Ireland ‘focus on global potential’

Ireland contains most of the necessary ingredients to be capable of being a serious launchpad for innovative firms with a global reach, according to Google’s head in Ireland.

Ireland ‘focus on global potential’

John Herlihy, addressing the Chartered Accountants Leinster Society lunch, said there is “no reason why Ireland can’t scale global start-up companies”, as it already has the technical capabilities, data skills, and social capability.

“When you put those three things together, Ireland has a lot of the pieces necessary for it to punch above its weight economically,” he added.

Mr Herlihy also urged Irish firms to pay more attention to reputation; claiming a company’s reputation capital is as important as its market capitalisation in today’s business world.

Separately, Chartered Accountants Ireland (ICAI) published a survey of its members yesterday showing widespread support for the introduction of mandatory regulation for the term ‘accountant’ in Ireland.

As much as 80% of members incorrectly assumed such regulation was already in place, while nearly 90% said an absence of such regulation poses a serious consumer protection problem.

Currently, any accountant who is a member of one of the sector’s regulatory bodies come under the regulation of the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority, the statutory supervisory body.

Yet the ICAI claims the system is being undermined by it being voluntary in nature.

“Any unqualified individual — even with a previous criminal conviction — can set themselves up as accountants and offer accounting services to the public. This worrying situation has been allowed to continue for too long,” according to ICAI president, Brendan Lenihan.

He added: “Despite the accountancy profession’s positive engagement with legislators last autumn, the Government still appears reluctant to take positive action and introduce terms in the new Companies Bill 2012, that would quickly make sham accountants a thing of the past.”

Mr Lenihan said that — contrary to Government comments — the term ‘accountant’ is regulated in many EU member states, with no EU legislation being in place to prohibit regulation of the title, nor any obstacle existing from a European competition perspective.

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