A Guide to Moving Abroad for Recently Qualified Accountants…Cayman

MS Teams Backgrounds - Cayman (1)

Next up in our guides to moving abroad for recently qualified accountants, Brian O’Connor ACA, Senior Associate with Barden and expert in recently qualified accountants careers, chats to Ed Heffernan, Managing Partner with Barden, who shares THE best advice when moving to Cayman.

Ed, where did you get your Insights for the Cayman market?

Barden are privileged to have a Barden Partner based in the US, who looks after our international appointments.

Trained through Big 4, Sarah Barry ACA, qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2009. Following this she spent a number of years working in industry before moving into recruitment in 2011 where she has since then specialised in accounting & finance and legal recruitment. Sarah is a subject matter expert in accounting & finance and legal careers focusing on the international market. ​

Sarah and her team support international roles with a focus on Cayman.

What is the market ACTUALLY like in Cayman at the moment?

The Cayman market is booming at the moment. Most of our clients’ businesses are busy and expanding (and they love Irish accountants!).

The Cayman Island’s economy is dominated by the financial services (FS) industry. Cayman is home to over 100,000 registered companies from across the globe with a large percentage of the worlds hedge funds domiciled in Cayman. In particular in Cayman FS covers Funds, Trusts, Reinsurance, Banking, Insurance & Directorship/Fiduciary Services.

The jurisdiction is seeing a growing trend of crypto-focused funds due to the growing demand for cryptocurrencies in the global financial market. This is driving an increase in tech-focused work for Caymans finance & legal sector, in particular Big 4 and Top 10 professional services firms.

What kind of roles do qualified accountants typically move into when they go to Cayman?

The roles can be quite varied however they typically move into audit, client accounting, regulatory reporting & compliance and tax.

Do people usually take on permanent or contract jobs when they move over?

Those moving over usually take on permanent roles.

Is there anything from a VISA point of view that I should be aware of?

A full work permit can take approximately 5-6 months to be approved.

Once you have a job offer your new Cayman employer will apply for a work permit on your behalf. All work permit fees are the responsibility of the employer. Your employer will let you know exactly what documentation to provide for the process.

Many skilled workers are granted a permit for between two and five years, with a renewal fee payable each year (payable by your employer).

Should I try to get a job before I move over or when I arrive? How long does it usually take to get a job in Cayman?

Yes, to work on Cayman you need a job offer and work permit approval before you arrive.

What is the likelihood of sponsorship if you wanted to stay for more than one year?

Work permits are renewed by your employer on an annual basis. After 8 years you can apply for permanent residency.

What experience is seen as being particularly valuable for companies taking on qualified accountants moving to Cayman? Is experience outside practice really useful?

In particular those with a Big 4 background, either newly qualified (NQ) or with some post qualification experience (PQE) are highly sought after. Ideally some financial services experience is beneficial, but most employers are open to hiring good accountants interested in gaining international experience.

What is the average pay rate for a recently qualified accountant in Cayman?

$70-80k tax free & benefits for NQ. For those with 2 years PQE it is $80-90k.

Most firms will pay for relocation expenses – airfare plus an allowance for excess baggage, and short-term accommodation and car/scooter rental will usually be provided for the first few weeks to give you time to get settled easily. The exact nature of such relocation assistance will be negotiated with the company.

What 3 tips would you give to a recently qualified accountant looking to relocate to Cayman from Ireland?

  1. Start planning 6 months in advance.
  2. Do your research on Cayman (& set up a call with Sarah!), chat to any friends living out there.
  3. If possible, seek out a few months FS experience within your current firm

How can I find out more?

The best place to start is to contact Sarah Barry, Partner with Barden, and expert in international appointments. Sarah would be more than happy to have a virtual coffee with you to chat about your best next steps for making the move to Cayman. Drop a note to Sarah at sarah.barry@barden.ie, and she’ll take it from there. Simple!

About Ed…

Ed Heffernan is Managing Partner of Barden Ireland. In 2014 he founded Barden, with Elaine Brady. He has worked for many years in recruitment both locally and internationally, within the accounting and tax space.

Ed has worked with 1000s of accountants nationally on career moves and is a regular contributor to industry publications, including Accountancy Ireland & Accountancy Plus.

A UCC grad Ed holds a number of qualifications in personnel management, human resources and later completed an MBA with Trinity College Dublin.

Contact Ed at ed.heffernan@barden.ie or via LinkedIn.

At Barden we invest our resources to bring you the very best insights on all things to do with your professional future. Got a topic you would like us to research? Got an insight you would like us to share with our audience? Drop us a note to hello@barden.dev.perpetualdigital.ie and we will take it from there. Easy.

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