We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Diana Carvalho, Manager at FPM Chartered Accountants Ireland

Ready for something new? 3 people share how accountancy transformed their careers

‘Accountancy is a qualification that allows you to work in almost any industry or sector, and almost anywhere in the world.’

ONCE YOU’VE CHOSEN to follow a specific career path, it can sometimes feel like there’s no room or opportunity to change it.

However, having the ability to study something new while working opens a whole new world of possibilities.

With Chartered Accountants Ireland’s Flexible Route, you can study while you work, building a schedule that suits your needs and commitments with access to all lectures, resources and supports online.

Once qualified, your skills could take you to any number of roles, from senior financial advisor to corporate CEO. We spoke to three people who’ve unlocked their career potential in new ways thanks to Chartered Accountancy…

‘Changing careers is one of my greatest accomplishments’ 

My academic background didn’t start with accountancy, as it might be assumed. I graduated in Sciences of Communication at the University of Minho, Portugal, and then was awarded a Master’s Degree in Communication.

Following an EU-funded exchange programme in Northern Ireland, I applied for a one-year placement at an accountancy firm to gain further work experience in the UK and to enhance my language skills. As part of my placement, I helped senior staff with accounting related tasks. I really enjoyed that, and quickly learned how to move on to more complex accountancy-related assignments. 

After my placement, I went on to work full-time at the firm. In November 2017, I achieved my Accounting Technicians qualification and, while it provided me with invaluable knowledge and skills, I felt that I could achieve more, and that’s when I started looking into the Chartered Accountancy qualification. 

To qualify as a professional accountant, I had two options: the flexible route, and the training contract route. I decided on the latter via the four-year training contract, and joined PKF FPM Accountants to start my path as a trainee accountant in September 2017. I chose the contract route because it would give me everything I needed to qualify – a full-time trainee role, a competitive salary, paid study leave and course fees, and access to a mentor to support my training and sign off my work experience whenever it needed to be reviewed and submitted.

Combining work and study was challenging at times, but now I can really appreciate the benefits of it, because getting professional experience as a Chartered student is a uniquely valuable combination. 

Even though accountancy wasn’t my first choice while at university, I feel that following my dream of studying abroad, eventually qualifying as a Chartered Accountant and changing careers is one of my greatest accomplishments, and I am very proud of it.

Chartered Accountants Ireland / YouTube

- Diana Carvalho, Manager at FPM 

‘There are few qualifications that give you such a broad skillset’

My strongest subject in school was maths, so that naturally guided me towards accounting. I had always been told that accountancy is one of those qualifications that allows you to work in almost any industry or sector, and almost anywhere in the world, and that range of choice really appealed to me. In college I studied business and economics in TCD where I took all of the accountancy modules, and from there I entered a graduate training program in PwC. 

Combining work and study was definitely challenging, but also rewarding. The support structures at Chartered Accountants Ireland are great when it comes to exams, and it provides a fantastic network.

There aren’t many qualifications like the Chartered Accountancy qualification that give you such a broad skillset, which in turn allows you to slot into and adapt to most work environments, whether that be in a professional service accountancy firm or in industry. 

I’ve already experienced great flexibility in my career options as a Chartered Accountant. I’ve worked in both Ireland and the US, and I’ve changed roles from Auditor to Sustainability Consultant, so Chartered Accountancy has given me plenty of opportunities that I certainly wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Chartered Accountants Ireland / YouTube

- Peter Gillen, Sustainability Manager at Grant Thornton 

‘It gave me the opportunity to have an internationally recognised qualification without taking on more student loans’

I chose to study accountancy because I think finance and working with numbers was an area of my education and experience I had somewhat neglected in my school and university years. As someone who always had a keen interest in public policy, I really wanted a greater understanding of finances in the public sector, so when I found a trainee accountant programme with the NI Audit Office, I seized the opportunity.

At a time when more and more people are going to university, it’s increasingly hard to set yourself apart and it feels like everyone has a bachelor’s degree. Chartered Accountants Ireland gave me the opportunity to achieve an internationally recognised qualification without taking on more student loans.

For me, one of the key advantages of working and studying is that you are surrounded by people going through the same thing. I don’t think that support system can be underestimated. Learning at home and being able to put it into practice the next day at work is something you don’t get in every profession.

Pursuing the Chartered Accountancy qualification has given me increased confidence, particular as an auditor. From day one, you are in a role where you might have to challenge people who have been preparing financial statements for years. 

As a trainee accountant with the NI Audit Office, I couldn’t have imagined having the opportunity to work with such big clients this early in my career – and yet my Chartered journey has given me the chance to audit one of the biggest government departments in Northern Ireland. This has given me the chance to meet new people and do work that I feel really makes a difference.

Chartered Accountants Ireland / YouTube

- Sinead Henry, Graduate Trainee Accountant, Northern Ireland Audit Office 

Become a Chartered Accountant and transform your career. Find out more here

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel