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Careers Development

Let’s be honest, keeping your CA Diary up to date can seem like a bit of an imposition, especially when you have so many competing priorities with a busy work, study and personal schedule. Like with most things we don’t put on the top of our priority list it can slip to the bottom and then the longer we put it off the more difficult it becomes to tackle. Well, there is a solution!   Rather than looking at the process of completing the CA Diary as a chore,  I would suggest changing your mindset and start looking at it as an opportunity to help you with developing your career. So how do I do that I hear you say?    Here are the steps: Break it down into manageable tasks Make time each month, even just an hour, to update your entries. If you are doing this monthly there is no doubt that this will be enough time to keep you up to date. By breaking the process down into smaller more manageable blocks of time it will definitely be easier to stay on top of it. You can  avoid a situation where you have months and even years to catch up on.  Form good career management habits early in your career  Your career will benefit from you investing time regularly to reflect on the skills and experience you have developed and taking the time to consider where the gaps might be and how to deal with these. This is a positive habit to develop early in your career and it can help you to avoid many of the pitfalls that can arise during your career. Proactively managing your career rather than letting it just happen is essential. Taking the time to actively invest in managing your career is a positive habit to develop and will reap rewards in terms of career success and satisfaction.  Set the time aside in your calendar and stick to it. Arranging the process like this will actually save you time as it will be so much easier to identify and highlight what to include in your CV Diary rather than having to rack your brain to remember the pertinent aspects of your experience. This approach combined with the Career Planning tool (include details) will help you to successfully manage your career.  Build and update your CV and interview preparation notes as you go If you update your CA Diary as you progress with your exams you will also be better equipped to draft a CV when it comes to the time to start looking for a new role should you wish to do so when you qualify. Having an up to date and comprehensive CA Diary makes this process much easier as you can use this content as the basis for your CV and take the pain out of the process. You can also use this information to keep your LinkedIn profile updated which is an essential tool for building and managing your personal brand.  Similarly, the detail you have included in your CA Diary will also provide you with solid examples and content for interviews, particularly for competency based questions. Again, taking the time as you go along will ultimately save you a significant number of hours and potentially even days.  Build greater awareness of your skills and strengths  An important part of ensuring a successful career is to play to your strengths and to leverage the skills that you are naturally good at and enjoy using. The process of completing the diary on a regular basis will help you to identify and increase your understanding of the skills and competencies that will help to set you apart. With this awareness you can set about using this understanding to your advantage to advance your career. The earlier you build this awareness the more beneficial and motivational it will be and it will help you to drive your career forward.  Likewise, you will also be able to identify any gaps or areas that might be holding you back and you can address them and seek support quickly before they have the potential to become an issue and impede your career progression.   Stay motivated  Maintaining your motivation levels can be a challenge. We are all human after all! However, regularly reviewing your progress and reviewing your CA Diiary entries can be really motivational as can using a Career Planning tool as you feel more in control and can clearly see the progress that you are making which will drive you on further. Remember to take time out to congratulate yourself on the progress you have made and treat yourself to a celebration.  In summary using the CA Diary and the career planning tools provided by The Institute will ultimately make your life easier and they designed to set you up for career success.  Dave Riordan ACA Career Coach and Recruitment Specialist  

Apr 08, 2021
Careers Development

After qualification you have a year or two to try out a few different organisations, roles and sectors.  It is worth being vigilant however about whether a corporate path or an SME path is the one that will suit you once your career is up and running. So here are a few suggestions on what to consider in each regard: Q Are you coming from a large or small training practice and is your client base large corporates or family based indigenous business? Q Do you enjoy the large scaled busy corporate enterprise culture and environment or, looking into the future, do you feel a family sized operation with a small finance division is more your style? In an SME you will enjoy a smaller working environment, flatter structure, closer contact with clients and more of a local feel Would you like to go beyond the confines of finance and have added commercial business responsibilities getting involved in operational decisions and strategic decision and perhaps directly impacting the growth of employees and revenue in the organization? An SME can be more greatly impacted by macroeconomic forces in the future but at the same time it can be very exciting to be part of an accelerated expansion in a small business When deciding to join an SME first assess if the sector is robust into the future.  Is it a future proof business? Many qualifying ACAs have strong communication skills and professional relationship building acumen and this lends itself well to a Corporate multinational culture If you display good EI and are savvy when it comes to internal politics these can assist your ambitions to move up through the corporate ladder to C-suite level Strong leadership attributes are often highly regarded in the corporate space Work-life balance often can be less of a feature with multinational life versus SME Multinationals tend to remunerate better than SMEs and have better benefit packages in general.  Speak to a few mentors who know you well and are commercially knowledgeable and ask them to judge which track might be best for you.  Compare a variety of job specs for ACA newly quals in both the corporate and SME sector and review what is being sought.  Take a look at the profiles of ACAs three, five or eight years into their career path in both MNCs and then SME businesses by comparison and get a sense of where you might fit best.  When planning for your career five or 10 years ahead there is no magic recipe or template. More often you will decide your direction on a gut feeling and impression but make sure that feeling is well researched. Dave Riordan ACA Career Coach and Recruitment Specialist Chartered Accountants Ireland

Mar 05, 2021
Careers Development

In January, the job market can sometimes be slow to get started. The good news in 2021 however is that the market appears to have kicked off quickly with some good prospects in both practice and industry. We are delighted to bring you this positive news during these challenging times. During 2020 we saw multiple moratoriums on hiring and slower-than-usual turn-around of recruitment processes. Entering 2021 there seems to have been a ‘refresh’ with many hiring managers looking to re-activate recruitment processes again for roles outstanding from 2020 with a renewed sense of urgency to fill these roles. We have also been contacted by numerous other organisations seeking to hire talent for new roles also. Remote working is now the new norm as most have had over nine months to adapt. This new way of working has brought with it new opportunities and enables members to consider a wider variety of options not just around the country but overseas also.  Like any year there will be peaks and troughs and seasonality issues that impact recruitment activity during 2021 but notwithstanding the effects of Brexit the market should stay reasonably solid. Key features of the market for 2021 will include: • Continued buoyancy in sectors such as technology, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, logistics  • Challenging employee retention within sectors such as entertainment, leisure and hospitality  • The financial services market remains positive with demand in funds in particular and potential opportunities arising out of Brexit • Salaries will remain broadly similar to last year  • Increased opportunity for part-time working  • Continued strong demand for talent at all levels in chartered accountancy practices across the country • Increase in availability of contract opportunities during the year  We are here to support your career development and we are available for virtual career consultations. Please reach out to use and stay close to your institute to ensure you don't miss an opportunity to engage with your careers team.  Dave Riordan, ACA Contact Dave  

Jan 08, 2021
Careers Development

The annual “Chartered Star” prize has been jointly awarded to two entrants from Co. Donegal and Co. Down by Chartered Accountants Ireland. The decision reflected the high calibre of entrants this year, and both winners will now go on to represent the Irish chartered accountancy profession at the ‘One Young World’ conference in Munich next July. The winners are Aisling McCaffrey, Associate Director with Grant Thornton and Dr Caroline McGroary, Assistant Professor of Accounting in Dublin City University (DCU).  The ‘Chartered Star’ award recognises exceptional achievement amongst young and trainee accountants around the island of Ireland. Each year, it is awarded to someone who will lead, motivate, and inspire as they build their career. In 2020, entrants were challenged to demonstrate to the judging panel the ways in which they are making a difference and working towards, or supporting, the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Paul Henry, President, Chartered Accountants Ireland said “My heartiest congratulations to both winners. It is in all our hands to create a strong and sustainable accountancy profession into the future and Aisling and Caroline’s achievements at a still relatively early stage in their careers are to be commended. I look forward to following their achievements in the coming years, and on behalf of the Institute I wish them success in their engagements in Munich in July. We are fortunate as a profession to be so ably represented on a global stage.” Aisling McCaffrey, Associate Director with Grant Thornton is originally from Holywood, Co. Down and works in Dublin. A member of the FinBiz2030 Irish taskforce, she is also a NextGen committee member for 100 Women in Finance, a global network of professionals in finance working together to empower women at every stage of their career. Sport also plays a huge role in her life. A tag rugby player, she has represented Ireland in two World Cups and is a World Cup silver medal winner.  Her work to support the Sustainable Development Goals is focused on achieving gender equality (SDG 5) and empowering women and girls, as well as climate action (SDG 13). She currently acts as project manager for the team responsible for the creation of the Green Team Network – a forum for connection and empowering change towards a sustainable environment within the Irish Funds Industry. In Grant Thornton, she sits on an internal ESG working group through which she promotes sustainable activity across the firm. Aisling commented “I feel really proud and humbled to have been awarded Chartered Star for 2020/21 by Chartered Accountants Ireland. My qualification has provided me with technical knowledge and skills that I have been able to utilise in all aspects of my life and I am delighted to be representing the profession on an international stage at the One Young World Summit. I am really excited to collaborate with other young leaders at the summit who are passionate about making a social impact and finding effective solutions to global issues.” Fellow winner, Caroline McGroary, originally from Donegal, is an Assistant Professor of Accounting with DCU. Before joining DCU she trained as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte. Over the last seven years she has worked between Ireland and Saudi Arabia through a partnership between DCU and Princess Norah University (PNU), the largest female only university in the world. Caroline particularly impressed the judging panel with an initiative she developed to help women at risk of financial exclusion in Saudi Arabia. The initiative, which was supported at governmental level, had a social media campaign which reached over 1 million users, was nominated for a number of awards and was presented at international conferences. Her work to support the UN SDGs is focused on SDG 4 Quality Education and SDG 5 Gender Equality by improving the financial literacy levels of students; educating students about the UN SDGs; empowering them to help achieve the goals through community engagement; while her PhD research is centered around professional education. In addition, Caroline promotes the UN SDGs in the business community in Saudi Arabia and Ireland, and was a founding member of the Irish Business Network - Saudi Arabia. Caroline commented “This is an award that I am immensely proud to hold and I look forward to representing the profession at the One Young World Summit in Munich, in 2021. I hope to use this summit as a platform to meet with leaders and activists from all over the world, and to identify ways in which we can work together to achieve impact. I'm also looking forward to working with the FinBiz2030 taskforce, whose aim is to mobilise the finance and business community globally to help achieve the UN SDGs.” ENDS  About Chartered Accountants Ireland Chartered Accountants Ireland is Ireland’s leading professional accountancy body, representing 28,500 influential members around the world and educating 7,000 students. The Institute aims to create opportunities for members and students, and ethical, sustainable prosperity for society. An all-island body, Chartered Accountants Ireland was established by Royal Charter in 1888 and now has members in more than 90 countries. It is a founding member of Chartered Accountants Worldwide, the international network of over one million chartered accountants. It also plays key roles in the Global Accounting Alliance, Accountancy Europe and the International Federation of Accountants.  About One Young World: One Young World is an international conference that brings together inspiring young people from 190+ countries that are committed to making a difference. The summit will take place in Munich in July 2021. One Young World provides a platform for young leaders to speak alongside Presidents, Nobel Prize Winners, Global business leaders and other inspiring global leaders. Delegates are an international cohort, sharing their impactful work, personal experiences, views and opinions with around 1,300 Summit attendees and an audience watching around the world.

Dec 22, 2020
Careers Development

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

Nov 23, 2020
Careers Development

To pass your CAP2 and FAE exams you need to implement a rigorous study plan during the year as you approach qualification. As an ACA finalist, you will need to implement the same approach and format to your job search and career plan. If you don't structure your job steps through a considered strategic plan, you risk your career pathway making random jumps and just falling into opportunities. Here are a few suggestions to help you build the beginning of your effective long-term career plan:In 10 years when you are an FCA, what role do you think you will want to be settled into? What does this picture look like?  Map it out for yourself in detail At five years PQE (post qualification experience), what role do you anticipate holding?  It should be a good springboard to your 10 year target. It should be in line with the Career Pathway map Do an honest skills set audit: Document the skills you are strong on and identify what you are lacking and will need to shore up / develop if they are important to your 5/10 year plan Speak to people – a lot!  Make your career map part of your business conversations and put your ambition to go out there in a particular direction with peopleDocument your plan: Write it down – keep a detailed spreadsheet.  Track and analyse it like a full ongoing long-term project that you give monthly priority to. (I have seen very average performers reach lofty career heights by giving sufficient time and attention to their career projects and ambitions – don’t put it low on your to-do list). If you aim to move on after qualifying then take a look at the key actions and considerations hereStart meetings with a few mentors and document the tips they give you in your career fileBuild your personal brand both in work and online/LinkedInStart to build your personal network in line with key career influencersPut a slot in your diary each month to spend a few hours on your career projectConsider a mentor: We can put you in touch with an advisor who will share experience, knowledge and tips. Find out more about the mentoring programme hereThere is of course a lot more to building a formal career plan but these are a few initial considerations and initial building blocks to put in place. Once you qualify make sure you connect with your Chartered Accountants Ireland Careers team to map out the rest of the plan and review the wide variety of ACA paths and market opportunities.Dave Riordan (ACA)Recruitment Specialist and Career CoachContact Dave here 

Oct 01, 2020
Careers Development

For the three and a half years of my training contract I remember that all of my interactions with the Institute were around lectures and exams and that when I qualified it was such a relief to be free from all that administration and exam pressure. When you qualify as an ACA it is very tempting to just ignore any communication and networking opportunities with the Institute and indeed this may be your first reaction. However, before you make this decision you need to consider what you are missing out on in terms of the potential to build a solid professional network, develop your career and of course have some fun with other members. With no exams on your plate and all that free time one of the best things you can do as a qualified member is to explore how the Institute can now be leveraged to the advantage of your personal brand and career trajectory! Another consideration of course is that by demonstrating that you have an ongoing relationship with the Institute and where this is evident from you CV it will indicate to an employer a certain positive dimension to your personality such as loyalty, communication and relationship management skills as well as displaying your career ambition and motivation. Here are a few specific ways to build and maintain that relationship with Chartered Accountants Ireland in the years after qualification :Explore a range of committees and special interest groups that you can join and get involved with including the Young Professionals, the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, the Technology committee to name but a fewGet involved with the district societies from a social and committee perspective. Playing a key role in a committee can be a great way to build a range of skills such as public speaking and presentation skills as well as getting to understand how a committee operates including from a governance perspective. These skills can all be very beneficial when you are seeking to advance your career. There is also huge potential in terms of building important relationships both on a personal and professional level.When the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, as a member you can use rooms in CA House for meeting purposes. This is a tangible benefit to members and also represents a good way for you to visit the hub of Chartered Accountancy and to meet other fellow members and staff. Again when it is safe to do so there will be the opportunity for you to attend a range of relevant and interesting events in CA House. Events typically have a social and networking dimension to them and you will get to meet members from a wide range of backgrounds and sectors. We often hold events offsite and we like to explore new and exciting venues. We are always looking to try out new events too and in recent times we have held virtual quizzes, health and welling being sessions, fun runs and beach clean ups.The Careers and Recruitment service provides you with a great touchpoint with your Institute. You can meet with a member of the Careers team for a confidential career conversation that will help to guide you as you make important career decisions and it will help you to achieve your career goals. We can work with you to help you to set and achieve your career goals.Our panel of Career Mentors is another way to engage with us and to gain the benefit of an expert panel of experienced Chartered Accountants who are available free of charge to provide you with career advice based on their own career journey to date.CPD courses are another way in which to leverage the resources available to you as a member. Not only will you get to hear from some of the best lecturers and speakers you will also get to engage with your fellow members and learn from them as they share their experiences during our interactive sessions. A carefully selected CPD course can not only help you to build your knowledge it can also help you to build your network.Join the Chartered Accountants LinkedIn group and contribute content or simply add some comments. This will open up a whole new network for you and can be a useful resource when you are looking for guidance and advice.Volunteer to speak to trainees and students in the Institute about your career path. We are always interested in speaking to members who would like to share their experiences with other members or indeed with students. This is a great way not only to support others but will also help you to raise your profile. Another option is to perhaps consider part time lecturing for the Institute or getting involved with exam invigilation.Write an Article for Accountancy Ireland. We are always looking for subject matter experts to contribute content to our publications including Accountancy Ireland. This is an opportunity for you to share your knowledge, develop your writing skills and also to raise your profile.These are just a few ideas how you can use your Institute to your advantage as a qualified member and really harness the network and energy of the largest professional business community in Ireland not to mention international linkages. It is important to remember that peer-to-peer support is an essential ingredient for career success and of course having fun is essential too and you will find both when you connect with your Institute. Dave Riordan ACARecruitment Specialist and Career Coach Chartered Accountants Ireland     

Sep 02, 2020
Careers

As a newly qualified ACA, you may look to decide whether to stay with your training practice or make a move into industry, financial services or even move to another firm.  Largely, the state of the employment market has a bearing on this decision and must be taken into consideration. In normal times, traveling or spending a year away would be another option. Currently however the choice facing most 2020/2021 newly qualified ACAs is whether to remain on a practice career path or make the move into and industry role. Here are a few points to consider in this regard:PracticeBeing invited to stay in your training practice is a positive endorsement of your track record and calibre With exams finished, staying in your firm will allow you the time to focus on client relationships and to  add new softer skills to your repertoire, like people management or delivering senior level presentationsPractice can sometimes be regarded as slightly more insulated from harsh market forces, but it is important to note that the professional services sector is impacted by any economic dips too The path is clear in practice. There is a hierarchical ladder to climb with regular increments and you know what your next step entails. If your plan is to achieve partnership, the path is clearly defined  If you enjoy interacting with clients, the practice model of client relationship management is very rewarding Working with multiple clients and evolving varied projects in practice provides nice variety and many ACAs enjoy this new monthly change. Moving to a new firm can give you an exciting new client portfolio to representIndustryThe earlier you move into industry after qualification the easier the move will be and the more options you will have Remaining in practice to senior management or director level can make it slightly more difficult to take that step into industry although far from impossible  A move into industry can introduce you to business and strategic decision making. Involvement in the commerciality of the business itself can become a feature of a move to industry  There is greater variety and flavours of roles and titles in industry and financial services Moving into industry, you can find a company or organisation with a culture and energy that really fits your personality and strengths You can forge a new career path towards FD, CFO or head of finance positions. It may allow you use your qualification in a very different way ultimately ending up as CEO of a  charity for example or even leading a semi-state body as is the case with FCA Imelda Hurley Pay in industry and particularly financial services is usually a little better than practice equivalent roles There is no right answer in deciding whether to stay in practice or to move to industry. Both have their merits and it really depends on the person. It is worth noting that once you make the leap into industry it can be a little more difficult to go back in to practice. As always your Careers Team is here to advise and discuss decisions like this and any other career related issues so don’t hesitate to contact us upon qualification. Dave Riordan (ACA) Recruitment Specialist & Career Coach 

Aug 14, 2020
Sustainability

In an article in ICAEW's Insights publication, KPMG’s Director of Sustainability Services Richard Betts describes the sustainability sector as offering a bright future for ACAs beginning their careers.Sustainability is a rapidly developing area and with many companies only just getting started, providing opportunities for ACAs to bring added value in many ways.  Sustainability work, Betts explained, matches the ACA skillset. Betts himself says he never thought about working in sustainability originally, and started in financial audit, transferring to KPMG’s sustainability department.  "The ACA training gave me a really good foundation and transferable skills. Doing the ACA and working in financial audit gives you discipline and rigour, project management skills and attention to detail. Even though our data is not financial data, you still need the same skills.”As a job sector for ACAs Betts emphasised that sustainability is a growth area, and is extremely active, despite COVID-19 presenting short-term difficulties in the economy, with a lot more work to be done in the coming years. The majority of large accountancy firms now have sustainability teams, which could be a focus for ACAs searching for work. The work of sustainablity is also integrated into core business: “At KPMG, we have sustainability engagements working with our financial audit teams but also with our tax and advisory teams,” he said. Betts describe the his own work in the area of sustainability where his ACA provided transferable skills enabling him to thrive in these fields, as well as existing and potential work for ACAs in the area:non-financial reporting and assurance (for example GRI Standards, CDP, ISAE 3000, AA1000 and IIRC Integrated Reporting)integrating key non-financial information into primary annual reports, for example to align with TCFD recommendations to include climate-related financial risk disclosures within their annual reportsustainability strategy and implementationsustainable financingenvironmental due diligenceclimate change advisory services (TCFD and climate risk, GHG monitoring and reporting, decarbonisation and renewable energy)social value circular economy auditing non-financial impactThe article states that "In the future, companies will need to report far more extensively on non-financial data that is now material to all businesses. More ACAs will be needed to do the necessary work."For more resources see our Sustainability Centre on the Chartered Accountants Ireland website.

Jul 30, 2020
Careers Development

Most Chartered Accountant students are rightly occupied with study, exams and lectures for the three and a half years of their traineeship and upon passing their FAEs then need to decide what direction to take their qualification.  This throws up a multitude of questions. Questions... Ideally what should my next job title be? Do I work a year abroad or just do a three-month travelling time-out? Should I stay with my training firm for six months or longer? Should I be aiming for a contract or a permanent position?  PLC versus SME etc. etc. ...So much to figure out so quickly... This can be quite a lot to take on board and decide suddenly what trajectory your career path is going to take from the outset.  Suggestions I would suggest you diarise into your annual timetable breaks from the study at intervals to scope out various paths and options that are going to be available to you once you qualify in 2021 or 2022. As well as being a switch from the pressures of study, this research will also give you a sense that you are on a targeted path. It will give you focus on a clear goal and something to aim for upon qualification.  If there are sectors you are particularly interested in, start researching them now and get close to the exciting companies in those sectors!  Even as early as CAP1, ensure you set up a professional LinkedIn profile and start connecting with CFOs, practice partners and managing directors in your target companies and sectors.  Browse the job specs on LinkedIn and irishjobs.ie that you feel might appeal to you in a few years time and make sure you understand any niche technical requirements as well as the soft skills being sought and focus on building these while you train.  Additionally, even at this early stage of your career it is advisable to work with one or more mentors. Someone experienced in business who you feel has good judgement and will help you with some direction as you head towards qualification.  Finally, use LinkedIn to map the career paths of your peers that are a few years ahead of you and what they did upon qualification and speak to as many of them as you can. Not all of them got it right. All newly quals have to find their feet and explore the market in the initial years and often make a few moves to find the right fit but why leave it to the last minute? Dave Riordan - Career Coach and Recruitment Specialist Email Dave Career and Recruitment Service homepage

Jul 09, 2020
Careers Development

Extensive developments in the world of social media combined with changing job markets have impacted the world of recruitment and job hunting. To make your job search and career planning more effective you need to be aware of these changes. Social media and in particular LinkedIn, can help you to further your career and can also contribute to a more successful job search strategy. If you are not on LinkedIn you can’t win! LinkedIn is now used by hundreds of millions of professionals worldwide on a daily basis. LinkedIn is constantly used by recruiters, agencies, in-house recruiters and employers alike. They use it to source a shortlist of candidates when they are filling roles. It is often their go-to source for talent. Some of the larger recruitment agencies and multinational HR departments will even have a dedicated staff member whose specific role it is to source and identify prospective candidates from the various social media sites, including LinkedIn. Hirers also use LinkedIn for cross reference purposes and to verify the details that you have on your CV. You could be caught out if there are inconsistencies or irregularities! So if you were not already convinced that a LinkedIn account is a must or you were wary of it, I am sure that you can now appreciate that if you want to identify a career move or you want a job to find you, you need to be part of the increasing number of professionals using LinkedIn as a recruitment and networking tool. Don’t fear it. It’s the socially accepted done thing and you need to spend time on it linking with and inviting new people into your network.   Enhancing your personal brand and professional profile Even though LinkedIn is having a major impact in the world of recruitment it is not replacing the traditional CV, but rather your LinkedIn profile now acts as an extension of your CV. With a standard CV you have limited scope to inform a prospective employer about your future potential or your personal ethos and brand. However, LinkedIn does provide you with this opportunity. With LinkedIn you have more flexibility in terms of the content and layout of your profile. You can provide a more comprehensive overview of your skills, competencies, knowledge and experience. The most important element in your LI profile despite a very professional photo is the ‘keywords’ you use on your page. These keywords need to be reflective of your ambitions for your career path and point in the direction you want your career to go. Similarly, you might want to select ‘skills’ from the list that indicate your strengths.   If you combine your CV with your LinkedIn profile you can provide a recruiter or potential employer or client with a more insightful overview of what you can bring to an organisation and where you can add value. Perhaps include your LI profile link on your cv? Rather than providing a historic account of your career as you do in your CV, LinkedIn will allow you the scope to focus on where you want to be. You can include a profile paragraph detailing your career plans and ambitions rather than it being a purely historic account of your experience. You have opportunity to demonstrate where your skills, knowledge and experience can benefit an organisation. It provides you with the channel to really sell your potential.  Making the most of your profile Your LinkedIn profile is your on-line CV. It is a means of getting your CV viewed without the necessity to send it. Your profile should be an executive biography. The same principles that apply to your CV apply to your profile - layout and content are crucial as first impressions count. Ensure that it is professional and easy to follow. As with a CV the use of bullet points can be very useful.  If you want to be found and considered for job opportunities, it is imperative that you include key ‘buzz’ words in your profile. Step into the world of the recruiters and think ‘What are the key words that they would use to search if they were seeking a shortlist of candidates like you?’ For example, if you are a Financial Controller here are some of the words that you should consider including in your profile: Financial Management, Financial Control, financial and management reporting,  financial oversight,  P &L  Accountability, financial planning & analysis,  profit maximisation, people management,  team leadership, business and strategic planning, business development, systems review and implementation, project management,  policy development, process improvement ,  operational streamlining, best practice,  commercial, business acumen, decision support. Payback The more time and effort you put into LinkedIn the more you will get out of it. If you choose your profile wording carefully, you increase your chances of being contacted and headhunted. The news feeds that you receive will be tailored more specifically to your background as will the ‘Jobs you May Be Interested In’ section on your LinkedIn page. Putting a face to the name To add to your credibility and to your personal brand it is essential to include a highly professional photo on your profile. People are more likely to do business with or engage with a person if they have some idea of what they look like.  LinkedIn as a research tool LinkedIn, if used properly can provide you with access to a huge amount of market and business intelligence essential to successful job hunting and networking.  For example, if you are attending an interview and know the names of the interviewers you can even look up their details on LinkedIn and obtain a more comprehensive understanding of their background. This information could prove beneficial during your interview preparation and of course during the interview itself. It could enable you to make an important connection with the interviewer that could seal the deal for you. You might even be able to find the person who was previously in the role to see what background they came from and how it rates relative to your own. By going into the company profile and selecting ‘People’ you can see all employees and even refine that down to the finance dept and the team you would be working with.  Get connected By adding to your number of connections, you increase the likelihood that people will see your profile first when they’re searching for someone to recruit or do business with. It will assist you in building your profile and increasing your visibility with your peer group. In addition to appearing at the top of search results, people would much rather work with people who their friends know and trust. You can therefore leverage the connections that others have and then use these to your advantage. It is a fast track way to build on your network of contacts. However, be selective about who you add to your network and never add people just for the sake of it or just simply to add to your number of connections. You only want to be contacted by or do business with people who are professional, reputable and who you trust or you know. It will serve you better if your connections are considered and strategic but do make this a daily / weekly habit and always invite with a polite message e.g. “Hi Bob, I’m a member of Chartered Accountants Ireland also and delighted to connect if you are inclined. Kind regards Dave” People you may know Another useful feature of LinkedIn is the ‘People You May Know’ listing. LinkedIn will provide you with this specifically tailored list through the connections you have made. It connects you with people who have studied or worked in the same places as you. It also shows the connections of your connections known as 2nd and 3rd connections that are relevant to your sector. It can be quite fascinating looking through the list and it can be compulsive reading. You never know who you might come across! Join relevant groups Not only should you be joining groups that your peers are in, you should also join groups which will help you to broaden the scope of your connections and your profile and your exposure in other areas. For example, if you are seeking a career change or change of discipline it can prove useful to connect with groups in this new area.  Recommendations If you add recommendations to your profile it will provide others with a more comprehensive overview of you as a professional. However, the recommendations you choose must be objective and should be credible. Adding recommendations that do not hold much weight can actually do more harm than good. You are hardly going to be negative about your own boss now are you!! You can ask others for recommendations and equally write recommendations for others to enhance your branding.  LinkedIn as a networking tool How likely are you to ring an ex colleague you have not worked with or spoken to for 10 years? In my view you are much more likely to send them an invitation via LinkedIn to connect. This is a great way to ‘break the ice’ initially. You have then made it much easier for more detailed communications to take place. LinkedIn is a great tool to help you to reconnect with people and to really work a network of contacts. It can help to take the initial fear factor out of networking and initiating that all important first contact. Job alerts  Set up your profile so that LI sends you jobs that match with your preference and alerts you of any roles that match your preferences for the next step in your career. This way you stay in tune with the market and with what is happening in your career space.  Overview Just because you are on LinkedIn does not mean that you are actively seeking a job. You should not worry about what your superiors are thinking if they see your details on it. The chances are they are on it themselves too. Quite simply, LinkedIn is a very powerful networking tool. It facilitates the diversification of your network and the enhancement of your professional profile. You can’t afford not to be there. Karin Lanigan - Head of Member Experience You can contact the Careers and Recruitment Service here

Jun 12, 2020
Careers Development

What are the rewards on qualification? Now more than ever employers are seeking quality finance professionals for their organisations. Once you have been admitted as a member the Chartered Accountancy qualification will certainly open up an extensive range of job and career opportunities even in the current environment. The Careers Team here in Chartered Accountants Ireland are well placed to see the exciting opportunities that arise for Chartered Accountants even now in a challenging market. We are still being contacted on a regular basis by organisations in practice, industry and financial services, here in Ireland and internationally specifically seeking Chartered Accountants for opportunities at all levels. Demand for qualified Chartered Accountants The training you receive to become a Chartered Accountant is well recognised and respected by employers on a global level. It provides you with the foundation from which you can further develop your career in practice, industry and financial services. The demand in the market for qualified Chartered Accountants is constant. The market within the area of practice and professional services has been particularly strong in recent years with many of the larger firms actively recruiting and there is no indication of any change currently.  Similarly, many smaller firms have been building out their teams and have also been consistently recruiting.   Earning potential Salary levels for accountants have continued to grow with the market rate for newly qualified accountants currently in the region of €45 – €55k depending on a range of variables including experience, location and sector. Within 2- 3 years of qualification you can expect your salary to have increased to a level of €60 - €70k depending on the experience you gain. Therefore you can see that there is a definite return on your investment of time and effort in obtaining the Chartered Accountancy qualification.  Business opportunities If you decide that you would like to diversify from the area of practice upon qualification, as in excess of 60% of our members do, there is a myriad of choice out in the market. A typical route for a recently qualified Chartered Accountant would be to obtain a role as a Financial Accountant within industry. A role of this nature will provide broad exposure to the day to day running of a finance function and will act as a platform from which to advance your career even further. Many members choose this route with the role of Financial Controller or Finance Director being their target. Ultimately it can even lead on to roles such as CFO or Chief Executive.  Emerging opportunities An area in particular where there has been a significant increase in demand is for Chartered Accountants with strong analysis and interpretation skills for roles such as Finance or Business Analysts. These positions have a very strong business and commercial dimension to them and allow you to work at the leading edge of the decision making and strategy process for a business. There are currently excellent career development opportunities in this area as many corporates move towards a business partnering model in their finance functions globally. Banking and financial services Financial services and banking is another sector which offers excellent career opportunities and rewards for accountants. You can opt for more mainstream financial accounting roles or if you wish to specialise you can also do so by considering areas such are fund accounting, insurance, corporate finance, corporate governance and compliance. The area of compliance and corporate governance in particular has experienced strong growth levels in recent years and this is set to continue with increased regulation. Your international passport The Irish Chartered Accountancy qualification is very well respected on a global level including in the UK, Australia, Bermuda and New Zealand. Irish Chartered Accountants can expect that the qualification will open the door to many opportunities abroad also and we as to an international network of Chartered Accountants. If you are interested in global mobility the Chartered Accountancy qualification is your ticket to success.  An unrivalled professional network As a qualified Chartered Accountant you will become part of a significant professional network, not just in Ireland but also internationally. This network will be an invaluable asset as you look to advance and progress your career providing you with access to a wide range of contacts and opportunities. The qualification undoubtedly provides you with access to an unrivalled professional network which you can leverage to your advantage. Attending events run by the Leinster Society and other District Societies as well as by the Young Professionals Committee are the ideal way to meet and connect with other members. Careers coaching service (free) A distinguishing feature of the service you receive from Chartered Accountants Ireland when you qualify and become a member is a bespoke in-house career coaching and recruitment service where you can avail of a range of free impartial career supports including access to a panel of over 150 career mentors all of whom are Qualified Chartered Accountants. They are available to provide you with invaluable career advice and insights based on their own career experiences. Professional development  Qualifying as a Chartered Accountant is just the beginning of your career journey and a whole world of opportunities await. To ensure that you are well positioned to take advantage of these opportunities you will need to ensure that your skills and competencies evolve in line with your career. To help you to track your progress you can use our bespoke competency tool which will enable your professional development. Have a look at our Career Pathway for guidance here. Overview Ultimately armed with the Chartered Accountancy qualification you are in a position to embark on an exciting career journey where the qualification will open up a myriad of opportunities. With strategic planning, a strong work ethic and a positive mental attitude you can go far. Karin Lanigan -Head of Member Experience    

Jun 03, 2020