Ireland and Northern Ireland
Preserving professional and regulatory ties that go deeper than those between the UK and other EU member states.
A uniquely close level of cooperation
Brexit raises specific issues relating to accountancy and audit that are not replicated elsewhere, reflecting an inter-reliance between the UK and Ireland in this area that goes beyond that which exists between the UK and any other EU member state.
Currently, practising accountants and auditors can serve clients on both sides of the border and on both sides of the Irish Sea with no additional hurdles or costs. This is to the benefit of several thousand organisations with subsidiaries, branches and other interests, both listed and private, across the UK and Ireland. Accounting firms are able to operate on a one-firm basis covering Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Chartered Accountants Ireland is an all-Ireland body, operating in Ireland and the UK. The various chartered institutes across the UK and Ireland operate full reciprocal membership arrangements. Statutory auditors in the UK or Ireland have dual registration and accept appointment in the other jurisdiction without needing to pass an aptitude test. Practical experience in statutory audit gained in either jurisdiction is considered equivalent and relevant towards the audit experience requirement in the other country.
The UK Recognised Supervisory Bodies are also Recognised Accountancy Bodies in Ireland.
What are our key concerns?
The impact of Brexit on the staffing of accounting firms as well as clients could be significant, affecting an estimated 30% of staff and nearly 50% of cross-border firms. The ability of firms to attract and develop staff could be undermined if qualifications and training experience gained in either jurisdiction ceased to be regarded as valid in both jurisdictions.
Questions may also arise with regard to practising rights for auditors and for long-established regulatory arrangements between the UK and Ireland. Any increase in regulatory burdens and compliance costs could also negatively impact business investment.
While our concerns are specific to the profession and its clients, they cannot be isolated from the specific context of Northern Ireland and the border economies.
What needs to be done?
We call for legal certainty with regard to mutual market access between the UK and Ireland, avoiding disruption to current market functioning and regulatory supervision.