Debbie Jennings, Deloitte

Gen BODY - Debbie Jennings-min

Tell us about your academic background?

  • BA Single Honours Economics NUI Maynooth,
  • MEconSc in Competition and Regulation NUI, Maynooth,
  • Chartered Tax Adviser CTA
  • ACA

Why accountancy? 

There were a number of reasons but mainly to strengthen my qualifications, to challenge myself, to bolster my employability. It seemed like the logical next step for me, once I had the tax exams completed.

Why Chartered Accountants Ireland?

My principal at the time was ACA and he encouraged me to obtain an accounting qualification. I had researched my options and decided to go with ACA because of its reputation and recognition both in Ireland and abroad. When I think of Chartered Accountants Ireland I think of world class leaders at all levels who are experts in their field and this really appealed to me.

Can you explain the Flexible Route to someone who doesn't know what it is?

Yes, the Flexible Route means that you can sit the exams now and get the experience later. In essence you don’t have to be working in a relevant role when you begin your studies and you just have to make sure that you have at least one year of relevant accountancy experience before sitting the FAEs. You can obtain the qualification at your own pace, going your own way. For me, I was able to move around roles without jeopardising my ability to obtain the qualification.

What are the advantages to working and studying?

For me, by working and studying I was able to earn money while obtaining my qualification. I was also able to switch employments without having it affect my ability to get that qualification. I was gaining the relevant experience in my role and using what I was learning, almost like on the job training – my academic learnings were coming to life in my day to day work.

Describe a typical day for you?

The one thing that I love about my role is that there is no such thing as a typical day! Each day brings new challenges and I get plenty of opportunities to try new things that take me outside my comfort zone. I feel like every day there is an opportunity to learn from the people that I work with and the clients that I serve.

Is it flexible? 

Absolutely, half way through my studies I changed roles and I was worried that this would impact on my ability to complete the qualification but because of the flexibility offered the transition was seamless and a few forms later, I was back on track and settling into my new job!

How was combining work and study?

Combining work and study was challenging, rewarding and fulfilling. I’ve been lucky that my employers have always been very supportive and from my experience the institute has always been there to reassure and guide, particularly when I changed roles and it came to recording my relevant experience. 

Can you see how someone who is not an accountant might benefit from this qualification?

Absolutely, for me it was all about progressing my career and gaining the skills and knowledge to be a business leader while developing my business acumen. This qualification is about so much more than just accountancy.

Would you recommend the Flexible Route to others? Why?

Yes I would recommend the Flexible Route to others based on my own experience. It gives you an opportunity to tailor your approach to obtaining the qualification to suit your needs. The Institute are always so helpful and accommodating so my experience was nothing but positive.

What advice would you give someone who is considering the Flexible Route?

I guess I would say “go for it”! I honestly believe you have nothing to lose, you can only gain and if you need a level of flexibility, this entry route definitely gives you that.  

What success are you looking for?

For me, success is about being happy in all aspects of my life. I think it’s important to recognise how far you have come and to appreciate where you.

What are your future goals?

Continue to progress in my career, learn and challenge myself.