Missed the recent Barden & AccountancySchool.ie Trainee Accountants event? Then this is the blog for you…

Barden Accounting & Tax Part Qualified Event Sept 2019

On 19/09/19 Trainee Accountants from all over Ireland gathered in Dublin for a unique event. Tara Higgins, Senior Associate and expert in Part Qualified Recruitment with Barden, attended the event and kindly put together some highlights especially for those who  missed it.

With almost our full part qualified team in attendance, with Niamh Ennis, Cliodhna O’Brien, Ed Heffernan and Elaine Brady there on the night, there was plenty of excitement from our team as we unveiled an exciting project we had been working on for over a year in partnership with AccountancySchool.ie.

Why did we organise the event?

The event was designed specifically for early career accountants (at all levels) so that they could meet other early career accountants and build the professional networks they need for their future.

Accountants and Part Qualified Accountants today have less & less opportunity to build these critical networks. With changing technology accounting students are spending less time with each other in the classroom and more time, alone, online. Compounding this, people in industry/smaller firms do not get the same network exposure as those training in larger firms. Combine these factors and you’ve got a problem.

Part Qualified Accountants today are just not getting the opportunity to build the networks that will be critical to their professional future. So we organised this event..

On the night..

The event, held at the Indeed offices, was a massive success, with over 80 people attending, plus guests…A great attendance by usual standards but especially so as it was 20-odd degrees that evening and the sun was splitting the stones. That’s serious commitment from the 80 who attended!

There was a great line up of speakers including Derek Howard of The Customer (and MC for the evening) Peter Fagan & Siobhan Brown of Indeed, Dave O’Donoghue from AccountancySchool.ie, Pat McCarthy who is a Sports Psychologist, and our very own Ed Heffernan, Partner of Barden Ireland.

Each imparted some excellent tips and insights from their areas of expertise and also from their own career experiences. I’ve included a snapshot of each below…

Peter Fagan, EMEA Financial Controller @Indeed

Peter spoke about “What makes good trainee accountants great qualified accountants”. He is a senior finance leader with 25+ years’ experience working in the technology and financial services sectors and has worked at both operational and board level.

Prior to joining Indeed he worked as EMEA Financial Controller at Dell Bank  for 4 years. This was a start-up financial services business. Prior to that, he was the EMEA Financial Controller at CIT and the Finance Director at Hewlett Packard Ireland, for the Ireland sales business and EMEA call centre.

Peter qualified as a Chartered Certified Accountant (FCCA) in 1994.

During the evening he took us through his career honing in on the beginning and what the route to qualifying looked like for him. Since he qualified in industry one of his top tips for others on this path was to grab a coffee with a friend that’s in practice for the audit exams.

Another aim he had was to dispel the rumours that you can’t move around different industries. He showed the audience how he was able to transition from financial services to tech to SaaS and how his qualification set him up to be able to move around the different sectors.

Siobhan Brown, Part Qualified Accountant @ Indeed

Siobhan Brown started her graduate career with Indeed. She is currently studying for her ACCA qualification with AccountancySchool.ie.

During the evening she took us through her journey to date, and her very positive experience with both Indeed and AccountancySchool.ie.

She mapped out how Indeed has grown over the time she has been working there which was really impressive. She also gave us all info on some of the interesting products that Indeed has to offer and how to get the most from using Indeed.

Dave O’Donoghue, MD @ AccountancySchool.ie & Adjunct Lecturer in Trinity College

Dave is a founder, and the Managing Director of AccountancySchool.ie., and an adjunct lecturer in Trinity College Dublin.

On the night he shared his personal experience in helping trainee accountants balance work, study and life, including the barriers to study. It was a light-hearted talk with an important message, he kept the room laughing throughout and had some of the audience cringing when they identified their own barriers to study – among these being Love & Romance and (separately) Drink and Worse!

To summarise Dave’s tips…we should study in a room that’s fully stocked with what we need, diarise time for study (Dave recommended arriving in work an hour early), keep healthy, have a hobby and exercise, as all of these things help you to set yourself up to study more effectively. We should also limit distractions which can come from absolutely everywhere!

Patrick McCarthy, Sports Psychologist

On the night Patrick spoke about “Sports psychology and its application to professional exams”.

He mentioned the importance of coping mechanisms and gave a great and interesting example from Noel Gallagher (of Oasis fame) and how he keeps from getting distracted by fans at his concert by pressing his mouth to the microphone. This example demonstrates the importance of developing a coping mechanism that works for you and helps you to keep focused.

He also explained the importance of going through the theory but also highlighted the importance of preparing for your performance on the day. For the last two weeks before the exam (or performance) it is very important for you to put yourself in performance mode, recreate exam conditions, practice exam papers and answering questions within the prescribed time.

This was a thoroughly interesting presentation which everyone can learn from. Everyone needs to find what works for them to help keep focused and needs to practice under the conditions in which they will be performing, particularly when it comes to timing for exams.

Ed Heffernan, Managing Partner @ Barden Ireland

The evening was rounded off with Ed Heffernan officially launching the new Barden Accounting & Tax Part Qualified Career Guide.

The guide was developed in conjunction with AccountancySchool.ie and was the result of more than a year’s hard work from our specialist finance team, Barden Partners and Marketing. It is completely unique to the market and provides information bespoke to Part Qualified Accountants to help them to map out their career in the first place.

The guide will also help Part Qualified Accountants to navigate the different pillars of a professional career, identify what might be right for them practice/industry/financial services, outlines where they should aim to sit within the organisations structure and finally gives some tips and advice from others who have walked the same path.

Download your copy of the Part Qualified Career Guide here.

Wrapping Up

Overall it was an excellent evening with lots of insights, tips and information shared by all the speakers, who kindly stayed on after (for over an hour!) to speak to all those who had more questions.

Thanks so much to Indeed for hosting, to our speakers on the night and to our partners AccountancySchool.ie for all of their help and support in delivering an excellent and unique event.

We couldn’t have had a better launch of our Part Qualified Career Guide!



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 hello@barden.ie and we will take it from there. Easy.