Meeting the Barden Accounting and Tax Team...Ed Heffernan

Meeting the Barden Accounting & Tax Team...Ed Heffernan

Ed Heffernan is Managing Partner at Barden.

He has worked for many years in recruitment, both locally and internationally, within the finance and accounting space. In 2014 he set up Barden, with Elaine Brady.

Five years in and Barden has successfully grown to include 3 expert recruitment firms, Barden Accounting & Tax, Barden Legal and more recently Barden Financial Services.

Ed recently took a secondment to head up Barden Financial Services, looking after the day to day operations and recruitment of insurance, asset management and banking professionals. We recently sat down with Ed to learn more about him…

Where are you from?

I’m from Cork city.

Where did you study?

I studied in Douglas Community School and then spent four happy years in UCC doing Neuroscience. The one thing I learnt was I definitely didn’t want to do it as a career.

After college I stumbled into recruitment. I’ve kept my hand in education since, completing the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) through UCC, and completed an MBA, part time, through Trinity more recently.

What did you enjoy most about your time studying?

I probably enjoyed the MBA the most as I was doing it with a bit of life and work experience, and  could see the practical applications of things. Whereas it wasn’t exceptionally intellectual it did cover the nuts and bolts of smart simple concepts that I still use every day.

How old were you when you had your first paying job?

I was 15, and was a stock boy in my local garage, the ESSO in Douglas. I worked with them all the way through school and college, and ended up running the service station at the weekend.

Where did you work before joining Barden?

I worked for a couple of years with a Cork recruitment legend called Gerry O’Malley.

Then I had the privilege of working for nearly 11 years with a company called Premier, which later became Morgan McKinley, under the stewardship of another Irish recruitment legend, Pat Fitzgerald.

Since college I’ve always worked in recruitment and during that time I worked in a few glamorous places including Tokyo, Sydney, London, Dublin and the crowning jewel Cork!

Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of?

From a professional perspective, I’m immensely proud of Barden. Not the Barden brand necessarily but the people I work with in Barden and those we meet with and support out there every day.

I also recently started a family and I’m probably most proud of that!

What made you decide to move into the world of recruitment?

Not sure if was a conscious decision! Recruitment wasn’t necessarily a chosen profession back in 2001. I accidentally chose it. At the time I was looking for a role, post college. I met with a recruitment company, who didn’t have any relevant jobs for a science grad that didn’t want to work in science, and they asked me to work in recruitment with them!

I am delighted recruitment has become a profession of choice for many, and has become the professional services industry that I believe it is today.

Why did you choose to set up with Barden?

I always had it in my head that I’d like to set up a business, and that it would be something I’d like to do.

I was lucky to receive some excellent advice about not setting up a business straight out of college. The advice went on to say…”find a profession, get very good at it, learn from the best, make loads of mistakes on other people’s money, travel the world with it if you can…and then when you have some of the naivety knocked off you and you’re good at something and still want to do it then do it…the set up your business!”

When I decided it was time I was also lucky enough that Elaine Brady decided it was her time too, we are very different people, but share the same moral compass and core ethics which is very important. We both knew there was an opportunity for a specialist accounting, finance and tax recruitment practice with a national presence, which strangely didn’t exist.

What’s the best thing about working here?

It’s kind of corny but it’s the people.

Those in Barden, who make a very tough job enjoyable, but also the people we get to interact with externally.

But most importantly for me it’s about being able to spend 70% of my time advising human beings on how they are going to spend their lives!

What was most surprising to you about starting Barden?

The people that you expect will support sometimes don’t. And the people you don’t expect end up almost humbling you in how they are willing to give.

Secondly if I applied for a job in Barden now I prob wouldn’t get it!

You can actually do good by doing good. Which isn’t necessarily omnipresent in recruitment.

What does your role in Barden involve?

My core role in Barden is to create the environment in which our people have the tools to do the job they are great at. Also it’s about solving problems for the managing partners so they can get on with what they are great at.

More recently I’ve had the opportunity of stepping into heading up our joint venture with BRUIN Financial here in Ireland, Barden Financial Services, which is the next chapter in our story.

What three words best describe you?

Passionate about what I do. Self-deprecating. Energetic.

*Technically more than 3 words but we’ll let you away with it!

Have you a favourite saying or quote?

“It’s not about what you say or do, it’s about how you make people feel.”

Glass half full or half empty?

3 quarters full….

What’s your favourite song / book / movie / sport / gadget / moment of the day?

I’m a big Monty Python fan which covers songs, books and movies.

Where in the world would you most like to visit?

Athens, only because I’ve been to Rome.



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