Audit

ICAS and ICAEW have today jointly published free-to-access guidance for owners and directors of SMEs to assess the prospects of their business in the wake of COVID-19. The guidance has been written by experts at ICAS and ICAEW to aid the many small and medium-sized businesses that have been affected by the coronavirus crisis as they prepare their accounts. Company directors are required each year to assess whether the business is a going concern when drawing up their annual accounts, and this should cover at least the 12 months from the date the accounts are to be approved by the directors. But coronavirus has had a dramatic change on the performance and prospects of many businesses, leaving some under threat, and accounts will have to reflect its impact. The publication explains to business owners and directors the importance of forecasting cash flow and how to reflect the impact of COVID-19. Additionally, it provides suggestions on how to work with auditors and accountants during the pandemic, including the need to provide evidence which shows that conclusions reached regarding going concern are reasonable. The guide is available here.

May 19, 2020
Governance, Risk and Legal

Bob Semple FCA writes about the secret sauce of electronic collaboration and the opportunities technology presents to apply a cost effective new approach to virtual meetings. He highlights technology features that, when used, can make a positive difference to the meeting experience. Whether you are organising your next virtual team, management or board meeting, Bob shares his top tips on how to reinvent the meeting in order to get better participation and outputs. Read virtual meetings gone wrong – a guide for the bewildered.

May 14, 2020
Governance, Risk and Legal

Many companies are facing unprecedented uncertainty about their immediate prospects in an environment which may challenge or disrupt their usual management and governance processes. The FRC have issued guidance highlighting some key areas of focus for boards in maintaining strong corporate governance and provide high-level guidance on some of the most pervasive issues when preparing annual report and other corporate reporting including Interim Reports. Interim reports Directors will need to exercise judgment about the nature and extent of the procedures that they apply to assess the going concern assumption at the half‐yearly date.  This might include disclosures of: any material uncertainties to going concern; assumptions made about the future path of COVID-19 and the public health responses; the projected impact on business activities; use of government support measures; and access to bank and other financing.  It is a matter for a company to decide whether to engage their auditors to perform an interim review engagement– it is not a legal or regulatory requirement.  However, feedback the FRC has received from investors indicates that such a review provides valuable assurance, and this may be particularly so in the current environment.   Read the full guidance here.    

May 14, 2020
Governance, Risk and Legal

Boards and their advisors will need to consider how the spread of coronavirus will affect the governance and operations of their business including risk, internal controls, financial reporting, audit and assurance and other regulatory and corporate reporting requirements. The extent of the risk arising and the impact it may have will vary depending on the company’s specific circumstances and exposure. Over recent weeks, much has been issued in terms of advice from regulators, and commentary, regarding various corporate governance considerations related to the spread of coronavirus. The challenge is to stay ahead of what is a very fast-moving situation. We are regularly producing webinars and articles bringing relevant updates and expert insights to our members. For example, our Covid-19 crisis: Advice to boards and organisations available to view (scroll down to “Past Webinars”) here. We have assembled below some information, for UK and Republic of Ireland, that we have come across that may be of assistance to members. Commentary should not be taken as advice or as a comprehensive analysis of all aspects. This is a rapidly evolving situation. When reading information at the links below, due care should be taken of the date of issue and any developments in the interim that may not be reflected in the material published, such as updated statements from regulators etc. Our members’ expertise, judgement and experience are now invaluable to guide each organisation on their unique journey through this crisis. We encourage all our members to remember that your first responsibilities are to yourself and ensure that you stay well. Take some time to review the member resources offered by Chartered Accountants Ireland in relation to wellbeing and building personal resilience at CA Support. In the meantime, remember that your Institute are here to help you. If there are specific issues where you need help, or if you want to share ideas or insights, please contact us at either ethicsgov@charteredaccountants.ie or +353 1 637 7382.   From the regulators: Link Ireland and UK – All entities applying accounting standards UK Financial Reporting Council (FRC) issue (14 April 2020) update and clarity on accounting and auditing standards requirements in relation to going concern and alerts for investors. This is important matter for boards to consider and further information is contained Chartered Accountants Ireland information hubs on financial reporting and statutory audit referred to further down in this table. FRC Covid-19 update regarding going concern UK – Listed and Regulated Institutions FRC, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) announced a series of actions (26 March 2020) to ensure that information continues to flow to investors and to support the continued functioning of the UK’s capital markets. Includes forbearance measures for UK listed companies on publishing annual reports and preliminary results and guidance for UK banks on capital requirements and building uncertainty into expected credit loss calculations. Joint Statement UK and Ireland Listed entities UK FRC Guidance for companies on Corporate Governance and Reporting (Company Guidance Update March 2020 (COVID-19)) – contains guidance on corporate governance matters such as risk management an internal controls, management information, estimates and forecasts, dividends and capital maintenance, Directors/strategic report, viability statement and going concern and some key financial reporting considerations. Corporate governance and reporting guidance UK Financial Services UK FCA published a letter addressed to CEOs of firms providing services to retail investors (31 March 2020). The letter outlines some rule clarifications, temporary flexibility in the FCA’s supervisory function and guidance in relation to ensuring resilience during the Covid-19 crisis. FCA Letter to retail investor service providers EU Financial Services European Securities and Market Authority (ESMA) issued a public statement Actions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the EU financial markets regarding publication deadlines under the Transparency Directive. ESMA Public Statement EU Financial Services ESMA issued a public statement (9 April 2020) calling on National Competent Authorities to take into account the Covid-19 outbreak in respect of upcoming reporting deadlines for fund managers to publish yearly and half-yearly reports. ESMA Public Statement re Investment Funds EU Financial Services ESMA issue opinions of support to short-selling bans by Austrian, Belgian, French, Greek and Spanish National Competent Authorities. ESMA support short selling ban EU Financial Services European Banking Authority (EBA) have issued a statement (12 March 2020) on actions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the EU banking sector. EBA statement of actions   Further possible actions announced (31 March 2020) EBA statement of actions 2 EU Financial Services EBA issue a statement (25 March 2020) calling on certain forbearance measures on consumer and payment issues to be granted by financial institutions. Statement on consumer and payment issues EU Financial Services EBA issued a statement (31 March 2020) urging banks to follow prudent dividend distribution, share buyback and variable remuneration policies, emphasising that any capital reliefs permitted by central banks are to be used to finance the corporate and household sectors only. Statement on prudent distribution and remuneration policies EU Financial Services EBA publish guidelines on treatment of loan repayment moratoria considering Covid-19 measures, clarifying circumstances in which a moratorium of this nature would not be classified as part of a forbearance or distressed restructuring by the bank. Guidelines on treatment of loan moratorium in financial and credit institutions Ireland Financial Services Central Bank of Ireland has issued a statement (19 March 2020) on several matters including reducing the counter cyclical buffer requirements for banks to 0% and expectations on payment breaks for businesses and consumers. Central Bank Statement 19 March 2020 Ireland Financial Services Central Bank of Ireland has issued a statement (27 March 2020) on its expectations of insurance firms to ensure customer-focused decision making throughout the crisis. Central Bank Statement 27 March 2020 Ireland Financial Services Central Bank of Ireland has issued a statement (31 March 2020) on its view as to what constitutes essential banking and financial services in context of the Irish governments public health measures to prevent further spread of Covid-19. Central Bank Press Release 31 March 2020 Ireland Financial Services Central Bank of Ireland launches an online Covid-19 information hub for consumers, SMEs and regulated firms CBI Covid-19 Information Hub Ireland Charities Charities Regulator (Republic of Ireland) have published answers to several frequently asked questions around regulatory reporting and governance matters affecting Charities during the Covid-19 crisis including forbearance in relation to annual reports due between now and 29th June, keeping records of meetings, considering charitable purpose in any pandemic relief activities and ensuring funds are not misspent, etc. Charities Regulator Frequently Asked Questions Northern Ireland Charities The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland have published updates on regulatory reporting, advice regarding charity meetings, serious incidents reports and accounting matters The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland update Ireland and Northern Ireland – Tax and general business Chartered Accountants Ireland are engaging with government agencies, regulators and the Revenue authorities, North and South, around the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, and potential issues with filing deadlines, payments etc. Their responses and links to information are regularly updated on our technical and business updates section. Technical and business updates UK – All Companies UK Companies House published, and regularly updates, coronavirus guidance for companies in relation to several company secretarial requirements, e.g. filing documents, share buy backs, etc., and other information relating to their services, employees and suppliers. Guidance for Companies House customers Ireland – All Companies Ireland’s Companies Registration Office (CRO) published (15 April 2020) an update on services available for companies in relation to several company secretarial requirements, e.g. official document submissions, electronic filing, etc., and where to direct any queries. CRO–Update on Services Available Ireland – All Companies The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) published as part of their FAQ’s, a reminder that company directors continue to have statutory duties under Companies Act 2014. The ODCE indicate that where genuine efforts to comply with the Companies Act 2014 have been made and can be evidenced, the ODCE will have regard to such efforts in determining whether enforcement action is appropriate. ODCE FAQ From professional bodies/organisations   Ireland and UK – Financial Reporting Chartered Accountants Ireland have assembled some information relating to the financial reporting implications of Covid-19. This may be of assistance to board members, audit committees, finance committees and advisors. Financial reporting implications of Covid-19 Ireland and UK – Statutory Audit Chartered Accountants Ireland have assembled some information relating to the audit implications of Covid-19. This may be of assistance to board members, audit committees, finance committees and advisors. Audit implications of Covid-19 UK – AGM’s Annual General Meetings (AGMs) UK: Guidance issued on guidance on Annual General Meetings (AGMs) in the UK and impact of Covid-19,  The guidance was produced by law firm Slaughter and May and The Chartered Governance Institute, with the support of the Financial Reporting Council, GC100, the Investment Association and the Quoted Companies Alliance. Covid-19 AGM Guidance - UK Ireland – AGMs and other company secretarial matters Annual General Meetings (AGMs) Republic of Ireland: Specific requirements under Companies Act 2014 and the organisations own constitution need to be considered in respect of holding AGMs (virtually or physically, in or outside the state, etc.), notifications to members, resolutions required, etc. The Chartered Governance Institute have collated several sources of guidance on AGMs in Republic of Ireland. Covid-19 AGM Guidance ROI Ireland and UK – all organisations Articles and other resources to assist boards and their advisors are available on Chartered Accountants Ireland’s Governance Resource Centre and Webinars microsite Governance Resource Centre   Webinars Ireland and UK – all organisations Webinar: Responding to COVID-19: Advice to Boards and Organisations (Thriving in Uncertainty). Advice to boards and organisations Ireland and UK – all organisations Webinar: How Boards Operate in Times of Uncertainty (including useful company secretarial insights and advice). How boards operate in uncertainty Ireland and UK – all organisations Governance Webcast Series: Ten-minute interviews with CEOs, executives, non-executives and key business advisors on experience to date and advice on dealing with Covid-19 crisis. Governance webcast series Ireland and UK – all organisations Accountancy Europe published (20 March 2020) Coronavirus crisis: implications on reporting and auditing, exploring going concern, post balance sheet events reporting, impact on estimates and judgements and implications for the audit report. Coronavirus crisis: implications on reporting and auditing Ireland and UK – all organisations Accountancy Europe published (27 March 2020) five key steps for accountants to guide Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) through the crisis. This is a useful read in context of SME governance. Accountancy Europe 5 key steps for SMEs Ireland and UK – all organisations Accountancy Europe published (10 April 2020) an overview of EU country responses to the implications of the coronavirus on reporting including going concern, key accounting standard considerations, filing deadlines and more. Note: article also references Chartered Accountants Ireland’s Covid-19 guidance for boards and corporate governance. Coronavirus crisis: country responses to the implications on reporting Ireland – Funds Industry The Irish Funds Association (Irish Funds) have published an online repository of announcements, updates and guidance on Covid-19 implications for the funds industry. Irish Funds Covid-19 online resources Ireland and UK – all organisations The Institute of Risk Management (IRM) published an online support page outlining some risk considerations for business and risk managers during the Covid-19 crisis. In addition to some UK specific references the risk considerations for organisations outlined and additional resources provided are relevant to organisations in Ireland and UK. Risk considerations for business during the Covid-19 crisis Other related information   Ireland - Charities Ireland’s national association of community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises, The Wheel, have compiled details of several fundraising resources for Irish non-profits and community groups. Fundraising information and resources for non-profits during Covid-19 Northern Ireland - Charities Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) have published an online Covid-19 information hub providing supports and advice to the voluntary and community sector on coping with the crisis. NICVA Covid-19 Information Hub This page was last updated on 1 May 2020

May 01, 2020
Governance, Risk and Legal

In a new series of webcasts featured in our Governance Resource Centre, senior leaders and experts share their perspectives on the governance response to the Covid 19 crisis, including: The challenges, and opportunities, organisations have experienced so far. The actions a board or organisation can take in response. The changes businesses, the profession and the economy face in the post-pandemic world. In discussion with Níall Fitzgerald, the interviewees share their experience of navigating their organisations through the challenges presented by the pandemic. They provide advice to boards and executive management who are addressing the impact of the crisis on their organisations.  Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland, shares the perspective of the CEO of an all-island organisation with global operations. Andy Banks, Partner, Risk Assurance at PwC, offers his advice to boards, audit and risk committees about key considerations when responding to the crisis. Dr Attracta Lagan, principal of Managing Values, a business ethics consulting firm in Australia, shares her insights and experience from an ethics perspective on dealing with these seismic changes. Dermot Crowley, Deputy CEO of Dalata Hotel Group Plc, describes the experience of a senior executive of a business operating across Ireland and the UK. Pamela McCreedy, Chief Operating Officer of the Northern Ireland Audit Office, shares the public sector perspective on responding to the Covid-19 crisis. The Governance Webcast Series: Responding to Covid-19 is available here   

Apr 24, 2020
Governance, Risk and Legal

In March, Níall Fitzgerald, spoke with the CEO of Carmichael, Diarmaid Ó Corrbuí, about creating an ethical culture in charities and non-profit organisations. The discussion, now available as a Carmichael Podcast, included highlighting the various important roles Chartered Accountants play in the non-profit sector as employees, trustees, volunteers, auditors, accounting and professional advisors, and donors. The conversation explored several issues including: What is ethics and how organisations in the charity/non-profit sector can ensure they have an ethical culture. The role of the board and the senior management team in defining the core values of the organisation and ensuring they are demonstrated in everyday behaviour. Challenges in relation to speaking up, whistleblowing and identifying who you can turn to when you want to raise a concern. Reporting on organisational culture and demonstrating integrity in the annual report. How an organisation might assess the need for change in its culture and a process for implementing that change. The podcast refers to Chartered Accountants Ireland’s free publications Concise Guide of Ethics & Governance for the Charity and Not-for-profit Sector and Concise Guide for Directors: A Five-step Approach to Considering Organisational Culture, available to download from our governance resource centre at www.charteredaccountants.ie/governance. The Carmichael Podcast is available to listen to here.

Apr 08, 2020
Governance, Risk and Legal

The speed at which the Covid-19 crisis is continuing to escalate is testing the resilience of organisations in ways that are unprecedented. Boards and executive management need to work together to stay informed about the rapidly changing situation, ensure the continuity of business and the wellbeing of employees, customers and suppliers. Decision-making and management styles need to adapt to effectively manage the uncertainty and disruption caused by this pandemic. Strong and effective leadership is required, and it is important to distinguish the roles expected of the board and executive management in this regard. The board has an important oversight role: monitoring, reviewing and ensuring executive management are taking appropriate actions in response to the crisis. At the same time, the board should be a source of advice and counsel to executive management, guiding and supporting their decision-making. While the board remains ultimately responsible for the organisation, the CEO and executive management are responsible for managing the day-to-day responses to the crisis, for managing the resources to ensure business continuity. In recent days, I have discussed the present crisis with a number of executive and non-executive board members from organisations in various sectors of the economy, from charities sector to multinational corporations, and have summarised their experiences and insights under the four headings below. 1. Putting business continuity plans into action While all board members interviewed said their organisation have a business continuity plan (BCP) in place, these range from a recently developed ‘to-do list’ in a charity to a sophisticated crisis-management process that is tested annually by a global financial services organisation. No plan survives the battlefield and all acknowledged that their BCP is not static. It is evolving in response to imperfections exposed on execution. Some organisations seem to have underestimated the work and facilities required to enable employees to work remotely. The availability of hardware has been a big challenge. A board member of a large private company with a relatively mobile global workforce familiar with working from home on occasion, said they underestimated the additional challenges that arise when all employees are suddenly asked to do so five days a week. Challenges included ensuring staff have correct ergonomic guidance (e.g. desk and chair set up) and managing productivity expectations at a time when employees are being asked to manage both the priorities of work and the priorities of home. Board members from organisations operating in a global marketplace shared insights from how they have been dealing with the crisis since its origins in December 2019. With parts of their operations either controlled directly in or outsourced to other parts of the world, they are closely monitoring what is happening globally. There is an additional challenge for these organisations to update their crisis response plans to respond according to the latest informed intelligence for each jurisdiction they operate in and ensure that the updates are disseminated and acted upon. All see agility and innovation as being key to resilience and survival in these times. Examples from the charities sector include creating online funding campaigns to replace foregone income from street and corporate collections on national fundraising days, and redeploying people facing volunteers to reach out to vulnerable people by phone.  2.  Don’t be a board in isolation Though one board thought it best to cancel its meeting to allow management time and space to deal with the crisis (a decision it quickly reversed), all organisations reported regular and ongoing engagement between the board and executive management, including meetings, updates and liaison with individual board members. All board members interviewed are becoming increasingly familiar with video conferencing technologies such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Skype. Some board members highlighted that while there are benefits to holding meetings digitally, there are new challenges, such as how to chair an online board meeting, prioritising the agenda to defer non-urgent (but important) management reports and presentations, and ensuring appropriate discipline in faster-paced decision making. A global financial services organisation is providing more regular updates to its board during the crisis. Maintaining a focus on governance is vital amid the noise and haste. It already has strong governance and regulatory frameworks in place to deal with the pace of change in financial markets and for making big decisions. What is different now is the nature of these decisions, and this is where the depth and breadth of the board’s composition and skills come to the fore. The work of governance functions including audit and risk management remains important and many organisations are virtually engaged with their statutory auditors and other external advisors. 3.  Ask the right questions Our instinctive flight or fight response and natural desire to get past pain and discomfort can quickly, without a calming influence, lead to careless solo runs, wild decisions and poor judgement. There will be elements of the decision-making process during this crisis that will require collective input from the board, internal and external experts, as well as the executive management team. Having access to a diversity of ideas will improve the quality of the organisation’s responses. As a board member of a food distribution company put it, the risks they have to manage in ensuring that supply chains remain open and products can be sourced, that there are sufficient employees available to work, and that employee and public safety concerns are addressed, were front and centre at their last meeting until another board member raised the question of reputational risk. This led to a discussion and concrete actions decided to ensure that measures, already in place, to prevent opportunistic practices such as price gouging, stockpiling, dealing with disreputable suppliers, bribery and corruption, were augmented and enhanced. Executives and non-executive board members alike highlighted the benefits of a calming voice on the board and someone that cuts to the chase and focuses what is within the control of the organisation to action and influence. 4.  The post-pandemic world Even if in survival mode, boards must acknowledge that firefighting alone will not ensure continuity and that opportunities for future benefits must be actively sought out. At this early stage, it is possible speculate on the changes the post-pandemic world will bring for businesses. For example, some organisations will revisit their business models by exploring online trading channels and changing payment handling/processing (card vs cash). More flexible working-from-home arrangements are likely to facilitate greater job satisfaction, employee retention widen the geographical net for recruiting talented people. Each person I spoke to said that they will see at least one significant change in their business in the aftermath of the pandemic crisis, for example: The shared experience of pulling together and surviving this will mean that kindness, solidarity, empathy and social responsibility will become stronger elements of organisational culture. The availability of clear evidence, e.g. improved air quality, will support decisions in relation to the environmental and social impact of working from home, curbing non-essential travel, virtual trading, etc. The social contract is being rewritten and the risk of sudden job losses arising from global ‘black swan’ events resulting in unprecedented state intervention will influence future government policy and taxation. We are in uncharted territory and we should expect changes in business and society now and when we come through this crisis. As the crisis unfolds, new and important information is becoming available from various sources. Chartered Accountants Ireland regularly publishes relevant content on its website, as webinars, articles and checklists, for example collating pronouncements from government, regulators, Revenue/HMRC, listing authorities and registrars. There are also be regular updates relevant to the impact on members’ businesses of the Covid-19 outbreak. Níall Fitzgerald FCA, Head of Ethics and Governance, Chartered Accountants Ireland Download a pdf of the article

Mar 26, 2020
Governance, Risk and Legal

New guide aims to answer the question ‘Should we be doing things differently?’ A new guide published today offers a five-step approach for Irish organisations which are keen to assess and improve their organisational culture. The free guide, published by Chartered Accountants Ireland, encourages decision-makers to assess the culture within their organisation and to consider if they need to do things differently to achieve success. Concise Guide for Directors: A Five-Step Approach to Considering Organisational Culture was launched today in Dublin and is based on research into existing guidance and thought leadership, in addition to focus groups and interviews with business leaders from across the island of Ireland. Pictured at the launch of Chartered Accountants Ireland’s new Concise Guide for Directors: A Five-Step Approach to Considering Organisational Culture, were: Ciara Fallon, Director, People & Organisation Consulting at PwC; Conall O’Halloran President Chartered Accountants Ireland; and David McRedmond CEO of An Post Speaking at the Championing Organisational Culture - Practical Insights event in Dublin, Chartered Accountants Ireland President Conall O’Halloran said: “Recently we’ve seen developments which show how seriously organisations are engaging with culture, for example the establishment of the Irish Banking Culture Board earlier this year. This guide is a practical tool which equips directors to address their organisation’s culture in an effective way. It provides those involved in governance with clarity and direction when it comes to organisational culture and helping to make transformational change.” The guide is one of the first resources to be made available on Chartered Accountants Ireland’s new online Governance Resource Centre. The development is seen as recognition of the importance which organisations, both locally and globally, are placing on the issue of governance. Níall Fitzgerald, Head of Ethics and Governance, Chartered Accountants Ireland said: “An organisation’s culture is a critical component of its success. There is an increasing awareness of it in the context of corporate governance.” “Good governance, along with the systems and practices which underpin it, has become a key consideration for all types of organisation as it impacts on their reputation, culture, efficiency and financial sustainability. Our new Governance Resource Centre recognises this importance and will provide a range of helpful, free resources for those involved in, or advising, boards.” Concise Guide for Directors: A Five-Step Approach to Considering Organisational Culture is available for download here. Visit the new Governance Resource Centre at: www.charteredaccountants.ie/governance. ENDS Notes to editors For reference: Claire Percy, Chartered Accountants Ireland, 086 216 4393 claire.percy@charteredaccountants.ie About Chartered Accountants Ireland Chartered Accountants Ireland is Ireland’s largest and longest established professional body of accountants founded in 1888.  The Institute, which is an all-island body, currently represents over 27,000 members around the world. 

Sep 19, 2019
Governance, Risk and Legal

Are you a member of a Board or do you report directly to a Board or a Board Committee? If YES, then please respond to this invitation to participate in a focus group discussion about organisational culture. Focus groups will take place across the Island of Ireland (East to West, North to South). The purpose is to gain insights from leaders in the public, private, state and not for profit/charity sectors on how boards engage with and evaluate culture at board and organisation level. We are also keen to get perspectives on the meaning of organisational culture and the relevance of emphasis and actions in relation to it. The Focus Groups will be facilitated by governance experts and offer a safe, relaxed and anything goes environment for participants to voice their views. In addition to getting the opportunity to both share and absorb insights and opinions, you will play an important role in informing a free but valuable resource for organisations across the island of Ireland.   Please contact the Head of Ethics and Governance at: ethicsgov@charteredaccountants.ie  

Mar 20, 2019
Ethics

Feargal McCormack, President of Chartered Accountants Ireland. From 12 to the 18 November 2018, Chartered Accountants Ireland marks Trustees' Week to acknowledge the work of charity trustees. Chartered Accountants Ireland is pleased to add our voice to others involved and supporting the charity and not-for-profit sector, including The Charities Regulator and The Charities Commission for Northern Ireland. It also gives our profession the chance to recognise and express our gratitude to all those who volunteer their time as trustees across the island of Ireland. The week ahead will see some fantastic initiatives from a number of organisations that will showcase the work of charity trustees. Foremost amongst these will be the Good Governance Awards in Dublin on 15 November, and the 2018 Leadership & Good Governance Awards takes place on 22 November in Stormont. Also, this week the Institute notes and welcomes the launch of the Charities Governance Code by the Charities Regulator in the Republic of Ireland. The Code, available here, aims to be proportionate (therefore relevant for every charity operating in Ireland) and to facilitate the better administration, management and governance of charitable organisations. It is important to recognise good governance and more importantly to recognise the people that are responsible for putting it into practice. Chartered Accountants Ireland led with our own Good Governance Conference 'Charities and not-for-profit boards – Inspiring ethics and governance' in Dublin and Belfast in September this year, when we had the opportunity to meet over 200 professionals working in, for, or as a trustee in this important sector. Importance of Good Governance In 2018, Chartered Accountants Ireland produced its own publication, 'Concise Guide of Ethics and Governance for the charity and not-for-profit sector', which is available to download from our Ethics Resource Centre here. One of the core messages of our guide is that a good governance framework in a charity or not-for-profit organisation promotes the organisations purpose while emphasising transparency and accountability. While laws, regulations and standards command basic governance requirements, it is in the organisation’s interests to ensure that their governance framework is effective and fit for purpose. When reflecting on the governance framework of your organisation, the guide advises that trustees and others have regard to the following: To ensure sufficient independent oversight, is there a clear delineation between the governance of the organisation, i.e. the trustees, and management of the organisation? Is there a clear and transparent organisational structure that is publically available, including short bio and background on trustees and senior management? Regardless of level of simplicity or complexity, are there transparent procedures in relation to selection and appointment of trustees? Is there some form of evaluation of trustees and senior management in the organisation in addition to evaluation of the overall board? Is there a mechanism for identifying, responding to and recording risks affecting the organisation? Are there mechanisms to ensure the flow of information to and from the board and adequate controls to ensure the integrity of this information? What are the internal and external financial reporting milestones and are there any independent audit or other assurance requirements? Role of Chartered Accountants Ireland in the charity and not-for-profit sector Members of our profession are held in high regard by charity and not-for-profit boards and evidence suggests that there is a demand for those with accounting and governance expertise.  Therefore, with Trustees' Week in mind, we encourage members with this expertise and an interest in the sector, to get involved and make a difference. Members of our profession have always been accountable and are held to a high standard in application of their professional knowledge. On that basis we are proud of our members who commit their time to promote good ethics and governance as trustee of a charity and not-for-profit organisation. We would like to remind members that Chartered Accountants Ireland is here to support you in your role with various expert publications including books, guides, as well as toolkits used by accounting practices and advisors to the sector, in addition to courses and member support services such as enquiry helplines etc. Finally, on behalf of Council, Chief Executive and staff, we congratulate all involved in Trustees' week and for the great work that takes place in this sector all year round. 

Nov 08, 2018
Ethics

Ireland’s leading accountancy body, Chartered Accountants Ireland today (Wednesday, 12 Sept 2018) announced the launch of a new “Concise Guide of Ethics and Governance for the Charity and Not-for-Profit Sector” at its annual ‘Good Governance’ conference in Dublin. Today’s conference was attended by over 100 people working in and for the charity and not-for-profit sector including regulators, advisors, directors and leading charity representatives. The Institute’s free guide, the first of its kind compiled in Ireland, received support from the Irish Charities Regulator and the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, and will be an essential primer for anyone currently a trustee or aspiring to hold such a position in the future.  Attendees at today’s conference heard from speakers including Tom Ryan (Director General, GAA), Tom Malone (Head of Compliance, Charities Regulator), Shauna Greely (Past President, Chartered Accountants Ireland), Stephanie Manahan (CEO, CRC), and a panel of experienced leaders in the charity and not-for-profit sector. Welcoming the launch of the Ethics Guide at today’s conference, Institute President Feargal McCormack said: “Charities and not-for-profit organisations have a profound social and economic impact on the fabric of our lives in Ireland. For example, in relation to charities alone, according to 2018 statistics from the Irish Charity Regulator, registered Irish charities have an income of €14.5 billion, directly employ 189,000 people and are supported by 300,000 volunteers. In relation to not-for-profit organisations we only have to look to our own local communities to identify the sporting organisations, the drama societies and the many other organisations that serve to provide an important outlet or promote a cultural activity to society. “The Irish charity and not-for-profit sector has been subject to criticism over recent years, where the failures of a few have damaged the many thousands of fine charities that adhere to high standards. Thanks to the combined efforts of trustees, volunteers, government and regulators, governance standards are improving and trust is being restored, with a renewed commitment to the highest levels of ethical behaviour. “Chartered Accountants Ireland are proud of today’s publication and consider it an important resource upon which trustees, leaders and financial custodians can reference as an everyday tool. Níall Fitzgerald, Head of Ethics and Governance, Chartered Accountants Ireland said: “In order to run effectively and ethically, charities and not-for-profit organisations need the right people to step-up and become volunteer board members. It is vital for the sector that its trustees are as diverse as the organisations they manage. This involves the recruitment of trustees of all age groups, genders and backgrounds getting involved in order to refresh the membership of committees and boards of trustees. The Irish Charities Regulator welcomed Chartered Accountants Ireland’s initiative to produce this guide aimed at encouraging and supporting current and aspiring trustees.  Tom Malone, Head of Compliance, Charities Regulator said: “Charity trustees are the gatekeepers of governance and integrity in the sector. The clearer trustees are about their duties and the better guidance and support that they receive, the greater the sector will benefit. We believe trustees who are well-intentioned and well-informed, are key to increasing public trust and confidence in the sector.” The Concise Guide of Ethics and Governance for the Charity and Not-For-Profit Sector published by Chartered Accountants Ireland is available to download here. ENDS Reference:  Bryan Rankin, Marketing Manager, Chartered Accountants Ireland T: 01 637 7268 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 in Ireland.

Sep 13, 2018
Governance, Risk and Legal

Chartered Accountants Ireland aims to provide meaningful value to our members involved, or thinking about getting involved, in the charities and not-for-profit sector (‘the sector’) in a non-executive/trustee capacity. Of course, you do not need to be a Chartered Accountant to benefit from the contents and therefore we encourage our members to share this guide with their own network.  The guide assumes a certain pre-existing understanding of technical knowledge as well as ethics and governance standards. Production of the guide was largely informed by research conducted within the sector resulting in some useful practical advice and useful insights. Whilst not a comprehensive deep dive, we hope it provides you with a good steer. The guide is available here: Concise guide of ethics and governance

Sep 12, 2018