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Want a change? 6 people share how accountancy took their careers to the next level

From changing industry to running their own business.

WHEN YOU’RE looking to develop your career, it can be hard to find the first step. Should you go for that internal promotion? Seek a role with a competitor? Explore another sector altogether?

But whichever route you take, you’ll need to consider your core skills and qualifications. Investing in these can be a powerful way to upgrade your career opportunities – particularly if you train in a discipline which can be applied across a number of different sectors and roles.

One such discipline is accountancy. Far from the outdated ‘just adding up numbers’ stereotype, in fact a Chartered Accountancy qualification is something that can open a huge number of doors – allowing you to become anything from an entrepreneur to a corporate CEO.

So what does it look like to take the next step? We spoke to six people who did exactly that, and asked each to share why they chose Chartered Accountancy and what it did for them…

‘There’s no typical career path. It can take you anywhere’

Lucy_MM Fix Lucy Maher, Google Source: Chartered Accountants Ireland

I had been working as project manager in the software development industry. When my eldest child was born I decided to take a career break. While I was home I started an accounting technician qualification – I was looking for an accounts assistant role that I could do on a part time basis. It was during that course I learned about the Chartered Accountants Ireland Flexible Route programme, and it struck me as a great opportunity.

I had young children at home as well as working so it was definitely a case of stealing opportunities to study. The training was challenging, but I loved the broad strategic focus. It was always my intention to work in industry, and the final qualification is effectively a strategic finance qualification. 

The qualification has a fantastic reputation and it has been a good differentiator, combined with previous professional experience in industry. There are a great range of opportunities and no typical career path, it is a qualification that can take you anywhere.

- Lucy Maher

‘I went from hotel management to a pharmaceutical company’

cta---ross-langan-min Ross Langan, pharmaceutical sector Source: Chartered Accountants Ireland

Before working as a Chartered Accountant, I was in the hotel sector as a manager. I decided to change careers for a more routine work week – while also entering a sector that offers a good salary, plenty of opportunities and that has a great variety of roles.

During my Chartered Accountancy training it was challenging to combine the busy work week with lectures, but there were great online resources that allowed me to catch up in my own time.

The change has been great, I’ve learned lots of new skills and met some really good colleagues in a rewarding job. By changing when I did, it allowed me to have a better work life balance and continues to provide great opportunity to progress and develop my career.

- Ross Langan

‘I’ve always wanted to work for a charity and that dream has come through’

Screenshot 2020-08-13 at 15.40.59 Marta Saltarska, Irish Cancer Society

Flexibility in career options was a reason I decided to become a Chartered Accountant back in 2012. The recession of the previous few years made me realise how important it is to have a profession that can easily be transferred to a different industry or even country. 

Having trained in an accountancy firm, I smoothly moved to a finance role within the charity sector. My role within the Irish Cancer Society as a Financial Accountant involves providing support to the Head of Finance, who makes strategic decisions.

During recent times quick changes to processes and procedures were required to enable working from home without impeding on the great work the Society does. It was paramount to try to foresee potential issues before they arose and mitigate against them.

I’ve always wanted to work for a charity and that dream has come through. Not least thanks to the qualifications I obtained.

- Marta Saltarska

‘My Chartered Accountancy training helps me lead my own business’

Shaun_CA Kick-19740-Edit Shaun McGlade, SMCG Ltd Source: Chartered Accountants Ireland

I had graduated with a degree in business studies, and had also set up a small business which I was keen to build and grow. By choosing the Flexible Route with Chartered Accountants Ireland it meant I could continue to pursue my ambition to set up and run my business while also initiating my training. 

My current role is the managing director of my own accountancy business. As a business owner I face the same economic realities as all businesses, and this was brought into renewed focus during the current Covid-19 crisis.

But my skills as a Chartered Accountant helped to focus both our clients and our own business on key strategy decisions in the short, medium and long term. My training helped to ensure we could offer relevant, concise, accurate and high-level business leadership advice to secure the future of our business and clients’ businesses – to come through the crisis stronger, leaner and more competitive.

- Shaun McGlade

‘The training fit around my other commitments’

Screenshot 2020-08-13 at 15.42.29 Vera Sackitey, PwC

I was working as a customer service advisor in a call centre. I wanted a career with good prospects in terms of opportunities, higher job security and financial stability.

I was able to fit the training around my other commitments by being organised. The academic timetable is released at the start of the term, so it gives you a good idea of the timeline for lectures, breaks, exams etc. So I was able to put a good study plan in place and prioritise. It was very useful to have study materials and lectures online. You could leave the lectures and come back to where you left off – so it helps you work at your own pace.

The impact has been great. I’ve had lots of opportunities because of the qualification and I am only starting out, so the best is yet to come.

- Vera Sackitey 

‘It taught me problem-solving in any business situation’

Nadia_CA Kick-19935-Edit Nadia Kuhteva, State Street Source: Chartered Accountants Ireland

I had been working since age 16 in restaurants, bars, hotels and shops. For me the main thing was to learn English as I come from Bulgaria. However, after a few years living in Ireland I decided to go back to college, studying a BA in Accounting at WIT.

When I completed my degree I received a training contract with EY and an offer to continue my study with Chartered Accountants Ireland, so that is what I did. A Chartered Accountancy qualification gives you a detailed view of how for-profit and non-profit organisations are run; as well as teaching you how to analyse industries, businesses and how to choose the option with the best outcome; tax, business management and problem solving in any business situation. 

Since I have qualified I now receive job offers, rather than looking for them. This qualification has turned my life to a much better path. Yes, there were times that were difficult but with perseverance anything is possible. 

- Nadia Kuhteva

If you’re looking to take the next step in your career, a qualification with Chartered Accountants Ireland could be for you. Courses are moving fully online from October 2020, and our Flexible Route allows students to stay in their current job, study on their own terms and generate the relevant work experience now or further down the line – a stepping stone to find the career you’ve always wanted.

Become a Chartered Accountant and you can become anything. The time is now… Apply before September 30, 2020. To find out more, visit charteredaccountants.ie.

Sponsored by:

Chartered Accountants Ireland

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