The Institute of Directors in Northern Ireland (IoD NI) is calling upon local business leaders to action good governance and reduce the number of director disqualifications in the province by undertaking a professional qualification through such means as the Chartered Director Programme
By Gavin Walker Business First Online July 07, 2014
According to the Insolvency Service, the financial year 2014/2015 to date has already seen 13 director disqualifications in Northern Ireland, with 104 reported in the year 2013/2014.
Explaining how professional qualifications can strengthen leadership prowess to the benefit of their company, IoD NI Chairman, Paul Terrington, said: “The economic climate continues to challenge local businesses and it is important that directors have the skills and experience to run their businesses profitably and a clear understanding of their responsibilities as directors.
“Most disqualifications occur when directors fail to maintain proper accounting records, fail to prepare and file accounts, or make returns to the Companies Registry and fail to submit tax returns and pay taxes due.
“Unfortunately many of these issues only come to light when directors have continued to trade while insolvent, causing further damage and distress to creditors.
“The Chartered Director qualification provides participants with a solid understanding of the role of a director focusing on strategy, finance, governance and leadership, whilst keeping them up to date with changes in the law that can affect a business.
“So far in Northern Ireland, almost 500 business leaders have participated in the programme and I look forward to that number rising further as the next generation of ambitious directors emerges, hungry for success.”
The programme progresses through the Certificate, the Diploma in Company Direction and finally the Chartered Director qualification.
Peter Martin, Managing Director of Director Development Ireland Ltd, who facilitates the courses locally on behalf of the IoD, said: “A lot of people can be directors, but not everyone is necessarily a good one. With the “Chartered” brand being synonymous with professional excellence, our graduates benefit from being seen to be qualified.
“These courses have been designed by busy directors for busy directors meaning there are no lengthy assignments or dissertations and, with modules delivered by experienced business leaders, directors gain an unrivalled insight into the implementation of strategy and planning for the future of the business.
“Whilst the programme is beneficial for the director’s own personal development, it is also beneficial to everyone in the company who benefits from their professional leadership style. By focusing on developing a broad range of skills required by directors, the course provides leaders with the knowledge and external awareness to confidently make the correct decisions for their business.”
Amongst the graduates of the programme is Alastair Hamilton, Chief Executive of Invest NI, who said of his qualification: “Directors are required to motivate, plan and communicate effectively. The course successfully combines theoretical framework and the opportunity to apply these skills to working life.
“The standard of teaching is extremely high and is well worth the effort of any director seeking to improve their performance.”
In recent years, approximately one third of those completing the course have been female directors and senior executives, including Karen Carmichael, Managing Director of mxb, who said: “The programme allowed me to take the time to step outside of my business and look at how to drive it forward in the company of fellow industry professionals on a similar journey.
“Both the Board and my colleagues would support the view that our business has benefited immensely since I undertook the programme and has stood us in great stead for achieving our overall vision.
“It requires dedication, but the reward of attaining the highest standard of Director professionalism is certainly worth it.”