Ed Heffernan, Managing Partner with Barden recently had the pleasure of catching up with Donal Corbett, FCA and CFO of Revolut. Donal spoke about his experience as an accountant to-date and the opportunities his qualification has afforded him. The conversation took place in one of a series of webinars brought to you by CASSI (Chartered Accountants Student Society of Ireland) and Barden.
Over the next few weeks we’ll bring you a short series of blogs following the interview sharing a little bit about Donal, his career journey so far, some of the challenges he faced moving from practice, his top tips when leaving practice, 3 key things to include in your CV, 3 top tips for your interview, Revout in Ireland and four values that we can all live by in our day-to-day working lives!
A special thanks to Siobhán Sexton ACA, Senior Associate at Barden and expert in Recently Qualified Accounting careers, for putting this series together.
A Little Bit About Donal…
Donal began his accountancy career with PwC in 1991 where he trained in the Audit department. One of his main clients was First Active Plc, the company in which he decided to make his first move into industry with following a period of secondment for 12 months. Donal worked there for almost 7 years before transitioning into Ulster Bank following its takeover of First Active.
A Move Into Industry
Donal began his career in First Active as a Statutory Reporting Accountant. Then, similar to most successful Heads of Finance or CFO’s, Donal spent a year working in Internal Audit (IA) in First Active. He was honest and did say IA wasn’t for him, but nonetheless it was valuable experience to gain in order to get a better understanding of how a business works. He moved from IA to Group Treasury and headed up the Debt Capital markets function.
The business was then taken over by Royal Bank of Scotland and subsequently Ulster Bank. Donal worked with Ulster Bank for over 9 years from 2004 to 2013 as a Group Finance Project Manager and then Head of Debt Capital Markets, Liquidity Management and Treasury Finance.
Moving to a Start-Up
This was a tough time in banking and in early 2013, 60% of the team left the company because most of the function’s responsibility transferred to RBS Group Treasury in London. Donal decided it was time to try something new and joined a start-up company call Dilosk as Head of Treasury and later Head of Finance and Treasury. Dilosk was a non-bank mortgage lender which was founded in 2013. Donal says himself that this was a brave move but he is very glad he took the chance on it. He spent over 6 years with them where he helped successfully build the business from scratch.
He became CFO of Revolut Ireland in January of this year. Revolut was founded in 2015 and are a hugely successful fin-tech business that offers a range of digital banking services in a mobile app. They have more than 12 million customers globally. He has had a more interesting first 6 months than most, given that 2 months into his role as CFO (Ireland) he began working from home, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and is still there almost 4 months later…
Tune in next week to read more about Donal’s interview and hear about his biggest challenges after leaving practice, the differences between practice and financial services and much more…