Veterinary Practice Valuations

As reported by the tough working conditions, burnout and hard earned income is pushing veterinary practitioners to the brink.

The 2018 Veterinary Practice Survey Report, conducted by HLB Sheehan Quinn, showed that almost half of vets said they would be willing to sell their practice to a corporation, with exhaustion cited as reason for wanting to sell.

The Veterinary Sector has seen a significant increase in the market share of large operators like Independent Vetcare (IVC) and CVS Group Ltd. The growth of  these Corporate operators has been aided by aggressive acquisition strategies by both companies in Ireland and the UK. Struggling practitioners in a lot of cases simply cannot risk turning down the offers tabled.

WDA have been providing accounting and advisory services to Veterinary Practices for a number of years and have built up significant expertise in the sector. If you are currently considering an offer or would like to establish a valuation for your practice please get in touch and we will be able to talk you through your options.

Internal Audit Quality Self-Assessment

As Internal Auditors in the Credit Union Sector WDA were invited to attend a workshop in the Central Bank on 18 July 2018. The subsequent report issued by Central Bank detailed its observations and highlighted Expectations for Internal Audit in the Sector.

WDA completed a detailed self-assessment of its own performance in line with the Central Bank’s Report issued on 18th July 2018 and it is our opinion that the Internal Audit services provided by WDA meets the highest standards expected by the Central Bank.


Supervisory Expectations on the Internal Audit Function.

CBI Findings WDA Response Compliant
Activities that are determined to be higher risk in a credit union should be audited in more depth and more frequently than activities that are determined to be lower risk –risk based approach.

WDA base all internal work plans and audit testing on a risk based approach. WDA have over 25 years of experience providing services to the Credit Union sector including Audit, Internal Audit, Risk and Compliance. WDA IAF staff have experience in conducting risk assessment of industrial and community credit unions ranging from €15m to €350m assets.

The IA Function should establish and maintain a system to monitor the implementation of actions agreed by the board of directors which should include a follow up process to ensure that agreed actions have been effectively implemented.


All quarterly reports issued to the board are accompanied by a response document. These formally capture the board’s consideration of the findings and response to all findings. WDA review all responses received and follow up on all material/ significant mitigation plans.



CBI Findings WDA Response Compliant
IA reports should provide objective assurance on the effectiveness of the credit union’s risk management, internal control and governance processes. It should be accurate, objective, clear, concise, constructive, and complete and timely -to support boards understanding of weaknesses identified.

WDA IAF reports maintain a formal assessment of the effectiveness of the credit union’s risk management, internal control and governance processes.

Reports should cover at a minimum:

o   objectives, scope and work undertaken;

o   An opinion on the effectiveness of the credit union’s risk management, internal control and governance processes;

o   Internal audit findings;

o   Recommendations, ranked by priority, with timelines for implementation, and progress on previously agreed action plans.

WDA have developed and tailored the reporting framework to adhere with all legislative requirements whilst maintaining concise and effective communication style. The reports are all issued in an RMP style and are regarded as being user-friendly and highly effective.


The WDA internal audit reporting framework has historically been well-received during CBI PRISM inspections. 



Engagement with Board    
CBI Findings WDA Response Compliant
Effective engagement with IA should be evident:

o   Boards should have an awareness and understanding of issues identified by IA.

o   Evidence of board discussion and challenge in relation to IA issues raised.

The IA function should make recommendations to boards on improving the effectiveness of the risk management, internal controls and governance processes

All reports issued to Board are accompanied by a response document that formalises the Board’s responses and requires direct engagement with the Board.



Priority Areas    
CBI Findings WDA Response Compliant
Appropriate and effective systems of control are at the core of mitigating operational risk. These include regular verification and reconciliation of transactions and accounts, as well as appropriate segregations of duties, including procedures to deal with key person risk.

WDA have designed a suite of verification tests to gain sufficient assurance with the internal control environment.


Once WDA determined that the risk of internal control failure is sufficiently low the process of implementation of a thematic review cycle can commence.

‘IT’ is a major enabler of strategy and business development for credit unions. The operational risks associated with this area need to be appropriately managed, monitored and reviewed given the reliance on and the pace of change in this area.

WDA have designed and executed a detailed Internal Audit review of IT Infrastructure and Environment in credit unions. 

AML/CFT framework should be included in the risk assessment undertaken by IA–the board should consider, on at least an annual basis, whether the AML/CFT framework should be tested by IA.

WDA have designed and executed a detailed Internal Audit review of AML/CTF in credit unions.


Supervisory Observations on the Internal Audit Function                                                                                                    

CBI Findings WDA Response Compliant
Ineffective engagement with the IA function, including a lack of written responses or challenge to reports from the IA function by the board.

The WDA reporting framework includes a ‘Response Document’ which requires the Board to formally respond on all IAF findings and recommendations.

Failure of boards to adequately monitor the quality of the IA function.

WDA have reported to Boards the requirement to document a formal appraisal of the IAF on an annual basis. WDA have received feedback resulting from these reviews in the past and incorporated improvements/ amendments to the process as a result.

Plans lacking in detail and not demonstrating comprehensive work plans in place.

Annual audit plan designed and discussed with management team including plans for each quarter’s theme. Themes selected on a risk based approach. WDA identify areas with potential control weaknesses and outline areas to be reviewed therein. Comprehensive work plan not reflected in the audit plan as the audit plan is initially set in Q4 of the preceding year and the detailed plan of works is considered when the lead auditor is scoping the areas of weakness in the upcoming quarter.

Lack of formal remediation plans to address findings in previous IA reports.


All findings in IAF report include details recommendations and expected timelines for remediation.

Lack of IA testing in key risk areas e.g. bank reconciliations, IT controls, credit underwriting and risk and compliance functions.

WDA have designed and implemented detailed thematic reviews of ‘IT’ Controls, Credit Underwriting and Credit Environment and Risk and Compliance functions. On all new IAF engagements WDA complete quarterly reviews of the bank and cash reconciliations until sufficient assurances have been sought regarding internal controls and the internal control environment. IAF will maintain testing on the bank and cash to ensure sufficient internal controls and financial controls are in place to mitigate the potential risk to error or fraud in the bank and cash reconciliations.

Examples of weaknesses concerning testing of branch locations (where applicable), including lack of evidence of testing by IA function in branches.

WDA have internal audit clients with multiple branch locations. Within the annual audit plan WDA included branch reviews and testing. The review included; visits on site in each branch location; testing of process and controls and interviews with branch staff.

No consideration given by IA to external audit management letters or third party external review reports.


WDA IAF maintain a review of all external reports and have reviewed the audit management letter in detail on an annual basis. These reviews are incorporated into the document review process in each quarter regardless of the theme.

o   Issues not identified in reports

o   Issues not appropriately ranked/prioritised

o   Lack of awareness at board level of issues identified by IA

o   Lack of review/response by the board of directors Lack of tracking of issues raised in IA Reports by boards and/or IA

WDA have modified and expanded the IAF reporting structure to ensure that all findings are laid out in the established ‘RMP’ format. This provides clarity on the issues/ expectations/ remediation and facilitates the Boards response to the findings. IAF are content that the reporting framework has been sufficiently developed to an acceptable standard and has repeatedly been positively appraised by PRISM inspectors.


If you wish to discuss internal audit services or want us to provide a quotation for services please do not hesitate to contact us:

Winners – Irish Accountancy Awards 2018

At the recent Irish Accountancy Awards event we were delighted to receive the honour of winning the Best Use of Technology in Accounting & Finance 2018 for recognition of the firm’s utilisation of RedFlare. We utilise RedFlare internally to assist with practice manager. We also utilise RedFlare to add value to an integrated Governance, Risk, Compliance and Data Protection consultancy service to our clients. for more information on RedFlare see

We were also nominated for Medium Practice of the Year. The category contained a number of incredible firms and it was an honour to be recognised in their company.

Thank you to the Irish Accountancy Award for the recognition and also for organising a great event.


Copy of Winner

GDPR and Adding Value

GDPR compliance has for some become a big headache and for others big business but both sides should see the upcoming Regulations as an enormous opportunity.

Operational Level

Companies are being forced by the Regulations to review, revise and rethink all its core processing functions. The two initial questions all CEOs/DPOs had to ask themselves were: What do we process? and; Why do we process it? The value-added role in this process was to ask the third question: how can we do it better? Most established businesses will over time have accrued additional processes; captured extra data and inadvertently over exposed themselves in the new world of data protection. This journey to compliance will force them to revise their core functions and find efficiencies in their data capture, data storage and date processing functions. This is an area where resources have not traditionally been allocated but the threat of monetary or reputational penalty has focussed companies on reviewing and refining these processes.

Strategic Level

–        Marketing & Sales

Whether you have been marketing to your customers or intend to market to your customers you must be able to stand over your consent collection and consent recording processes. The regulations are very clear on the requirement for consent to be collected in a clear and transparent way and that the consent has been documented. This is cause for a lot of organisations to worry about data bases they have generated internally over a number of years without consent; marketing lists, email data bases and potential sales lists. Whilst this, for many businesses, is being viewed as a negative outcome of GDPR for many others it is an opportunity to purge your databases of disinterested and disengaged customers and non-customers. A focused campaign of consent collection will allow a sales team/ sales manager to identify a more focussed, narrowed list of truly engaged customers and potential customers. This process should have the potential to reshape the marketing campaigns around a focussed group of purchasers/ service users who want your product and service and want to engage with your company. We have clients that have been ‘selling’ for over 40 years trying sales strategies that they have never previously considered and to great benefit.

–        Service Level Operators

Differentiating your company in the market place as a Professional Services provider, a company operating on a SAAS model or as an Outsourced Service Provider or data processor is a difficult job however, as customers and contracting organisations begin to wake up to GDPR and their own responsibility therein early adopters of GDPR best practice will afford themselves an opportunity to gain an advantage over competing providers and vendors when it comes down to the tendering process. Be a market leader and a standard bearer in your sector. Present your relevant compliance with the Regulations and provide your customers and suppliers with the assurances they will require to continue with your services or chose you over your competitors.

–        Governance Level

No organisation wants to be ‘the one’. The time to start your compliance journey is now, it’s still not too late. Every organisation must allocate commensurate resources to ensure that their organisation can demonstrate compliance with the Regulations or a clear plan to achieve compliance in a reasonable time frame. No organisation will be compliant on 25 May 2018 but the Regulators will expect that all organisations will be able to demonstrate their own responsibility to the protection of their data and their data subjects rights. The decision now is how to add value in that process.

Footer with both categories

Irish Accountancy Awards 2018

We are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted in two categories at this years Accountancy Awards. Medium Practice of the Year of Best Use of Technology in Accountancy & Finance

“Launched in 2015, the Irish Accountancy Awards has established itself as the premier event in Ireland for benchmarking excellence in the accountancy profession in Ireland.” –

We are honoured to be nominated and feel that the nomination is recognition of the hard work of the whole team. It is also recognition of the continued innovation and progressive vision of the firm. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our clients for their continued support and custom as we celebrate our nomination.

We are honored too to be among a group of excellent and class leading firms in the medium practice category. One of the common threads amongst out fellow nominees is an acknowledgement of the need for firms to stay flexible and to remain relevant in the current business world.

We have received our nomination for Best Use of Technology in Accountancy & Finance for our utilisation of redflare.

WDA have developed this system in conjunction with the development team of Red Flare and it is unique in its application and we are the only accountancy practice in the country using it.

The strategic plan is to deploy this system into Accountancy Practices in UK and Ireland.
The practice has used the system to record and manage the following areas within the

  • Training & CPD – All staff record their CPD and training for real-time review
  • Task Management – Partners & Managers are able to record tasks for completion, allocate to staff, assign due dates and budgets.
  • Automated Email Notification – Red Flare enables routine and allocated tasks to be
    automated and emails with links sent on a set basis. It will also highlight overdue tasks.
  • Internal Audit – WDA act as outsourced Internal Audit for a number of clients. All our internal audits reports, findings and recommendations vest in Red Flare IA, which we have specifically designed. Clients can logon and see recommendations, reply to same and print reports.
  • Risk Management – WDA act as outsourced Risk Management Officers for a number
    of clients. All our risk reports, findings and recommendations vest in Red Flare. Clients can logon and see recommendations, reply to same and print reports.
  • All Partner Meetings, Staff Meetings and Marketing Committee Meetings are recorded within Red Flare Governance Manager. Associated discussion papers are allocated against specific meetings. We can record attendance, agendas, minutes and tasks for every meeting.
  • Practice Compliance – All regulatory compliance in relation ISQC1, Investment Business Reviews, Annual Compliance Reviews, Monitoring visits vest within Red

Taming the GDPR Beast 3-April-2018

This event has now closed, thanks to all the attendees and also to our guest speaker Eamon Moore for his contribution on IT Security. very enjoyable morning and we hope all attendees will have benefited

We are hosting a GDPR awareness and readiness seminar. We take a practical approach and aim to arm all attendees with the knowledge to start or improve their compliance journey.

Taming the Beast 2018



Cryptocurrency & CGT

The Cryptocurrency Gold Rush

The year is 1849 and the hills of California are heaving with gold so you pack up your wagons drive across the country and start swinging an axe. To live the ‘California Dream’ of the 21st Century now all you need is access to the internet and some starting capital. As a result of the ease at which people can partake we now have millions of investors in the Cryptocurrency exchanges from professional traders the ‘Whales’ to speculative punters that don’t want to miss out on the next big Blockchain explosion. Bitcoin FOMO is real!


Like all sectors there’s an ocean of jargon and ‘techspeak’ to navigate and the range and variety of currencies and platforms can be overwhelming however with a small bit of leg work you’ll soon know the difference between BitCoin, Etherium, LiteCoin, Ripple & Cardano.

The key element for any investor or prospective investor to understand is the infrastructure underpinning the whole economy Blockchain. There are blogs, dummies guides to, YouTube vids and articles explaining in varying degrees of detail however the key points to understand are:

  1. What is it: Decentralized public ledger of data
  2. Each data ‘block’ has a timestamp, a link to a previous block and unique data
  3. Cryptography ensures that users can only edit the parts of the blockchain that they “own” by possessing the private keys necessary to write to the file
  4. Blockchain technology has been described as the internet of value. Blockchain is a method by which value can be transferred securely where both parties have access to the blockchain file and the encryption keys.


What does all this mean for the Taxman?


If you have investments in Cryptocurrencies then you are exposed to Capital Gains Tax (CGT). This is treated the same as any other investment. You must return a CG1 if you are a PAYE Employee or if you are self employed it is included on your Annual Form 11 return.

What do you pay?

  • 33% On Profits (Disposal proceeds – costs including costs of purchase, fees to brokers/solicitors)
  • If you are making a profit through the disposal (selling, gifting or *exchanging your asset) of your cryptocurrency, you will need to declare it to Revenue for Capital Gains Tax (CGT).
  • *Exchanging your asset includes transferring gains from one currency into another. i.e. Transferring a gain in Bitcoin into Ripple crystallizes the gain in Bitcoin and must be declared to Revenue.
  • The first €1,270 of your cumulative annual gains (after deducting expenses and losses from other cryptocurrency investments) are exempt from tax

 When do you pay?

  • There are two disposal period in the year Jan-Nov & Decemebr
    • If you make a disposal between 1 January and 30 November you must pay CGT by 15 December of the same year.
    • If you make a disposal between 1 – 31 December, you will have to pay your CGT by 31 January of the following year.

How do you pay?

Contact John or Darren to set up a meeting to discuss how to be compliant with you Cryptocurrency profits.

GDPR Taming the Beast 17-Oct-2017

unnamedAbout the event
By now the majority of credit unions will have made it to the start line on their GDPR journey, listening, reading, readying. The lights are out however and the time to get moving is now. We have put together a half day conference to assist credit unions with practical steps to start their compliance journey.

Through a series of interactive presentations we will explore practical steps to prepare for the May 2018 deadline.
Agenda for the Day

  • 09:45 – Registration + Coffee
  • 10.00 – What Is GDPR & Are You Ready
    • Presented as a compliance overview of what is GDPR from the perspective of the Credit Union. Why Credit Unions need to be ready and steps that can be taken now in advance of the May deadline.
  • 10.30 – Practical Steps to becoming GDPR Compliant
    • As observed by an Internal Auditor. How to handle SARs, Potential areas of weakness and practical roadblocks to compliance.
  • 11.00 – Coffee Break
    • or tea given your preference
  • 11.15 – The role of IT in GDPR
    • Jason Dowling from redflare will illustrate how an integrated software solution can assist your organisation in the compliance journey
  • 11.45 – IT Security Review
    • Practical explanation of the IT Security expectations and how this has been affected by GDPR.
  • 12.15 – Questions and Wrap-up
    • Open forum for attendees to discuss all issues/ queries with the presenters
  • 12:30 – Close


  • Dublin – Tue 17th October – Venue Dublin Airport Radisson

17 OCT

Registration is now closed. 

SURE Relief

Start-up Refunds for Entrepreneurs (SURE Relief)

We all know the important role played by start-up ventures and entrepreneurs on Ireland. They are responsible for the growth and production of wealth in the economy but creating a successful business isn’t easy.

With that in mind, the Revenue have created a relief that helps budding entrepreneurs take the first step.

What is SURE Relief?

SURE is a tax relief that provides a refund of income tax that you paid in previous years in lieu of an investment in a limited company for shareholding. If you are an employee, an unemployed person or a person who has recently been made redundant or left employment and are starting your own business, you may be able to claim tax relief.

The scheme offers an income tax refund of up to 41% of the capital that is invested in a new business.

A refund can be claimed on income tax paid over the previous six years prior to the investment in the new business.

Before availing of the scheme, a number of general conditions must be satisfied, you must:

  • Establish a new company engaging in a qualifying trading activity.
  • Invest in the Company for the purchase of new shares (no preferential rights)
  • Have mainly PAYE income in the previous 4 years, including a person currently in PAYE type employment, an unemployed person, a person recently made redundant or a retired person.
  • Take up full time employment in the Company either as a director or an employee for a period of at least 12 months.


It might sound obvious to state but you need to pay PAYE before you could be entitled to a SURE Relief refund

As with all reliefs available from Revenue, there is a lot of criteria to meet before an approved claim are completed so it is important that you engage a professional which will provide you with timely and correct advice.

If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact our dedicated start up team Darren or John at Whelan Dowling & Associates on 01-6771411 for no obligation chat about your company.

Are you GDPR ready?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) sets out the principles for how the personal data of your staff, clients and suppliers is handled, as it pertains to the rights of the individual.

It is expected that all data processors and controllers will have established their obligations under the new legal framework sufficiently in advance of the May 2018 implementation date.

The road map to compliance should include the below stops:

• Policy and Procedure reviews• Identify Stakeholders• Supplier reviews• Software register reviews• Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs)• Pre-GDPR Compliance Audit• Business P

WDA have developed a range of consultancy services to assist you on the journey to GDPR compliance.  To discuss how GDPR may affect your business get in touch and we will help to map your compliance and give you peace of mind.