From ACCA Careers to ACCA member: A career success story

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In 2018, Dublin-based practice and ACCA Approved Employer Leonard & Company wanted to hire a trainee accountant, so they posted an advert on ACCA Careers and received a CV from Yue Liu. 

Three years later, Liu is still with Leonard & Co, but she is now a senior auditor and an ACCA member. ‘I feel lucky that my first full-time job is with Leonard & Co,’ she said.

Liu’s story

When it comes to how she chose finance as a career path, Liu was profoundly influenced by her mother. ‘She used to work in banking, so I established an interest in finance/accounting at an early age. When I first faced the choice about a career path, I chose financial management as my subject at university.’

After years learning and working in the industry, she came to view accounting as an effective way to understand in detail how a business operates. ‘In this industry, consultancy and advice is more valuable than numerical results. With my experience in engagements with different clients from a wide range of sectors, I’m able to provide my clients with a better and more professional service.’

Leonard & Company

Leonard & Co provides a high quality and comprehensive range of services to its clients. The partners are highly experienced, with David Leonard being worldwide president of ACCA back in 1997/98, Keith Mooney’s experience in dealing with almost all types of organisations, and Michael Walsh a considerable number of years’ experience advising corporate and private clients, said Liu. ‘There is so much I can learn from them, so I was really looking forward to joining the team.’

The firm provides paid study leave and financial support for ACCA exams, while training is on-the-job, says Liu. ‘My colleagues would walk me through the tasks and answered my questions very patiently. They have offered me a lot of support and guidance.’

Furthermore, Liu likes the business and responsibility exposure afforded by smaller firms. ‘Instead of just being assigned the same task every year, I’m working on different jobs, such as accounting, auditing, taxation, payroll, compliance reports etc. This is very good for a trainee to learn and grow.’

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The level of responsibility increases quite rapidly for ACCA members at Leonard & Co, with roles becoming more client facing, with reduced oversight and reporting to a partner. However, as a small firm, this does not mean they lose touch with seniors, but continue to work directly with a partner so they are always learning.

Working with ACCA and ACCAs

This benefits the wider organisation, says Leonard & Co partner Michael Walsh. ‘Being a flat organisation, when individuals have completed their studies and gained experience, they have great exposure to all aspects of an SME practice. They add value to the practice with their knowledge and skills once they become ACCA members. They get to be involved in all aspects, which gives them the experience and knowledge they need to be a client-focused professional.’

As a professional firm, Leonard & Co need highly skilled people with good professional acumen, he continued. 'Since the firm started operating, we have always worked with ACCA, because classroom-based experience in tandem with office learning provides staff members a rounded experience, by applying the theory to real-life situations. We always hope to retain staff that qualify with us, as they have high skill levels and are valuable members of the team.’

The ACCA Careers experience

Being an ACCA Approved Employer is a great way to attract candidates who want to learn in a dynamic and challenging environment, as they get excellent training directly from the partners as well as qualified staff.

Meanwhile, using ACCA Careers to advertise roles directly to an audience of ACCA students and members has also been positive. ‘It’s a tool that would be beyond our normal recruitment budget, as we have irregular recruitment patterns. It is a valuable tool that allows us to source candidates from all corners of the globe,’ said Walsh.

Liu also found the process of applying for the role with Leonard & Co a positive experience. ‘The ACCA Careers site enables users to apply search filters to a very detailed level, such as job location, recruiter type, contract type and experience level, to help you find the ideal job. The application system is handy and straight forward,’ she said.

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