Pictured at the Chartered Accountants Ireland 125th Anniversary Dinner in Dublin are An Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, Chartered Accountants Ireland President Brendan Lenihan, and First Minister Peter Robinson
Adherence to enhanced governance is critical for business leaders and accountancy profession
Speaking at the 125th Anniversary Dinner of Chartered Accountants Ireland, Institute President Brendan Lenihan FCA said that business leaders and the accountancy profession must innovate and adapt to a new economic reality, and key to this is the adherence and adoption of enhanced governance and regulatory procedures, for the benefit of business and society.
Mr Lenihan was joined by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson MLA in addressing an audience of 900 dignitaries and guests this evening (Thurs 30th Jan 2014) at the 125th Anniversary Dinner of Chartered Accountants Ireland at the Convention Centre Dublin. The Institute was founded by Royal Charter 125 years ago and tonight’s event is the culmination of celebrations held over recent months to remind the wider public of the role of Chartered Accountants in that period.
Congratulating Chartered Accountants Ireland on its historic landmark, the Tánaiste acknowledged the important role of professional bodies like Chartered Accountants in post-bailout Ireland: “Chartered Accountants Ireland and its members, through their emphasis on innovation and education, are among those driving sustainable recovery in Ireland. And that mirrors the work of Government as we seek to bed down that recovery by pursuing new opportunities abroad. Some of the fastest-growing economies in the world are now in Africa, and China will soon be the largest economy in the world. We have to develop and maintain our existing trading links, but we also have to build new ones – not just because we want a share of that growth, but because we need to diversify the sources of our income.”
Acknowledging the importance of the Institute’s work to Northern Ireland’s economy, the First Minister Peter Robinson said: “I congratulate Chartered Accountants Ireland on the 125th anniversary of its Royal Charter. I commend the work that the Institute does both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and I appreciate the important contribution it provides to the Executive in terms of enterprise and growing our economy.
“The Northern Ireland Executive and Irish Government share significant economic and budgetary challenges, and I welcome that work together on areas where we can achieve mutual benefit on many areas such as health, infrastructure, development and EU Funding.
The First Minister continued: “This May will mark the seventh anniversary of devolution being restored to Northern Ireland and unlike previous attempts to return powers to Stormont we have managed to establish a stable and lasting government. There are still major challenges to overcome, but we have achieved something previously felt impossible.
“We may not yet have completed the task but we have laid the foundations and created the environment for a more peaceful and prosperous future. I am confident that the political stability that has been achieved is the bedrock of the economic progress being made.
Concluding the First Minister said: “We have much to be proud of in our economy and this is something which we want to maintain as we re-enter an economic growth phase. I thank Chartered Accountants Ireland for the vital work that its organisations undertake in nurturing our economy and look forward to continue to developing our valuable working relationship.”
Institute President Brendan Lenihan assessed the challenges ahead for the profession. “For Chartered Accountants, no more than other professionals with a role to play in economic development, the most significant challenge we face is adapting and innovating in a rapidly changing world while maintaining our professional values. We have to learn from the past and ensure a culture of robust corporate governance structures is in place and adhered to. Lip service is not enough. I believe the way in which we meet our current challenges will define the perception of our profession in the years to come.”
Mr Lenihan drew attention to the scale and scope of positions now occupied by Irish Chartered Accountants in the business life of this island. “The Charter granted in 1888 to our founding fathers makes it clear that our Institute was founded, not to promote individual or commercial gain, but to deliver a class of people who could perform the vital work to benefit the communities in which they live. That rings as true today as in 1888. The need for good accountancy, financial control and governance matters has never been more acute. Chartered Accountants respond to these important and difficult challenges every day in a committed and progressive manner. Our profession will continue to contribute greatly to the progress of business and society.”
Welcoming the First Minister Peter Robinson MLA, Mr Lenihan emphasised the all-island structure of the profession and the 3,700 Chartered Accountants based in Northern Ireland. “Our members are fiercely proud of their all-island status and have maintained a strong sense of collegiality, north and south. Individually and collectively, we are working to identify opportunities for economic growth in both jurisdictions. Our future will be a shared future, working together to forge economic recovery and growth.”
Beyond these shores, Irish Chartered Accountants often choose to broaden their experience and spend at least some part of their careers working overseas, and Mr Lenihan reflected on his own time working in the US for some years. “The concept of diaspora is surely nowhere more in evidence than with our members. Irish Chartered Accountants are located in over 90 countries worldwide and their skills and Irish qualification are held in the highest esteem in every financial hub across the globe. Wherever our members work and live, this Institute travels with them and continues to support them.”
Finally the President of Chartered Accountants Ireland drew attention to Institute’s role as innovator, educator and representative body for almost 23,000 finance professionals and 6,600 students. “The provision of outstanding education programmes to serve the next generation of Chartered Accountants is core to the function of our Institute. Our profession and our member firms are consistently the single biggest graduate employer in Ireland, a fact often overlooked. I’m also very proud of the progressive nature of our profession in terms of gender balance and access to the profession. I am certain that the future of Chartered Accountants Ireland is more than secure in the hands of our current and future students.”