Ireland’s largest accountancy body, Chartered Accountants Ireland, has today joined partner accountancy bodies in the UK to call on Brexit negotiators on both sides to ensure that the final negotiated exit agreement permits Irish businesses to continue to exercise their right to retain statutory audit firms based in Northern Ireland or Great Britain, and for similar rights to be available for NI businesses to retain ROI audit firms.
The Institute is also urging negotiators to ensure that the current mutual recognition of professional accountancy qualifications between the UK and Ireland is maintained, particularly in relation to auditor recognition. In the Republic of Ireland, UK statutory audit firms are currently recognised under Irish company law.
This comes as a new report released by the leading accountancy bodies in Great Britain and Ireland show that the accountancy profession in the Republic of Ireland contributed over €12.9 billion to Ireland’s GDP in 2017, equivalent to 4.4% of the total Irish economy, and only a little smaller than the economic contribution of the country’s real estate sector (€14.5 billion).
The report, the first to quantify the contribution of the profession to the Irish economy, was produced by UK consultants Oxford Economics on behalf of CCAB (the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies). It shows that one-quarter of the €12.9 billion contribution (€3.2 billion) was generated by the accounting industry itself, with the remainder––around €9.7 billion––made up of the value provided by in-house accountants within other Irish industries.
The report also shows that the accountancy profession in Ireland supported 61,200 jobs in 2017. This is made up of around 37,900 people who were employed as in-house accountants across the Irish economy, along with 23,300 individuals were employed in the accounting, bookkeeping, and audit sector in Ireland.
Accounting activities and supporting services directly contributed to €1.4 billion in tax revenue for Ireland in 2017. The clear majority of this figure, around €1.2 billion, was made up of “labour taxes” (encompassing Income Tax, PRSI, and USC), with the remainder representing taxes on the sales, profits, and purchases of Irish accounting firms.
Speaking this week, Chief Executive of Chartered Accountants Ireland, Barry Dempsey said, "We welcome the discussions that have taken place with the UK Government about the mutual recognition of professional qualifications, which is highly relevant for all professions. The UK Government’s plans to pursue ‘third country’ agreements with the EU in all areas of accountancy and audit as well as the retention of joint UK-EU ownership of audit firms can be a workable starting point for more detailed negotiations."
He added, "We believe, however, that there is a need to go significantly beyond this and to incorporate accountancy and audit within a deep economic partnership approach. To this end, we consider it vital that a similar type of UK-EU regulatory interaction is agreed as that already outlined by the UK Government for the financial services sector."