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News feed from Chartered Accountants Ireland

Last feed update: Wednesday June 28th, 2017 12:12:31 AM

Growth for in-company training continues in 2017

Wednesday June 28th, 2017 09:47:32 AM
One of the trends we’ve seen in 2017 is the growth in demand for tailored in-house training. Speaking about this, Jenny O’Duffy Potts, who oversees the Institutes ‘In-company training’ offering said that ‘more and more companies are opting for this approach as it’s flexible, efficient, practical and cost effective. The training in customised around your companies needs ensuring that companies get the best possible return from their training.’ A recent IBEC report highlighted this upward trend saying “Ireland is continuing to invest in workplace training and development with a view to increasing productivity and meeting statutory obligations today and towards improved performance management, management, and leadership in the future. There is a move towards less traditional training methods and, in line with international trends, we are likely to see more in-house…training in the workplace.” Our in-house training is taught by industry experts at your premises thus resulting in cutting down on travel and costs, please see more information about our in-house training.

Report shows Chartered Accountants in high demand, average earnings over €100K

Wednesday June 28th, 2017 08:34:36 AM
Annual Salary Survey shows accountants in Leinster earning €106k average, newly qualified earning €56k-€58k Louise O'Leary, The Panel search and selection with Oliver Holt, Leinster Society Chairman The average salary package (base salary + car or car allowance + bonus) for a Chartered Accountant in Leinster is over €100,000 for the fifth year in a row, according to new research published today. The 2017 average salary package is €106,500, at similar levels to 2016 and reflects significant demand for Chartered Accountants at all levels. The survey of more than 1,700 Chartered Accountants was carried out by Chartered Accountants Leinster Society in association with The Panel search and selection consultancy. The research reveals that eight out of ten Chartered Accountants have seen their salary increase by at least 10% over the last three years. The average salary package for a Chartered Accountant working in industry in their first year post-qualification now stands at €56,800. Those in their first year post-qualification in financial services are earning slightly more with an average package of €58,800. The survey also indicates a healthy level of career progression within the Chartered Accountancy profession, with 45% of those surveyed having been promoted in the last three years. This is up from 41% for the same period in 2016. Chartered Accountants also reported feeling confident about their employment prospects, with 89% finding the jobs market positive. 23% of them reported moving to a new job in the last 12 months.   The salary survey also shows that most Chartered Accountants in Leinster currently work in industry, business and financial services, with 68% working in these sectors all together, while 21% work in an accountancy practice and 11% are in public service. The survey also points to the other benefits enjoyed by Chartered Accountants. 24% of respondents either have a company car (5%) or receive a car allowance (19%).  19% of respondents receive share options.   Commenting on the results of the salary survey, Oliver Holt, Chairman of Chartered Accountants Leinster Society said: “The 2017 Leinster Society salary survey shows a profession much in demand, with considerable career opportunities, whether in financial services, public practice or industry. “I would like to thank the 1,700 Leinster Society members for contributing to one of the most detailed and representative of such studies in Ireland. “As well as benchmarking salaries, satisfaction, career progression and non-monetary compensation were also measured, making it valuable not just for members and employers, but also for those contemplating a career as an accountant. Chartered Accountancy remains the largest single employer of new graduates in Ireland. “For these potential Chartered Accountancy students, we are seeing more training vacancies available in businesses and practices across Ireland for graduates of all backgrounds, and the Institute is championing more flexible entry-routes into the profession for talented people. The survey demonstrates why Chartered Accountancy remains the leading accountancy qualification in Ireland due to its attractive rewards, international opportunities, and rapid career progression.” Paul McArdle, Managing Partner of The Panel, who assisted in analysing the survey results said: “The survey points to a buoyant jobs market where there is real competition for talent. Almost 80% of our survey respondents have seen their salary increase by more than 10% in the last three years. Employers are clearly keen to retain that talent and the survey points to an appetite for greater work/life flexibility as a key priority for these highly skilled finance professionals. It also demonstrates the importance of Chartered Accountants in the current climate and the range of roles they hold.” Full details of the Annual Salary Survey of Chartered Accountants Leinster Society in association with The Panel can be viewed at www.charteredaccountants.ie/Leinster/Salary-Survey The PowerPoint slides from the salary survey breakfast briefing are available online. To find out more about becoming a Chartered Accountant, visit www.charteredcareers.ie Key Findings: Average Salary Package (base salary + car or car allowance + bonus) for a Chartered Accountant in Leinster is €106,544. (Salaries were surveyed as at 31 January 2017) The Average Salary Package for a Chartered Accountant in their first year post-qualification taking a position in industry stands at €56,800. The Average Salary Package for a Chartered Accountant in their first year post-qualification taking a position in financial services is €58,800. 79% of respondents have seen their salary increase by at least 10% over the last three years. The salary survey also shows that most Chartered Accountants in Leinster currently work in industry, business and financial services, with 68% working in these sectors, while 21% work in an accountancy practice and 11% are in public service. 45% of respondents have been promoted in the last three years (2016: 41%). Members are more confident than ever with 89% finding the jobs market positive. 23% reported moving to a new job in the last 12 months. “How was your bonus calculated?” 1,164 members responded to this question with personal performance being a criteria for 70% of respondents; company performance was a criteria for a similar percentage with one in five respondents citing team performance as a criteria. “What value do you place on work / life balance and flexible working arrangements?”  82% of respondents said that they would sacrifice 5% of their salary for a better work / life balance (45% said they would give up 10% of their salaries, such was the importance of flexibility to them). Ends Note to Editors: Chartered Accountants Leinster Society is a district society of Chartered Accountants Ireland, representing 12,500 Chartered Accountants throughout Leinster. Chartered Accountants Ireland is the largest, longest established and fastest growing professional accountancy body in Ireland with over 25,500 members in 93 countries around the globe.   Average salary package is the total of the basic salary plus bonus and car allowance or car (valued at €12,000 for the purpose of the survey) The survey was conducted by the Leinster Society from 1 to 12 June 2017. Reference:  Bryan Rankin, Marketing Manager, Chartered Accountants Ireland T: (01) 637 7268 / bryan.rankin@charteredaccountants.ie

Planned downtime - 28-06-2017

Tuesday June 27th, 2017 08:47:10 PM
The website will be offline from 6 am until 8 am on Wednesday 27 June 2017 for essential maintenance. 

NI Corporation Tax in the hands of NI politicians

Tuesday June 27th, 2017 03:53:06 PM
Northern Ireland corporation tax rate in the hands of the Northern Ireland politicians – Chartered Accountants Ireland  “We are encouraged to see the focus returning on corporation tax devolution in this week’s agreement between the Conservative party and the DUP”, says Shauna Greely, President of Chartered Accountants Ireland. “A vital hurdle still to be crossed is to ensure that the political parties in Northern Ireland now focus on reforming the Northern Ireland Executive. This is the key step without which it will not be possible to achieve corporation tax devolution. “The Northern Ireland rate (12.5%) and date (1 April 2018) were announced as part of the 2015 Fresh Start Agreement. The political parties in Northern Ireland now need to seize the opportunity that is available. As an all-island business organisation, Chartered Accountants Ireland is particularly aware of the benefits that a low rate of corporation tax can bring” said Ms Greely. Ends Reference: Brian Keegan, Director of Taxation, Chartered Accountants Ireland +00353 87 2347 329                   www.charteredaccountants.ie

Anti-Money Laundering UK - Regulations 2017

Monday June 26th, 2017 01:49:24 PM
The Government has published new regulations transposing the 4th Anti Money Laundering Directive into UK law.  These are effective from 26 June 2017. For further information please click on the following link - https://www.gov.uk/government/news/crack-down-on-terrorist-and-criminal-financing.

NI corporation tax features in Conservative Party/DUP agreement

Monday June 26th, 2017 11:44:21 AM
This morning saw the signing of the Confidence and Supply Agreement between the Conservative Party and the Democratic Unionist Party. Northern Ireland corporation tax devolution features on page 2 of the financial support for Northern Ireland document. After the launch last week of NI’s first Enterprise Zone, it looks like corporation tax devolution may be a step closer. The Financial support document tells us that: “The UK Government notes that one of the first tasks for the new Executive will be to work towards the devolution of Corporation Tax rates, the timetable for its introduction, and how this might best be flexibly managed, with options being developed for Autumn Budget 2017”.

National Economic Dialogue, 27 & 28 June

Monday June 26th, 2017 10:53:53 AM
Representatives from Chartered Accountants Ireland are attending the National Economic Dialogue which takes place tomorrow Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 June.  These discussions are particularly important in light of Brexit. The focus over the next two days is an open and inclusive exchange on the competing economic and social priorities facing the Government.  The landscape for Budget 2017 and tax reform are on the programme.   More details on the programme can be found on the Department of Finance’s website.

Where are Revenue eBriefs?

Monday June 26th, 2017 10:53:06 AM
Have you been searching the newly designed Revenue website for the pre-2012 eBriefs?   eBriefs that are more than five years old have been relocated and you will find them published on the historic material section.   Here you will also find Tax Briefings, precedents and Statements of Practice.  

iXBRL filing

Monday June 26th, 2017 10:52:46 AM
We have confirmed with Revenue that section 110 entities who prepare their accounts in accordance with Irish GAAP 2004 can still use the IE GAAP taxonomy.   We are told that Revenue guidance will be updated to clarify this point.  Members have told us that the Companies Registration Office (CRO) number in the mandatory “Context Entity Identifier” field is not accepted by Revenue’s system and a solution is expected from Revenue in the coming days.   You can read more on iXBRL and tagging financial statements on our iXBRL centre.  

Tax.point June edition

Monday June 26th, 2017 10:52:27 AM
In the June issue of tax.point, the monthly tax journal from Chartered Accountants Ireland, Mark Doyle takes a look at recent enhancements to entrepreneur relief.  On the UK side, Leontia Doran takes a look at the client notification requirement regulations which advisers need to address before 31 August 2017.  Reports on key tax developments in Ireland, the UK and internationally are also included.   Regular content includes the Chartered Accountants Ireland Tax Case Digest, important source material, and Irish and UK rates and deadlines.  Subscribers to tax.point should have received their June issue in the post.   TaxSource Total content is updated for June content and TaxSource Total subscribers can now access the June content. 

Chartered Tax Consultant (CTC™): deadline is 28 June

Monday June 26th, 2017 10:51:57 AM
Stage two of CTC™ starts in July and the deadline for applications is this Wednesday 28 June.  If you have completed stage one: Applied Tax, you are eligible to apply.  This qualification will cover a broad range of modules including international tax and accounting for tax.  Contact Amy for more information.

Brexit bites 26 June 2017

Monday June 26th, 2017 10:51:27 AM
With the formal Article 50 negotiations between the EU and the UK underway in Brussels, EU agencies based in the UK moving, and the UK government’s plans now outlined for the next two years, it’s been a busy week in Brexit developments. In other news, Chartered Accountants Ireland, along with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland, hosted a major Brexit briefing for members.   "Irish business will not sit quietly and wait for bad things to happen" The comments were made by Chartered Accountants Ireland President Shauna Greely at a major Brexit briefing in Dublin last Tuesday evening co-hosted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland and attended by over 130 Institute members and guests. Read the full press release and view photos from the event. Brexit talks begin, DUPs and Tories agree deal Almost a year after the UK historically voted to leave the EU, the Article 50 negotiations begin in Brussels last Monday despite speculation that the talks might be delayed due to the hung parliament in the UK following the General Election.  This morning however, the Northern Ireland DUP party agreed a deal to support the Tories with Theresa May saying both parties “share many values” and the agreement was a “very good one”. Speaking after the initial EU talks, the EU negotiator Michel Barnier said that “the first session was useful to start off on the right foot” with there being an agreement on dates and priorities for the negotiation.  The UK had been hoping to push trade talks up the agenda but it would appear that David Davis has agreed to the EU timetable. One week of negotiations will take place each month and the first phase “the negotiation rounds will be broken down into three groups: citizens’ rights, the single financial settlement, and other separation issues”.  Trade will be discussed once there is agreement on these items. On Ireland, Mr Barnier said “We agreed that our closest collaborators will start a dialogue on Ireland. The protection of the Good Friday agreement and the maintenance of the Common Travel Area are the most urgent issues to discuss”. Michel Barnier has previously said that any deal must be finalised by October 2018 meaning the UK will have less than 18 months to negotiate. Despite apparent cabinet splits over how to approach the Brexit negotiations, Ms May remains positive. Speaking in her introduction to the Queen’s speech she stated “We are going to see Brexit through”.    The Queens Speech The Queen outlined her government’s plan to introduce a number of bills to facilitate Brexit during her speech in Parliament last week.  The largest piece of legislation will be the Repeal Bill which will transfer EU law into UK law when the UK leaves the EU in March 2019.  Other proposed legislation include a bill on a UK customs regime, immigration policy, fisheries and farming along with a bill to allow the UK have its own trade policy.  Seeking a deep and special partnership with the EU, the Queen promised to support UK businesses export around the work while supporting the economy to create jobs, improve public finances and keep taxes low.   Critics reportedly called the speech “threadbare” with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn stating it showed a government “without a mandate or serious legislative programme.”  UK based EU agencies on the move At a meeting of the European Council last week, procedures were put in place to relocate the European Banking Authority and European Medicines Agency which are both located in the UK.  Member States that are interested in hosting the agencies have until 31 July 2017 to submit offers. The 27 EU ministers will vote and secede on relocation in November 2017. Former Minister for Finance Michael Noonan had offered Ireland as a possible new location for the European Banking Authority post Brexit.  The authority was established in 2011 to help create a single market for the EU banking sector and looks after regulatory policy, risk assessment as well as financial innovation. Brexit shorts Latest ESRI report says a hard Brexit could cost Ireland 49,000 jobs Theresa May expected to put forward the UK’s proposal on citizen’s rights today DUP’s agree a deal to support the minority Conservative government in the UK Northern Ireland is a serious and sensitive issue in Brexit talks David Davis suggests containers could be tagged for an ‘invisible border’ between North and South Lloyd’s secures Irish licence for Dublin subsidiary French President pledges cooperation with the UK post-Brexit Read all of our Brexit updates on the dedicated Brexit section of our website.

In the zone

Monday June 26th, 2017 10:49:21 AM
Last week saw the official launch of Northern Ireland’s first Enterprise Zone.  Known as Atlantic Link, the zone is based in Coleraine. The 16-hectare site has direct links to Project Kelvin, which offers a data transfer route between the UK and North America.  The enterprise zone is designed for digital companies that want to launch, relocate and expand their businesses.  The initiative was first announced by former Chancellor George Osborne at Budget 2014 and offers enhanced capital allowances, superfast broadband and simplified planning as it is already zoned for industrial/commercial activity.

Summer Finance Bill?

Monday June 26th, 2017 10:48:41 AM
The Finance Bill 2017 shortened by the snap General Election earlier this month appears set to go before ministers following the resumption of parliament after the Queen’s Speech.  But the Bill appears to have just 20 sitting days before the summer recess to go through the parliamentary process and there is currently no detail on what exactly the Summer Finance Bill might contain. Rushing the Bill through before summer recess starts on 20 July may face issues as there are currently no select committees in place following the election so there appears to be little time for proper scrutiny. In the accompanying background notes to the Queen’s speech, the extended two year programme ‘will also include three Finance Bills to implement budget decisions’.  ‘Summer Finance Bill 2017 will include a range of tax measures including those to tackle avoidance,’ it adds. Finance Bill 2017 which followed the Spring Budget was largely truncated, with the vast majority of measures stripped out of the final Act.  This included some major changes to the UK tax system including legislation relating to Making Tax Digital, corporation tax loss relief reform, the new deemed domicile concept and the new rules on corporate interest restriction.  Many of these measures were due to take effect in April 2017.

European Commission launch rules to counter aggressive tax planning by advisors

Monday June 26th, 2017 10:48:09 AM
The European Commission recently published new transparency rules for tax planning intermediaries such as tax advisors, accountants, banks and lawyers, who design and promote tax planning schemes for their clients. Cross-border tax planning schemes bearing certain characteristics or 'hallmarks' which can result in losses for governments will now have to be automatically reported to the tax authorities before they are used if the Commission’s proposal is successful.  Under the proposals, member states will automatically exchange information on tax planning schemes through a centralised database and member states can take measures to block harmful arrangements. The proposal, which takes the form of an amendment to the Directive for Administration Cooperation (DAC), will be submitted to the European Parliament for consultation and to the Council for adoption. According to the Commission, the new reporting requirements should enter into force on 1 January 2019, with EU Member States obliged to exchange information every 3 months after that. Earlier this year Chartered Accountants Ireland under the auspices of the CCAB-I responded to a consultation carried out by the Commission on this topic.  The CCAB-I’s submission noted that mandatory disclosure obligations are already in place at a national level in Ireland and Ireland also has international information exchange arrangements in place that are prescribed by the OECD.  The CCAB-I contends that the European Commission will be duplicating laws already in place and will also be interfering with national sovereignty in direct tax matters if it tries to impose additional laws at EU level.  

Worldwide Disclosure Facility extension for certain complex cases

Monday June 26th, 2017 10:47:56 AM
On 31 December 2015, all HMRC offshore facilities closed.  Up to that date, HMRC gave incentives to encourage people to come forward and clear up their tax affairs.  That’s no longer the case, but before automatic exchange and new sanctions come into force, the Worldwide Disclosure Facility (“WDF”) will be the final chance to come forward before HMRC uses Common Reporting Standard data and a tougher approach to offshore non-compliance.  The facility opened on 5 September 2016.   The WDF guidance has recently been updated to advise that from 17 June, the current 90-day window will be extended in certain circumstances but taxpayers must agree the extension with HMRC in advance and register for a disclosure reference number. In exceptional circumstances if the taxpayers affairs are particularly complex, the taxpayer can apply for up to 90 additional days from notification in which to make their disclosure, giving up to 180 days in total.  If you wish to check eligibility for this additional time contact HMRC on +44 300 322 7012. After 30 September 2018, new sanctions under Requirement to Correct will be introduced that reflect HMRC’s toughening approach.  You can still make a disclosure after that date but those new terms will not be as good as those currently available.

Don’t be caught out by planned downtime to HMRC services, 26 June 2017

Monday June 26th, 2017 10:47:10 AM
Will you be using HMRC online services in the coming weeks?  Don’t be caught out by the planned downtime to some services. HMRC are warning about the non-availability of specific services on the HMRC website, a range of services are impacted. Check the relevant page for information on planned downtime. 

BEPS discussion drafts on attribution of profits to PEs and transactional profit splits

Monday June 26th, 2017 10:46:43 AM
The OECD just published discussion drafts titled Additional Guidance on Attribution of Profits to Permanent Establishments and Discussion Draft on the Revised Guidance on Profit Splits.   Interested parties are asked to submit comments on these discussion drafts by 15 September to TransferPricing@oecd.org. The OECD also intends to hold a public consultation on these additional guidance documents in November 2017 at the OECD Conference Centre in Paris, France.

Forthcoming Talking Points events, 26 June 2017

Monday June 26th, 2017 10:45:44 AM
Details of forthcoming online HMRC events are outlined. HMRC’s Agent Talking Points are weekly online digital meetings designed specifically for tax agents and advisors. These are short sessions focusing on topics agents have highlighted they are interested in or on emerging issues jointly identified by agents and HMRC that may have widespread impact.  Talking Points sessions provide agents with the opportunity to put questions to subject matter experts from HMRC, across a range of different topics.   Registration is quick and easy, but please do so at least 5 minutes before a digital meeting is due to start. The Construction industry scheme (“CIS”): this will provide a basic overview of the CIS, including registration, gross payment status, deductions, record keeping, and repayments. The session will also cover reporting, including how to correct errors on returns and common errors to avoid. Th‌ur‌sd‌ay 2‌9 J‌un‌e - m‌id‌da‌y to 1p‌m    Register now Th‌ur‌sd‌ay 2‌9 J‌un‌e - 2p‌m to 3p‌m         Register now Tax codes and what is changing: How HMRC are changing the way information is used to calculate tax codes including how estimated pay, third party information and RTI data will be influencing codes and the introduction of an in year adjustment. Fr‌id‌ay 7 J‌uly - 1‌1a‌m to m‌id‌da‌y         Register now Fr‌id‌ay 7 J‌uly - 1p‌m to 2p‌m                Register now HMRC payment strategy: this meeting will focus on reducing cheque payments and the elimination of payable orders. Tu‌esd‌ay 1‌1 J‌uly - m‌id‌da‌y to 1p‌m     Register now Tu‌esd‌ay 11‌ J‌uly - 2p‌m to 3p‌m          Register now Statutory residence test split year treatment: HMRC are running separate meetings over two days on this subject covering the different cases. Cases 1-3 (actual or deemed departure from the UK): Th‌ur‌sd‌ay 1‌3 J‌uly - 1p‌m to 2p‌m       Register now Cases 4-8 (actual or deemed arrival in the UK): Fr‌id‌ay 1‌4 J‌uly - 1p‌m to 2.3‌0p‌m      Register now These interactive sessions will be run via the ‘CITRIX’ platform.  Some of you will already be familiar with how to ask a question but, for any newcomers, the organiser will run through how to do this on the day.   There will be a chance to ask questions during each session, but if you have any questions for HMRC's subject matter expert prior to the meeting please send them to team.agentengagement@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk. Missed any recent Talking Points meetings? HMRC keep recordings for a limited time, to give you the opportunity to catch up if you missed a live meeting. Here are the most recent ones: VAT and motoring expenses: if any of your clients are VAT registered and claim for a vehicle then you will find this helpful.  It provides a reminder of the general rules that apply when reclaiming VAT on the purchase of cars and when hiring and leasing vehicles.  It also covers commercial vehicles, other motoring expenses and record keeping.  Register and view Capital allowances and vehicles: this meeting mainly covered the special rules of how to claim for cars.  For those using traditional accounting, HMRC explained how to claim tax relief for vehicles and other longer life items bought to use in a business. Register and view Companies House: almost every entity on the Companies House register has to file accounts.  This meeting focused on digital enablement of those types of accounts which currently have to be filed on paper.  HMRC discussed the ways this has been carried out and what is needed in order to achieve this goal. Register and view Payrolling benefits in kind: If you deal with employers this meeting provided a basic overview of payrolling benefits in kind.  The session took a brief look at what happens when you submit a full payment submission and how to use the payrolling benefits and expenses online service.  Register and view Future Talking Points meetings and links to other recordings continue to be hosted on GOV.UK.

This week’s UK tax tidbits, 26 June 2017

Monday June 26th, 2017 10:44:39 AM
Developments of interest are outlined. The criteria for filing a self-assessment tax return have been updated The Land Transaction Tax (LTT) and Anti-avoidance of Devolved Taxes (Wales) Act has received Royal Assent. The rates and thresholds for LTT will be published by October 2017 The list of upcoming tax tribunal appeal hearings, including details of previous cases has been updated Use the Inheritance Tax grossing up calculator to work out an estate value when legacies in a will are free of tax and other assets are tax exempt HMRC has updated the list (List 3) of professional bodies and learned societies, approved by HMRC for the purpose of section 344 ITEPA 2003 (allowable deductions from earnings for fees and subscriptions paid to professional bodies/learned societies). The list includes all bodies approved as at 15 May Use the online form service to claim tax relief or any tax refund you're owed if you've left or are about to leave the UK

In conversation with Joe McGinley, founder of Iconic Offices

Friday June 23rd, 2017 02:12:16 PM
How much can an office’s design affect the employees who work inside of it? Office design is a critical component to having a productive and happy team. It’s not all about expensive gadget or pieces of art, it is more important that the space actually works for the team it houses and that they feel comfortable within the space. It is also critical that teams have space to do their important ‘head down’ work but also that there are separate spaces for taking telephone calls, informal meetings, private meetings and some quiet zones for people to be able to think and problem solve. These days, you hear about offices with games rooms, quiet areas and special cafes – do these office designs truly build employee morale? These amenities are important when recruiting new staff as they show the employer understands what new employees typically want from a workplace. But once you get the employee in the door and it becomes a game of staff retention, these aspects need to actually function and, more importantly, fit in to the company’s culture. There’s no point in an employer putting in a foosball table in the corner of the office but then staring and begrudging everybody who tries to use it. It’s not about gimmicks. Companies need to build space which reflects their true company culture. This is how you can ensure you hire and retain staff that actually fit within the organisation. Remember, not everybody is a rockstar. A few years ago, CEOs started experimenting with the idea of open-plan offices. What are the benefits from having all employees together on an office floor from a CEO’s perspective and have organisations seen those benefits? Open plan works really well. But like all things in life, it is about balance. You need to have the right ratio of open plan vs private and breakout spaces. From a CEO’s perspective, open plan allows you to deploy a high density strategy, meaning you can get more bodies into a smaller space and thus keep costs down. However, one size does not fit all and this is why it is critically important to ensure the open plan space is balanced with some separate quiet zones, break out spaces, meeting spaces, kitchen facilities, etc. Open plan is a great way for staff to collaborate and be creative but this style of working isn’t required in all industries. In some industries, concentration is key and, for this, most people need quiet. Discovering what type of space works for your business is a journey and the relativity is that it will evolve over time as the business changes.  What few changes can a CEO make to an office to make employees happier at work and more productive? It’s not all about expensive furniture and ping pong tables. Companies need to focus on refining their company culture and that their team are truly engaged. This culture then needs to filter down into the work-space design, the functionality of the space and the employer needs to ensure the space meets the needs of the staff. Some small things CEOs can do which can make a big change include introducing some plants and greenery, providing really great kitchen facilities where staff can eat together, providing good shower/ changing and bike parking facilities and introducing inspiring art/ prints which are in line with the company culture and beliefs. What are the most common mistakes inexperienced planners make when putting together their corporate space? When employers go it alone, they build out what they understand a functional office should be. However, what they are missing by doing this is the fact that new employees are looking for more from an office than just a basic office environment. As we are all aware, the boundaries between work and play are becoming more and more blurred and staff want to work in an environment which represents them as a person and within a space where they can socialise and not just work.

EU audit rules - the state of play

Friday June 23rd, 2017 01:29:01 PM
Accountancy Europe provides an update on member states’ implementation of new EU audit rules.   About one year after the implementation deadline, Accountancy Europe has compiled an updated state of play in 31 European countries, including 28 EU member states. The organisation has further analysed member states' decisions and visualised the potential outcomes for the key options regarding: Providing non-audit services; Mandatory audit firm rotation; and Organising public oversight. To provide a better overview and make information easier to understand, information on non-audit services and mandatory audit firm rotation is displayed in a more detailed way. To review the report entitled 'Member States' Implementation of New EU Audit Rules - State of Play as of June 2017', click here.   For more information on the state of play regarding implementation in the different member states, visit the European Contact Group's online database.

FASB proposes improvements to consolidation guidance

Friday June 23rd, 2017 01:03:28 PM
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued a proposed Accounting Standard Update (ASU) intended to reduce the cost and complexity of financial reporting associated with consolidation of variable interest entities (VIEs). The proposed ASU, which is based on recommendations from the Private Company Council (PCC), would address private company concerns around the difficulty of navigating and applying current VIE guidance to common control arrangements. Under the proposed amendments, a private company (reporting entity) would not have to apply VIE guidance to legal entities under common control (including common control leasing arrangements) if both the parent and the legal entity being evaluated for consolidation are not public business entities.   The accounting alternative would provide an accounting policy election that a private company would apply to all current and future legal entities under common control that meet the criteria for applying this alternative - it could not be applied to select common control arrangements. If the alternative is elected, a private company still would be required to follow other consolidation guidance, particularly the voting interest entity guidance, unless another scope exception applies. Additionally, it would require a private company to provide detailed disclosures about its involvement with and exposure to the legal entity under common control.   The proposed ASU also would amend certain VIE guidance for related party arrangements. More information on these amendments can be found in the FASB In Focus document.   Stakeholders are asked to review and provide comment on the proposed ASU by 5 September 2017.

Will the Brexit outcome meet UK industry’s needs?

Friday June 23rd, 2017 11:47:43 AM
What did Chancellor Hammond’s speech mean for the UK’s negotiating position on Brexit? Eoin O’Shea takes a look. After the recent UK election, in which Prime Minister May failed to achieve her stated objective of securing an increased majority, thoughts among the UK establishment seem to have turned to the possibility of a Brexit deal which British industry could live with as opposed to the Brexit deal which had been offered during the referendum by the Brexiteers, (or by the UK’s government, in the meantime). In particular, and in the aftermath of the election on 18 June 2017, Chancellor Philip Hammond had cause to say that “no deal would be a very, very bad outcome for Britain”. On 20 June 2017, while speaking at the Chancellor’s annual address at London’s Mansion House, Mr Hammond stated that his aim for the Brexit negotiations was directed at “maintaining our strong trade links with the European markets after we leave the EU”. According to the Chancellor, a negotiating position should be adopted by the UK which “prioritises British jobs, and underpins British prosperity”. During his speech, the Chancellor accepted that “The future of our economy is inexorably linked to the kind of Brexit deal that we reach with the EU.” A few months ago (during March 2017), the UK’s House of Lords published a report entitled Brexit: Trade in Goods, which was published following their lordships’ discussions with representatives from the major trading bodies in the UK. Their lordships’ conclusions, having regard to the UK Government’s Brexit negotiating position, might seem stark. In order not to be seen to put a slant on the conclusions, it is perhaps appropriate to present their views by way of sequential quotations: “Safeguarding UK-EU trade in goods will be a critical factor in ensuring the UK’s long term prosperity post Brexit.”; “All the sectors from which we took evidence expressed concerns about the imposition of tariffs in their sectors.”; “Many UK businesses cannot easily substitute their imports from the EU with UK products.”; “Non-tariff barriers can pose as significant or greater a barrier as tariffs to trade in goods.”; “If the UK and the EU were to agree a FTA, compliance with preferential rules of origin might be so administratively burdensome for some sectors, such as chemicals, as to outweigh the benefit of tariff reductions.”; “Some industries with an integrated EU supply chain and high levels of both imports and exports, notably the automotive sector, might be unable to comply with the local content requirements contained in the EU’s preferential rules of origin.” (Meaning that, even if there is a free trade deal between the EU and the UK, it is possible that important UK businesses, like the automotive trade, would not be able to benefit from such a free trade deal because the products would not qualify as goods of UK origin.); “Regulatory standards are a significant non-tariff barrier. If the current level of EU-UK trade is to be maintained, ongoing harmonisation or mutual recognition of regulatory standards may be required.” (Bang goes the Daily Express’s “Now EU wants to ban our Kettles" referendum campaign warning!); “Leaving the EU customs union would result in costly administrative requirements and customs procedures, whatever new framework for trade is established.”; “Administering UK-EU tariffs and non-tariff barriers -  in the absence of a common regulatory system - would also significantly increase the work of HMRC, a task for which it is not currently resourced. The UK would also have to establish new customs posts, develop a new customs code and consider improvements to the UK’s systems for trade processing.”; “Thus Brexit is likely to result in a cessation of the preferential conditions of trade with non-EU countries currently enjoyed by UK businesses.”; “Uncertainty is the enemy of investment. Lack of clarity on what Brexit will entail has caused concern in the business community, particularly in sectors reliant on international investment.” Will Britain’s Brexit negotiators take account of the views of UK industry, as expressed to the House of Lords and captured in their lordships report from March 2017? So far, the UK Government’s answer seems to be Doris Day’s “Que sera, sera”. Eoin OShea is a practising barrister, specialising in commercial and tax law and was formerly a member of the European Court of Auditors.

NI economic growth in the slow lane

Friday June 23rd, 2017 11:30:27 AM
A survey of 315 Chartered Accountants across all sectors of the Northern Ireland economy suggests slow growth for the local economy in the year ahead.   The survey by Chartered Accountants Ulster Society found that its members regarded political uncertainty and Brexit instability as key issues likely to affect the economy over the next 12 months.   Cuts in government spending, concerns around the increasing cost of doing business and rising inflation also featured as negative factors affecting the local economy. The economy In general terms, while 72% said that they believed the economy was growing slowly or moderately, only 13% viewed prospects for the year ahead as “good” or “very good”, significantly down from 32% of members in the previous year.    29% saw prospects for the coming year as “poor” or “very poor”, a rise of 11% since last year.   The issues felt to have the most potential to negatively affect the economy in the year ahead were political instability (cited by 95% of respondents) and Brexit uncertainty (cited by 80% of respondents).   On a more encouraging note, 37% of those surveyed identified an improving global outlook as a potential upside. Brexit 59% of respondents said it was “critical” to protect the Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland, while 95% were opposed to a hard border. 96% said they wanted free trade in goods, services and capital to be an important aspect of any deal negotiated with the EU.   Four out of five Chartered Accountants believed that Northern Ireland will be more negatively affected by Brexit compared to the rest of the UK. Corporation tax A reduced rate of corporation tax in Northern Ireland was identified as potentially a major benefit for the local economy, with 63% saying a lower rate would have a positive effect on Northern Ireland’s economic performance.  Jobs, skills and wages On the issue of jobs and skills, the survey showed that over half of respondents did not expect head count in their own organisations to change, with 27% expecting an increase in employment levels and 16% expecting a reduction. Two in every five of those surveyed said that their organisation was currently experiencing skills shortages.   The survey did predict a squeeze on wages, with more than seven in 10 expecting wage increases for the coming year to be below the current rate of inflation (2.9%, Office for National Statistics, June 2017). Comment Pamela McCreedy, Chair of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society, said: “Despite an improving global economy, our members are predicting more modest prospects locally with economic prospects slipping back from 2016 and 2015 levels.   “The uncertainty created by Brexit stands out. Our members clearly feel that Northern Ireland may be more negatively impacted by Brexit than other UK regions and have sent a strong message that they see avoiding a hard border with the Republic of Ireland and free trade with the EU as vital components of any Brexit negotiations.   “I believe that the business community will press forward despite the perceived challenges. We hope that the local political parties will be able to resolve outstanding issues so that a budget and a new programme for government be put into place which can give direction and clarity for Northern Ireland.”   Independent economist Maureen O’Reilly, who formulated and analysed the survey of Northern Ireland’s Chartered Accountants, said: “The survey results suggest that the broad view of members is that Northern Ireland’s economic prospects are weakening.   “Most Chartered Accountants in the survey believe that the economy is either growing slowly or indeed stagnant and do not feel a strong sense of positivity about prospects in the year ahead. Only 13% view prospects as good or better. Uncertainty and instability are certainly weighing down on views around the performance of the local economy in the near term at least.”  






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