Realising your vision

Jul 02, 2018
Michael Walls, 2018 Young Chartered Star and entrepreneur, knew he wanted to be a Chartered Accountant, he just had to find his own way there.

What inspired you to enter the Young Chartered Star competition?

I entered so I could share my journey as an openly gay accountant and highlight that diversity exists amongst Chartered Accountants. Hopefully, my story will provide some inspiration to other LGBTQ+ members. 

I was also inspired by Sinead Fox-Hamilton’s trip to last year’s One Young World Conference in Colombia, where she got the once in a lifetime opportunity to meet and hear from top business leaders in the world, and on return shared what she learned with the entire Chartered Accountants Ireland network.  

What do you think you brought to the table that other entries didn’t?

I think it’s probably due to the varied experience I’ve had in my career to date. As a Chartered Accountant, I have been able to take risks which I otherwise wouldn’t have taken, and I have learned a lot along doing so (both professionally and personally).  

I also shared my vision for the future of the profession, something I am passionate about and the main driver for setting up my own business.  

In your submission essay, you mentioned your own start-up. What pushed you to start out on your own?

I had an excellent mentor at UrbanVolt, CEO Kevin Maughan. Kevin pushed me outside of my comfort zone and that’s where I did the greatest amount of learning. When  explained to Kevin that I wanted to leave and set up my own business, he was very supportive and encouraged me to pursue my dream.

I am delighted to tell you that I have just launched Dappr (www.wearedappr.com). My vision for Dappr is for real-time financial information to be available to all businesses. Dappr’s mission is to work with sole traders and small businesses to help them digitise their financial information so that this vision can be realised.

How has becoming a Chartered Accountants helped you professionally and personally?

Professionally, being a Chartered Accountant has opened up opportunities to me that I could never have imagined when I was completing my training contract at KPMG.  For instance, I have had the opportunity to work at Google and then go on to work for an innovative start-up, UrbanVolt, taking on responsibility for ensuring its continued success as Finance Director.

On a personal note, becoming a Chartered Accountant has strengthen my relationship with my parents, who were worried about my employment prospects when I came out at 19. They no longer have to worry about this. And, being a member of a prestigious all-island professional body has enhanced my social life. I have been able to attend exclusive events, both North and South, which would not have been open to me if I was not a member of Chartered Accountants Ireland.