Thought leadership

Lyrath Estate, Kilkenny plays host to over 300 Irish business leaders at Chartered Accountants Annual Conference Friday, 11 May 2018, Kilkenny The President of Chartered Accountants Ireland, Shauna Greely, has today (Friday 11 May 2018) unveiled a new ethics resource to assist Chartered Accountants in complex decision-making. Addressing over 300 delegates at the Institute’s Annual Conference in Kilkenny this morning, President Shauna Greely said: “Chartered Accountants have a long tradition of adherence to the highest standards of ethical behaviour and acting with integrity in the public interest – I believe it’s what defines our ‘Chartered’ designation.  Governance is also an important pillar, as so many of our members are leading players in business decision making. “So, I’m delighted to launch a new, one-page Ethics Quick Reference Guide, with the title Five Fundamental Principles, Five Practical Steps.  The full Institute Code of Ethics is 182 pages, therefore this one page guide will be a welcome and timely resource for all members.  “It’s an example of how as an Institute we’re bringing focus to the areas which set Chartered Accountants apart.  It also shows how we’re anticipating the future and how we’re evolving to meet it.” The Institute’s new guide is available to download from our website, here. Conference attendees this morning also heard from keynote speakers Ms Francesca McDonagh, Group Chief Executive, Bank of Ireland who spoke on the evolution of banking – today and beyond, and Dr. Daniel Susskind, author and Fellow in Economics at Balliol College, Oxford whose presentation dealt with the future of the accountancy profession. Reflecting on the title of this year’s conference, Ms Greely described the rapidly changing business landscape in which Irish Chartered Accountants operate. “This year, our Conference takes the theme Evolve. The global business landscape is constantly shifting. Technology has a greater impact on how we work and how we relate to one another.  As a profession, we cannot afford to stand still. We must develop as a profession to focus on the higher value skills which businesses need now more than ever.” ENDS Reference:  Bryan Rankin, Marketing Manager, Chartered Accountants Ireland T: (01) 637 7268 / M: 087 2047905 Note to editors: Chartered Accountants Ireland is Ireland's largest and longest established professional body of accountants founded in 1888. The Institute currently represents 26,500 members around the world. Photos from today’s Annual Conference will be issued to picture desks by Iain White Photography at noon today, Friday. www.charteredaccountants.ie

May 11, 2018
Ethics

Chartered Accountants Ireland are delighted to announce the release of an ethics quick reference guide for members entitled “Five Fundamental Principles, Five Practical Steps”. Níall Fitzgerald, Head of Ethics and Governance, comments; “In addition to serving as a useful reminder of the five fundamental principles of the Institute’s code of ethics,  this one pager provides practical steps and tools to assist members prepare for the day they have to address an ethical dilemma”. The Institute’s Ethics and Governance Committee were delighted to support this initiative of President Shauna Greely, and see the guide as a unique and valuable tool that members can keep close to hand. It will serve as an easy to use aide memoir applicable to their professional lives. The guide is available to download below as a multi-page A4 document or alternatively there is a one-page folding hard copy available by contacting us. The guide will also feature as a ‘cut out’ in the June edition of Accountancy Ireland. Ethics quick reference guide

Apr 04, 2018
Ethics

A recent workshop hosted by Chartered Accountants Ireland reflected on the teaching of ethics at third-level institutions, and how the process might be improved. BY HUGH McBRIDE There is a growing recognition across the higher education sector of the importance of incorporating ethics into the accounting and business undergraduate curriculum. Arguably, however, ethics is still not given the recognition, platform and prominence it deserves. The espoused importance of incorporating ethics into the undergraduate curriculum may be more form and rhetoric rather than substantive concrete reality. There is a perception that ethics essentially remains an ornamental adornment rather than a real, meaningful and integrated element of core content; that it is seen as ‘a luxury we can’t really afford’. There remains a gap in our knowledge and understanding of current practices across higher education institutions and professional programmes, of the pedagogic approaches used and of the experience of lecturers in programme design and delivery. People teaching in the area often find themselves pioneering alone within institutions, with limited collegial support and historical reference to draw upon. With the support of the Publishing Department in Chartered Accountants Ireland, I recently organised a workshop to discuss the teaching of ethics in undergraduate accounting and business programmes in higher education in Ireland. Opening the workshop, Michael Diviney, Director of Publishing at Chartered Accountants Ireland, explained the purpose and importance of the workshop in providing an opportunity for dialogue and discussion among lecturers about curriculum design, delivery and assessment with a view to improving understanding and enhancing practice. It provided a forum for participants to address knowledge gaps, to share and compare experience, to learn from each other, to reflect on challenges and future directions, and to identify potential avenues for collaboration and research. Four invited guest speakers made presentations and this was followed by group discussions among participants. The presentations and some of the issues arising in the group discussions are summarised below. Prof. Patricia Barker, Dublin City University Prof. Barker presented a framework to guide the design of a module in ethics for accounting and business undergraduate degree programmes that incorporates ethical theories, the student, processes, significant influencers, culture and discourse. She emphasised that it was a personal framework drawing on her own experience, preference and reflections, and that it was not intended as a prescription for others. The curriculum must be centred on the student as a person. The aim should be transformational, focused on encouraging and enabling students to reflect on their beliefs and values, on fostering student self-awareness and awareness of others, and of developing an understanding of their personal ethical perspectives drawing on their life experiences. This is likely to prove challenging, requiring students to move outside their comfort zone. It will require a recalibration of thinking and approach on both the student’s and the lecturer’s part. Fostering competence in ‘ethical listening’ will be of critical importance. Prof. Barker suggested a range of pedagogical approaches to address the challenges faced in learning and teaching. She emphasised the need for interactive engagement and reflective learning, and for small classes to facilitate this approach; for delivery in the final year of the undergraduate programme when students will have more life experience and enriched habits of thought and outlook to draw upon; for the imaginative use of a diverse range of teaching approaches and support resources including the use of visual art, theatre, film, literature and social media; and for the use of formative assessment methodologies other than traditional examinations. Dr John Heneghan, University of Limerick Dr Heneghan presented a reflection on his experience in the design, delivery and assessment of a module for final- year undergraduate students in law and accounting. He explained the importance of the inclusion of the word ‘ethics’ in the module title, validating the subject as an important and worthy part of the curriculum. The fundamental goal of the lecturer in ethics, he suggested, is to bring students to the ‘moral crossroads’, equipped with the tools needed to know the right thing to do, and to exercise judgement consistent with professional obligations. The role of the lecturer is not to moralise to the student but to foster their competence for moral reasoning. The lecturer drawing on her or his personal experience is important in this regard. Dr Heneghan explained the importance of students understanding the intellectual process involved in reaching judgement, and the contributing elements in evaluating whether a professional judgement is good or bad; openness to truth, acquired expertise, self-correcting processes of learning and personal wisdom. He recommended the work of the Canadian philosopher Bernard Lonergan as an important reference source in this regard. Beth Picton, Durham University Ms Picton presented an overview of the findings of a preliminary survey she carried out on ethics education in undergraduate accounting programmes in the UK and Ireland. Key findings included: that generally no distinction is made between accounting ethics and business ethics; that ethics is usually embedded within various subjects in the curriculum rather than delivered as a stand-alone module; that the incorporation of ethics into the curriculum is generally driven by the personal passion of academic staff rather than a drive by institutions to include it as a core module; that teaching ethics is often equated with teaching a code of conduct; and that teaching ethics in small groups is considered best. Barriers identified to the incorporation of ethics into the curriculum included: lack of space in an already crowded curriculum; the requirements of professional bodies; lack of willing and able staff to teach ethics; and the undervaluing of ethics because it is not a technical skill. Overcoming these barriers requires a shift in how ethics is viewed by both students and institutions. Professional bodies have a potentially key role in encouraging and supporting this. As a final thought, Ms Picton suggested that not including ethics in the curriculum was in itself an ethical statement. Níall Fitzgerald, Chartered Accountants Ireland Mr Fitzgerald explained that ethics and governance are core themes in Chartered Accountants Ireland’s Strategy 2020. He outlined the resources and structural supports that Chartered Accountants Ireland devotes to implementing this aspect of the strategy, emphasised its integral nature to all Chartered Accountants Ireland activities, and identified specific elements of the business plan of direct relevance to the strategic theme. By incorporating ethics into professional development, Chartered Accountants Ireland demonstrates the impact ethics has in the real world: it supports members; it benefits businesses, communities and society; it strengthens the economy; and it fosters innovation and strategic development. Issues identified by workshop attendees A broad range of diverse views and suggestions emerged during the group discussions, including the following:   Ethics should be a core part of the curriculum as a standalone subject rather than a ‘nice-to-have’ module or as an added embedded topic within the more traditional subject areas. To achieve this, institutions must devote adequate resources to underpin the development and delivery of the subject. Chartered Accountants Ireland could provide support to enhance and develop lecturer competence in ethics and could sponsor the development of modules in ethics for undergraduate programmes; Ethics is best delivered to small and diverse classes at the final- year stage. The pedagogy should be student-centred, reflective and interactive. Developing the student’s capacity for autonomous moral reasoning is crucial; the subject should have a strong base in philosophy and should incorporate sociological and institutional perspectives in addition to the psychology of moral behaviour; The incorporation of current news items and contemporary topical issues provide a valuable, diverse and potentially engaging source of teaching and learning material. The use of magazines, films, TV, novels, theatre and the internet provide valuable reference resources; and The use of diverse, non-traditional and formative assessment methodologies should be encouraged and supported. In particular, this can provide a mechanism for encouraging and enabling students to move outside their comfort zone. The workshop was formally closed by Michael Diviney. In his concluding remarks, he drew attention to the potential value to students of articles about ethics in Accountancy Ireland and other Chartered Accountants Ireland publications including Leading with Integrity – A Practical Guide to Business Ethics by Ros O’Shea. Not only do these resources examine modern ethical issues, they do so from an Irish perspective. Using real Irish examples can help personalise ethics in a way that foreign examples may not. On that note, Chartered Accountants Ireland will publish a new book entitled Cases in Corporate Governance and Business Ethics in 2018. Following the workshop, attendees indicated that they found the presentations and discussion very useful and would welcome an opportunity to attend similar events in the future. The challenge is to maintain the momentum created by this event to help ensure that ethics takes its place as a core element alongside the more traditional subjects in the undergraduate curriculum. Hugh McBride is a Senior Lecturer in Business Studies at Mayo Campus, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology.

Apr 03, 2018
Thought leadership

By Níall Fitzgerald, Head of Ethics and Governance, Chartered Accountants Ireland Members may be aware that this week, 13th to 17th of November 2017, is Trustees' week.  Chartered Accountants Ireland is pleased to join with the Charities Regulatory Authority, the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland and other associations in using this week to highlight the merits of charity trusteeship. This is particularly relevant for our profession, given the number of members involved with charities across the island.  Through Trustees' Week, new and existing resources have been released by the regulator and various organisations to enable and support trustees in performance of their important role. Also congratulations to the winners of and all those involved in the Community, Voluntary and Charitable organisations Good Governance Awards in Republic of Ireland last night and best of luck to all those involved in the upcoming Third Sector Leadership and Good Governance awards in Northern Ireland. Recognising Trustees On behalf of the Institute, I would like to join in the appreciation of the work of trustees and volunteers who get involved in good causes. We especially extend our gratitude and admiration to all our members who get involved and acknowledge the valuable contribution they make in applying their professional skills and integrity as individuals and as Chartered Accountants.  Indeed, we at the Institute see Trustees' Week as a fit time to thank and pay tribute to the hundreds of volunteers on committees, societies, special interest groups as well as elected members of council for their commitment to our very own not for profit organisation, Chartered Accountants Ireland.  Without your support we could not function. Proportionate regulation There can be no doubting the important role our profession plays from a governance, ethics, financial reporting and auditing perspective to ensure confidence in the charity/not-for-profit sector and support accountability to donors, beneficiaries and other stakeholders. Chartered Accountants Ireland will continue to support initiatives and resources that empower charitable and not for profit organisations to achieve their charitable purpose effectively with integrity, transparency and efficiency. We are supportive of sensible and measured regulation in this sector including guidance and events that facilitate the efficient and effective implementation of suitable (and proportionate) compliance measures for organisations of all sizes in the sector. Supporting our trustees Over recent years, the Institute has placed more emphasis on supporting our members involved as trustees / directors of charities / not-for-profits, and have more resources available to help them be as effective as possible.  Relevant initiatives include: The Ethics and Governance Committee in Chartered Accountants Ireland is active in directing a number of projects that will support ethical decision making and good governance across all sectors including charities and not-for-profits. For example, this week the Institute is in Cork, Dublin and Galway to complete the last of our Focus groups on Ethics and Governance in the sector.  I would like to thank all members of boards and executives of charitable and not-for-profit organisations (members and non-members) across the island of Ireland who volunteered to participate and share their insights. The next edition of Accountancy Ireland will have an Ethics and Governance focus with a piece on Charities and not-for-profits. The Trustees of Chartered Accountants Ireland Educational Trust funded research that led to recent production of a book entitled “Charity Accounting and Reporting” by Hyndman et al and published by Chartered Accountants Ireland. The Practice Consulting team in the Institute are very active providing support to Chartered Accountant firms, including production of Procedures for Quality Audit (PQAs) for Charities across the island.Range of CPD events relevant for the sector The Chartered Accountants Ireland’s Charity and not–for-profit Group consistently provides support, guidance and advice. How you can help We would like to further support our members who are involved as trustees/directors on boards of charity and not-for-profit organisations (of all sizes) across the country. We would be delighted to hear from you and if you would join our mailing list please complete your details in the webform here. Finally, on behalf of the President of Chartered Accountants Ireland, Council, Chief Executive and staff, we say well done to all involved in Trustees' week and for the great work that takes place in this sector all year round.  Níall Fitzgerald, Head of Ethics and Governance

Nov 17, 2017
Ethics

Chartered Accountants Ireland marked Global Ethics Day this week by hosting a workshop on Friday, 20 October on how ethics is taught to business students and finance professionals. A group of leading lecturers in ethics on undergraduate and post-graduate accounting and business programmes from across the island of Ireland and Great Britain shared their experiences with a view to addressing knowledge gaps and understanding how ethics can be incorporated into the business curricula. Michael Diviney, Director of Publishing at Chartered Accountants Ireland, who addressed today’s meeting, said: “Trust in business has yet to recover to pre-recession levels across society, and having the best educational approaches and materials in place for students is a good place to start improving our shared understanding of and adherence to ethics. Everyone knows the importance of making good, ethical decisions in business, and there is a growing recognition of the importance of incorporating ethics into the third-level accounting and business teaching programmes. Arguably, however, ethics is not given the recognition, platform and prominence it deserves. There remains a gap in our knowledge and understanding of current practice across higher education institutions and on professional courses in Ireland, of the best approaches to use, and the shared experience of lecturers. “Lecturers teaching in the area can find themselves pioneering alone with limited historical experience and collegial support to draw upon. Opportunity for dialogue and discussion with colleagues, and for sharing and comparing practice and experience in curriculum design, delivery and assessment, may be limited.” In order to address this, Friday’s event, hosted by Chartered Accountants Ireland, working with Hugh McBride of Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, focused on the teaching of ethics in accounting and business programmes in higher education in Ireland. The workshop, put together by Hugh McBride and Susan Rossney, Programme Manager for the Chartered Accountants Ireland Educational Trust, was aimed at people lecturing in (or interested in lecturing in) ethics both in academia and in professional accountancy. In another key advance in this area, Chartered Accountants Ireland is planning to publish a new student textbook next year, ‘Cases in Corporate Governance and Business Ethics’, to bridge this gap. Last year, Chartered Accountants Ireland also published Ros O’Shea’s Leading with Integrity, A Practical Guide to Business Ethics to equip business leaders and managers with the understanding and tools to set the right ‘tone at the top’, embedding a culture of integrity and compliance with ethical and organisational values. Friday’s event looked at important issues in the teaching of business ethics, such as identifying gaps in knowledge, teaching supports and materials, as well as potential avenues for research. It is also expected that a network of lecturers working in ethics will be established as an outcome of Friday’s event, providing a source of collegial support and inspiration. Interviewed after the event, attendees said they found the presentations and workshop very useful and congratulated Hugh McBride and Chartered Accountants Ireland on the initiative. All would welcome an opportunity to attend a similar event about such an important subject.  ENDS Reference:  Bryan Rankin, Marketing Manager, Chartered Accountants Ireland M: 087 2047905 Photo captions: Ethics workshop photo 1 - caption: A workshop on the teaching of Ethics in Accounting and Business on Friday 20 October looked at important issues in the teaching of business ethics, such as identifying gaps in knowledge, teaching supports and materials, as well as potential avenues for research. Speaking at Friday’s event were (l-r) Niall Fitzgerald, Head of Ethics and Governance, Chartered Accountants Ireland; Hugh McBride, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology; Prof. Patricia Barker, Lecturer in Business Ethics, DCU; Beth Picton, Durham University Business School, and Dr John Heneghan, Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick. Hugh McBride and Patricia Barker – caption: Speaking at the workshop on the teaching of Ethics in Accounting & Business on Friday 20 October hosted by Chartered Accountants Ireland were Prof. Patricia Barker, Lecturer in Business Ethics, DCU and Hugh McBride, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. Director of Publishing – caption: Michael Diviney, Director of Publishing at Chartered Accountants Ireland welcomed leading lecturers in ethics on undergraduate and post-graduate accounting and business programmes to a workshop on the teaching of Ethics in Accounting and Business on Friday 20 October.

Oct 23, 2017
Professional Standards

The Joint Insolvency Committee (JIC) is consulting on a revised version of the Code of Ethics applicable to insolvency practitioners. The draft Code of Ethics (the draft Code) has been developed by a JIC working group comprising a variety of insolvency stakeholders including HM Revenue and Customs, Max Recovery and representatives from the Recognised Professional Bodies (the RPBs). An Explanatory Note has been produced to accompany the consultation which sets out in more detail the background to the need to revise the Code and the approach adopted in developing the draft Code. The JIC working group have also recognised that activities leading to insolvency appointments, particularly in the personal/consumer debt insolvency arena, bear little recognition to the landscape when the Code was introduced. Services offered by firms or groups in which IPs operate are far greater than the accountancy or legal practice in which IPs have traditionally been associated with. The sections within the Code pertaining to Obtaining specialist advice and services, Fees and other types of remuneration and Obtaining insolvency appointments are of key concern given developments since the Code was last reviewed. It is felt that this area is of such fundamental importance that specific consultation on stakeholder views should be undertaken prior to deciding on whether the Code should be revised in these areas. Further context to consultation in this area is also provided in the Explanatory Note. It is intended that the revised Code of Ethics will apply UK wide.  A Questionnaire is provided to submit your response with the consultation closing on 25 July 2017.

May 09, 2017
Financial Reporting

As part of its ongoing work to enhance justifiable confidence in audit the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has published a consultation on revisions to Ethical and Auditing Standards, the UK Corporate Governance Code and related Guidance on Audit Committees.Audit underpins public confidence in corporate governance and reporting by UK companies.  Since the financial crisis, the FRC has introduced measures to enhance confidence in the quality of audit and increase the value of auditor reporting to investors. The measures include retendering, enhanced and extended auditor and audit committee reporting, and increased transparency of the results of the FRC’s audit quality inspections.The press release and a link to the consultation can be viewed here.

Oct 09, 2015
Governance, Risk and Legal

              The latest report from Chartered Accountants Worldwide has called for business to instil a culture of ‘moral courage’ from the boardroom throughout the organisation. In Critical Success Factors for Tomorrow’s Business Leaders, the international body claims that social media and the 24-hr scrutiny of the digital age mean that there is a direct link between ethics and value creation that business needs to pay attention to. The report follows an international summit held in London where senior CEOs, CFOs and executives together with the heads of global Chartered Accountancy bodies  gathered to discuss key issues facing future finance professionals. The report covers issues ranging from geopolitical tensions to the need for tax simplification and also draws on research surveying chartered accountants leading UK businesses. Ethics emerges as one of the main factors that will shape the future of doing business. The report shows that the moral values of organisations are becoming more important to millennials, who want to do business with brands they trust. The report also notes that there is a tension between highly regulated environments which drive a culture of compliance and embedding an ethical environment. A quoted source says “our businesses are not sustainable if we’re depending on regulation to make us ethical. Ethics is about the soul of an organisation. It’s not a matter of compliance and it starts in the boardroom.” Pat Costello, Chairman of Chartered Accountants Worldwide said: “The digital age means that everyone is under scrutiny, all of the time, and issues can escalate through social media like wildfire. The right decisions need to be taken in real time - it’s no longer enough to rely on the traditional hierarchies. This means we need to foster a culture where people are trained to know what the right thing to do is when a challenge presents itself. A culture of ethics certainly starts in the boardroom, but it can’t stop there.” The report also notes that tax is now a reputational issue, with aggressive tax avoidance having the potential to do real reputational harm. Although there are concerns surrounding the difference between legitimate tax planning and aggressive avoidance, the report states “a new kind of economics – reputational economics – is now part of boardroom agendas. And it is here to stay.” The report also examines geopolitical tensions including international conflict and the potential for Britain leaving the European Union, the effects of new technology, skill shortages, and the need for simplification of the tax system, Pat Costello, Chairman of Chartered Accountants Worldwide also said: “Business Leaders cannot just manage what is in front of them; they need to be able to see through the complexity to what will be important in the future as well. This means understanding the strategic implications of global issues, whether that is the recent fall in oil prices, conflict in the Middle East, or what is trending on twitter. Chartered accountants are trained to be strategic business leaders, which is why they are well-placed to see the knock-on effects that social change can have on the bottom line. It takes a lot of courage to drive change, but it is the only way to stay ahead.” The full report Critical Success Factors for Tomorrow’s Business Leaders can be found here. – ENDS For reference: Brendan O’Hora, Director, Communications and Marketing Chartered Accountants Ireland                       Mobile 086 243 2428 Work 01 6377298 Notes to editors:  1.     Chartered Accountants Worldwide Chartered Accountants Worldwide has been created by the leading institutes of Chartered Accountants from around the world to support, develop and promote the vital role that Chartered Accountants play throughout the global economy. More information on the organisation can be found at charteredaccountantsworldwide.com  Chartered Accountants Worldwide Associate membership is open to Chartered Accountancy bodies who: refer to their members as Chartered Accountants and legitimately use the Chartered Accountant brand; are a member of IFAC or an IFAC Recognised Regional Organisation (e.g., CAPA or PAFA); require their members to commit to continuing professional development; are committed to working together to promote the Chartered Accountancy brand; and can demonstrate how they are improving the quality of the Chartered Accountancy qualification.

Oct 05, 2015
Financial Reporting

The Exposure Draft ‘Responding to Non-Compliance with Laws & Regulations’ is a significant improvement from the former ED on Responding to a Suspected Illegal Act. It has gone some way to finding a good balance between responding to stakeholders’ expectations and complying with the applicable legal framework. The Fédération des Experts Comptables Européens (FEE) agrees with the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) that the Code is not meant to override national law, and should be applied without prejudice to any applicable legal provisions. In FEE’s view, this is an essential clarification that ought to be more prominent in the finalised Code.   Read the IESBA Exposure Draft and the FEE response here.

Sep 16, 2015
Ethics

Charter, Bye-laws, Rules of Professional Conduct and Code of Ethics Chartered Accountants Ireland was established by Royal Charter as the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland in 1888. The Charter was subsequently amended by Acts of Parliament in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. (A full suite of regulations can be found on the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board website.)   CHARIOT also contains the Code of Ethics. Member only access, please login to access.

Sep 03, 2015
Ethics

The Audit & Assurance Committee of Chartered Accountants Ireland has responded to the Interntional Ethics Standards Board for Accountants on their recent Exposure Draft. Read the response: ‘Responding to Non-compliance with Laws & Regulations’

Sep 03, 2015