#GradStories Lucy Conor, Chartered Accountant, Deloitte
Tell us about your academic background.
I don't come from an accountancy background and I've had a huge interest in politics and the economy, I followed my interest and did an undergraduate degree in economics and politics at UCD.
Why did you choose accountancy?
I did a placement with a big four firm in Dublin in the accountancy sector and absolutely fell in love with it. I love the variety and I'm someone who likes to engage with people and work at different jobs and travel and learn new skills. Once I finished my internship and completed my last year at UCD, I was very sure that I wanted to go into accountancy so I came back home and I applied for a job with Deloitte and ended up getting the job there.
Why Chartered Accountants Ireland?
Charter Accountants Ireland award you your accountancy accreditation once you've passed your exams and and worked for the relevant period of time and gives you a qualification that enables you to travel and work professionally in most parts of the world. The resources and the support that it provides along the way during your training contract and beyond were also a huge attraction to me.
What are the advantages to working and studying?
It is challenging obviously because you're trying to to balance your time between work and study and also still make sure you have a social life. It does make your time management impeccable and your work also complements your exams and this is a massive advantage. These are very different exams to university exams because you're learning about your everyday job so it enables you to look and understand the different areas of accountancy.
Describe a typical day for you.
My day usually starts with a very big cup of tea followed by a team meeting to discuss the job we're currently on which everybody from the senior down to the junior staff give an update to each other or ask questions to each other about the client we're working on. They can flag if they need any help with what they're assigned to do.
I will then look at the sections of the financial statements that I'm assigned to so my job essentially revolves around ensuring that what is in the client's statements is actually accurate. This will involve having a meeting with the client and asking questions to client about their processes or looking for backup to ensure that what is in their financial statements is correct. I'll then take that information, I'll document it up in the file and I'll describe why I believe that that's adequate.
What pathways can graduates take in your profession?
Typically training contracts with a firm is the traditional route. This generally takes three and a half years in which you work full-time and study part-time. There's also a flexible option where you start your studies outside of the training contract so many students who may not have been successful in the milk round will use the flexible option to get a head start with the next milk round which will aid them then in securing a milk round the second time around.
What are the most important skills in your profession?
The only requirement as such in terms of hard skills is a third level degree from any discipline. So students like myself from all backgrounds and disciplines can apply their skills. You need to have good problem solving skills, communication, good time management, good organisation and willingness to learn.
How long does it take to become fully qualified?
Generally it takes three or three and a half years as you're required to get three years experience working alongside your exams. Although it does take three and a half years generally you can take longer to do it if you need to.
What advice would you give to students interested in your sector?
The road isn't always easy but keep putting the work in as it is definitely worth it. It does take a few years to get there but once you do you have the opportunity to work in any role or any sector that interests you be that financial services, the manufacturing industry, even the car industry. At the end of the day they all need accountants.
What are the long-term career paths expected within your institute?
The career paths themselves are are limitless in terms of job sectors, job roles and geography. So getting your qualifications through Chartered Accountants Ireland enables you to work and decide your path no matter what that is. You can work in industry, you can start your own business and you can continue to work in practice in Ireland or anywhere else in the world.
What are your future goals?
Yeah well my short-term goal is obviously to gain my full chartered accountancy qualification this year. I'm in my final year of doing that and once I've done that I intend to take full advantage of the doors that this opens and I'll continue to work within the profession and so that's that's really my my plan at the moment.