Overseas member news

Making the move After working for KPMG Dublin for four years, I used the network to move to the Madrid office a year ago. Thankfully I enjoyed five months of the city in full swing before COVID-19 hit and I absolutely loved it. Spanish life There is a relaxed vibe for such a major city, life really is all about enjoying cervezas and tapas on the terrazas. The weather helps facilitate this, as it can get chilly, but it hardly ever rains! There are lots of activities for expats: I joined a hockey team and a running club, and I found that a great way to meet locals was to go to “intercambios” where you can practise your Spanish and the Spaniards practise their English.   Overcoming the language barrier I worked for the audit and accounting advisory teams in KPMG Madrid. I felt incredibly welcomed by my colleagues there, but at times the language barrier was difficult, as I moved with only a basic level of Spanish. English is not as commonly used as it would be in KPMG offices in other European capitals. However it was sink or swim so I have definitely improved!   The importance of networking Unfortunately due to the pandemic, my contract was terminated in August. However, I am continuing to job hunt here as I just love the city and all it has to offer. I have recently come across Professional Accountants in Spain (PAS), which is a network for students and members of the UK and Irish chartered accounting bodies, which should definitely help me to make some contacts. Moving on and staying strong While Madrid is a major European capital, it clings strongly to the Spanish culture, which I believe makes it unique and therefore an exciting and interesting place to move to. I would highly recommend it to anyone and there are a few multinationals with English as their corporate language if someone didn´t have Spanish. If anyone is thinking of a move, I´d be happy to give any advice, so please feel free to get in touch via Chartered Accountants Ireland! Leah Lenehan, ACA  

Oct 21, 2020

Now more than ever we are all having to pull together to help each other. The benefits of belonging to a member organisation such as yours means you can draw on the support of your own community of accountants wherever you are in the world. Our members work and live across the globe in five continents, and with strong connections back to Ireland, and your Institute, this community can sustain you during these tough times. The CA Support Team are here for you too.  Dee France and the team - Terri, Helen and Francesca -  provide a host of services which can now be delivered online so you can avail of them anywhere in the world.  When you hit a road bump, whether in your work or personal life, there are a variety of supports available to you. Recently, we have been helping members in Canada, Singapore, Spain, France, and the United Kingdom. They have used our services in the areas of emotional support, wellness coaching, professional counselling, and family emergencies. They’ve also been tuning in to our regular online wellbeing and mental health webinars, connecting with members in both Ireland and abroad.  Being able to share their unique experiences and ask important questions in real time, provides a great way to connect with a worldwide community of fellow accountants. So, wherever you are in the world, and whatever life stage you find yourself at, we are here to listen, to support and to guide you through any difficulty you may be facing.  You are not alone – there is a team of professionals ready to help, and a whole community of fellow accountants to connect with, wherever you are in the world.    Check out our website where you’ll find new content delivered regularly to support you at all stages of your career and personal life.  CA Support is here to support our students, members, and their families. Contact the CA Support team on mobile: (353) 86 024 3294 or email us We look forward to hearing from you Dee, Francesca, Helen and Terri

Oct 15, 2020

Brendan FitzGerald is a Chartered Accountant living and working in Portugal. Recently, he kindly spoke to us about his life and work there, touching on the challenges, perks and secrets of great sourdough.Why did you first go away and/or why Portugal?The reasons behind me moving to Portugal were twofold.  The first was for family reasons. My wife is originally from Brazil and due to the close cultural proximity of both Brazil and Portugal we decided it was a good opportunity for my wife and her mother to be close to each other and of course for my mother in law to be close to her grandchildren! My mother in law now spends two thirds of the year in Portugal. The second reason was to satisfy our sense of adventure.  Having spent over ten years in Dublin, Ireland we wanted to try something new and experience a new country.  We felt our kids were at just the right age, having not started school and thought “it's now or never”.  Thankfully, I work for an organisation and with people who are supportive. They helped make the move happen, something I will always appreciate.What are the pros and cons of living there?The main advantage of living in Portugal with a young family is the country’s culture and lifestyle.  Portugal has a relaxed pace of life, terrific food centred mainly around fish and fabulous weather.  There are plenty of places to visit and the choice of beaches is endless.  There is a strong investment in children’s facilities including swimming pools, public playgrounds and sports facilities so there is lots to do with young children.  As ever though,  it is not always rosy in the garden!  Being away from friends and family in Ireland can be difficult. I find myself missing small things sometimes, you just can’t get Clonakilty black pudding in Lisbon and forget about Barry’s tea (a controversial choice at the best of times, I know)!  The language barrier is also something to overcome.  While I am lucky enough to understand the language very well from listening to it at home over the years, the spoken word remains a challenge. Simple things like going to the local offices to pay your car tax can elevate your stress levels beyond what they need to be for what should be a simple task!  Luckily, most of the time the Portuguese are willing to break into English to help out if needed and this is often appreciated.What advice would you give your pre-departure self?Keep calm and accept it will take anywhere up to a year to start to feel fully comfortable in your new environment. While the initial stages can be challenging as you navigate the administration tasks, settle into your new accommodation (if you are lucky enough to have found a place before you arrive) and find schools for your children, try and enjoy the new experiences a new country brings during this time.Can you describe your home town, your home away from home?I live near a town called Cascais, which is west of Lisbon on the Atlantic coast. The town itself is historically a fishing town and still is today.  During the spring and summer months many tourists pay a visit, some on day trips from Lisbon, others for longer stays. The pace of life is steady and the mantra is keep stress to a minimum! The locals are extremely proud of their town and region and will happily engage anyone who wants to discuss it. I recently took up cycling and enjoy riding around the region, especially along the coast where the views of the sea and the Sintra mountains are stunning.Are you in touch with any other Chartered Accountants in Portugal/nearby in the region?I have met a few Irish expats over the last couple of years.  Some are retired and others are either working for international organisations or own their own businesses. I am not sure whether or not they are all Chartered Accountants. I may have to ask next time I see them!Finally, we heard your family make great sourdough, we have to know the recipe! What are your children's tips for success?The great thing about sourdough is its simplicity! The trick is to create a good “starter” which is just flour and water added and subtracted in equal quantities from a jar for about 11 days (you can get exact guidance online).  The sourdough itself is then just flour, water, salt and the starter. Buy a proofing basket and a dough scraper and then get cracking! Every one you bake will turn out different.  My eldest daughter says the key to success is “patience”. Good luck!Brendan FitzGerald is Director of Internal Audit with Metlife Europe. 

Aug 11, 2020

From Albania to Zimbabwe, we have some 5,000 members all over the globe outside of the island of Ireland. There are 32 countries with just one member living there, and the greatest numbers are in the UK, Australia and the USA.  Regardless of where you are or what timezone you're in, we want to support you in any way we can. COVID-19 has pushed many more people to work at home online, and to study, shop and even socialise online. At Chartered Accountants Ireland, we are providing our CPD courses and specialist qualifications online. While some were always available as distance learning options, we have now developed new and relevant CPD content online to bolster these offerings and enable members to keep up to date. Upskill: specialist qualifications Our specialist qualifications cover topics from corporate finance to tax. We have introduced two new programmes: Diploma in Data Analytics and Strategy and Diploma in Excellence in Financial Reporting. These and all autumn 2020's programmes are available fully online. Update: CPD To make previously classroom-based courses more accessible, we have developed interactive Virtual Classrooms to allow for more engagement from attendees. Webinars allow for great updates. If you have missed any, some are available to view later. And don't forget to look out for the many free ones! If you are overseas and want to get in touch, we always love to hear from you. Gillian Duffy - Global Member Manager

Jun 24, 2020

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