Ross Langan, Pharmaceutical sector

Gen BODY - Ross Langan-min

Does the Chartered Accountancy qualification offer security as a career?

I believe the Chartered Accountancy Qualification offers a secure career path. Prior to the qualification, my association with the Institute helped me secure my first accounting role while I was studying. Since becoming a qualified member transitioning between jobs has been made easy with this highly recognised qualification.

Even in challenging times like we are currently experiencing, I feel secure in my current role with my company working remotely and providing the same services as pre COVID–19. The accounting/finance sectors remains strong with many job opportunities available, helping to add to my sense of career security.

Have you discovered flexibility in your career options as a Chartered Accountant? Do you feel you could move industry or country easily?

Yes. The course covers a wide variety of topics which offers a large degree of flexibility. To date, I have moved from financial accounting in a hedge fund administrator to my current role as a financial analyst in the pharmaceutical industry. Along the way I have been offered jobs in an IT start up and in practice. This qualification allows you to move freely between industries and although I have not looked at working abroad, I know there are many opportunities targeted at the Irish market for people with a qualification from Chartered Accountants Ireland.

How have your strategic skills as a Chartered Accountant been of benefit to you and your company, during recent times?

My strategic shills have allowed me to organise in an efficient manner. That way I can prioritise work in a time efficient way. It has also ensured the successful transition to working from home. By focusing on the key services, I was able to keep the same level of work as I would in the office environment. While the day to day operations are key to success, my strategic skills during this time have also allowed me to identify process improvements, provide training sessions at a team and organizational level; and provide assistance to restructure processes to ensure critical business functions remain in operation.

Can you share your thoughts on how flexibility to study from work or home could prove a real advantage?

This is a real advantage as it allows the students to plan their studies around their lives rather than planning their lives around their studies. The institute provides recorded lectures to allow you to re-watch the sessions which are broken down into manageable sections. These sections are well structured to allow you take frequent breaks. Tools such as online questions allow the user to pause the video at a specific point and ask a question which will then be sent to the lecturer. This is useful for those who many not feel comfortable asking questions in a room full of fellow student. It also allows you to pause the video and practice questions for as long as you need. These online resources are a real advantage to have and I used them a lot when I was studying.

Tell us about your academic background?

I graduated from NUI Galway with a degree in business commerce, through a partnership course with Shannon College of Hotel Management where I graduated with a diploma.

Why accountancy?

I choose accounting as it is a highly respected career offering many opportunities across a wide variety of industries. 

Why Chartered Accountants Ireland?

I choose Chartered Accountants because of the reputation of the institute and the high standard of training that I would receive. I knew graduating through Chartered Accountants would open doors and assist me fulfil my career goals.

Can you explain the Flexible Route to someone who doesn't know what it is?

The flexible route allows someone the ability to study in a way that works for them whether its home learning or attending the lectures. It also allow an individual remain in their current position while transitioning into an accounting role to gain the relevant work experience.

What are the advantages to working and studying?

The main advantage of working and studying is the overlap of the topics covered in lectures and real life work. This allowed me put the theory covered to practical use. It is also great opportunity to discuss the accounting treatment of work related issues with lecturers and fellow students. It was a great opportunity to network with other aspiring accountant and to keep up to date the ever changing landscape of accounting rules.

Where have you worked and what kind of roles have you been in?

I started my career in Hotel Management before I moved into a financial reporting role with a hedge fund administrator. Following my graduation from Chartered Accountants I moved into a financial analyst role in the accounts payable department in a pharmaceutical company. 

Describe a typical day for you?

The great thing about my role is there is no such thing as a typical day.  My role allows me to help problem solve for the affiliates I work for, so each day offers a new challenge.  I also have the opportunities to work on key projects such as the automation of invoicing. Some of the key aspects to my role include analysing the AP ledger, performing SOX controls, training team members and analysis financial reporting compliance. 

Is it flexible?

The role is flexible. I have autonomy over my work with support should I require it. The job provides flexible working hours and promotes work/life balance.

How was combining work and study?

At times the workload could be difficult to juggle. Having full days at work and going straight to lectures or having to attend lectures at the weekend. By opting for the flexible route, this allowed me to study when I wanted to study as all lectures were made available online. Another consideration about working and studying is the limited time off you get, as much of your annual leave is used for study around the summer exams. 

Can you see how someone who is not an accountant might benefit from this qualification?

Yes as someone who was not an accountant when I embarked on this journey, one of the key benefits the flexible route offers is opportunity. The qualification opens the possibility of a wide variety of jobs over lots of industries with endless opportunities for promotion and continued learning.

Would you recommend the Flexible Route to others? Why?

I would definitely recommend the flexible route. It has given me a chance to further my career, learn a wide variety of topics and become more in touch with the challenges and opportunities faced by businesses.

What advice would you give someone who is considering the Flexible Route?

I would recommend having a strong knowledge of the basics of accounting and also having a strong work ethic. Working and studying can take up a lot of time and this course needs dedicated time to ensure you can understand the material and pass the exams. 

What success are you looking for?

I measure success in terms of what I can bring to the organisation where I work. My aim in work is to deal with tasks efficiently and comprehensively.  With this I aim to make the lives of my work colleagues easier. When I do this I consider myself successful as it opens the opportunities for promotion. 

What are your future goals?

My goal over the next five years is to continue to add value to my work and build the skills to become a financial controller.