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Brightwater's Accountancy and Finance Division

22 Jun 2020

Jean O'Donovan, Commercial Director of Brightwater’s Professional Services division discusses Brightwater's Accountancy and Finance Division

Jean personally specialises in Temporary & Contract assignments and has nearly 20 years’ experience in this. She specialises in placing accountants from Newly Qualified to Director Level into temporary/contract/interim management roles. The fast-paced nature and diverse range of this area attracted her to it and still continues to enjoy it. 

What Brightwater’s Accountancy & Finance division do! 

Brightwater’s Accountancy & Finance consultants work in specific verticals and specialise even further by level of qualification. Our team of consultants work with qualified and part-qualified accountants so our candidates and clients benefit from having a consultant who is an expert in that particular area work with you. We divide further by our verticals:  

  • Public Practice & Taxation

  • Industry & Commerce 

  • Financial Services 

We also work on different types of assignments across all our verticals:   

  • Permanent 

  • Contract 

  • Temporary 

  • Interim Management 


Accountancy Qualifications | Types of Career Paths

The types of career paths within accountancy depends on your qualification. In Ireland, there are four main qualifications:  

  • ACA (Chartered)  

  • ACCA 

  • CIMA 

  • CPA 

ACA -  while you can train within industry, the usual route  means that you primarily start your training in professional services, mostly in practice, Big 4, Top 10 or small to medium sized firms and then after qualifying you can make a move out of practice into industry or choose to continue to specialise in the various areas of public practice.  

ACCA -there’s an even mix between training in practice and industry and it’s a highly sought after qualification.  

CIMA - this is very much industry focused and tends to attract the more analytical of minds. 

CPA - this is again a mix between training in practice and industry although the majority of people training as CPAs would start in industry. 

Best Advice for Those Planning an Accountancy Career 

Jean is a huge advocate of accountancy as a career. Getting an accountancy qualification means that it’s globally recognised and you can travel throughout the world with your career. An accountancy qualification is also very diverse and you can use it as a stepping stone in any career. It’s no longer just number-crunching. Working in accountancy and finance is viewed as a hugely important and commercial part of any business. If you look at any board of any company, there is always a finance person on it, forming a cornerstone of board decisions.  


Why do Irish accountants have such a good reputation globally?  

Irish accountants have a great reputation for several reasons. The primary reason is that Ireland has such a good education system and university degrees from Ireland are very well regarded. The training here is particularly good as we have a huge global industry presence on our island so our accountants get great exposure to all sorts of industries from hi-tech to financial services and from pharmaceutical to engineering. The Irish have always been great travellers and would take their training, skills and expertise globally.  

What are the niche roles for accountants?  

There are two streams in accounting. The first is Financial Control which encompasses the general financial roles. The second is the Commercial Accountant/ Financial Business Partner side of it which streamlines processes, manages budgets, forecasting etc a  nd these roles would tend to get very involved in the commercial side of the business. There’s a role to suit everyone.  


Soft Skills Employers Value

Like any job, there are a host of softer skills required in accountancy. For Jean, she would rate these two skills as priority 

  • Stakeholder Management: The ability to work with stakeholders in the company, mainly on the none finance side to get them to see your priorities as theirs also.  

  • Communication – it’s all about communication styles and how you can get the right information for your reports 

Brightwater understands that there are a lot of people losing their jobs and are uncertain about their future and this is causing stress and anxiety. We as a country will recover from this and the Brightwater team are here to help you anyway way we can. 

If you need career advice, help in preparing your cv or just a chat about what options are available to you now and in the future don't hesitate to contact us on [email protected] or 01 662 1000.