Date posted: 30/10/2020 5 min read

“I had to do a retake on my career path and a bit of a pivot”

Career coach David Riordan talks about how this difficult time is a chance to redraw your career map, on The Acuity Podcast.

In Brief

  • Career coach and recruitment specialist David Riordan says CAs should view this challenging time as an opportunity.
  • Riordan studied a business and commerce degree at university, before working in IT for about 10 years.
  • Now is a great time for members to think about their careers and next moves.

By Hannah Tattersall

Is your LinkedIn profile up-to-date? Do you have a mentor? Have you considered upskilling with an online course? COVID-19 has caused job uncertainty for many accountants and their clients. The Big 4 firms have let go thousands of staff and CAs working across hospitality, travel and other sectors have found themselves stood down or out of work indefinitely.

“A lot of sectors have experienced difficult times recently. And members who are exceptional and never would’ve faced redundancy or the shutters coming down on their business are now in that space. And they need to take stock and figure out their next steps,” says career coach and recruitment specialist David Riordan from Chartered Accountants Ireland, who says CAs should view this challenging time as an opportunity.

“The past six months have seen a lot of members take stock and review their careers in general. And many of them are talking about work-life balance, part-time roles and that kind of thing,” says Riordan, whose own career path has had its fair share of twists and turns.

Career coach David RiordanPicture: Career coach David Riordan.

“The past six months have seen a lot of members take stock and review their careers.”
David Riordan, Chartered Accountants Ireland

Speaking to The Acuity Podcast, Riordan reveals how he studied a business and commerce degree at university, before working in IT for about 10 years. “Then we hit the dot com bubble and it unravelled a bit,” he says.

“I had to do a retake on my career path and a bit of a pivot. I went back to basics in terms of my own business training and decided to follow that on by doing professional accountancy with Chartered Accountants Ireland.”

Riordan learnt auditing through a mid-tier practice, but discovered it wasn’t a long-term prospect for him. “So after the exams were finished, I had to take stock and map out my career. That’s when I fell into recruitment.

“I was lucky that I really enjoyed it and it opened up a whole world of education for me. It was only then that I could see how you map out a career and plan for the future, so I did everything in reverse.” 

Riordan says now is a great time for members to think about their careers and next moves. “One member – she was Big 4 trained – set up her own business in the optician space and built it up over years and it was bought out by a major business.

“She stayed on as a manager in one of the shops, but she’s parting ways now and taking a package. So she’s a very entrepreneurial chartered accountant who’s looking to figure out the next step in her career path.

“Someone like that may go on and set up their own business again, or might step back into the accountancy world. She’s speaking to us at the moment about how to go through that transition and figure out the current market. The starting point for that is to understand, from her own perspective, her strengths, her value add, what it is she’s good at and what makes sense for the next step in her career.”

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