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5 Good Reasons To Become An Irish Chartered Accountant An Exciting Career Path That Will Take You Anywhere in the

by Diarmuid Breathnach

Training as a Chartered Accountant (CA) cpens the door to a vast range of exciting career opportunities in avery sector of business and finance, both in Ireland and internationally. In September, ICAI's Council agreed to adopt a more fiexibie approach for students planning to train through business. In light of that decision, we asked ICAI Student Services Manager, Diarmuid Breathnach, to set out the top five reasons why students should elect to become Chartered Accountants.
Chartered Accountants are Ireland's leading business professionals, providing essential strategic guidance expertise and consulting in business, public practice, government and education. Irish CAs are in constant demand both at home and abroad, being recognised for their technical competence, professional standards, and veracity. Training as a CA is a journey towards becoming a member of Ireland's largest and fastest-growing accounting body, whose members define and direct Irish business. CA training combines innovative education with mentored work experience, to produce accountants who possess a greater ability to analyse and interpret business problems and develop dynamic solutions. Perhaps that's why CAs have the edge over their counterparts: CAs rise further and faster into more diverse and important roles in organisations. A quick look at the profiles of those running the leading Irish accountancy firms, or indeed the top ISEQ index companies, shows just how far CAs can rise. But if I had to set out just five reasons to become a CA today, they would be:

1. The Chartered Accountant Difference
Prospective students often ask what the difference between studying Chartered Accountancy and other accounting qualifications is. The answer is that no other professional accounting qualification provides students with the same support, structure and guidance throughout the training process. Every professional accountancy body qualification in Ireland requires trainees to have a minimum of 3 years' practical experience - we are unique in that we ensure our trainees are supported while they get their experience. Any organisation wishing to train CAs must sign up to, and be assessed against, the ICAI's training regulations. These regulations provide an assurance that each trainee will receive the necessary organisational support to successfully complete their CA training. Whether training in practice or in industry, each CA trainee has a unique, supportive training contract. In addition to normal annual leave entitlements, the training contract guarantees a minimum of 4, 6 or 7

weeks study leave per academic year. It ensures that course and exam fees are paid for by the training organisation and that trainees' success in examinations is reflected in their salaries. Crucially, trainees are guaranteed the breadth of experience necessary to qualify as a CA. Diversity and progressive advancement are the hallmarks of a CA's training experience. As part of the training contract, each student is assigned a mentor (usually a senior CA in the organisation). The mentor is responsible for ensuring all of the above supports are in place as well as providing essential career guidance, networking opportunities and role modelling. Research has consistently shown that mentoring relationships greatly enhance the career success of Chartered Accountants. In short, the Training Contract gives vital support to trainees throughout their studies and training.

2. Examination Success
Where other professional accountancy bodies outsource their education. Chartered Accountancy trainees benefit from classes run directly by their Institute. All but one

Accountancy Ireland December 2007 Vol.39 No.6

).5 years. and ensures that the vast majority of students pass their exams on their first attempt. There are a variety of education courses on offer. Students have greater levels of contact both with their Institute and their lecturers. while the distance learning option comprises 4-day weekend blocks once a month. For an accountancy qualification to be truly global. It is widely believed that other accounting qualifications can offer more exemptions from exams than Chartered Accountant students receive. Instead. The training you undertake before qualification and the experience you gain post-qualification are necessary to obtain auditing and practicing certificates which entitle you to sign off on audits and accounts. Some venues have a mixture of evening and weekend lectures. Where they don't. Chartered Accountants are the only Irish accountants which have recognition in both the United States and Canada. This comJDination of excellence in education and training programmes gives CA trainees the edge over their peers. What is common to all is the standard of lecturing. but not in an official capacity.well recognised. These agreements have heen crafted in line with the most popular working destinations of Irish CAs. 81 % of Irish CA students passed their final exams. However. An independent analysis of 2006 UK and Ireland professional accounting examinations carried out by the Professional Oversight Board demonstrates this point. Chartered Accountancy A Global Qualification Determining how well received your accountancy qualification is on the global market is an important investigation which should be undertaken by anybody considering a career in accountancy. we don't! This honest approach to exemptions places students at the appropriate level. The next time you hear an accountancy body is global.39 No. etc. management accounting. Unique Mutual Recognition Agreements offer CAs an outstanding entry point to business in any part of the world. The truth is that with other accountancy bodies in Ireland. Many accountancy bodies operating in Ireland make claims about the global nature of their qualification. and where they meet. and crucially. foreign institutes must recognise not only your education but also the training you undertook to become qualified. During the time with their training organisation. all trainees can expect to be exposed to areas such as financial accounting and reporting. trainees are taught how to apply the technical knowledge learned in the classroom environment to real-life situations. manufacturing etc. Chartered Accountancy is the only Irish professional accounting quaiification that has this recognition worldwide. 4. and mentors instil the values and integrity that are the foundation of a CA's reputation. CA courses have the finest accounting lecturers in Ireland. all of whom are committed to providing the best possible education to our students. Students. business finance. Most students will attend lectures for the equivalent of 2 weekends a month from October A still from ICAI's recent ad campaign that ran on TV and in cinemas in Ireland and Northern Ireland. their training. until May. the ability to operate in a foreign country is severely limited. Irrespective of the training environment though. others operate purely on weekends. we compare each third level syllabus against our own. ACCA had a pass rate of 59% (63% on their first attempt) Accountancy Ireland December 2007 Vol. Without these. Irish CAs have true global mobility with both their education. this can be a red herring! The iCAI does not use attractive exemptions to lure while the CIMA pass rate was 45% (39% on their first attempt). broad-business skills are developed. financial services. or suggest links with larger international accountancy bodies.ask for details! 3. v^ith most trainees starting and finishing their education and training within 3. each with different structures based on local requirements. recognised internationally.Profession programme is directly run by the ICAI's Student Services Unit. Other accountancy bodies did not fare so well. The technical knowledge gained from the CA course will be the bedrock of your professional career. Training can be either in industry (banks. your qualification is global in the same way that your university degree is global . we offer exemptions. An MRA is an agreement between professional bodies which allows membership to transfer from one jurisdiction to another.6 . 77% of those passed at their first attempt. becoming a CA involves a combination of academic and professional training. in traditional accountancy practices or in the public sector. What Does Training Involve? As discussed earlier. auditing and assurance. taxation and planning. both of whom work closely together to ensure the highest standards of delivery. or has 'links' with other Institutes .

77 million deal in August 2007. The 210 deals completed during Q3 2007 was the lowest quarterly deal volume for Europe in at least six years. The IT sector remained strong with a total of four IT sector deals closed in Q3 2007. Today's CAs takes on the role of a business advisor. Out of the ICAI's 15. The amount invested in this round totalled €10. there are currently over 2. Ireland ranked tenth in the number of deals. As well as these agreements. the same as Q3 2006 and up from three deals in Q2 2007.80 million in Q2 2007 and €9. CA are found at the highest level in virtually every sector from healthcare to the music industry. requiring investors to fund operations for a longer period. a small decrease compared to €11. becoming highly successful entrepreneurs. behind Norway and ahead of Denmark.57 million.the only way is up! Conclusion So. if you are considering becoming an accountant. Geographically. Irish Venture Capital Investment Up By 224% According to the Quarterly European Venture Capital Report by Ernst & Young and Dow Jones VentureOne. Scotland & Wales. As well as dominating public accounting practices. foreign countries. The rewards that go with the CA qualification are significant. an increasingly supportive exit environment for venture-backed companies encourages investors to provide additional resources to high potential late-stage companies.70 million. or working in. And that's at the start of a career . CAs generally have a solid foundation in economics. despite there being 28 fewer deals. Currently 65% of Irish CAs work in Industry. Chartered Accountancy provides you with the ability to choose an exciting career path towards the industry of your choice. and eighth in terms of the amount raised. Many CAs also use their expertise to form their own businesses. England. marketing and management information systems. up sharply from €9. 5. Transaction Advisory Services Partner at Ernst & Young in Dublin. an increase from €15.77 million in Q3 2007. numerous others are in place with countries such as South Africa. The most significant investment of Q3 2007 was made by Intune Networks. of which the ICAI is a member. There was also a substantial increase in the value of late deals in Q3 2007. Ihe Global Accounting Alliance (GAA). is an alliance of leading professional accountancy bodies representing over 700." The healthcare sector in Ireland also experienced growth in the form of a single €4 million deal in Q3 2007 after there had been no deals either in Q2 2007 or Q3 2006. Larger Deals by European Investors This was a 22% increase over amounts invested during the Q3 last year.77 million in venture capital was invested in young innovative firms in Ireland in Q3 2007.20 million in Q3 2006. The amount invested was €25. the Employer Nomination Scheme and the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL). while 35% are in Practice. those looking for an antipodean adventure will be facilitated by exclusive agreements with the Chartered Institutes in both Australia and New Zealand. The number of deals also increased from four in Q3 2006 to five in Q3 2007. a provider of optoelectronics solutions. Chartered Accountants are in such demand in Australia that it is one of the few professions featuring on all skilled immigration routes to Australia: the Skilled Occupation List (SOL).65 million in Q2 2007. In relation to the first and second rounds. This represents an increase of €20. A 2007 salary survey found the average salary for a newly qualified CA is between e40K and e55K.6 . Irish venture capital investment in Q3 2007 has come from later stage investments and service-focused deals. ^29. there were two first round deals in Q3 2007.Likewise. an increase from one in Q2 2007 and no completed deals in Q3 2006.07 million. There were two exits in Q3 2007 and no exits in Q2 2007." commented Sinead Munnelly. anywhere in the world. Late-stage deals made up over 60% of Q3 investment. Career Paths and Rewards No other career offers the mobility that a CA qualification does. Accountancy Ireland December 2007 Vol. There were three late stage deals completed compared to one in Q2 2007 and no completed deals in Q3 2006. Along with the technical skills mentioned above. who makes high-level strategic decisions.000 CAs across the world. which completed a €14.39 No.000 working in over 90 countries. a significant increase compared to €3. aimed at driving business.20 million invested during the same period in 2006. Diannuid Breathnaoh is Student Services Manager at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. Hong Kong. "Also. Intune Networks is a Eibre optic Equipment & Photonics company based in Dublin. improving profit margins and increasing market share for their clients / employers.70 million in Q2 2007. "Reflecting the trends in Europe. ahead of Belgium and behind Denmark. This brings enormous benefits to Irish CAs living in. These late deals raised €19. Factors that contributed to this substantial increase in investment include the lengthening time from a company's initial venture capital funding to a M&A or IPO.000 members.