John Nolan

Trainee Accountant, KPMG

Degree subject BA Accounting and Finance, (DCU)
Job title Trainee accountant
Employer KPMG

Choosing accountancy

Having enjoyed business and accounting in school, I chose to do the BA in Accounting and Finance in Dublin City University (DCU) as it gave me broad exposure to a wide range of business areas but also provided the scope to specialise in my final year to receive my professional exam exemptions. During my time in DCU I was lucky enough to be offered a global internship with KPMG which gave me a great insight into the world of accounting and what to expect as a trainee accountant. I spent a month working in the Dublin office and then spent a month working in the Chicago office. The internship was a great opportunity to see what day to day life is like in the role of a trainee accountant before I applied for a graduate role.

Working life

Once I graduated from DCU I returned to KPMG to work in the Corporate Finance department, where I have been for the past three years. The initial prospect of working full time and attending lectures in evenings and weekends was a daunting one but there is a great support system within KPMG for the professional exams. One of the key milestones in my career to date has been passing all my professional exams, which are a key part of your training contract and which now allow me to focus on gaining more practical experience in Corporate Finance for the remainder
of my training contract.
In Corporate Finance the work can be varied which makes it a very enjoyable and exciting department to work in. On any one day I can be working on a range of high profile projects including raising finance for new start-ups, advising clients on disposal strategies for their business and valuing companies for tax purposes. Over the past three years I have obtained great commercial experience from the projects I have worked on and have been given a lot of responsibility, including hosting client meetings and writing reports.


The ‘milkround’ is a period between September and November each year when the majority of accounting firms hire their graduate intake. Having come through this process, I can appreciate that it can be an intimidating time for many prospective accountants but with a little bit of preparation it can also be a very rewarding experience. By starting early and understanding the type of information required in the typical online applications, preparing your CV and practising your interview skills can put you ahead of the curve when it comes to applying for positions. The competition for graduate roles in the current economic climate is very competitive and anything you can do to improve
your chances of success will be a very worthwhile exercise. Utilising resources such as your college’s career services team for help with Cv and
interview preparation can be a very helpful initial step.

John Nolan was interviewed for the gradireland & postgradireland Directory 2015