Deirdre Johnston, Chartered Accountant, Claims Team Manager for Invest NI.
Tell us about your background?
My path to the Chartered Accountancy qualification was an unusually winding one having spent my teenage years wanting to be a sports journalist. I graduated from University of Ulster in 2003 with a BA Honours Degree in Humanities Combined, Media Studies Major.
Outline your career to date?
I got my first job working for a youth charity as a Finance and PR Officer. It quickly became evident that the role was heavily finance focused and I had to learn on the job. A decade later, having found a natural affinity for finance work, I am now a Claims Team Manager for Invest NI as a Claims Team responsible for EU funded grants and have continued to learn as I went along.
Why did you choose Chartered Accountancy?
I felt it was time to get a professional qualification to enhance my knowledge and skills and increase my chances of promotion. As I work with global companies on a day to day basis Chartered Accountants Ireland was the obvious choice and a number of my colleagues qualified through the Institute and gave a glowing reference.
What advice would you give to someone considering Chartered Accountancy?
Being a mature student and having a young family, (I had my daughter’s 2nd birthday party the day after my final CAP1 exam), the Flexible Option really appealed to me although it was more structured than previous distance courses I have completed, which while daunting at the start was welcome as the year progressed. The Student section of the online site provided recorded sessions for all modules as well as question and answer packs allowing me to organise my studying around my family life. I think one of the key elements to my success at CAP1 was the weekend workshops, these sessions were practical in nature giving students the chance to work through questions and queries with the help of a tutor.
In your opinion why do Chartered Accountants get to the top of their career path so quickly?
I think the qualification has good standing within the business sector and the global nature provides easily transferable skills key for career progression.
Who has inspired you most in your life?
My mum has inspired me most in my life, she is an incredibly strong woman who worked really hard and always encouraged me at school and university.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself?
I am ambidextrous and when at school I used to swap pen into my other hand rather than move my book over when writing.
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