Trainee chartered accountant Jamie Ashworth gives us insight into his choice to pursue a career in finance with Crowe Horwath
Could you provide us with a summary of how you became interested in a career in the financial sector?
The financial sector represents the heartbeat of business and commerce worldwide. I have always had an aptitude for numbers and accountancy in particular so the financial sector has been a natural area of interest for me. Finance in Dublin in particular is thriving at the moment and makes it even more appealing to me.
Accountancy services are required by business of all sizes, from sole traders to listed multinational companies, and this diversity was a key factor in my choosing to pursue a career in accountancy.
How did your degree contribute to you getting a place on the Crowe Horwath programme?
I feel my degree contributed hugely to me getting a place on the Crowe Horwath graduate programme. Although I did not study accounting directly, a background in economics provided me with problem solving skills applicable across the financial sector. In my opinion this was particularly important for the Crowe Horwath graduate programme as it involves working on different projects all the time, with no two days being the same
What’s been one of the biggest challenges of coming through the Crowe Horwath graduate programme and what did it teach you about yourself?
One of the biggest challenges for me was adapting to the professional environment. After an initial training week, I started in the office and I was immediately immersed into projects and assigned projects. Of course attached to these projects were deadlines. While I found this daunting at first, I soon learned that asking questions and gaining experience is what was expected of me and this enabled me to work faster and more efficiently on subsequent jobs and tasks. Each job has a learning curve and I have been given the opportunity to work on many different assignments in the last year which has increased my knowledge immensely. Next year I hope to gain more experience and take a more senior role on assignments.
How difficult was it striking the balance between work and CAI studies?
For me, the switch from college life to working full time and studying with Chartered Accountants Ireland was challenging at first. A day in work from nine to half five followed by a lecture in the evening does require commitment but once you get in to a routine it is not as daunting as it first seems and it is worth the sacrifice. I found going to lectures and taking the information in first hand from the lecturers benefitted me when it came to studying for the exams. All materials for lectures are available through the online portal in advance of the lectures and this does allow for a degree of flexibility in studying.
What advice would you have for students and graduates seeking to pursue a similar career path?
- To give your full commitment to both work and studying from the beginning and to try and find a routine that suits you while doing that.
- To enjoy the free time that you do have and to make the most of well earned down time.
- Not to be afraid to ask questions and to make the most of the experience that senior colleagues share with you.
How do you hope to see your career developing over the next few years?
I am one year into my training contract and I have passed my CAP1 exams. I hope to pass the CAP 2 and FAE exams over the next two years, while gaining more experience and finish my training contract in April 2019. After that I might travel and work abroad for a year or two. Being a chartered accountant is a qualification that is recognised globally and offers people the opportunity to apply their skills worldwide.
Crowe Horwath is one of the leading accountancy firms in Ireland, and is the representative firm in Ireland of Crowe Horwath International, one of the top ten global networks of independent accounting and advisory services firms, a worldwide group of independent accountancy firms with 726 offices in 125 countries with some 31,000 staff worldwide. They offer graduates the opportunity to train to become a Chartered Accountant.
Check out their recruitment brochure (pdf) for more details.