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Saturday, 13th April 2024
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Editorial Back  
At a time when corporate revenues are under pressure, and profits in decline an annual growth rate of 11 per cent for Ireland’s leading accountancy firms is good, particularly against against an inflation rate of approximately 4 per cent in Ireland, even though it is down on last year’s annual rate of 16 per cent.
Nevertheless, the survey shows a continued caution on the part of the industry, reflected in a decline in hiring plans for the year ahead. This caution will bode well, going forward.
Areas we see growth in are tax, corporate finance and other advisory services, in the IFSC area for example, and it is encouraging that the industry will progress through ever-higher value added services.
The positive environment for accountancy in Ireland is all the more striking when one considers the misfortunes of Wall Street and the woes of the accountancy profession worldwide. Troubling times indeed, but the fact that one of the managing partners quoted in this issue can say that Ireland is at the forefront of development in supervising and regulating the role of auditors as Donal O’Connor of PricewaterhouseCoopers does on page 6, is good.
The record length of the economic boom of the 1990s was probably going to bring with it an accumulated store of corporate misdemeanours, as publicly quoted bodies in particular have to increasingly stretch to justify high price earning ratios, upon which an edifice of corporate valuations were built, not least among them stock options.
As the markets fell, hiding places ran out, and we can expect more discoveries before the markets regain their poise. But its not really a matter of just poise, it is a matter of integrity. At the heart of good accountancy practice is integrity and honesty - and if accountancy firms and their clients can say they have no fears on this account, they will have nothing to fear from the coming reckoning that must take place before the markets regain their poise.
The fact that we can say with some credibility that Ireland is at the forefront of supervising and regulating the role of auditors should be good news for the finance sector in Ireland and for the continued prosperity of the international financial services industry based in Ireland.
This should be achieved whilst maintaining a light regulatory touch, avoiding the dangers of over-regulation, which can of course lead to strangulation.

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