Aoife Bergin, Tax Trainee, BDO
How did you get into your job?
I always knew I wanted to get into accounting but it wasn’t until I was in college that I realised I loved the tax module and went that route. I didn’t have a great Leaving Cert so I went into the level 6/7 course and then transferred into the degree after that, and then applied to BDO. I applied through the milk round, went through an application process and a series of interviews and got the job in October of my final year of college.
What skills are needed for success?
The most important skill is to be able to work in a team and communicate with your colleagues as there are a lot of deadlines and such that you have to meet. To make sure tasks are completed efficiently and on time you need to able to communicate with your staff members, as they will be reviewing your work, especially your senior managers. I work directly with senior managers on a daily basis, which is great training.
How did you balance work and study?
To become fully qualified you must sit your tax exams with the Irish Tax Institute, which is an educational body with the Chartered Tax Advisors. There are three sets of exams with two sittings of each set per year, but the traditional route is to take one each year. It is quite difficult attending lectures at the weekend but BDO give us support with training at lunchtime. They also challenge us to present on a certain topic that will be on our exam, which in turn gives you a lot of knowledge on that topic coming into the exam. They also help with your assignments, which really helps.
What made you pick a job in this sector?
I found it really interesting. I loved the tax modules I did in college, so college really turned me from accounting to tax. It can take me to many different areas – the professional services sector, where you can move up the managerial ranks, or I can go into industry or set up my own practice in years to come when I’m qualified. There are many different options.
What advice would you give a first year student?
My first advice would be if you’re coming into a level 6 don’t write yourself off as you can always go into a degree from there. My second piece of advice would be to make sure you know which modules will give you the most exemptions from the professional exams, be it the tax exams or the chartered accounting exams.
What’s the best part of your job?
My favourite thing about BDO is the major focus on work/life balance. There aren’t too many late nights and there are a lot of outings. We recently abseiled down Croke Park for charity, which was a great experience. It’s not just all about the work, and you make great friendships here.