07 May 2019 | 10.27 am
CPA Ireland Elects New President
Gearóid O’Driscoll takes up the role
07 May 2019 | 10.27 am
Gearóid O’Driscoll has been elected as the new president of CPA Ireland. The election was announced at the accountancy body’s recent AGM.
A native of Bandon in Co. Cork, O’Driscoll has been an accountant in practice for over 40 years. He is currently the senior director at ODM Accountants, which specialises in strategic business and accountancy services for individuals and businesses across Ireland.
O’Driscoll has been a member of CPA Ireland since 1980. He is also a member of the Irish Taxation Institute.
Also at the recent CPA Ireland AGM, Áine Collins was elected to the position of vice president. She qualified as a CPA accountant in 1996 and is company principal of Blueprint Consultancy since July 2016.
O’Driscoll has already been using his post as CPA Ireland president to urge the government to further support SMEs. In welcoming the government’s Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, O’Driscoll cautioned that it was too restrictive to maximise its value.
The Government must fully commit to supporting regional growth if SMEs in Ireland are to continue to thrive. This was the message of the newly elected President of CPA Ireland, Gearóid O’Driscoll, who said that the recently announced €315m Rural Regeneration and Development Fund is welcome, but too restrictive to maximise its value.
“[The fund is] only a half-step in the right direction for supporting the regions. Access to the programme is unfortunately highly restrictive, which could severely limit its ultimate impact,” said O’Driscoll.
“The fund is only open to projects in communities with a population of less than 10,000. This is an arbitrary cap that will exclude dozens of towns that could benefit from its support.
“Clearly, the fund should not be open to the major cities, but currently, strategically important rural towns such as Cavan, Tullamore and Letterkenny will be unable to avail of this funding.”
O’Driscoll added that the requirement for all applications to be led by a state body could “stifle the creativity of many worthy projects”.
Another concern raised by O’Driscoll was the requirement for the applicant to fund the initiative with a minimum 10% cash contribution, which he said will restrict a lot of entrants. “It also fails to recognise the significant contribution that could come in the form of volunteering time or rent-free space.”
O’Driscoll, who, as president of Bandon Chamber of Commerce, is responsible for the operation of the E Bandon Enterprise Centre, said that the fund should be used in part to increase the number of digital hubs.
“These e-centres provide excellent opportunities for startups and smaller businesses to thrive without being required to make long term commitments. But the benefit is not limited to smaller companies.
“Remote working is increasingly common in multinationals and creating more regional technology centres will add to Ireland’s attractiveness to FDI investors.”
Turning to the accountancy profession, O’Driscoll also noted that it needed to attract more new trainees into local practices. “Over the last decade, there has been a drop in the number of entrants into the profession.
“In recent years, however, there has been an increase in the number being taken on by the largest firms. This is leading to a war for talent, which is very difficult for small and medium practices. These local firms are essential to supporting SMEs nationwide.”
The Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland is one of the main Irish accountancy bodies, with 5,000 members and students.