Business

Challenges for progress 'can be overcome' says new accountancy head

New Chartered Accountants Ulster Society chair Emma Murray (left) with outgoing chair Maeve Hunt

THE new chair of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society says she believes “none of the key challenges for Northern Ireland are impossible to overcome are impossible to resolve.”

Emma Murray, a partner at PwC in Belfast, was elected at the body's 115th annual general meeting to succeed Maeve Hunt to head the Ulster Society, which represents 5,200 chartered accountants and is a district society of Chartered Accountants Ireland, the largest and oldest professional accountancy body on the island.

University College Dublin-educated Ms Murray, who has been in accounting practice for more than 20 years, is also a board member of Trócaire and a passionate supporter of Tyrone GAA.

Addressing the Society’s first in-person AGM in three years, she said her key priority would be to help to build a strong local economy which creates opportunities for people.

“In the year ahead, we’ll be working hard to support our members working across every sector of business here and we’ll be supporting those who have a positive vision for Northern Ireland,” she said.

“We need to ensure that we have a stable society which allows people to create opportunities, build confidence and encourage talent.

“We know that there are a number of key challenges for Northern Ireland, including the impact of the pandemic on business and society, the cost-of-living crisis, the impact of Brexit and the workings of the NI Protocol, and of course the breakdown of the Northern Ireland Executive when it is needed more now than ever. These are all challenges, but none of them are impossible.

“We continue to live in unpredictable times. We are moving into post-pandemic recovery, and over the last couple of years how we work and engage with each other has changed.

“As a professional body, our focus will be on helping business to move forward and to bring through talent so that they can encourage jobs and foster growth for everyone in our community.”

Ms Murray said she would work to build on the success the Ulster Society has enjoyed during the leadership of her predecessor, Maeve Hunt, adding: “The health crisis changed everything. We had to adopt a new way of working and it changed how members interacted with us.

“The pandemic vastly increased our engagement with members as they had more opportunity to link in virtually to our events. We will continue to provide a busy programme of both virtual and in-person events and provide a strong voice for members across Northern Ireland.”

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