Brexit

70% say deal won’t be reached by March 29th - New Brexit Sentiment Survey from Chartered Accountants Ireland  Monday, 11th March 2019  A new survey from Chartered Accountants Ireland published today shows that almost half of business leaders in the Republic of Ireland have little or no plans in place for a no deal Brexit. Despite 60% of Chartered Accountants in the Republic of Ireland saying that Brexit will have a negative impact, only 17% of those respondents said their businesses are fully ready to meet the challenges that Brexit might bring.  Reflecting the current uncertainty, almost half of businesses surveyed have made little or no plans to prepare for Brexit. Among the key findings from a new Brexit Sentiment Survey of Chartered Accountants across all sectors in the Republic of Ireland were: - 69% said that the UK and EU were unlikely to reach a deal by 29 March 2019 44% had little or no plans for a no deal Brexit, 39% had some plans 60% said that Brexit would have a negative impact on their business, 12% said Brexit would have a positive effect 60% said the local business voice was not being heard in the Brexit negotiations Supply chain disruption was the biggest concern, followed by customs administration and then customs duties The survey was also carried out among members of Chartered Accountants Ireland in Northern Ireland and the results are almost identical. Speaking about the study, Brian Keegan, Director of Public Policy and Taxation at Chartered Accountants Ireland, said: “These findings reaffirm that some level of certainty is urgently needed among the business community both north and south of the border.  Without assurances of the future trading landscape, businesses are finding it difficult to put concrete plans in place to prepare for Brexit and many have adopted a wait and see approach.” According to the survey, Chartered Accountants rated supply chain disruption as their biggest concern followed by customs administration and thirdly customs duties. “The businesses we have engaged with and spoken to over the last two years have largely been more concerned about supply chain disruption and customs paperwork than the costs of any potential customs duties.  Many dealing with consumer foodstuffs with a short shelf life, for example, are unclear about how customs checks will take place and say that any delays in clearing customs could be detrimental to their businesses.” said Mr Keegan. The survey also showed that almost 70% of Chartered Accountants in the Republic of Ireland do not believe a Brexit agreement will be reached by 29 March. “It is hard to believe that with less than three weeks to go until 29 March, the UK and EU are still without an agreement. No agreement will result in a hard border on the island of Ireland and this will mean potentially hazardous trading conditions for businesses both north and south of the border. Chartered Accountants Ireland has been urging businesses to examine their supply chains, look at their cash flow and update their knowledge on customs in order to be ready to cope with the prospect of a no deal Brexit.” - ENDS – Notes to editors 1,320 Chartered Accountants responded to the survey which was carried out on 26 February 2019. 821 respondents were based in the Republic of Ireland.   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.

Mar 11, 2019

The Chartered Accountants Ireland overseas engagement programme will continue this month, as President Feargal McCormack and Director of Tax and Public Policy Brian Keegan meet with members and partners in the US and Canada – starting today. Inviting members to get involved, Feargal McCormack said, “The purpose of the outreach is to help establish networks of our members in their chosen territories and foster opportunities for investment inward and outward for the island of Ireland. The events offer briefings and insights from local experts and from Chartered Accountants Ireland. In arranging the programme, we have significantly benefited from the support of government agencies north and south of the border. We’ve also seen great interest from some of our members and member firms, who are kindly sponsoring events.” Ireland is in a pivotal position in the context of the international debate on how to tax the digitalised economy given the extent of US foreign direct investment, and also in the context of future trading relationships and opportunities post Brexit.  4,500 Chartered Accountants Ireland work overseas, many in very senior positions in industry and in public practice.  A large number of Institute members work for or with American and Canadian businesses while over 800 members live in the US and Canada. The Irish Chartered Accountancy qualification is fully recognised by the dominant accountancy body in the US (AICPA), one of the few finance and accountancy qualifications to have such valuable recognition. The itinerary includes seven public events in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, New York Boston and Toronto. Members are asked to support the programme by attending the events or spreading the word to colleagues in the regions. Location Date Meeting Silicon Valley Monday 11 March – 8:00 AM Business Briefing in association with BDO Silicon Valley Monday 11 March – 6:00 PM ICAUS members evening reception San Francisco Tuesday 12 March – 7:30 AM Reception at the Irish Consulate in San Francisco New York Monday 18 March 6:15PM Joint North South Business briefing event New York Tuesday 19 March 7:3AM   ICAUS meet and greet breakfast event, Bank Of Ireland Start-Up Lab Boston Thursday 21 March 8:00 AM Reception at the Irish Consulate in Boston Toronto Friday 22 March 8:00AM Business briefing in association with Deloitte   To indicate your interest in attending one of the events below, email to president@charteredaccountants.ie.  Numbers are limited.

Mar 11, 2019
News

The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) seeks public comment by 1 July 2019 on three interrelated standards that address quality management. The proposals bring important changes to the way professional accountancy firms are expected to manage quality - for audits, reviews, and other assurance and related services engagements. The proposed standards include a new proactive risk-based approach to effective quality management systems within firms that establish the foundation for consistent engagement quality. The new approach improves the scalability of the standards because it promotes a system tailored to the nature and circumstances of the firm and its engagements. The IAASB proposals are intended to improve engagement quality through:   Modernising the standards for an evolving and increasingly complex environment, including addressing the impact of technology, networks, and use of external service providers; Increasing firm leadership responsibilities and accountability, and improving firm governance; More rigorous monitoring of quality management systems and remediating deficiencies; Enhancing the engagement partner’s responsibility for audit engagement leadership and audit quality; and Addressing the robustness of engagement quality reviews, including engagement selection, documentation, and performance. Given the significance of the changes and the need for firms to adjust how they manage quality, the IAASB has also developed draft guidance and tools, such as examples and frequently asked questions. These materials will help firms understand the proposals, including how to apply them in different circumstances. Exposure drafts Overall Explanatory Memorandum, The IAASB’s Exposure Drafts for Quality Management at the Firm and Engagement Level, Including Engagement Quality Reviews  Proposed International Standard on Quality Management 1, Quality Management for Firms that Perform Audits or Reviews of Financial Statements, or Other Assurance or Related Services Engagements (previously ISQC 1)  Proposed International Standard on Quality Management 2, Engagement Quality Reviews  Proposed International Standard on Auditing 220 (Revised), Quality Management for an Audit of Financial Statements  Comments on the exposure drafts are requested by 1 July 2019. Source: The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board.

Feb 15, 2019
Press release

Recent research results from accountancy bodies around the world show high levels of trust in Chartered Accountants. The research points to the need for institutes to lead on protecting data, promoting ethical behaviour and championing transparent business practices. On behalf of Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW), Edelman Intelligence surveyed over one thousand business leaders and key decision makers across the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand to measure their trust in Chartered Accountants, the accountancy sector and business as a whole. In an era where trust in businesses is being shaken to the core, the results of the survey show that three quarters (75%) of global business leaders and key decision makers trust the accountancy sector to do the right thing. This is ahead of other professions: legal services (69%); financial services (59%) and insurance (55%). Chartered Accountants specifically hold a trusted position amongst key decision makers, with more than three quarters (77%) saying they trust Chartered Accountants to do the right thing. Similarly, the majority (61%) believe Chartered Accountancy professional bodies are performing well in building trust in the profession. More than half (54%) of global business leaders and decision makers cited protection of clients’ data, ethical behaviour (50%) and transparency (47%) as key attributes for building trust in Chartered Accountants. The research also revealed that there is a misunderstanding about the regulation of ‘accountants’ in the market with 59% of respondents incorrectly believing that all accountants are automatically subject to regulation and a further 24% unsure. Respondents to the research expect professional accountancy bodies to ensure high standards are maintained (46%) and demonstrate and encourage industry best practice (27%). Barry Dempsey, Chief Executive of Chartered Accountants Ireland said: “As a founding member of Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW) and participant in this research, Chartered Accountants Ireland is committed to working with global partners to build trust in the profession and more broadly across the finance, accountancy and business sectors. The Irish results of the study show that Chartered Accountants hold a position of trust in Irish business, we will work to ensure that this is maintained and reinforced where possible. “It’s clear that a better understanding is needed of the extent of regulation in the accountancy profession, and the protections that such regulation provides. A majority of financial decision makers believe that all those calling themselves ‘accountants’ are in some way regulated – this is not the case. Chartered Accountants Ireland has been calling for legislation to ensure all those holding themselves out to the public are properly regulated, as we see this as a consumer protection issue. Too often we hear stories of businesses that find out too late that the person they had retained had no professional regulator to address complaints, no professional indemnity and no quality checks. This need not continue and today we call on Government to acknowledge this research and effect much-needed change.” Ends Notes to Editors: Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW) brings together the members of 12 leading institutes to create a network of over 1.8m Chartered Accountants and students in more than 185 countries. Research was conducted on behalf of Chartered Accountants Worldwide by Edelman Intelligence, an independent market research firm. In total, 1,019 business leaders and key decision makers were interviewed, with approximately 250 interviews each in Ireland, the UK & South Africa, and approximately 125 interviews in Australia and in New Zealand during September and October 2018. 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. Reference: Brendan O’Hora, Director of Communications, Chartered Accountants Ireland,  M: 086 2432428, brendan.ohora@charteredaccountants.ie

Feb 04, 2019
News

The biggest issue facing employers at the moment is the new “real-time” reporting regime, known as PAYE Modernisation, for PAYE that went live on 1 January 2019. From this date, you must make a submission to Revenue on or before making a payment to an employee. After the end of each calendar month, Revenue will issue a statement based on submissions received, which sets out the tax due for the period. The statement is deemed a statutory return by the 14th day after month end. Where errors are made, there is scope to amend the statement in advance of the 14th day of the following month. Payroll taxes are then remitted to Revenue by the 23rd day of the following month. The P35 filing will also no longer be required – the reporting process must be correct for each pay period, otherwise penalties may apply. If not already done so, employers should immediately review their payroll procedures to ensure that accurate information is provided on a timely basis. It is important to have all stakeholders involved so they understand the need for improved processes. How does this effect benefits-in-kind and notional payments? Revenue has advised that benefits-in-kind (BIK) and other notional payments should be reported by: a) The day the BIK or notional payment is made; or b) The earlier of the next pay day or 31 December in the year. A “best estimate” of the taxable value should be included in the next payroll submission after the benefit/notional payment is provided. When the actual value becomes known, an adjustment is to be processed in the following payroll submission. Revenue expect these items to be reviewed regularly – at least quarterly – with adjustments processed in the next payroll submission. Does this also apply to taxable expenses? Revenue has advised that a payroll submission is required on or before any taxable cash payment is made to employees. Many employers reimburse employees for items that, while allowable under the company expense policy, are taxable. To date, these items are generally picked up through retrospective reviews throughout the year and before the P35 is filed. This type of catch up exercise will no longer be possible. Employers should review internal processes to ensure taxable expenses can be identified in advance of reimbursing employees. Further complexities may arise where expenses are reimbursed by the Accounts Payable department or off-payroll-cycle as additional payroll submissions may be required. What about company credit cards? Revenue has confirmed that the use of company credit cards are considered notional payments with the benefit being provided at the date the credit card is used (and not when the credit card bill is settled). Such items should be included in a payroll submission and reported to Revenue by: a) The day the benefit is provided; or b) The earlier of the next pay day or 31 December in the year. This may create practical difficulties for employers in determining what items are reportable each period as you may not have oversight of the taxable expenses incurred until a later date when the employee submits expense details. What will happen if my organisation isn’t compliant? The current penalty regime provides for a €4,000 fixed penalty for each breach of the PAYE regulation. There is also provision for a €3,000 fixed penalty imposed on the company secretary for each breach. These penalties can be imposed on a per-item basis, so if you are even a mid-size level employer, these penalties can mount up. While Revenue have stated that the penalty and self-correction regimes are under review, it is hoped that penalties would only be enforced for significant breaches and only in situations displaying evidence of deliberate behaviour.  However, as things stand, they could be applied to any correction of, or omission from, a payroll submission. Colin Forbes is a Tax Partner of Global Employer Services in Deloitte.

Jan 14, 2019
News

By Professor Neil Gibson While there are growing concerns about the global economy and the spectre of Brexit looms large, Ireland enters 2019 in a position of strength. Its renowned international sector is now complemented by a strong domestic economy which is fuelled by fast job growth, real wage increases and strong inward migration flows. This domestic strength provides Ireland with short-term insulation against a global slowdown. However, this growth brings with it new problems, such as labour shortages, rising prices and pressure on public services – each of which will provide major challenges for policy makers and business alike. In the spirit of the season, Ireland should celebrate the success of 2018, but some New Year’s resolutions will be necessary to stay fit and healthy for what lies ahead. Based on the EY-DKM Economic Advisory, here are my predictions for 2019: Prediction 1: GDP growth will rise by 4.2% GDP growth is projected to remain robust and above trend due to the strength of the domestic economy. Rising levels of employment coupled with increasing wages and higher levels of government spending all provide a solid platform for 2019 growth. Biggest forecast risk: A slowing global economy hitting Irish multinational profitability. Prediction 2: Employment growth will rise by 2.7% or 60,000 net jobs The strength of the domestic economy should allow for growth in consumer businesses, including retail, restaurants, leisure and housing. The rapid move to online shopping is a notable headwind for high street retailers, but the scale of growth in consumer spending should be enough to offset this for now. Employment in public services is also increasing and, according to the EY’s Brexit tracker, Dublin is currently the most popular choice for relocation for those financial services firms who are decanting elements of their business from London. Biggest forecast risk: High wage inflation deterring businesses from hiring. Prediction 3: Wage growth will increase by 3.6% A tight labour market should support strong wage growth, as will the easing of restrictions on public sector pay. Wage growth has accelerated throughout 2018 and should continue in the year ahead. Across certain sectors such as IT and construction, wage growth will be more than twice the national average. Biggest forecast risk: Businesses ease off on hiring as nervousness over macroeconomic conditions grows. Prediction 4: Consumer spending will grow by 2.9% Population growth, an increase in the number of people in work, and above-inflation pay increases should provide very strong consumer spending growth conditions. This combination of positive factors makes 2018/19 something of a sweet spot for businesses selling to Irish consumers –  welcome relief after a very challenging decade. Biggest forecast risk: Loss of consumer confidence arising from global concerns and a consequent increase in the tendency to save. Prediction 5: Net migration will increase the population by more than 40,000 A growing labour market and lack of local supply will boost inward migration. In addition, there may be a positive Brexit effect as migrants looking to locate (even temporarily) to a prosperous market with English as the predominant language may choose Ireland. Even if the UK migration rules are relatively relaxed, or not yet in place, there will be a perception effect which will boost Ireland’s attractiveness. Biggest forecast risk: The high cost of rent and availability of housing may curtail migrant flows. Prediction 6: Inflation will push upwards by 1.8% Inflation depends heavily on exchange rates, and an appreciating euro would keep inflation low, but housing costs and the effect of rising wages should allow prices to push upwards. Low oil prices may ease the pressure somewhat, but in such a rapidly growing economy, inflation is likely to begin to pick up from its current very low levels. Biggest forecast risk: An appreciation in the euro or falling oil prices. Prediction 7: House prices will increase by 4% Prices have been rising significantly (more than 30% over the last three years) but the impact of policy changes to tighten lending criteria, and a steady growth in supply, should provide something of a cap on increases. A more sustainable rate of growth is predicted, but the migration outlook will keep applying upward pressure, though this will be more acutely felt in rental prices. Biggest forecast risk: If supply does not keep pace with demand then prices may rise faster. Prediction 8: Construction inflation will rise by 7.5% Strong demand for house building in addition to an acceleration in government infrastructure spending create positive conditions for construction and, therefore, rising prices. Labour shortages in the sector will further apply upward pressure on construction inflation. The long slowdown severely reduced the number of firms in the sector and it is more difficult to attract construction workers to return to Ireland, given the pain of the previous crash. Equally, the supply of labour from a number of Eastern European markets is not as plentiful, as those markets are enjoying stronger domestic conditions themselves. Biggest forecast risk: Demand and supply mismatches may make this prediction conservative. Prediction 9: Housing completions will top 25,000 Demand for housing is very strong heading into 2019, and increased migrant flows will give it a further boost. Housing is also a political priority, and the modest slowdown in commercial building is diverting resources into the booming residential market. Biggest forecast risk: High construction price inflation could mean that some developments are no longer viable. Prediction 10: Total tax collected from businesses and tax payers will rise by 4.2% A strong labour market and high levels of growth in consumer spending should support growth in VAT and income tax receipts. Corporate taxes are more difficult to predict and more heavily impacted by global conditions than domestic taxes. Biggest forecast risk: A global slowdown sharply impacting corporation tax and, therefore, the overall tax take. Prediction 11: Government will spend more than it collects in taxes by 0.1% of GDP  Ireland looks set to enjoy its first positive general government balance (the difference between what it collects in taxes and what it spends) in a decade in the 2018/19 fiscal year. This is largely due to above-forecast corporation tax receipts, which are notoriously volatile. The political pressures to spend are considerable, and the forecast is therefore that the fiscal balance will tip back slightly into the red in 2019 as public spending pressures remain acute. Biggest forecast risk: A global slowdown sharply impacting corporation tax and, therefore, overall tax receipts Prediction 12: The unemployment rate will reduce further to 4.9% A strong rate of jobs growth is predicted to drive unemployment lower, back to levels last seen at the peak of the previous boom. Rising wage rates may draw some people into searching for a job who were previously not actively looking (economically inactive) and the strong migrant flow will prevent the rate falling more sharply. Biggest forecast risk: A loss of consumer confidence from wider macro conditions which would reduce employment in consumer sectors quickly and sharply. Professor Neil Gibson is the Chief Economist at EY Ireland.

Dec 17, 2018
News

During the holiday season, we might need to give gifts to people from outside our own country or culture. Navigating the cultural minefield can be difficult for business executives. One culture's prized gift can be another's cause for grave offence. Here are some tips for international corporate gift giving for the holiday season. What is taboo? In China, be sure to avoid the number four as it is considered bad luck (the pronunciation of ‘four’ is very close to the pronunciation of ‘death’), while the number eight is good, because it sounds similar to the word for wealth.  Giving a clock to someone in Chinese culture is a bad omen, suggesting they are running out of time. The colours blue and black should also be avoided because they are associated with funerals. In the UK, knives are generally not given as presents because superstition says it could cut through a friendship.  Similarly, in Japan presenting a knife to a colleague is seen as suggestive of suicide.  Broaches, hankerchieves and scarves in Italy also have a strong association with mortality and should be avoided. In Chile, a too-extravagant gift could be uncomfortable for the Chilean receiving the gesture, so stick to business-related gifts like leather notebooks and pens. A good gift in any of these countries is a coffee table book that reflects something about your own culture and background. It shows you appreciate the recipient and would like them to get to know you and your culture better. Presentation Both in China and Japan, gifts should be presented with two hands, since such a gesture implies the importance of the gift. The gift should be given at the end of the business meeting and never wrapped in white paper. In Brazil, gifts should only be given in informal settings and never too expensive, or it could be seen as a bribe. In Muslim countries, business gifts should be presented with the right hand and never comprise of alcohol. However, in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, only very close friends and family would give gifts, so maybe a handshake and a thank you would be most appropriate. Consider religious beliefs   The fact that not all the clients celebrate Christmas, Easter or other big holidays of the Christian world should be taken into account. Giving a gift to someone who cannot accept it because of their religious beliefs can make both the gift giver and the gift recipient uncomfortable. To avoid this, you can simply ask if they celebrate Christmas, for example, without getting into specifics about their religious preferences. It might be better to send a small token after the completion of a big project instead of a gift on a significant holiday. Appreciation Every time someone gives you a gift or does something special for you, always show good manners by sending a thank you note later, regardless of the occasion. To receive a present graciously, always open it when the person is with you. Always show enthusiasm and try and engage beyond a simple thank you for casually given gifts. If you know you are unlikely to write a thank you note, call them to say thank you, or send a WhatsApp or text message; it’s not ideal, but is better than nothing! It's the thought that counts In the end, it’s important to consider whether you are giving the appropriate type of gift, the value of the gift, the occasion when it should be presented, the way it should be presented, even the colours which should be avoided.  However, business gifts need not be sent out for Christmas only; there are several different groups of people that might warrant receiving a gift. When it’s difficult to decide who should be given a gift (whatever time of year), a good general rule of thumb is to send gifts to the people who help make your company successful.   “The manner of giving is worth more than the gift” goes a wise old saying. And that couldn’t be truer than in the case of corporate gifting, where every interaction counts in terms of the experience that it delivers.  You can read Orla’s last piece of corporate gift-giving here. Orla Brosnan is the CEO of the Etiquette School of Ireland

Dec 10, 2018
News

By Kathryn Brady  Gender pay gap reporting is coming to Ireland. Although it is not yet clear when reporting will officially begin, draft legislation (the General Scheme of the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill) was published by the Irish government in June 2018.  The drivers of a gender pay gap are typically diversity and demographic factors, such as the distribution of men and women across the levels of seniority, but they may also include pay factors which could represent equal pay risk areas, i.e. differences in pay between men and women performing equal work. (While this is prohibited under legislation – men and women must be paid equally for “like work”, “work of equal value” or “work rated as equivalent” – this practise can still occur.) These are clearly very different drivers and will need to be addressed through very different means. The aim of gender pay gap reporting is to create greater transparency and awareness of the factors contributing to the gap so that it can be closed. High-level details of the metrics to be reported were included in the draft legislation and greater detail will emerge over time. Closing the gender pay gap will undoubtedly have a positive effect on Irish women and the Irish economy. PwC’s 2018 Women in Work Index reports that closing the pay gap globally could increase OECD female earnings by as much as $2 trillion in the long-run, not only benefiting women, but the whole global economy. Ireland’s pay gap According to the most recently available data from the OECD/Eurostat, the gender pay gap in Ireland is 14%. Women make up 46% of the Irish labour force and, in an increasingly tight labour market, the ability to secure female talent is vital for employers. When gender pay gap reporting becomes a reality, organisations that demonstrate they are taking sizeable steps to address their gender pay gap issues could begin to attract pivotal talent. This will be particularly important for skills in short supply that are also highly mobile, such as IT. When deciding whether or not to work for an organisation, for example, 82% of female millennials identify an employer’s policy on diversity, equality and workforce inclusion as important. Gender pay gaps are likely to feed into a candidate’s assessment of an organisation’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Challenges and opportunities Although the gender pay gap in Ireland has been reported on for some time, a formalised approach to reporting will provide much greater insight, specifically about the gaps that exist in individual organisations and across sectors. While details are not yet available, we expect that employers will be required to report their gender pay gap information to a designated public body, as well as publishing details on their websites. This level of transparency is likely to bring a high degree of scrutiny for companies from a range of stakeholders including boards, shareholders, employees, the media and regulators, as has been the case in the UK.  For those employers who are embracing diversity and inclusion, gender pay gap reporting presents a positive opportunity to strengthen their brand by promoting their efforts publicly. For those who are yet to embrace the topic, it will provide a chance to understand the reality in their company, why a gender pay gap exists and what the key contributors are. They can then begin to make data-informed decisions. Regardless of an organisation’s track record on diversity and inclusion to date, the impetus for Irish employers to be proactive now is clear. Reflecting on experiences in gender pay gap reporting in the UK, here are some key lessons for Irish employers: start early in your reporting;  develop your narrative and action plan;  communicate proactively to stakeholders;  take action to close the gap; and  consider sector collaboration to address any issues. Next steps The timeline for introducing gender pay gap reporting in Ireland is not yet clear as the Bill is at the beginning of the legislative process. However, this is an opportune moment for employers to prepare as the topic is clearly on the government’s agenda. For those wishing to make the most of the opportunity, now is the time to act. By reflecting on the lessons learned in the UK, organisations can position themselves well for whatever gender pay gap reporting will entail. Kathryn Brady is a Director of People & Organisation at PwC.

Nov 30, 2018
News

By Eamon Murphy Another Brexit deadline has come and gone. The recent EU summit should have been about assembling enough of the Brexit jigsaw pieces to present a recognisable picture of the future of Europe. The stage was perfectly set for another one of those hard nights of negotiation after which all sides would emerge bleary-eyed into the morning – claiming victory and vindication. Everybody knew it wasn’t going to be the finished article but it should have been enough to allow for entry into the transition phase – provided nobody looked too closely for the missing pieces. However, we currently remain some way away from an agreement. Theresa May is in a near-impossible situation, hemmed in everywhere she turns – to her right, by her party’s hard brexiteers; to her left, by the elusive Labour party and the DUP. In Europe, she is confronted by a determined set of EU leaders who have heeded Benjamin Franklin’s advice: better hang together rather than be hanged separately.  So, more than two years after the Brexit vote and only a few months from the scheduled departure, Brexit remains an enigma. At its best, it could mean a benign, business-friendly free trade area with reciprocal regulations. At its worst, it could descend into a nasty, vindictive shambles of hard borders and customs posts. The centenary of the end of the First World War will happen in a few days. We would do well to remember that the EU – for all its bulky bureaucracy – has provided its citizenry with a safer, more prosperous existence than the slaughter in nearby Flanders fields one hundred years earlier.   Unfortunately, the true meaning of Brexit has yet to be revealed. Depending on your perspective in the UK or EU, Brexit can mean a few conflicting things:   The democratic will of the people or a second referendum.  A steadfast union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or quasi-new Irish free state. Something to be celebrated or something to be punished. Losing a comfort blanket or escaping a straitjacket Theresa May wasn’t too far out with her early assertion that Brexit means Brexit. Its meaning is elusive and polarising. ‘Brexit’ has, perhaps, become a contronym – a word that has acquired different and opposite definitions.  At this late stage in the Brexit negotiations, words are our best chance of progress. We must hope that both sides can prepare a comforting stew of words from which everybody can find something palatable. This would allow entry into the next phase of transition and give both sides the time and space to negotiate a long-term, mutually-beneficial solution. There remains the intriguing possibility of a second referendum but it is by no means certain that such a referendum would yield a different outcome.  I still don’t know what Brexit means. Nor do many other people, but many Irish companies have already made plans for Brexit. We do know that the Brexit winners will be those companies who can secure alternative non-UK markets and suppliers, embrace innovation at all levels in business, see opportunity in the chaos and who develop excellent strategic finance and foreign exchange capabilities (which is good news for members). For those not yet started – it’s not too late. Avail of some free help and advice from the agencies and get going (even if we’re all doing so blindly).  Eamon Murphy FCA is a member in business.

Nov 02, 2018
Anti-money Laundering

Chartered Accountants Ireland (‘the Institute’) has today argued that new measures aimed at harmonising how professional bodies supervise compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) requirements represent only a “job half done”. The UK Government is proposing the establishment of a new State supervisory body – OPBAS ( Office for Professional Body Anti-money laundering Supervision) - which will be tasked with supervising how the twenty two professional bodies, including the legal and conveyancing professions, referenced in new anti-money laundering legislation supervise how their members in public practice – accountants, lawyers, insolvency professionals – comply with the new UK AML regime which took effect from June of this year. Commenting on the establishment of OPBAS, Aidan Lambe, Director, Professional Standards at Chartered Accountants Ireland said: “The Institute, in common with all of the professional bodies within the scope of these new proposals, recognises the important role that our professions have in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. We are also supportive of the key purpose for the establishment of OPBAS as we believe strongly in a supervisory regime that is consistent, fair, proportionate and risk based, having regard to the public interest.  However, the current approach is unlikely to achieve this, at least within the accountancy sector, as it ignores AML supervision of those ‘accountants’ who do not belong to a particular professional accountancy body. While such accountants are subject to supervision by HMRC for AML compliance, they are not required to comply with the same rigorous technical, ethical and general practice standards required by professional accountancy bodies.  And since HMRC supervision is outside the scope of OPBAS, there is a real risk of the emergence of regulatory arbitrage and supervision shopping. The potential for resulting inconsistencies in how the accounting profession is supervised and the standards to which its members are held defeats one of the original underlying reasons for the establishment of OPBAS in the first place.  The Institute’s submission on the establishment of OPBAS also raises concerns on the absence of any detailed information on how its funding costs will be met and identifies further concerns expressed by smaller accounting firms in particular. Mr Lambe commented: “The regulated accounting profession is being asked to fund a supervisory mechanism that is not fit for purpose and which will drive inconsistent supervision. Government therefore should give further thought to this and bring forward an alternative model that will address this concern. “For the most part, we believe that the susceptibility of our practising firms to being used as a front for criminal activity is low.  However, we are concerned that the expectations of regulators such as OPBAS regarding the implementation and application of the new UK AML provisions may have a disproportionate impact on small accounting firms. It is incumbent on all supervisory and regulatory agencies to have regard to the proportionality provisions that exist within AML legislation.” ENDS REF:  Aidan Lambe, Director of Professional Standards, Chartered Accountants Ireland, M:  +353 87 2445102. NOTE TO EDITORS: Chartered Accountants Ireland is Ireland's largest and longest established professional body of accountants founded in 1888. The Institute currently represents 25,500 members around the world and over 4,000 members in Northern Ireland.

Aug 17, 2017
Press release

The Salary Survey press release issued on Wed June 28, below. Annual Salary Survey shows accountants in Leinster earning €106k average, newly qualified earning €56k-€58k Louise O'Leary, The Panel search and selection with Oliver Holt, Leinster Society Chairman The average salary package (base salary + car or car allowance + bonus) for a Chartered Accountant in Leinster is over €100,000 for the fifth year in a row, according to new research published today. The 2017 average salary package is €106,500, at similar levels to 2016 and reflects significant demand for Chartered Accountants at all levels. The survey of more than 1,700 Chartered Accountants was carried out by Chartered Accountants Leinster Society in association with The Panel search and selection consultancy. The research reveals that eight out of ten Chartered Accountants have seen their salary increase by at least 10% over the last three years. The average salary package for a Chartered Accountant working in industry in their first year post-qualification now stands at €56,800. Those in their first year post-qualification in financial services are earning slightly more with an average package of €58,800. The survey also indicates a healthy level of career progression within the Chartered Accountancy profession, with 45% of those surveyed having been promoted in the last three years. This is up from 41% for the same period in 2016. Chartered Accountants also reported feeling confident about their employment prospects, with 89% finding the jobs market positive. 23% of them reported moving to a new job in the last 12 months.   The salary survey also shows that most Chartered Accountants in Leinster currently work in industry, business and financial services, with 68% working in these sectors all together, while 21% work in an accountancy practice and 11% are in public service. The survey also points to the other benefits enjoyed by Chartered Accountants. 24% of respondents either have a company car (5%) or receive a car allowance (19%).  19% of respondents receive share options.   Commenting on the results of the salary survey, Oliver Holt, Chairman of Chartered Accountants Leinster Society said: “The 2017 Leinster Society salary survey shows a profession much in demand, with considerable career opportunities, whether in financial services, public practice or industry. “I would like to thank the 1,700 Leinster Society members for contributing to one of the most detailed and representative of such studies in Ireland. “As well as benchmarking salaries, satisfaction, career progression and non-monetary compensation were also measured, making it valuable not just for members and employers, but also for those contemplating a career as an accountant. Chartered Accountancy remains the largest single employer of new graduates in Ireland. “For these potential Chartered Accountancy students, we are seeing more training vacancies available in businesses and practices across Ireland for graduates of all backgrounds, and the Institute is championing more flexible entry-routes into the profession for talented people. The survey demonstrates why Chartered Accountancy remains the leading accountancy qualification in Ireland due to its attractive rewards, international opportunities, and rapid career progression.” Paul McArdle, Managing Partner of The Panel, who assisted in analysing the survey results said: “The survey points to a buoyant jobs market where there is real competition for talent. Almost 80% of our survey respondents have seen their salary increase by more than 10% in the last three years. Employers are clearly keen to retain that talent and the survey points to an appetite for greater work/life flexibility as a key priority for these highly skilled finance professionals. It also demonstrates the importance of Chartered Accountants in the current climate and the range of roles they hold.” Full details of the Annual Salary Survey of Chartered Accountants Leinster Society in association with The Panel can be viewed at www.charteredaccountants.ie/Leinster/Salary-Survey The PowerPoint slides from the salary survey breakfast briefing are available online.--> Key Findings: Average Salary Package (base salary + car or car allowance + bonus) for a Chartered Accountant in Leinster is €106,544. (Salaries were surveyed as at 31 January 2017) The Average Salary Package for a Chartered Accountant in their first year post-qualification taking a position in industry stands at €56,800. The Average Salary Package for a Chartered Accountant in their first year post-qualification taking a position in financial services is €58,800. 79% of respondents have seen their salary increase by at least 10% over the last three years. The salary survey also shows that most Chartered Accountants in Leinster currently work in industry, business and financial services, with 68% working in these sectors, while 21% work in an accountancy practice and 11% are in public service. 45% of respondents have been promoted in the last three years (2016: 41%). Members are more confident than ever with 89% finding the jobs market positive. 23% reported moving to a new job in the last 12 months. “How was your bonus calculated?” 1,164 members responded to this question with personal performance being a criteria for 70% of respondents; company performance was a criteria for a similar percentage with one in five respondents citing team performance as a criteria. “What value do you place on work / life balance and flexible working arrangements?”  82% of respondents said that they would sacrifice 5% of their salary for a better work / life balance (45% said they would give up 10% of their salaries, such was the importance of flexibility to them). Ends Note to Editors: Download Annual Salary Survey report here View presentation slides from breakfast briefing Chartered Accountants Leinster Society is a district society of Chartered Accountants Ireland, representing 12,500 Chartered Accountants throughout Leinster. Chartered Accountants Ireland is the largest, longest established and fastest growing professional accountancy body in Ireland with over 25,500 members in 93 countries around the globe.   Average salary package is the total of the basic salary plus bonus and car allowance or car (valued at €12,000 for the purpose of the survey) The survey was conducted by the Leinster Society from 1 to 12 June 2017. Reference:  Bryan Rankin, Marketing Manager, Chartered Accountants Ireland T: (01) 637 7268 / bryan.rankin@charteredaccountants.ie

Jun 28, 2017
Professional Standards

Chartered Accountants Ireland has joined other professional bodies including lawyers, and accountants in making a collective statement pledging to continue their work to tackle bribery, corruption, tax-evasion, money laundering and the financing of international terrorism, as world leaders meet in London for the Anti-Corruption Summit 2016. Anthony Harbinson FCCA, chair of CCAB's Anti Money Laundering Task Force and Director of Safer Communities, Northern Ireland Department of Justice, said: "sharing knowledge, skills and intelligence with our fellow professionals and with all agencies fighting for this cause is an important step in the summit's aims to drive our corruption." "It is therefore important that there is a cohesive and comprehensive agreement across the professions to counter bribery and corruption.  Accountants are often the first line of defence in tackling these deplorable activities that are threats to economies, especially emerging economies - and also to public trust.  Ultimately, bribery and corruption is harmful - to busines, to society and to individuals." Read the full CCAB press release.

May 12, 2016

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