Sandra Quinn is a Partner with our team in Dublin. She is an ACA Chartered Accountant and holds an Honours Degree in Business Studies. Sandra has been with Barden for a number of years and specialises in senior finance careers and appointments (CFO/FDs etc).
Between 2000 and 2010, Sandra trained and worked in EY and spent 5 years working as an ACA in industry. In 2010, she made the move into the recruitment world becoming a recruitment consultant to senior finance professionals.
With her bespoke, real-life and practical practice and industry experience, Sandra is unique in her field, and excellently placed to advise and support senior finance professionals in their careers and businesses in developing their finance teams.
Where are you from?
I am from Thurles, Tipperary but now live by the sea in beautiful Greystones. I have never so desperately wanted to go to Thurles as I do now after the last year!
Where did you study?
I did a Bachelor of Business Studies (BBS) degree in Waterford IT and went on to do my ACA exams through EY Waterford. I also spent a couple of months last summer working towards an International Coaching Federation qualification which I hope has added value to my candidate interactions over the last year.
What are your best memories from your time in WIT?
I made amazing friends in Waterford. The three girls I lived with in 1st year are still 3 of my best friends. And I go on family holidays now with 3 others of my WIT alumni group (and the 4 partners and 11 children we have added to the group since!).
Can you tell us a bit about your professional background?
I’ve worked since I was 14. I worked in a supermarket for a few years after school and then in a factory, as a bar person, sales assistant, waitress and receptionist during my years in college. During my training in EY, I really loved going out to places on audit, and the travel that was required for 3 to 4 months of the year. When I moved to industry, I held roles from Financial Controller to Business Development Manager. Most of my roles were very people facing and focused on giving the best service to your customer, so I think that is where my ‘career’ started.
In 2010, I made the big move into recruitment and haven’t looked back since.
Most people probably don’t think their professional background starts at 14 but all of my roles have led to the career I have and love today. I like to think I am an expert on people and I strongly believe that being fulfilled at work makes for a much happier life.
Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of?
My biggest achievement has to be my two daughters and my son, who are 8, 7 and 5, and challenge and fascinate me every day. In terms of work, my career enables me to help people to change their lives. Every time I work with a client, whether that’s a professional looking for a new opportunity or an employer looking to build their finance team and solve a problem, I feel an immense sense of achievement.
What kind of professionals do you work with?
Senior finance professionals generally 8 years + PQE across sectors and industries in Leinster. Ideally, I like to build relationships with candidates and clients long before there is a live role on either side, and I hope to work with them for the entirety of their career.
What do senior finance professionals need to be aware of?
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is way more important than intelligence quotient
(IQ). People hire people they like and can see themselves spending 8/9/10 hours a day with. CEOs and CFOs want to know who you are a lot more than what you have done when hiring a leader for their senior management team.
Career progression and awareness is very important. Newly qualified accountants get a lot of advice now in the form of CASSI and CIMA events etc., but that was not available to the candidates I work with when they started out.
Be open and honest with your recruiter and with yourself. A role at this level has to work with your life so openness is key.
It is tough to get a job. Opportunities at the senior end are few and far between so people need to be ready to give their all when something comes up. And if they don’t get that first role, or second, to not take it personally. Personality and ‘fit’ are the absolute priorities and sometimes luck and timing make a big difference too.
I could go on and on but this would then take hours to read!
What three words best describe you?
Direct (sometimes too direct), positive and hard-working.
What is it that makes you different from others in your field?
I am always conscious of the fact that we hold people’s lives in our hands, and in particular their professional futures. Someone’s career, at the very senior end, is a huge part of their life and that of their family/friends/network so them being happy, feeling connected, challenged and fulfilled at work is absolutely the most important thing for me. I do all in my power to help people achieve what they really want when it comes to their careers and to get what’s best for them. Your job should be one you’re happy (or at least content!) going to every morning, especially first thing on a Monday!
I also feel I can relate to my clients at this stage of their lives. Everyone I work with is looking to blend their lives in the best way possible. Whether that is spending more time with family, other business interests, or outside passions that need a serious time commitment, I want to help people find the job that suits their life.
And finally, glass half full or half empty?
Overflowing! I am a ridiculously positive person.
Need help achieving your ambitions?
Are you a senior qualified accounting professional looking for help in achieving your ambitions? If so, get in touch with Sandra Quinn today who would be more than happy to meet you virtually for a coffee and chat to help you navigate your professional future.