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Last feed update: Sunday November 18th, 2018 01:07:16 PM

Brexit: What happens next?

Friday November 16th, 2018 10:55:23 AM
The UK Prime Minister Theresa May debated the withdrawal agreement agreed between the UK and EU negotiators in the House of Commons yesterday but what happens next? EU summit An EU summit will take place on 25 November 2018 where EU member states will formally approve the text of the withdrawal agreement. Before this summit however, an agreement will have to be reached on the joint political declaration on future relations with the UK.  A draft political statement was released this week and the EU27 will meet to finalise this declaration in the coming days.  Pre-Christmas vote The UK government will need to hold a vote in the House of Commons on the withdrawal agreement.  There are reports that this would need to take place in early December in time for the next scheduled European Council summit which takes place on 13 December 2018.  The European Parliament will also need to ratify the agreement before the 13 December.  Departure date The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019 but if the withdrawal agreement is ratified by the UK and EU parliaments, a transition period will begin from that date and run until 31 December 2020. This will give more time to form a deal on the future relationship between the UK and the EU.  There is an option to extend this transition period once the UK makes an application to do so by 1 July 2020. Temporary backstop If agreement is not reached by the end of the transition period, a temporary back stop arrangement could be put in place from January 2021 which will place the UK and EU in a separate customs arrangement.  This means there will be no tariffs or quotas or checks for most goods traded between the UK and EU after the transition period and until such time as a free trade agreement or other trading mechanism is agreed between the sides.  During this time, Northern Ireland will temporarily sit in a separate regulatory environment to the rest of the UK which will mean it will have to follow EU rules on customs, VAT and sanitary standards for example.  The UK can only leave the backstop arrangement with consent from the EU.  All documents on the withdrawal agreement can be found on the TG50 website.  

Institute responds to UK CMA consultation on the statutory audit market

Friday November 16th, 2018 10:22:23 AM
Chartered Accountants Ireland, in its capacity as a Recognised Supervisory Body (RSB) in the UK, responded recently to the consultation issued by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on the statutory audit market. The CMA consultation was structured around five main themes – (1) Scope and purpose of audit, (2) Initiatives, (3) Choice and switching, (4) Resilience of the audit market, and (5) Regulation of audit in the UK, focussing primarily on themes (2) to (4).  The consultation paper contained a wide range of potential measures including further restrictions on non-audit services, audit-only firms, break up of the Big Four firms, independent bodies responsible for appointing auditors to companies and a national audit office style approach to statutory audit.  The Institute’s response can be read in full by clicking on this link  It addressed the individual measures proposed in the consultation paper and some of the key points included: Given the importance of the issue, we have called for a much more in-depth, detailed and evidence based consultation is necessary to allow all stakeholders to provide considered responses. Many of the proposed measures are untested, whereas there may be evidence available to the CMA and other stakeholders on certain other potential measures in other jurisdictions. The CMA consultation is not operating in isolation and we stated that it needs to be coordinated with other processes, such as the Kingman FRC review in the UK, the Monitoring Group consultation on the future of international audit standard setting, recently implemented EU changes with regard to statutory audit in the European Union and changes to corporate reporting requirements, such as the viability statements, in the UK. We consider that there is merit in more detailed consideration of further restrictions on the provision of non-audit services to PIE audit clients. In considering such measures, it would be critically important to clearly distinguish audit-related services which must be undertaken by the auditor from non-audit services which may be provided by any professional accounting firm. We consider that there may also be merit in further detailed consideration of joint and shared audits, and such consideration should incorporate evidence available internationally. We also see merit in some but not all of the proposals addressing greater transparency in the tendering process, and further than public interest entities themselves could be encouraged to provide more transparent reporting with regard to their own tendering processes and the governance of those processes. We consider that there are significant challenges to be overcome in pursuing proposals regarding market share caps. We do not support inter-alia proposals to have audit-only firms, to have statutory audit appointments handled by an independent body or that statutory audits be undertaken by an ‘NAO-style’ national auditor. Economia, the ICAEW’s member publication, has written an article with a high level comparison of the views of the UK RSBs, including Chartered Accountants Ireland, on the individual measures proposed.  Please click here to access the Economia article. We look forward to engaging with further consultation on this very important topic.  The CMA consultation paper can be accessed at this link.

IFAC seeks volunteers for board and committee positions

Friday November 16th, 2018 10:14:16 AM
IFAC (International Federation of Accountants) seeks volunteers with a strong commitment to the public interest to contribute to the strength and vitality of accountancy globally and its future by serving on the IFAC board and committees. The Call for Nominations for the IFAC Board and Committees in 2020 details openings and requirements for successful nominations for membership on the IFAC Board and three IFAC committees— Professional Accountancy Organization Development, Professional Accountants in Business, and Small and Medium Practices Committees. The Nominating Committee encourages all IFAC members to review the Call for Nominations, including vacancy details and composition targets. Gender equality is especially important to the Nominating Committee to ensure balance; nominations of qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged. The companion guide offers strategic guidance in selecting candidates, including identifying the most qualified and diverse nominee for each available position to reflect the depth and breadth of the global accountancy profession. Nominations can be submitted online via the Nominations Database by February 15, 2019. Additional information on the Nominating Committee and its open, transparent selection process is available on the Nominating Committee web page. Source: IFAC

Brexit Bulletin, 16 November 2018

Friday November 16th, 2018 10:09:50 AM
This week saw EU and UK negotiators agree on a Brexit withdrawal agreement. The deal has already prompted the resignations of several key members of the UK government and it still has to be ratified by both the EU and UK Parliaments.  Not likely to be an easy task. Late on Wednesday evening, the UK Prime Minister Theresa May emerged from No. 10 Downing St and announced that the UK and EU negotiators had approved a draft withdrawal agreement for the UK’s exit from the EU.  The agreement still needs to be formally endorsed by the EU27 member states and ratified by both the European and UK parliaments.  That process began yesterday with the UK Prime Minister facing the House of Commons for a lengthy debate where she attempted to win support for the deal from a somewhat hostile parliament. Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier said that “decisive progress” had been made; so much so that European Council President Donald Tusk has set 25 November as the date for a special summit of EU leaders to formally approve the agreement. But what’s in the agreement? The document which spans almost 600 pages, lays out detail on citizens’ rights, the length of a transition period, the divorce bill and the border on the island of Ireland. The border conundrum The Irish border has been a sticking point in these negotiations with the UK wanting to avoid a hard border on the island while also being reluctant to detach Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK to facilitate that.  The agreement says that if the Irish border issue is not resolved after a transition period ending on 31 December 2020, the UK in its entirety (rather than just Northern Ireland which had originally been proposed by the EU) will remain in a temporary customs union with the EU.  This means there will be no tariffs or quotas or checks for most goods traded between the UK and EU after the transition period and until such time as a free trade agreement or other trading mechanism is agreed between the sides.   This arrangement will remain intact until a new arrangement can be agreed to enable frictionless trade on the island of Ireland. To avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, Northern Ireland will temporarily sit in a separate regulatory environment to the rest of the UK which will mean it will have to follow EU rules on customs, VAT and sanitary standards for example.  And the UK can only leave the backstop arrangement with consent from the EU.  Hard decisions Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey, Brexit minister Suella Braverman and Northern Ireland minister Shailesh Vara all resigned after the release of the withdrawal agreement.  Of the decisions made in the agreement, Theresa May said “These decisions were not taken lightly but I believe it is a decision that is firmly in the national interest."  The timeline The EU Summit is pencilled in for 25 November where EU member states will formally approve the agreement. Then the UK government will need to hold a vote in the House of Commons on the deal.  There are reports that this would need to take place in early December in time for the next scheduled European Council summit on 13 December and especially given the UK’s departure from the EU on 29 March 2019. You can read the Withdrawal Agreement and related documents using this link and there is also a Q&A on the Northern Ireland protocol.  Read all of our Brexit updates and Back to Brexit Basics on the dedicated Brexit section of our website.  

IAASA publishes selected financial reporting decisions

Friday November 16th, 2018 10:05:52 AM
IAASA has published selected financial reporting decisions regarding the accounting treatments applied by Boost Issuer plc, a debt issuer, CRH plc, Kerry Group plc and Ryanair Holdings plc, the latter three being equity issuers. These decisions include instances where the company voluntarily agrees to enhance its accounting treatment and/or disclosures in future financial reports to address matters identified in the course of IAASA’s examinations and instances where IAASA agrees with or did not disagree with the accounting treatment applied by the company and, consequently, no corrective actions by the company are required. IAASA’s policy on publishing financial reporting decisions and the criteria to be met for such decisions to be published is set out in IAASA’s Policy Paper on Publication of IAASA’s Financial Reporting Findings. The financial reporting decisions for each issuer are included in a compendium of decisions which can be accessed here. Source: IAASA

FRC announces 2019/20 audit thematic reviews, priority sectors and audit areas of focus

Friday November 16th, 2018 09:46:25 AM
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) will, in 2019/20, supplement its routine AQR monitoring programme with two thematic reviews. These thematic reviews, which focus on aspects of audit practice across a number of firms to identify both scope for improvement and good practice, complement other AQR work, all with the over-riding objective of driving improvements in audit quality. The thematic review topics are:   Audit Quality Indicators (AQIs): An assessment of the development and use of AQIs by UK audit firms. This review commenced during our 2018/19 inspection programme and will be delivered in 2019/20 The use of technology in audits. We reported on firms’ use of data analytics in January 2017. We will revisit the progress that the firms have made since, how the use of technology has widened beyond data analytics and the potential impact upon audit quality The FRC will publish its 2018/19 thematic review of “The Auditors Work on Other Information in the Annual Report” later in 2018, followed by a report on Audit Firm Transparency Reporting in the first quarter of 2019. Source: FRC

Desk-top review on companies’ business combinations disclosures

Friday November 16th, 2018 09:39:19 AM
IAASA finds that many companies fail to provide complete information on their acquisitions in the annual accounts. IAASA has published the results of a desk-top review into the business combinations disclosures that companies included in their 2017/18 annual accounts. The review covered the annual accounts of thirty-one companies listed on Euronext Dublin (Irish Stock Exchange). The document is available here. Source: IAASA

The dos and don'ts of corporate gift giving this holiday season

Thursday November 15th, 2018 04:29:10 PM
By Orla Brosnan If you are wondering whether or not you should give corporate gifts this Christmas: yes, you should, in my opinion. The gifts should always be in line with your organisation’s values and standards. The trick is to balance thoughtfulness and appropriateness while keeping in mind that what you give directly reflects your judgement and professionalism. Here are some tips for giving corporate gifts that will hopefully go some way to strike that balance. Personalise the gift Personalised gifts make a lasting impression. Rather than being treated as merely a figure from a database, personalised corporate gifting is about valuing the person’s individuality. Therefore, these types of gifts help nurture business relations and are cherished. A simple measure like having personalised messages and images printed on the gifts can go a long way in creating an emotional aura around the gift. If you show that you took extra time to tailor the gift to the recipient, then they’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness. Never compromise on quality No matter what the budget, the quality of the gift should be of a high standard. It will be a reflection of your judgement and brand.  Don’t be cheap. Consider how much you might routinely spend taking someone out for a nice meal. That meal might be forgotten by the next morning. Yet, when it comes to gifts, businesses routinely try to figure out ways to reduce their gift spend. If everything in your business is to a high quality, don’t be a cheap skate when it comes to showing your appreciation to the people who keep you in business. Even if it’s a handwritten note saying thank you for your support throughout the year, make sure it’s on nice card stock and written in neat handwriting. Everything in moderation If you have a great relationship with a client, you might be tempted to go overboard during the festive season. Don’t. You have to be mindful of the policies of the company where the gift will be received, and what your own company policies are in relation to giving and receiving gifts and the limits that have been applied. You should be well-informed on this issue before giving gifts in order to avoid an unpleasant situation.  Christmas card for the boss Believe it or not, a gift isn’t always appropriate. Many people say that they don’t ever recommend that anyone should give a gift to their boss. It’s not expected, and it actually creates an awkward situation. Appreciate hobbies A sports or hobby related gift shows that you recognise something the recipient is passionate about outside of work. You can give the gift of licensed apparel or, if you know the sport but not the team the person supports, something more generic related to the sport or hobby itself. Don’t get too personal When giving a gift to clients, staff or colleagues, there's a fine line between choosing something they will appreciate compared to something too personal. Stay away from perfume/cologne and clothes. Don’t make it promotional Many companies send clients gifts that contain their own name and logo. That’s not a gift. It’s a marketing piece. Don’t gift it. Don’t limit gift giving to just Christmas It's natural to think of sending a gift around Christmas, but you may want to reconsider. The Christmas season is ironically the least effective time to give a gift. Be grateful and thankful year round. Instead, wait until an unexpected time to give something memorable. Service providers  Service providers comprise a large group of associates, ranging from cleaners, consultants, to window cleaners and post people. For gifts of this nature, small items, cash or gift cards, depending on the provided type of service, is the appropriate way to go. Plan a budget Deciding on a budget for gift-giving occasions throughout the year will largely have to do with the company’s finances. Even if a small amount can be spent on gifts, a small token or just a handwritten card will suffice to let people know that they are important to your company.  Orla Brosnan is the CEO and Founder of the Etiquette School of Ireland.

Taking control of the cloud

Thursday November 15th, 2018 03:52:55 PM
The exponential rise in the popularity of cloud computing in the past decade proves beyond doubt that it has finally come of age, but organisations need to now learn how to control this technology and make it work for them. Cloud has many advantages over in-house IT infrastructure and traditional outsourcing services. Cloud is constantly available. Its applications are always up-to-date. It is flexible. It requires little capital investment. You only pay for what you use. It is more secure than many traditional in-house environments. It is the answer to so many problems. Cloud usage has exploded globally and all trends point to this continuing well into the future. ...But it is not perfect. There have been some dramatic failures. For example, a glitch at a major cloud service provider (CSP) in February 2017 caused hundreds of thousands of websites using its services to function badly or not at all for a few hours. In another case, a CSP providing customer relationship management platforms to businesses suffered major disruptions in May 2016 when a circuit breaker failed. As a result, the CSP’s own customers were unable to use its services for a day and many lost newly inputted data. Lloyds, the specialist insurer, estimated in a report published in January 2018 that if an extreme cyber incident took a top cloud provider offline for three to six days, it would cost US businesses around $15 billion. Despite these and other high-profile breakdowns at CSPs, and the risk of even worse to come as pointed out by Lloyds, CSPs’ customers – individuals, companies and other organisations – have generally remained undeterred. It is because the benefits of cloud are too important to ignore. The US Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) famous definition is too long to reproduce here in full, but the nub of it is that “cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources”. The “network” is usually the public internet, but private networks are also used. One of the computer scientists who wrote that definition described the benefits as “cost savings, energy savings, rapid deployment and customer empowerment”. That is why cloud adoption continues on an upward trajectory. The worldwide public cloud services market for CSPs is projected to grow by 21% to $186 billion in total revenues in 2018, up from $154 billion in 2017, according to Gartner. The research firm expects revenues to grow another 63% over the next three years to reach $303 billion by 2021. So cloud is here to stay, and it is going to get much bigger. Yet potential pitfalls await unwary users, both during the adoption period and day-to-day running. I have already highlighted some of the problems affecting providers of cloud services, but corporate customers face a different set of self-inflicted risks. They need to know what they are. It is imperative they take steps to minimise those risks as well as maximise the opportunities, if they are to maintain control in the cloud. Being in control is what it is all about. Even though cloud services are now at a high level of maturity, companies using them still bear the eventual risks and responsibilities if things go amiss. Maintaining control in the cloud therefore means creating a sound strategy for adoption and management. This includes selecting the right provider and getting the best contract terms. It means ensuring that staff adjusts to all the procedural and cultural changes that cloud entails. If staff do not adapt, many of the benefits of cloud will not be realised and errors are likely to be made. It means integrating old and new technology to ensure that the cloud can work in the company’s legacy environment. In the vast majority of cases, IT failures are more likely to happen at the cloud user end than at the cloud provider end. And it means managing operational risk and compliance. Although a company can outsource its IT, it cannot outsource its risk management, legal and regulatory obligations. Colm McDonnell is a Partner and Head of Risk Advisory in Deloitte. You can read the full report here.

Five things you need to know about tax, 16 November 2018

Wednesday November 14th, 2018 04:42:08 PM
Read about proposed Committee State amendments to Ireland’s Finance Bill 2018 as well as plans to amend SARP.  The UK has published its Finance Bill while support for EU’s proposals on digital tax waivers.           Ireland The proposed Committee Stage amendments to Finance Bill 2018 were published last week. Read more Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe announced that he proposes to bring forward amendments to the operation of the Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP) at the Report Stage of Finance Bill 2018. Read more   UK The UK Finance Bill has been published This coming weekend sees changes to the UK Government Gateway meaning many services aren’t able to be used   International ECOFIN support for EU digital tax waivers. Read more

Technical roundup 16 November

Wednesday November 14th, 2018 04:16:13 PM
Developments of interest this week are set out below.  Ireland                  The Central Bank of Ireland and Trinity College Dublin (TCD) recently hosted a joint conference to discuss culture and diversity in the financial services sector in Ireland. The President has now signed Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Bill 2018 into law. IAASA has published selected financial reporting decisions regarding the accounting treatments applied by Boost Issuer plc, a debt issuer, CRH plc, Kerry Group plc and Ryanair Holdings plc, the latter three being equity issuers. The CRO have issued their regular gazette. UK The Financial Reporting Lab (The Lab) has published guidance for companies on the presentation of performance metrics in their reporting following calls for clarity from investors. European Stories from practice – how can accountants help you? An inspiring series of stories have been issued online by Accountancy Europe on the diversity of accountants’ daily work. International The IASB hosted its fifth Research Forum on 11 and 12 November 2018 in Sydney. The meeting saw the pre­sen­ta­tion of six academic papers, responses by academics and stan­dard-set­ters as well as panel dis­cus­sions.  

Survey reveals Brexit concerns

Wednesday November 14th, 2018 03:41:55 PM
The largest professional body of accountants in Northern Ireland has voiced concerns over the impact that Brexit may have on the Northern Ireland economy, and on the peace process.   In a ‘Brexit Pulse’ survey of 424 accountants run by Chartered Accountants Ulster Society, 62% said that they expect Brexit to have a negative effect on their business. 28% said that they don’t know if Brexit will be positive or negative for their business while 10% felt that Brexit would be positive for their business.   When asked if they felt that the Northern Ireland peace process would be compromised if a hard border is put in place on the island of Ireland, 70% said ‘Yes’, 23% said ‘No’ and 7% said ‘Don’t Know’.   The survey also found strong support for the EU’s proposed ‘backstop’ which would keep Northern Ireland aligned with EU single market rules. 78% said that it would benefit Northern Ireland business, 15% felt that it would not be beneficial, with 7% unsure either way.   A clear majority of the Chartered Accountants who responded to the survey felt that the voice of Northern Ireland’s business community was not being heard in the local debate about Brexit (82%). 14% felt that the voice of business had been represented in the debate, with 4% unsure either way.   The survey was taken right before Tuesday’s rumours of a potential agreement between the UK and EU, and those surveyed were asked about the likelihood of a deal being reached. Almost half (49%) felt that a deal was likely, 37% felt that a deal was unlikely, with 14% unsure either way.   Niall Harkin, Chairman of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society which represents over 4,600 Chartered Accountants in Northern Ireland, said: “Our members are sending a message that they feel Brexit will have a negative impact on Northern Ireland business.   “There is a strong feeling that the voice of the business community has not been heard in the local debate around Brexit. Overall the feeling from our members is one of uncertainty. There is some frustration that the democratic deficit at Stormont has been a significant impediment in representing the interests of Northern Ireland in the Brexit negotiations.   “The situation is moving quickly this week and it remains to be seen whether a deal between the EU and UK can be finalised and supported through all remaining hurdles. On balance our members feel that a deal can be done. If so we hope that we can move on quickly to a situation where businesses can have certainty on the future trading reality.”       Key findings in the survey include:   62% said that they expect Brexit to have a negative effect on their business. 28% said that they don’t know. 10% felt that Brexit would be positive for their business. 70% feel that the Northern Ireland peace process would be compromised if a hard border is put in place on the island of Ireland, 23% say that a hard border would not compromise the peace process. 78% said that the EU’s proposed backstop arrangement would benefit Northern Ireland business, 15% felt that it would not be beneficial. 82% feel that the voice of Northern Ireland’s business community was not being heard in the local debate about Brexit. 14% feel that the voice of business had been represented. 49% felt that a deal between the EU and UK was likely, 37% felt that a deal was unlikely. In terms of the breakdown of those surveyed, 41% work in business; 33% work in an accounting practice; 19% work in the Public Sector/ voluntary or not for profit sector; 7% in none of the above.

10 tips to working with different personality types

Wednesday November 14th, 2018 03:30:54 PM
BY FIONA BUCKLEY Different personality types can account for one of the biggest cause of clashes in the office. If people adopt a my-way-or-the-highway attitude, it can lead to serious difficulties in workplace relationships and cause high-level conflict and frustration across teams. If we take some positive steps to proactively deal with different personality types, all sorts of issues can often be avoided. Here are ten tips to working with all different personalities in the workplace: Know your own personality preference. This involves possibly taking a personality test, obtaining feedback and regular reflection. An African proverb once said, “When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside can do you no harm”. If you truly know yourself well and are aware of your strengths and weaknesses, then you should know your limitations. This is about truly developing your self-awareness at the highest possible level. Undertake and attend training to become more aware and attuned to other personality preferences that are different to your own. Being able to recognise personality types will help you adjust your own approach. You can’t change your personality but you can temporally adapt and flex your personality into other personality types when the situation calls for same. Be open to adapting when needed. Read and observe body language more closely. You can often obtain more information from non-verbal communication initially. Develop your blind spots and work on your own personality limitations. There is no such thing as a perfect personality. For example, an extrovert could have a blind spot when it comes to active listening and can be guilty of talking too much in some situations. Respect different personalities and remember that opposites attract. There is no one ‘right’ way of doing things – there are many different approaches to get to the end result and each different personality will take a different journey. This is where creativity and innovation will come alive in your office. If we were all to approach things the same way, the world would be a very boring place. Respect diversity. Be aware of ‘similar to me’ bias where you end up hiring people that are similar to yourself and only make an effort to work with people with whom you more readily identify. If we continually fall back on this approach, we become more narrow-minded in our thinking. Be patient and jump into the shoes of the other person regularly. See the project or situation from a different perspective and work on developing your empathy. Stop comparing yourself to other people. This is a hallmark trait of resilience. Personality begins when comparison ends. Challenge yourself to have that cup of coffee with the person who frustrates you the most. You might be surprised to find out you have more in common with that person than you think and the different way that you approach things is the actual issue. Personality cannot be viewed in isolation. There is a whole host of other contextual factors that wrap around personality, such as: organisational culture, overall confidence, history between people, length of service and experience, individual coping mechanisms, resilience levels and emotional intelligence to name a few. Figuring out how to work with our own personality and those around us is a life-long journey.  Fiona Buckley is an executive coach and trainer. She will be teaching the course Personality types: understanding yourself & others in the workplace at Chartered Accountants House on 6 December.

10 quick tips to a successful PAYE modernisation strategy (Sponsored)

Wednesday November 14th, 2018 02:23:47 PM
PAYE modernisation will affect all employers and payroll processors from 1 January 2019. The new system introduces a new and improved way of reporting payroll information to Revenue. With this deadline fast approaching, many employers and payroll processors are confused about what PAYE modernisation will mean for their business. Essentially, all of the current ‘P Forms’ – P30s, P35s, P60s, P45s and P46s – will be abolished, and in their place will be real-time submissions to Revenue. These will be known as Payroll Submission Requests (PSRs) and will need to be submitted “on or before” the date an employee is paid each pay period. In most cases, this means a file will need to be submitted either weekly or monthly. An opportunity for payroll bureaus The new legislation will be a big change for all employers, especially those with little payroll experience. This January, there will undoubtedly be a high demand from employers looking for help with their payroll and PAYE modernisation obligations. This real-time reporting will mean that bureaus should look to increase the prices that they charge for payroll and PAYE Modernisation services to compensate for the additional work required. With the added workload required to process PAYE modernisation, it is inevitable that clients should expect to pay more for the extra work provided. If you want to drive your business forward, you will recognise PAYE modernisation as an opportunity to increase profits and not a threat. Download this free eBook today, which examines the best practices for accountants and payroll bureaus to consider which will improve profits and increase revenue. Download free eBook Free online PAYE modernisation training Thesaurus Software, BrightPay and Revenue have joined up to bring you free PAYE modernisation training webinars. During the webinars, we will discuss everything you need to know about PAYE Modernisation and what your responsibilities will be going forward. The webinars also include an in-depth panel discussion where we will answer any questions you may have. Find out more and register here: 20th November | 5th December This article is sponsored by Thesaurus Software.

Flag it Up Campaign – UK AML

Wednesday November 14th, 2018 11:54:47 AM
Chartered Accountants Ireland as a member of the Accountants Affinity Group, is working in partnership with the Home Office and National Crime Agency to tackle the serious threat of money laundering to our industry. The Flag It Up! campaign can help you to protect yourself and your business reputation from money launderers. For more information see https://flagitup.campaign.gov.uk/.

The recruitment fee structures explained...

Tuesday November 13th, 2018 08:24:21 AM
Ever wondered how the financial side of recruitment works? Well, here’s the plain, unvarnished truth. In the past, the fee element of the recruitment process has been shrouded in mystery. The truth is, it’s a relatively simple fee structure that isn’t a million miles from other service industries. But that’s the critical point that often gets missed; when people engage a recruitment firm, some think they’re buying a product but in truth, it’s a service. When you engage a recruiter, you are buying their time and their expertise. The cost structure for this time and expertise is differentiated based on whether the hire is permanent, fixed-term or temporary. Permanent assignments typically command a fee of 20% of base salary; fixed-term assignments command a pro rata fee of roughly 30% of base salary; and temporary assignments generally command a higher fee again as the recruitment firm payrolls the person, seconds them on-site and assumes much of the administration and risk involved with hiring temporary staff. This is all relatively clear cut, but the process can become confusing when the issue of rebates arise. A rebate is a partial refund and is generally discussed when a recruiter fills a position for a client, but the new hire doesn’t work out. Where the recruiter has made a strong recommendation or the new hire has conducted themselves unprofessionally, then there is certainly a case for a rebate if the new hire failed to meet the basic and stated expectations of the hiring manager, as outlined in the job specification. Where the candidate was driven out of the firm by an aggressive corporate culture or by being put on reception, for example, the responsibility for the new hire’s exit lies with the company as opposed to the recruitment firm who recommended him or her. In such cases, the hiring manager must assume responsibility for the departure - not the recruiter, as there was nothing wrong with the service provided. The best person for the job? Hiring managers also need to understand the link between the nature of the role and the talent available. Making a permanent hire is like buying a car – you can build it to any specification you like. If you’re renting, on the other hand, your options are limited to whatever is in the carpark. It’s a crass analogy, but the reality is simple – when hiring for a fixed-term or temporary vacancy, hiring managers should understand that they will get the best available person, not the best person.

Change to Government Gateway, 12 November 2018

Monday November 12th, 2018 11:43:41 AM
HMRC have advised that changes will be taking place to the Government Gateway this coming weekend on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 November, meaning services will be “read only” i.e. any changes made or forms submitted online on those days won’t be processed or recognised. HMRC are aiming to restore normal service on Monday 19 November 2018.

UK Finance Bill published

Monday November 12th, 2018 11:42:52 AM
Last week, Finance (No. 3) Bill 2017-19 was published together with Explanatory Notes. There were also a number of consultations and consultation outcomes published alongside the bill, including a consultation on the proposed digital services tax. This Bill will become Finance Act 2019 once it completes its journey through parliament and is expected to receive Royal Assent before the new tax year commences on 6 April 2019.  The Bill is largely as expected following the Autumn Budget but there are areas where the legislation and supporting documentation published provide significant further detail and clarification. Second reading of the Bill is scheduled for 12 November. The Bill, as introduced, includes two new capital gains tax related measures for corporation tax which appear to look ahead to Brexit and the potential for Brexit related CGT exposures on exit charges.  From 1 January 2020, chargeable assets that come within the UK charge to corporation tax as a result of a non-resident company becoming UK resident (or beginning to use the asset in a UK permanent establishment (PE)) will be able to rebase the asset to its deemed market value where an exit charge is suffered in another EU jurisdiction; and From 6 April 2019, companies resident in another EEA member state that suffer an exit charge on deemed disposals because the assets ceased to be used in a UK PE will be able to enter into an exit charge payment plan which will allow the tax due to be paid in six equal annual instalments. According to the accompanying Explanatory Notes, 1. above is to ensure compliance with EU law and 2. adapts existing rules to implement the EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive. Draft legislation has also been published setting out that the payment window for stamp duty land tax (“SDLT”) and filing of SDLT returns is being reduced from 30 days to 14 which will take effect from 1 March 2019.

Formal alignment of VAT rates for electronic and hard copy publications

Monday November 12th, 2018 11:39:30 AM
ECOFIN recently adopted a directive allowing the alignment of VAT rules for electronic and physical publications meaning that member states can apply reduced, super-reduced or zero VAT rates to electronic publications.  Ireland has made a provision to apply the 9 percent VAT rate to certain electronic publications from 1 January 2019 under Finance Bill 2018. The 9 percent VAT rate applies to sales of printed newspapers and the 9 percent rate is extended to books, newspapers and periodicals supplied electronically, with effect from 1 January 2019 as per section 41(b) Finance Act 2018.

Brexit Bulletin, 12 November 2018

Monday November 12th, 2018 11:38:38 AM
Are hopes fading that a Brexit deal will be reached by the end of the month?  The UK cabinet was due to meet today to debate the UK’s Brexit proposals but this has been cancelled. Negotiations are continuing but no certainty has emerged from either side.  Will it, won’t it? We are still in the dark about whether a special EU Summit will be required later this month to advance a Brexit deal reached between the UK and EU.  There have been mixed reports emerging from both camps about the possibility of agreement.  In the UK, the Prime Minister cancelled a meeting today where she had planned to present her Brexit deal to cabinet; throwing more doubt on whether a November summit on Brexit will take place. Agreement on how to avoid a hard border on island of Ireland is apparently still being negotiated in Brussels.  There have been some reports that a deal is within grasp and that the framework for a solution on the Irish border which involves a UK wide customs arrangement has been broadly agreed. The UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed solution involves keeping the whole of the UK inside the EU’s customs union until a free trade deal is agreed. While this might keep businesses happy, the Prime Minister might just run the risk of it being seen as a betrayal of the referendum result by her pro-Brexit cabinet, who want to see a clear exit strategy.  The EU sees the backstop as a form of security in the event of a no deal and that’s why Taoiseach Leo Varadkar does not want a time limit imposed on any such arrangement. The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said last week that it is “clear that more work is needed in Brexit negotiations. We remain determined to reach a deal”. Another EU Summit is scheduled to take place in December and it’s hoped some form of framework can be agreed at that meeting; otherwise there are just a number of weeks before the UK leaves the EU.  If a deal is agreed between the UK and the EU, it has to then be approved by the House of Commons and the EU member states. Read all of our Brexit updates and Back to Brexit Basics on the dedicated Brexit section of our website.

Namibia is removed from EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions

Monday November 12th, 2018 11:38:28 AM
ECOFIN ministers agreed to remove Namibia from the EU's list of non-cooperative tax jurisdiction.  The is now down to five non-cooperative jurisdictions: American Samoa, Guam, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago and the US Virgin Islands, whilst a total of 65 jurisdictions are now actively cooperating with the EU in implementing tax good governance standards.  The EU’s list was established in December 2017 and aims to prevent tax avoidance by businesses and promote tax good governance worldwide.

Accountants have a role in encouraging auto-enrolment, Nov 2018

Monday November 12th, 2018 11:38:09 AM
A lively discussion on the private pension crisis in Ireland took place in Chartered Accountants House in Dublin last Tuesday evening (6 November 2018) where the audience heard about the important role accountants will play in helping making auto-enrolment a success in Ireland.  Speakers on the night were Gillian Ryan, Standard Life, Charlie Weston, the Irish Independent, Gary Briggs, Vintage Corporate and Cróna Clohisey, Chartered Accountants Ireland.   The event was chaired by Dr Brian Keegan, Director of Public Policy & Taxation at the Institute and there were lots of take-aways from a well debated Q&A session, including – If implemented, auto-enrolment should not be administratively burdensome or complex for employers Certainty is needed on Government plans for the State pension There should be early education on the need for saving for retirement To promote pension coverage, should the word “savings” be used? These considerations and many others will feature in future Institute research and publications.  Thank you to all the members who supported this event, which featured in the Irish Independent. 

In the Media, 12 November 2018

Monday November 12th, 2018 11:37:05 AM
In his regular column in the Sunday Business Post, Brian Keegan, Director of Public Policy and Taxation discusses how Brexit confusion highlights the need for a Government advocate to fight in the taxpayer's corner when political decisions are being made.    The Institute’s recent seminar on private pensions featured in the Irish Independent.

ECOFIN support for EU digital tax waivers

Monday November 12th, 2018 11:37:01 AM
The Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) met in Brussels last Tuesday 6 November and on the agenda was the Commission’s proposal for a digital tax.  According to the ECOFIN press release, there are differences between member states on several issues, including the precise scope of services which would be subject to the tax.  The Presidency concluded that there will be further work at technical level in order to be able to reach an agreement at the Council meeting on 4 December. Germany, which initially supported the plans for an EU digital tax, now wishes to wait for the output of an OECD report on digital tax which is due to be published in 2020.  Ireland continues to voice its opposition to the introduction of a digital tax at EU level on the grounds that such a tax would damage trade for Ireland and a digital tax favours larger consumer markets, putting Ireland at a distinct disadvantage.     

Proposed changes to Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP)

Monday November 12th, 2018 11:36:29 AM
The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, announced last week that he proposes to bring forward amendments to the operation of the SARP at the Report Stage of Finance Bill 2018. The changes proposed include placing a €1m ceiling on eligible income for SARP recipients.  This change would be effective for new entrants to the programme from 1 January 2019 and for existing beneficiaries of the programme from 1 January 2020.  The proposed changes follow a report prepared by Revenue which notes a large increase in the cost of SARP to over €18 million in 2016 (an increase from €9.5 million in 2015). The Report Stage of the Bill is scheduled to take place on 20 and 21 November.






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