A 30% drop in the number of people entering the accountancy profession in the Republic of Ireland since the start of the recession is leading to a shortage of qualified accountants, according to Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland (CPA) president Cormac Mohan.
Addressing the CPA Annual Conference, Mohan said the Institute believes that failings in Ireland’s education system are contributing to the problem.
“There has been no innovation in the teaching of accountancy at second level for decades. The learning experience needs enriching through project work and cloud based learning and assessment resources. It is unacceptable that the technology and systems used in modern accountancy practise is not reflected in the syllabus; instead students are taught about the value of spreadsheets – a technology which was introduced in the late 1980s.
“The key standards to which we operate are reviewed regularly. The current standard, FRS102, was implemented in 2015, yet Leaving Certificate students are examined on the previous standard SSAP2 which was retired in 2001. There is no doubt that the syllabus is now not relevant and out of date and students who wish to pursue accountancy careers are ill-equipped and let down by this failing.
“The current programme is clearly not fit-for-purpose. Its review should be an urgent priority for the Minister and the Department of Education and should be structured to allow more regular changes in future.”
In Northern Ireland, an increase in demand for high quality accountants has led to rising wages for members of the profession.
In a Salary Survey Report from Abacus Professional Recruitment found that two-thirds of people working in the accountancy sector had received a pay rise in 2017. Of the 200 accountancy professionals surveyed, salary expectations were high with over three-quarters of respondents expecting a basic pay increase in the year.
Abacus Professional Recruitment director Justin Rush commented: “Demand is peaking for professionals across the accountancy sector and the benefits they are receiving have risen in tandem.
“There is an increasingly rich diversity of professional job roles in Northern Ireland. These offer not only competitive salaries, but highly rewarding career paths with companies also investing significantly in skills development.”