Donal Cashman, then Deputy President of the IFA, called the first meeting in 1974 to discuss the need for a specialised farm accounts agency. Following this, IFAC was formally started in 1975 with the following seven shareholders (special members):
- Donal Cashman and Michael Conway – IFA,
- Peadar Murphy and Tom Sheahan – Macra na Feirme
- Jerome Buttimer and Seamus Bergin – ICOS
- William Bulfin – FBD
and Farm Accounts Groups (in existence prior to 1975) were also involved in early meetings.
Local Farm Accounts Groups were formed and these engaged Recorders to record farm management accounts. The books were analysed under contract by An Foras Taluntais (now Teagasc). During this period, IFAC had no staff and was run by a committee on a voluntary basis which was served by John Murphy, Assistant General Secretary, IFA.
At the end of 1977, the watershed decision was taken to set up IFAC on a professional basis with its own staff structure. Peadar Murphy was appointed Chief Executive on 1 January 1978 followed by Rita Brady (secretarial/administration/accounts), Michael Hearne, Seamus McConnon and Larry Kinsella, Area Managers.
During the following two year period 1978/1979, the following major re-organisation took place:-
- Farm accounts amalgamated with IFAC and all clients became shareholders – up to 1978 they had been members of local groups.
- The control of IFAC passed from the original seven special members to a board elected by the shareholders – 12 elected, 6 co-oped from IFA, ICOS, Macra Na Feirme, FBD and ICMSA.
- Recorders, who up to 1978 had been engaged by local groups were now contracted directly to IFAC. IFAC set up its own Accounts Analysis Unit under Willie Fahey, who along with Pat O’Connell transferred from An Foras Taluntis where both had worked on the IFAC Contract.
The IFAC tax service was introduced and branch offices were opened in the following years:
John Duane and Tom Fahey were in the first group of Taxation Specialists to be appointed in 1979 followed by Walter Fox in 1980, Una Burgess (current HR Manager) and Joe Hickey (former National Taxation Manager) also joined in 1980.
From the very beginning, IFAC used a Recorder service to capture data accurately and computer technology to analyse it efficiently. The Recorder Service has therefore been central to the development of IFAC over the years.
The first Recorder training course was held in 1975 with the following attending;
- Jane Mooney and the late Hazel Cooke from Co. Wexford
- Sheila Fitzpatrick, Moira Brennan and Mary O’Neill from Co. Laois
- Joan Sheehy from Co Louth
- David Fleming from Co. Waterford