LauraLynn Charity Partner 2020

Crowleys DFK is delighted to announce LauraLynn, Ireland’s Children’s Hospice as its Charity Partner of the Year for 2020.

LauraLynn, Ireland’s Children’s Hospice is the only children’s hospice in the Republic of Ireland. They provide specialised hospice care to children with life limiting conditions and their families from all across Ireland. They care for the whole family, allowing patients to be children and parents to be parents rather than full time carers.

Speaking about the announcement, Colette Nagle, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Crowleys DFK said,

“LauraLynn was chosen as the firm’s Charity Year Partner through an employee nomination process. This amazing charity is obviously close to the hearts of many of our team members and we are delighted to be able to support the great work that they do.”

In partnership with LauraLynn, a programme of support will be designed to meet the charity’s requirements. Details of the programme will be announced over the coming weeks.

Colette continued,

“As well as organising and taking part in fundraising events, we hope to get involved by giving our time and expertise where needed. Members of our CSR Team will be visiting the hospice in the coming weeks to witness first-hand the fantastic care and support provided by LauraLynn.”

LauraLynn offers a range of care and services including:

  • Short Breaks (for the child and family in the hospice to give the family a break);
  • Home Support (nursing care and therapeutic activities in the home);
  • Family Supports (activities & therapies to help the while family cope day-to-day, including Play therapy and Family Camps);
  • End-of-Life Care (offering families the choice to bring their child home or avail of the hospice during this time); and
  • Bereavement Support (ongoing support to help parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents and the wider family cope with their loss).

Claire Shiels, Corporate Fundraiser at LauraLynn commented;

“We are delighted to be partnering with Crowleys DFK and working with them and their staff over the coming year to raise much needed funds for the children and families in our care, and spread awareness about LauraLynn and its services as Ireland’s only children’s hospice.”

We are delighted to announce that our fundraising efforts during 2019 amounted to €16,001.60 for our Charity Partner, Cork ARC Cancer Support House.

The original goal was to raise €15,000 to help make #Room4ARC, a project to transfer their operations to the newly-renovated Sarsfield House. However, due to the incredible support from our own employees, clients, family and friends, we managed to surpass this goal. All funds raised help Cork ARC to continue to reach out to the community to offer support and information to those affected by a cancer diagnosis in our community.

Throughout the year, employees jumped out of a plane, competed in a bake-off, ran marathons and participated in bidding wars!

Speaking about the funds raised by Crowleys DFK in aid of Cork ARC, Partner and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Colette Nagle commented,

“We are so grateful to everyone who generously contributed to our fundraising events throughout 2019, helping us raise over €16,000 for such a fantastic charity. We hope that these funds help Cork ARC to continue providing a range of professional supports to help people cope with the challenges that cancer can bring to their lives.”

CEO of Cork ARC, Hilary Sullivan said,

“Our charity partnership with Crowleys DFK in 2019 was an example of how high people can raise the bar when it comes to volunteering effort and putting others before themselves to support a charitable cause.

As the benefactors of the amazing work of so many people in Crowleys DFK, we in Cork ARC are privileged to have been on the journey with such a dedicated team and to see how much fun and camaraderie they enjoyed in their fundraising endeavours.  The funds raised will directly support our services, which are offered free of charge to any person affected by a cancer diagnosis, either personally or through a loved one.

The success of our partnership surpassed the dreams we had as we began last year and we are immensely grateful to such a wonderful group of staff, in Cork and Dublin, who threw themselves wholeheartedly into every event, including jumping out of a plane!

We wish each member of the Crowleys DFK team every success in their work and, from each of us, on behalf of the clients that we serve, we thank them sincerely for their support, the value of which is far beyond the measure of the staggering  €16,001.60 which they raised in the name of Cork ARC Cancer Support House.”

Managing Partner of Crowleys DFK, James O’Connor said,

“Our inaugural Charity Partner of the Year initiative was a huge success. Supporting our local community is very important to us. We will continue to make as much of a positive difference as we can with our 2020 Charity of the Year Partner.”

Section 129(1) of the Companies Act 2014 requires every company in Ireland to have a company secretary. Outlined below is a short description of the role of the company secretary followed by a brief introduction into a company secretary’s duties and obligations.

A company secretary is an officer of a company. The company secretary may also act as a director of the same company, but not act in dual capacity when signing documents on behalf of the company. The role differs from that of a Director of a company, in that the role focuses on tasks delegated by the board of the company.

A day in the life of a company secretary

The tasks for a company secretary can be varied. While the role of the company secretary predominantly consists of tasks delegated by the board of directors, the role of the company secretary goes beyond effectively and, efficiency communicating decisions of the board to the relevant bodies and may take on a much more advisory role within a company.

Often the role of the company secretary can consist of advising companies and boards on the best practices of corporate governance. Corporate governance embodies a wide variety of concepts and guidelines from the leadership involved to achieve a well-functioning board of directors, effectiveness of the board, accountability of officers of a company, inducting new directors and advising them on the board dynamics, remuneration and the importance of maintaining a transparent, functioning rapport with both the stakeholders and shareholders of company through effective general meetings. Thus, it is often the task of a company secretary to ensure that the directors of a company discharge their obligations in accordance with the Companies Act 2014.

A company secretary must also fulfil the more unsung tasks with regards to maintaining statutory registers coupled with the onerous task of attending board meetings in order to preserve and effectively record the minutes of that meeting.

It is important to note that while a company secretary doesn’t have as many codified duties as a director in terms of their common law and fiduciary duties, the role of a company secretary amounts to an officer of a company and thus is still subject to sanctions under the 2014 Companies Act.

In short, the day to day life of a company secretary depends on the need of a company and its board – whether it’s relaying the decisions of a board of the directors to the Companies Registration Office by registering changes in the boards structure, advising the board on a pressing corporate governance issue, attending board meetings or engaging with stakeholders or shareholders with regards to a general meeting or corporate event such as dividends.

For further information on the role of the company secretary, please contact David Morris, Senior Consultant in our Corporate Compliance Department.

SICAP Audits

The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) 2018 –2022 provides funding to tackle poverty and promote social inclusion and equality through local engagement and partnerships with disadvantaged individuals, community organisations and public sector agencies.

The programme has two goals that focus on supporting communities and individuals:

Goal 1: Supporting Communities – To support communities and target groups to engage with relevant stakeholders in identifying and addressing social exclusion and equality issues, developing the capacity of local community groups and creating more sustainable communities.

Goal 2: Supporting Individuals – To support disadvantaged individuals to improve the quality of their lives through the provision of lifelong learning and labour market supports.

SICAP is managed and administered by the Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) in each local authority area, which may be delivered at a local level by external party/(ies).

From 2018, the role of conducting audit / verification checks on the external parties receiving SICAP funding has been subsumed into the internal audit function of each Local Authority.

How can Crowleys DFK help?

Crowleys DFK has the expertise to conduct SICAP audits / verification checks for Local Authorities’ Internal Audit Units and LCDCs.

Our subject matter specialists have taken part in SICAP training programmes delivered by both POBAL and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and our audit team are fully trained on the usage of SICAP’s data management system IRIS.

We understand that the audits must have a financial focus and can provide assurance that grant monies are spent for the purposes intended in accordance with programme rules and contractual conditions. The audits must also include a review of internal financial controls and corporate governance arrangements.

Contact Vincent Teo or Tony Cooney for more information on how Crowleys DFK can assist you with your SICAP audits.

The Central Bank have issued new regulations regarding new lending rules for Credit Unions. These will come into effect in January 2020.

As a result of the new regulations, the existing lending maturity limits which cap the percentage of their lending for periods of greater than five and ten years will be removed. These maturity limits will be replaced by new concentration limits on a tiered basis, for home mortgage and business loans, expressed as a percentage of total assets.

This means credit unions with the financial strength, competence and capability, will have the flexibility to undertake increased longer term lending. This includes home mortgage and business lending.

“The changes being announced today follow a comprehensive review of the lending framework for credit unions. This forms part of our commitment to ensuring a responsive regulatory framework. It is important that the lending framework remains appropriate for credit unions taking account of their risk management, capabilities, expertise and financial resilience,” said Patrick Casey, Registrar for Credit Unions.

You can read the Central Bank’s press release here.

At Crowleys DFK, we provide a variety of services to credit unions. For further information, please contact Tony Cooney, Partner in our Audit & Assurance Department.

Section 160-166 of the Companies Act 2014 (“the Act”) governs both board meetings and committee meetings by laying down guidelines, that can be amended or omitted from a company’s constitution and mandatory provisions, that must be adhered to. For the purpose of this article, board meetings will be the main point of discussion.

Every director is entitled to reasonable notice of the meeting, a meeting can be called by a director alone or by a company secretary at the requisition of a director. The quorum necessary for the transaction of business is fixed as 2 directors. However, where there is a sole director, one director is accepted to meet the requirements of a quorum. A Chairperson of a board meeting can be fixed for a specific period. However if the chosen Chairperson is not present and a period of 15 minutes has elapsed, the directors may choose one of their own to chair the meeting. The majority of votes may pass a resolution. If there is an equal vote, the Chairperson shall be the casting vote.

Section 161 provides for the option to pass a written resolution signed by all the relevant directors (i.e. directors who are entitled to notice of the meeting) in lieu of a board meeting. This has the same effect as physically holding the board meeting with the directors. This section also stipulates the manner in which a board meeting can be held and extends the scope of what it means to attend a board meeting through electronic communication. The section also provides a guide for the location of the board meetings, subject to the company’s constitution:

  • Where the largest group of those participating are assembled
  • If no such group exists, the next suitable location is the where the chairperson is
  • If neither of the above apply, then it falls to any such place that the meeting decides

The Act also covers the requirements for minute taking of the board minutes in section 166. The accurate and efficient recording, drafting and maintenance of minute taking is imperative to ensure administrative compliance. Section 166(1) states that minutes must be maintained for the following purposes:

  • All appointments of officers made by directors
  • The names of all the directors present at each meeting of its directors
  • All resolutions and proceedings at all meetings of its directors

Typically the Chairperson, once approved by the board, signs the minutes at the following board meeting. The board minutes can also be subject to inspection by the Director of Corporate Enforcement. If a company fails to comply with the Director of Corporate Enforcement regarding the request of the company’s minutes, the company and any officer in default shall be guilty of a category 4 offence, i.e. a fine not exceeding €5,000.

For further information, please contact David Morris, Senior Consultant in our Corporate Compliance Department.

The Registration of Business Names Act 1963 (“the Act”) requires individuals, partnerships and body corporates, who wish to trade under a name that differs from their true name, to register that business name with the Companies Registration Office (the “CRO”). The purpose behind the act reflects the position that the legislation doesn’t allow businesses to hide their true name and thus run the risk of defrauding their consumers.

When does a business name need to be registered?

  • Where an individual uses a business name which differs in any way from their surname.
  • Where a partnership uses a business name which differs in any way from the true names of all the partners who are individuals.
  • Where a company uses a business name which differs from its corporate name.
  • Where a person having a place of business in Ireland carries on the business of publishing a newspaper.
Please note the following:

  • The chosen name for the registered business is not final until approved by the Companies Registration Office.
  • Only residents in the Republic of Ireland can register a business name as a sole trader. If you are not a resident in the Republic of Ireland, a letter of business permission form would need to be sent to the Department of Justice.
  • Registering a business name does not protect the name from being used by someone else – as a company name registration would. There can be multiples of one business name in the Republic of Ireland.
  • A registered business name does not automatically mean the name will be an appropriate and acceptable company name due to their different requirements.
Where does a registered business name need to be displayed?

  • When the certification of registration is granted by the Companies Registration Office, a copy of the certification must be displayed in a noticeable position in the business. If there are multiple locations it would need to be displayed in the prominent place of business along with every branch office, or place where the business is carried out.
  • A company needs to show its registered business name on all corporate documents e.g. letter headings, stationary, resolutions etc.
  • If the business is a body corporate, additional information needs to be disclosed on documents such as the full name of the company, the registered number and the address of the registered office.
Sanctions for a breach of the Act

Section 11 of the Act requires a body corporate or a person to disclose their true name on business documentation, failure to do so can result in a summary conviction.

For assistance in registering your business name, please contact David Morris, Senior Consultant in our Corporate Compliance Department.

The Data Protection Commission have published an information note on data breach trends identified by their Breach Assessment Unit in the first year of GDPR.

Some of the trends and issues identified by the Breach Assessment Unit include:

  • Late notifications;
  • Difficulty in assessing risk ratings;
  • Failure to communicate the breach to data subjects;
  • Repeat breach notifications; and
  • Inadequate reporting.

You can view the full information note here.

At Crowleys DFK, we are dedicated to helping you achieve GDPR compliance. Our Data Protection Support Services’ team offer the following services:

  • Preparing a Gap Analysis between current practices and those required under the current legislation and regulation.
  • Ensuring Data Protection, Records Management and Retention Policies and Procedures are in line with current legislation and regulations.
  • Conducting Data Mapping exercise.
  • Developing Privacy Notices/Disclosures for your organisation.
  • Determining if a Data Protection Impact Assessment is required by your firm and provide assistance in implementing.
  • Providing support to your appointed Data Protection Officer/Privacy Officer and ensuring their roles and responsibilities fully include the requirements under the GDPR.
  • Providing GDPR workshops/training to Board members and staff.

For assistance or advice on Data Protection, please contact Pamela Nodwell, Manager in our Governance, Risk & Compliance Department.

Cloud Computing Advice Note Public Service Organisations Crowleys DFK Xero Cloud Accounting

In October 2019, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform published the Government’s Cloud Computing Advice Note. The Note sets out the Government’s view that public service organisations must now take a more proactive and progressive approach to embracing cloud computing.

Specifically, public service organisations are encouraged to take a “cloud-first” approach for all new systems. Likewise, they are encouraged to review all existing systems for cloud capability.

Crowleys DFK have recently been awarded a Platinum Partner status by Xero, a leading cloud accounting software. This recognition confirms that our cloud accounting offerings to our clients is accredited to the highest level.  We are best placed to offer public and private sector clients of all sizes in implementing cloud accounting solutions for their business.

Our team of cloud accounting experts provide the following services:

  • Identify the most appropriate accounting system for your business.
  • Implement the chosen solution for you, tailoring it to your unique requirements.
  • Provide ongoing training and support to you and your staff.

For assistance or advice on cloud accounting, please contact David Coombes, Partner, Public Sector Services.

On 6 September 2019, the Central Bank issued guidelines to help firms meet their anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) obligations.

Money laundering and terrorist financing is a large global issue. An estimate of between 2% (€715 billion) and 5% (€1.87 trillion) of global GDP is laundered each year.

These guidelines aim to help firms to understand their obligations under the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010-2018.

Speaking at the launch of these guidelines, Director General, Financial Conduct, Derville Rowland said,

“Firms must adopt a risk-based approach to fulfilling their obligations and ensure that their controls, policies and procedures are fit for purpose, up-to-date, tested and kept under constant review and scrutiny.”

“Effective regulation in this area strengthens the integrity of the financial sector and contributes to the safety and security of citizens by preventing drug dealers, and those engaged in human trafficking, terrorist attacks and organised crime, from using the financial system to support these activities,” she said.

“Financial institutions must know their customers, understand their customer profiles, monitor the way accounts are used and make reports of suspicions to An Garda Síochána, and the Revenue Commissioners where appropriate,’’ she added.

You can find a copy of the guidelines here and view the Central Bank’s press release here.

If you are a designated person for AML purposes and require assistance with your requirements under the legislation, please contact Tony Cooney, Partner in our Governance, Risk & Compliance Department.

We provide the following services:

  • AML business risk assessments
  • Update AML policies and procedures for new legislative requirements
  • Provide AML training to Directors and staff
  • Independent AML function audits