A touch of class

Aug 30, 2018
Grant Thornton’s Aislíng McCaffrey on the balancing act of work, rugby and volunteering.

What drew you to accountancy?

My degree is in actuarial and financial studies but towards the end of college, I didn’t feel like this was the right route for me – I felt a little restricted. After college, I did some travelling in Australia and came to the conclusion that Chartered Accountancy was the qualification I should pursue as it would allow me to gain valuable business knowledge and technical skills that would give me access to a range of career opportunities, both at home and abroad.

What’s your key to success?

A lot of it comes down to hard work, both in study and in the office. Use your initiative to find where you can add value and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Also, if you feel like you need support – ask for it. I’ve found having a mentor or someone you can talk to about your career progression is really useful.

Do your roles as a financial services advisory manager and vice captain of the Irish women’s touch rugby complement each other?

At the moment I work mainly in project management, which requires a lot of co-ordination with various stakeholders and issue resolution. On the pitch, I really enjoy the analytical side of the game – looking at what went wrong and how to fix it for the next time. As vice-captain, I also have to represent the team as a whole so I need to be conscious of other players’ opinions so both roles complement each other quite well.

How do you balance work and sporting life?

I make a lot of lists! On days that I know I have to be out of the office on time for training, it motivates me to get through my workload and helps prioritise key tasks. Obviously, some days work has to take the priority, but I can normally plan for this and work my training around it. I’ve always been given great support from Grant Thornton too.

As a long-time volunteer with UCD and Special Olympics Ireland, would you recommend volunteering to current students?

100%. There are so many opportunities available to volunteer and I think people underestimate how beneficial it can be personally – you can learn a lot about yourself. And it doesn’t have to be something big. For example, I am a mentor in Grant Thornton as part of the Trinity Access Programme and my role can be as simple as meeting a student for coffee and having a quick chat about how college is going.