Business

Henry re-elected as accountancy body president for second term

Chartered Accountants Ireland has re-elected Paul Henry as president for a second term. Picture: Jason Clarke

PAUL Henry has been re-elected president of Chartered Accountants Ireland - and in doing so becomes the first to serve a two-year term of the country's largest professional accountancy body since the mid-1950s.

His re-election, confirmed at a virtual AGM, will provide stability and continuity as the body works to represent almost 30,000 accountants amid economic reopening on the island.

From Belfast, he qualified with Pricewaterhouse in 1989, and prior to his current role held positions with the IDB, Enterprise Equity, PricewaterhouseCoopers and ASM Chartered Accountants. In 2014 he served as chair of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society.

Mr Henry said recovery from the pandemic would be a challenge unlike any other, with the future still uncertain for so many businesses.

And chief among his priorities will be helping members in business and, as advisers to business, to apply their expertise to the challenges that will come with reopening.

He said: “Over the past year we have worked to alleviate pressure points for members so that they could continue to deliver for their businesses and clients. Accountants all around the island have played a key role in supporting businesses in keeping the show on the road.

“A combination of prudent public health measures and vaccination are facilitating reopening, but we cannot underestimate the challenge that lies ahead.

“The pandemic has persisted for longer than most of us imagined, and recovery will be a long road. I look forward to continuing to lead the Institute and its members for the benefit of the wider economy and society.”

Another key area of focus will be the further development of the profession's capabilities to lead in tackling the climate crisis, through the Institute's sustainability expert working group.

This group includes accounting firms and organisations, government organisations and NGOs, academia, business, and the energy, banking sector and technology sectors.

Mr Henry added: “With companies taking steps to drive sustainable and principled business, the professionals called on to deliver these changes will most often be accountants. Accountants have a responsibility as decision makers, as those tasked with reporting, and as those tasked with acquiring the finance to fund change.

“As business advisers, we can help members understand and record their sustainability activity and begin to report on that activity in a meaningful and confident way. This important work will continue in the coming months.”

He also identified the need to continue to work to attract graduates to the profession, highlighting the increased take up of the flexible route to qualification in the past year (2020 saw a 30 per cent year on year increase in the numbers of students choosing to follow this path).

At the AGM, Pat O'Neill and Sinead Donovan were re-elected deputy president and vice-president respectively.

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