Sean McNally, Auditor, Chartered Accountants Ireland (KPMG)

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How did you get your job?

I studied accountancy at Queen’s University in Belfast and then applied to KPMG via the ‘milkround’ process.

Why did you choose accountancy?

I felt that accountancy is where my core competencies are. I had an interest in numbers and figures, and the fact that it would be a challenging role. It also was attractive to me because I could gain an extra qualification.

What’s the most important trait?

You need your technical skills obviously but there are a lot of soft skills required also, such as interpersonal skills and teamwork abilities. Audit requires good communication skills as it’s a very collaborative process, whether that be with your manager or with the client.

How long does it take to become qualified?

You need to complete three and a half years of training experience, and then you would complete your Chartered Accountants Ireland exams over that time period. There are three levels of exams, so as I already studied Accountancy I was exempt from the CAP 1 exams, so I went on to study the CAP 2 and then the final exams, known as the FEE.

What advice would you have for first-year students?

Develop an interest and motivation for the area in which you want to work, ask plenty of questions and talk to someone working in the area. It’s important to build on your teamwork and communication skills and get as much knowledge as you can about the area in which you want to work?

What career pathways are open to you?

The CAI qualification opens a lot of doors anywhere in the world. I travelled to Australia before I qualified, so I wasn’t’ able to work in accountancy there as I hadn’t qualified. However, now I have people contacting me via LinkedIn etc so I can see the opportunities that are out there-it really is your passport the world.

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