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GUEST BLOG: Why I chose a career in Management Accounting

As you near the end of your training contract in practice you may be starting to look at your options in industry. There are so many different options (and job titles!) it can be difficult to decide how you wish to commence your career post training contract. We sat down with Eoin Dunleavy to ask him about his career to date and some of his tips for newly qualified accountants. 

TP: Could you please give us a brief overview of your career to date
Eoin: In my final year of college I decided to become a chartered accountant.   I felt the best option was to join one of the big accounting firms and was recruited by PwC where I spent 4 1/2 years in audit, mainly dealing with industry and not for profit clients.   When I completed my contract and passed my exams I opted to move into industry and joined UPS as a finance team leader in 2012.  I gained vast experience here mainly around the month-end process but also the completion of statutory and consolidated accounts and leading a team.   In 2014 I joined Diasorin as a management accountant.   It is a diagnostic company which develops and produces reagent kits for diagnostics worldwide.  Diasorin is a much smaller company than UPS, I am therefore much more involved in the day to day running of the company.

TP: Why did you pursue a career in management accounting?
Eoin: UPS is a huge multi-national company and is a shared service centre in Dublin.   My job was quite specialised.   I wanted more exposure to corporate management and therefore felt that it would be beneficial to move to a smaller company and I did so by joining Diasorin.  As a management accountant I am responsible for managing a small finance team in the day to day running of three Diasorin subsidiary companies.  This includes the preparation of statutory accounts, the month-end process, working with tax consultants etc.  I am also involved in the commercial side of the business and budgeting which are both very interesting and something not experienced before.   Being a management accountant means I am involved in decision making and process improvement.   This was a big change from my previous position.

TP: What do you enjoy about your current role?
Eoin: What I enjoy most is the diversity of my job.   From training and assisting my finance team, to delivering reports to my CFO and working closely with our external consultants, my tasks are varied.   I enjoy the challenge of creating statutory accounts from scratch and over-seeing the total audit process.   I enjoy helping my team improve their skills and job knowledge.  Some of the assistant accountants in Diasorin are currently doing the ACCA exams so I am able to assist them and pass on the experience I gained by completing the ACA exams.  It is also very satisfactory to implement improvements to the finance function which saves time and improves efficiencies.

TP: What attributes & skills do you think are important for your role?
Eoin: One skill which I believe is very important in my role is teamwork.  I work very closely with a small finance team and a financial controller, which requires regular communication and cooperation.  Reports of our results are then sent to the CFO and corporate which is based in Italy.  All this requires excellent team-work.  I also believe leadership is very important.  I am responsible for the performance of a finance team.  In order for this team to operate efficiently, leadership and direction is paramount.  Again this requires patience but also assertiveness.

TP: What are the main challenges of the role?
Eoin: The main challenge in my job is working to deadlines.  The month-end process is four days at the beginning of each month and this requires hard work to get our books closed on time.  The statutory accounts must be completed and signed 2 months after year end which also poses its challenges.  However the biggest challenge for me to date is the budgeting process.  This requires a lot of planning , communication, discussions, amendments etc.  It was a huge challenge to get this completed on time in 2014 and no doubt it will be the same in 2015!   Each year these time deadlines present a challenge.

TP: What advice would you give someone thinking of pursuing a career in finance?
Eoin: From my experience I believe it is important that someone decides what environment they want to work in.  For example, a shared service centre is very different from a smaller finance function.  For me, I am more suited to a smaller finance team but I know others prefer shared services.  Both have their advantages and disadvantages.  Setting out a career path will help in making this decision.  It is important that there is a chance of progression within the prospective company.  This will give you something to work towards and keep you focused.  

TP: Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
Eoin: I hope to progress with Diasorin and move into more senior roles.  It is important to expand my experience and potentially get more involved in the commercial side of the business.  However if the opportunity does not arise within Diasorin, I would like to stay within a smaller organisation.  I am more suited to this environment than a shared service centre of a multi-national.  Ultimately my goal would be to become a CFO of a successful company and who knows, this could happen within 5 years!

Thank you Eoin for sharing your experiences to date and if you wish to find out more about opportunities in accounting please contact Louise O’Leary, ACA, Senior Recruitment Manager on 01 637 7016.