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Careers Development

Everyone  has a point in their career journey that gives them pause to contemplate the next phase or direction. Sometimes that means turning your career on its axis slightly and heading off in a different direction. This requires you to take stock of the things you are good at and the aspects of your job that you enjoy and ultimately where you see yourself in the years ahead.  We are now living in an age where staying in the one type of job is not the norm any more and it’s perfectly acceptable to set sail in a different direction on occasion. Like when Chandler and Ross were carrying the sofa up the stairs in Friends a “pivot” can be frustrating and difficult if forced but not necessarily something to fear. It can in fact be exhilarating, exciting and if planned correctly, energising and rewarding.   My personal journey: a 10-year pivot from IT to recruitment via ACA My  personal journey includes a few career changes to date so I can speak from experience having spent ten years as an IT professional with a global technology PLC. I then retrained as an ACA in a four-partner practice. After five years of auditing clients I realised I had soft skills that would serve me better in a different direction and the sales-oriented world of recruitment beckoned. Here I eventually found a suitable fit that I really enjoy. Sometimes a few steps are necessary to find what's suitable for you, a bit like a hermit crab trying different shell types. As I look back, an informal pattern has emerged in how I orchestrated these various turns in my professional life. Along the way, I have been fortunate to have several excellent mentors whose advice at key moments saved me from making inappropriate decisions. OK, so what is a pivot and how do I do it? A  career pivot is doubling down on what is working for you to make a purposeful shift in a new, related direction. Pivoting is an intentional, methodical process for nimbly navigating career changes.”  On occasion a career pivot can mean making a hybrid jump or a move to a role that is a ‘halfway step’ to your ideal position. Equally you may need to compromise on some things like changing your location or being flexible in relation to salary; assess whether these compromises are feasible for you.  When making a career shift you need to be mindful of the current market. It is also important to research constantly so that you can be aware of the potential future employment market as these will influence the scope of opportunity for you and how easy it will be to make the switch in a particular direction. Timing can be everything! Don’t delay and definitely don’t get stuck in your comfort zone as you are then effectively going backwards. Nine key considerations in your successful career transition process Assess yourself – know what drives you and your key strengths in detail. Your likes, dislikes, passions. What do you enjoy? Make a list of new but related directions to explore.  Research and explore each path on your list. Continue refining your list - treat it as an ongoing project.  Have information-gathering meetings and chats. Make new connections – expand your network to reflect the direction you want your career to now go in. Set your goals clearly defining the pathway to success. Write a career action plan detailing your projected steps in the transition process.  Upskill for your new career path – assess what skills you will now need to the next phase of your career. Look at job specification online and LinkedIn profiles. The Chartered Accountants Ireland ‘Career Pathway’ tool can also assist with this process. Hone your project-planning skills – treat this like a project and execute accordingly. Put a structure around this process and take it step by step. Breaking the process down into steps will make it more manageable and psychologically less of a challenge. To come out of your decision-making process with complete clarity, you must be targeted in prioritising what is most important to you and equally pointed in the level of honesty you bring to that process.  Build your network directly with hiring managers and key decision makers. Middlemen are great but sometimes building your own connectivity to the right people for your path is essential. As networking expert Kingsley Aikins said at the ICAI annual conference in 2019 - “the important thing about networking isn’t who you know, it’s “who knows you”. If your track record of performance is very strong then you are going to fit into a lot of people’s plans. The only question that really matters however is whether or not they fit into yours!” Mentors will be invaluable as you make decisions around a career pivot. One of my mentors once told me “Try it! – if it doesn’t work out what’s the worst that can happen!? It will at least be an experience you can bank.” He was so right. Don’t fear it – go for it if it feels right! In some circumstances you may need to take a step backwards to go forwards - you may need to retrain slightly or take a reduced salary. If you are taking a lower salary level be clear about the level of the role you are going into and assess how quickly you can advance in this new role.  Know where the goal lies Remember that ultimately, the best role for you lies at the point where passion meets competence and this meets an organisational need. If you have passion and competence but there’s no need, you’ll find yourself underemployed. Should you have the competence and there’s a need but you’re not passionate, chances are you’ll be pretty bored. And if you have passion and there’s an organisational need but you’re not competent in that area, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. Lean your ladder against the right wall – look to see where opportunities are coming up and where they align with your skills and passion. For example if Sustainability is a huge topic for you then focus on finding the right role in that area or if the Tech Sector is a sector you love, then make sure that’s your clear focus.  Final tips to get you over the line Finally, be clear on your why. Know your rationale for this pivot and be able to articulate it well in logical short story form at interview. Also be able to explain and outline in detail the skills and competencies you can bring to your new role and how they will transition well. Also have examples ready of how you have successfully transitioned into new roles and areas in the past. Remember your past doesn’t have to define your future. Back yourself!! Believe in yourself and then go for it! Dave Riordan (FCA) Dave Riordan is a Career Coach and Recruitment Specialist in the Members team and is always happy to help members in any aspect of their career development at any stage of that career - pivoting or not. Dave can be contacted here.

May 11, 2020
Careers Development

The careers and recruitment service have created a comprehensive job search checklist with lots of advice and tactics on how you can maximise your time and efforts on an ongoing basis to help you towards your next move. There are many aspects to consider from research, your social profile, your own wellbeing and CV amongst others. Make sure you have all your bases covered. See the checklist here. Don't forget: you can contact the career and recruitment service anytime.

May 01, 2020
Careers Development

As a Chartered Accountant dealing with redundancy in the current climate it’s worth noting that redundancy can mean opportunity! Being made redundant can turn your world upside down. It is one of life’s challenges that Chartered Accountants may experience at some point during their working careers. This change in what forms a major part of your life can be dramatic. It represents a time of major disruption but also of new beginnings and opportunities. As we move through this temporary crisis redundancies are unfortunately becoming more common and few sectors are immune. Redundancy is often short lived however and you can take advantage of the situation.   The view you should adopt during this challenging time is as follows: • It is your role that is being made redundant and NOT you. Try not to take it personally. The impact of global events has created this circumstance and nothing else.  • Look to the future and do not dwell on the past. Postmortems will get you nowhere. • Treat it as an opportunity to move out of your comfort zone and to take on a new challenge and to potentially pivot your career.  Considering your options Take time to come to terms with and assimilate your new situation. Make sure you are aware of your entitlements under any redundancy agreement or government supports in the current situation. This may have a major influence on your options and plans going forward. In some instances, the company may offer an executive outplacement service as part of your severance package. This can prove beneficial and provide you with additional support when you are re-entering the job market. If this is not offered, you may wish to investigate if your employer will consider paying towards such a service. You can then source a professional directly.  Looking to the future Once you are over the initial shock of being told that you are to be made redundant, look to the future and see the potential for new opportunities and personal growth.  The time that you now have available can be put to good use. Start by performing an analysis and assessment of your current skills and experience. Where are your strengths and what areas need updating or retraining? Look to the market to see what skills and experience are in demand. There are some sectors that have not been hit as hard as the others. You can then plan any retraining or education based on this. Attend relevant CPD courses to update your skills and knowledge base. Many webinars and on-line courses are currently being offered free of charge including by Chartered Accountants Ireland.  Consider what it is you liked about your job and what you did not enjoy. What is it that motivates you? Going forward you can incorporate these considerations into your new career choices. Cross reference your soft skills to see if there is transferability to the more buoyant sectors in the market. The Career Pathway competency map on the Chartered Accountants Ireland website can help you to identify your skills and to map out your future skills requirements. New beginnings This may in fact have been the push you needed to move out of a stagnant comfort zone giving you the required stimulus you need to make a change. Very often when you are busy you don’t take time to plan or to look at new options. It is easy to become immersed in the mundane day to day aspects of your role and forget to look at the ‘bigger picture’ and think strategically about yourself.   Use this opportunity to re-evaluate the various facets of your life such as your career, life-long learning and development, your aspirations and your finances and earning requirements and potential. Incorporate your thoughts and desires into an overall career plan mapping out your aspirations and how you intend to get there. This will give you a focus and overall aim. You can amend and adjust the plan as required. You should have a number of options that you are considering and do not rely too heavily on anyone. Have a Plan A, Plan B and even a Plan C in place to help keep your options open. Plan for a number of eventualities. Perhaps put a time frame on your new project to give it extra focus e.g. Plan A achieved by August, if not then Plan B by end September and then Plan C completed by November if needed.  Complete change  You may decide to make a complete change and pivot your career such as considering the option of working part time or from home or you may even decide that a short term contract or maternity cover is the clever option for you given the temporary nature of the current market slump. Indeed, you may want to investigate setting up your own business or consultancy.  Spend time researching the various ideas and options open to you. Do not rush into any major decisions. Seek advice from others who may have gone down these routes already or other relevant professionals or contacts. Take advantage of any support and guidance that is on offer. Speak to your mentors and anyone who understands your situation and who can provide meaningful advice.   Interim Solutions Maximise your chances of securing a role by considering contract roles as an interim option. This can very often open up new opportunities for you. Roles that have started as contract can in many cases become permanent. The experience you gain can also serve to enhance your CV and ultimately make you more marketable. Taking a contract role also demonstrates to prospective employers that you are keen to work and are capable of adapting quickly to new work scenarios and environments. It will also help you to avoid any potential long gaps on your CV. Being immediately available is advantageous for contract roles and this can work in your favour. Your CV The main tool you have at your disposal to market yourself is your CV. It’s your sales document. Ensure that it is a fair and accurate reflection of your experience and skills. Ensure that it does you justice and highlights the key skills, knowledge and experience that you can bring to a role. Tailor your CV to each role that you are applying for and you will need a number of versions that emphasise different strengths and areas of expertise. It is the first introduction that a prospective employer will have to you, so it needs to make an impact. Seek advice and support when you are writing your CV. As a member you can avail of free advice in relation to your CV and interview preparation. Sourcing a new role Ensure you are using all your routes to market when you are seeking a new opportunity. In general, they are as follows • Select Recruiters • Advertised opportunities / Jobs Boards • Personal Contacts  • Active Networking / LinkedIn Connectivity • Speculative applications The internet is an invaluable source of information including market and company information. Use it! Create a shortlist of targeted organisations you want to work for and start researching them and their people on LinkedIn and their corporate website.  Reconnecting with ex-colleagues and your former training colleagues can help you to develop your network and help you to learn about any current opportunities that might be available in the market at present. In many cases jobs are not advertised so you will have to network to hear about these roles. This is especially true of more senior level roles. Don’t let your pride get in the way. Let as many people as possible know that you are available and seeking a new challenge.  The more people that are aware of your status the better as this will increase your chances of sourcing a new role. Monitor and track your applications. A spreadsheet often works best for this and you can then follow up on applications you have made and ensure you receive a response. A proactive approach is required. Don’t apply for roles that you are not suited to as this may damage your credibility with the employer. It will also give you more time to apply for roles that you are most suited to, increasing your chances of success. Interviews  When interviews start to result from your applications be prepared to make the most of these opportunities. Preparation is key in advance of any interview and in the current environment being ready for a virtual interview via Skype or Zoom is essential. (see our website for further advice on this topic) Some tips include: • Research the company and the sector • Know your CV • Know the job specification • Be able to articulate synergies between your experience and that required for the role • Ask relevant and pertinent question • Express an interest in the company and the role • Don’t be negative about your redundancy – present a positive outlook If you have not been in an interview scenario for some time it is advisable to avail of a role play service where possible. This will assist you in identifying areas where you can improve on your interview technique and help you to secure that all important job.  Members can avail of a free interview advice offered by the careers team. Salary considerations and negotiations When considering your salary expectations be sure to research the market as the salaries on offer are likely to have changed. When considering an offer do not judge it purely on the base salary. You should consider the company, the role and the opportunities attached to it in terms of career development. Consider also the overall financial value of the package when you attach a figure to pension, health insurance etc. Do not just view the base salary in isolation.  Also, if you are offered a role at a lower salary than you were on prior to redundancy it may be worth serious consideration if it offers genuine career potential and advancements or incentives in the shape of performance related bonuses. Your new start Before starting a new role, if possible, take some quality time to unwind and relax from the stress of redundancy and job searching.  It is always a good idea to allow yourself time to close the chapter of one part of your life, to recharge the batteries before you start on the next phase of your career. The power of positive thinking A positive approach throughout the process will help you to succeed. Dealing with redundancy will provide you with challenges. It will test your resilience and will prove character building. However, with a positive attitude and a determination to succeed it can be the beginning of a new and rewarding chapter of your career, bringing many new experiences and rewards. You will have earned the right to feel proud of your achievements and progress. Your experience will add to your overall confidence and self-esteem levels making you better equipped to deal with life’s obstacles going forward. You never know where it might lead you!! The Chartered Accountants Ireland Careers team can also help you with the following services • Career planning • CV preparation advice • Support with interview preparation • Advice in relation to personal branding and your LinkedIn profile • Market intelligence  • Salary information • Connecting you with our clients who are currently recruiting for Chartered Accountants Ireland Contact the careers service now Dave Riordan Phone 01 637 7251 Karin Lanigan Phone 01 637 7331

Apr 07, 2020
Careers Development

We are in unprecedented times and as a trainee Chartered Accountant you are currently learning to be adaptable and flexible. These are attributes that will be vital all the way through your career pathway.  For many of you, the day job is a challenge at the moment, combined with the changing landscape of exams. However, as a distraction from these pressures and on a more positive note it's worth remembering that you are on track to achieve one of the top business qualifications in the country. If you are looking for a break from study perhaps take the time to look at the bigger picture of where your professional qualification can take you and start putting the building blocks in place now. This advice applies to Cap 1, Cap 2 and FAE students alike.  Expand your network Build an enhanced LinkedIn profile. Connect with other ACA trainees and members. Increase your connectivity within the ACA and business community sending polite invites to connect.  Browse the LinkedIn profiles of ACA members a few years ahead of you who you regard as successful and review the steps they have taken in their career.  Review the changing marketplace Use the Financial Times top 1000 companies list to start thinking about the key players in the market you would like to work for in the years ahead and ‘follow’ them on LinkedIn.   It's never too early to start looking at job specs and trying to figure out whether you see your career path within practice, industry or perhaps financial services.  Whether you are one, two or three years away from qualification it's worth considering what sectors are going to be buoyant in the aftermath of the Coronavirus crisis and now start aligning your experience and technical or soft skills set with these opportune sectors.  Your Institute Take a look at the Chartered Accountants Ireland website to view details of the webinars on offer, some of which are free. The end of your contract will come soon enough and the current circumstances are only temporary so make sure you are ready. Starting developing a clearer picture of your preferred career path. Consider also the process involved in changing jobs and try to be prepared to make decisions once you qualify so that you are not in a situation where you have to make snap decisions without any research to back them up.  Talk to your current employer to explore whether staying on after your training contract is an option. Sometimes this can be the clever option as there can often be the opportunity to advance your career further within the firm once you have qualified. It makes sense to have this discussion early on so that you can plan accordingly. Stay positive The most important thing, however, is to stay positive. Your new skills, experience and qualification have a value and will be as relevant as ever in the new economy that evolves post the Coronavirus.  Stay in touch with Chartered Accountants Ireland Ensure you connect with your Institute Careers Team early in the process even if it's just a LinkedIn invite to Dave Riordan and Karin Lanigan.  Your Careers Team will be a valuable ally as you face into the marketplace in the years ahead.  Dave Riordan (ACA)  Recruitment Specialist & Careers Coach   

Apr 02, 2020
Careers Development

The market for newly qualified Chartered Accountants has changed in recent months. During 2019 and into the beginning of 2020 the job market was strong for newly qualified ACAs coming out of both small and large practices. However, the increased uncertainty of recent times has reduced recruitment activity across all sectors significantly. There is no doubt that recruitment volumes are down but it is not all negative news and we are still seeing that some organisations are actively recruiting and have been proactively using technology to help them do so.  If you are currently seeking a new role, here are some practical tips to support you: Invest time in research and self-reflection Your first move as a qualified Chartered Accountant is an important one, don't take it lightly. Research the market to see what opportunities are currently available. Reflect on what your core strengths and weaknesses are and how you can best leverage these to your benefit in your next career move. The Career Pathway competency framework on the Chartered Accountants Ireland website will support you with this process. You should also consider where your interests lie and what it is that motivates you and what you enjoy most. This may mean a conducting a certain amount of self-analysis. It is worth investing the time now as this process will help you to identify the career move that is right for you. Take a timeout to do a self-analysis SWOT document. This is separate to your CV. Know what you are really good at and what you have been praised for in your traineeship and start refining example stories highlighting these strengths.  Invest time in yourself We know the market will be dampened for another few months but it's certainly not time to panic. Opportunities will still come up as the market recovers and you will still need to be discerning about your next move and plan your career path. The current situation allows you time to decide which route you want to take either within practice, financial services or industry and what style of role you feel will fit you best. Consider all the options Keep an open mind and consider how you could benefit from staying on in practice and building on your experience further. Another option could be to consider a contract role as there are likely to be more options in this area initially as the market recovers. Contract roles provide an attractive option in term of building on your experience and gaining exposure to new sectors. This experience can then position you more strongly for your next move into a permanent role. Also contract roles can also become permanent over time so it could prove to be a useful way of trying out a role and organisation before committing longer term. Approach your next move like a project Treat your next move like a key project and set up a spreadsheet to manage and track your activities and progress.  Consider what your top 10 preferred companies to work for are? Monitor and track them to see what roles they might be recruiting for in the coming weeks and months. Ensure you research the recruitment agency market and identify the most reputable recruiters. Look for recommendations or referrals from your peers and then set about connecting with them. For the relationship to work with the recruiter you must feel that you connect with them, that they understand your skills set and what you are looking for. It is all about building a trusted relationship with them and check in with them regularly.  Work on your CV Take time now to put together a world class CV. Seek advice in relation to how best to showcase your skills and experience. Tailor your CV to the roles and sectors that you are interested in. Remember a member of the Chartered Accountants Ireland Careers team can support you with this important task. Update your LinkedIn profile Developing your personal brand will be an essential part of developing your career in the long-term and now is a good time to invest in this process. Increasing your visibility can also help you with your job search.  A key part of this is ensuring your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date. Make sure you have ticked the box in your Account Settings that you are open to new opportunities. Connect with relevant people on LinkedIn to expand your personal online network. Follow companies on LinkedIn that are of interest to you. Similarly set up your job alerts from the various jobs boards including LI so that you are aware of the new opportunities that are coming to the market. Stay close to your peer group and mentors At this time it's important to stay close to your peer group. Speak to your colleagues and friends. As their contract ends talk to them about what they're seeing in the market and what they're doing as a next step. Staying in regular contact with them will also act as a support network which is really important at a time like this. This could also be a good time to get involved with the Chartered Accountants Ireland Young Professional group as it is a great resource to help you develop your network and to gain support from other members. Reach out to your mentors and get their view on current circumstances and suggested courses of action. Many will have come though challenging times in their career paths and may have wise words to impart.  Stay close to Chartered Accountants Ireland and look for every opportunity to get involved with us whether it's the Young Professionals online events or upcoming CPD webinars.   Become interview-ready Perhaps consider your interview technique now that you have time to perfect it. Take into account that any interview that you do secure is likely to be a virtual or phone interview and will require additional preparation to ensure that you perform well and make the most of any interview opportunity (See our website for some tips on this). Look at ways to differentiate yourself The job market will likely be more competitive over the coming months so you need to look at ways in which you can differentiate yourself from other candidates at the same level. Consider is this your exam track record, the clients you have worked with , the combination of your skills or indeed your energy level, ambition and tenacity? It would also be your systematic approach to your job search, your CV and interview preparation. Whatever it is that helps you stand out needs to be leveraged fully to help you stand out from other candidates.  Be patient and realistic No one is clear at this stage how long the market will take to recover so it is important to be as patient as possible and set realistic expectations. Having unrealistic expectations will mean that you may be setting yourself up for disappointment that can have an impact on your focus and motivation levels as well as your mental well-being. Manage your well-being The next few weeks and months will be challenging for some so it is important to prioritise your well-being and self-care and ensure that you are building strategies into your plan to help with you with this. The Chartered Accountants Ireland Careers Team and CA Support are available to support you so please do reach out to . Our contact details are as follows: careers@charteredaccountants.ie Karin Lanigan 01 637 7331 Dave Riordan 01 637 7251 casupport@chartereedaccountants.ie

Apr 02, 2020
Careers Development

The job market for all candidates including FCAs has changed significantly in recent weeks. The first few months of 2020 had started off positively with a strong flow of senior level roles coming to the market. With the increasing uncertainty of recent times the level of recruitment activity has decreased. However, if you are actively seeking a new role and are available immediately here are some tips for you to consider: Networking is the key to success Research has proven time and time again that the more senior and experienced you are the more likely it is that you will source your next career opportunity via your network. Senior level roles often don’t make it on to the live job market as they are filled through word of mouth. It stands to reason then that as a FCA you will need to focus your efforts on networking activity. In the current environment this will need to take place on-line and virtually. LinkedIn Your focus should be on enhancing your personal brand and improving the impact of your LinkedIn profile. For example, check your LI ‘Account Settings’to ensure that you have ticked the box “Open to new opportunities”. Look to join LinkedIn groups that are relevant such as the Chartered Accountants Ireland groups. You can use LI to re-establish old connections and to create new ones by reaching out to people with a polite message. Be sure to activate ‘job alerts’on LI and other websites so that you are aware of new roles that do arise.  Don’t forget to include details of charity and voluntary work that you have been involved with as it really helps to give an insight into you as a person too. Virtual events/coffees Now is also an opportune time to attend virtual events and to upskills on-line. There are an increasing number of resources available in this area including free webinars available from Chartered Accountants Ireland. Take the opportunity to arrange to have a virtual coffee with some of you contacts. It is a really great way to reach out and connect with people. Research the market Take the time to research the market to see what is happening in your sector, area of expertise or locality. Reach out to people and contact them to gather market intelligence and insights. No doubt people will welcome some social interaction and a conversation. Map out the market in a systematic way for example using a spreadsheet to track activity in the market. Look at sectors that are still operating and are potentially doing well currently such as FMCG, distribution etc. Consider how your skills and expertise may provide a solution to them. Check in regularly with the recruiters that you have an established relationship with to be sure that you remain on their radar. They will also be well placed to update you in relation to the market and keep you informed of any emerging trends. Keep all your options open and consider contract and interim roles as well as permanent roles. During these uncertain times you are generally more likely to secure a contract role. However who knows where that might lead to down the line. Tailor your CV Take the time to tailor your CV for each role which will allow you to showcase your specific skills and experience that are relevant to each role. This is worth doing as it will significantly increase your chances of being shortlisted for interview. Seek professional advice in relation to your CV to ensure that it is doing your justice and that it will serve to secure interviews for you. Be interview-ready Interview preparation is key. Start this now so that when you do get a call to attend interview you are ready other than to research the specific role and organisation. When you are preparing keep in mind that it will be a virtual interview that you will be doing and there are some particular aspects to this that you will need to be ready for. (See our website for top tips). Be patient and set realistic expectations We are unfortunately in uncharted territory and in reality we are not yet sure what the impact will be on the job market. We will have to see how the situation unfolds in the coming weeks and months. Keep that in mind and if there is limited interview activity at the moment it is mostly as a result of the market as opposed to your suitability for roles. Given time the market will improve but in the meantime there are numerous activities as listed above that can help to position your more strongly as roles do arise. Structure to your day Having a structure to your day will help to keep you focused and motivated. There is no need to spend the entire day job searching but it will help if you decide that each day you are going to allocate a certain amount of time to this activity. Indeed, you may also decide that every other day is sufficient. Whatever you do decide it is best if you put a structure to your day and to stick to that. Map out your day and week and set yourself some key goals to work towards. For example, you might decide to reconnect with two new connections each day. Well-being and self-care As part of a structured approach to your day and week build in some time for activities that you enjoy and that will help you to maintain your mental health and well-being in general. To sustain the momentum of your job search, which can have it’s set-backs and challenges, it is essential that you have a support structure in place that will see you through this uncertain time. Ask for advice and support from trusted contacts and family. CA Support also have services available should you need additional help. Karin Lanigan Karin is the Head of Member Experience and Manager of the Career and Recruitment Service

Apr 01, 2020
Careers Development

Virtual interviews: Top tips Preparation is important in advance of all interviews that you are called to attend. However, there a number of key points to note when preparing for a virtual interview. Check the technology Familiarise yourself with the technology that is being used and do your research in advance in relation to the technology. Test it in before the interview also to make sure it is working and to ensure that you are as familiar as possible with the features of the technology. Especially check that you are aware of the functionality of the microphone and camera. A strong wi-fi connection is essential so again testing this would be advisable. Headphones can help with sound and drowning out background noise. Sit in a quiet space Set yourself up in a quiet space where there is adequate lighting and where there are going to be no interruptions during the interview. Sitting at a desk is ideal and you should also check that the setting of the room is appropriate for an interview. With certain technologies you can blur out the background and this can help if the setting isn’t entirely suitable. Turn your mobile phone off to avoid any calls coming through during the interview. Dress the part Dress the part for the interview the same as you would for a face to face interview. There is still an expectation that you will dress appropriately even for a virtual interview. Presentation is equally as important in this format. Watch your body language Monitor your body language and your positioning with the camera. In advance of the interview practice with the technology and explore how you can best position yourself in front of the camera on your device. You should at all times sit up straight and ensure that you are looking directly at the camera. Although you can’t make direct eye contact obviously you still want the person conducting the interview to feel that you are engaged with the conversation and are looking directly at the camera. Keep your head up and your shoulders back and this will help with engaging with the interviewer as well as portraying a confident manner.  Making a connection Obviously with no opportunity to shake hands a vital point of connection is lost. You need to be mindful of this and look for other ways to make a connection and break the ice. Throughout the interview look to see if you can find a common connection like a mutual contact or interest or engage in a memorable conversation. Don’t forget to smile too as this will help you to create a positive impression and connection. Speak clearly Speaking clearly and a little more slowly can be important during a virtual interview as there may be lags in transmission due to interruptions in wi-fi signals. Wait a moment before responding to questions and take your time with answers so that the message lands fully. Best of luck with your interview. For further support with interview preparation please contact us at careers@charteredaccountants.ie  

Mar 30, 2020
Careers Development

A rapidly changing job market requires a new job search methodology. Here is some guidance in relation to devising your approach in the weeks and months ahead.  1. RESEARCH PHASE  Start a spreadsheet with multiple tabs for different sectors and job titles that appeal to you.  Review the Irish Times top 1000 companies listing and research the various job websites and then create a target hit list of organisations that match your interest. Put these into the tabs in your spreadsheet and start researching each individual company by growth, location, suitability etc. Essentially market-mapping!  Go into the website of each company and review their career section. See what open jobs they have currently or even old ones yet unfilled. Follow the company on LinkedIn. Consequently your LinkedIn feed will be populated by their recent news and you will be more informed.  LinkedIn Review the profiles of finance people in each company of interest via LinkedIn. Check to see if you have any warm connections within these companies for example ex-colleagues or friends.  If you haven’t done so already update your LinkedIn profile and ensure that is reflects the role that you are seeking next. Join the Chartered Accountants Ireland LinkedIn Group and use it to connect with other members. Recruiters As well as registering with the recruitment service offered by Chartered Accountants Ireland, connect with a handful of good recruiters who understand your background as an ACA or FCA. Discuss the market with them.  Professional development This is also an ideal time to spend on your personal and professional development and there are a wide range of courses and webinars available on-line that will support you. Check out the free webinars on www.charteredaccountants.ie 2. APPLICATION PHASE  Only apply for roles that you genuinely feel are of interest and are a good fit. Concentrate your efforts on these roles rather than flooding the market with your CV.  Tailor your CV Tailor your CV for each application that you make so that you can highlight the specific skills and experience that you have that are relevant to the role in question. It is worth investing this time as you are more likely to be shortlisted for interview if you do. Don’t just tailor the cover letter as this may not be read and the recruiter may just go straight to your CV and you will have missed an opportunity to showcase your most relevant skills and experience.  If applying for a role through a recruitment agency ask them for advice in relation to your CV and get some insights into the role in advance of applying. Gaining a more comprehensive understanding of the requirements of the role will help you to better tailor your application to the role, enhancing your chances of being shortlisted for interview. Keep a record Keep a note of the applications that you have made and when you applied so that you know what applications you need to follow up on. It will also help you to avoid duplicating on applications. If you haven’t heard back from an organisation in relation to your application within 2 weeks follow up with them via an email or call. If possible, get a name and a number for the appropriate person so that if required you can follow up again at a later stage. Keep an open mind During a period of uncertainty in the job market it can be advisable to consider contract and interim roles as well as permanent. Typically employers can be quicker to recruit on a contract basis initially and it can mean that you have more options to consider and it may lead to you finding a new role more quickly that if you focus exclusively on permanent roles. You may also find that what started initially as a contract role may become a permanent role as your make an impact in the role and as the economy improves. 3. INTERVIEW PHASE Preparation is key especially when it comes to doing a virtual interview which you may not have experienced before. You will find tips and advice in relation to interview preparation (including virtual interviews) on our website. (www.charteredaccountants.ie) 4. DECISION PHASE   The ideal scenario, where possible, is to have multiple interview processes running at the same time so that you can ultimately hopefully choose between a number of offers. In reality this can be a challenge, especially given current circumstances. However, the more interview activity you have the more you will feel you have fully explored the options open to you and the easier it will be for you to make decisions.  At the offer and decision stage make sure that everyone involved is clear on the elements that are important to you, whether that is remuneration, flexibility or advancement prospects so that there are no surprises when the offer comes in. Take a measured approach to the decision. There are always questions to be asked and clarifications to be made before verbal acceptance. When you receive the offer perhaps sense-check it with a third party, a mentor, a trusted recruiter or someone that understands your career path and then go for it! For further advice and career supports email careers@charteredaccountants.ie

Mar 30, 2020
Careers Development

The use of the term ‘agile’ in the business world has certainly increased in recent times. This has been mainly driven by the fact that many companies have been embracing AGILE methodologies and tools, originally used in the area of software design, to improve overall business efficiencies and effectiveness. There is no doubt that we are operating in an environment of relentless deadlines and pressure where it feels like we are constantly racing to just stand still. This has often been referred to as the ‘VUCA’ world meaning volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. In this hectic world in which we operate there is very often little or no time for real thinking, reflection and contemplation, never mind thinking with agility. However in a rapidly changing world, one of the few things that you can control is how you think. Other aspects of the VUCA world are beyond our control but you can manage how you think and respond.  Increasing your ability to manage how you think and respond can have significant benefits for your career and life in general. So what do we mean when we refer to thinking with agility? It essentially refers to the way in which we think and consequently act. It relates to our flexibility and adaptability when we are in a position where we have to think and act quickly. It is our ability to be nimble and flexible and to respond to situations that arise including those that are completely unexpected for example if you are asked to present at a management meeting at short notice and you have not had time to prepare. How do we improve our ability to think with agility? Know your thinking style A good starting point is to initially increase your awareness of the way in which you think. In other words what is your thinking style? For example, ask yourself if you are more of a creative and innovative thinker or indeed are you an analytical or practical thinker? Also consider how well your thinking style has served you in the past. We all have patterns of thinking and we have a tendency to revert to old habits when we are under pressure. What are your thinking patterns? Another way in which to consider this is to reflect on whether you typically ‘react’ or ‘respond’ in various situations. What you do in certain situations will be indicative of your thinking style. Reviewing how you dealt with those situations in the past can help you to identify your thinking style and any patterns that exist. Challenge your thinking As the famous quote states ‘if you do what you always did, y0u will get what you always got’. Be mindful not to become entrenched in the same modes of thinking or indeed the same behaviours. Challenge yourself and others to think differently and to consider other options. Don’t automatically revert to the previous ways of doing things. Be brave and consider new options and alternatives. A way in which to challenge your thinking and that of others is to ask more questions and to ensure that they are probing and powerful questions. The ‘5 whys’ for example can be a useful tool. Your thinking ripples into other areas How you think is reflected not only in the decisions that you make but also in the way you behave and act, in how you communicate as well as in your own levels of self-belief. If you alter and shift your thinking even in the smallest of ways it can have a significantly positive impact on your life and career. A few moments can make all the difference When faced with a challenging decision that requires the ability to think with agility always try to take even a short pause before committing to a final decision. Even this split second can help you to tune into your reasoning and can support more agile thinking. Thinking skills and not technical skills that will determine success The art of thinking with agility is learning to flex your reasoning and deliberation depending on the situation that you are faced with and knowing when to do so. As your career progresses and you take on more senior level roles it will be your ability to adapt your thinking style and not necessarily your technical capabilities that will determine the level of your career success. Be Brave and start a new habit Experiment with flexing your thinking and review what impact it has. What different outcomes are you experiencing? Your brain is like a muscle and the more you flex your fresh way of thinking the better it will become at implementing this new habit. With practice new neuropathways will develop in your brain that will help you to become a more agile thinker. What resources can help? Stress has been proven to reduce our capacity to think clearly. Reducing stress in general can help in terms of improving your ability to think with agility. Exercise and mindfulness can support the reduction of the stress hormone cortisol and the impact that stress has on your body. Reducing your stress levels will improve cognitive ability and agility. Overview The essential skill of thinking with agility can be learned and enhanced as you progress your career. Improving your self-awareness is essential to improving your thinking style combined with the desire and confidence to challenge the status quo and to try new ways of thinking. - Karin Lanigan Karin is the Head of Member Experience with Chartered Accountants Ireland

Jan 10, 2020
Management

Chartered Accountants Ireland through its network of members nationally and internationally, has undertaken a significant investment throughout the year to strengthen its long established and well regarded mentor programme.  The range of sectors and the variety and background of those who volunteer as mentors has significantly broadened and a particular focus has been to develop a strong mentor base outside of Leinster and well as Internationally.  The number of members now involved is almost 140 with members being added by the day and a positive feature has been the increased mentorship by female members with membership tipping the 33% mark. Having a mentor at any stage of a career has proven to add significant support and value to members as they navigate the complexities of career development and paths.  Since its establishment in X the consistent feedback from the hundreds of Chartered Accountants who have been both mentor and mentee has been their positive experience as they value the humility and professionalism of those that have been involved in the programme. We welcome approaches from members who see the value that mentoring has to offer them to keep a finger on the pulse of new industries, environments and sectors as well as members who would appreciate a listening ear to guide them on their career journey.  This is a confidential service offered by the Career Development & Recruitment Service as part of your annual membership fee and we look forward to hearing from members in the years ahead.   For all questions on this programme please contact in confidence Ciara Tallon on 01-6377 322 or by mail at Ciara.tallon@charteredaccountants.ie

Nov 07, 2019
Careers Development

Welcome to those commencing the Chartered Accountancy qualification, we wish you the best of luck and that you enjoy the upcoming academic year/s.  The beginning of any course or undertaking can feel overwhelming and be daunting for the best of us and so I’d encourage you to be kind to yourself and if it helps to break it down into manageable chucks do so, for example focusing on the term to Christmas may be of help.  Yes there will be some reading over the break as well as festivities and get togethers but then think of the chuck from January to Easter and so on.  If we break down the job into more bite-size pieces, it can often reduce the sense of apprehension and in fact help with the planning of each term and year ahead. As a career coach working with newly to recently qualified members the recurring observation over the last few years has been a lack of awareness of what has been enjoyed or not enjoyed during the contract/training period.  I would encourage you to jot down as you go through this journey what you are feeling about the course, the work the study, what you are noticing about a particular client or sector or experience.  What do I mean by that? I’m referring to the awareness that you particularly enjoy a specific client or sector or environment, firstly notice that you enjoy it then secondly, ask yourself why-  why - why is important - why do I like this? is this team something I could work with in the future, is this sector of interest does it tie with my values and principles and beliefs and would I be proud to work for them? I appreciate in the midst of lectures and audits this may not be high on your list of priorities but trust me the time put into these observations can pay dividends in the long term when you are asked post qualification about what you love, where would you like to work next etc. This is where it will all click into place for you and you have the STAR examples to fall back on. Employers are consistently telling us that they’d like to see ‘commercially aware’ members so it’s not just the study, the qualification or the exams that are important.  There is a huge amount in terms of your overall understanding and appreciation of what’s happening in the world of work and in the  wider environment that could potentially impact on the business and sectors you are considering.  Networking, communicating and going to events (not just the social ones) but also the early morning or lunchtime talks that open up a new level of knowledge and understanding of the environment and business can prove invaluable.  A quote I read recently from someone stuck with me she said regardless of the experience or role she realises that ‘nothing (was) wasted’ this is now her motto and perhaps that applies to all of us in some shape or form.  While we may not immediately appreciate the value of the learning or work it may prove the element that gets us the role in 10-20 years’ time! We are here for you throughout your career and our supports are also here in the form of CA Support for times when you may feel that talking to the career coaching team is not quite enough, our colleagues in CA Support are here for you also every step of the way We wish you luck in your exciting journey ahead

Oct 15, 2019
Careers Development

The role of the internal auditor is becoming increasingly important for providing organisational oversight and assurance as well as strategic insights to help mitigate risk and to support organisational change and transformation. Internal Audit is well established as a distinct career path for Chartered Accountants and members specialising in this field currently enjoy a growing market for their sought-after skills. So how can a stint in IA benefit your career? …. Being an Internal Auditor often allows you to leverage the audit skillset you developed during your traineeship in practice although you only have one single organisation as your ‘client’ and this often delivers a sense of belonging and familiarity. You learn to identify real business risks – financial and operational – and to effect change and you get to see the results of your advice. If you want to make a difference to a business, and understand it from the inside out, a spell in internal audit provides a good opportunity. Indeed, the CVs of many senior finance and business leaders include a two/three-year period in internal audit somewhere along their career journey. Key elements of an IA career path can include: ➤ IA is often seen as a steppingstone into finance operations and the business within larger multinationals and corporates. In some companies, experience of internal audit is a ‘must’ for career development. Many plc’s offer secondments from internal audit into other business teams as part of the key talent development process. ➤ Personal development becomes a feature of an IA role with self-awareness, business acumen, effective communication, social awareness and conflict resolution skills among the qualities mentioned by business leaders as important when meeting stakeholders at all levels and when working with different nationalities and cultures. ➤ Travel can often be a feature of an IA position enabling you to understand different cultures and work practices first-hand. Internal audit provides the opportunity to develop and use language skills in a practical way. ➤ Financial & Operational  - Usually an IA professional’s remit will include operational and financial elements to the audits which lends a real world commercial dimension to the role where you get to understand your colleagues roles and build relationships across divisions as well as developing commercial acumen as you examine processes and ways of working. Typically, the Top 500 Employers in Ireland (per the Irish Times 1000 list) is where you will find most Internal Audit teams (Financial services sector and Industry). Equally, Big 4 and Top 10 practices maintain a strong demand for high calibre additions to their Internal Audit Service offerings to clients. Contact Dave Riordan (ACA) 01 6377251 for further information on Internal Audit as your ACA Career Pathway.     

Sep 26, 2019