Preparing students for a successful career in accounting (sponsored)

Dec 04, 2018
Trinity Business School offers non-accounting graduates a fast-track route to a career in accountancy.

The Trinity Business School Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting offers non-accounting graduates a fast-track route into a career in accountancy. Graduates of the eight month, full-time course build a robust platform for their future roles as accountants.

Ranked first in Ireland and tenth in Western Europe for accounting on the prestigious Eduniversal 2018 business school listing, the course focuses on the fundamentals of financial accounting, management accounting, corporate finance, audit, taxation and related areas and offers significant exemptions from the examinations of professional accountancy bodies including the Chartered Accountants Ireland CAP1 exams.

“The programme prepares students to succeed in a career in professional accounting,” says Neil Dunne FCA, programme director for the Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting. “The core modules are what you would expect from any Chartered Accountancy course – financial accounting, corporate finance, tax, governance, company law and so on. One of the things that sets it apart is the class size. We put a cap on the class size at around 40 students. Students are not going into a class of over 100 students. This allows them to get to know each other individually. It’s large enough for them to establish personal and professional networks that will stand to them for their whole lives and small enough to develop real friendships as well.”

Diversity is another plus point. “Many of our students come from overseas,” says Dunne. “That’s a big benefit. There is also great diversity in their qualifications – arts, law, science and so on. That makes for very lively classes. They also have access to all the supports available from a world-class university like Trinity College Dublin.”

The quality of the faculty sets it apart as well. “Four faculty members won Trinity Teaching Excellence Awards this year,” Dunne points out. “All of the lecturers are qualified Chartered Accountants except for our law lecturer, Vaeni McDonnell, who has actually written a book on business law for Chartered Accountants Ireland.”

The course is finely attuned to the requirements of Chartered Accountancy. “It gives students not just the technical skills but business acumen as well to carry with them wherever they go. There is an authentic business and academic balance.”

Many of the graduates move on to careers with leading accountancy firms, several of which have close links to the programme. “We have industry partners such as EY, who offer internships to the highest achieving students. This year, Grant Thornton is delivering a new module on accounting in practice.”

 “The purpose is to give students the skills they will need for a career in professional services,” says Grant Thornton Associate Director, Sandra Gleeson. “We typically see students with excellent undergraduate qualifications but not much idea of how a professional services firm works. We took an outcome-based approach when designing the module. We asked what kinds of skills graduates need when they start working in practice and worked back from there.”

The module has its origins in work which Grant Thornton has already done with interns, she explains. “We gave them a case study to work on, which mirrored what they would be doing as trainees. They got to see a piece of anonymised client work from start to finish. They took it into a workshop setting and worked on it as a team to the point where they could bring it to a partner for review.”

Similarly, the Trinity Business School module gives students an idea of what it’s like to work in the industry. “It helps them acquire the practical skills that they would normally learn on the job and gives them a head start. There is also a strong commercial focus. It’s advantageous for the students and for the firms they will work for.”

The student verdict

Rachel Bracken is a graduate in Chinese and English from Maynooth University. “I don’t come from a business background so it’s a bit of a 180-degree turn for me,” she says. “I spent a bit of time in Shanghai and got a feel for business there.”

Advice from relatives and her own research led her to choose accountancy as her path into business. “I was initially going to go back to Maynooth University to do it, but a friend had heard about the Trinity Business School course and what a good reputation it had. I looked at it and made up my mind within a day that it was the one for me. It was a big change going from languages predominantly to numbers but it’s a very good conversion course.

“The support network in Trinity is amazing,” she continues. “It comes down to excellent teachers; they have made it so accessible and explain everything so well. They make sure you understand everything. The class is great. We’re like a little family. Doing the course is one of the best decisions I ever made.”

Bernard Sweeney studied law in UCD and always had a keen interest in business. He did a pure law degree and wanted to do a course that would prepare him for a job in KPMG. “Three courses offered the CAP1 exemption. Trinity College Dublin is the closest to where I live and is also the most highly regarded.” And the course has lived up to expectations. “It is very good and quite accessible,” he says. “All the lecturers are professionals or ex-professionals.” When asked to mention a highlight he points to the financial management module. “I didn’t think we would go into detail on stock valuations and so on, but we do. Cormac Lucey is a very good lecturer and really knows his stuff.”

Gillian Carberry describes the programme as “tough, but really good”. “The classes are brilliant, and the lecturers are really good. They have experience in the sector and they spend time with you.”

She started out doing International Business in DCU. “I did an internship with Deloitte in 2016 and they offered me a graduate contract and asked if I wanted to do a postgraduate diploma in accounting. I had heard really good things about Trinity Business School. I am going to go into the tax department in Deloitte and the Trinity Business School diploma offers exemptions for both the tax and Chartered Accountancy exams. The standard of teaching is brilliant and I’m really enjoying it.”
Jack McGuinness studied economics at the University of Birmingham and chose the Trinity Business School course as a gateway to accountancy. “I wanted to go into accountancy, I saw it as a natural progression from economics. I heard about the Trinity Business School course from a family friend. I also did my own research. The CAP1 exemption is great. It also offers a good grounding and knowledge of accounting.

“It’s a really intense course, it’s quite tough but the quality of the lecturers really helps. The class size is quite small, and this is very good as well. The location is also great, right here in the centre of Dublin.”

The closing date for applications for the Trinity Business School Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting is 30 June 2019. Students are advised to apply for the programme as early as possible, as admission to the course is competitive.

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