide for the repayment of stamp duty where the land involved is subsequently used for residential development. This is to ensure that the rate of stamp duty chargeable after a full refund remains at 2 percent.   Anti-avoidance – company acquisitions   The new 1 percent stamp duty charge is an anti-avoidance measure that will be applicable where a scheme of arrangement involving a so called ‘cancellation scheme’, in accordance with Part 9 of the Companies Act 2014, is used for the sale of a company. The expected Exchequer take from this measure does not appear in the Budget 2020 documents.   Full details on both these stamp duty measures are contained in the Budget 2020 Financial Resolutions.

Oct 08, 2019
Tax

The Department of Finance carried out a review of the Employment and Investment Incentive earlier this year.  Changes were therefore expected. But the changes announced are not enough to address the concerns raised by businesses.  Similarly, a public consultation at the start of the summer on the Key Employee Engagement Programme signalled changes were afoot. While enhancements are a move in the right direction, it is disappointing the Minister did not announce any changes to support unlisted shares where practically the market for such shares is limited.   Employment and Investment Incentive (EII) Scheme While, technical adjustments announced will improve the operation of the scheme, they will not fully address the concerns raised by businesses on the stifling impact of the EU General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) for state aid on the scheme in recent years.  Nor will the concerns about the self-certification requirements on companies be alleviated. Perhaps we will see some additional steps towards rehabilitation of the scheme in the Finance Bill.  As of today what we have heard from the Minister is: an increase in the annual investment limit from €150,000 to €250,000 and to €500,000 for investments for a minimum of 10 years;  a substantial change whereby full relief will be available in the year in which investment is made.  Currently relief is given in two tranches, 30% in the year of investment and 10% in year 3, subject to certain conditions.    Key Employee Engagement Programme Employees who have flexible working arrangements or who work part time can qualify for the KEEP. The KEEP provides for capital gains tax treatment on the disposal of shares acquired under a share option agreement instead of income tax, USC and PRSI on exercise of the shares.  The definition of a qualifying employee will be amended to accommodate these more common working practices.  Also, employees who work for different group companies as the need arises can qualify.  Other changes to the definition of a qualifying company were announced.  Changes to tax law are needed to facilitate unlisted companies in providing liquidity in their shares by using mechanisms such as arrangements with the employees to buy back shares over time.  A change to the share buy-back legislation to ensure capital gains tax treatment applies on the disposal of the shares did not feature in the Budget.     Details on the EII scheme and KEEP are expected in the Finance Bill.

Oct 08, 2019
Tax

A feature of every Budget, compliance and anti-avoidance are always hot topics.  Surprisingly, this year the compliance focus is on the dividend withholding tax regime.  ‘Anti-avoidance’ involves correcting an unintended additional relief afforded by the tax legislation for capital expenditure on scientific research.  Dividend Withholding Tax Regime Under the heading of ‘compliance’ we heard about changes to the dividend withholding tax (DWT) regime.  The focus is on tax compliance and addressing a potential gap identified by Revenue between the DWT remitted by companies and the final income tax and USC liability of the individual recipient.  This means that there will be a two-step change process to the current DWT regime.  First is a DWT rate increase from 20% to 25%.  The higher 25% rate is closer aligned to the combined average rates of income tax (20%) and USC (4.5%).  The final tax liability of Irish tax residents will not be impacted.   The focus then must be on non-Irish tax residents who are not exempt from DWT under Irish tax law.  And, secondly, in 2021 information Revenue collects under the real-time PAYE system will be used to allocate a personalised DWT rate to each taxpayer.  No more details are available at this stage.  We expect consultation with Revenue via the TALC process and other suitable forums on how this proposed new system will work. 

Oct 08, 2019
Tax

Overall, electric cars can remain more expensive. While the changes announced to the treatment of electric cars are helpful, it is not an incentive to get half the population to drive electric. Benefit in kind No details were given in the Budget; we have to wait for the Finance Bill to learn more about the extension of the zero rate of benefit in kind on electric vehicles. The move to an environmental rationale for taxing commercial vehicles provided to employees from their employers will also be detailed in the Finance Bill.  Vehicle Registration Tax There will be a change in the way vehicle emissions will be taxed going forward. The 1% diesel surcharge introduced on vehicle registration tax (‘VRT’) last year is being replaced by a nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions-based charge that will be applied to all new cars and used imports from January 2020. Electric Vehicle Infrastructure While electric vehicle infrastructure remains expensive, even with the additional €3 million already given, more funding is to be provided to double the number of local authority electric car charging points and to support the installation of communal charge points at apartment blocks, taxi ranks and other transport hubs. 

Oct 08, 2019
Tax

From 9 October, smokers will once again have to dig deeper.  Old habits die hard The excise duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes is being increased by 50 cents with a pro-rata increase on other tobacco products. This will bring the price of cigarettes in the most popular price category to €13.50. These changes take effect from 9 October 2019 and are expected to raise €57.1 million for the Exchequer in a full year. But you can still enjoy your glass of prosecco or craft beer (responsibly) safe in the knowledge that these won’t cost you anymore from a tax or excise point of view. As the craft beer revolution continues, the production ceiling (the quantity of beer brewed in the previous year) to qualify for microbrewery relief is also being increased from 40,000 to 50,000 hectolitres. This measure is aimed at enabling larger microbreweries to expand especially in the area of export sales. However, the maximum quantity of beer on which relief will be allowed, for any brewery in any calendar year, remains unchanged at 30,000 hectolitres. Fancy a flutter? The Minister announced a relief from betting duty and betting intermediary duty up to a limit of €50,000 per calendar year. However, this relief will only apply to single undertakings and not chain businesses in the gambling sector. Fuel excise Fuel excise duty remains unchanged though the additional €6 carbon tax per tonne will result in higher prices at the pumps from 9 October – fill those tanks up now.

Oct 08, 2019
Tax

No across-the-board personal tax cuts (“the unfunded tax cut of today is the unwelcome tax increase of tomorrow”).  The average employee will not see any difference in their pay packet from 1 January next.  Two tax-reducing measures were announced; increases in both the home carer credit and the earned income credit.  The income tax reliefs under the SARP and FED will be extended for three years.  A first in a long time: we have no changes, up or down, to the USC rates or thresholds, just an extension of the rate for medical card holders.   Tax rates and bands No changes to the standard rate of tax 20% or the higher rate of 40%.  No changes to the tax rate bands.  Home carer credit – increase of €100 so that the maximum credit available will be €1,600. Earned income credit – increase of €150 bringing the credit up to €1,500.  This still falls short of the PAYE credit of €1,650 but is a move in the right direction to reduce the inequity, long in the tax system, resulting in people in employment having lower tax bills than people with similar earnings who are self-employed.  These combined increases will cost €27 million in 2020 and €43 million in a full year.  USC The only change announced is the extension of the reduced rate of USC for medical card holders to the end of 2020.  Nothing else!  Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP) and Foreign Earnings Deduction (FED) Both the SARP and the FED are to be extended by three years until 2022.  The SARP is an income tax relief measure for foreign executives who come to work in Ireland.  The FED is an income tax relief for Irish employees who go to work abroad in certain qualifying countries. 

Oct 08, 2019
Tax

 With no enhancements to entrepreneur relief and a very modest increase in the Group A tax-free threshold for Capital Acquisitions Tax, capital taxes were largely untouched in the Budget 2020 announcements. Capital Acquisitions Tax (‘CAT’) – threshold uplift As expected, the CAT Group A tax-free threshold (which applies primarily to gifts and inheritances from parents to their children) increased by €15,000 from €320,000 to €335,000 and applies to gifts or inheritances received on or after 9 October. This move is expected to cost the Exchequer €9.6 million in 2020. This is the second consecutive Budget increase in the Group A threshold, which was increased by €10,000 to €320,000 in Budget 2019. The Group B threshold of €32,500 and the Group C threshold of €16,250 remain unchanged. Capital Gains Tax (‘CGT’) – entrepreneur relief Following Indecon’s external review of entrepreneur relief (p. 139 et seq.), the Minister announced that there will be no changes to the relief at this time. However, the Department of Finance has been tasked with considering the findings of the Indecon review to determine “any changes that could be made to the relief to better support entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial activity”. Key points/recommendations arising from Indecon’s review are: the policy objectives of the relief remain valid; while the level of CGT is much less favourable in Ireland than in many other countries, the relief did not have a significant impact on the initial investment decision; the relief has influenced the timing of asset disposals and has mainly benefited non-internationally traded businesses; and a range of options are available for changes to the lifetime limit. Although the UK has tightened up on its entrepreneurs’ relief in recent Finance Acts, it continues to provide a 10 percent rate of CGT on qualifying business disposals within a lifetime limit of £10 million. Ireland’s regime continues to provide a €1 million lifetime limit with a 10 percent CGT rate on qualifying gains. In its pre-Budget submission, the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies – Ireland recommended that the lifetime limit be increased to €10 million to “encourage a strong competitive environment to attract and retain scaling SMEs”. However, Indecon’s  review argues that simply increasing the lifetime limit to €10 million (one of a number of options it sets out on p. 151) would not only result in a cost to the Irish Exchequer but is unlikely to be cost effective as it would have a minimal impact on reinvestment. Is this a sign that any future increase in the lifetime limit will come with conditions? Capital gains tax – extension of farm restructuring relief Under the banner of “supporting Irish business”, the Minister has announced that farm restructuring relief, introduced in Budget 2013, is being extended to the end of 2022, with no change being made to the conditions for the relief. The decision to extend the relief follows on from a review of the relief earlier this year but is subject to EU State Aid approval. The cost of extending this relief has not been set out separately. However, this relief, in conjunction with other measures to support enterprise, SMEs and the agri-sector, is expected to cost €30 million in 2020. Farm restructuring relief is contained in section 604B of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 and was due to end on 31 December 2019. The purpose of farm restructuring is to improve the operation and viability of farms by allowing sales and purchases or exchanges of parcels of land to bring them closer together. A ‘parcel of land’ is an entire agricultural field or group of fields used for farming purposes. The relief provides: full relief from CGT when the purchase price exceeds the sale price; partial relief from CGT when the purchase price is lower than the sale price (relief is given in proportion to the amount of the sale proceeds reinvested in purchasing a new parcel of farmland).

Oct 08, 2019
Brexit

With the 31 October Brexit deadline just over three weeks away, it’s no surprise that Budget 2020 was dubbed the ‘Brexit Budget’. With the prospect of a no-deal Brexit looming large, the Minister has announced a contingency package of €1.2 billion (excluding EU funding) to respond to the challenges Brexit presents.  However, as the Minister explicitly pointed out, if a no-deal Brexit does not occur, no additional funding will be secured. To quote directly from the Minister’s speech: “if we do not need it, we will not borrow it”.  With €650 million to be made available to support the agriculture, tourism and enterprise sectors, there is an additional €500 million set aside from the ‘Rainy-Day fund’. The funding will be released in two waves, by priority: First wave: targeting “most affected” businesses €110 million will be deployed to support businesses of all sizes with a particular focus on food, manufacturing and internationally traded services. These businesses are referred to as “vulnerable but viable”. In addition to the supports previously available for Brexit, new supports will also be made available in the form of a variety of grants, loans and equity investments, including: • a €45 million Transition Fund; • a €42 million Rescue and Restructuring Fund; • an €8 million Transformation Fund for Food and Non-Food Businesses; • €5 million extra for Micro Finance Ireland; • €5 million for a Local Enterprise Offices Emergency Brexit Fund; • €2 million extra for Intertrade Ireland; and • €3 million extra for regulatory bodies. Second wave: Agriculture prioritised  In the event of a no-deal Brexit, an additional €110 million will be provided through the Department of Agriculture. The beef sector has been highlighted as the priority, with €85 million of promised support, followed by the fishing industry, with a €14 million allocation. The cherry on top? An additional €40 million of funding will be provided for the tourism sector from the €650 million contingency to help mitigate the impact of a no-deal Brexit (especially in the border counties), make Ireland more accessible from overseas markets and support activities for targeting key markets such as the UK, North America and continental Europe. The allocation of remaining €390 million will be determined closer to the time. Furthermore, it seems there will be another €365 million provided for social protection expenditure and related schemes with a further €45 million made available to assist with the creation of new jobs and opportunities.

Oct 08, 2019
Tax

Carbon tax and related measures to tackle climate change are one of the main features of Budget 2020. The Minister’s plans to boost the economy while reducing environmental impact, although promising, still lack the impetus needed to drive behavioural changes in homes and businesses. As echoed by the joint Department of Finance and Economic and Social Research Council report, the increase in carbon tax on its own is not sufficient to fully decouple emissions from economic growth. In a step towards a greener Ireland, the Minister has taken a two-pronged approach to combat the issue of climate change – increased carbon taxes combined with targeted tax reliefs. Increase in carbon tax The Minister has announced a €6 per tonne increase in the price of carbon, with an intention to increase this steadily to meet the target of €80 per tonne by 2030. This increase will apply from 9 October 2019 to petrol and diesel; however, the increase to other fuels is being delayed until May 2020, until after the winter home-heating season. Though this might leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, the increase is expected to add approximately 2 cents to a litre of petrol or diesel, equivalent to an increase of approximately €36 per annum in fuel costs for the average driver. The projected €90 million set to be raised in 2020 from this increase will be ring-fenced to fund new carbon action measures. Impacted communities prioritised Almost one-third of the ring-fenced funds will go towards assisting communities adversely effected by the winding down of local carbon industries. An additional €20 million will be spent on energy efficiency installations in social housing, €5 million on peatland rehabilitation and €6 million on the creation of a new Just Transition Fund. A new Just Transition Commissioner will also be appointed to oversee the workings of this fund. Additionally, €13 million for the Warmer Homes scheme is being allocated to provide free energy efficiency upgrades to households deemed to be in, or at risk of, energy poverty. Driving the change The 2020 transport budget is also being boosted by an additional €384 million to allow for extended investment in public transport, including the Rural Transport scheme, greenways and urban cycle routes. With an increase in transport and logistical costs an expected by-product of Brexit, Budget 2020 also makes room for providing additional relief to hauliers through the existing Diesel Rebate scheme to compensate that sector for the increased cost of fuel.

Oct 08, 2019
Governance, Risk and Legal

New guide aims to answer the question ‘Should we be doing things differently?’ A new guide published today offers a five-step approach for Irish organisations which are keen to assess and improve their organisational culture. The free guide, published by Chartered Accountants Ireland, encourages decision-makers to assess the culture within their organisation and to consider if they need to do things differently to achieve success. Concise Guide for Directors: A Five-Step Approach to Considering Organisational Culture was launched today in Dublin and is based on research into existing guidance and thought leadership, in addition to focus groups and interviews with business leaders from across the island of Ireland. Pictured at the launch of Chartered Accountants Ireland’s new Concise Guide for Directors: A Five-Step Approach to Considering Organisational Culture, were: Ciara Fallon, Director, People & Organisation Consulting at PwC; Conall O’Halloran President Chartered Accountants Ireland; and David McRedmond CEO of An Post Speaking at the Championing Organisational Culture - Practical Insights event in Dublin, Chartered Accountants Ireland President Conall O’Halloran said: “Recently we’ve seen developments which show how seriously organisations are engaging with culture, for example the establishment of the Irish Banking Culture Board earlier this year. This guide is a practical tool which equips directors to address their organisation’s culture in an effective way. It provides those involved in governance with clarity and direction when it comes to organisational culture and helping to make transformational change.” The guide is one of the first resources to be made available on Chartered Accountants Ireland’s new online Governance Resource Centre. The development is seen as recognition of the importance which organisations, both locally and globally, are placing on the issue of governance. Níall Fitzgerald, Head of Ethics and Governance, Chartered Accountants Ireland said: “An organisation’s culture is a critical component of its success. There is an increasing awareness of it in the context of corporate governance.” “Good governance, along with the systems and practices which underpin it, has become a key consideration for all types of organisation as it impacts on their reputation, culture, efficiency and financial sustainability. Our new Governance Resource Centre recognises this importance and will provide a range of helpful, free resources for those involved in, or advising, boards.” Concise Guide for Directors: A Five-Step Approach to Considering Organisational Culture is available for download here. Visit the new Governance Resource Centre at: www.charteredaccountants.ie/governance. ENDS Notes to editors For reference: Claire Percy, Chartered Accountants Ireland, 086 216 4393 claire.percy@charteredaccountants.ie 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. 

Sep 19, 2019
Press release

Chartered Accountants Ireland (the Institute) has announced a new partnership with leading enterprise Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software firm UiPath, making the Institute the first professional accountancy body in the world to begin formal training and official examination of students in this area and equipping them for practical application to business. Pictured: Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe, TD with student Sarah Ryan of EisnerAmper and Supreeth Mohan of HLB Ryan. Back row (l-e): John Munnelly, Chartered Accountants Ireland; Ian Browne, Chartered Accountants Ireland; Conall O’Halloran President of Chartered Accountants Ireland; Eugene Hillery of Tableau and Michael Ellis of UiPath From the end of September 2019, more than 1,300 students per year will begin to study and develop practical skills in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Data preparation and Data analytics, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies as part of a shake-up of the Institute’s education programme for final year students. The development was welcomed by Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe, TD, who said, “Ireland has the potential to be a global leader and location for innovation in financial and technology services. I welcome the collaboration between Chartered Accountants Ireland and UiPath, Tableau and Alteryx to meet the evolving needs of Ireland’s financial services sector. This programme will ensure that as technology shapes the sector over time, Ireland will continue to have a talent pool of people skilled and available to business and industry.” The move will create a new pipeline of highly skilled graduates ready to fill sought-after roles in industry and private practice, many of which did not exist five years ago as firms ramp up their own investment in new technologies to service client work with greater efficiency, accuracy and insight. The move also follows consultation by the Institute with both member firms and students which revealed a demand for new training in what has emerged as significant growth areas alongside more traditional work such as audit – and an appetite among students to formalise their training in these areas in a practical way, future-proofing their employment prospects. Currently, some 70% of the Institute’s graduates already work in industry as in-house advisors to some of the country’s largest technology, finance, aviation and energy companies. Employees skilled in new technologies are now in high demand. Using data analytics to prepare accounts and present information in a more meaningful way, learning to deploy software robots that can tackle and streamline routine tasks, and being able to advise clients on cryptocurrency transactions and investments are among the skills that will be taught and examined, reflecting the change already happening on the ground in the business models of firms in industry and practice. Commenting on one of the biggest evolutions of the Institute’s final-year syllabus in recent years, Institute President Conall O’Halloran said: “Chartered Accountants Ireland is proud to be the first professional accountancy body worldwide to design and implement a RPA syllabus specifically for accountancy students. The role of accountants is changing, and businesses are embracing new technologies faster than ever. It’s vital that our students and future members are equipped to support businesses now and, in the years, to come. “This time next year, our final year students will be in a variety of jobs and training roles where they can hit the ground running with newly acquired skills that are still not widely taught. They are now on the path to becoming future business leaders for the post-digital era. I’m confident that’s what this partnership will deliver – for our students, members and Ireland’s wider financial services industry.” Ian Browne, Head of Assessment & Syllabus, Chartered Accountants Ireland, said: “We have created an entire new blueprint for the delivery of accountancy training in emerging technologies, and trademarked our assessment frameworks as part of the process. This change will equip a new generation of accountants with better tools to do their job and add value to businesses, employers and clients right away. Larger firms and organisations already moving in this direction will be able to recognise their own business models in the Institute’s new syllabus and training programme. “It’s also really exciting when you consider the possibilities for small and medium-sized companies. This has the potential to democratise access to emerging technologies for a broader cross-section of companies over time, as more and more students graduate and enter the workforce with a range of organisations. It’s a genesis moment, and we’re looking forward to getting started and staying ahead.”  The collaboration also represents an important milestone for UiPath, whose Sales Director UK and Ireland Michael Ellis commented: “We are delighted to have Chartered Accountants Ireland mark a first for the global finance industry and join our Automation Ready Workforce programme. A lot of attention and resources within UiPath are directed towards office workers upskilling and reskilling while automation and AI are reshaping the workplace. It is part of our mission to embrace these changes responsibly, supporting every professional to be ‘automation ready’ and desirable for competitive employers. Our software robots have been assisting the accounting industry for several years already, improving efficiency, reducing costs and errors, and boosting employees’ morale.” Among the global firsts and innovations for the Institute are: Chartered Accountants Ireland is the first professional accountancy body to collaborate with Alteryx and Tableau, global leaders in data preparation and visualisation to develop a course specifically tailored for accountancy students. It is also the first professional accountancy body to develop its own in-depth syllabus in the emerging technologies of blockchain and cryptocurrency. Within the programme are also two entirely new leadership models, the Crypto Assessment Framework™ and the concept of the Collective Intelligent Accountancy™. Chartered Accountants Ireland has over 27,000 members, two-thirds of whom work in industry in Ireland and overseas. This is one of a number of initiatives intended to future-proof the profession and prepare the next generation of Chartered Accountants for the world of work in the post-digital age. In addition, a pilot e-assessment scheme is being trialled for first year students, where students will be able to sit Institute exams outside examination halls for the first time. ENDS For Reference: Karen Jones, Gibney Communications, 01 661 0402 / 086 866 4501

Sep 17, 2019
Brexit

The courses will be run in Belfast, Derry, Dublin and Newry starting on 30 September Chartered Accountants Ireland, in association with the Irish Exporters Association, today (11 September) launches a brand new continuous professional development (CPD) course - Brexit Customs Level 1 and 2. Starting on 30 September 2019, the course is designed to support the increasing demand for customs expertise in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, regardless of the outcome of Brexit. This is the latest initiative by Chartered Accountants Ireland to help businesses prepare for dealing with customs compliance and skill up in this area in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Businesses should be using the time between now and 31 October to improve their knowledge of customs procedures, and close any gaps in their knowledge that could prevent them from trading outside their domestic market. This course provides participants with insights into how to manage their dealings with EU/International customs efficiently and explores areas such as goods classification, origin, valuation and transit. Brexit Customs Level 1 and 2 will run in the morning and evening respectively, and participants can book either the morning, or afternoon session, or both. Courses are being run in Belfast, Derry, Dublin and Newry. Director, Members at Chartered Accountants Ireland, Mr. Brendan O’Hora commented “We are delighted to launch this course in response to calls from our members to address the increasing need for customs expertise as a further support to businesses of all sizes in preparing for Brexit. We would encourage our members and business professionals dealing with customs compliance to book onto one of these sessions to get the essential information that they will need to know before the UK leaves the EU”. This course is suitable for accountants, and other business professionals, who have limited knowledge of customs. Attendees can be working in practice, finance, procurement, supply chain, operations or freight forwarding. No previous experience or knowledge of customs is required. Interested parties can visit the CPD programmes page of our website to learn more and register for the course. Notes to editors Brexit Customs Level 1 and 2 is scheduled to be delivered as follows. For venues and further details please use the links below  Location Day and date Brexit Customs Level 1  More information Brexit Customs Level 2   More information Belfast Monday, 30 September 09:30 – 13:00   Link to booking >> 14:00 – 17:30   Link to booking >> Derry Tuesday, 1 October 09:30 – 13:00  Link to booking >> 14:00 – 17:30  Link to booking >> Newry Wednesday, 2 October 09:30 – 13:00  Link to booking >> 14:00 – 17:30  Link to booking >> Dublin Thursday, 3 October 09:30 – 13:00  Link to booking >> 14:00 – 17:30   Link to booking >>     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. References: Akriti Gupta, akriti.gupta@charteredaccountants.ie or Phone: 01-523-3970

Sep 11, 2019

On 20 September, Chartered Accountants House will open its doors for Culture Night 2019.This will be the third year running this event and we are looking forward to welcoming members, their families, staff and all visitors to our building and to share in our programme for the evening.Here's what we have on offer so make us part of your Culture Trail! Art tour with curator Derville Murphy - 8:00pm - free but registration required Those familiar with the building will know that on all of five levels there is a diverse collection of artworks throughout. The collection includes works by, among others, Basil Blackshaw RHA, Sean McSweeney RHA, Dorothy Cross, Brian Ballard and Catherine Rock. Originally curated by Derville Murphy, we are delighted to have Derville here to walk visitors around the building for a guided tour and background to the works and artists featured. You can register for the free tour here. Visual art: foyer, 5:00pm - 9:00pm Ashling Smith - digital media artist Incorporating still and moving imagery and sound, Ashling's work explores the relationship between time and memory, place and identity. Ashling has recently completed her first solo exhibition "Crossing the Lens" in Draíocht, Blanchardstown. Ashling will present a selection of her work for us on Culture Night. Madeleine Hellier - stained glass artist Madeleine is an experienced artist and sculptor working mainly through the medium of glass. Madeleine frequently collaborates with artist Claire Halpin and their work is in the current "Sculpture in Context" exhibition in the National Botanic Gardens.  Bayside Rocks - rock painting exhibition and workshop Starting out as simple folly to make neighbours smile, the Bayside Rocks project has gone from strength to strength over a couple of years. Wandering around Dublin 13, you might come across a brightly painted rock or you can leave your own for someone to find. On Culture Night, you will see a sample of the work, watch rocks being painted and even have the opportunity to create your own rock art. Music: cafe from 5:00pm Vincent Judge - 5:00pm Vincent is a solo musician whose set will comprise mainstream folk/rock to get us started for the night! Diarmuid Kennedy - 6:00pm Diarmuid is a new piano composer from Dublin. Having been compared to Erik Satie, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Philip Glass, his inspiring music is receiving international airplay on radio stations in Seattle, UK and the Netherlands. RTÉ Lyric FM's Marty Whelan described his debut single "The Velvet Strand" as "beautiful". Since April, Diarmuid has performed in a number of festivals in Dublin and is delighted to play music from his debut EP "Experiential Piano" in Chartered Accountants House for Culture Night. Join his 100,000+ viewers on YouTube here. Sandymount Gospel Choir - 7:00pm Established in 2009, Sandymount Gospel Choir perform at events, churches and festivals in as wide a range of locations as Bunratty Castle, Darkness into Light walks amongst others. We loved them so much last year at Culture Night we had to invite them back again under the great direction of Cathy McEvoy.  Anna Jordan - 8:00pm Anna Jordan is a composer and singer who writes music and performs solo and as part of a two-piece band: SELK. She has composed for short films and has recently released her debut EP: Dust.

Sep 09, 2019
Chartered Accountants Abroad

Five Chartered Accountants consider the benefits of working overseas and share their tips for those who wish to broaden their horizons. Paul Murray Title: Commercial Manager – Sales, Programming & Operations Company: Seven Network Location: Sydney, Australia There are great personal development opportunities in multicultural nations such as Australia. I was fortunate enough to enter the market here at manager level thanks to my Big 4 background and extensive client exposure, something that wouldn’t usually happen in Ireland. Having started my career in Rugby Australia, I am now responsible for $1 billion in revenues and $500 million in costs at Seven Network, the most-watched free-to-air television network in Australia, and manage a team of seven women who all hail from different countries. The diversity in our team has really helped me develop from a people management perspective. My top tip Reach out to recruiters before you make the move abroad. This gets your name into the market and generates early opportunities. It also saves time, which is important as Sydney, in particular, is an expensive place to move to. Sarah McEneaney Title: Partner, Digital Talent Company: PwC Location: Chicago, US I’ve spent my whole career living, working and travelling all over the world. I would encourage anyone to take advantage of these opportunities, whether they present themselves or you have to create them. Working with people from so many cultures, and navigating situations and solving problems – often as a “minority” – are skills that are difficult to acquire without living them. Working overseas can allow you to have impact at a global scale – my experience has truly borne that out. As PwC’s Digital Talent Leader in the US, I am responsible for future-proofing our workforce of 50,000 colleagues and considering the impact of technology on the firm’s people strategy. My top tip A professor of mine once said: “Beware of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that come along every single day”. I wish I had heard this sooner, but I’m becoming more judicious in what I say yes to and what I decline. Oh, and get more sleep – that’s the true magic for better work. Caoimhe Toouli Title: Partner, Audit and Assurance Company: KPMG Location: Sydney, Australia I left Ireland in 2002, bound for Silicon Valley on an international secondment sponsored by KPMG. I really only wanted to go for 12 months, but had to commit to 18 months and I haven’t looked back. In my view, diversity of experience is invaluable for professional development. You can only grow when challenged by new situations, new people and new environments. Working overseas completely tests one’s ability to adapt and respond to change and difference. For me, working overseas in places like Silicon Valley and Sydney exposed me to much larger capital markets than in Dublin, more complex corporate structures and different cultures. This challenged and enhanced my experience, ensuring I continued to learn and develop throughout my career. As change is the only constant, you must remain open to change and continually adapt your managerial style. But if you are thinking specifically of working overseas, my one piece of advice would be to back yourself. Don’t be afraid to change direction; talented people will succeed anywhere in the world. Matthew Britton Title: Manager, Financial Planning and Analysis Company: Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Location: Abu Dhabi   During my four years in Abu Dhabi, I worked for a sovereign wealth fund. The role involved running the strategic financial planning process, evaluating investment projects and providing management with performance insights. My team boasted 11 nationalities and the company itself employed people from 65 countries. This in itself was incredibly interesting, but it was also very rewarding from a communication perspective.  Navigating cultural nuances and understanding how to influence effectively in a diverse environment has certainly benefited my career. In addition, the mission of the organisation is to secure the wealth of future generations so in a sense the “shareholders” are not even born yet. This brings with it a very different mindset to that of a PLC and learning to adapt to that culture – and, more importantly, to respect that culture – was a valuable learning. My top tip There is an understandable tendency for Irish people to gravitate towards other Irish people when living and working overseas, but being overseas gives you a great opportunity to develop a wider international network – something that needs to be nurtured from an early stage. Margaret Berney Title: Senior Financial Analyst Company: Tarion Warranty Corporation Location: Toronto, Canada Moving to Canada certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone, both professionally and personally. Learning from a new culture has expanded my skillset to that point that I now excel in my role and work extremely well with all colleagues, irrespective of their nationality or background. The move also impacted my outlook on work as I no longer see difficult situations as a challenge. I tackle them with confidence and this is perhaps attributable in part to the new environment I work in and the different philosophies and approaches I encounter each day. The only thing I would do differently in terms of my career overseas is to do it sooner. My top tip If you have an inclination to work abroad, follow your gut instinct and make it happen. Most won’t regret the decision and even if it doesn’t work out, you can always move home having learned from the experience. You can read more about living and working overseas in Chartered Accountants Abroad, the publication from Accountancy Ireland for Chartered Accountants Ireland members abroad.

Aug 06, 2019
News

While time management is important, attention management is how you make sure your priorities stay prioritised. Moira Dunne explains how you can make your productivity soar by identifying what is stealing your attention. Most people I know in business have very good time management skills. They set out their goals, prioritise their work and make a daily task list to get things done. In days gone by that was enough. Forward planning meant that work could be scheduled into the time available. By and large, an organised person could get all their work done quite routinely. However, those time management techniques were designed for a business world where people had control over their time. Blocks of uninterrupted time were easier to find and, in general, the plan for the day could be completed as expected. It was a business world without email, mobile phones, iMessage, WhatsApp, apps and social media. Technology has completely changed our work environment. Constant communication brings a steady stream of new requests and ever-changing deadlines. So allocating time to a task doesn’t mean it gets done. As soon as we check our email in the morning, our task list is already out of date, and when everything seems urgent, it is impossible to stick to our priorities. The steady stream of requests comes with an expectation of almost instant response time. So we generally work in a reactive, responsive mode. This is great for customer service and team cooperation, but it’s not conducive tor the achievement of plans and goals. Ultimately, the focus becomes less strategic and more operational, and business growth is affected. Attention management Right now, time management techniques have never been so important, but we have to supplement these techniques with skills to manage our attention. You have to ask yourself: how good are my attention management skills? Here are some tips on how you can become more aware of your attention and how to manage it. 1. Understand your attention Do some initial work to understand where your attention is going throughout the day. To spot patterns, track who and what distracts you. Use a time log for a few days to get the data on this. Make a list of those attention stealers to remind you what to avoid. 2. Protect your attention We often feel obliged to respond to new requests, emails and interruptions. It can be hard to say no to your customers or your colleagues. But we often end up working on something that has a lower priority than the work we planned to do. Empowerment over your time can give you the confidence to make decisions about client and office engagement. Decide on a reasonable request response time and communicate that to your clients and co-workers. It’s also important to ask yourself what tasks you’re doing that are outside of your specific role and priorities. With this knowledge, it can be easier to say no to others in the office. 3. Develop the right environment If you run your own business or manage a team, take a look at how easy or difficult it is for people to focus. Is there a noise level that can be improved? Can you work together to give each person some uninterrupted time throughout the week? Encourage people to focus on one task rather than multi-tasking. If your business allows it, turn off the phones at least some of the time. Provide a quiet room as a contrast to the open-plan office. Offer your office to your team when you are not there. Allow the use of noise-blocking headphones if it doesn’t compromise your service delivery. Above all, be creative. Come up with your own solutions for attention management that will suit your business. Be proactive, take control and be productive Let’s give some time to attention management. It is one of the most important business skills in today’s workplace. Combine this with the classic time management techniques and watch your productivity soar. Moira Dunne is the Founder of beproductive.ie

Jul 28, 2019
Brexit

Registering for an EORI number is just the first step to prepare for Brexit In order to continue to trade with the UK after Brexit, Chartered Accountants Ireland is urging Irish businesses to assess whether or not they have gaps in customs knowledge that could prevent them from trading with the UK post Brexit.    Regardless of whether customs duties apply, in order to move goods to, from and through the UK, customs declarations must be submitted to Revenue. Traders will need to have customs expertise and software to file these declarations; otherwise they will need to hire an agent to do this on their behalf.   Director of Public Affairs, Dr Brian Keegan said “Regardless of the form Brexit will take, Irish traders need to file customs returns before they can move their goods to, from or through the UK.  To complete the returns, traders need to know the goods classification number or commodity code, the customs value of goods and the origin of the goods to determine the amount of any duty payable.  Otherwise goods will be detained at ports and borders because Revenue officials will check that the proper declarations are in place. We are hearing about a critical shortage of customs expertise in the market.” Revenue estimates that customs declarations are expected to increase from 1.4 million to 20 million per year once the UK leaves the EU.   Dr Keegan said “Revenue has hired additional staff to deal with customs declarations and checks and 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 outside of the EU, 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. ” 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 UK after Brexit.  Latest registration statistics from Revenue suggest that thousands of small traders have not applied for an EORI and these are the businesses that will be most affected by Brexit.  “Getting an EORI number takes three minutes and should be the starting point in terms of their plans but by no means the only thing they should do. Businesses need to look at customs software, get familiar with commodity codes and think about who will do the customs administration,” said Dr Keegan.  Regardless of the form Brexit will take, Irish businesses must do the following to prepare and they must do that now: Register online with Revenue 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 Become familiar with the new customs administration, know your commodity code. Decide whether you will do the customs administration yourself or whether you need to hire a customs agent.If you do the customs yourself, you need to have computer facilities and software to do this to access Revenue’s Automated Entry Processing (AEP) system. 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 Revenue use this number to identify you and collect duty on your goods. The number is also used when traders interact with customs authorities in any EU Member State.  In Ireland, you can register for an EORI number on Revenue’s EORI online registration service through My Account or ROS. In the UK, you can apply online to get an EORI number on gov.uk. Automated Entry Processing (AEP) system is Revenue’s electronic system, which handles the validation, processing, duty, accounting and clearance of custom declarations. 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. References: Dr Brian Keegan, brian.keegan@charteredaccountants.ie or Mob: +353 87 234 7329

Jul 23, 2019

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