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News feed from Chartered Accountants Ireland

Last feed update: Wednesday August 16th, 2017 12:46:25 PM

Excellent accounting results bode well for strong economic future

Wednesday August 16th, 2017 01:22:42 PM
Congratulating all 58,500 Leaving Certificate students who received their grades today, Chartered Accountants Ireland has welcomed the increase in candidates choosing higher level Accounting in the Leaving Certificate, up more than 10% in one year and an uplift of 37% since 2013. The Institute, which represents 25,500 members across the globe, believes that the figures are good news for the economy where the skills of accountants are highly prized, and there are excellent employment prospects for all considering accounting as a career.  Excellent grades available Accounting has the highest honours rate of the three business subjects with 78% of students managing a C3 or higher in the subject over the past three years. A large proportion of these students were awarded As. Last year, 21% of higher-level students achieved an A2 or higher, and Accounting is widely regarded as one of the subjects where hard-working students can do very well. While there is no requirement for anyone entering the accounting profession to have studied the subject in schools, the Institute sees this year’s excellent grades and renewed interest in the subject as positive developments. Commenting on the Leaving Cert results, Director of Education and Training at Chartered Accountants Ireland, Ronan O’Loughlin praised the excellent grades achieved for Accounting in this year’s Leaving Cert. “Chartered Accountants Ireland would like to say ‘well done all’ to the 5,379 Higher Level and 1,525 Ordinary Level students who received their Accounting results today. “On behalf of the Institute, I was particularly pleased to see the high proportion of students who secure top honours in Higher Level Accounting. It points to the impressive calibre of student opting for Accounting, and bodes well for the future of the profession in Ireland. We congratulate the students themselves, their parents and families and particularly the accounting teachers right across the country, whose dedication and enthusiasm is greatly appreciated. The accountants of tomorrow’s economy “It’s important that we sow the seeds of interest in financial management and how accounts are prepared at an early age. The skills taught to Leaving Cert students are a fantastic basis for future accountancy qualifications, either with a degree at third level or straight from school. In that context, we at Chartered Accountants Ireland congratulate our partner body, Accounting Technicians Ireland on their announcement of its new national apprenticeship in accounting, and we look forward to welcoming into our membership those who complete the ATI programme. Biggest employer of graduates “Despite much commentary on the opportunities in other sectors of the economy, in fact the accountancy profession remains the biggest employer of new graduates each year. The career opportunities are very impressive, with four out of ten Chartered Accountants operating at a senior executive level in business. And the starting salary for a newly qualified Chartered Accountant in the Leinster region of €58,000, as well as the global recognition offered with an accountancy qualification also explains why more top students are choosing LC Accounting. As the all-island representative body, we see growth and expansion across accountancy, audit, tax and consultancy, and highly skilled candidates are in high demand. “Of course all subjects taught in schools are subject to change and improvement. We continue to work with the Dept of Education to ensure that the curriculum remains relevant and serves the needs of business. In the context of the programme of syllabus rationalisation, our profession also wants to ensure that Accounting remains at the ‘top table’ of Leaving Cert subjects and we avoid Accounting being downgraded to a minority interest.”  ENDS REF:  Bryan Rankin, Marketing Manager, Chartered Accountants Ireland, T: (01) 637 7268 / M: 087 2047905 NOTE TO EDITORS:  1. 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. 2. Photo of Chartered Accountants Ireland’s Director of Education & Training, Ronan O’Loughlin is available here.

Leaving Cert results - a view from a couple of decades later

Wednesday August 16th, 2017 10:52:19 AM
Pre-results anxiety I can still remember the day I got my Leaving Cert results. The day approached with a mix of anticipation, mild fear mingled with a healthy amount of an “ah, so what” attitude. Repeating was always considered a perfectly respectable plan B. My parents are nice to a fault and were very supportive in the run up to both the exams and the results. I can’t quite remember but I imagine there was plenty of “we’ll love/be proud of you no matter what” and similar things from the Dictionary-of-Thingsparentssay (which has also proven invaluable to me since). In terms of exam preparation, I was and until recently remained a crammer. Not taking it too seriously, I developed a great ability to bury my head in the sand about deadlines, wait for them to come and then cram and regurgitate the essential information with a questionable grasp of the actual knowledge. Some people like to call it exam technique. Anyway, results day arrived and some friends and I went to school to collect that little slip of yellow, tissue-textured paper at the appointed time. It was actually very nerve wracking but I am so glad that it was like that rather than the way it is now that you can access your record online on your own. Being with a gang was nice – some people were disappointed and had comfort, some did better than expected and had congratulations. Either way, our teachers were there to offer much appreciated perspective, well wishes and advice. I did one ordinary level subject: maths, and phoned my parents to tell them my results and points count. About an hour later, I phoned them back to tell them the correct number of points having added them wrong the first time. Enough said. Results in hand...the next steps Very soon afterwards, we were issued the third level offers of places that were similarly crammed into that darkest of arts: the CAO form. I got my third choice and started in university that September having just turned 18. I can’t claim to know why exactly I populated the form the way I did (my first choice was English and Russian); the main criteria was probably geography. I didn’t want to venture to “the country” like some of my classmates, I wanted to be near my friends and boyfriend and crucially I didn’t know what I wanted to be. I had lots of friends who actually wanted to be a Something: a teacher, a doctor, a solicitor, an accountant. All I could think of was an arts degree so I could keep my options open and decide later. “Later” is still just that. Having now done three degrees, I have finally learned that pacing yourself is all-important. If I was doing it all again, I would have started studying slowly and much sooner but more importantly, I would have taken some time out after the exams. I was 17 sitting my Leaving Cert and completing my CAO form; I really knew nothing of the professions my friends were embarking on. I went to a school that valued the arts and creativity very highly and watched as many of my peers went off to auditions for music degrees, prepared portfolios for art college and basically had places secured before the Leaving Cert even started. Other friends achieved great results and went off to their chosen degrees to be a Something. Still others started apprenticeships. And yes, plenty of them repeated the following year. Other options Very few of us packed our bags for adventures like working and living abroad: there is a lot to be said for the university of life and some maturity to make better, more informed decisions with perspective on how those decisions might feed into later ones. J-1 visas, au pairing and other schemes can be so useful, wonderful life experience and great fun. Don't forget Plan B So if you got results today I hope they were what you hoped for. If they are not, you might be best to say “so what” and remember that plan B can sometimes work out as the better one in the long run. There is always next year and other options you might not even have known about or considered back when you were trying to make sense of the CAO form. As for the profession of accountancy, in 2017 5,379 people tackled the paper at higher level and a further 1,525 at ordinary level with the vast majority of both passing very well. There is an amazing array of subjects available from Czech to Construction Studies and Agricultural Science to Arabic. There is an exam out there for everyone and a career for everyone too. And time enough to find yours. If you would like to see if being a Chartered Accountant might be your Something, come and talk to us at one of our open evenings in Dublin on 17 August or in Cork on 24 August, we would love to see you.

Origin Capital passes the €100m lending mark (sponsored)

Wednesday August 16th, 2017 07:40:20 AM
Origin Capital has completed €100 million of commercial real estate lending since its launch just two years ago.   Origin Capital, a commercial real estate lender established in April 2015 to provide an alternative to traditional lenders in the Irish market, has completed over €100 million of lending to clients throughout Ireland. The company was originally established to provide funding for commercial real estate transactions between €3-15 million, primarily focused on the Dublin region. However, due to the initial success of the business, this remit was soon expanded to include lending for all transactions of above €3 million (with no upper limit) throughout Ireland. Initial funding for the business was provided from New York-based Tricadia Capital Management. However, in late 2016 Origin Capital expanded its lending capabilities greatly by signing a funding arrangement with Morgan Stanley, allowing the company to compete for significantly larger lending transactions. This arrangement complements the original agreement with Tricadia Capital Management, allowing Origin Capital to provide an extensive range of funding solutions to clients. Growing demand At present, Origin Capital has lent well over €100 million to clients throughout Ireland, in larger cities such as Dublin, Cork and Galway through to more rural locations such as Monaghan and Mayo. In addition, the company has closed deals across a variety of sectors, including entertainment, hotel, industrial, office, residential and retail. As the economy continues to expand, Origin Capital sees growing demand for lending in the commercial real estate market and CEO Ross Metcalfe predicts a bright future for the company. “We have a very strong pipeline of lending transactions at various stages of completion, and are seeing demand throughout Ireland. The buoyant economic environment is driving demand as businesses seek to grow and expand, and our experience is that traditional banks are still not lending actively in this market. This is leading borrowers to look towards alternative lenders such as Origin Capital to meet their funding requirements,” he said. “In addition, refinancing activity is a major source of business for us and with €80 billion of loan sales occurring between 2014 and 2016, we expect this to continue to be the case for some time as borrowers seek to refinance their portfolios from existing loan acquirers.” The valuable role of Chartered Accountants Metcalfe recognises the importance of Chartered Accountants in Origin Capital’s success. “Since we launched the business two years ago, Chartered Accountants have played a key role in making sure their clients are aware of Origin Capital and the fact that we provide an alternative source of funding, and in introducing us to them. Indeed, we have worked with Chartered Accountants on many of the transactions we have closed, and we very much value their role as financial advisors to borrowers throughout the process. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with this important group of professionals over the coming months and years.” Plan for the future Looking forward, Metcalfe stresses that unlike some alternative lenders, Origin Capital is in the Irish market for the long haul. “We view ourselves very much as long-term players – our business is built around delivering for our clients and forming strong relationships with them so they become a source of repeat business in the future. Our plan is to continue to grow our presence in the Irish market to become a major player for commercial real estate lending.” Origin Capital: fast facts Commercial real estate lending for €3 million+ transactions, with no upper limit Typical interest rates 3-8% Lending throughout Ireland Sectors include entertainment, hotel, industrial, office, residential and retail Quicker loan approval process than traditional lenders Further information To find out more about Origin Capital, visit www.origincapital.ie or call +353 1 662 9264 to speak to an advisor.

A question of trust

Wednesday August 16th, 2017 07:34:16 AM
Trust must be restored in the island’s public institutions. To achieve this goal, however, good governance and ethical behaviour must become the norm. There are a huge number of public bodies delivering a wide range of taxpayer-funded services. Public bodies are always under scrutiny and it takes only a small number of high-profile events to raise doubts as to whether public bodies can be trusted. Indeed, some recent events show how easily trust can be lost. This questioning of trust is not confined to public bodies, however. Earlier this year, Ipsos Mori conducted a poll on trust in the professions. Politicians have always been at the bottom of the trust pile and according to the poll, politicians are still trusted less than estate agents, journalists and bankers. The poll found that nurses were the most trusted profession in Britain, followed closely by doctors, while politicians once again brought up the rear. Public trust in politicians had slipped a considerable six percentage points over the previous year and at that stage, they were trusted to tell the truth by just 15% of the British public. It will be interesting to see the results of the next poll in Britain following the general election, the start of Brexit proceedings and a number of high-profile terrorist incidents.  A spirit of trust But it isn’t just in professions where trust is being lost. There is an apparent breakdown in trust across society generally and established bodies which years ago would have been held in high regard are no longer seen in the same way. Situations such as the collapse of the BHS empire show that big business is also seen as part of the problem. Once trust is lost, it is very hard to win back. Because of the crucial role of public bodies in society, it is important that trust in public services, and those who deliver them, is not lost. That is why it is critical that the public sector is open, transparent and accountable. Furthermore, everything possible must be done to instil and maintain a spirit of trust, despite what the public might think about the political process. Principles of good governance Last year, the then Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform published an updated Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies, and this was also the subject of a breakfast event in Chartered Accountants House. The code is based on the underlying principles of good governance: accountability, transparency, probity and a focus on the sustainable success of the organisation over the long-term. Public bodies are expected to be fully compliant in relation to financial reporting periods beginning on or after 1 September 2016. There are a number of significant changes since the publication of the previous code back in 2009 and compliance is on a “comply or explain” basis. The risk for boards It is clear that boards have an important oversight role and the code places additional requirements on boards, especially in the context of setting strategy and agreeing this with the respective department and minister. Indeed, many of the changes in the latest version of the code relate to how boards, and their members, operate. But there is a danger that board members, especially those acting in a voluntary capacity, will decide that this is too onerous and not something they want to be part of. There is also a risk that it will be seen as being all about reporting and that someone lower down in an organisation will be given the job of complying with the guidance. It is therefore essential that the boards and senior management of our public bodies set the correct tone and lead by example. Good standards of governance and ethical behaviour should be the norm. Many Chartered Accountants either work in, or are board members of, public bodies and we need to be seen to be living those values. Will the new code prove useful, or will it be just a “tick the box” exercise? It is simply too important to be the latter. David Thomson FCA is a member of Council at Chartered Accountants Ireland and Chair of the Public Sector Committee.

A different route...

Tuesday August 15th, 2017 08:29:27 AM
My decision to train with an Irish university opened the door to an unexpectedly varied training experience. The most popular route to becoming a Chartered Accountant begins with the prospective trainee accountant joining a practice firm, with the majority choosing from the Big 4. I instead chose to complete my Chartered Accountancy training with University College Dublin (UCD) and in fact, many are unaware that the option exists to train within this sector. While this choice will not be for everyone, the option is not so perplexing when you consider what can be gained on the journey to qualification outside practice. A lot to offer Before commencing third level education, I knew accountancy was the career I would pursue. However, I also recognised that auditing and the practice-based environment was not the route I wished to take. My choice to train as a Chartered Accountant seemed obvious as the qualification and brand is among the most respected in the market. This, however, narrowed my options as the vast majority of training opportunities were in practice and in particular, with the Big 4. At that point, I was leaning towards an industry-based training contract with a large multinational organisation. But by chance, I saw an advert for a training contract with UCD and when I investigated the opportunity further, I found that UCD had a lot to offer. The university has a large finance department and is involved in managing the finances for cutting-edge research projects and providing incubation units for start-ups, for example. It also has multiple subsidiary companies including student residences, restaurants, student centres and even a property development company. I didn’t hesitate to apply and following a successful interview process, I began my training contract in September 1999. A great foundation The first thing that struck me about my traineeship in UCD was the sheer size of the organisation and the diversity of the role. My training manager, Donal Doolan, developed a comprehensive training programme for all trainees in my cohort, which included Maria Masterson, Jane Holmes, Tom Hogan and Sean Laphen. The programme was designed to help the trainee develop by rotating through the university’s different finance functions, thereby allowing the individual to see all aspects of the finance function. I started in the general ledger department where I learned the basics of double-entry accounting and had the opportunity to complete sets of company accounts for many of the university’s ancillary activities. This was a great foundation, after which I rotated through the university’s research, financial planning, treasury and asset management departments before finally returning to the general ledger department in a supervisory capacity. The research office was a unique training opportunity which involved partnering with and supporting academics in the financial management of their research projects. I was provided with expert guidance under the tutelage of John Kenny, who took a genuine interest in the development of all trainees. John was, and I am sure still remains, a very exacting manager from whom I learned a lot but in particular, I learned the importance of professional written communication. I can remember redrafting documents multiple times before John would give his approval. Over time, I developed this skill and I continue to carry this exacting professionalism with me today. My transition to industry Having completed my training with UCD in March 2003, I decided to take a working holiday in Australia – as did many other newly qualified Chartered Accountants at that time. I returned to UCD in January 2004 and I was subsequently promoted to the position of Senior Financial Accountant with responsibility for the implementation and preparation of GAAP accounts for the University and its subsidiaries. However, my native Wexford was calling me home and I finally left UCD in September 2006 when an opportunity arose with a multinational company called Waters Corporation – a key employer in the Wexford area with over 350 employees. In many respects, the substantial and varied training I received in UCD prepared me well for my current role in industry. That said, learning and development is a lifelong endeavour and I am continuing this journey with Waterford Institute of Technology as a doctoral student while working as Finance Manager with Waters Corporation. Alan Murphy is Finance Manager at Waters Corporation.

Do you know what your strengths and skills are?

Monday August 14th, 2017 12:33:33 PM
Accountancy has come a long way since the days of Robert Gardner and the Royal Charter of 1888. Historically accountants focused on balancing the books and enforcing financial standards.  The syllabus and training ensured that newly qualified Chartered Accountants were equipped to successfully lead finance teams and blue chips organizations on a global scale. Having mastered that the attention swung to increased interpersonal skills, subsequently student training evolved to include case studies and facilitated workshop sessions to help reflect the natural commercial environment. To date this has been largely successful and you may be one of those students who thrive in this environment and whose communication, interpersonal skills and presentation skills really comes to the fore in the financial setting. Some of the communication skills demanded within a fast-paced commercial setting include: Communication – Accounting and finance professionals must be able to clearly express observations, suggestions and solutions to senior management and other individuals in the company. Listening – Arrive at each meeting with an open mind and be willing to hear what others have to say. Active listening allows you to conduct a more thorough analysis and develop effective solutions. Multitasking – Solid organizational skills and the ability to manage and implement the different phases of a project are highly valued by businesses. Diplomacy – Financial professionals need to demonstrate tact in taking the best approach to resolving sensitive situations. Adaptability – Successful accountants must be able to quickly acclimate to new environments and corporate cultures as well as interact with people at all levels. Teaching and mentoring – senior financial professionals are frequently asked to discuss their approach to problem solving with other staff members. Their ability to teach through training, mentoring and encouragement can help other employees take on increased responsibilities. So why is this relevant? Increasingly within the Career Development and Recruitment Service we are meeting members who have difficulty identifying their skills and strengths.  When asked what their skills set is they focus on these ‘softer’ skills for example: ability to delegate, experience in organising a team, possessing clear communication skills, good time management and enjoys working on their own or as part of a team. While these elements are necessary they are not the full picture and this is where many fall down. When asked what your skills are and where your strengths lie, it helps to give a full picture of the real you, so yes that includes all of the above so potential employers can visual you in their role but equally and importantly also focus on the technical side that sets you apart as a Chartered Accountant. Financial statements – The basics include the ability to prepare and manage monthly accounts. Where you get the opportunity within your training to get this exposure – take all you can get. Budgeting/Forecasting – Budgeting is the ability to prepare a detailed representation of the future results, financial position, and cash flows that management wants the business to achieve during a certain period of time.  Forecasting requires you to use the historic data to determine the direction of future trends, how to allocate their budgets or plan for anticipated expenses for an upcoming period of time. This is typically based on the projected demand for the goods and services they offer. Reporting – Understanding and reporting on balance sheet, income statement, statement of cash flows, and statement of stockholders' equity as well as to prepare the notes to the financial statements. Ability to compile a professional reports, understand the remit, content and audience. Analyzing and interpreting – Increasingly finance professionals are seen as business partners to the various departments. It’s one thing understanding the data but can you interpret, analyse and present it to non-finance teams by way of supporting their roles and function.   Auditing and controls – As an auditor do you know where to start with an internal audit, what to look for and which element of the business to prioritise? You may be asked to develop and implement controls and testing – can you articulate what is required as part of this? So what’s the answer? When rehearsing your ‘elevator pitch’ or preparing for interview try to give an all-round response that balances soft with more technical elements of your experience and background.  Employers need to hear where your particular strength is as a Chartered Accountant as well see how easily you fit with the team.

A partnership with potential

Monday August 14th, 2017 11:37:04 AM
Collaboration between the public and private sectors could greatly enhance the lives of those working in Northern Ireland. It is a time of uncertainty for Northern Ireland. It is not controversial to suggest that this isn’t particularly helpful in terms of growing our economy, creating jobs or providing the best possible public services for our people. Key factors are the ambiguity of Brexit and the absence of a functioning Northern Ireland Executive, followed by slow-moving negotiations to reconstitute an Executive. There was hope that after the UK General Election, the Northern Ireland parties could form an Executive and the Northern Ireland Assembly could reconvene and begin to address the questions posed. However, the breakthrough hasn’t happened yet and it now looks like it may have to wait until the autumn – or else we fall back to direct rule from Westminster. We firmly hope that local political parties will be able to resolve outstanding issues to allow a budget, a new programme for government, direction and clarity for Northern Ireland to be put in place. It is important that our business leaders and political leaders work together to find a way through. Of course, the local business community will get on with things and continue to do business – it always has. Imagine, though, how much better it would be if politicians, public sector decision makers and private sector leaders were working together to address the key issues. We need a collaborative approach from business and the public sector. It is the only way we can hope to deliver a sustainable economy and the social, health and education benefits that come with it. We want an approach that displays responsibility, accountability and maturity. Leadership vacuum Brexit is a key concern for the Institute’s members, both north and south of the border. Separate surveys in each jurisdiction found that 80% of members viewed Brexit as a negative factor in their region in the year ahead. 80% felt that Northern Ireland will be more negatively impacted by Brexit than other UK regions, while 87% felt that the Republic of Ireland’s trade relationship with the UK will suffer. The detrimental effect of not having a Stormont Executive to address Brexit planning is hard to quantify, but it stands to reason that we would be better served by a group of elected representatives working together to speak for Northern Ireland and engaging with the business sector. It was noticeable that the EU chief negotiator, Michael Barnier, met with the first ministers of Scotland and Wales in July to “listen to different points of view”. Without an Executive, there was no-one to meet with from Northern Ireland. The clear majority of members, north and south, want free trade in goods and services to be part of the UK’s deal with the EU and are opposed to a hard border on the island of Ireland. No matter what your opinion of the UK’s relationship with the EU, those views suggest that the removal of customs barriers through a Customs Union has been one of the big successes of the EU project. One of Theresa May’s clearly-stated objectives is that the UK will leave the Customs Union as a result of Brexit. That means we could be back in a similar position to where we were before 1993 – a trade border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It will mean considerable change for businesses engaging in cross-border trade. It will require significant investment in planning and skills. So what is the answer? Cooperation. Working together. There will need to be cooperation between business, public sector and political leaders in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the UK. There will need to be cooperation between the EU, HM Revenue & Customs and the Irish Revenue. Local businesses, with the help of politicians and customs bodies, will need to work on their customs expertise. Corporation tax The Brexit challenge is just one area where renewed partnerships between the public and private sectors are necessary. Our Institute has been a strong advocate for a reduced rate of corporation tax for Northern Ireland for many years. We first called for it over 10 years ago. The strong cross-border support for such a measure is both notable and commendable. It speaks volumes on the benefits that it could bring. In a recent Ulster Society survey, members identified a reduced corporation tax rate as a key measure in improving the local economy. 63% said that a lower rate would have a positive effect on Northern Ireland’s economic performance. We believe that it represents an investment in the future growth of the economy and would act as a welcome catalyst for growth of the private sector. It is an attention grabber that enables those tasked with attracting inward investment to ‘get a foot in the door’ with potential investors. The potential new rate of 12.5% and operation date of 1 April 2018 was announced as part of the 2015 Fresh Start Agreement. Since then, it has looked increasingly likely that the date will slip. The agreement between the Conservative Party and the DUP following the UK General Election has provided a much-discussed funding deal which will take some immediate strain off the Northern Ireland public sector and will allow for some much needed infrastructure investment. The confidence and supply agreement has also brought focus back onto the prospect of corporation tax devolution, but it is reliant on the restoration of the Northern Ireland Executive and it being able to “demonstrate its finances are on a sustainable footing”. If this can be delivered, it will be a tremendous boost for the private sector in Northern Ireland in an economy which is very much over-reliant on the public sector. If the will is there to make a deal work and to get a local Assembly working, there is potential for closer working between the public and private sectors. Collaborative approach My experience, both in practice and the public sector, has illustrated to me the power of business and the public sector working together. It is not an exclusive relationship; it does require a strong partnership. Perhaps some of this comes down to the public sector adopting more of a private sector attitude – a ‘can-do’ approach. Can the public sector allow the private sector a role in showing how to move away from risk-averse culture? Can those in the private sector be encouraged to ‘put their heads above the parapet’ and deal with the scrutiny that the public sector is so used to? It goes far beyond the economy, however. A sustainable and diverse local economy is vital if we are to deliver on the social, health and education benefits we want to see. A strong economy will help us to provide greater opportunity and the best possible public services for our people. If Northern Ireland is a great place to do business, it will help us to ensure that Northern Ireland is also a great place to live. The island of Ireland has fantastic potential. For a small place, we have a big impact around the world. There is much of which we can be proud but by working together and moving outside our comfort zones, we can achieve more. I believe that our profession has an important role to play in driving a collaborative approach. As leaders and decision-makers within organisations, and with careers and networks that stretch across sectors, we are in a great position to facilitate change. At the inception of our profession, our predecessors were not just leaders within our profession. They were not only leaders of industry. They were leaders within the broader society in which we live. They brought business and civic life together. Many of our members today maintain that connection through their voluntary work – they bring their experience to bear for their local community. I believe that we can expand on this and bring our professional expertise, our experience and ability to forge a strong link between the public and private sectors. This contribution has the potential to improve the lives of all within our communities. It’s a contribution that Chartered Accountants may be uniquely placed to make. Pamela McCreedy FCA is Chair of the Chartered Accountants Ulster Society.

Budget 2018 – Date for your diary

Monday August 14th, 2017 11:01:35 AM
We understand that Budget 2018 will be delivered by the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform on Tuesday 10 October.  The Minister is expected to commence his speech at 2.30pm.  We will keep you informed of any developments on Budget 2018.    

Automatic Exchange of Information - Returns

Monday August 14th, 2017 11:01:06 AM
The filing facility for the receipt of DAC2 (Directive on Administrative Cooperation (amended)) and CRS (Common Reporting Standard) returns is now available. The filing deadline for the returns is extended to 4 September 2017. According to a notice on the Revenue website, there was a delay in the provision of the required validation module by the EU Commission, because of this delay the filing deadline is extended to 4 September.  More information on Automatic Exchange of Information and DAC2 and CRS returns is available on the Revenue website. 

Mutual Agreement Procedure

Monday August 14th, 2017 11:00:26 AM
Revenue has published guidelines for taxpayers on assistance available from Revenue in resolving disputes arising from taxation not in accordance with the provisions of the relevant double taxation agreement (“DTA”) and/or the EU Arbitration Convention. This is called Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) assistance Broadly, MAP is a process under a relevant DTA and/ or the EU Arbitration Convention, by which two tax authorities try to come to a mutual agreement for eliminating double taxation and resolving conflicts of interpretation of the relevant DTA. The guidelines are published in the Revenue Tax and Duty Manual Part 35-02-08. 

New exemption available for stage one of Chartered Tax Consultant (CTC™) from January 2018

Monday August 14th, 2017 10:58:38 AM
Following a re-evaluation of the AITI and Chartered Tax Consultant syllabi, Chartered Accountants holding Part 2 AITI are now eligible to apply for exemption from the first stage of CTC: Applied Tax.  The next intake will be in January 2018.  Contact us today to find out more and don’t forget our specialist qualifications open evening on Thursday 24 August where you can meet with us to discuss this programme and our Diploma in Taxation.

In the media, 14 August 2017

Monday August 14th, 2017 10:58:15 AM
Commenting on a piece in the Sunday Business Post discussing Revenue’s modernisation of the PAYE system, Brian Keegan, Director of Public Policy and Taxation says that while he can see the tangible benefits, his concern is whether or not Revenue can deliver the efficient service it promises. 

Client notification deadline is approaching

Monday August 14th, 2017 10:57:17 AM
Is your practice ready? Download the Institute’s briefing note now which includes valuable information on the regulations and examines who is affected and what must be done by the 31 August 2017 deadline. As readers are aware from recent coverage in Chartered Accountants Tax News, the Client Notification Regulations came into force on 30 September 2016.  These regulations impose obligations on certain advisers who provide “offshore advice or services” to specific clients, to send these clients an individually addressed covering letter from the adviser’s firm/business which includes a HMRC branded document. 

Temporary extension to HMRC's interpretation of staffing costs for R&D tax relief

Monday August 14th, 2017 10:56:38 AM
HMRC’s R&D manual has been updated at CIRD83200 to reflect a temporary change in HMRC's interpretation around staffing costs. The update makes it clear that businesses which originally restricted ‘cash reimbursement of expenses’ as part of qualifying staff costs as a result of the interpretation published by the R&D Consultative Committee in October 2014 may be able to amend claims outside of then normal statutory filing deadline.  See the revised guidance for more details on the potential to amend claims.  The deadline for amended claims is 31 January 2018.

PAYE Settlement Agreements - request for volunteers

Monday August 14th, 2017 10:56:13 AM
Your input is needed by HMRC to feed into the PAYE Settlement Agreements process. HMRC have contacted us with the following request: “HMRC are conducting research with businesses who have previously submitted a PAYE Settlement Agreement (PSA) either for themselves or on behalf of their clients. A PSA is an easement under which employers can settle their employees’ income tax liabilities for certain benefits and expenses in a single payment, removing the need for a P11D to cover these liabilities for each employee. Our research will inform a new project to simplify the PSA process and the guidance HMRC will provide in time for the 18/19 tax year We are really interested in speaking to people within your organisation who compile the information required for a PSA, and then make the PSA submission to better understand: The current process around filing a PSA Timescales for PSA submission Effectiveness of the current guidance Your input at this early stage will help us make the service as usable and useful as possible. If you are interested in finding out more about the project, please email john.berry@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk or jon.houghton@digital.hmrc.gov.uk.”

This week’s UK tax tidbits, 14 August 2017

Monday August 14th, 2017 10:55:31 AM
Developments of interest are outlined. The corporate criminal offences of failure to prevent facilitation of tax evasion will come into force on 30 September 2017.  This date is set by The Criminal Finances Act 2017 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations 2017 which have been published. These regulations also provide the powers for the Chancellor to approve guidance at any time on or after 17 July 2017 The Capital Allowances Act 2001 (Cars Emissions)(Amendment) Order 2017 specifies that changes being made to the capital allowances main rate threshold for low emissions cars will apply for the purposes of the car lease rental restriction for income tax from 6 April 2018 and for corporation tax from 1 April 2018. An updated list of upcoming tax tribunal appeal hearings, including details of previous cases has been published The following VAT notices have been updated:- VAT Notice 702/7: import VAT relief for goods supplied onward to another country in the EC, Notice 374: importing goods for test free of duty and VAT, VAT Notice 700/58: treatment of VAT repayment returns and supplements, Notice 368: importing inherited goods free of duty and VAT, Notice 372: importing commercial samples free of duty and VAT, Notice 373: importing visual and auditory materials free of duty and VAT, Notice 371: importing goods for disabled people free of duty and VAT, Notice 340: importing scientific instruments free of duty and VAT, Notice 343: importing capital goods free of duty and VAT, Notice 361: importing museum and gallery exhibits free of duty and VAT, Notice 364: importing decorations and awards free of duty and VAT, Notice 205: official customs seals and trader sealing and Notice 341: importing donated medical equipment free of duty and VAT The following toolkits have been updated:- HMRC business profits toolkit, HMRC capital v revenue expenditure toolkit, HMRC VAT partial exemption toolkit, HMRC VAT input tax toolkit, and the HMRC VAT output tax toolkit

Update to the OECD Model Tax Convention

Monday August 14th, 2017 10:51:14 AM
Public comments received on the draft contents of the 2017 Update to the OECD Model Tax Convention have been published by the OECD. We reported in Chartered Accountants Tax News last month on the draft contents of the 2017 update to the OECD Model Tax Convention. It is expected that the contents of the 2017 Update to the OECD Model Tax Convention will be approved and published later in 2017.

Brexit bites, 14 August 2017

Monday August 14th, 2017 10:50:09 AM
This past week saw the UK state that it will release position papers on issues such as the movement of people, the customs union and Northern Ireland.  In other developments, the UK has reiterated that they will not be remaining in the EU by a “back door” while France is reportedly prepared to lower its taxes in order to attract financial services companies while.  UK to release key policy paper on Anglo-Irish Relations In what might be seen by some observers as an attempt to bring more clarity to the Brexit negotiation table, it has been reported that the UK will publish key position papers on issues such as the customs union and Northern Ireland as early as next week. The department responsible for Brexit in the UK has said that it will publish three papers which will include details on the UK’s future relationship with the EU’s customs union and the Irish border. It’s been suggested that free movement of people between Ireland and the UK which would allow Irish citizens to work freely in the UK and UK citizens to work without restriction in Ireland is part of the proposals being put forward by the UK’s Brexit department.  With the next round of talks taking place at the end of August, Irish issues are expected to feature heavily on the agenda. The EU has repeatedly said that talk on trade arrangements cannot proceed until progress has been made on resolving the border issues with Northern Ireland, agreeing a financial settlement and deciding on the status of EU nationals post Brexit. No ‘back door’ EU membership for UK In a joint statement made by UK Chancellor Philip Hammond and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, both pledge that the UK will completely leave the single market and customs union after Brexit and any transition period should not be viewed as a way to keep the UK in the EU via a “back door” mechanism.  During the post-Brexit transition phase, both men believe that the UK will be a third country and therefore not party to EU treaties.  Therefore the UK should, in theory be able to negotiate and conclude trade agreements with non-EU countries once it leaves the EU in March 2019 and will not have to wait until any transition period ends.  The statement also said that a transition period post Brexit would be “time-limited” and they were keen to avoid a cliff-edge.  Over the past few months, both Mr Hammond and Mr Fox have been seen as being on opposing sides of the Brexit debate.  The Chancellor has favoured a gradual departure from the EU while the Trade Secretary has championed a short transition period.  This joint statement, along with the planned publication of position papers might help stave off some of the criticism that the UK has faced for failing to be clear on what it wants on Brexit.  Brexit Shorts France will reportedly lower taxes to attract financial services companies after Brexit Demand for foreign currency accounts in the UK reportedly spikes According to a recent report, the availability of temporary and permanent staff has declined in the UK and Brexit is a factor UK Minister completes tour of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man to discuss Brexit implications Calls for a transitional period from Bank of England deputy governor Read all of our Brexit updates on the dedicated Brexit section of our website.

2017 Young Chartered Star announced

Monday August 14th, 2017 09:33:05 AM
A young accountant will represent Chartered Accountants Ireland at the ‘One Young World’ conference in Bogotá, Colombia, later this year after winning the ‘Young Chartered Star’ 2017 competition. Chartered Accountants Ireland congratulates Sinead Fox Hamilton ACA, who will represent the Institute at the prestigious international conference from 4 - 7 October 2017, along with other representatives of the Chartered Accountants Worldwide network. Sinead Fox Hamilton with Ulster Society Chair, Pamela McCreedy Sinead, 32, from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2011. She trained with KPMG in Belfast and worked in industry for a number of years. She has since moved into a career in recruitment in the finance sector in Belfast with specialist firm McKinty Associates. To enter the competition, Sinead wrote an article on her career and particularly impressed the judging panel with her activity as an advocate for the Chartered Accountant qualification, and her honest portrayal of her path to qualification, and balancing a demanding job with a professional education programme.  The panel also noted her involvement in several charities and voluntary work. About Young Chartered Star  Launched last year, Chartered Accountants Ireland’s ‘Young Chartered Star’ (YCS) recognises exceptional achievement amongst its trainees and members aged 35 years or under.  The award gives student and members the opportunity to share their experiences and ideas among the wider Chartered Accountants Ireland membership, with the successful candidate invited to attend the prestigious annual ‘One Young World Summit’. YCS is awarded to someone who will lead, motivate and inspire the next generation. Members and students under the age of 35 entered by writing an article on LinkedIn to detail their career path to date, the impact of the Chartered Accountant qualification on their life, as well as their future ambitions and advice for anyone considering Chartered Accountancy as a career.  Sinead Fox Hamilton said:  “I am absolutely thrilled and humbled to be the winner of the 2017 Young Chartered Star competition. The quality of all the entries was remarkable – it was unbelievably inspiring to read the career paths and achievements of my fellow young members. I have always been a keen champion for Chartered Accountancy and I feel privileged to have the chance to represent the profession at the One Young World Summit in Colombia in October. I look forward to sharing my experiences from this trip of a lifetime.”  Chair of the YCS judging committee and Council member Barry Doyle added:  “Each year we continue to find members and students with inspiring and fascinating stories of how our profession has helped them and others to grow and to succeed. Above all, the judging panel was excited to see the overwhelming support for the profession and our involvement in the One Young World Summit." Ends Reference: Brendan O’Hora, Director of Communications and Marketing, T: +353 1 637 7268 / E: brendan.ohora@charteredaccountants.ie Notes to editors:  Read Sinead Fox Hamilton’s article here About One Young World:  One Young World is an international conference that brings together inspiring young people from 190+ countries that are committed to making a difference. The summit will take place in Bogotá Colombia on 4 - 7 October 2017. One Young World provides a platform for young leaders to speak alongside Presidents, Nobel Prize Winners, Global business leaders and other inspiring global leaders. Delegates are an international cohort, sharing their impactful work, personal experiences, views and opinions with around 1,300 Summit attendees and an audience watching around the world. The Plenary Sessions are the foundation of the topics discussed at the Summit. This year’s One Young World will offer sessions on education, environment, leadership and government, poverty alleviation and economic development, all of which are relevant to the Chartered Accountancy profession and overall global business environment. About Chartered Accountants Worldwide:  Chartered Accountants Worldwide is the global alliance of Chartered bodies representing 600k members and one million students, collectively promoting the brand.  Chartered Accountants Worldwide has support the One Young World conference for the last three years sending delegates from local institutes as a united group to represent the global brand. Previous delegates have said this experience is life changing.  Sinead will join representatives from ICAEW (England & Wales), ICAS (Scotland), SAICA (South Africa) Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and ISCA (Singapore). Visit www.charteredaccountantsworldwide.com

12 things I want you to know about Brexit

Friday August 11th, 2017 02:47:25 PM
When it comes to Brexit, it’s important that clients feel informed. In this article, Aidan Byrne shares 12 things about Brexit your clients ought to know. 1. Brexit will affect your business Whether it is trade restrictions, visa complications, currency fluctuations or tax implications, Brexit will impact your business in some way, big or small, and you need to be prepared. 2. There’s no going back Article 50 is a clause in the Lisbon Treaty stating that the treaties relating to EU membership will remain in force until a withdrawal agreement is signed or, failing that, from two years after the notification of intent to withdraw, unless the European Council, in agreement with the member state concerned, decides to extend this period. This means that Brexit is happening no matter what and there’s no going back. 3. The impacts could take some time to affect you The UK’s departure will be a lengthy process. Brexit will probably take about two years of negotiation, and then there will most likely be a third year of transition. This means that the markets are going to remain open and there will be free movement for the next two, possibly three, years. So there’s no need to panic, but you do need to be prepared. 4. You need to make your plan of action While the impacts may take some time to hit, my advice would be to start considering multiple scenarios and map out a calculated plan of action as soon as possible. 5. You can mitigate the impacts There are a number of simple, cost-effective mitigation actions that you can take for the diversification of risk, so that you will be prepared regardless of the outcome of the negotiations. For example, you can take a look at your supply chain management or consider expanding your operations into new territories. 6. There are six priority topics for the negotiations Both the UK and the EU have identified the same key concerns and priorities ahead of the negotiation talks. These include:   Safeguard the rights of EU citizens; Northern Ireland; Financial settlement; Trade agreement; Immigration; and Security. 7. Timing is a sore subject While the same key issues have been raised by the EU and the UK, both parties diverge in relation to the timing of the discussions surrounding each issue. For example, the EU requires the issue of the financial settlement to be addressed before all other priority points, and they have stated they will not address the issue of a trade agreement until the withdrawal agreement has been substantially agreed. On the other hand, the UK wants each of its properties to be addressed on a step-by-step basis with the trade agreements being dealt with early on and financial settlement coming at the end of the process. 8. These are the key dates The following dates are of particular importance:   30 September 2018: the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, intends to have Britain’s exit finalised; 29 March 2019: two years after Theresa May triggered Article 50, the UK will cease to be a member of the EU and will no longer be subject to its treaties. This date can be extended for further negotiations if all members of the European Council unanimously agree to an extension; and May 2019: The next EU parliament elections will take place, without the UK. 9. Brexit could affect Irish trade and GDP Ireland’s Department of Finance estimated that a “hard Brexit” (i.e. one in which Britain cuts most of its ties with Europe and gives up access to the European single market) could, according to the ERSI, cost 0.9-1.6% of Irish GDP in the medium-term. Ireland has significant exports to Britain so if trade tariffs were imposed, it could mean a 30% drop in these exports according to some economists.   On the other hand, a “soft Brexit” would most likely maintain Britain’s access to the European single market, similar to that of Norway and Iceland who are not members of the EU but have negotiated access to the single market. 10. Irish companies should look at their supply chain management Irish companies who trade with the UK should consider what a strict customs border could mean for business. They should also consider the impact of currency fluctuations as if a client’s customers are paying in sterling and your client is buying in euro, your client could lose out. The key is to look at supply chain management – where are your clients buying goods from and what are the alternative options? I would also advise Irish companies to take a look into their potential for expanding operations into the UK so that they end up with a foot in both camps. 11. International companies should consider moving part of their operations International companies with operations in the UK will currently be working within the structures of the EU (e.g. selling products that are regulated by the EU and operating within the EU banking system). To ease the impact of Brexit, clients may want to shift some of their operations to a member state where they can continue to operate within these structures, such as Ireland.   If a favourable deal is struck, then there will still be open trade. If a less-favourable deal is struck, then any constraints that arise from operating in the UK will be overcome by moving part of your client’s UK operations to Ireland, where they can continue to operate within the EU. 12. You need to stay informed We will release a series of follow-up articles on the RSM Ireland website in the coming months to help businesses plan for Brexit. Topics will include target issues such as tax; talent, regulation, tariffs and trade, currency management, and connectivity.   This article first appeared on www.rsmireland.ie and is authored by Aidan Byrne, Tax Partner at RSM Ireland.

IAASB welcomes enhanced auditor reporting standard

Friday August 11th, 2017 12:25:26 PM
The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) has welcomed the adoption by the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) of a new auditing standard to enhance auditors' reports by providing additional, relevant information to users, including critical audit matters. The PCAOB’s new standard, which is subject to US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approval, is comparable with the IAASB’s new and revised Auditor Reporting Standards, which require the communication of key audit matters in auditors' reports of listed entities and became effective for December 2016 year-end audits.   "The PCAOB's adoption of a standard to enhance auditors' reports is a significant step forward in providing useful and relevant information to investors and other users," said Prof. Arnold Schilder, IAASB Chairman. "Auditors' reports are no longer "boilerplate" reports - auditors are now providing additional information about the audit, which is highly valued by users. We are particularly pleased that the PCAOB's requirements are comparable to those of the IAASB. Coordination among standard setters is important in striving toward auditing standards that are, in principle, globally consistent."   Two new publications comparing the IAASB and PCAOB standards have been developed by the IAASB's Auditor Reporting Implementation Working Group. These publications will assist users in understanding the key similarities and differences between the IAASB and PCAOB requirements. Additional information on the IAASB's new and revised Auditor Reporting Standards, as well as support materials, are available online. Source: The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board.

Integrated thinking and reporting drives value for SMEs

Friday August 11th, 2017 12:16:58 PM
Thinking beyond the financial elements of an organisation to other key areas of value creation can help small- and medium-sized entities (SMEs) develop a better understanding of their business and provide key insights for the future. Today, it is critical for organisations to think broadly about performance and strategy, and improve communication to shareholders, investors, customers and suppliers on what drives value for the organisation.   Creating Value for SMEs through Integrated Thinking: The Benefits of Integrated Reporting, which was published recently by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), highlights how SMEs and the professional accountants serving them can benefit from integrated thinking and reporting.   "As the engines of economic development, SMEs are critically important to the world's economy," said Sylvia Tsen, IFAC Executive Director. "They have significant value beyond the financial, which integrated thinking and reporting helps uncover. An integrated approach can help SMEs, including not-for-profits, increase their impact because it encourages an inclusive view of operations, risks and opportunities, and future outlook."   Integrated reporting embraces the six capitals established by the IIRC’s International Integrated Reporting Framework: financial, human, intellectual, manufactured, natural, and social and relationship. Considering each holistically, organisations can build a clearer understanding of the factors necessary to build value over the short, medium, and long-term, including how the business uses and effects its resources.   "Integrated reporting is well underway to becoming the global norm, so it has to work for all businesses, large and small," said Richard Howitt, IIRC Chief Executive Officer. "I am delighted how this new publication shows the considerable benefits for smaller organisations. The IIRC's principles-based framework is deliberately flexible so that SMEs can apply it to their own specific circumstances."   Whether advising an organisation or working within it, professional accountants are equipped with the skills and understanding to apply integrated reporting, help discover important insights, and provide stakeholders with a broader picture of how the business meets its strategic objectives. Additional resources to help professional accountants improve integrated thinking are available on the Global Knowledge Gateway, including Creating Value with Integrated Thinking: The Role of the Professional Accountant. Source: International Federation of Accountants.

IAASA publishes feedback on ISA consultation

Friday August 11th, 2017 12:05:07 PM
On 31 March 2017, IAASA published its consultation on Proposal to Revise ISA (Ireland) 250 Section A – Consideration of Laws and Regulations in an Audit of Financial Statements, the purpose of which was to obtain the views of stakeholders with regard to IAASA’s proposal to issue a revised version of ISA (Ireland) 250 Section A – Consideration of Laws and Regulations in an Audit of Financial Statements. IAASA has noted the points raised in the responses to its consultation and has published a feedback paper, which is available here. The revised ISA (Ireland) 250 Section A (effective for the audits of financial statements for periods commencing on or after 15 December 2017) will be published when finalised on the IAASA website. Source: IAASA.

IFAC issues guidance to help firms navigate accountancy regulation

Friday August 11th, 2017 10:59:47 AM
Navigating the national regulatory environment is a crucial part of establishing and developing an effective professional accountancy organisation (PAO). The right accountancy regulation model is vital to ensuring a well-functioning profession that produces high-quality financial information, supports economic growth and development, and is relevant to professional accountants and their clients. In light of regulatory evolution in recent years and the ongoing need for PAOs to adapt to, and actively influence, their environment, the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has released new guidance to support PAOs in these efforts.   "There is no 'one-size-fits-all' solution for accountancy regulation; there are many different models in place around the world that work effectively," said IFAC Executive Director, Alta Prinsloo. "Understanding the key principles of accountancy regulation, and how they function in practical terms, helps PAOs and their key constituents ensure the profession's long-term sustainability and their ability to continue to function in the public interest."   Making Regulation Work: Principles and Models for the Accountancy Profession explores the scope of accountancy regulation, why it is needed, and key principles for consideration, as highlighted in IFAC Public Policy Position 1, Regulation of the Accountancy Profession and From Crisis to Confidence: A Call for Consistent, High-Quality Global Regulation. It also provides regulatory model examples used in a number of countries, with further information available in country profiles on the IFAC website.   The guidance is part of the PAO Capacity Building Series, which includes guidance on PAO governance, advocacy and public policy, partnerships, and engaging professional accountants in business. It also builds on one of the key findings of the MOSAIC PAO Global Development Report, which cites strengthening PAOs’ legal and regulatory foundations and internal capacity as a critical need for the global accountancy profession. Source: The International Federation of Accountants.

GDPR is on the way, but there's no need to panic

Friday August 11th, 2017 10:33:18 AM
Colm McDonnell, Partner and Head of Risk Advisory at Deloitte Ireland, shares his thoughts on the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Network and Information Security Directive. GDPR has been described as a “game-changer” by Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner. Why is it so important, in your view? With the introduction of GDPR next May, existing data protection laws will experience substantial changes in terms of scope and effect. The existing legislation, based on EU Directive 95/46/EC, was transposed by individual member states in local ways, which led to an ad hoc approach being taken across the European Union (EU). The new legislation means that the application of the legislation will be consistent across all member states and should make it easier for companies to conduct business EU-wide with a level of certainty as to their obligations. In addition, companies must be aware of how and why they use personal data as GDPR increases the right of individuals in relation to the privacy of information and how their information is processed by companies. With the implementation date of 25 May 2018 fast approaching, is Ireland prepared for this new legal framework? GDPR has been on the radar for a number of years and in that time, the Government and Data Protection Commissioner have engaged with stakeholders to ensure that Ireland meets the challenge of GDPR head-on. As Ireland is a knowledge-based economy, it’s imperative that the country is ready for 25 May 2018. Deloitte has been working with clients to ensure that they are fully aware of their obligations under the new framework and crucially, that they also have a strategy and process in place to manage the implementation of changes such as the introduction of Data Protection Officers. In the broader cyber environment, what will the Network and Information Security Directive (NIS Directive) do for cyber resilience in Europe? The NIS Directive is forecast for transposition by the Irish Government by May 2018. At this date, companies in industry sectors that are defined as belonging to a sector of national critical infrastructure will be defined. These organisations will be known as providers of operators of essential services (OES) and most of these organisations will already be in heavily regulated industry sectors such as telecoms, energy and transport for example. Such organisations will be subject to the oversight and reporting regime imposed by the NIS Directive. The NIS Directive is focusing on new requirements for network and information security for operators of essential services and digital service providers (DSPs) to provide for network security and business continuity in critical sectors. Essentially, the NIS Directive is ensuring a consistent EU-wide approach to business continuity in critical national infrastructure. As such, cyber resilience across all member states will be strengthened with this new Directive. What roles can finance professionals, such as Chartered Accountants, play in such projects? And should they lead the charge? The implementation of such projects involves knowledge of EU legislation, an understanding of requirements per organisation, seamless integration into daily business operations as well as realising the new opportunities that GDPR and the NIS Directive will bring to business in Ireland. Professional staff, such as Chartered Accountants, are uniquely positioned – as a result of their industry knowledge, professional experience and client focus – to help steer organisations through times of change. As such, a Chartered Accountant is ideally placed to lead the implementation of GDPR and NIS Directive projects for their organisations. If GDPR is still on a firm’s to-do list at this stage, what advice would you give them? Given the time-frame for implementation, I would advise that such firms not panic. Rather than approaching this as a stand-alone project, I would suggest engaging the services of service providers who have the knowledge, expertise and skills to help such a firm meet the challenges of GDPR on time and to meet its regulatory obligations.   Colm McDonnell is a Partner and Head of Risk Advisory at Deloitte Ireland.






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