Careers Development

We have arrived at the time of year where individual performance goals are evaluated and salary negotiations may come into play for some employees. Not all businesses will be in a position to offer an increase in salary every year but when the time arrives for you to have that conversation with your employer on salary, here are some tips to remember: Research the market:  Know the salary range on offer with competitors for the same role in their organisation. Compare like with like. Approach the meeting in a positive frame of mind: Have a list of the reasons why you feel that your salary should be higher. Focus on what you bring to the role as well as knowing how much you can obtain out in the market. Bring your metrics with you to support your case. Be industry specific: Salaries will vary between industries: practice, retail, aircraft leasing, manufacturing and banking will all have salaries at different levels for accountants with a similar number of year’s post qualified experience. Know your audience: How did your review go in the previous year? Were your goals reached and are you performing in your role? Was there a previous promise of an increase in salary? What if you don’t get the increase you expect? Know how much you value your current role. Job satisfaction doesn’t always come down to money. For example flexible hours may be very important to you. Consider your position carefully before making any big decisions. Are there important non- monetary rewards?   If you have a strong benefits package which includes health insurance, strong employer pension contributions and good bonus potential etc., do take these into account before you negotiate. Not every job has a comprehensive benefits package. Speak to your peers: Many of us have trained and qualified as accountants with our friends in audit practices. We have all gone on to different roles. Use your network to find out about current accounting salaries in the market. Choose your confidants wisely. When was the last salary increase in your company? If the business you are working for is underperforming it may be hard for them to justify salary increases. However, there are a number of organisations that are doing well post-recession but still have salary freezes in place. Be mindful of the market you are in. Time Frame: Sometimes there is a promise of a salary increase for the following year but not in the current year. Make sure this is put in writing. An email from HR and your manager will suffice. Speak to your membership body careers team: We can provide details of current salaries within various industries, at different seniority levels and in various locations. By going into the meeting informed you will be in a better position to state your case for a potential increase in salary. John Fagan ACA, Recruitment Consultant Chartered Accountants Ireland. My career to date: “After studying an MA Economics in UCD, I decided to go down the accountancy route by undertaking the Professional Diploma in Accountancy in DCU which lead to four years with PwC. After eighteen months traveling, I spent two and a half years in a financial reporting role in a financial services company. For the last four years I have been working in a financial recruitment and career advisory role for accountants at all levels. I have enjoyed each of my accounting roles but I now know looking back that I should have added variety to my experience regardless of the direction my future career was heading.” Contact us: For career advice and job opportunities at the recently qualified level please contact Ciara.Tallon@charteredaccountants.ie and for more senior level opportunities please contact John.Fagan@charteredaccountants.ie

Feb 19, 2018
Careers Development

The start of a new year can prompt many to review their career and to consider their options. It is an important process to go through as it helps you to assess if you are where you should be and want to be. Before making a decision to change jobs, a key consideration is whether you are making the most of your existing role and the opportunities that might exist with your current employer. A change of organisation is not always required to maximise your career potential. Here are some tips to ensure you are making the most of your current role; your dream job could be right under your nose. Career conversations A good starting point for this process is to have a career conversation with your manager. Let them know that you want to advance and develop your career. Take control and ownership of your career development. Establish when new roles are likely to arise and ask to be considered for these opportunities. Don’t assume that you will automatically be considered. Clearly articulate the fact that you are actively interested in new opportunities. Get your manager’s input in relation to what you need to do to make that next internal move. What skills and competencies will you need and what are they likely to be looking for when promoting internal candidates? Establish what you can be doing in the meantime to demonstrate that you have the skills and potential to progress.  It is essential that you fully understand what will be expected of you to make the next move. Work with your manager to set clear goals and objectives for the year ahead that will enable and support your career development.  Volunteer for projects Ensuring that the decisions makers are aware of you, your interest in taking on a new challenge and gaining more experience is imperative. Know who the decision makers are and make it known to them that you are ambitious. Getting involved in key projects is an excellent way of showcasing your capabilities, gaining new experience and broadening your internal network. It can often be a stepping stone to the next stage of your career. Upskill in a structured way In a rapidly changing work environment it is critical to up-skill on a continuous basis. The key to this process is to understand what skills and competencies are in demand, assess your skills in these areas and then make an informed and targeted decision in relation to what skills and competencies you need to work on. Don’t just undertake training for the sake of it. Be strategic and concentrate on where the demand is and where the gaps are for you. This will ensure that you are making the most of the time and money you invest in training. It will lead to the best career outcomes for you. Ask if your employer is willing to support your training both financially and in other ways such as enabling you to utilise new skills in your role as well as potentially providing study leave. Get a mentor Obtaining a mentor is a key part of a successful career strategy. Consider who within your organisation has the potential to be a valuable mentor to you. Who do you look up to? What position or role are you aspiring to? Ask that person to act as your mentor. In most cases they will be flattered and very happy to support and guide you. You will have the opportunity to learn from their experiences and insights. Not only that, you can also leverage their network and they can also help to champion and sponsor your career development within the organisation. It is also an excellent way to demonstrate your commitment to growing your career. Network This is also a good time to consider if you have been making the most of the professional network within your current organisation. Have you made a point of getting to know the key decision makers? Do they know what you are capable of and that you are interested in advancing your career? If not, now is the time to do so. Make it your business to identify who the decision makers are and then look at ways that you can start to connect with them. Before doing so plan what it is that you are going to say.  Have a short pitch ready that will explain your skillset and show your interest in a new challenge. This is often referred to as your ‘Elevator pitch’. Be prepared to make the most of any impromptu meetings that may arise. It could make a big difference to your career. Make your voice heard Now is also the ideal point at which to consider if you are letting your voice be heard. By this I mean are you speaking up at meetings and contributing? Are you letting your opinions, ideas and suggestions be heard? Sometimes complacency can set in if you have been in a role for a number of years but if you are serious about making the most of your career potential you need to speak up and find your voice again. Prepare well in advance of meetings and consider how you are going to contribute and how you can make an impact. This is an instant change that you can make that can result in positive career outcomes for you. Overview The aim of this piece is to demonstrate that to reinvigorate your career you do not always have to move jobs. An environment that you are accustomed to is often the best place to take on a new role or challenge. You are very familiar with key elements of the organisation, the people and systems as well as the political landscape and this is often more conducive to successful career outcomes. It is a safe training ground that will enable you to develop and learn new skills which you can then potentially use to navigate your next career move. 

Feb 05, 2018
Careers Development

Every year, at around this time I begin to receive calls and mails from members coming to the end of their contracts.  The sentiment usually swings between anxiety, fear or eagerness to move on and make that 'first professional move'. The fear and anxiety usually stem from influences including friends/colleagues and family etc. to help alleviate some of these worries I would suggest that you start at beginning - and ask yourself - What do I know? What do I know about? my values my personal beliefs job motivators job de-motivators my own levels of ambition my own circumstances short term career plans and objectives long term career ambitions and goals Reflect on your past experience – including: client base level of workload responsibilities and functions of the role size of the company size and scope of the finance team What did you like? What didn’t you like?  Spend time reflecting on your experiences with an open mind and critically review what you would include in future job specs There is no right or wrong time to move and no reason to feel pressurised by your peers to make a move that you are not feeling just at this time. We see from experience that those that take their time assessing what they'd like from a potential move, focus more on the prep than the application/ interview, and subsequently find it easier to recognise that dream job than those who apply for everything with little to no thought or reflection put into the prep.  It's an exhausting process so give yourself the benefit of hindsight, focus, reflection and an 'auditi' of your career to date and experiences gained. If you are lucky enough to enjoy what it is you are doing and are still being challenged, and stretched by your company and role then take stock of what you have achieved; how far you have come and assess what you need to add to your skills set.  It’s important to keep an eye on the market place, be familiar with changes, new opportunities, new companies, new roles and also where roles no longer exist - empower yourself to respond to changes in demand in terms of skills set and changing environments and markets.  This is where you focus on the 'end goal' asking yourself where you see yourself on retirement day? With this in mind - work backwards!  This helps you to clarify the skills, qualifications, experience and responsibilities that you need, to ensure that when this dream-role materialises you are best equipped to respond to it with confidence. If you are to take one piece from this article I would encourage you to take your time, we meet members who come to us having jumped in with both feet to an opportunity that wasn't right for them because someone else told them it was a good idea - they face the challenge of trying to get out again and back on the road that is better suited to them.  To avoid this mistake think seriously before you leap and don't be afraid to say 'no thank you' -  your career will thank you in the long run! 

Jan 15, 2018
Careers Development

The Career Development and Recruitment Service has noticed an increased number of vacancies outside of Dublin, this is a welcome sign. The roles have been at all levels including newly qualified up to Financial Controller and cover a wide spread of sectors including FMCG, Professional Services and Retail Service in Louth, Tipperary and Waterford etc. If you are interested in perhaps moving home or relocating make contact with us so that we know and can reach out to you as and when roles come along. We also welcome vacancies from employers who would like our help notifying members of opportunities around the country, we are aware that members are often employers too.  The list of vacancies that the team is working on is updated daily so include it in your daily views and if you are available immediately ensure your CV is up to date, and you’ve registered with the Institute’s Career Development and Recruitment Service by emailing careers@charteredaccountants.ie (this is a confidential email only accessible by Karin Lanigan, Ciara Tallon and John Fagan within the Institute) and if you are interested in any of the roles contact us immediately. The year is ending on a high note with opportunities particularly at part-time level which we know a lot of members are keen to see, this trend is a good omen for 2018.

Nov 16, 2017
Careers Development

From our experience meeting and working with newly qualified Chartered Accountants, one of the most common calls we get is from members who are unsure whether to stay with their current firm/company or move on.  For the most part this is driven by peer pressure and the fear of missing out (FOMO) causes them to wonder if they are making the right decision.  Depending on the direction of your future career a move now may not be in your best interests, why not?  You may be in a role that still challenges and excites you and may still offer opportunity for you to develop your skills set and broaden your level of exposure to a wider range of functions.   Perhaps this role is providing you with the skills set that you need in order to move out of a niche role, time spent here now will be invaluable in the long term. Typically members tell us that they are unsure if they should wait until they are made assistant manager in practice or if they should make that move now.  To help you with this decision, there are number of factors to consider: Are you enjoying what you are doing and still challenged by the role? Is the experience relevant to future roles you are potentially interested in? Do you have a say in your career plan? What are other potential employers looking for? Experience or seniority? Who will you compete with when you do decide to move? What are your own long term career plans is the move for someone else’s benefit? If you decide to stay and are promoted: What new skills will you gain? What will your CV look like this time next year? What new sectors will you have gained exposure to? What people management experience will you have gained? What interaction will you have at partner level that may help you to learn from their experience? Could you benefit from working with a mentor? Is there the prospect of a secondment? What training can you avail of in the short term? Does your skill set broaden with longer term commitment or just more of the same? Does a senior title help you make the move into a different sector? Are you moving away-from or nearer-to the hands-on experience required for your next role? Is there a requirement on job specs to have senior experience – is this of importance? If you decide to move now:  Have you identified your transferable skills   Are you confident with your current skills set and the opportunities that can give you Can you support your application for other roles through practical, relevant examples How long do you see yourself in this role for, is it a long or short term move? Are you prepared to change sectors at a more junior level and work your way up? By passing on what seems like a positive role now, you may instead develop other skills such as people management experience that will help you make a move at a later stage at perhaps a higher level of Assistant manager.  It is good practice to ‘audit’ your skills set every six to twelve months to confirm that you are not stagnating in your role and that you are keeping one eye on the present but one also on your future plans. When you feel that the opportunities are not coming along then it is time to create them for yourself or begin to look at external options which may include a move! With everything we are here to help you so contact the Career Development and Recruitment Service today and chat with any of the career coaches.  Email careers@charteredaccountants.ie

Nov 09, 2017
Careers Development

Keep an open mind for your next career move Career progression, salary, work-lifestyle balance, different industry, benefits package…… the list goes on. What is the primary reason for switching roles? Before you make your next move there are a few key points to consider. Medium to long term career goals Financial Security Work –Lifestyle balance Benefits package Medium to long term career goals Once you have made the decision that your current finance role is not right for you in the medium – long term it’s time to start thinking about making the move. There are a number of key points to be aware of on the start of this journey whether you are a recently qualified accountant leaving practice or a Finance Director in a subsidiary of a large MNC. At the recently qualified level it is very important to gain the right experience in your first five years as a qualified accountant. Know your value as an accountant stepping into a new role but don’t let salary be the primary reason for not accepting a role. Salary needs to acceptable but not as high as possible. A brief example would be to take two recently qualified chartered accountants of equal ability Paul and Mary who are both hoping to work in a commercial Financial Controller in 6 years’ time. Paul decides money is his primary motive and takes a €60,000 financial reporting role. Mary decides improving her skillset in a finance function is her primary motive and takes a €47,000 financial accountant position working under a strong Financial Controller and Director in a growing Irish SME.  Over the next 5 years they both progress up the chain in their roles. Without even debating the question we all know that Mary will be in the strongest position to obtain that €75,000 Financial Controller role in year 6. The question to ask yourself if you are currently facing these types of decisions is: What short term career move will help me excel in the medium to long term? Financial Security / Work – Lifestyle balance If we move up the career ladder to the Financial Controller and Director level we see different but in one way similar career decisions when looking at remuneration. Take Dave for example who is a Finance Director in a growing Technology company on a salary of €125,000, he works at least 13 hour days 6 days a week and has two young children at home. His wife also works and they are financially secure. Dave has a passion for working with a charity and gets offered a €90,000 5 day a week role with a charity he supports.  After taking account that Dave is financially secure the choice seems relatively straight forward for him to make.  Dave should make the move and have a better work life style balance. The question to ask yourself in a similar situation is: Which industry would I like to work in long term and what is the minimum base salary that I can afford to accept to have a better work–life balance? Benefits package We often here the term “golden handcuffs” linked to strong pension schemes. There does come a stage in your career when you are in senior finance position, close to retirement and you can’t afford to leave your strong defined benefit pension scheme. However this will only effect circa 10% of the accountants looking to move at the moment because post-recession pensions on offer are predominately defined contribution schemes. For example there are a number of financial services companies offering strong defined contribution schemes at present. When speaking to members who are looking to move away from these organisations at various levels I can see the pulling power the pension scheme has which makes it difficult for them to leave. This is where a very important career decision has to be made. In the short term you could remain in a well-paid finance manager position with a strong pension scheme, however doing this could curtail your career progression within the industry. The question that needs to be asked is: Is having a strong benefits package a good enough reason not to move role? No matter what stage you are at in your accountancy career it is important to change roles for the right reason. The reasons will be different for each individual but they need to be addressed when considering a move. Remuneration should not be the only motivation to move but it will always play an important part in the decision. John Fagan ACA, Recruitment Consultant Chartered Accountants Ireland. My career to date: “After studying an MA Economics in UCD, I decided to go down the accountancy route by undertaking the Professional Diploma in Accountancy in DCU which lead to four years with PwC. After eighteen months traveling, I settled into two and a half years in a financial reporting role in a financial services company. I have spent the last four years working in a financial recruitment and career advisory role for accountants at all levels. I have enjoyed each of my accounting roles but I now know looking back that I should have added variety to my experience regardless of the direction my future career was heading.” Contact us: For career advice and job opportunities at the recently qualified level please contact Ciara.Tallon@charteredaccountants.ie and for more senior level opportunities please contact John.Fagan@charteredaccountants.ie

Oct 27, 2017
Careers Development

Biological time is a state of mind, and senior chartered accountants continue to be as skilled and as discerning as they were in their middle years. They continue to learn, to assess and to affect discriminating judgements. Employers need to realise that such professionals want to continue making a meaningful contribution to a business. The demographic of our workforce is changing with older employees growing in number. This coincides with a time where there are increasing challenges for organisations who are seeking to recruit and retain talent. For smart organisation who are open minded when it comes to their recruitment process this can represent a real opportunity for them if they realise that everyone, irrespective of their age, has something to bring to an organisation. Diversity is healthy. Having a more diverse workforce which includes a range of ages, experience, disciplines and cultures can assist an organisation enormously. It can bring a new perspective, challenge the status quo and act a stimulus for new initiatives. Obviously younger finance professionals can have the same technical skills, knowledge and competencies as their older counterparts. However mature employees can offer other skills and real life work experience and perspectives that their younger counterparts can’t. The following are the benefits of hiring a mature candidate: Experience Mature employees bring with them ‘Experience’ in the broadest sense of the word - life experience. This can be a huge advantage in the current environment as organisations need employees who have experienced the ups and downs of the commercial world. Typically the real challenges are presented during an economic downturn and this can be a true test of a candidate’s capabilities.   If an employee has a track record of achieving in these situations they are more likely to do so again. This ‘experience’ is likely to result in higher levels of self confidence which in turn can instill confidence in those around them making it easier for them to manage and motivate a team. This is a huge benefit in a climate where financial rewards are not available to use as a motivational tool. Michael D Higgins President was 70 when he was elected and is 76 now! Clear Thinking Experience means that a person is less likely to be ‘rattled’ by a challenging scenario. Mature candidates can be better equipped to make decisions, understanding the implications and consequences of decisions taken.  As a result of this higher level of emotional intelligence, mature employees have the ability to make objective decisions and possess strong judgement skills. Ken Whitaker who died earlier this year aged 100 was the most influential public servant in the history of the State, both during his professional career and in retirement when he continued to advise governments of the day on Northern Ireland as well as the economy. Loyalty Mature candidates bring with them a great propensity for loyalty and pride in a job well done. This was instilled in their traditional upbringing. ‘A fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay’ was often the mantra used.  During this time the culture was also based on ‘a job for life’ and generally employees did not move jobs as frequently. Therefore, by recruiting a mature candidate you could be gaining an employee with a strong work ethic who will remain committed to the role and the organisation for the long term. High levels of motivation If a candidate has been out of work for some time and is then offered a role the sense of gratitude that they feel for having a job can reinforce loyalty to the organisation. They will have a vested interest in making the role work as they realise how difficult it can be to find such an opportunity again in the current environment. Productivity A track record of successfully transitioning experience and competencies is a huge advantage to an organisation. Employees with greater levels of experience tend to hit the ground running, making a more immediate impact in a role.  This will result in a less costly induction process and a quicker return on investment for an employer. Senior level employees can act as role models for more junior team members. They can demonstrate and display the skills, competencies and behaviours that you develop as your progress in your career therefore setting a good example that others can learn from. Act as mentors Based on the wealth of experience and empathy mature employees bring to a role they can competently act as mentors to more junior staff members.  Levels of intellectual capital and business acumen will increase as a result. The mentors lead by example and impart learning and experiences in doing so. Beneficial symbiotic relationships developed in this way contribute to the success and bottom line of a business. Chartered Accountants Ireland operates a Mentor Programme through which many members have benefited from the insights, experiences and knowledge of their more senior fellow members. This in turn has been of benefit to employers. Feargal Quinn (80) still has a hectic schedule acting as a mentor to Irish SMEs as well as being a businessman, television personality and an independent member of Seanad Éireann. Improved communication levels Maturity often leads to higher levels of emotional intelligence. This is a huge advantage when it comes to communicating in the business world. Understanding the intricacies of organisations, cultures, politics and personalities can be a great tool and can increase the effectiveness of communications. It can help in terms of influencing the decision making process and building strong and profitable business relationships. Garrett Fitzgerald (85) continued to make a huge contribution to Ireland right up to the time of his death. President Mary Mc Aleese described him as ‘a man steeped in the history of the State who constantly strove to make Ireland a better place for all its people’. Contacts Over the course of their career mature candidates will have developed a strong network of specialist contacts. This can be of significant benefit to an organisation. Networking is a crucial part of business today and any additional introductions a business can access can prove to be very lucrative. Technical skills Strong technical knowhow, not just from a theoretical perspective but also a comprehensive appreciation of the practical applications and implications, are skills that one can only develop over time. This skillset adds significantly to the intellectual capital within an organisation. Consequently a business with this in-house advantage will not need to spend money on buying in additional expertise. Overview Each organisation has a need for employees who are dependable, loyal, trustworthy, motivated and mature. To attract and recruit such a valuable resource, employers need to be creative and ‘look outside the box’ when recruiting. They should recognise the business benefits of experience and maturity. There are certainly advantages to recruiting what on paper may be an over experienced candidate for a role. 

Oct 26, 2017
Careers Development

In an increasingly competitive labour market, attracting and retaining staff is a key strategic focus for organisations of all sizes. The dramatic change in the market has come about at a pace that certainly wasn’t expected as it is not that long ago that it was an employer’s market. The speed of the change has taken many by surprise and a key topic of discussion and debate around the boardroom table in recent months has focused on how to recruit and retain top talent. Research has demonstrated again and again that for most businesses the best way for them to maintain their competitive edge is to have the best talent working for them. As a consequence the talent crisis and how to combat it are of upmost strategic importance to organisations. It is essential that a re-evaluation of policies and procedures be undertaken in the area of recruitment and retention to ensure that they can stay ahead of their competition. Here are some practical tips to help your organization: Recruiting Start with the end in mind Before you even embark on the recruitment process be clear in terms of the role you are recruiting for as well as the skills and competencies you require. Ensure that all stakeholders in the process also have an input. Obtaining clarity on these areas from the very outset of the process will ultimately pay dividends. Ask Yourself Are you seeking to fill the role with the level of person that has just left the role or could the role be filled with the same level of person that came into the role initially? Are the skills and competencies required now the same as they were previously? Before commencing the process Prepare a detailed and comprehensive job specification – Don’t automatically use a previous one. Use the opportunity to review and update it. Think of what the likely future needs of the organization and role will be.   Consider succession planning issues. What are the likely talent requirements of the business into the future and where might the gaps arise.   Scope out where the role fits within the organization and how it might evolve over time   Conduct a 360 degree review and obtain the input of other who will have interactions with the person performing the role   Be clear on exactly the skills, knowledge and competencies that are required. Another key consideration should be the behaviours that are required to be successful in the role and what personality profile will best suit the culture of the organization. Psychometric testing can help here. Interview Process Conduct a detailed and professional interview process which should include 2 interviews and maybe a 3rd for a senior level role or where the contest is close between final candidates.   Involve all decisions makers in the process.   The interview style should be professional and formal yet relaxed enough for you to get to know the candidate and their personality profile.   Incorporate competency style questions into the process and seek detailed examples of how the candidates have actively demonstrated their skills.   For technical roles it can be useful to set candidates a task or present them with the case study that will test their abilities.   Maintain high levels of communication with the candidates and get back to them within the timeframes you outline. Always revert to candidates even the unsuccessful ones as this can impact on your professional brand.   Be prepared for the interview and have a set of questions to put to all candidates. This should be the same to allow comparison. The use of a scorecard system can also be useful too.   Ensure you understand fully what each candidate is seeking in their next career move and what interests them about the role you are recruiting for.   Gain the following information current salary and package details (every aspect of it), when did they last have a review, salary expectations and notice period.   Ask about what other roles they are interviewing for so that you know the competition.   Provide the candidate with plenty of time at the end of the interview to ask you questions. Make sure that they have all the information they require to make a decision if offered the role   Turn the interview process around as quickly as possible and avoid delays so as to minimize the chances of losing a good candidate to the competition. Branding Increasing awareness of your organisation will help you to attract and recruit staff. Investing in a quality website and online presence combined with corporate brochures can help to project your organization in a more professional manner and therefore making it a more attractive option for candidates. A regular presence in a professional or business magazine will also increase brand awareness. First impressions are critical so it is imperative that you present the right image. Social media is also used to great effect in this area. Having a presence on and monitoring commentary about your organization on websites such as Glassdoor.com is also an important activity. Networking The power of word of mouth can not be under estimated during the recruitment process. Ensure that you are utilizing your network of contacts to promote your organisation as a workplace of choice. Again Facebook and LinkedIn can help to circulate information about your organization. Referral Schemes Your current employees can also prove to be an excellent source of strong candidates. Incentives in the shape of a bonus or vouchers to recommend and refer candidates can help to attract potential employees to your practice. The more appealing the reward the more likely you are to receive referrals. Staff Retention - Look after your employees or your competitors will Create a culture and environment that makes employees feel valued and enjoy working with your organization. Recognise their input and ask for their contributions. Listen to new ideas. Set clear goals and be specific in terms of what is expected of employees. Provide regular and clear communication and feedback. Keep top talent informed of major developments and actively promote open communication. Provide opportunities for career advancement and learning. Develop employees by supporting their training and further education. Let them know what plans you have for them and listen to what motivates them. Allow employees to work on areas that they are passionate about and that enables them to utilise their core skills and strengths. Recognise and reward their achievements. This can be in the form of monetary recognition but should also include face to face recognition such as asking to see the person to thank them and congratulate them on their achievements. An email note to advise their colleagues can also work well or other acknowledgements such as a team event. Any feedback however must be sincere as top talent will recognise if it is not.  Providing additional benefits such as a performance related bonus, health insurance or a pension scheme will also prove beneficial in terms of attracting and retaining quality candidates. It demonstrates your commitment to your employees. Flexible working arrangement such as flexibility in relation to start times, part time work arrangements and working from home can open up a new source and flow of applications and can be a big incentive for employees to remain with the organization. The suggestions above are not particularly radical or unique but in most cases they can be implemented in a short time frame to have an immediate impact on the success rate of your recruitment and retention policies and procedures. Your people are ultimately the key to the success of your organization and therefore it is essential that you attract, recruit and retain top talent to secure the future of your organisation.

Oct 26, 2017
Careers Development

Summer 1997 and perhaps while most of you were too young to remember Baz Luhrmann released his surprise hit ‘Wear sunscreen’.  It was inspired by a passing out ceremony reminding graduates to be kind to themselves, their knees and skins as they embarked on life’s adventure and all the challenges ahead of them, the catchy tip reminded them that regardless of what would happen always ‘wear sunscreen’! Why am I referring back to something that was topical 20 years ago? At this stage of the process, some of you are either considering your final year of contract and the experience to be gained or are coming out of contract and possibly anxious and excited about the opportunities out there for you. Speaking at recent conferring events I have asked the conferees to consider their ideal jobs and to make that their starting point in their career – the dream!  This is not just a pie in the sky notion this is something I am passionate about and encourage all newly qualified members that I meet to consider. Why? Because the greater awareness we have now in terms of what we potentially might like to do or get involved in the better our chances are finding those roles in the future. For example if you are in your final year of contract and decide that perhaps restructuring or audit or tax is not where you see yourself, taking time to consider what you do like can give you the opportunity over the remaining time to try to get exposure to a different team, different client, different sector etc.  This small opportunity could be useful when you then go to make the move.  Alternatively if you are now out of contract, think before you leap and consider what functions of your current experience you would like to replicate within a new environment.  Perhaps your current employer can offer you that – moving internally in order to gain a whole new set of skills can sometimes be much easier than convincing a new employer of your potential capabilities. Start with the basics to compile the list: Functions and responsibilities Potential sector/industry Size of the finance team Length of time – i.e. is this a short/medium-term move or a medium/long-term role for you Opportunity to progress Location Ease of commute Salary and benefits Work/life balance Job title If you do feel overwhelmed by the huge array of opportunities open to you and can’t possibly decide what you like or what companies or sectors you have an interest in then I suggest you go back to identify what ‘fires you up’, perhaps that’s property, music, sport, art, drama, volunteer work, animals etc.   That dream job doesn’t have to mean a suit if that is not you, but by marrying a blend of finance and possibly an interest in animals you can create a role for yourself that you are comfortable with for example the Financial Controller of Dublin Zoo! When meeting members the first areas we cover are the reasons for the move, it helps to identify: Why now? What is your main priority in making the move e.g. money, status, experience etc. What are your motivators? What are your de-motivators in the work place? Some of these may be obvious or self-evident but it is beneficial to narrow them down and be clear about what is driving this change so that the job you dream of jumps out at you when you see it. For impartial guidance and support with your career contact Ciara Tallon on 01-6377 322 or mail directly ciara.tallon@charteredaccountants.e

Jun 06, 2017
Careers Development

“It’s a candidates market”; “my qualification will get me in the door” and “I’m a shoe-in for the role” just some of the comments from candidates in the current market place. The job market is continuing to improve and numerous market surveys have been busy outlining the demand for qualified Chartered Accountants both internationally and nationally.  This is all very positive and it has been a long time coming so candidates are right to be selective to ensure that the role they accept is the role that ticks all the boxes for them; that it is in line with their long term career plans and not just a role for a role’s sake. That in mind however, it is still important for candidates to reduce the risk of complacency setting in and a number of things can help this. CV’s and LinkedIn profiles Keeping them up-to-date to ensure that as roles become live you are in a position to respond appropriately and not just getting to update details in a rushed manner Every role is different and what is called a finance manager in one organisation may be the financial controller position in another so be sure to spell out what your specific role involved. Don’t assume the person reading your CV has a finance background and can make assumptions - if you don’t include the information how do they know what you have done and are capable of? The adage of ‘tailor your CV to suit the role you are applying for’ still holds true.For example if you have trained in tax and have a lot of experience in it but now want to change course then play up your non-tax experience so that potential employers can see how your skills may relate to their non-tax roles.   Energy It is important to maintain energy levels throughout the recruitment process.A common observation of candidates who are in-between roles is the dip in energy and reduced enthusiasm for the entire process. From identifying a role to starting on site can take some time and can be long, arduous, demanding and in some cases frustrating so it helps to maintain a sense of perspective about it all and remember that in the grand scheme of a lifelong-career a month or so is not significant. If you have taken time off for a career break, to get married, to travel or even to do some DIY it is important that you can articulate what you have done and keep it in a positive vein. For example, if you took time out to travel but then found it took longer than expected to get back into the market keep it upbeat by suggesting that you have enjoyed the time catching up with DIY, family, hobbies etc. rather than letting desperation get hold of you and coming across at interview. Open Mind An open mind in terms of sector, location and salary can mean the difference between missing out on a great opportunity that you haven’t previously considered and otherwise remained unemployed Contract roles have in the past had bad press as not being a good move, that has all changed and if the option is between an on-going search and taking a fixed term contract to keep your skills fresh, then perhaps the contract could add invaluable experience to a tired CV and skills set Likewise a blank canvas will do little to help you focus on the skills, sector, role, location that you are passionate about so before you even start your search make a list! If you have made your wish list only deviate from this when necessary, for example if South Dublin, Analyst, Multi-national is your ideal role but instead you accept a role in North Co. Dublin, Financial Accountant, SME be comfortable with your decision and how you would explain this in your next interview or when you subsequently decide to move on.   Interviews Candidates regularly say that they have gone to interview for a role that they did not necessarily want just to use it as a ‘practice’ run.This not a good strategy, it has the potential to add confusion to the choice of roles that you want and distract you from your ideal role and objectives. If you frustrate recruiters and employers by half-hearted interest in roles you risk losing credibility when it then comes to a role that you might actually be passionate about – the phrase ‘The boy who cried wolf’ could be said of your endeavours. Have the confidence to say no to roles that genuinely don’t interest you, no one will be offended and you will be a better candidate for employers and recruiters due to your decisiveness.  Attitude A recent trend has been for clients to hire candidates who not necessarily have all of the skills required for the role but come with energy, enthusiasm and an interest in the position.  Again the adage ‘hire the attitude and teach the skills’ holds firm and your enthusiasm and willingness to learn may give you the edge on those that may be great on paper, but fail to transfer skills to enthusiasm at interview stage.

May 16, 2017
Careers Development

When reviewing the job market for Chartered Accountants, January tends to be slow to recover as finance departments are often playing catch up after the Christmas break with month end accounts and the year-end audits taking priority. At all levels from recently qualified accountants to FD positions the market did take a number of weeks to recover with more junior level roles coming through toward mid to late January than senior roles. Since then we have seen strong activity in the market. As FC and FD roles started to come through in early to mid-February, it became apparent that the majority of them were being offered on an initial contract basis. Many of these roles were maternity cover roles which on average are for an 11 – 12 month period. We did also see 12 month contracts being offered at all levels in the financial services sector due to uncertainty relating to BREXIT. With many financial services companies looking at moving their headquarters out of the UK this puts Dublin, Luxembourg, Paris etc. as one of the many options for their new offices. As nothing has been fully decided on yet, companies are reluctant to offer permanent roles across the financial services sector in Europe. Late February and early March saw a large increase in the number full time recently qualified roles on offer. Examples of the sectors currently recruiting Banking Fiduciary Services Legal IT/Technology Healthcare Examples of the roles being recruited for Internal Auditor/IT Auditor Financial Accountant Management Accountant Financial Analyst By the very nature of the jobs market there will always be more junior than senior level roles available. What was evident this year was that senior level roles were slow to appear on the market and they arose later in quarter one than in 2016. We have seen more Finance Manager and FC positions than senior FD roles. From speaking to clients and current members looking at the FD level on the market there has been a more limited number of roles available compared to this time last year. This is due to increased levels of uncertainty in the economy. Salary update The news overall in terms of salary levels is positive. From our day to day engagement with clients and members through our recruitment service it is apparent that salary levels are continuing to increase albeit at modest levels.  Bonus payments have also remained strong with the emphasis being on employee performance. It is a good sign that salaries are improving but you need to be realistic and take into account that recently qualified accountants will earn a base salary of between c.€45,000 - €50,000 depending on industry, level and background. You also need to consider other factors other than money such as career and progression opportunities, the experience you will gain, the sector experience you will be exposed to.  Likewise the market is currently advertising Financial Controller roles with salary ranges of between €60,000 - €120,000+. This is a large variance but the salary will be dictated by a number of factors including the level of the role, the size of the organisation, the sector and location to name but a few. The overriding message is a positive one in terms of salary levels for Chartered Accountants Skills in demand IT Audit/Internal Audit There has been a large increase in the number of IT/ internal audit roles at all levels across the multi-nationals in the industry sector. Employers often have difficulty filling the roles due to the amount of international travel involved.  There continues to be a growth in internal audit across small to large firms in the financial services sector due to the introduction of new regulatory requirements. These roles normally require less travel and are easier for employers to fill. Financial Control (contract positions) There is a strong requirement for Financial Controllers with 5+ years’ experience in the temporary contract area in both the financial services and industry sectors. Employers need the FC to find their feet quickly within the business due to the busy nature of the role. If you are immediately available and open to a temporary contract with this experience, it is a very good time to be looking at the market. Technical Accounting Skills High level technical financial accounting and reporting skills are what many multi-nationals are seeking. They require candidates with solid technical expertise in US GAAP and IFRS. Typically these skills combined with ERP systems experience such as Oracle or SAP will put the candidate in a strong position. Expertise in the area of group reporting and consolidations is also of interest. Taxation There has been a strong increase in demand for tax consultants across mid-tier accountancy practices. Roles are continuing to move away from restructuring and insolvency areas towards tax planning as economic conditions improve both at home and abroad.   Overview The market has improved at all levels coming into April and this should continue in to mid – late June before a summer slowdown. However, I would advise chartered accountants to continue their search throughout the summer months as there has been more movement on BREXIT in the last few weeks and growth within the construction and technology sectors continues at a strong pace. John Fagan, Recruitment Consultant Chartered Accountants Ireland.  My career to date: “After studying an MA Economics in UCD, I decided to go down the accountancy route by undertaking the Professional Diploma in Accountancy in DCU which lead to four years with PwC. After eighteen months traveling, I settled into two and a half years in a financial reporting role in a financial services company. I have spent the last four years working in a financial recruitment and career advisory role for accountants at all levels. I have enjoyed each of my accounting roles but I now know looking back that I should have added variety to my experience regardless of the direction my future career was heading.”  Contact us: For career advice and job opportunities at the recently qualified level please contact Ciara.Tallon@charteredaccountants.ie and for more senior level opportunities please contact John.Fagan@charteredaccountants.ie .

Apr 06, 2017
Careers Development

What to do if your job search is not getting results for you? Ask for Help  Seek the advice and support of a trained professional in the area of career coaching and recruitment. They can guide and direct you in relation to all aspects of your career planning and job search process. These professional services also include a mock interview service. This will allow you to practice your techniques whilst also obtaining valuable, independent feedback and advice. If means you are also not using valuable interviews for the purposes of practice. Have you got a Mentor? A mentor can provide you with invaluable support at challenging times in your career. Ideally you should have a mentor whom you can trust who will give you support, feedback and guidance throughout your job search process. Chartered Accountants Ireland also provides a Career Mentor Programme.(http://www.charteredaccountants.ie/en/Members/Your-Institute/Careers-and-Recruitment-Service/Careers-Advisory/Mentoring1/) Make the most of your CV and Applications Is your CV fit for purpose? Have you had it reviewed and assessed by a professional? It is crucial that you obtain feedback and advice from professionals who are accustomed to reviewing CVs on a regular basis. Are you tailoring your CV for each job application? Are you highlighting the most relevant aspects of your experience for each role? It is essential that you are sending a CV that is customised to suit the role in question. Your CV should be impactful and convince the employer that you have the skills, experience and competencies to suit the particular role. You need to do this in no more than 3 pages. The only way to do this successfully is to tailor your CV to each role. Follow up on each application you have made and seek feedback. Send an email or make a call to the company or recruiter to seek an update and feedback. Keep an excel spreadsheet listing of the applications you had made and track them. Have you sought feedback when you have been unsuccessful in your application or following an interview process? Is there a consistent message coming back all the time? This feedback can be invaluable when it comes to future preparation for interviews and when tailoring your CV. You need to know what is holding you back. Once you know what it is you can take action. Be clear in terms of what you want and what Unique Selling Points (USPS) you have to offer Before you launch your CV onto the market you need to have a clear message in terms of what you are looking for in your next career move and what skills, knowledge and experience you can offer. You need to have a well-rehearsed pitch for both. The message you present to the market must be clear and consistent. Are you sending the same message via your CV, LinkedIn profile and when in interview?  If not experienced recruiters will pick up on this and it may result in you losing out to a candidate who has been more focussed in terms of their job search and approach to the market. Be Smart Only apply for roles that are relevant and at the right level. Don’t waste your time and the time of employers applying for roles that you know are not suitable. Use your time wisely. Rather than spending hours trawling through the various websites set up job alerts on each and you will be emailed as potentially suitable opportunities arise. Searching the websites for hours can be demoralising so be smart and use the technology to your advantage. Make the most of your network Are your contacts, friends and family all aware that you are looking for a new opportunity? Get out there and start meeting up with people to see what is going on and learn from the experiences of others. Leverage from the contacts they have also. Use tools like LinkedIn to make this process easier. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Don’t be too hard on yourself Set yourself realistic goals and make due that you are being realistic in terms of the timeframe that you have set. Pace yourself – Finding the right career move should be seen as a marathon and not a sprint. Work on staying positive and congratulate yourself on the wins (even the small ones). You need to build your confidence and be ready to be resilient if you suffer a set-back. Allocate time to YOU and your well- being – Take time out as this will help to improve your state of mind and focus. Contact the Career Development and Recruitment Service offered to Members Have you made contact with the Career Development & Recruitment Service offered by Chartered Accountants Ireland?? If not, this should be your next step as we can assist you with all career and job search matters. Contact: Karin Lanigan, Manager – Career Development & Recruitment Service Phone 01 637 7331           Email careers@charteredaccountants.ie

Jun 22, 2016

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