Chartered Accountants Ireland

Chartered Accountants Ireland
Abbreviation Chartered Accountants Ireland
Formation 26 May 1888 (1888-05-26)
Legal status Chartered body
Membership 24,000[1]
President Liam Lynch[2]
Chief Executive Pat Costello[3]
Governing body Council
IFAC member since 7 October 1977
Chartered Accountants House, Pearse Street

Established by Royal Charter on 14 May 1888,[4] Chartered Accountants Ireland is Ireland's largest and fastest growing accountancy body. For almost ten years Chartered Accountants Ireland has been the fastest growing accountancy body in the UK and Ireland, with membership increasing by almost 50% in the period 2004 to 2014 .[5]

Chartered Accountants Ireland represents more than 24,000 members[6] throughout the globe.[7] Chartered Accountants Ireland works with governments and businesses to raise awareness of the importance of sound financial advice.

Fully qualified members of Chartered Accountants Ireland earn the designation ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant). After 10 years membership, members are invited to apply for fellowship of their Institute and earn the designation FCA (Fellow Chartered Accountant).[8]

The Institute has mutual recognition agreements in place with its peer institutes in England & Wales, Scotland, Australia New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong and the United States of America. Qualifying members of the Institute may also benefit from the European professional qualification directives

Chartered Accountants Ireland is part of the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies and members are authorised to conduct audit, insolvency and investment business work.

Chartered Accountants Ireland is one of Ireland's six Recognised Accounting Bodies regulated by the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA) which approves accountancy bodies to issue Audit Practice Certificates to "Registered Auditors".

Chartered Accountants Ireland is a founding member of Chartered Accountants Worldwide Chartered Accountants Worldwide is an initiative set up by the leading chartered institutes to support, develop and promote the vital role that Chartered Accountants play throughout the global economy.

Recent developments

In 2007 the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board was established to develop Standards of Professional Conduct and to supervise the compliance of members, member firms, affiliates and students.

Under Investigation

[9][10] They initiated an investigation into the "circumstances around the issue of inappropriate directors' loans at Anglo Irish Bank"and into the performance of Ernst and Young.[11] In 2009, independent Senator Shane Ross said the Institute "ranks with the Central Bank of Ireland as the winner of the wooden spoon for watchdogs".[12] The first Chairman of the Regulatory Board, had companies he is a director of, fined a total of €3.35 million by the Central Bank of Ireland, for risk control and reporting failures.[13][14][15]

In 2009 Chartered Accountants House on Pearse St., was officially opened by President McAleese, with new resources for its members and conferencing facilities.[16]

An external inquiry team in February 2010 found that the Institute's complaints committee had a prima facie case to answer for the conduct of its proceedings and there were further apparent flaws in the accountancy body's disciplinary procedures.[17]

The Irish Times, the country's newspaper of record, in April 2010 raised questions about the role of Institute Members in relation to the crisis affecting the banking sector and an insurance company.[18] Within days, an opinion piece in the respected Sunday Business Post said "what a glorious contribution that body of super-chargers made to the collapse of business and of the entire financial system here and how they have got away with it".[19]

The Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA), the independent body entrusted with overseeing corporate governance in the accountancy profession, in November 2010, fined the Institute of Chartered Accountants €10,000. It described the Chartered Accountants Ireland's complaints committee's behaviour as a "substantive failure and not merely a technical" one.[20]

The next week in November 2010, it was announced that the policing of audits of publicly quoted companies is being taken out of the hands of professional accounting bodies and transferred to the state's auditing watchdog. The move of the role to an independent, state-run body is seen as a more stringent approach to enforcing audit standards. This follows on from an EU recommendation that member states needed to ‘‘up their game’’ in the monitoring of public interest bodies.[21]

The next month Irish accountancy firms and auditors who worked with the Irish banks during the previous three years were barred from doing key stress tests on behalf of the Central Bank of Ireland and the International Monetary Fund.

The Director of Corporate Enforcement, Paul Appleby, in February 2011 said, there were grounds for questioning "the consistency and quality of audit work within the profession". Mr Appleby also said auditors "report surprisingly few types of company law offences to us", with the so-called "big four" auditing firms reporting the least often to his office, at just 5pc of all reports. He had taken issue on "numerous occasions" with the quality of audit work and audit reports issued by accountants. "Occasionally, this has resulted in admissions of lapses, and where appropriate, in revised audit reports being issued." At the same time, the Revenue Commissioners said "that current audits said little about the business model of firms or their liquidity position".[22]

The state's auditing watchdog warned Irish listed companies that it wants to see better financial reporting in 2011, after stating that it has been "disappointed" by Irish plcs.[23]

An April 2011 report[24] into the Irish banking collapse criticised the role of external auditors in failing to identify and warn of the risky lending practices being adopted by Irish banks. It said auditors took a narrow interpretation of their job description and remained "silent" during the excesses of the boom. It found the external auditors of the main Irish banks consistently failed to report "excesses over prudential sector lending limits" to the Central Bank of Ireland.[25]

In July 2011, the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board was fined a record €110,000 by IAASA, the third time the Institute was fined in the space of eight months. It called CARB's failure to comply its own procedures on five occasions as " serious" and found that the Chartered Accountants' Institute recklessly "communicated inaccurate and misleading information" to the complainant.[26]

A week after the Irish Government pumped €1 billion into Credit Unions in October 2011, the Central Bank issued a strong warning to auditors they do not sign off on any accounts unless proper provisions are made for bad debts.[27]

Later in the same month the Central Bank again put the work of Auditors under the mircoscope following their failure to spot systematic and large-scale abuse of client funds at an Investment Firm.[28]

In July 2012, the Institute was criticised when it was discovered that it charged Trainee Accountants in the Republic €600 more than those in Northern Ireland for doing exactly the same course.[29]

Following the publication of a report by the Financial Reporting Council in October 2012, the Irish Times in an acid commentary said it speaks " of a profession that lost its way and, rather than provide a check on rule-bending in financial services, became a willing and well-paid accomplice."[30]

In February 2013, Michel Barnier, the EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, questioned the conduct of the auditors of Irish banks which lead to the financial crash.[31]

The Central Bank of Ireland in January 2014 demanded better auditing standards from Institute members following the discovery of €235m black hole at Ireland's largest car insurer.[32]

The Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board spotted a pattern of repeat poor performances by some firms in their statutory audits of clients but refused to name those who had received consecutively poor marks for the performance of audits. From June 2016, responsibility for the inspection of public interest entity audits such as those of banks and building societies will be transferred away from the Institute.[33]

Education, Training & Careers

In 2009, Chartered Accountants Ireland introduced a new, more flexible route to Chartered Accountancy called 'The Elevation Programme', which was renamed Chartered Business Route, Flexible Option, in 2014.[34] The Chartered Business Route seeks to provide students with the flexibility to study and sit exams while they remain in their current employment and balance personal and career commitments. Students enrolling via the Elevation Programme do not need to undertake a training contract with a local firm. The qualification which Elevation students receive on completion of their studies and experience is equal in prestige and status to those achieved via a training contract. 15% of the Institute's most recent student intake chose this flexible training route.[35] Information for careers in Chartered Accountancy (via both training contract and Elevation Programme) studying in Ireland, is available at

Student Marketing Campaign

From June to September each year, Chartered Accountants Ireland runs comprehensive marketing campaign throughout the island of Ireland.

Chartered Accountants FDI Initiative

In 2012, Chartered Accountants Ireland launched a Foreign Direct Investment Initiative which encourages the organisation's network of over 24,000 members, based across the island of Ireland and overseas, to become ambassadors for the island of Ireland, promoting Ireland (North and South) as a location of choice for FDI business. Currently, over 3,500 Irish Chartered Accountants work overseas, spread across over 90 countries.[36]

As part of the initiative, a new Chartered Accountants FDI guide, "Investing in Ireland: A guide to foreign direct investment in Ireland" and accompanying website are promoted as tools with which to encourage FDI into the island of Ireland from among an international spread of decision makers.[37]

The guide and website are designed to provide senior business leaders with a comprehensive reference point for information on the business structures available in Ireland, as well as company director, filing, auditing and tax requirements. It is designed to assist in discussions between potential investors and institute members who share a common sector, industry or network.[38]

Key Commentators

Key business commentators within Chartered Accountants Ireland include Liam Lynch (President), Tony Nicholl (Immediate Past President), Pat Costello (Chief Executive), Brian Keegan (Director of Tax), and Brendan O’Hora (Director of Communications & Marketing).[39] Topics which Chartered Accountants Ireland has commented on within the Irish Business Media include Foreign Direct Investment,[40] Corporate Social Responsibility,[41] Insolvency,[42] Corporate and Personal Taxation,[43][44] NAMA,[45] The Irish and UK Budget Announcements,[46][47] Key EU Audit and Tax Initiatives[48] and General Business Conditions.[49]


The Council is the highest governance organ of the Institute, determining its strategy and policy, and deciding on the allocation of resources to its various programmes. The Council consists of a total of 23 members with a possible addition of 3 co-optees. The bye-laws make provision for a geographical spread of Council members between the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain and for a balance between members in practice and members in business. The Council Members are listed on the Institute's website. [50]

District Societies

Chartered Accountants Ireland supports six District Societies in Ireland (Ulster, Leinster, Cork, Mid-West, Western, North-West), one in London and one in Australia (Sydney).[51]


  1. Chartered Accountants Ireland website
  4. The Accountant 3 October 1974
  5. Key Facts and Trends – Professional Oversight Board - Financial Reporting Council
  6. Chartered Accountants Ireland website
  7. Chartered Accountants Ireland Annual Report 2011, page 8
  8. Chartered Accountant
  9. LIFE Magazine (2007-04-10). "Watchdog set up to oversee auditors - Irish, Business". Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  10. "Home". Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  11. "Fri, Dec 19, 2008 - Drumm resigns as chief executive of Anglo Irish". The Irish Times. 2008-12-12. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  12. LIFE Magazine (2009-03-15). "Never trust an institute - Shane Ross, Columnists". Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  13. Fit Magazine (2009-10-25). "Ex-regulator red-faced as bank hit by €2.75m fine - Irish, Business". Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  16. Speech by President Mary McAleese at official opening of Chartered Accountants House Tuesday, 8 December 2009
  17. City Guides (2010-02-21). "State watchdog suddenly widens probe into top accountancy body - Irish, Business". Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  18. "Fri, Apr 09, 2010 - Do question marks hang over the heads of auditors?". The Irish Times. 2010-04-04. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  19. "The Sunday Business Post". Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  20. LIFE Magazine (2010-11-07). "Shane Ross: Accountants' body is fined €10k following complaint - Shane Ross, Columnists". Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  21. "The Sunday Business Post". Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  22. City Guides (2011-02-17). "Appleby and Revenue query work of auditors - Irish, Business". Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  23. "The Sunday Business Post". Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  25. "Tue, Apr 19, 2011 - Nyberg report criticises role of auditors". The Irish Times. 2011-04-04. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  26. City Guides (2011-09-18). "Shane Ross: Look out for our Greek pals - Shane Ross, Columnists". Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  27. LIFE Magazine (2011-10-13). "New warning for credit unions on loans from the Central Bank - Irish, Business". Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  28. "Accountants pay €600 more to do course here". Irish Independent. 4 December 2012. C1 control character in |title= at position 18 (help)
  30. "Stephen Kinsella: Behaviour of our auditors during crash can't be ignored any longer". Irish Independent. 19 February 2013.
  32. "Pattern of poor performance at some auditors". Sunday Independent. 17 January 2016.
  35. Ulster Business, 31 August 2012, p.120
  36. Ulster Business, 31 August 2012, p.120
  39. Belfast Telegraph supplement, 2 July 2012, p 6
  40. Sunday Business Post, 15 July 2012, p23
  41. Sunday Independent, 15 July 2012, page 24
  42. Belfast Telegraph, 15 June 2012, p40
  43. Sunday Independent Business, 30 September 2012, page 4
  44. Sunday Business Post, 15 April 2012
  45. Sunday Times, 28 October 2012
  46. Irish News, 22 March 2012, p14
  47. RTÉ Six One News, 29 February 2012
  48. Sunday Independent Business, 5 August 2012, p2

Coordinates: 53°20′39″N 6°14′54″W / 53.344198°N 6.248279°W / 53.344198; -6.248279

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