Sean O’Reilly, Lecturer in the School of Accounting and Finance at DIT’s College of Business talks to Accountancy Ireland Extra about his journey from trainee Chartered Accountant to full-time lecturer.
How did you go from FAE exams to lecturing in DIT?
Following my training contract in PwC, I looked into the possibility of becoming a lecturer and decided that I should put my accounting knowledge to use. I then set up my own tutoring company, which ran workshops and mock examinations for accountancy students sitting third level and professional accountancy exams. Following this, an opportunity arose to lecture part-time in the American College Dublin and I also started working on a part-time basis in Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) lecturing in finance. After receiving very positive feedback, I gained more part-time hours in DIT and was interviewed for a full-time position within the School of Accounting and Finance, where I now work as a full-time lecturer in audit, financial reporting and finance-related modules.
As someone who achieved a top decile spot in the 2014 FAE exams, what study hacks did you have?
The key for me was organisation. The ability to identify the indicators in the case study and adequately link the points back to the case study was extremely important. I spent a lot of time to ensure I understood the course material and key concepts before undertaking case studies. In the month before the FAEs, I focused solely on a mixture of case studies in the morning and covered specific topics I found difficult in the afternoon. This was very important, as getting the balance between covering the material and the ability to answer case studies is important.
What advice do you give your accountancy students?
The advice I give to students is to work hard during each semester as they are laying the foundations for the professional exams and ultimately, the FAEs. I also advise students to have a solid foundation of knowledge and get the basics right – this will inevitably help them on their journey to becoming a Chartered Accountant.
Lastly, what’s the one trait that helped you succeed?
Self-belief. To pass your exams or secure your dream job, it’s always important to have self-belief that one day, regardless of what route you initially think you will take, you will get there. It was my ambition to work in academia and it took a lot of focus, determination and resilience to get there. I also think it’s extremely important to set realistic goals and give yourself something to aim for on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis. I’m in the habit of setting small goals to achieve my next target and it’s something that helps me focus. I’m also a strong believer in having a growth mindset and being willing to try new things.