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
Careers Development

Market Update Quarter 1 2018- Overview In recruitment terms we have experienced a positive start to 2018.  As is typically the case, recruitment activity was slow to pick up in January following the Christmas break. The market recovered in February and to date March has been the busiest month of 2018. That said, the number of roles coming to market as compared to the same time in 2017 is marginally down. However, of the roles coming to the market in 2018, more are being recruited for on a permanent rather than on a contract basis. Another positive development is that there are now more senior level roles coming to the market with increased recruitment activity for positions with salaries in excess of 80k€. We are also continuing to see part-time roles arising more frequently. Salary levels Salaries levels are increasing on a steady basis with increments typically in the region of 5 – 8%. Where we are seeing larger increments is in niche and specialist areas such as funds, regulation, compliance and taxation where employers are finding it challenging to source talent. An emerging trend that we have witnessed in recent months is that candidate salary expectations are sometimes increasing at a faster pace than the rates that employers are willing to pay. This mismatch of salary expectations is becoming more evident at the recently qualified level. Bonuses 2018 to date has proven to be a positive year in terms of bonus payments with increasing numbers of companies, particularly in financial and professional services paying out bonuses in the first quarter. These bonuses are typically related to the employee and company performance. Other benefits Training and Development In an effort to retain key talent in organisations, we are seeing an increased focus on training and development with more employers now willing to invest in this area and to support the development of their staff. Flexible working arrangements Again, as a way in which to reduce attrition levels employers are looking at ways in which they can provide working arrangements that are more conducive to work/life balance and are considerably more open to part-time hours, flexi-time arrangements and work-from-home options. Sectors Actively Recruiting at Present Financial services Pharmaceutical Healthcare Technology and telecommunications Construction Services Most in Demand Job titles Finance Analyst Financial Accountant Regulatory Accountant Finance Business Partner Commercial Accountant/Analyst Internal Auditor Fund Accountant Tax Accountant Tax Manager Risk and compliance manager Skills in Demand Communication and interpersonal skills With an increased focus on business partnering within organisations comes the need for high level interpersonal and communication skills. Employers are looking for candidates who can interact and connect with others at all levels of the organisation including at C-Suite level. Not only that, they require you to have the ability to communicate and liaise effectively with others outside of the finance function. The capability to convey, explain and express financial terms and data to non-finance employees in a coherent and understandable manner is a growing requirement. Data analysis Organisations are increasingly drilling down into their data and those with the skills to do so are in demand. Experience using Excel including Vlook-Ups and  pivot tables is much sought after. A track record of using business intelligence tools such as Power BI and Tableau are very much of interest to employers also. GDPR GDPR is a hot topic at the moment. Many Chartered Accountants are now finding that they are the go to person in their organisation when it comes to the interpretation and implementation of this new regulation. Therefore expertise is this area is valuable and will continue to be as organisations come to terms with the implications for their business of the regulations. The outlook for 2018 We would be optimistic in relation to the outlook for the remainder of the year and we are looking forward to a busy 2018. Obviously there are a number of other factors on the horizon, not least Brexit, where it remains to be seen what impact this will have on the recruitment market.  We are always happy to hear from members and to help support you in your chosen career.  Contact us careers@charteredaccountants.ie

Mar 28, 2018
Careers Development

As the economy and the job market have both consistently improved over the last 2 – 3 years, we have witnessed an increasing number of emigrants returning or considering a move back to Ireland. Many members are of course more than happy to stay living and working abroad, but for those moving home it can be a challenging experience.  It has the potential to be a time of mixed emotions and confusion and one during which many important life and career decisions will have to be made. The aim of this piece is to provide you with some practical tips and advice that will help you to organise and co-ordinate the move from a career and professional perspective. Take time to make the decision If you have been living and working abroad for a number of years, the decision to move home is a significant one and should not be made in haste.  Push the pause button and allow yourself time to consider all the options and to fully understand your motivations.  Consider carefully what is driving your move home. Check out the job market in advance Before making the final decision to move back to Ireland, it is advisable to check out the local job market to make an informed assessment of the likely job opportunities that exist for someone with your qualification, skills and experience. You can do this by reviewing various job and recruitment websites, speaking to contacts in Ireland as well as checking with other credible market contacts and resources. Your network can be a good source of on the ground market intelligence. Have an appropriate CV ready To show your commitment to making the move home, it is essential to have a well-structured and professional CV which you can send to prospective employers and recruitment agencies. Seek advice and guidance on your CV to ensure that the format and content is appropriate to the local market. It is important to note that there can be some key differences in relation to the standard format and style of CVs across various countries. Be mindful not to include any acronyms or terminology that may not be relevant in the Irish market. You may also need to give details in relation to the organisations that you worked with as those reviewing your CV will not be as familiar with them as with companies based in Ireland. Key details such as sector, revenue and employees will be of interest. Your CV will not only have to clearly demonstrate your offering to a potential employer, it will also have to show how you will transition your more recent skills back to the Irish market. A focus on recent achievements and competencies will help you to do this. Update your LinkedIn profile Your LinkedIn profile is often the first introduction someone will have to your career history and therefore it is really important that it is professional, comprehensive and a solid representation of your skills, knowledge and experience. A professional headshot photo is a must to portray the right image. The more active you are on LinkedIn the more beneficial it is for you in terms of raising your visibility. Consider sharing or posting articles on interesting and relevant topics. Use your network Networking will form a key part of your strategy to move home. Your network has the potential to be a good source of job opportunities, especially for those at a senior level. Reach out to those already in your network and work on expanding the contacts you have. Look to connect with former colleagues, alumni contacts, professional network groups and of course other Chartered Accountants. LinkedIn is the ideal tool to assist you with this process. Transferability of skills Making the most of the skills you have developed during your time abroad and leveraging these will be an important aspect of a move home. You need to think carefully about how you will explain and promote this experience as well as how you can best demonstrate that it has a value in the local market. Generally this process is similar to when you are moving roles within Ireland, but where the challenge can arise is when you have been in a specialised sector or role and where there is nothing similar in the local market. In this instance the focus should be on the generic skills and competencies you have acquired and how you plan to utilise these in a positive way in a new role. Know your value in the local market Salary levels vary significantly from country to country and you will have to be well informed in relation to what you can expect to earn when you return. This is an important factor to consider when deciding on a potential move back to Ireland. Obviously you want to secure a salary and package that reflects the value of your qualifications skills and experience in Ireland whilst balancing this with not pricing yourself of our consideration for some roles. A good understanding of the market rates is a fundamental part of this process. The best means by which to obtain this information is to speak to recruiters and your contacts in the local market. Be careful not to pitch too high or indeed end up on a salary that is below the market rate. Be interview ready As with any process of moving role, preparation for an interview is important. Again seek advice in relation to the likely style of the interview so that you are ready to do your best. Competency based interviews are quite common place now and although not all interviews will be completely competency focussed, most will include some competency based questions for example, you may be asked to describe a situation where you had to demonstrate your ability to influence at management level. If you are still based abroad your initial interview may be via Skype or telephone so be mindful of the particular nuances of these interview scenarios. Be clear on your timings and availability Before launching onto the job market it is advisable to know what your timings are going to be in terms of moving back and more importantly regarding your availability to commence in a new role. Having definitive dates and timings will create a better impression with employers and recruiters. You might also want to allow yourself a break between arriving back and starting a role so factor this in when working out your availability. Have your reference details available As part of any job search process you will need the contact details for your most recent referees as well as their permission to provide their details as a contact point. You will make life significantly easier for yourself if you do this before you move back to Ireland rather than having to chase your referees afterwards. Details of your qualifications obtained overseas As with your reference details, it is advisable to obtain any certifications or accreditations for courses you attended abroad, before you head home. It will be so much easier than trying to chase them after you have returned. Give yourself time to adjust socially and emotionally Moving home from an extended period abroad is a life changing event and the impact of this move shouldn’t be underestimated. Give yourself the time and space that you need to adjust and to settle back in. The mistake that people often make is that they believe that life will continue on the same as it did before they left. However, this is often not the case and you can’t expect to pick up where you left off as other people’s lives have moved on in the meantime. It is good to chat to others who have made this transition to see how they made the adjustment. There is support and help available Please note that the Career Coaching and Recruitment team in Chartered Accountants Ireland are available to provide you with guidance, advice and support with this important move. Please email us on careers@charteredaccountants.ie Other Resources: Citizens Information https://goo.gl/pUH5jg Revenue https://goo.gl/QHhSNp Irish Embassy https://goo.gl/g1L1cZ Finding a job https://www.charteredaccountants.ie/professional-development/Job-Searchirishjobs.ie https://ie.indeed.com/ https://www.recruitireland.com/  

Mar 22, 2018
Careers Development

That first role out of contract is a very significant move for newly qualified members and as such has the potential to influence your longer term career plans. As I meet members on a daily basis I encounter the same sense of confusion, fear, trepidation and anxiety as they consider their first ‘qualified decision’.  This is the ‘Sunday night fear’ on a far more extreme scale.  You have been supported and guided throughout your contract and so qualifying opens up new options, challenges and decision making opportunities for you. If you take only one thing from this article it should be that you can be proud of your achievements.  Most of you will have completed a third level qualification, some of you will then have been fortunate to complete your Masters and then upon qualifying will have successfully completed one of the most challenging and demanding set of exams that you are ever going to come across.  Bank that success!! It is easy to dismiss your successes and immediately focus on the next job, company or challenge However, by taking stock of what you have achieved, the sacrifices you have made as well as perhaps how much you have developed both personally and professionally along the way, it can strengthen your level of self-awareness and hopefully your level of confidence & belief in what you can achieve. Recognising & banking your success is a useful way of bringing you back to the times when you were most proud, happy, successful and relieved! And most importantly when you are facing into CV preparations, interview planning and job hunting – you have gotten this far you can achieve anything.  This is not a glib one-liner but an empowering affirmation that can be useful in times of doubt.   What practical steps can you take to make the move less stressful for you? Choose your confidants - identify one or two people that you can discuss your options with carefully.  Everyone will have an opinion but they may be biased so choose wisely.   Slow things down and create an ‘ideal job spec’ based on all the elements that you have enjoyed in your career to date.  You may not achieve everything but if you don’t aim high you are starting low and make it harder for yourself to claw back on that wish list.     Spend time enjoying – yes enjoying- the job search functionalities of various job sites.  Keep an open mind on roles, locations, sectors and try not to limit yourself too quickly in the process.  New roles and titles are being created all of the time so familiarise yourself with them.  In practical terms, developing a professional CV that fully sells your skills, achievements and reflects your ability in language that ‘non-finance’ personnel can understand will help you greatly.      Visualising yourself in an organisation outside of the one you trained in will be crucial as you attempt to sell your skills and competencies to new hiring managers.  You’ve started something new before so you are more than capable of doing it again as a professional. Focus on transferable competencies and adapting the ‘corporate speak’ that has become second nature to you to instead mirror the language used by the organisations you are attempting to join (use their job descriptions as a guide). It’s worth remembering that for those finishing contract in spring, audits are in full swing and it’s generally ‘busy season’ for those of you in practice so a couple of things that might help: Avoid making huge career decisions during the busiest time of the year - either start the process earlier before Christmas or allow yourself some time beyond end of contract date.   You may be inundated by recruiters and those offering opportunities but it pays to hold your ground until you are sure (or less unsure) about your next move.   Everyone will have their own story so remember to listen to your own voice – you know best what you are capable of or where your ambitions extent to.   A dream job is only a dream job if it’s your dream – if you live your life through other’s expectations that dream can quickly become a nightmare.   Your career is a life-time in creation – the temptation is to want to advance rapidly – however mistakes can be made so instead think of this as a marathon not a sprint.   Use the services of those who will offer you impartial advice and support, to help identify where your passion+skill= career path These little practical steps can help to build your confidence level that huge change does not have to happen overnight. Focus on the positives, if you were not 100% happy in your training firm or company or didn’t necessarily enjoy the work then this can be a very positive next step and be the beginning of the rest of your life!  I welcome contact from new members to see how we can support you as you begin your 'qualified journey'.  Email ciara.tallon@charteredaccountants.ie 

Mar 15, 2018