Accountancy and financial management

Gavin Barry

The job presents lots of opportunity and a lot of diversity. I’m currently in Chicago to start a new role within one of the company’s business units.

Degree subject Food Marketing & Entrepreneurship UCC (2013), MBS Management Information & Management Accounting Systems (2014)
Job titleAccounting & Finance Associate
Employer Glanbia

How you become interested in a career in the finance sector?

I always took a liking to the accounting modules I studied in my undergrad and I generally did well in the exams. Doing a masters in management accounting then gave me more of a taste for a career in finance. Glanbia seemed like a good fit for me due to my food business undergrad and management accounting masters. Also when you look at some of the top executives and leaders in big companies, a lot of them started in the accounting & finance route, it is pivotal to the everyday running of a business. It also opens up many other doors career wise and so you are not just limited to one particular area.

My undergrad provided me with a good insight into how the food business works, particularly in Ireland and it was from here I gained an interest in the industry. This interest positioned well with Glanbia who are a major global player in the food, ingredients and sports nutrition fields and of course they are also an Irish owned and controlled company. Following on from this my masters in management accounting, along with accounting modules I studied in my undergrad gave me a good grounding and basic understanding of various areas of accounting & finance which have stood to me since I have started working. They also gave me exam exemptions from my professional qualification which is always useful!

What does your daily role involve, and what’s been one of the biggest challenges?

My current role is quite diverse. My main tasks include weekly reconciliations of certain banks, balance sheet reconciliations, month end reporting, intercompany reconciliations, capital expenditure approvals and reporting, vendor payments, weekly cash forecasting and KPI reporting. One of the biggest challenges I have faced is probably balancing work with study around exam time. If you let your work get on top of you it can be hard to find the energy to then go and study in the evening. I’ve found myself to be very organised and efficient with my time while trying to balance work with study.

What’s exciting about your job?

The job presents lots of opportunity and a lot of diversity. I’m currently in Chicago to start a new role within one of the company’s business units. I also get a lot of off the job training from the company in things like leadership, project management, personal skills development etc.

What advice would you have for students and graduates?

If you are thinking of going down the accounting & finance route, try and choose as many modules as possible in college in that area. It will give you a good grounding prior to starting work and it will also add to the number of exemptions that you are eligible for from the professional exams if you choose to sit them. Also before choosing to sit professional accounting exams, do a bit of research into what ones will suit you best and what you would like to get out of them.

I hope to be fully qualified in the next 12–18 months and would then like to go into a more senior/management accounting & finance role with increased responsibility. Hopefully my experience abroad will contribute to this. I would also in time like to get experience in other areas of business where I can still use my accounting & finance skills.