Meeting the Barden Team…Kate Flanagan


Kate Flanagan is a Partner with Barden Dublin and expert in tax and treasury careers.  With over 11 years’ experience of advising tax and treasury professionals on career and industry trends Kate has contributed first hand to the careers of many tax and treasury professionals in Ireland.

She also happens to be a Chartered Tax Consultant (AITI CTA) and before her career in recruitment, worked in the Big 4 firms and industry, both nationally and internationally.

We recently caught up with Kate to find out a little bit more about her…

Where are you from?  

Born in Dublin, my early childhood days were spent in Trim, Co Meath and my later child hood and teen years in Ferrybank, Waterford.  Thankfully my family decided to settle here for good and I can say I’m a proud Waterford woman.

Where did you study?

I completed a Bachelor of Business & Law Degree in UCD and went on to PwC to complete my professional qualification in tax (AITI CTA).

What did you enjoy most about your time studying?   

To be honest I didn’t really enjoy my study days. I loved the friends I made along the way but unfortunately, I choose the wrong profession for me and hence never enjoyed the studying part!

How old were you when you had your first paying job?  

My first real paying job was in the cash desk in the arcades in Tramore when I was 14.  I got paid £10 a day and worked 7 days a week. Looking back, it was definitely child labour but I didn’t care! I remember loving the independence I gained and getting paid for working hard but ultimately having fun!

Where did you work before joining Barden?

I started my career with PwC as a tax trainee and spent almost 7 years working in tax including a couple of years in London &  Sydney. I joined a recruitment agency when I moved home from Oz in 2010 – the height of the recession.

Tax was never for me long term and this was the opportunity I had been waiting for. Friends and family thought I was absolutely crazy leaving a steady job for an unpredictable industry, and at the height of a recession. But my gut was telling me I could be good at this recruitment thing and 11 years on, I think I have proved them wrong!

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

Hands down – building a successful personal brand in the tax market. I set out to be the go-to person for tax professionals to trust their careers with and whilst it’s always work in progress with so much more to do, I’m proud of what I have built so far.

And also on a personal note, being a mother to my beautiful baby girl Fiadh is without doubt, the greatest achievement of my life.   They say motherhood is the greatest thing and the hardest thing – so true !

What made you decide to move into the world of recruitment?

As above, I knew there was something else out there that would play to my strengths.  I have a balanced view on most things with a lot of empathy.  In our industry, you need the ability to step Into another person’s shoes and recognise and appreciate how other people feel.  It involves being able to articulate your understanding of another’s perspective so it was a good match to my innate personality.

I’m also a grafter and recruitment is an industry that rewards hard work, the more you put in, the more you get out – it’s that simple.

Why did you choose to work with Barden?

I remember the moment I decided I wanted to work in Barden – I came across a career guide they had just published for qualified accountants, a guide dedicated to providing the best advice to newly qualified accountants on their career.

It wasn’t about jobs or how Barden could help them, it was an unbiased, factual guide which if I had gotten a copy of when I was in training, I wouldn’t have made half the mistakes I did.

My way of working has always been consultative and I never believed that recruitment is just a sales job – we’re dealing with people and their careers, not selling them something, so doing the right thing for the person should always be first and foremast. I felt my values perfectly aligned with Barden values and was excited to be part of growing the business.  Plus as I had worked previously with the founding partners – Ed and Elaine, I knew I could trust what they were saying.

What’s the best thing about working here?

Hands down the people, it’s the most used answer but it really is. The calibre of professionals we have on the team and the genuine caring environment we have fostered over the last 7 years, makes it a special and unique place to work.  Covid has put a bit of a spanner in the works as we were excellent at social events but I’ve no doubt we’ll make up for lost time, soon!

What was most surprising to you about Barden?

The level of autonomy we give to people to allow them the space to essentially run their own business. It’s refreshing but to be honest not for everyone, sometimes a highly KPI driven organisation can be a better fit for people.  But I guess that’s why we’re selective on who works here.

What three words best describe you?   

Grounded, Independent, Generous

Have you a favourite saying or quote?

80% of success is about showing up. I came across that quote when I was going through a tough time in my personal life, and when I felt like just giving up. As you get older, you realise life isn’t fair but it’s still good! If you can get up out of the bed, get dressed and get into work with a smile when you’re feeling at your lowest, then you’ve been successful. Everything else will follow.

Glass half full or half empty?

Definitely half empty! But only because I’m a worrier, not because I’m a negative person.  I worry that there won’t be a glass, never mind anything in it!!

Where in the world would you most like to visit?  

The deep South in America. I’d love to experience the New Orleans/Memphis and Nashville triangle.

And finally, who would win a fight between Spiderman, Batman or Wonderwoman?

Wonderwoman of course!


Building Your Team or Considering Your Career Options?

Kate Flanagan is a Partner with Barden Dublin and expert in tax and treasury careers.  With over 11 years’ experience of advising tax and treasury professionals on career and industry trends Kate has contributed first hand to the careers of many tax and treasury professionals in Ireland.

She is the go to person when it comes to tax recruitment and building tax teams. Reach out to Kate to see how she, and her team, can help you.

Contact Kate at 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 and we will take it from there. Easy.

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