John McHale, Kearney Naughton & Co

Tell us about your academic background?

I studied Finance & Economics in NUI Maynooth graduating in 2003. I then decided to go back to gain my accountancy qualification. I enrolled with Chartered Accountants Ireland in 2011, underwent CAP1, CAP2 & FAE and finished my Chartered exams in 2014.

Why accountancy? 

Having studied finance I was interested in going on to qualify as an accountant but when I started working I put it off for a number of years. In 2011 when the Flexible Route became available I decided that it was my best chance to go back and finally get the qualification.

Why Chartered Accountants Ireland?

The Flexible Route at the time suited me and my situation.

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

The flexible route allows students to organise their lectures and studies around their work. You can attend weekend lectures and watch lectures online without these effecting your day to day work.      

What are the advantages to working and studying?

Whilst it is tough to organise your study while working full time, it can be good also. You can relate the information you’re learning to your day to day work. This helps your understanding of the materials and can also benefit you in your work.

Where have you worked and what kind of roles have you been in?

I worked in fund accountancy before moving to Donegal in 2009 to work in a US multinational where I worked on their pension funds. Whilst there I went back to do the Chartered qualification and exams. This helped me to move to the finance area within the company where I worked as one of the company accountants for 2 years. Then in 2017 I got the opportunity to join Kearney Naughton & Co as a partner in a busy accounting practice. This allowed me to join a growing practice and to re-locate back to my home town of Roscommon. Without the Chartered qualification this would not have been possible.

Describe a typical day for you? 

Dealing with various client queries from companies/sole traders/ individuals. Filing tax returns for clients and preparing annual accounts for companies and sole traders.

Is it flexible?

I work Monday to Friday most of the time. It is a fairly busy practice so there are times when extra work is needed but I can organise this around my personal life.

How was combining work and study?

Initially I found this very hard as I had not studied for a number of years before going back studying with Chartered Accountants Ireland. Having the weekend lectures and also the online options helped. It was tough going but was very worth the effort.

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

Yes, anyone who is in business / would like to have their own business / manage a business in future, would benefit greatly from this qualification. It’s a qualification that can open up doors for people and can create career opportunities that may not otherwise arise.

Would you recommend the Flexible Route to others? Why?

Yes, I’d recommend it to anyone that is interested in qualifying as an accountant. It allows you to take control of your studies and you can arrange them around your work and personal life.

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

Firstly, decide that you are fully committed to getting the qualification. Then look at your options for lectures/timetables/exams and put a plan in place that will help you get the qualification you want without too much disruption to your day to day life.

What success are you looking for?

We are hoping to continue to build a successful practice here in Roscommon.

What are your future goals?  

Continue to grow our own business by helping clients to make a success of their business by providing sound advice and accounting/taxation services.