Marta Saltarska, Irish Cancer Society

Gen BODY - Marta Saltarska-min

Does the Chartered Accountancy qualification offer security as a career?

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a testing time for all. Luckily, I managed to keep my job and I have been working full time throughout the lockdown. The reason for that, I believe, is the industry I am in (charity sector), the nature and size of the organization I work for and the role I have within the organisation (Financial Accountant), the global nature of the pandemic, the feeling that it is temporary and any sudden actions (i.e. shedding majority of workforce) are not desirable, and a bit of “luck”.

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

Having trained in an accountancy firm, I smoothly moved to a finance role within the charity sector. Flexibility in career options was a reason why I decided to become a Chartered Accountant back in 2012. The recession of the previous few years made me realise how important it is to have a profession that can easily be transferred to a different industry or even country. A number of my friends who worked as Chartered Accountants in Ireland successfully moved to finance roles in my home country, Poland.

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

My role within the Irish Cancer Society as a Financial Accountant involves providing support to the Head of Finance, who makes strategic decisions. During recent times quick changes to processes and procedures were required to enable working from home without impeding on the great work the Society does. It was paramount to try to foresee potential issues before they arose and mitigate against them.

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

Technology is fantastic. It has enabled workplaces which never even contemplated their employees working from home to transition to working from home full time. Studying online has a myriad of advantages, including cutting down on commuting time / pollution, more time for healthier living and well deserved rest, and flexibility to study in one’s own time.

Tell us about your academic background?

BA in English Philology, 2004, Poland

Why accountancy? 

It’s a qualification one can bring anywhere and use in any country.

Why Chartered Accountants Ireland?

I worked close to the CA House and got drawn in for an open evening one day after work. I decided to give it a go.

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

Allows you to do exams and gather required experience at your own pace.   

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

I worked as an office manager at an engineering practice for 9 years, then for 1 year as Trainee Auditor at Comptroller and Auditor General. I then completed my training at Walsh O’Brien Harnett accountancy firm where I got to Audit Associate role and now I am a Financial Accountant at the Irish Cancer Society. 

Describe a typical day for you? 

Ensuring accounting records are accurate, liaising with senior management team, working on ad hoc projects, and feeling I’m doing something worthwhile. 

Is it flexible?

Yes, I am in a working environment which encourages work life balance. 

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

I was not an accountant until I became one. The career path starts from an accounting job but may end up somewhere else.

Would you recommend the Flexible Route to others? Why?

Yes, I was my own master and did not have to endure additional pressure to pass exams to, in some cases, keep a job. It allows you to “try” it while keeping the existing job. 

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

Be prepared for hard work but don’t forget to have fun, it’s a matter of good organization. 

What success are you looking for?

I’m looking for a balanced life, with a satisfying job that does not infringe on my private life. I’ve always wanted to work for a charity and that dream has come through. Not least thanks to the qualifications I obtained.

What are your future goals?

Become better and better at my job to benefit the organization I work for.