Quinlan & Co employs eight people, having grown from just one 20 years ago. We are an ACCA Gold-approved training practice and we feel lucky to be able to offer support to students; this also helps the practice, as we have a steady flow of driven and educated students looking to join us.
We are very focused on professional development. One of the ways I like to support my staff is to provide a study package, where I pay their membership fees, exam fees and college fees, and provide paid study leave. By the time the students pass their final exams, they have at least three years’ practice experience.
In 2015 I joined the ACCA Practitioners’ Network, as I felt it was time to give something back to my profession. This has proven very interesting, and I do my best to represent other practitioners at the same time. I also regularly attend the ACCA Business Leaders breakfasts, which are a great way to network.
In 2016, we were finalists in the small practice category in the Irish Accountancy Awards. To me it was a reflection of the strength of my practice, and the huge contribution that my team have made to our survival and success. I am very lucky indeed to have such a strong bunch behind me.
My day typically begins with a visit to the gym. I attend local chamber of commerce network meetings on a regular basis, as I find it is a great way to meet other business owners. In the afternoon I could be out and about with clients, at a CPD event or working on a report or proposal. We live on a farm and there is always something going on, so I try to be home by 6pm. Sometimes there might be a board meeting – I am a non-executive director for a couple of local charities – or a CPD event locally.
There is definitely more optimism among our clients now than this time last year. Brexit, Trump and the French presidential election are all worrying but my advice to clients – and to myself – has been to focus on the things we can control.
I feel the rest of Ireland outside of Dublin definitely felt the brunt of the recession. However, there are now good signs of recovery, and if the government would focus on issues such as the homeless crisis, healthcare and rural broadband, the country could get back to a fully functioning economy.
If I hadn’t been an accountant, I would have been either a professional cellist or a veterinarian. Nothing to do with figures, but potentially every bit as rewarding.