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 Margaret Donaghue from Public Appointments Service to give some advice for people considering this job:
Learn as much as you can in any situation that presents itself. Never be afraid to try something even if it scares you to do so. And give it all you have.
Be a good listener and a good communicator and be fair.
What are your interests?
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Subject Choice for Leaving Cert...
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.
Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 1525 students who sat the Ordinary Level Accounting exam in 2018.
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?
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.
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
Read what others say about their Leaving Cert. Subject Choices...
Insurance Administrator - Kevin Moran
As 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.
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.
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.
I did business studies and accounting for my leaving cert which was an advantage in college but not essential. A language would have been helpful too. I didn't do a language so I couldn't go straight into to a degree level course. I always wanted to go to college, but couldn't make a decision - its hard when your only 17 to make choices.
I decided to do a two year Failte Ireland Course, this was perfect as it was a blend of practical and theory. This also gave me the right platform to go on to the degree level course in Hotel and Restaurant Management. As I already had two years done I jumped into the 2nd Year, which I have just finished.
I also had four months off where I went travelling, working on south beach Miami as a bartender.
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.
In addition to the three core subjects, I studied French, Business Studies, Home Economics and Accounting for my Leaving Cert. In fourth year in school we completed semesters on a variety of Leaving Cert. subjects. I chose to study business and accounting as I found these subjects interesting and had an aptitude for them.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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