“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle!” – wise words from the late Steve jobs and words that resonated with me, a Big-4 recently qualified accountant (ACA), 6 months ago.
Many of you may relate to my position – a newly qualified accountant and at a crossroads in your career? Reluctant to waste your qualification and all the long years of study – yet want to try something a little bit different? Then, listen to my story – my transition from Niall the Accountant, to Niall the Barden advisory recruiter.
Crossroads in my Career
Where do I start? My training contract in Deloitte. Like any fresh-faced graduate in their fledging practice career, I was eager to learn and broaden my skillset throughout my 3 years there. However, I soon realised that my favourite aspect of the job was liaising with clients and colleagues and not the spreadsheets and the numbers! So I wondered – is there any way that I can match my passion for people with my accounting qualification and thoroughly enjoy what I do?! Impossible, right? I was at a crossroads in my career but resigned myself to the fact that this was a fanciful dream and that the best advice would be to follow the well-worn, safe path of becoming a financial accountant in industry.
Exploring the Barden Option
Barden to the rescue – well, kind of! Barden had come highly recommended to me as an advisory recruiter and an expert in the accounting and finance field. So I contacted one of the Barden team, Siobhan Sexton (ACA), to give me a steer on financial accounting roles in industry. I was blown away by the professionalism, level of detail and genuine interest which Siobhan showed in me – so much so that it got me curious.
Could I see myself enjoying what Siobhan is doing in Barden? Yes. Was Siobhan a qualified accountant who moved into recruitment? Yes. Is this too good an opportunity not to explore? Yes. So, what did I do? I disregarded all of Siobhan’s excellent information and advice on financial accounting roles and asked her to give me a steer on recruitment in Barden instead!
A few more coffees with the leadership team in Barden and I was in! Finished my contract with Deloitte the last week of October 2021 and commenced my journey with Barden as a Recruiter the following week!
So how has it been, you may ask? Over 6 months later, I could not be happier! It has been a complete rewiring of my brain moving from interpreting numbers to analysing people’s career situations and adding value to their lives through expert advice. It helps that I work the recently qualified market – I have been in your shoes and know what it feels like to be at that aforementioned crossroads in one’s accounting career.
I actually wake up looking forward to work every morning, which is unusual for most people I know! No more Sunday night fear! Every day is different but I centre myself in the fact that each day, I am helping people – whether that be advising on potential roles, the market, interview preparation tips, salary negotiation, handing in one’s notice and a plethora of other weird and wonderful requests.
Not only have I become a trusted advisor but a friend to many. One person even confided – “I need you like I need my hairdresser, solicitor, plumber, etc – I never realised the importance of a career advisor until now!”. Most newly qualified accountants make 2-3 career moves in their first 5 years out of practice. Fact. So it is nice to hear that the people that I have helped are happy to reach out whenever they are looking to move again or even just to shoot the breeze on the market.
I still have so much to learn. But the mentorship and training which I am getting here at Barden is top class and fun! The first 6 months flew by – I am excited for what the next 6 months will bring!
How to Join Barden
As a wise mentor once advised me – “Opportunities don’t happen – you create them!”
If curious about a career with Barden, get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to provide a steer.
Just like Siobhan did for me. A little bit of reciprocation goes a long way. You may even get a new passion and career out of it! Easy.