Careers Development

Future proof your career. Now that the days are looking slightly longer, you may be inspired to look at a fresh year with fresh eyes.  So how can you put your best foot forward and keep that spring in your step for 2019? Here are some suggestions that might give you some inspiration: Focus - focus on the tasks ahead in your role, be that accounts prep, audit or tax work.  Pay attention to the task and become aware of the skills you are learning and strengths you are developing with each new task.  Capture each new skill in your CA diary to build up a true appreciation for the learning curve you are on and to compare where you were on day one versus day 300, 600, or 900 etc., Self-awareness - Often when I ask newly qualified members what they enjoy about their roles they haven’t given it any thought.  Why not make 2019 the year to heighten your own level of self-awareness and pay attention to the tasks that you do, ask yourself: What drives me? What motivates me? What challenges me? What stimulates me? What frustrates me? What excites me? And then ask after each one – Why? Why do I feel driven in that specific task, why does that task stimulate me etc.? But also what – what about that frustrates me, what about this interests me? With this level of self-awareness you begin to form a clearer picture of the kind of career person you are.  Using these questions you may begin to form an outline for your dream role or ideal work environment, wouldn’t it be great before you have even qualified to have spent time on your own personal development and awareness which ultimately may help your decision making skills further down the career path. I am not suggesting that the track you are on now, the role or the firm you are in now is not the right one for you.  That is most definitely not the case, these questions are designed to help you to develop your own thinking and what is right for you - not your peers or colleagues.  The more confident, self-aware and comfortable with your own choices that you are the more valuable an employee you can be to your organisation – this exercise shouldn't be something to fear. Values - an exercise we work on when coaching is to start to develop a list of our Career Values. By that I mean what each of us values in our work and career for example: reward & recognition may be a value of yours, rapid progression may be a value, the ease of commute, or perhaps you value a high salary or opportunities for travel etc. A value is personal to you, it is an honest reflection of what matters to you and can be incredibly powerful when working towards your ideal or dream job.  It is also flexible and so today you might value salary and prestige, a few years down the line you might value work/life blend and reduced working hours etc. the core of this exercise is the more honest you are with yourself the better it reflects you and where you are at in your life.  Regardless of what stage you are at, start now to identify the values that make you as a person and at any stage in your career stop and check in to see how aligned it is with your career values. Voice - Anyone involved in sales or marketing will understand the concept of the 'elevator pitch', it is never too early to work and develop your own 'pitch'.  This enables you to articulate who you are, what your role is and what you do in that role – I regularly meet highly competent members who cannot articulate what it is they do.  This is a basic skill and one that you can start to work on and practice at any stage of your contract - write it down and when you are happy with it on paper practice saying it to a mirror - it sounds funny but better to fluff your lines to the mirror or pet pooch than someone that you might be looking to impress further down the line. Educate yourself - yes you are studying and regularly attending lectures, case studies and exams but aside from that, read journals online, papers, listen to podcasts, listen to business-shows on the radio - keep up with what is going on around you at all times.  You never know when a piece of information may be of use or may be the difference between you getting a promotion or not; securing your ideal job or just helping you to hold a conversation at a networking event.  It also helps to put context on how your career is shaping up, pay attention to new language used, new roles being created, old roles becoming obsolete, new technologies, new business figures, new concepts - all of the little things together will help you in your career. Future proof – What’s happening in the world of technology that will impact how you work and your career? Are you familiar with and do you understand the terms and language that is out there and becoming part of everyday vocabulary.  What do you know about Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Bias, UX, CX etc.  How will your future-proof your career to ensure that you are one step ahead as changes come down the track? Read tech magazines, follow them online, and look at who the Pendulums and Web Summits invite to speak.  Come along to Young Professionals events where they cover the most up to date topics and career impacting technologies for ACAs.  By paying attention to all of these things you can ensure you are giving your career the best possible support. I hope that some if not all of this resonates with you and encourages you to approach 2019 with a positive & excited attitude!   Ciara Tallon is a Career Coach & Recruitment Specialist with Chartered Accountants Ireland and works with all newly qualified members to help with CV preparation, career advice and guidance on long term career planning. Contact Ciara on 01-6377 322 or email ciara.tallon@charteredaccountants.ie

Feb 06, 2019
Careers Development

January the beginning of a fresh new year with hopes, goals, aspirations and resolutions.  Often that spills over from personal into professional life and it's an opportunity to reflect on how the previous year has been but also a good time to put some structure on the coming year. Regardless of where you are in your studies you may find you are being stretched in your efforts to manage a busy audit season, or perhaps year end or even just to complete study and exam prep along with managing life and all of the things that can be thrown  at you. Historically the phrase work-life balance has been bandied about as though it was something we should all strive for - however, one size does not fit all and so we now know that everyone's 'balance' can be different and can differ at various  career stages. This 'balance' is being replaced with a more personalised concept of 'blend' so whatever the work and life blend you choose the key is that it is healthy and manageable for you. Furthermore in creating this blend, traditionally we talk about well-being and resilience to last the distance.  Career coaches, hr practitioners and even individuals have developed this concept further and have found that too much resilience isn't necessarily a good thing. In a 2017 Harvard Business review study on resilience the writers look at the potential negative side of our increasing resilience.  Showing up every Monday morning in dark winter months to do a role you know isn't for life but is just for now is admirable and indeed a trait that is necessary at many stages in life and career.  However, when every day feels like a cold wet windy Monday morning, and where the work is neither stimulating nor challenging your resilience could in fact be holding you back from moving on to something more exciting and positive in your life. Conversely you may find that each day is too challenging, that each decision is too demanding, that requests are bordering on unethical or immoral or the hours of work are dangerously high - resilience is not your best friend here.  The article goes on to highlight the blinding nature of pushing on and ignoring the warning signs not just for yourself but possibly also for your team - not reading the signs or expecting too much are not good leaderships traits . So what can you do? Begin to monitor your work, your energy, your health and your downtime, if you feel that any of them are suffering begin an audit of what can change, even the smallest tweaks such as cycling into work can mean you get some exercise, head space and still get in on time.  Perhaps you haven't had a Saturday off in months, is there an opportunity to do something about that, even a conversation with your manager to confirm an end point for constant weekend work can in itself be a light relief.  Reflect on what it is that you need to do to ensure that your long term health, positive mental health and well-being are maintained. A shift from dogged resilience to well-being and self-care can in the long run last the pace and can ensure that you enjoy the journey and view it as a marathon with the odd sprint thrown in - it's where the entire journey mirrors a sprint is where your perseverance can take a bashing. Far from the days of chin up and put your best face forward, we are increasingly reminded that the ‘always on’ mentality and environment in which today’s generation exists should be managed with care rather than become something to be endured.  Long term this mindful approach to self-care will pay dividends that far outweigh salaries or status. Ciara Tallon Career Coach & Recruitment Specialist 01 6377322

Jan 16, 2019
Careers Development

Current Market Summary & Effective Networking : Many of you reading this will be newly qualified ACA’s in 2019.  Upon qualification 10 years ago I didn’t realise all the different and exciting options and avenues that are open to a fully qualified Chartered Accountant. You have been focusing on exams for several years now and are at a crossroads where it may be time to raise your head and take stock of your options deciding where you want all this hard work to lead.   The good news is that there are literally dozens of avenues and directions you can take your upcoming ACA qualification in. You will soon be in possession of a prestigious Irish business qualification. Start exploring your options early and clarify where you want to go. Overview of the current market in Ireland for newly qualified ACA’s :  Brexit has been a good influence so far particularly on FS opportunities and all going well in the decision months ahead that should stay positive for Ireland. Regional recruitment has been good in each of the provinces. In particular Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast have shown the best recovery.  Dublin is still outperforming the others in terms of number and variety of opportunities but the other counties are certainly not far behind. Roles that are currently in vogue include statutory and analytical positions and if you are making your first move out of practice the type of organisation you join will likely align with your current client base and whether you audit banks, PLC’s, SME’s or funds for example.  Currently the buoyant sectors are typically Pharma, Technology, Fin Tech, Food, FMCG, Hospitality, Not for profit, Construction.  You may also find the www.careersportal.ie website useful as you review your options.  In the longer term view, Networking is an essential activity for career success!  It's the weekly gym routine that strengthens your long term Career marathon performance. The strongest networkers are typically those that are passionate about their chosen career path.  Once you have an idea of the direction of your career now you can start networking effectively in that space. It's never too early to start. Ireland has always been associated with warm connections and introductions and 3° degrees of separation. It’s essential you don't leave it too late though!  The more senior you become the more reliant you are on your personal network.  Use your Institute -  the Young Professionals, District Societies, CPD courses. Young ACA’s are playing key roles in the Junior Chamber of Commerce Ireland with amazing events and speakers. Be active in your clubs, hobbies, sports networks, charities, and make sure people know what you do professionally! If you value a particular persons experience and advice why not ask them to be your Mentor ?  The Institute also offer a Career Mentor Service and we too can connect you with a mentor once qualified.  Social Media has its place in good networking and just a quick mention that it is essential that you have your LinkedIn profile up to date. Use keywords in your details, join relevant LinkedIn groups, connect to your peers via polite introduction messages and build that online network. Ciara Tallon and I are very much looking forward to partnering with you as you move through each step in your Career Pathway in the years ahead and don’t hesitate to connect with us in 2019!   Dave Riordan (ACA)  Recruitment Specialist  & Career Coach 01-6377251 / 0879674285

Dec 07, 2018
Careers Development

Congratulations! As a guidance counsellor in school used to say – every day is the beginning of the rest of your life, at the time I didn’t appreciate what she meant but now see that yes every day has the potential to be the start of a journey. About now you may be either starting your Chartered Accountancy journey and have the next three to four years of experience, study and development ahead of you with all of the exciting opportunities and challenges that it brings or indeed returning for another year of education within the Institute.   The Career Development & Recruitment Service is available to all qualified members but will be supporting you throughout your journey.  Regardless of where you are in your journey, here are some suggestions on how to maximise your success in the year ahead: Get as much experience as possible – not just in your chosen field but outside the box too Volunteer for as many projects or secondments as you can take on Begin to look at your peers not just as colleagues and classmates but your future network When you are doing something that you love and enjoy – make a note of it Maintain your Chartered Accountants diary on a regular basis – keep it up to date Try to balance your work, study and hobbies – easier said than done but vital long term If you have just realised that what you are doing isn’t for you – take action Can you move – ask your partner/manager Can you be seconded elsewhere for a chance to get exposure to other elements If neither is an option research the roles are out there in the marketplace Can this experience but used as a stepping stone to something else Is there an element of what you are currently committed to that you can do differently Identify a mentor at whatever stage you are at – always have the future in mind Try to carve out a unique selling point for yourself – it’s okay to stand out from the crowd On a regular basis tap in to see what’s happening in the market - stay relevant Read business updates, journals and generally stay aware of the movers and shakers in business Where you are attracted to a particular sector - keep a list of company names within that sector Attend networking events such as CASSI & Young Professionals or join their committees Use all of the services available to you in the Institute As with any suggestions or recommendations they are there as guidelines and as a framework to help you construct your own career plan.  There is more support on hand at : https://www.charteredaccountants.ie/professional-development/Career-Development/Careers-Advisory We wish you the best of luck with your endeavors.  Ciara Tallon, is a Career Coach & Recruitment Specialist with the Career Development & Recruitment Service of Chartered Accountants Ireland.    

Oct 17, 2018
Careers Development

As part of developing the career pathway framework, Karin Lanigan, Manager of our Career Development & Recruitment Service, conducted research into our members' careers.  Engaging with a representative sample of our 26,000 members, the focus groups were made up of members from each of the 4 career stages ( Newly qualified, Developing, Expert and C-Suite) to ensure that we incorporated all the key skill requirements. Many 'pearls of wisdom' and essential career tips were revealed. "I would like to share these insights with you as I believe they are invaluable" Karin Lanigan, Top tips at a glance: Have a career plan and define what success looks like for you Soft- skills will be the differentiator Good is good enough Your career begins at the end of your comfort zone Maintain a focus on personal and professional development Broaden your experience and seek exposure to senior level stakeholders Develop your network and promote an authentic personal brand Look to gain people and project management skills and experience Listening skills are crucial. Seek and act on feedback Find a mentor Embrace technology Don't become too busy and maintain a focus on your well being For more detail and advice please read on: 1. Have a career plan Members expressed the view that investing time in the preparation and management of a career plan will reap rewards in terms of your career development and job satisfaction. The advice was to start by asking yourself the question ‘How much time do you spend planning your career?’ Often we spend more time planning other aspects of our lives such as a holiday than we do planning our career. You owe it to yourself to take time out for professional and personal development. Treat your career like a project and set out a plan and specific time based goals. Review your progress and constantly track it against the initial plan. Assuming ownership of and responsibility for your career is a critical success factor as it empowers you and puts you firmly in control of your own career pathway. Define Success Members were mindful that you need to have clarity in relation to how YOU define success. Success means different things to different people. Just because you aren’t or don’t want to be a CFO or CEO doesn’t mean that you are not a success. Members suggested that you reflect on what you want to achieve in your career and what it is that motivates you and provides you with career satisfaction. Aligning your career-path to your personal values is really important and this was supported by the feedback we received from members at every level of seniority. 2. Soft-skills will be the differentiator Our focus groups all agreed that as your career progresses it will be the proficiency of your soft-skills that will determine your career trajectory as opposed to your technical skills. What we mean by the term soft-skills is your personal attributes that enable you to interact effectively and harmoniously. You will reach a stage in your career where your technical knowledge and capabilities will be taken as a given and what will really determine your career success will be skills associated with leadership such as communication, collaboration, coaching and developing others, building strong connections and networks, to mention but a few. Recommended courses: Course Date Location Speaker Cost Assertive Communication 25-Oct CA House Fiona Flynn €240 Influencing & Negotations Skills for the Workplace 20-Nov CA House Fiona Buckley €240 Personality Types- understanding yourselves & others in the workplace 06-Dec CA House Fiona Buckley €240 3. Good is good enough Members advised that you should try to let go of your perfectionist tendencies as they will not always serve you well as you advance in your career. There are times when getting a job completed well but not to absolute precision is a better use of your time than trying to reach perfection and wasting time that would actually be better spent on other more value add areas that are career enhancing too. I appreciate that this can be a challenge but the key question to ask of yourself is ‘Is this the best use of my time?’ Recommended course: Course Date Location Speaker Cost Effective Prioritisation and Time Management 11-Dec CA House Úna Mc Devitt €240 4. Your career begins at the end of your comfort zone Members all agreed that a critical factor in determining your career development is the extent to which you are prepared and willing to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. How willing are you to take on new challenges and to work through that feeling of fear when you are trying something new? If this apprehension is not managed it will prevent you from doing things that are career enhancing. It is a case of feeling the fear and doing it anyway. To achieve career success you firstly need to recognise these feelings of fear, then rationalise and manage them. Be courageous and forge ahead regardless. The members I spoke with during the focus groups experienced this roller-coaster of emotions on a regular basis but their overriding advice was to take the opportunities that are presented to you as you may come to regret it otherwise. 5. Maintain a focus on personal development Lifelong learning is a key component of a successful career plan. As the world around you evolves quickly you have to stay relevant. A key way in which to achieve this is to be curious and keen to learn on a continuous basis. Personal and professional development doesn’t need to comprise of just attending courses it should also include such activities as seeking a mentor or a coach. Similarly you can add to your learning by viewing videos and reading articles on-line. The resources that members mentioned included Accountancy Ireland, You Tube videos and The Economist. 6. Broaden your experience During the focus groups members unanimously expressed the view that as your career progresses you should look to gain exposure outside of a pure finance role. Obtaining cross-functional experience will enable you to move into more senior operational and management level roles. An understanding of the commercial and operational aspects of an organisation can be a career differentiator. Similarly honing your negotiation capabilities can also give you the edge when seeking career advancement particularly in a more strategic role and at C-suite level. Obtain exposure to senior level stakeholders Members agreed that delivering results is a given but what will really accelerate your career progression is ensuring that the key decision makers are aware of the results you are delivering and the impact that you are having on the business. Therefore it is often your visibility rather than your ability that will determine your career success. A proactive approach is required to ensure that the decision makers within the organisation are aware of your capabilities and your career ambitions. 7. Develop your network As your career progresses, you will become more reliant on your network to obtain leads in relation to potential career moves and also to gain access to a wealth of advice and information. The key message from the focus groups was not to leave growing your network to chance. Instead approach it in a strategic way and invest time in developing a network that will support your career. The consensus within the focus groups was that attending Chartered Accountants Ireland events and courses provides a platform for growing your network. Similarly your network should not be restricted to finance professional and you should take a broader view. Promote an authentic personal brand Closely aligned to networking is the process of developing and promoting your brand. The focus groups believed that authenticity and reflecting your true self impacts positively on your profile and career path. In other words play to your strengths and don’t be afraid to be yourself. Visibility was again determined to be crucial as key decision makers need to be aware of your brand. 8. Look to gain project management skills and experience Members agreed that increasingly employers are looking to Chartered Accountants to manage pivotal projects. A finance skill-set incorporates well into a project management environment. It enables you to add real value whilst also providing you with the potential to develop a new range of competencies. It is also the ideal opportunity to gain exposure outside the finance function which can prove important when advancing your career. Working in the area of project management will also give you visibility of other areas of the organisation and improve your overall commercial knowledge.  People management skills are important As your career progresses, you will become more reliant on a team and others around you. Your ability to recruit, retain and develop a team will influence your career path. The focus groups firmly believed that developing your capability and impact in the area of people management is important in terms of career development. You will need to have the ability to motivate and influence others and to gain their support and buy-in. An awareness of your management style and the impact it has on others will help to determine your career trajectory. 9. Listen skills are crucial In a busy world full of distractions it can be difficult to take the time to really listen. However, the members participating in the focus groups felt that advanced listening skills were an important factor in determining your career success. Taking the time to really listen to others will enable you to develop stronger relationships with others and to also hear about important matters that you might otherwise have missed out on. Real listening also includes picking-up on non-verbal ques which is often where actual learnings come from. The focus groups agreed that developing the art of reading people and situations effectively can be career defining. Seek and act on feedback Another essential component of listening is seeking and acting on feedback you receive from others. None of us like to hear negative comments but embracing these and implementing positive changes as a consequence can help to advance your career. The feedback you receive can often help you identify and deal with career inhibiting behaviours or actions. 10. Get a mentor- have your own trusted advisor A significant number of the members participating in the focus groups mentioned the importance and the potential impact of a mentor. They felt that the support and guidance that they received from a trusted mentor had a very real and positive impact of their career as they benefited from their experience and perspectives. Their advice was for every member to seek a mentor and to avail of the Career Mentor Programme offered by Chartered Accountants Ireland. The support of a mentor can contribute to your career success. 11. Embrace technology Technology is impacting on all aspects of the world around us including finance. The focus groups firmly believed that it was career critical to embrace technology and to leverage it to your advantage when looking to add more value in your role. It was felt that Excel was now a minimum requirement with many roles and organisations requiring higher level expertise in the areas of financial and data analysis, process improvement and even robotics. It was agreed that embracing technology provides members with the capability to add more value and in turn enhances career potential. 12. Don’t be too busy- Are you a busy fool? In a world where work pressures are immense and expectations are increasingly higher we can fall into the trap of over committing, taking on too much and not taking time out to reflect and plan. There can be a tendency to become completely immersed in your role and miss the more strategic and significant matters that are going on around you. Members felt that it was important to take time out and to give yourself ‘headspace’ to think rather than to be stuck in the ‘doing’ of your role. It is when we take time out to really think that important decisions, plans and strategies can be formulated. Overcommitting can obviously also lead to burn-out. The pace at which you are working needs to be manageable and sustainable to allow you to achieve your full potential over the longer term. Focus on your well-being and resilience levels Following on from the topic of ensuring you are not a busy fool, there was a strong sense amongst the focus group participants that a real commitment to your well-being was a key component of career success. There was a significant awareness of the need to incorporate self-care and stress management into your life and career. In other words it is important to spend time doing the things that you enjoy and that help you to recharge and maintain your mental health and overall well-being. Mindfulness has proven to be beneficial for members as have various self-awareness exercises. Overview I hope you have found this article of interest and benefit to you in terms of planning, developing and maintaining your career. It incorporates many key messages and advice from members and I would recommend that you save it and revisit it periodically to remind yourself of the points that are most relevant to you. Remember that the Career Development and Recruitment team are available to meet with you to discuss your individual career plans with you.

Sep 10, 2018
Careers Development

An impactful and charismatic leader can command a room and have strong executive presence. Often people assume that extroverts have this greater presence but this can often be a perception bias. Successful, iconic introverted leaders such as; Barack Obama, Marissa Mayer and Bill Gates are proof of this. Fiona Buckley, lead tutor on our new Certificate in Leadership Essentials asks ‘Do extroverts or introverts make better leaders?’ Yes extroverts are more naturally expressive and more vocal and tend to get energy from other people but there are blind-spots to extroversion too.  Extroverts can often talk too much and need to be more reserved in given situations. In any case, the majority of people tend to be ambiverts- which is the best of both worlds with introverted and extroverted tendencies Both introverts and extroverted personalities have the potential to be great leaders. The introvert and extrovert spectrum is about preference not performance. The secret sauce here is that good leaders know how to be both and know how to flex into other sides of their personality when the situation requires so. Leaders need to know their own personality type in order to maximise its strengths and be aware of its blindspots so self-awareness is key. Only once they are aware, can they temporarily flex into other sides of their personality preferences .The analogy here is that – if you are right handed, you can learn to write with your left hand. It may feel slow, awkward, wrong at first and that’s what it feels like flexing into other parts of personality traits that are less known to us. Leaders do this all the time. Once you learn to do this, this can benefit all areas of your life. The Certificate in leadership Essentials includes personality preference resting and delves into this in greater detail. “Everyone on this course undergoes a personal journey into their own leadership style and gets an in-depth view into their strengths and development areas. We are now leading at all levels in our organisations and learning how to have personal impact is such an integral part of any personal development plan” Fiona Buckley, Lecturer and Corporate Trainer, lead tutor

Sep 10, 2018
Careers Development

The Chartered Accountants Ireland Advanced Certificate in US GAAP is designed for accountants and professionals with a working knowledge of accounting that require fine tuning and comprehension or fluency in US GAAP. The course tutor is a highly regarded trainer Michael Turner, who trained in the US where he qualified as a US CPA as well as later qualifying as Chartered Accountant with ICAEW and as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). Mike works internationally, delivering US GAAP and IFRS training in Europe, across the Middle East and Africa. Mike explains that for him the ‘case studies and situational analysis are the cornerstone of the course, bringing the topic to life’. Turner outlines what participants on the new certificate can expect, ‘we will focus is on analysing US GAAP reporting issues using what I expect to be extremely thought-provoking exercises which will help you understand how you would implement advanced concepts and principles’. Mike explains that while this is an Advanced Certificate with an expected level of depth that you will not got lost in the detail ‘we will not get lost in number crunching exercises but will instead hone in on the skills that will enable you to more effectively understand and analyse US GAAP reporting challenges. ‘ The course is available exclusively by distance study meaning it can accessed by anyone, not matter where in the world you are located. Turner sets out the process, ‘successful completion of the advanced certificate involves reading our US GAAP training material, tapping into our online technological platform and completing a home task where you will put their analysis skills into practice followed by a final exam which will be available online using our cutting edge virtual invigilation platform. Course Date Location Speaker Cost Advanced Certificate in US GAAP 08-Oct Distance Learning Mike Turner Members Price: €1750 Other professionals: €1, 925

Sep 10, 2018
Careers Development

Join the Leinster Society in CA House on the 5th of July for a complimentary breakfast briefing on the results of the Annual salary survey. Release of annual salary survey findings with an informative session on the importance of digital branding for employers and employees by leading digital marketing speaker. The briefing will also cover remuneration levels, flexibility, work life balance and the impact or the introduction of new technologies to the profession. Book now: https://bit.ly/2I3vdMQ 

Jun 20, 2018
Careers Development

Meeting student members who are in the final stages of their contract can be enlightening as it gives us both an opportunity to sense check what’s happening in work versus what’s needed post-contract. A snapshot of some of the things I hear and see that perhaps might be an obstacle to a successful experience outside of contract includes: Underestimating the experience in contract whether that’s in practice, audit, industry etc. Your Chartered Accountants diary is a valuable tool to capturing your successes – so keep it up to date to avoid forgetting unique experiences and assignments.   Overestimating the experience in contract – yes that contradicts the above point but what is also important is to take the experience for what it is. You might have had the opportunity to get senior exposure on exciting projects but be mindful that some basic experience might have been overlooked. Walk before you can run.   Forgetting the bigger picture – often clients comment that members going for interview say they are commercially savvy but in fact rely on a very limited flow of information. If you really want to be taken seriously in business, read all you can and attend events outside of your immediate circle (on your own if you need to) but develop a passion for all things business and commerce and don’t rely purely on what’s happening in work.   Start to develop a level of self-awareness for what you like and what you are good at. Instead of automatically reverting to the ‘I don’t know what I want to do’ response, be mindful of the experiences you’ve had and ask yourself ‘have I enjoyed that role, that sector, that company, that culture, that size team etc.’ and find your own answers.   Look before you leap! Very often I meet with newly qualified members who on one hand tell me they have absolutely no idea what they want to do but in the same breath tell me they’ve interviewed but haven’t been successful? I think that says something – more time researching, engaging, questioning = less time interviewing.   High expectations in salary. A worrying trend is high salary expectations for first roles out of contract, be careful not to price yourself or the profession out of exciting career enhancing roles for the sake of a small difference in pay as you start out on your career.   Speed (appears to be) of the essence. You wouldn’t be expected to have your pension plan in place as you leave your contract and equally neither is reaching financial controller level within two to three years. It could be considered admirable but also perhaps worrying.  By having such a focused goal in such a short period of time you could potentially miss out on on vital skills, exposure, opportunities, secondments and ad-hoc projects as well as invaluable life experience. Often the longer route is beneficial to building a complete set of career skills. As always the Career Development and Recruitment Service is on-hand to help you at this crucial time of your career and life by providing impartial, supportive, confidential advice and guidance.  Contact us at careers@charteredaccountants.ie to see how we can be your career partner throughout your career. 

May 18, 2018
Careers Development

The Importance of a career health check As Manager of Career and CPD Development a significant proportion of my time is spent working with members in relation to career strategy. It is a topic that is always at the forefront of members’ minds. The concerns expressed by members are often similar in terms of how their career is progressing generally, how they compare with others at a similar level, what do they need to do to get their next promotion and of course how can they ensure they achieve their full potential and that their career continues to advance. Taking time out to review how you and your career are performing is time well spent. It is an exercise that is worth investing time in as it provides you with the opportunity to stand back and critically review your career performance. It is a ritual that should form part of an overall career planning strategy. It allows you time to review and take stock, to plan and to deal with obstacles or issues that might arise for you. With this in mind the following are some questions to put to yourself to help you to conduct a career health check or ‘audit’ to use terminology close to the hearts of many! If you are honest with yourself the answers should provide you with beneficial and thought provoking insights that will prove useful when you are reviewing and strategically planning the steps in your career. This process is becoming increasingly important with the wide ranging changes that are taking place in the workplace where it is likely to be the case that we have numerous and varied career paths during our working lives. This increases the need for strategic career planning. The Career Health Check questions you need to ask yourself... Career goals What are your overall career objectives? What are your short, medium term and long term goals? Where do you want to be in 5 years’ time? Consider these questions in relation to what you had originally set out to achieve, as well as assessing what your ambitions are now. It can be beneficial to consider these objectives and goals from a professional as well as a personal perspective. These distinct dimensions of your life should not be reviewed separately as they are inevitably linked and intertwined and one area of our life will impact on the other. This consideration can be of particular importance and relevance as you move through your career and as priorities shift and change. Starting a family is a perfect example of when your priorities might shift. Career Success Bank What have been your key achievements to date? What are you proudest of in your career so far? These questions will help you to review and take stock of what your key accomplishments and deliverables have been.  We often don’t take time out to consider what we have actually achieved and to then give ourselves credit for what we have in fact accomplished. This process can be hugely motivational and can help to provide you with the inspiration and impetus to move towards reaching future career goals. You will also gain greater awareness of your skills and value proposition. When it comes to self-promotion and personal branding being aware of your personal success bank is a must. Consider the following: Career Skills and Experience What new skills and competencies have you acquired throughout your career? What unique selling points can you now offer as a result of the experience you have gained to date? Building on and leveraging the career success you have achieved to date can provide you with a solid platform from which to launch the next phase of your career. Ask yourself if you are playing to your strengths and maximising your real potential? What are your Unique Selling Points (USP)? How aware are you of them and their value to you and your career? Are you making the most of them and incorporating them into your career development plan? Learning and professional development How steep has your learning curve been in recent years? In the rapidly changing and competitive environment that we work in there is immense pressure to stay in touch with emerging trends and developments and this is fundamental to your career success. If you find that your learning curve and potential to add to your skills and success bank has stopped or diminished you should now start to consider the alternatives open to you. Keeping up to Date How have you ensured that your skills, knowledge and experience are up to date and in line with market and employer requirements? What skills are most in demand and how do you rate in these areas?  What have been the recent developments in your area? What likely impact are they going to have on your career? What are the long term prospects for your role, organisation and sector?  These essential questions will help you to assess how relevant your skills are and where gaps may exist for you in the context of a rapidly changing world where skills need to be constantly updated. Comparison How has your career progressed relative to your peers? Conducting a benchmarking exercise to see how your career progression and advancement rates relative to your peers can provide interesting insights. It can potentially help you to assess your career in a more objective way. However, do keep in mind that we don’t all have the same goals and motivations so you may not be comparing like with like. That said it is always worthwhile informing yourself in respect of the career paths chosen and followed by your peers. LinkedIn can be a very useful way in which to learn about the career paths of your peers as is meeting with your peers on a regular basis to keep in touch. This has the added benefit of increasing your network as well as keeping it active. Salary/Package How does your salary and package compare with the rates currently being offered for employees at your level? How satisfied are you with your salary and package? What scope is there for further movement in this area? These are all important questions to consider when reviewing your current salary and package. Speak to others in your peer group to get a sense of what salaries and packages they are being offered and also speak with a number of recruitment agencies and consult their salary surveys to gain specific insights into the current trends in the market. Obviously money is important but it shouldn’t be the only consideration and you should take into account other non-monetary benefits such as flexibility and working from home when you are looking at the overall employer offering. Career Path Is your career on track? If not, why not?  If your career hasn’t turned out the way you had hoped or it has stalled, the starting point for any changes is to take a critical and objective look at what went wrong, how this happened and what the reasons were for this. The next step will be to reflect on what you have learned from these experiences and what you now know about yourself. Consider what you would do differently with the value of hindsight.  To move forward and to bring about positive changes you need to have an action plan in place that will allow you to implement a strategy that will get your career back on track and moving in the right direction once again. Network How strong, active and current is your network? How much time do you invest in building on this valuable resource? What contacts have you recently added to your network? Developing and maintaining a professional network is critical to career success, particularly as you advance into more senior level roles. Investing time in building authentic, meaningful and mutually beneficial professional relationships will benefit your career. Mentor Do you have a mentor? Who can you look to when you need advice and support in relation to key career decisions? Who can act as your trusted careers advisor? Having an independent sounding board and someone you can seek objective advice from can be invaluable especially when it comes to important career decisions or when challenges arise. Be sure to have someone in your corner to Supporting your career Ultimately your career is your responsibility and you owe it yourself to invest time in effectively managing your career path and success. Time invested will be pay dividends. Chartered Accountants Ireland has a wide range of career support services available to you.  For more details click on https://www.charteredaccountants.ie/professional-development/Career-Development or contact Karin Lanigan on 01 637 7331 for a confidential discussion.

May 02, 2018
Careers Development

During the course of your training contract you will be offered as well as seek out, lots of advice, whether that’s from your Partner, Senior, Manager or parents, peers, siblings.  Most of it will be well intentioned and constructive, occasionally it may hurt or disappoint but above all its information that you decide how you are going to receive and what action if any to take. Often we find it difficult to know who to confide in or go to with a problem or concern regarding work, career or life! In terms of career one of the most positive and rewarding decisions you can make is to seek out a mentor. Mentoring The concept of mentoring is not a new one. The term mentoring comes from Greek mythology and Homer’s Odyssey. When Odysseus went travelling, he asked his trusted friend, Mentor, to care for and guide his son into adulthood. Mentoring is a voluntary swapping of information, advice, shared experience as well as suggestions on how to avoid pitfalls but also an opportunity to inform the other person on changes to sectors, markets, updates on business requirements etc. the mentor is usually, but not always more senior. In most cases mentoring takes the form of face to face conversations between two people and the discussions are shaped by the development needs of the mentee. The meetings allow not only the transfer of knowledge and experience but also of ideas, options and opportunities. Great possibilities can emerge from mentoring. A mentor is someone whose hindsight can become your foresight. Mentoring will help you see things that you may not have recognised in yourself. This will enable you to identify your strengths and weaknesses and generally improve self-awareness. The quickest way to succeed is to learn from people who have been successful. Various studies have shown that being mentored is linked with achievement. The mentor can provide the mentee with valuable insights that they may otherwise not obtain. Mentees can gain an unbiased opinion and overview. This can be enlightening and help them to see themselves and their careers from a completely new perspective and enable them to unveil new possibilities. Mentoring provides the mentee with a forum in which to relax and open up whilst dealing with the real issues that are on their mind. These issues may not be addressed otherwise and major career ‘roadblocks’ can be removed. Mentoring is a powerful intervention. Many mentees report a boost in their confidence levels following a meeting with a mentor. This can in turn lead to an improvement in motivation and performance levels. If sustained, these new levels of drive may result in career progression or promotion. Mentees often gain an increased understanding of an area, sector or discipline. This new information allows them to consider new areas and explore other options, broadening their horizons and providing them with more possibilities. Choosing a mentor Choosing the right mentor is pivotal to the process. One option is to consider, ‘Who are the people in your life that could potentially act as your mentor? Ask yourself the following questions: Who has managed to get the very best out of me? Who has inspired and motivated me in my life? Who do I look up to, respect and trust?              The other option is to consider using the structured Career Mentor Programme provided by Chartered Accountants Ireland. The Chartered Accountants Ireland Career Mentoring Programme The Career Mentor Programme was established by Chartered Accountants Ireland to provide members with access to a panel of carefully selected members. These members are a valuable resource due the experience, management skills and intellectual capital they have acquired throughout their varying careers. Mentoring is not a replacement for career advice, support and career planning, but it’s when you have put some thought into where you would like to go to that the mentor is particularly useful. The mentor has no obligation to assist mentees in job searches. The Career Mentoring Programme is a process for the informal transmission of knowledge, social capital, and the psychosocial support perceived by the recipient as relevant to career or professional development. It is an unofficial, voluntary, mutually-agreeable, and self-selected interaction between Chartered Accountants. It takes place when the mentee, (having already considered what drives and motivates them) then needs advice, guidance and support. The mentors are willing to freely share their own experiences and skills with the mentee. Qualities to look for in a mentor The mentor you choose has to be right for you. Your choice of mentor can have a huge influence on how successful the relationship and process is for you and what benefit you obtain from it. Critical mentoring competencies include: Being a good listener and knowing how to give effective feedback. High levels of self-awareness Knowing how to help with goal setting and planning. Helping you to test the reality of your goals Knowing when to give and conversely when not to give advice. Providing constructive feedback and insights The ability to build trust, instil confidence and motivate people. Strategic questioning abilities. The ability to communicate professional experiences effectively. An effective mentor will: Offer challenging ideas and wise counsel Help build your self-confidence Offer inspiration Listen to career problems and offer encouragement Confront negative behaviours and attitudes Trigger self-awareness Provide knowledge of the career area sought Mutual Reward The most productive mentor/mentee relationships are those that result in a reciprocal exchange of knowledge. The mutual benefit results in a more equal and open relationship and this in turn can lead to a higher quality discussion, ideas and knowledge exchange. Conclusion Mentoring is a very positive process and experience which benefits mentors, mentees and organisations alike. It appeals to individuals and it is something to keep in mind as you go through your career at various stages along that path, there is always someone out there that has been on the same journey. For more information check out the Mentor page

Apr 11, 2018
Careers Development

What is mentoring? The concept of mentoring is not a new one. The term mentoring comes from Greek mythology and Homer’s Odyssey. When Odysseus went travelling, he asked his trusted friend, Mentor, to care for and guide his son into adulthood. Today the definition of mentoring on Wikipedia ‘is a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person.’ Essentially mentoring is an open dialogue which facilitates the transfer of knowledge and wisdom. It is typically a voluntary arrangement and the mentor is usually, but not always more senior. In most cases mentoring takes the form of face to face conversations between two people and the discussions are shaped by the development needs of the mentee. The meetings allow not only the transfer of knowledge and experience but also of ideas, options and opportunities. Great possibilities can emerge from mentoring. The levels of interest in mentoring have been increasing internationally. Companies and individuals alike have recognised that they can benefit from the valuable learning and insights of those who have life and career experiences behind them. The benefits to be gained from mentoring have been experienced and recognised not just in the world of business but also in academia and education, sport, politics, medicine and many other areas. In the world of film and literature mentoring is often a key theme. ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ and ‘Dead Poet’s Society’ are just two films that come to mind. What’s in it for you? Mentoring is a two way learning process and there are immense benefits to be gained for both the mentee and the mentor. ‘If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants’ Isaac Newton. Mentee Perspective A mentor is someone whose hindsight can become your foresight. Mentoring will help you see things that you may not have recognised in yourself. This will enable you to identify your strengths and weaknesses and generally improve self-awareness. The quickest way to succeed is to learn from people who have been successful. Various studies have shown that being mentored is linked with achievement. The mentor can provide the mentee with valuable insights that they may otherwise not obtain. Mentees can gain an unbiased opinion and overview. This can be enlightening and help them to see themselves and their careers from a completely new perspective and enable them to unveil new possibilities. Mentoring provides the mentee with a forum in which to relax and open up whilst dealing with the real issues that are on their mind. These issues may not be addressed otherwise and major career ‘roadblocks’ can be removed. Mentoring is a powerful intervention. Many mentees report a boost in their confidence levels following a meeting with a mentor. This can in turn lead to an improvement in motivation and performance levels. If sustained, these new levels of drive may result in career progression or promotion. Mentees often gain an increased understanding of an area, sector or discipline. This new information allows them to consider new areas and explore other options, broadening their horizons and providing them with more possibilities. Mentor Perspective There is a huge amount of satisfaction to be gained from the mentoring process and from being able to ‘give something back’. This can prove motivational and can reinvigorate the mentor’s own enthusiasm, recognising the difference they can make and the value they can add. The mentor too will learn from the process and it can often provide them with a new perspective on different areas, other generations or developments. It affords the mentor the opportunity to build on their experience and to enhance their communication and leadership qualities. The relationship often allows the mentor time to reflect on broader issues and to gain some perspective themselves. Choosing a mentor Choosing the right mentor is pivotal to the process. One option is to consider, ‘Who are the people in your life that could potentially act as your mentor? Ask yourself the following questions: Who has managed to get the very best out of me? Who has inspired and motivated me in my life? Who do I look up to, respect and trust? The other option is to consider using the structured Career Mentor Programme provided by Chartered Accountants Ireland. The Chartered Accountants Ireland Career Mentoring Programme The Career Mentor Programme was established by Chartered Accountants Ireland to provide members with access to a panel of carefully selected members. These members are a valuable resource due the experience, management skills and intellectual capital they have acquired throughout their varying careers. The role of the Career Mentor is to provide advice and guidance to other members in relation to their career development. The mentor has no obligation to assist mentees in job searches. The Career Mentoring Programme is a process for the informal transmission of knowledge, social capital, and the psychosocial support perceived by the recipient as relevant to career or professional development. It is an unofficial, voluntary, mutually-agreeable, and self-selected interaction between Chartered Accountants. It takes place when the mentee needs advice, guidance and support. The mentors are willing to freely share their own experiences and skills with the mentee. It was a fantastic experience to speak to somebody with such knowledge, insight and passion for their role. He was extremely helpful and very generous with his time, giving me close to two hours. It really was very beneficial and something that I personally found very enlightening." John Farrell Qualities to look for in a mentor The mentor you choose has to be right for you. Your choice of mentor can have a huge influence on how successful the relationship and process is for you and what benefit you obtain from it. Critical mentoring competencies include: Being a good listener and knowing how to give effective feedback. High levels of self-awareness Knowing how to help with goal setting and planning. Helping you to test the reality of your goals Knowing when to give and conversely when not to give advice. Providing constructive feedback and insights The ability to build trust, instil confidence and motivate people. Strategic questioning abilities. The ability to communicate professional experiences effectively. An effective mentor will: Offer challenging ideas and wise counsel Help build your self-confidence Offer inspiration Listen to career problems and offer encouragement Confront negative behaviours and attitudes Trigger self-awareness Provide knowledge of the career area sought Mutual Reward The most productive mentor/mentee relationships are those that result in a reciprocal exchange of knowledge. The mutual benefit results in a more equal and open relationship and this in turn can lead to a higher quality discussion, ideas and knowledge exchange. Conclusion Mentoring is a very positive process and experience which benefits mentors, mentees and organisations alike. It appeals to individuals and organisations alike. Mentoring is generally provided on a pro bono basis and provides the opportunity to give something back and create a legacy. Having a good mentor can significantly boost your career prospects and growth potential. So what are you waiting for? Find that mentor now!

Apr 03, 2018