I have a financial careers feature coming up next week. It would focus on accounting, banking and insurance – what range of jobs is available, how you get such jobs, what courses you need to do, what professional courses you should be doing to keep up to date, any conversion courses from other careers to financial careers etc.
The banking sector in Ireland is currently undergoing a process of commercial realignment and is bracing itself for job redundancies. There are certainly opportunities within the accounting, banking and insurance sectors, what are these opportunities and how anyone can position themselves to avail of future opportunities and be best prepared to handle the forthcoming turmoil.
As a pre-requisite, most positions within accounting, banking and insurance require an undergraduate qualification, and if you are considering this avenue, investigate the exemptions that the course offers towards professional qualifications. So, not only will you obtain a Degree but also exemptions against professional qualifications from the Certified Public Accountants, Chartered Accounts, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and even the Irish Taxation Institute. If you are unsure of a specific area within these career sectors, choose a generic and wider course title for example ‘Accounting and Finance’ and tailor your career direction when you have a greater sense of yourself versus the daily job functions of certain roles. The present growth areas within Accountancy and Finance are around auditing, compliance and risk – try and incorporate these types of modules within your degree of study or professional qualification. Within banking and investment the qualification of desire is the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), which should assure career progression and advantage.
If you are an unemployed engineering or construction professional, considering a career transition towards a career in Accounting or Finance you would be well equipped for a career within this sector with your exposure to high levels for mathematics and commercial experience. The soft skills and cultural awareness of a career within this sector would have to be explored before a decision is reached. There are plenty of course options, for example DIT offer a one year Conversion Post Grad Diploma course in Accounting. Ciara Murphy, from the CPA, states that ‘In recent years, a huge number of people have switched careers to improve their job opportunities, especially those in the construction and services industry’. Accountancy remains a growing profession, with 40pc of today’s graduate jobs based in accounting and finance. At CPA Ireland we provide flexible and varied learning options for those who want to make the change, with no previous qualification or experience needed.’
The Insurance market in Ireland contributes 9% to the national GDP and the main areas within this space are insurance/risk management and regulation. The professional body is the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) and they offer professional qualifications in compliance, financial services and insurance up to FETAC Level 7. The Insurance sector is likely to contract in the short term however there are opportunities and labour shortages as Actuaries, Risk Modellers and quantitative analysts along with compliance skills.
If you are unsure as to what direction to take considering the investment in time and finance involved, speak to a qualified and impartial career guidance practitioner.