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Game Changers: ACA Annual Conference 2016

20 May 2016

Eileen Moloney

Last week Brightwater’s Accountancy team was delighted to sponsor the 2016 ACA Annual Conference in the Radisson Blu hotel in Galway.

With the challenging theme of “Game Changers”, the conference focused on how to be the best at what you do, both for your business and your own brand and had an impressive line-up of speakers. It was also great to see familiar faces and to greet new ones at the Brightwater stand (we’re sure the queue at our stand had far more to do with the expertise of our consultants than with the copious amounts of chocolates we were giving out).

It was a packed house on the Thursday and the conference kicked off with a lively keynote address from the ever engaging economist David McWilliams. He then chaired a highly interesting panel of speakers who discussed game changing within Irish businesses.

After a light lunch, the room split into three streams; Leadership & Innovation Stream, Internationalisation & the Opportunities for Ireland Stream and the Core Technical Stream. This is when the Brightwater crew’s loyalties really became divided, all wanting to see Joel Galvin of Storyful, Brian Fagan of Glendalough Whiskey and Aidan Lambe, Director of CARB. The first two are all now global success stories and even though Brian wasn’t offering a dram of whiskey to everyone in the audience, he still held his audience enthralled with the story of how they developed the brand and what their future plans are. A The next wave of speakers included Cristin Luminea of Thoughtbox who gave a fascinating insight into the details of launching a product worldwide, Derek Young from 1360 Medical who spoke about Ireland’s place in the multi-billion dollar medical device industry and Derek Butler of Grid Finance spoke on how crowd funding is building new marketplaces. Several of the Brightwater consultants had heard Derek speak at the ACA Young Professionals Business Leaders Corner series last summer but still found him to be an extremely engaging speaker.

The key note speaker of the afternoon was Niall “Bressie” Breslin who spoke frankly and honestly to a packed house about his battle with depression which he calls “the epidemic of this generation”. That night there was great entertainment provided by the singer Celine Byrne and a good time was had by all.

After a keynote speech by Ronan Dunne, CEO of Telefonica to kick off the Friday morning, there was a lively keynote presentation on Brexit by FCA Eoin O’Shea which outlined the business and legal consequences of a UK exit on Ireland. Oonagh O’Hagan of Meaghers Pharmacy then gave an engaging talk on what businesses want from their Chartered Accountant before a much needed break for coffee. The stream divisions were all popular after the break but it was when a certain retired Ireland rugby player arrived in that the place exploded with excitement. We were lucky enough to get Paul O’Connell to take a photo with the Brightwater crew before Stephen Molloy of Chartered Accountants Ireland sat down with him for the final keynote address of the day. While the topic of the speech was leadership and professionalism, some of Paul’s anecdotes certainly told of the fun he had with the Irish and Munster squads over the years. After that rousing chat, the conference was over for another year. Our thanks go to President of Chartered Accountants Ireland, Tony Nicholl and the hard-working team of CAI that put the whole conference together; Stephen Molloy, Dearbhla Gallagher, Becky Bristow, Emma Billings to name but a few! Can’t wait to see what they come up with next year to top this year’s conference – no pressure, guys!

The Brightwater Accountancy Team
Dublin: 01 662 1000
Cork: 021 422 1000