Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Caitriona Jackman from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:

Caitriona Jackman

Planetary Scientist

Smart Futures

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Caitriona Jackman
If you are considering full-time scientific research, try to get a work placement in a university department so you can see first hand what it’s like. It’s a relatively relaxed, flexible environment, but there is a certain degree of self-motivation needed. 

So I would say you need to be able to push  yourself and be proactive in terms of setting up collaborations with other scientists etc.
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Subject Choice for Leaving Cert...

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Accounting

Ed Zone

These courses enable learners to gain recognition for the achievement of considerable knowledge in a range of subject areas, as for example in the Leaving Certificate and one-year Post Leaving Certificate courses.

Courses may be academic or practical in focus, and awards that are recognised by the National Framework of Qualifications may lead to progression opportunities higher up in the framework.

Employment Opportunities
The majority of people with certificates at this level are well prepared for occupations that involve using their knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include office secretary, customer service representatives, special needs assistant, retail salespersons and childcare workers.

Level on the National Framework of Qualifications
2 Years
Duration of course
Grades Awarded

Marks Distribution 2017:
Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 5379 students who sat the Higher Level Accounting exam in 2017.

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 1525 students who sat the Ordinary Level Accounting exam in 2017.

In brief... header image

Leaving Certificate accounting provides students with the knowledge, understanding and skills in accounting and financial management necessary for managing personal and basic company accounts. The learning experiences in accounting develop students’ organisational, logical thinking, planning and problem-solving skills for their future life, work and study. It also develops their numeracy skills within the context of business and enterprise.


Why Study this?header image

Why Study Accounting

For those considering studying accounting, actuarial studies or finance after the Leaving Cert it would be unwise to leave accounting out of their subject choice. It is also be an important subject choice for those thinking of starting their own business.

While not required specifically for studying any third level college course, it is recommended if Accountancy is the career path you want to follow. 

What kind of Student would Accounting suit

Commonly seen as the mathematical side of business, accounting attracts the more numerate student. It teaches students the bookkeeping side of business but delves deeper, teaching you to analyse and interpret the figures. Once you can understand and adhere to the basic rules of accountancy, it is a subject that you can do very well in.

Recommendations/Tips

The course is numerically based but theory and procedures must be learned also.

While the student needs to be comfortable with numbers he or she does not need to be at higher maths level.

While the Junior Certificate Business Studies Course provides a foundation for this course, it is not essential and it is possible to take accountancy up at senior cycle.

This course offers a hard working student the real possibility of high grades because of the unambiguous nature of the questions. An organised student who likes order will be particularly suited to this course.


Videos & Interviews header image


Read what others say about their Leaving Cert. Subject Choices...
Garda Trainee - Jack McGovern
Jack McGovern, An Garda Sí­ochánaI took business, accounting and economics as I was preparing for a Plan B i.e. working in the private sector or becoming a secondary school teacher. 
  go to interview...
 
Corporate Accountant - Gail Sterio
Gail Sterio, McDonald's

I took German, Biology, Accounting and Business Studies along with English, Irish & Maths. I think it is very difficult to choose subjects in school. It feels like the world is on your shoulders and that this choice will have a huge impact on your future career.

The reality these days is that people change and mature at different stages in their life. Many people I know are not working in the area that they studied for in College - let alone school.

In hindsight - I think it is important to study what you are good at as this will enable you to get the points you need for your desired college course. The college course normally does not assume prior knowledge in these subjects and will start with the basics.

 
  go to interview...
 
Occupational Therapist - Tomas Flanagan
Tomas Flanagan, St. Michael's House

In school we had to choose our Leaving Cert subjects just before the Junior Cert. At this stage I had no idea what I wanted to do as a profession but I knew I wanted to go to College.

In order to keep my options open I chose a mix of subjects to include one language, one science subject and one business subject. In addition to the obligatory English, Irish & Maths I therefore studied French, Biology, Geography & Accounting. I chose these particular subjects as I had an interest in them at Junior Cert level.

I suppose Biology was the most relevant of my subjects when I started college as there was some overlap with Anatomy and Physiology. We also studied research and statistics in college which were Maths related.

 
  go to interview...
 
Science Entrepreneur - Brian Kelly
Brian Kelly, BioPharmachem Ireland

I did the following subjects for my Leaving Cert: Irish, English, Maths, French, Physics, Chemistry, Accounting and Applied Maths.

When choosing my subjects in 5th year in School I deliberately ensured that I did at least one business and one science subject because this gave me more flexibility in my choice of courses. I would recommend this strategy - particularly for those who aren't sure what they wish to study in college.

 
  go to interview...
 
Design Engineer - Sinead Kenny
Sinead Kenny, Smart FuturesI wasn’t 100% sure that I would end up in the science/engineering sector when I was at school. I found doing transition year really helped me to explore the various options that were available. This helped me to decide the subjects for my leaving certificate. I chose physics, chemistry & accounting, again keeping my options open. At the moment I am doing a masters for which I have to do aspects of accounting & economics so the accounting I did for my leaving has come in handy! 
  go to interview...
 
Auditor - Claire Hanrahan
Claire Hanrahan , CRH plcI chose a mixture of subjects. I chose a science subject & accounting as I was unsure in 5th year in school what I wanted to do.

By 6th year, I knew I wanted to work in Accounting. It was good that I chose accounting as well as the science subject and didn't rule anything out.

Looking back now, I should probably have gotten extra career guidance to help me. I wouldn't have taken the science subjects but instead Business Org. 
  go to interview...
 
Design Engineer  - Tracey Roche
Tracey Roche, Analog Devices

My Leaving Cert subjects were as follows: English, Irish, Maths, French (obligatory subjects). My choice subjects were: Accounting, Physics & Chemistry. I did all honours subjects and I think doing honours Maths and English especially really help.

English is not immediately obvious when one thinks of a career in Engineering, but from the point of view of report writing and corresponding with team members and even customers via email etc, it is a very important skill to master.

I was not 100% sure of my career path at the time of choosing the above mentioned "choice-subjects". My way of thinking was, one business subject, one science and another one that I thought I might like or be good at. Physics, Chemistry and Accounting all have a common theme of maths and problem solving, this was my link into Electronic Engineering... In hindsight, had some form of technology or electronics courses been available in my school, I think these might have been helpful. I'm not sure which subject I would have replaced though!

 
  go to interview...
 
Engineer - Process - Kerrie Horan
Kerrie Horan, Intel

Subjects I look were Chemistry, Technical Drawing, Business Studies and German for my Leaving Cert.  All of which I have used since and believe it or not business aspects including accounting are an integral part of engineering

I would say that Physics and Applied Maths would have come in very useful as it was tough entering an Engineering Degree without having either of these.

 
  go to interview...
 
Mechanical Engineer - Damien Mason
Damien Mason, CRH plc

The subjects which I had control of choosing and which influenced my career path were:

Secondary School: Technical Graphics, Construction Studies, Engineering, Physics. These were an excellent base for my degree course in Mechanical Engineering in University.

University: Mechanical Engineering - choose fluids stream instead of solids stream half way through my degree course. In my current career, choosing the fluids stream has not had any significant bearing on my ability to perform my job.

If I had the choice in Secondary School, I would have chosen Spanish as a language to study. This allows a lot of extra opportunities to travel globally.

If I had the opportunity to change my choices in University, I would have done a years post grad in buisness studies and accounting after my degree in mechanical engineering. I belive this would have given me a competitive advantage in aspiring to a career in management.

 
  go to interview...
 
Insurance Administrator - Kevin Moran
Kevin Moran, InsuranceAs well as the mandatory Irish, English and Mathematics my leaving certificate subjects included French, Biology, Geography and Accounting.

This is a broad range of subjects covering everything from business to languages to science, this provided a broad base for me as it left a number of doors open for various university courses. 
  go to interview...
 
 

Course Overview header image

Accounting is a business studies option within the Leaving Certificate programme. It covers aspects of business and social life which are not dealt with in any other subject in that programme. It is concerned with the preparation, recording, extraction, presentation and analysis of financial information for the purpose of making economic decisions.

The course also involves a Management Accounting section where the student will learn how to analyse business costs and how to prepare budgets.

This business subject teaches the skills and knowledge needed to understand how business works.  Accountancy has the highest percentage of A grades among the Leaving Cert business subjects and one of the highest among all Leaving Cert subjects. The syllabus will help you:

  • To contribute to a balanced and appropriate general education, leading to the personal and social development of each student together with a fostering of the concept of accountability
  • To create awareness of the business environment and to provide each student with the knowledge, understanding and skills leading to a personal competence and responsible participation in this changing and challenging environment.
  • To encourage the development of self-reliance, mental organisation and agility, clear and logical thinking, planning habits, methods of investigation and processes whereby accuracy can be ensured
  • To enhance numeracy skills and promote awareness of the use of figures computations and statistics in the world of business and enterprise
  • To expose students to aspects of business and enterprise with a view to career and working life, additional studies in accounting or as a basis for further education.

Course Contentheader image

Topics covered include:

Financial Statements Preparation, Farm Accounts, Club Accounts, Company Accounts, Manufacturing Accounts, Financial Statements Analysis and Interpretation, Budgeting, Break-even Analysis, Cost Classification, Accounting Theory and Principles.


Exam Structure header image

The subject is examined at higher and ordinary level. Both levels involve one exam of three hours duration. The exam paper is made up of three sections, the first two are based on the Financial Accounting section of the course and the third covers the Management Accounting section. Questions must be answered from all sections of the exam paper.


Career Possibilities header image

Accountancy provides a valuable foundation for all business functions and many top executives have an accountancy background. Most chief executive officers of public limited companies have some sort of accountancy qualification.

Career pathways might include accountancy, actuarial studies, marketing, business or finance.  It would also be an important subject choice for those thinking of starting their own business



Career Guidance