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The Versatile Profession: A History of Accountancy in Ireland since 1850

The Versatile Profession: A History of Accountancy in Ireland since 1850

Tony Farmar

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he Irish accountancy profession has achieved extraordinary prominence and success. In business, accountants are active as executives and managers, as well as members and leaders of company boards; in professional practice, accountants are responsible for the audit or consultancy requirements of corporations, charities and government. The Versatile Profession shows how accountancy achieved this success.

Informed by its exploration of the wider social and business background, North and South, this new history describes how Irish accountancy was able to remodel itself, its structures and services, as new opportunities opened. In the post-Famine world, accountants were mainly focused on law-related activities—tidying up estates, insolvencies, with some book-keeping. Their key relationships were with the legal profession.

This was the world in which the first professional association, the all-island Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland, was formed in 1888. In 1900 it became mandatory for limited companies to have an annual audit, and during the ruinous First World War the authorities were forced to take a much more aggressive attitude to tax collection. Thus, the twin tasks that were to characterise the middle period, book-keeping audit and tax compliance, bloomed. In the 1970s computer technology, foreign direct investment and an increasingly complex tax code offered new opportunities in an expanding economy.

Accountants began to provide a broader range of services and know-how to their companies and clients. Firms recruited outside experts and promoted active younger partners, throwing off the conservative mantle of the past and presenting themselves as business people providing services to business people. Indeed, members of the profession working in industry came more and more to lead and grow Irish companies.

Published to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the granting of the Charter to the Irish Institute, this highly readable book concludes by describing accountancy as it is in Ireland in 2013 and identifying some of the challenges, opportunities and pressures likely to stimulate future change.

Additional Information

Author Tony Farmar
Publisher Chartered Accountants Ireland
Publication date 5 Feb 2014
Format Paperback
ISBN/EAN 9781908199294

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