My Career: Marie Cronin, Chartered Accountant

This week in our My Career column in WOW! we talk to Marie Cronin, Chartered Accountant, working in James Byrne & Co.
My Career: Marie Cronin, Chartered Accountant

Marie Cronin, Chartered Accountant, working in James Byrne & Co. with offices in Mallow and Blackpool and Dungarvan.

Name: Marie Cronin 

Lives: Newmarket, Co.Cork 

Job title: Chartered Accountant, working in James Byrne & Co. with offices in Mallow and Blackpool and Dungarvan.

Salary bracket: 30 - 45,000

Education background: I studied Marketing at Limerick Institute of Technology but I then realised accounting was the path I wanted to take so I studied to become a Chartered Accountant and I recently qualified as a Chartered Tax Advisor. I studied at Griffith College in Cork City and they were absolutely fantastic. I couldn’t recommend them enough. My sister also completed her ACCA accountancy exams in Griffith College and found them brilliant.

Hobbies: As a mum to five boys and living on a farm, my life is pretty hectic but I love the outdoor life and spending lots of time outside on the farm and with family.

Describe your job in five words: Teamwork, progression, flexibility, learning and rewarding.

Describe yourself in five words: Mother, enthusiastic, hardworking, persistent and honest.

Personality needed for this kind of work? Although it may not seem obvious, working in an accountancy practice is a team effort so you need to work well with others. It’s also important that you’re a well organised person and you need to be good at planning. Of course, you need to be good with numbers and open to constantly learning and updating your skills.

How long are you doing this job? I joined the team at James Byrne & Co. this year but I have been working as an accountant for 16 years in total, taking a career break in between to raise our five children.

How did you get this job? Following a career break to raise my family, I knew I wanted to return and luckily, I read about UCC’s Rejuvenate programme for female ‘returners’ which is run in conjunction with Taste 4 Success Skillnet. I was hesitant to even start as I wasn’t sure if it would be for me and to be honest, this was down to confidence and being away from the scene for a number of years. Rejuvenate was the best thing I could have ever done and it really is a fantastic programme. I couldn’t recommend it enough. I was joined by women from a variety of careers and backgrounds on the programme. When you take a career break, you do lose confidence and Rejuvenate really helps to build that confidence back up and to learn and update your skills in preparation for returning to the workforce. Many organisations do not see the opportunity that ‘Returners’ bring to the workforce. ‘Returners’ bring along so many additional skills and Rejuvenate has helped us to highlight this. While completing the Rejuvenate programme, we were encouraged by our trainers Caroline Seacy and Joanne Fearon of UCC to explore engaging with recruitment agencies and heard from some really interesting guest speakers. I wouldn’t have even considered this before and this led me to connect with Marguerite Brahim of CPL. Marguerite was absolutely amazing and was a huge support, I really can’t thank her enough. Before my first interview, Marguerite even met me that morning, offering support and advice. As mentioned, I am currently working with James Byrne & Co.which has been great, James and his daughter Fiona have been hugely supportive and very understanding. It really does make all the difference. I work in a very encouraging environment and look forward to the future ahead.

Do you need particular qualifications or experience? Yes, you need to complete your ACA qualification to become a Chartered Accountant.

Describe a day at work: My workday starts at 8.30am and first things first is to check my emails, plan for the day ahead and then prepare accounts and liaising with the team throughout the day. I’m very lucky to have flexibility so I finish at 2.30pm and then back to family life and everything that goes with that. Busy is all I know but we make it work.

How many hours do you work a week? I work 30 hours a week.

What do you wear to work? Smart casual is my go-to look.

Is your industry male or female dominated? I don’t think it’s male or female dominated, it’s a nice balance which is great.

Does this affect you in any particular way? No, it creates a nice environment having a balance between male and female.

Is your job stressful? How? Rate it on a scale of 1-10: It varies, some days can be stressful and some not. When you work with a great team, this makes all the difference. Everyone supports one another which is important.

Do you work with others or on your own? I work with others, teamwork is important in our job and everyone works together towards the finished result.

When do you plan to retire or give up working? Definitely not for a few years to come. It’s great to be back now that my children are older.

Best bits: The team spirit and working with great people.

Worst bits: Completing timesheets is my least favourite task.

Advice to those who want your job? I advise those interested to find a college that suits your needs and that works for you in order to get the most out of your qualification. As I mentioned, I found Griffith College fantastic. It’s also important to find a practice that is supportive and encouraging and learn as much as you can every day. 

Any other comments? For anyone looking to return to work after a career break, I encourage you to look into Rejuvenate and discover how it can help you on your return to the workforce. ‘Returners’ have so much to offer employers and it’s important we highlight this.

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