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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
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