Friday December 13, 2019

Gala evening celebrates best in Irish corporate reporting

Some 35 public, private and not-for-profit firms competed at the Chartered Accountants Leinster Society Published Accounts Awards in the Shelbourne Hotel, writes Arlene Harris

17th November, 2019
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The assorted winners of the 2019 Published Accounts Awards, held on November 7 at the Shelbourne Hotel in DublinAll pictures: Iain White Photography

Sponsored by Euronext, the Chartered Accountants Leinster Society Published Accounts Awards took place at a special gala event on Thursday, November 7 at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin.

Attended by more than 350 business professionals, a total of 35 public and private companies, including not-for-profit organisations, competed as finalists across 14 distinct award categories. Dalata Hotel Group plc won the Small/Medium Quoted Company Award category and was also announced as the overall winner of the annual event, which is now in its 42nd year.

Speaking at the Published Accounts Awards, Brian Murphy, chairman of the Chartered Accountants Leinster Society, said: “This evening showcases the best in Irish corporate reporting. Through these awards we seek to recognise and congratulate the work done every day by our members in their roles in companies, state bodies and charitable organisations large and small throughout Ireland in an ever-changing regulatory environment to convey transparent, relevant and useful information to all stakeholders.”

The Chartered Accountants Leinster Society aims to provide educational, professional and social opportunities to members across the province, to enable its members to engage in charitable activities, to assist in promoting the Chartered Accountant brand and to represent members to Chartered Accountants Ireland.

Now in their 91st year, the Society continues to strive to satisfy the varied needs of over 13,500 members through an ever-evolving programme of functions and events - including the annual awards ceremony which aims to promote and reward excellence in the presentation of annual published accounts.

“This year, we have continued to strengthen the breadth of the awards to introduce three new categories, Sustainability, Diversity & Inclusion and Sustained Excellence,” said Gemma Shine, PAA chair 2019.

“Key to the success of these awards are the army of screeners, technical reviewers and judges, all of whom are involved solely in a voluntary capacity. The process begins in March of each year so it’s no small task.”

Among the category winners this year were CRH plc, which took the award for Large Quoted Company, and Grafton Group plc, who won the Irish Companies Listed on a Foreign Market Award. In the Euronext Growth Award category, Origin Enterprises plc claimed first place.

Also speaking on the evening, Orla O’Gorman, head of equity listing Ireland at Euronext, said: “The annual report continues to be one of the most powerful communication tools that a company has when engaging with stakeholders.

“It enables companies to reflect on their financial performance, as well as their non-financial performance - which is of increasing relevance with today’s ESG agenda. Companies who excel in reporting build trust with stakeholders and we believe it is important to recognise and reward their excellence through these awards which we are delighted to sponsor.”

ESB won the Statutory Unquoted Large Entities Award for the ninth time. While in the Not-For-Profit Award categories, Trócaire and Aidlink came out on top among the various finalists.

And of course there were worthy winners of the three brand-new awards which were debuted on the evening – the Sustainability Award went to Kerry Group along with the award for Best Digital Reporting; the Diversity & Inclusion Award was scooped up by Central Bank of Ireland, and the award for Sustained Excellence had two winners, Barnardos and Kingspan. The final two awards were won by Kenmare Resources plc, in Social Responsibility Reporting; and Concern Worldwide, which won the Branding, Communication & Marketing Award category for the presentation and design of its financial accounts.

Organisers say the standard continues to rise each year with all shortlisted entities demonstrating excellence in their annual reports.

“While each category was marginally different, some of the common themes throughout the winners included well-documented financial reviews, clear and user-friendly layouts, transparent and clear reporting, well-documented risk assessments and insightful information on the industry, vision and business model,” said Paul Byrne, PAA vice-chair 2019. “The overall winner on the night was Dalata Hotel Group who were consistently strong across every aspect of the Annual Report and their clear and simple approach to reporting, the panel believed, would be very much welcomed by all stakeholders.”

From feedback over the years and looking at previous winners’ quotes, it is clear that these awards are important for individual companies which receive recognition for the significant amount of work which goes into an annual report. They are a positive reflection on efforts to focus on transparent stakeholder communications and recognition that high standards were achieved.

The planning for next year’s event has already begun and Chartered Accountants Leinster Society look to improve the event year on year.

“We challenge all entrants to improve their financial reporting process and to produce an annual report which addresses the needs of its diverse range of stakeholders but to do so in a clear, simple and concise manner,” said Byrne. “A follow-up event will be run on March 24 in conjunction with Euronext to discuss some of the key points from this year’s awards.

“And this will be a great opportunity to receive input from a panel of experts in this area in advance of publishing. We always encourage new entrants to the competition. Further details of the 2020 awards will be announced early next year so keep an eye on the Leinster Society website.”

See charteredaccountants.ie/leinster

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