Fran Stafford, Bank of Ireland

Gen BODY - Fran Stafford-min

Tell us about your academic background?

  • Degree - BSc BIS in UCC
  • Masters - MSc Strategy & People Mgt in NUIG

Why accountancy? 

I have always loved accounting even though my degree was 50% IT, I was always more drawn to the accountancy and business subjects.

Why Chartered Accountants Ireland?

ACA is such a respected and widely recognized qualification, I wanted to make sure that I was gaining a strong enhancement for my CV and getting a great return for investing my time, money and effort.

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

The Flexible Route is set up to allow you qualify as a Chartered Accountant while working outside of the traditional training contract model.       

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

I worked in Bank of Ireland for 13 years. Starting on the grad programme, I progressed through a variety of roles in Corporate Banking including relationship & portfolio management, restructuring and my current role is new business origination. 

Describe a typical day for you?

My role is new business origination so I am out and about for a lot of coffees and meetings to invest in and grow my network. I originate new customers / business for Corporate Banking and have responsibility for managing each transaction / opportunity through all stages of our process - info gathering & analysis, development of proposal and structure, negotiations with customers, completion of credit application and presentation to credit committee, legal documentation, to final drawdown.

Is it flexible? 

Yes the access to lectures online was key for me in making it flexible as I often could not make it to lectures so really important to be able to catch up whenever works in your schedule.

How was combining work and study?

Difficult, it’s very important to have a supportive manager & employer.

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

Yes, broad reach of subjects which are all relevant in a business context. 

Would you recommend the Flexible Route to others? Why?

Yes, it’s a great way to attain the ACA qualification and you bring a different perspective when you haven’t come from the traditional training contract route.

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

Ideally make sure you have full support from your employer/manager before you undertake it, important they commit to giving you the time for study and understanding when it comes to assignment / continuous assessment deadlines. Set out for them at the start of the year what your study and exam schedule is like, when you will need study leave, etc.

What success are you looking for?

To continue progressing my career in Corporate Banking by taking on more strategic roles and additional responsibility within the new business team.

What are your future goals?

Continue to have a fulfilling career but maintain a healthy work life balance. I hope to take up further studies when my kids are a little older!