Written by Gerard Quinlivan
While I was watching the recent closing ceremonies of a memorable London Olympics, the thought struck me that there are a lot of similarities between Olympic Athletes and Accountants. Although their challenges are not of the physical variety, they do endure the hardships of extensive training, qualification and years of agonising preparation.
Achieving Olympic qualification is the culmination of approximately four years hard graft and training behind closed doors, with the end goal being that 100m sprint or a hammer thrown in a record time/distance. For an elite athlete, all of those thousands of hours of self-sacrifice culminate in one single defining moment on the track, and an extremely narrow margin for error.
Accountants also have a three to four year lead in to their qualification status and whilst there may be no medals awarded, they deserve to have their efforts recognised. For many, sitting the initial accounting exams is a bit like swimming in the heats of the 200M Medley; there will be no prizes awarded for success but progression to the next round is dependent upon it.
An accountant will be required to master several different modules in order to be successful. Similarly, a medley swimmer must combine their backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle techniques in order to succeed. From there, it’s about building upon the success of early rounds and maintaining that momentum, ever hopeful that it delivers you to the medal podium/final exam success.
Once Katie Taylor secured her Gold medal, she faced a couple of interesting choices. She could decide to exit the Olympic arena with a plethora of sponsorships and endorsements to her name; or to turn professional, with all of the financial trappings that go with that. Upon qualifying, many Accountants face similar interesting choices; to remain in practice or move into industry; to enter into banking or a larger company. For many the decision will be to remain in Ireland or to utilise their newly qualified status as a passport to travel the world.
While the spotlight was firmly fixed on London throughout August for sporting reasons, it’s also a metropolis of opportunity for qualified Accountants. Right now the city is returning to normal and many large and reputable employers are already looking at where their talent gaps exist and how best to fill them. Irish Accountants are very well placed to fill these gaps.
However unlike most Olympians, this is not the end of their journey, but the beginning of a new and exciting career. The streets of London may not be paved with gold, but they do offer significantly higher salaries for newly qualified accountants. These opportunities exist across the board and also include the non-financial benefits of gaining hands-on exposure to UK Accounting Standards and Taxation principles. From a CV perspective, a successful period of employment in London shows significant career initiative. It sets them apart from their peers and opens up the door to real career progression, should they decide to return to Ireland at a later stage.
Right now at Careers Register, we are working with a selection of top tier City of London Investment Banking, Practice and Business Advisory firms, all of whom are seeking suitably Qualified Accountants. London’s calling out for the cream of the crop Accountants and there couldn’t be a better time to make that move.