Our look back at some of this year’s AB interviews showcases members’ wide range of roles and skills, together with many fascinating career and life experiences. Here are some of the highlights of the past 12 months.

Stephen Doyle FCCA

Director of administrative and workplace services for EY Ireland and ACCA Ireland chair

I grew up in Killinarden in Tallaght in a family of nine children. The idea that I could become an accountant or a member of a professional body was totally foreign to me.

What is brilliant about this organisation is that it has a diverse membership from all demographics and walks of life. ACCA’s values really mean something – they are not just a phrase.

Being an active member of ACCA should involve networking, collaboration and opportunity, but it should also be fun. Nothing beats getting together to learn, talk and have a bit of a craic.

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‘Sustainability drives great value to a business’

Anne Keogh FCCA

CFO of Ambisense

We accountants can drive the sustainability agenda. For a long time we didn’t and we really need to focus now on how we can bring change to the organisations we work with. Sustainability also drives great value to a business – every euro you put in, you’ll get out in multiples.

When you talk about sustainability, I understand why people’s eyes sometimes roll. But we have the opportunity to show it’s not just talk; it’s about doing something positive and embedding change in our businesses.

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‘What matters as an NED is how you listen and understand’

Donall Curtin FCCA

Independent non-executive director

I’ve always had an insatiable desire to understand how businesses and processes work, and to see experiences from different perspectives.

Your first roles as an NED are in a sense your apprenticeship, and it’s important to pick something that resonates with you.

What you’ll find is the issues at hand usually aren’t about right or wrong but about different perspectives and agendas. What matters as an NED is how you listen and understand and build your skillsets around compromise, negotiation and engagement.

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‘As a CFO in a start-up, you are always learning and growing’

Clodagh Monks FCCA

CFO of Clearword

Many of the action items that result from a meeting are based directly on the conversations that took place. Our AI-based product is effectively the PA that will carry out these tasks for you.

As a CFO in a start-up, you are always learning and growing. It’s not just finance; there are legal issues, compliance issues and HR decisions that you play a part in. There’s also definitely a significance to being co-founder that means you strive for the company’s success no matter what.

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‘It’s incredibly rewarding when you see a company come out the other side’

Sarah-Jane O’Keeffe FCCA

Director at Azets and the first woman in Ireland to be appointed examiner by the Circuit Court

As a restructuring and insolvency specialist, you are working with people who are experiencing serious financial difficulties and employees who are hoping their jobs will be there on the other side.

You are crunching numbers, and the company’s survival depends on you getting those figures right.

It’s incredibly rewarding when you see a company come out the other side and feel you’ve been a part of that, and made a real difference in people’s lives.

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‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone’

Jennifer Loftus FCCA

CFO and risk officer with Acorn Life

Businesses don’t have a divine right to exist. There has to be a reciprocal relationship between an enterprise and its stakeholders. I see myself as very much guided by the four Ps: people, purpose, planet and profit.

This is something I feel passionate about in terms of serving our customers. As the company has grown, I really feel I’ve been part of a journey.

I have a quote framed on my desk that says: life begins at the end of your comfort zone. This has been a guiding star throughout my career. It can be daunting to find yourself in at the deep end, but navigating it will always prove worthwhile.

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‘The key is the ability to look at data and understand how it can provide valuable business insight’

Colm Brady FCCA

RentalMatics CEO

Car rental companies are looking to invest in the future, and telematics is certainly part of it.

Our industry’s business model is effectively to hand over the keys of an asset worth some €40,000 to someone without knowing where they are taking it, how it is going to be used or if it is in safe hands.

The key skill is the ability to look at data and understand how it can provide valuable business insight.

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