Name: Charlene Foley
Stage of CPA Study: Formation 2/Professional 1 Combined
Educator: Griffith College Cork
Training Company: Employer: Solarwinds Software Europe Ltd
Method of CPA Study: Part Time
Becoming a CPA
Why did you decide to enter the accountancy profession?
It was only when I got my first accountancy related role that I began looking at the opportunities available to accountants. I felt it was an area that I could really succeed in. I enjoyed working in a fast paced environment and I felt the opportunities that an accountancy qualification offered were endless. I started with the Accounting Technicans Ireland diploma and then proceeded with the CPA qualification.
Why did you choose the CPA qualification?
I felt the CPA qualification was the best option for me. It offers a very flexible approach and allowed me to study while continuing to work full time. The opportunities CPA offer both at home and abroad were very appealing to me and this is why I chose CPA.
Who or what inspired you to study CPA?
The potential opportunities available with a CPA qualification are endless, so this is what inspired me to study with the CPA Institute. It’s an extremely prestigious qualification and I was excited about the doors it could open for me in the future.
How have you found the CPA course to date?
I’m really enjoying the course so far. It has been challenging while working full time but the support available from CPA Ireland and Griffith College has made it possible.
What advice would you give to someone deciding to study CPA?
I would encourage anyone considering starting the CPA qualification to go for it. It’s an internationally recognised qualification and I feel it is of great benefit to anyone who wants to succeed in the field of accounting. I would also point out that it’s definitely not easy doing a professional accountancy course part time, but it’s worth the hard work when you see the endless opportunities available for qualified CPAs.
Where do you want your CPA qualification to take you?
I’d like to continue progressing with the company that I am currently working for. I haven’t narrowed down on one particular focus area/aspect of the business yet as I am continuing to build my knowledge base. This affords me the option of full flexibility to take on opportunities across a wide spectrum of areas.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your career? Qualifying as an Accountant is something I would consider as a huge achievement for me personally.
Student Development Award
Where is your career now, one year on from winning the competition?
I’m still working as an Accounting Clerk with Solarwinds Software Europe Ltd. gaining new experience and developing in this role all the time. The role is expanding as my studies continue and this is providing me with essential experience needed as part of my CPA studies. I’m currently preparing for Formation 2 and Professional 1 exams.
What did winning the competition mean to you?
Winning the competition was a great accomplishment for me personally. It also meant that I could pursue a career in an area that I really enjoyed and I didn’t have to worry about the financial aspects. This meant I could focus 100% on my studies.
What advice would you give to people entering the competition?
I would advise people to take the time to put together a written entry that will give the judges an insight into why they want to pursue a career in Accountancy. I would also advise people to give the judges a little insight into their background and how they came to the decision to study CPA. If someone has a passion for something, it will show in their written entry.
Did the competition help you in any other ways?
The competition definitely helped me to connect better with CPA Ireland. It was a great way to meet the staff and put faces to the names. This in turn made it easier whenever I needed to contact them in relation to the course. I also found the competition great for networking. I got to meet and chat with all the judges in a very friendly and relaxed environment. They were all very welcoming on the day and it was great to meet with the other competition finalists.
What are your plans in the future?
Right now my main focus in to complete my CPA exams and qualify as a CPA. The opportunities are endless then so I’m looking forward to what the future will bring.