Accountant by Training; Recruiter by Profession… Conor Martin’s Story.

_Accountant by Training; Recruiter by Profession... Conor Martin's Story.

Conor Martin joined Barden Accounting & Tax in July 2019. Moving to a career in recruitment was a big change for him, especially given that he’d trained and worked for a number of years as an accountant.

Here Conor gives us a little insight into why he made the big move to recruitment. It’s especially a great read for anyone considering the same…


The Dream Wasn’t Always Accounting…

I didn’t grow up with dreams of becoming an accountant, but after studying Business & Law in UCD, and wanting a commercial career, I somewhat “fell into” accounting by joining a Big 4 firm on a training contract – sound familiar!?

I spent just over three and a half years in PwC’s Asset Management Audit department and whilst I learned a huge amount that still stands to me today, I was certain that a career in Audit wasn’t for me.


A Little Bit of Travel, Gaining Some Perspective & An Internal Audit Role…

After my contract, I took some time off to visit South America, indulging my long-term fascination with Patagonia and the Andes. On coming back to Ireland, I decided Internal Audit would be a sensible next career move as it kept a lot of future career options open for me.

I joined the Internal Audit team of a large Irish PLC  and gained great experience working with several teams across the business. This experience sparked my curiosity to learn more about the commercial aspects of business, so I moved into a boutique corporate finance firm to gain more exposure to this type of work.


A Boutique Corporate Finance Firm & Gaining Life Skills

This was all about balance sheet capitalisation; where does the money come from? Investors? Banks? Where is the value in a “deal” and how they are made? Not only was I was gaining excellent hands on experience but I was learning life skills too on how to make strategic commercial decisions, sound investments, as well as providing advice to household names on valuations, strategy, negotiations and investments.


An Analyst Role in a Large US PLC

Having broadened my skill set, I then moved into an Analyst role in a large US plc, working across a variety of areas covering month end and project analysis and performance. I learned a huge amount about the internal workings of a finance function in a short space of time.

Despite working with a great team, I still didn’t feel truly fulfilled by my work; I was missing the personal satisfaction in what I was doing and craved more from my day to day role.


Taking Time to Decide What I Really Wanted…

For me one of the most important parts in deciding what I really wanted involved me taking time to think and consider my options. It’s tricky to do this, especially when life can be so busy. I was conscious of not making an emotional or hasty decision, but wanted to make a fully informed choice, given it was a change in career, and affected not only me but my family too. But having done it, and now working in recruitment, I can’t stress enough how important this is. It not only gives you a steer on what’s right for you, it also gives you the space to make the right decision for you.

Reflecting on my career path to date, the common thread was that I really enjoyed dealing with people face to face, giving advice where I could and helping them solve problems. This was something that truly energises me.


A Career in Recruitment?

Recruitment was a career that had crossed my mind numerous times over the years. It ticked a lot of the boxes I was looking for in my career. To me it’s ultimately a career that makes a big difference in people’s lives…this is something very important to me.

But considering it I realised it was a big change. The fact I’d already seen a number of ACA’s make the move was comforting and sparked the thought that maybe I could too!


Figuring Out If It Was the Right Move for Me…

I spoke with a number of friends and family late last year and decided it was time to do some more research on the industry in Dublin and what it actually entailed. Through lots coffees and calls, I learned more about why people made the move into recruitment, particularly accountants.

Similar to myself, a lot of career changers made the move for that day to day challenge and the satisfaction of helping people, while also helping their clients build top class finance teams.


An Opportunity in Barden Arose…

I had known of Barden through my own various job searches and their strong presence online. I met Ed Heffernan for an initial fact-finding coffee, which led to further conversations with some of the other Barden team members.

As luck would have it, an opportunity arose to join their team and I was delighted to accept! The approach Barden take to helping change people’s lives really resonated with me. The focus is always on the person and what is right for them, not what is right for me, the team or Barden.


So Much More to Recruitment…

There is so much more to recruitment than I initially thought. Working as part of a high performing team, attention to detail and the ability to recall information on the spot are definitely a challenge. There is plenty of administration and documentation to be done too – it’s not all coffees and chats unfortunately!

Meeting ambitious people and helping them to map out their near and long term career goals is hugely rewarding. There is also great satisfaction in introducing someone to a client who they immediately click with and knowing that you made that happen.

It’s a steep learning curve for sure! Luckily, I have loads of support from the whole team here in Barden, a number of whom are career changers too, so they are happy to share their experiences with me about the highs and lows they went through starting out.


Making an Impact…

I’m really enjoying the impact I’ve had so far, even in such a short space of time. The feeling of making a meaningful difference in the direction of someone’s career is hard to beat. It’s not easy to step away from being an “accountant”, having committed so much time to the career path through exams and hard hours, but I am really looking forward to continuing to grow and learn with Barden while making a difference in the day to day lives of other accountants – every day’s a school day!!!


Thinking About a Career in Recruitment?

Are you an accounting, tax, finance or legal professional and looking for a career change? Or are you a recruitment professional looking to take your career to the next level? If this is you, get in touch with Ed Heffernan today at to learn more about some of our fantastic opportunities…

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 and we will take it from there. Easy.

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