Leaving certificate not fit for purpose according to accountants


A 30% drop in the number of people entering the accountancy profession since the start of the recession is leading to a shortage of qualified accountants in Ireland according to Cormac Mohan, President of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland (CPA).

Addressing the CPA Annual Conference, which was attended by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD, Rachel Grimes President of IFAC and Edmond Scanlon, CEO of the Kerry Group among others, Mr Mohan said that the Institute believes that failings in Ireland’s education system is contributing to the problem.  He called on the Department of Education to initiate an urgent review of the syllabus.

“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 accountancy profession is constantly evolving” Mr. Mohan explained. “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  There is no doubt that the syllabus is now not relevant and out of date and students who wish to pursue accountancy careers are ill-equipped and let down by this failing.”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.  A dynamic and modern accounting syllabus is needed if we are to ensure Irish businesses continue to be well served by the accountancy profession”, he said.  

Pictured at the CPA Ireland Annual Conference - Rachel Grimes, President of IFAC, An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar & Cormac Mohan, President of CPA Ireland.