Meeting the Barden Team…Sarah Murphy

Meeting the Barden Team...Sarah Murphy

Sarah Murphy is a Director with our team in Dublin and is a key member of the leadership team in Barden. Sarah joined Barden in the very early stages in June 2015, when there was only 4 people on the team. She has played a pivotal role in building Barden into Ireland’s largest and leading accounting and tax recruitment company, now with a team 30 across two national office, in Cork and Dublin.

Sarah is an expert in accounting recruitment, with a particular focus on assisting mid-senior level qualified accountants.

Before moving into recruitment, Sarah worked as a tax accountant for 4 years with a mid-sized practice in Dublin. She then decided to join the world of recruitment and has gained over eight years’ experience in accounting recruitment. This real life, practical, and hands on experience makes Sarah stand out from the crowd when it comes to helping professionals with their future. Not only does she know the recruitment world but also the accounting and tax world too.

We caught up recently with Sarah to find out a little bit more about her.

Where are you from?

Proud Kerry woman – originally from Listowel…famous for its literary geniuses and horse-racing!

Where and what did you study?

After studying a Bachelor of Commerce in University College Cork (best years of my life!), I studied for the Chartered Tax Advisor (CTA) exams and most recently completed a Human Resource Management course with CIPD. Not one to rest, I’m already planning my next course!

Can you tell us a bit about your professional background?

I started out my career working as a tax consultant and after four years, in 2012, I decided to change the course of my career and make the move in to accounting recruitment. I began my recruitment career with a global recruitment firm in Dublin and Dubai.

In 2015, I got the opportunity to join Barden when it was at early stages of growth. I decided on the move to Barden as I wanted to work with a business that is laser focused on accounting careers, has a consultative approach, gives expert and impartial advice, while also operating under a distinct moral compass. I love working with a team of likeminded people who are passionate about what they do, want to change the recruitment profession and put people first, transaction second.

You spent some of your time working in recruitment in Dubai, what was that like?

I was keen to get some international recruitment experience which is why I decided to take the opportunity to work in Dubai. It was interesting to see how recruitment works across other cultures. It’s completely different to recruitment in Dublin. Great experience though and loved the lifestyle!

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

Successfully making it out the other side of 2020!!! (Think a lot of people will be using that one for years to come!) Seriously though, it’s through those incredibly difficult times you learn so much about yourself, your capabilities and resilience.

What made you decide to move into recruitment?

I was keen to pursue a career where I could work with people and be challenged, but also leverage off my accounting experience. It was a risk at the time but I’ve never looked back and it was definitely the best decision I ever made.

What kind of roles and companies do you work with?

I primarily focus on mid-senior level accountancy roles across industry and financial services. Typical assignments I work on include: Financial Controller, Finance Manager, Accounting Manager, FP&A Manager, Internal Audit Manager, Senior Financial Accountant, Senior Financial Analyst, Corporate Finance Manager and Corporate Development Manager.

Typical business structures include: Corporate/Group functions, SSC, Large Indigenous, SME MNC, Strategic Business Units and SME indigenous across a variety of industries including Pharma, Energy, Utilities, Aircraft Leasing, Banking, Insurance, Retail, FMCG, Healthcare, IT, Software, Professional Services, Leisure, Hospitality, Sport, Travel, Aviation, Manufacturing, Advertising & Media, Property, Construction, Telecoms, Funds and Supply Chain/Distribution.

What are your top tips for anyone looking for a new opportunity?

Be realistic and patient. Choose your next opportunity based on the people you’ll work with, don’t just chase the highest salary and finally, contact Barden!

What three words best describe you?

Honest (sometimes too honest!), loyal and curious.

What’s your favourite movie?

The Departed, love a good crime thriller.

What age were you when you had your first paying job? What was it?

12, babysitting kids. Had 5 babysitting jobs on the go by the age of 14!

Your prediction of the market for mid-senior level candidates in 2021?

Although, the market is still quite protracted, the market has seen quite a good bounce back since late 2020 for mid-senior level candidates.

I expect the majority of roles at this level will primarily focus on traditional financial control type roles as opposed to more commercially orientated positions, as companies continue to operate as lean as possible due to remote working and uncertainty. The market remains highly competitive from a candidate perspective at this level and employers will continue to call the shots on requirements.

We’ve seen a particular surge in contract roles, particularly maternity cover contracts. Such roles tend to be approximately 12 months in duration, therefore offering a great opportunity for a candidate to get exposure and experience in some excellent companies and roles for a considerable period.

AI (artificial intelligence) and Finance Transformation will continue to dominate the shape of finance teams in 2021. With mid-senior level candidates being the main contenders for “value-add” activities, candidates will need to look beyond their traditional accounting skills and focus on developing their skills in change management and the ability to interpret data.


Need help achieving your ambitions?

Are you a qualified accounting professional looking for help in achieving your ambitions? If so get in touch with Sarah at,  who is ready with lots of CV, LinkedIn, interview and career advice along with cutting edge market insights.



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