Emily Rael, Wells Fargo

Gen BODY - Emily Rael-min

Tell us about your academic background?

  • Leaving Certificate (2006) – 500 points

  • Bachelor of Business & Law (UCD) (2010) – 2.1 Honours Degree

Why accountancy? 

I have always had a practical interest in business and numbers. From an early age I assisted with payroll and admin in my father’s business and really enjoyed the business subjects in school (Business, Economics, Accounting). I completed work experience and internships in banking and accounting roles while I was in school which further embedded my interest in the financial services industry.

Why Chartered Accountants Ireland?

I started my Chartered journey via Grant Thornton which set me on the ACA track. It seemed like a no brainer at the time as the Institute would be the favoured trainee institution for most accounting practices in Ireland. The ACA reputation, structure and clear pathway appealed to me.

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

For me the Flexible Route meant that I could continue to pursue my ACA qualification while working for a company in industry rather than practice. The first year of my CA Diary experience was obtained via Grant Thornton, while the remaining years were captured via my finance role in Wells Fargo. It allowed for a more broad and varied experience than that of the typical Chartered practice route.

What are the advantages to working and studying?

While challenging at times, there are many benefits to working and studying. I found myself being much more productive with my time as I had no choice but to organise myself to ensure I was making efficient use of my limited time. In addition, I was able to apply learnings from my studies to work situations and vice versa.

Describe a typical day for you?

During my final year, in the lead up to the FAEs, a typical day would have been work 8.30am – 5.30pm, 1 hour break for food and recovery, then 6.30pm-9.30pm study / practicing questions in Chartered Accountants House on Pearse Street (my office was only over the footbridge in the IFSC). I knew that I was going to be competing with students from the accounting practice firms who typically had 3+ months off work to study for the FAE exams and so I had to take the little and often approach with my studies throughout the year. This benefitted me in the long run as I didn’t fall into the “cram” trap and I felt much more prepared in the lead up to the exams having started early in the year.

Is it flexible? 

Yes, I found it flexible in terms of the type of roles you can get experience in, and the ability to set your own study plan. 

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

Yes, definitely. The qualification is much more than pure accounting. Subjects such as strategy, finance, tax, etc. are applicable to many roles and indeed personal financial planning.

Would you recommend the Flexible Route to others? Why?

Yes. It is an opportunity to gain a valuable and respected qualification that will help in furthering your career no matter what industry you are in. There are skills and learnings to be achieved which can be applied in a multitude of roles.

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

Do your research and ensure you are equipped with the drive, time and commitment to complete the workload required for the qualification. It’s not easy, but if you’re focused and willing to apply yourself, it is extremely worthwhile. Ensure your employer is supportive of the commitment also as it personally helped me a lot when they ensured that I left work on time each day to allow me to study in the evenings.

What success are you looking for? / What are your future goals?

To work in an environment that is challenging and be in a position to add value through my judgement, knowledge and experience. To be a leader and respected decision maker. To have balance between my work and personal life. To use my skills and position to help others via CSR initiatives.