A change in the right direction

Sep 01, 2017
Michael Quinlivan, Senior Associate at PwC, explains why he swapped a career as a primary school teacher for a career in Assurance.

How did you end up working in professional services?

I initially wanted a professional qualification and career that would give me an opportunity to travel. Speaking to a few people who worked in accountancy piqued my interest in the area, so I attended a careers fair where I met representatives from PwC and talked about a career with the firm. I was instantly sold on the journey and I am now a Senior Associate in the Asset & Wealth Management department at PwC.

You initially trained as a primary school teacher and have a Masters degree in Business Information systems. Was the transition to accountancy a difficult one?

When I applied to PwC, my last encounter with accountancy was during the Leaving Cert. So yes, adapting to a new environment where I mainly work on audits of funds was tough. That said, completing the CAP 1, CAP 2 and FAE exams will stand to me in the future and my team has been extremely supportive.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in Assurance?

It was the best decision I’ve ever made but I would advise anyone considering a career change to speak to as many people as possible – not only about the career they want, but also about other careers they might not be aware of in the accountancy space. I found career fairs really helpful in that regard, as you get the chance to speak to people who have been in your position and know how you’re feeling.

Lastly, how do you balance work, study and personal life?

I play gaelic football so that takes up a lot of my spare time, and I do try to leave work behind once I leave the office. Communicating clearly with my team about my workload and pressures makes it possible for me to focus on study, make time for football and family, and ultimately achieve a good work-life balance.