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 As soon as we check our email in the morning, our task list is already out of date, and when everything seems urgent, it is impossible to stick to our priorities.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
News

By Dawn Leane If the thought of networking brings on a cold sweat, you’re not alone. For many women, networking is a challenge. It’s not the activity of networking itself – research shows that women are at an advantage in this area. However, it’s the concept of networking that women often find uncomfortable. Networking is one of the most dreaded developmental challenges that female leaders must address, especially as most senior leadership roles are still filled by men and it’s hard for women to find others in the same position at an event. Regardless, networking is one of those things that we know we ought to do, but never quite get around to. We tend to see it as – at best – a poor use of time, or – at worst – self-serving and inauthentic. Yet, creating and maintaining a network of influential people is essential for success in business. Networks are key to hearing about role opportunities, advances and developments, and introductions and business opportunities in your sector. Connecting and communicating with a wide range of stakeholders is not a distraction from the ‘real work’ but actually at the heart of a leaders’ responsibilities. Simple mistakes Qualifications, experience and reputation will only take you so far. When you need someone to go the extra mile – to make an introduction, recommend your business or take a leap of faith – they must know you. In business, people do not extend trust easily. Even those who describe themselves as networkers make some basic errors. Things like: failing to be strategic; building networks of people like themselves; building narrow and deep networks; and failing to follow-up. Reframe your mindset The good news is that everyone can learn to network well. Networking is not just for extroverted people; some of the most successful networkers I know – the super-connectors – are introverts at heart. The key is to be strategic and intentional. If I could offer just one piece of advice to those who hate networking, it would be to reframe the exercise and adopt a new mind-set. Stop using the word ‘networking’ and, instead, think of it as building your guiding coalition. Reciprocity is key Don’t think about conferences and events as the places to start networking: the best connections are with people with whom you share an interest. View every meeting and every conversation as a potential contact. Most importantly, don’t think about what you need from your network: think about what you can offer. When we take every opportunity to give to our network (whether we need help or not) it stops feeling like networking. As the golden rule of networking is reciprocity, those you helped will look for opportunities to help you in return. Build first Finally, it is crucial to build your network before you need it. If you’re about to apply for your ideal job, become self-employed or grow an existing business, that’s not the time to start building your network. That’s the time to leverage it. Dawn Leane is Founder of LeaneLeaders. She will be teaching a course: Networking for women who hate networking.

Jul 19, 2019
News

Ever gotten a group together to brainstorm and felt like it was a waste of time? Anne Byrne feels your pain. She provides some practical tips to banish the brainstorming blues and to make your next brainstorming session more effective and innovative. I have a confession to make: I hate brainstorming sessions. I often find them unproductive, a bit chaotic and leave me wondering – what was the point? I used to think this made me a lousy innovator. Surely, brainstorming was the epitome of innovating? Lots of people in a room, coming up with lots of ideas – that’s innovation, right? As time has gone on, and I’ve learned more about innovation, I’ve come to realise two things: Brainstorming isn’t innovation, but it is an essential step in the innovation process. Brainstorming isn’t bad; it’s often just not done right! So, here are my tips for better brainstorming, learned from my own mistakes and experience. Tip 1: I wouldn’t start from here... Getting lots of people in a room and writing down loads of ideas isn’t productive unless those people understand the problem at hand and user's needs. Too often we rush to brainstorm when we haven’t entirely defined the problem. We need to understand the issue at hand before we start. Next time you’re thinking about holding a brainstorming session, take a moment to think about whether it’s the right time to do so: do you and the team understand the issues and trends? Have you articulated the problem? Have you spoken to the impacted users? Sometimes it’s a matter of timing. If you can get the groundwork done first, you’ll find brainstorming more productive, relevant and engaging. Tip 2: Stay quiet! I’m one of those people who will rush to fill any silence in a room – but one of the things that I’ve learned is that sometimes I need to zip it. Silence in brainstorming is powerful. Five or ten minutes of silent thinking and idea generation at the beginning of a brainstorming session works wonders. It allows people who may be more naturally introverted to gather their thoughts and more actively participate, and for more ideas to be generated, and it avoids the group getting sucked into “group think” around the first few ideas thrown into the ring before anyone has fully thought them through. Tip 3: Bold is beautiful To be truly innovative, we need to be bold, to put forward the big ideas that seem a bit scary or silly. Many innovations sound ridiculous or unfeasible when first pitched. The innovation process is about taking the big, bold, ludicrous ideas and refining them to make it work. Sometimes, we filter ourselves, and therefore limit the ideas that put forward when brainstorming. We are afraid of being criticised or ridiculed, so we stay in the safe zone.The challenge is to silence that inner voice; the one that tells us to play it safe or stay quiet. Taking a bit of time at the beginning of a brainstorming session, or at the formation of an innovation team, to focus on establishing trust is essential. Simple measures, like developing a team charter of behaviours or conducting an ice-breaker designed to build trust, can make a big difference. Tip 4: Be ruthless! Too often I’ve left brainstorming sessions with a wad of post-it notes, but no real idea what any of them mean, and too many ideas to feel like I can do anything useful. Brainstorming is itself a process: step one is creating lots and lots of ideas free from constraints, but step two is to whittle these down and start to tease them out further. By narrowing down your ideas, you can focus on developing the strongest ones. Tip 5: Let go Letting go of ideas is hard, so how do we do it? Set some rules and limits, apply them in a fun way, and do so in an environment of trust. Fostering psychological safety in a group is a key factor for letting go. People need to understand that it is an idea that is being rejected, not the individual who came up with it. A team that can trust and let go together can also foster critique and challenge ideas constructively.  Anne Byrne is the GovLab lead in Deloitte.

Jul 10, 2019
News

After a bout of bad governance in charities and not-for-profit organisations in Ireland, trust in the sector is at an incredible low. For charities to continue their work, they need to build back the public's confidence. Diarmaid Ó Corrbuí explains how accountability and transparency can achieve that goal. Only 50% of the public trusts Irish charities, according to recent research by nfpSynergy. This is below the level of trust in our schools (74%), the Garda (62%), the EU (55%) and the civil service (53%). Some consolation might be taken from the fact that trust in charities was above that of the banks (41%), but our banking institutions are on the long journey of trust-recovery after the banking failures 10 years ago. Back in April 2012, charities were getting a trust score of 74% but they fell to a low of 43% in November 2016 after the fallout from the Console scandal, and upward progress has been ever since. Charities need to continually work on generating and building back public confidence. Major failures in corporate governance by charities, such as Console and not-for-profits like the Football Association of Ireland, are extremely damaging for the sector as a whole, particularly given the criticality of public trust for charitable organisations and their sustainability. Restoring the public trust To restore and build public trust, charities need to be strongly committed to the principle of accountability and transparency – one of the six core principles in the new Charities Governance Code. Grappling with change and implementation of a new governance code is not always easy, especially with limited resources. The Charities Regulator itself has said that 2019 will be a year of learning before registered charities are expected to fully comply with the Code in 2020, or report on it in 2021. Taking the steps to apply the six principles of the Code will make its implementation – and, in turn, building the public trust – that much smoother. Luckily, there is a good range of guidance available from the Charities Regulator that can assist, as well as a number of resources from other organisations (e.g. Carmichael, The Wheel, Chartered Accountants Ireland, etc.) that can help charities develop and embed good governance practices. Charities could also consider entering the Good Governance Awards. Investing time and effort in such an initiative can really build the public’s confidence while showing the charity’s commitment to improving its organisation’s accountability and transparency. The charity and not-for-profit sector has long been an important backbone of our society and communities across Ireland. The selfless desire to help others is core to what they do as trustees, volunteers and staff working in the sector. Through good governance and transparency, those within the sector will earn back the trust they deserve. Diarmaid Ó Corrbuí is the CEO of Carmichael. Carmichael established the Good Governance Awards for Charities and Not-for-profits in 2016. The 2019 awards are now open for entries, closing date 13 September. For more information, see the awards website at www.goodgovernanceawards.ie.

Jul 05, 2019
News

While cybercrime tends to hog the headlines in this digital age, low-tech fraud continues to be a risk for most organisations, says Teresa Campbell. Virtually all business owners encounter fraud at some stage. While technology enabled scams like invoice redirection and telecom fraud tend to grab the headlines, traditional low-tech scams have not gone away. Here are some common examples of low-tech fraud, along with some tips on how to guard against them. Payroll fraud Payroll fraud can be very costly, especially if issues go unnoticed for a long period of time. Some examples of payroll fraud include: Staff members lying about hours worked or commissions earned; Payroll operators keeping a former employee on the payroll and diverting the salary to their own account; and Staff members asking for a pay advance and not repaying it. Having good internal controls with robust approval procedures that are consistently applied, along with checking payroll reports to verify payments, can help protect your organisation against payroll fraud. Expense account fraud There are various ways in which a dishonest employee can fiddle business expenses – from submitting forged receipts to double-claiming for expenses, or staying in cheap accommodation but submitting expenses for an expensive hotel. Again, the best way to protect against this type of fraud is to implement appropriate checks and approval procedures before reimbursing employee expenses. Theft Theft doesn’t always involve loss of cash. Misuse of company facilities such as photocopying or taking stationery for personal use, inappropriate use of company vehicles, theft of customer information, stock or intellectual property are all examples of theft that can cost your business money. Regardless of whether it’s situations like these, or stealing from petty cash or messing with accounts, theft by employees can be very difficult and time consuming to deal with. As is always the case, prevention is better than cure. Strong policies and good communication can help prevent problems arising. Employees should be aware of your expectations regarding honesty and integrity, your disciplinary code, and the consequences of failing to adhere to company policies. Supplier fraud This can occur where a supplier invoices for an amount in excess of the agreed price for a product or service. Supplier fraud sometimes involves collusion with an employee. For example, where VAT is paid to a non-VAT registered supplier or an employee accepts an inducement from a potential supplier. Implementing robust procurement procedures is the best way to protect your business against these types of fraud. Customer fraud Customers can attempt to defraud your business by claiming that a delivery has not arrived or that a product is faulty, returning a product that they did not purchase from you or even attempting to return a product that they stole from you. While it is difficult to eliminate these types of fraud, policies such as requiring receipts can help to protect your business. Other ways to protect against low-tech fraud Depending on your business, there are various other tactics you can use to spot problems and defend against fraud. These include: Daily/weekly bank reconciliations; Robust approval/authorisation procedures for payments; Security training for staff; Shredding confidential waste paper; and Controlling visitors entering your premises, e.g. requiring them to sign in at reception. Think about where the fraud opportunities exist in your business as this will help you work out what protective measures need to be put in place. It’s a good idea to seek professional advice as there can be potential pitfalls in areas such as breaching privacy rights or failing to comply with legal requirements. Teresa Campbell is the People and Culture Director at PKF-FPM Accountants Limited.

Jul 05, 2019

Chartered Accountants Ireland today, 20 June, launched its inaugural programme of Pride celebrations. Over the summer, the Institute will be running a range of events and online resources in Dublin and Belfast. The programme commenced with the unveiling of building branding in the Dublin office and a staff event on diversity & inclusion. The Institute was delighted to welcome Chartered Accountants Ireland member Brendan Byrne, Finance Director and LGBT Network Lead at Accenture Ireland, along with Sara Philips, Chair of TENI who was the Grand Marshall of this year's Pride parade. Though members and member firms have a long history of supporting Pride, this is the Institute’s first participation, and the activities build on the wider remit of the Institute and its Diversity and Inclusion Committee. To mark the occasion, Diversity and Inclusion Committee member John McNamara shares his thoughts on Pride celebrations and how people can be allies all year round. Importance of LGBT+ allies all year round Each year, June sees a month-long global celebration of Pride and it’s a time for everyone to recognise and celebrate the importance of diversity and inclusion both in and out of the workplace. Why June? June was chosen to commemorate the Stonewall riots in New York, which occurred at the end of June 1969 and therefore this year marks its 50th anniversary. The riots grew from police raids on the Stonewall gay bar which in turn led to wider demonstrations and is now recognised as the birth of the modern LGBT+ rights movement. Pride was born out of the struggle for the gay community to be seen. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that LGBT+ individuals and groups have had on society and highlight areas where further progress is required. Very appropriately, the theme for Dublin Pride in 2019 is ‘Rainbow Revolution’. Notwithstanding the rapid and important hard-won recent achievements in this country, Pride won’t magically make everybody comfortable enough to come out at work, and it won’t encourage everyone to think twice about the discriminatory language they use in and out of work often disguised as ‘banter’. A recent UK study showed 62% of LGBT+ graduates who are already out to their friends and family feel they have to go back into the closet when they get their first job. The Institute’s Diversity and Inclusion committee plays a role in drawing attention to the importance of business strategies ensuring an inclusive environment for LGBT+ employees. We understand that when we can be ourselves at work and are able to live our values every day, we are empowered to reach our full potential. We also know that when people from different backgrounds with different points of view collaborate together, they create the greatest value - for our business and our customers. The role of LGBT+ Allies is vital in this regard. An ally is a term used to describe someone who is supportive of LBGT people and includes non-LGBT allies as well as those within the LGBT community who support each other. How can you be an ally? Here are 4 basic ways: EDUCATE YOURSELF: Make time to learn about the issues. Go away, do your research and give yourself a good idea of what it all means. BE VISIBLE: From simple things like wearing Pride badges or lanyards, taking part in Pride activities in your work to talking about experiences of your own, about gay family-members or friends you have. Be natural. If you are a leader, people will watch you and take cues from your behaviour. INFLUENCE OTHERS: Use whatever platform you have to share your perspective and to share other people’s stories. Have those conversations. Being an ally goes beyond just LGBT and you can show your support in other areas equally as well. LISTEN: When someone confides in you, listen. Reassure them. Ask open questions. If someone has come to you as a trusted ally, that is a great thing. So, while we celebrate Pride this month it’s important to remember why it’s important that we do so. We equally need to carry that understanding and commitment past June and through to the rest of the year. John McNamara is Managing Director of Canada Life International Assurance (Ireland), a member of the Institute’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and Chairperson of the organisation behind SpunOut.ie and Crisistextline.ie. Related links: Institute diversity statement - https://www.charteredaccountants.ie/about-us/what-we-do/Diversity-and-inclusion-statement Member and students event – Pride in our profession https://www.charteredaccountants.ie/prideinprofession Featured story: Broad parental leave policies help families and organisations thrive https://www.charteredaccountants.ie/News/broad-parental-leave-policies-help-families-and-organisations-thrive FLICKR photos from the Chartered Accountants Ireland Pride festivities https://www.flickr.com/photos/irishcharteredaccountants/albums/72157709174395818

Jun 20, 2019
News

For most, figuring out parenting and your career is difficult. It can be even more so if you are an LGBT parent. Peter Keenan-Gavaghan explains how the support from his organisation enabled him and his husband to make the leap into parenthood while growing his career. Balancing a career and a family is always a juggling act. However, when your family does not fit the traditional model, it can also prove to be a minefield for all concerned, especially at work. Societal expectations of parental roles, parental names and second glances are only a few of the factors that need to be thought about before LGBT people become parents. Despite having made the decision to have children early in our relationship, it took my husband and I eight years before our son arrived into the world. With both of us being working professionals, the process of family planning started in the traditional way: how do we balance parenthood, careers and our relationship? We quickly realised that we also needed to consider society. In the end, some of it came down to practicalities, and some came down to our own values, preferences and external supports.  Parental leave One area we had to consider was managing early childcare. My firm gives enhanced paid parental leave regardless of gender and this played a big part in our decision that I would be the stay at home dad for the first seven months of our son's life, with my husband returning to work on a reduced work week. Without the seven-month paid parental leave from my firm, our family would be much different position starting out – and certainly disadvantaged compared to mums going on leave. It’s important that not only the people in an organisation are supportive to LGBT families, but that the support is reflected in the HR policies and procedures. Creating a network We always knew we would need to navigate the potential assumptions from colleagues and clients that there is a ‘mum’ at home. We quickly realised that if social assumptions were to change, we needed to be proud of our family, and not place each other back in the closet. Having same-sex parents is nothing new in Barclays. Indeed, when we were investigating how we would become parents, one of the first ports of call was Barclays LGBT network, Spectrum. There we got a greater understanding of fostering, adoption and surrogacy. The network also holds regular talks on ‘non-traditional' parenting to educate colleagues on how they can become parents and continue to build their career. While nothing would have stopped my husband and me from having our son, the information and support gained from the LGBT network in my organisation eased the process for us (as much as to-be parents can be eased when planning for their first) and normalises families like ours to colleagues and clients. Before going on paternity leave, my team did the traditional baby gift presentation and I was invited to expectant parents’ events. This not only showed support but also demonstrated inclusivity. Talent retention What I have found since going back to work is that I have become more focused and flexible. Because Barclays gave me the information on parental leave, the precious first months with my son, and the flexibility to alter my working hours to the typical parent’s life without judgements or assumptions, they have retained a committed employee and have helped create a happy family. Peter Keenan-Gavaghan is Vice President of Barclays Internal Audit – RFT & Functions Technology.

Jun 17, 2019
Press release

Give landlords reasons to stay in the residential market: Accountancy Profession’s pre-Budget submission calls for sustainable tax reforms If many of Ireland’s homeless are finding themselves without a home because of landlords selling up their rental property, something urgently must be done to keep landlords in the rental market. Speaking at the launch of CCAB-I’s pre-Budget 2020 submission to the Department of Finance, Public Policy Manager at Chartered Accountants Ireland, Cróna Clohisey said “Landlords are an essential feature of a fully functioning residential property market.  But many are part-time, accidental landlords, are heavily indebted and face crippling tax bills which they cannot afford to pay.  Faced with a choice between a 52% tax burden and rising property prices, many are choosing to exit; leaving their tenants in a stark position.  This problem was highlighted further by the Focus Ireland research published this week”  This exit puts unprecedented strain on the housing market where rising house prices also mean would-be purchasers are at the same time being pushed into the rental market.  Chartered Accountants Ireland recommends changing the tax system to keep these landlords in the market and have asked the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, T.D. to consider proposals in the profession’s pre-Budget submission. The Institute is very clear that it does not want to see a return to an era of “Section 23” type reliefs. “The problem with property reliefs is that the market became flooded with small property investors who were average earners and purchased houses and apartments on the back of tax reliefs which were not sustainable.  Instead we want to see a more measured approach to tax reliefs. For example, allow Local Property Tax as a deduction against rental income. Encourage landlords to repair their properties by giving a tax write off for expenditure incurred over 4 years rather than the current 8 years. Enable landlords to offset rental losses against other income like the self-employed can,” said Ms Clohisey.   Back in April 2017, the Department of Finance had a public consultation on the tax treatment of landlords and in the two years since, with no response from the Department, calls for change seem to have gone unheard.  “In order to have an effective consultative process, we need to see tangible evidence that suggestions are being listened to and are being considered. We haven’t seen this when it comes to the rental market. With over 10,300 people homeless in Ireland and with current building levels not even close to the 51,724 units built in 2008, we are calling for urgent action.  Reforming the tax system for landlords would be a good start for citizens.” said Ms Clohisey. ENDS Notes to editors Reference: Claire Percy, Chartered Accountants Ireland, M: 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. Chartered Accountants Ireland under the auspices of the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies Ireland (CCAB-I) submitted its pre-Budget 2020 submission to the Department of Finance this week.  Copies of the submission, which also covers ideas to boost the Irish SME sector, are available here.    

Jun 13, 2019
News

Rapid advances in technology have transformed our approach to learning. How can companies retain key staff amid technological advances in the education arena? The learning landscape is evolving. Over the last ten years, the field of learning and development in business has attracted a great deal of attention. Most companies focus on learning as they compete to recruit and retain talent, while employees are continuously trying to upskill and develop, but rapid advances in technology have transformed our approach. The traditional format of a classroom has been replaced by tools such as e-Learning, webinars, video blogs, podcasts and mobile learning. So, how can companies remain relevant amid technological changes? Let’s take a look at some of the latest learning approaches and trends: Flexibility One of the biggest challenges faced by HR departments is getting employees to make time for learning. Our work schedules are littered with meetings, emails, phone calls and a never-ending list of tasks. All too often, education falls by the wayside. We are all guilty. However, a 2019 LinkedIn report suggests that being ‘too busy’ may not be the issue; that, instead, employees want to be in control of their development and carve a learning path that will help them achieve their goals. It’s up to employers to give them that flexibility and space to make their own plan for upskilling and supporting them while they do it. Personalisation Having a personalised training programme tailored to achieving your goals is crucial when it comes to fast-tracking results in the gym. So why is the workplace different? As with anything, one size does not fit all. New technologies provide firms with an opportunity to work with employees to create a customised learning programme for individuals. It enables each employee to focus on the areas they need to improve to fulfil their potential instead of the typical approach where several employees go to the same training session, but no one benefits 100% from the course. Personalisation is better value for the employee and the organisation. Accessibility Mobile phones, laptops and social media are second nature to today’s millennial employee. Digital-enabled content allows them to jump in and out of information as they need it, learning at their own pace and at a time that suits – this is far more appealing than a fixed classroom timetable. Organisations that want to improve an employee’s learning experience need to ensure mobile forms part of the solution. Online content can be grouped into smaller components, so employees can learn where and when it suits them. Mentoring Learning and development is not a neatly parcelled activity separate from the rest of the business. Empowering managers to help employees develop their skills is an essential component. Encourage your managers to become mentors to recruits. There is plenty of research that shows how employees, in turn, feel empowered to drive their careers when coached by a supportive manager. Dearbhla Gallagher is the People Development & HR Manager at Baker Tilly.

Jun 07, 2019

Peter Keenan-Gavaghan has been elected Chair for the 2019/20 year, succeeding veteran Chartered Accountants Ireland London Society Chair Gerry Nicholas, who has been Chairman of the London Society since its inception in 2009.  Celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year, the society is looking forward to hosting its existing calendar of events as well as new events including hosting its first FCA conferring Ceremony and welcoming Chartered Accountants Ireland’s Chartered Star to the One Young World Conference due to be held in London in October.  Chartered Accountants Ireland Immediate Past President, Feargal McCormack noted “Gerry has been pivotal in building the London Society to where it is today and on behalf of the institute, we thank him for his tireless efforts and wish Peter all the very best in the year ahead”.  Peter has been an active member of the London Society and will be known to many local members.  He is a member of Chartered Accountants Ireland Council and works for Barclays.  Speaking at the London Society’s AGM on 14 May, Peter stated that whilst he “cannot possibly step into Gerry’s shoes in quite the same way, he looks forward to working with the Committee for Members in London”. In addition, Serena O’Keeffe who has been Treasurer of the London Society for the last 3 years, was elected Vice Chair and existing Committee members Tricia O’Donovan and Greg McAnenly have been elected Secretary and Treasurer respectively. 

May 23, 2019
News

Sometimes, 60-hour work weeks are inevitable. Most of the time, however, they aren’t. Such long weeks creates a bad corporate culture and can undermine your leadership abilities. Sure, we’ve all had busy weeks: possibly because there are business-critical issues that just need to be fixed, or a major project with a tight deadline. Sometimes, you have no choice and something like a 60-hour week may be unavoidable. However, if this is a regular occurrence, you’ve got a problem. Not only because doing this for an extended period of time will put you and your team at risk of burnout, but because it actually sets a bad example. Working hard does not equal working smart A 60-hour work week sets a bad example. Not when it’s an exception, but definitely when it’s an expected norm. Be careful not to give the impression that ‘staying late’ is something to be commended. It should be applauded when people do leave on time, having done everything they set out to do that day and your management style should reflect that. Productivity is what makes the world go around My biggest question has always been: why on earth wouldn’t you find a way to deliver the same results in a shorter time? If you can do your job in seven and a half hours a day, as opposed to 10, that’s a good thing, right? In fact, it’s a great thing for everyone: a business will ultimately get more from you without impacting your work-life balance. And the same goes for your team. As a leader, you should be incentivising your team to find ways to do their jobs more efficiently, not encouraging ‘hard work’ and late nights as a measure of ‘effort’. Stress hampers team performance We all know that engagement and performance are intricately linked, and if your team is fed up and stressed from working enforced long weeks, it’s likely they are going to become disengaged. That continuous feeling of being under pressure inevitably evolves into a vicious cycle of performance decline. The fact is, as a workforce, many of us are under stress. Statistics show that one out of five workers are experiencing unnecessary stress-levels because of work, and it’s well known that it’s a leading cause of sick leave. So, fixing this business culture imbalance is not only a personal priority, it’s a business one. As a leader, it is your responsibility to ensure your team is sufficiently resourced and supported. What can you do to stop it? It’s not an accident that you’re working long hours. You should always plan your week and schedule it all within working hours. Never be tempted to plan a 12-hour day, however. Prioritise complex matters and table them in the morning when you’re fresher and problems don’t seem so daunting. Close your email inbox between certain hours to avoid distraction and accept the fact that it’s okay to not be available 24/7. Above all, it’s about taking control and finding out how to strip out the inefficiency and non-value work that you and your team are doing. Focus on the problem areas and find ways to close-out time in your work day for ‘you’ and the tasks you need to deliver. At the end of the day, your team will always be a reflection of you – let them pick up your good habits, not your bad ones. Ed Heffernan is the Managing Partner of Barden.

May 23, 2019
News

Studies show that members of senior management are always 'switched on' for business and, unfortunately, don't feel they have the right to turn off. Is this to the detriment of not only themselves but also the business? Paul Stephens explains. Feeling the pressure at work is not a new phenomenon, but for some, advances in technology have exacerbated the issue. The ‘always on’ culture associated with mobile phones and digital media can make it difficult for people to find a healthy equilibrium between the two. ‘Always on’ culture Research from the Close Brothers Business Barometer, released last week during Mental Health Awareness Week, highlighted that 40% of all senior business leaders ‘do not switch off’, and one in three say that they never turn off their mobile phone. Those in senior financial roles reported a similar struggle to find a positive work-life balance. Two-fifths of Finance Directors and CFOs said that they feel their business requires them to be available at all times, and only a third turn off their phone in the evening or at weekends. However, those in the most senior roles were most intensely impacted, with 60% of Chief Executives and Managing Directors saying they were ‘always’ switched on for business. This continuous pressure can hurt both the individual and the business. A lack of downtime can increase stress levels, reduce effectiveness and have a negative effect on mood. Benefits for everyone Positively, there are signs that workplaces are taking note of the issue. Companies are promoting wellbeing by encouraging behaviours such as flexible working, leaving on time and taking regular breaks and holidays. However, more still needs to be done to ensure that employees at all levels receive support. According to our research, nearly a fifth of senior decision-makers say that wellbeing practices do not apply to them, and a further 13% said that they are only partially relevant. It is vital for the good of the person and the company that wellbeing and mental health initiatives are accessible to all staff, regardless of their seniority. Aside from reducing stress, ensuring that the workplace is a pleasant place to be can bring tangible benefits such as increased productivity, reduced absenteeism and a more committed workforce. Senior figures should lead by example. By working cohesively and ensuring workloads are shared, we can all improve work/life balance. Four things senior management can do to ensure a good work-life balance Keep meetings on time If a meeting is meant to start at 3pm and end at 5.30pm, stick to the agenda and work as efficiently as possible. Make sure everyone – including the most senior manager – is out of the office on time. Learn to delegate properly Be willing to trust the people you hired or work with to get the job done. Micromanaging is bad for office morale and even worse for time management. Insist on taking time off Schedule in the time you will be on holidays or unreachable and stick to it, regardless of what comes up, and respect when your staff want to take time off, too. Know that balance is different for everyone ‘Balance’ for one CEO can mean something different for another. If you don’t mind working 12 hour days but want to be free once you’re home and on the weekend, that’s OK. That’s your definition of balance. Take the time to think about what balance means for your life and how it would ideally work. Paul Stephens FCA, Dip Tax, Dip Corp Fin is the Head of Corporate and ABL at Close Brothers. *All figures unless otherwise stated are from a GMI survey conducted April 2019. The survey canvassed the opinion of 896 SME owners and business managers from several industries across the UK and Ireland on a range of issues affecting their businesses. The survey was commissioned by modern merchant banking group, Close Brothers.

May 19, 2019
Press release

Challenges facing audit & access to accountancy profession among priorities for new President representing 27,000 members in Ireland  Friday, 17th May 2019. Conall O’Halloran has been elected President of Chartered Accountants Ireland for 2019/2020 at its 131st Annual General Meeting in Dublin today. Addressing the Chartered Accountants Ireland AGM, Mr O’Halloran said his tenure as President would focus on the challenges facing the audit profession, both in Ireland and overseas, while working to broaden understanding of the wider role and value that Chartered Accountants bring to business and society. In addressing the challenges facing the audit profession, he said; “I have recently been looking to our nearest neighbour in the UK and reflecting on the fractured relationship with the regulator, the Financial Reporting Council, and with politicians. Many of the reforms recommended by Sir John Kingman’s recent independent review have now been accepted by the FRC and by the profession and politicians generally. However, the wider review by the Competition and Markets Authority and also the independent review into ‘The Quality and Effectiveness of Audit’ being conducted by Lord Brydon, will be fundamental to our future, and the future of business more broadly. “I think we need to be very careful here in Ireland that what works, and indeed what may be required to work in the UK, is not necessarily or automatically right for Ireland.  I will work very hard as President of Chartered Accountants Ireland to ensure good communication between the profession, politicians and regulators and ensure the very particular strengths that we have in Ireland are protected and nurtured.” Mr O’Halloran also highlighted that access to the profession at graduate level, facilitating more graduates to train in industry and the public sector, and non-graduate entry routes would be a priority in the year ahead.  “In Ireland we are currently very much a vocational profession where the majority of our graduates who train as Chartered Accountants come with a business qualification. This is quite different in other countries and I feel there is a win-win if we can demonstrate the value of being a Chartered Accountant to graduates from different disciplines with diverse skill sets and ways of thinking. “While flexible routes to becoming a Chartered Accountant have opened up opportunities for people in industry and the public sector, the training in business option has declined. When I look to some of Ireland’s corporates there is enormous opportunity in our large companies, particularly those with a global footprint, to train Chartered Accountants in-house. “The other thing we need to get right is our school leaver route. I think it inevitable that college fees for university education will be reintroduced at some stage and will make third level education inaccessible to even more people. So, while the school leaver route in Chartered Accountancy has become a thing of the past, I am pretty clear that it will become a thing of the future again and we need to be ready for it.” Mr O’Halloran, who takes over as President from Feargal McCormack, is Partner and recently served as Head of Audit Practice with KPMG, based in Dublin, from 2013 to 2019.  He was previously nominated by the Irish Government to the UK’s Financial Reporting Council’s Audit and Assurance Board and the Company Law Review Group, where he served for nine years. A graduate of UCC, Conall O’Halloran is married with four children and lives in Dublin. At today’s AGM, Paul Henry was elected Deputy President of Chartered Accountants Ireland. Pat O’Neill was elected Vice-President. Ends Reference:  Brendan O’Hora, Communications & Marketing Director, Chartered Accountants Ireland, 086 2432 428 / brendan.ohora@charteredaccountants.ie Karen Jones, Gibney Communications, 01 661 0402 / 086 866 4501 Note for Editors: Chartered Accountants Ireland represents 27,000 Chartered Accountants throughout the island of Ireland and in 93 countries around the globe. Founded in 1888, It is the largest, longest established and fastest growing professional accountancy body in Ireland.

May 17, 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
Press release

Chartered Accountants Ireland is warning businesses that they are facing a collision course of VAT changes which begin today, 1 April 2019, and which could result in unexpected penalties for those who are not prepared for the digitisation of VAT, the first phase of HMRC’s overall ‘Making Tax Digital’ programme. Director of Public Policy and Taxation at Chartered Accountants Ireland, Brian Keegan said: “HMRC’s digital transformation fits with the modern world and the 21st century. ‘Making Tax Digital’ for VAT is the first step in that programme. “From 1 April 2019, it applies to any VAT-registered business with a turnover exceeding the current VAT registration threshold of £85,000 which has not received confirmation from HMRC they have either a deferral to 1 October 2019, or an exemption. “Essentially the first VAT return period beginning on or after commencement (either 1 April 2019 or 1 October 2019) must be made in accordance with Making Tax Digital. “At the heart of ‘Making Tax Digital’ for VAT are two core digital requirements:- •          Digital record keeping – businesses are required to keep and preserve digital records for the first time; and •          Electronic filing of VAT returns – to submit a VAT return, businesses must use information stored in their digital records which, for the first time, must be combined with “functional compatible software” to submit VAT returns directly to HMRC.” Alan Gourley, Chairman of Chartered Accountants Ireland’s NI Tax Committee commented: “Coupled with potential changes to the UK VAT rules this month as a result of Brexit, some businesses are facing significant change. “The start date of ‘Making Tax Digital’ for VAT has been known for some time but its introduction also coincides with Brexit which could mean businesses are also facing changes to well-established and long understood VAT rules.” “HMRC have announced details of the ‘soft landing’ which will apply for the first year of ‘Making Tax Digital’ for VAT. But that doesn’t mean that businesses are not facing penalties or surcharges if they get their VAT calculation wrong or file late. “The ‘light touch’ approach recently announced by HMRC only applies if a business does their best to comply with the two core requirements of ‘Making Tax Digital’ for VAT; in that instance only will no filing or record keeping penalties be issued. “Businesses will really notice the change when their first VAT return under ‘Making Tax Digital’ is due, and so we are encouraging them to sign-up for Making Tax Digital for VAT as soon as possible, as registration can take up to 7 days.”

Apr 01, 2019
Press release

Chartered Accountants Ireland has recognised one of its most distinguished members, Sir Desmond Lorimer, for his significant contribution to the profession and to public life in Northern Ireland. Sir Desmond Lorimer was invited to address the Institute’s Council members on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of his Presidency of the Institute.  Sir Desmond is acknowledged as one of the most influential Chartered Accountants of his time, and a leading light in the business world. As well as a successful career in practice, then in manufacturing, Sir Desmond played a key role in public life in Northern Ireland. He became the first ever Chairman of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, then the first ever Chairman of the Industrial Development Board, before then taking on the task of privatising the electricity industry in Northern Ireland. Addressing the Institute Council Meeting in Belfast, Sir Desmond reflected upon the significant changes in the Institute and profession since his formative years as a Chartered Accountant. Sir Desmond said that when he first became involved, there were only two District Societies (Dublin and Belfast) and the head office in Fitzwilliam Square had only six staff. It’s only functions were to run exams and exercise disciplinary functions. In the mid-1950s the Institute had around 1000 members, 300 in practice and 700 around the world in industry and commerce. Sir Desmond became one of a small number of young members who began to develop stronger organisation of the Institute’s education and training, encouraging the creation of classes for students and the employment of lecturers. Under Sir Desmond’s leadership, the Institute became more outward looking with a renewed focus on openness, transparency and engagement both with members and with other business and governmental organisations. Sir Desmond was pleased to observe the recent evolution of the Institute, with great growth in member and student numbers. He was particularly pleased to note the strong growth of female members and that the profession was much more diverse than his day. Sir Desmond commented that changes in the profession would continue, particularly with regard to evolution in technology and changes in corporate governance and regulation. He concluded his address by wishing the Institute every success and encouraging Council to continue to push for progress in the profession. Feargal McCormack, President of Chartered Accountants Ireland said: “Sir Desmond is one of the pillars of the community whose contribution to the Northern Ireland economy has been immense.  As a young Chartered Accountant, he was certainly one of people who I very much looked up to. He is a great ambassador for our Institute and a fantastic example of the lasting impact that our members can make in their career”. Following Sir Desmond’s address, Feargal McCormack and Institute Chief Executive Barry Dempsey marked Sir Desmond’s substantial contribution to the profession and public life with the presentation of Galway Crystal in Belfast’s Waterfront Hall/ ICC. ENDS Note to editors:  Chartered Accountants Ireland is Ireland’s biggest and fastest growing professional accountancy body, with 26,500 members across the globe. It is the voice of the accountancy profession on the island of Ireland. Reference: Garry Webb, Chartered Accountants Ireland, 07841 152045                 www.charteredaccountants.ie

Mar 14, 2019
Press release

More clarification needed on quality control checks in the event of a no-deal While the UK government’s temporary proposals for a no-deal Brexit comprehensively cover tariffs, little is said about regulation or quality assurance checks on goods going into the UK.  Director of Public Policy and Taxation at Chartered Accountants Ireland, Brian Keegan said:  “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.” On the proposals for Northern Ireland, Mr Keegan 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.” Many of the products that Ireland exports to Great Britain would become more expensive under temporary tariff proposals. Metals, chemicals, textiles, footwear and machinery are all included in the schedules. “While the tariffs proposed by the UK in the event of no-deal will apply across the board to all imports into the UK, they are likely to hit Irish exporters the hardest because many of them start from a higher cost-base than suppliers coming from locations such as South America. Tariffs on agri-food under the proposals could be up to 60% of the EU's Most Favoured Nation rates. These additional costs will severely impact Irish exporters who could see their competitiveness severely impacted. ” said Mr Keegan. ENDS 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: Claire Percy, T: +353 86 2164393, E: claire.percy@charteredaccountants.ie 

Mar 13, 2019

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