As director of administrative and workplace services for EY Ireland, where he leads a team of 100 regarded as ‘the engine room of the firm’, it will be no surprise that a certain can-do attitude informs Stephen Doyle FCCA in his approach to work and career.
It’s also something members can expect to see reflected in his year as ACCA Ireland chair. Doyle notes that working closely with outgoing ACCA Ireland chair Jason Murphy last year has helped put him in a particularly strong position to hit the ground running.
‘I’m a firm believer in not reinventing the wheel’
‘The ACCA Ireland Committee set up a really good structure to empower the wider panels of ACCA Ireland to achieve more during Jason’s time as chair,’ says Doyle. ‘We did this by setting up definite work streams led by people aligned to their areas of expertise and passion. This brought real momentum to the agenda for the year, particularly around the ACCA Schools Initiative, and that is something I plan to build on. There will be some tweaks, but I’m a firm believer in not reinventing the wheel.’
In his first speech as chair, Doyle spoke of his admiration for and commitment to ACCA’s core values, particularly inclusion. His own life story illustrates how deep that appreciation goes and how his leadership style has been shaped by considerable adversity.
‘I grew up in Killinarden in Tallaght in a family of nine children,’ he says. ‘The idea that I could become an accountant or a member of a professional body was totally foreign to me.’ When he failed and then repeated the Leaving Certificate without getting the course he wanted (his aim at the time was to become a teacher), the door seemed to shut firmly on his professional ambitions.
The discovery of ACCA and the route to a qualification through work and study proved a game-changer. That said, Doyle adds that ‘it took me longer than most people to become qualified, but thanks to some great mentors and my own persistence, I achieved membership and I am now ACCA Ireland chair.
‘ACCA’s values really mean something – they are not just a phrase’
‘To me, that’s what is brilliant about this organisation. It has a diverse membership from all demographics and walks of life. ACCA’s values really mean something – they are not just a phrase.’
ACCA’s digital first strategy continues to guide ACCA events and panel meetings, and Doyle is excited about the opportunity the year presents for some innovative new takes on this. ‘As chair I want to support our panels and committee in delivering events in the best way possible way,’ he says. ‘I hope to do this by showcasing innovative ways we can reach out to members through hybrid events.’
Doyle adds that digital first doesn’t mean digital only. ‘Helping to build ACCA communities across Ireland will be at the forefront of my objectives for the year ahead,’ he says.
‘We have a number of in-person events and my aim is to turn up to as many as possible. 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.’
Appointed chair of ACCA Ireland
ACCA Ireland Vice Chair
ACCA Leinster Chair
Director of administrative and workplace services, EY Ireland
Becomes an ACCA member
Joins Whirlpool, rising to RTR transition manager
Management and financial accountant, Avnet Technology Solutions
Doyle is particularly enthused about what is set to be the largest in-person ACCA Ireland event in over three years, as Trinity College Business School hosts the ACCA Ireland 2023 Conference on 1 June in Dublin. ‘We have an excellent line-up of speakers and a great venue. I hope to see as many members as possible there and I think they will get a lot from the experience.’
If ACCA’s focus on inclusiveness is what made Doyle’s career possible, its commitment to integrity could be described as his personal touchstone. ‘If I could use one word to describe how I approach life in terms of profession or personal, I would say “authenticity”. I’m a gay man and, very early in my career, I experienced homophobia in the working environment.
‘If you are your authentic self and show who you are, then I believe you won’t go too far wrong in life’
‘It was a very difficult experience, but also life-changing because it forced me to consider what my core values were and to stand by them. If you are true to yourself, if you are your authentic self and show who you are, then I believe you won’t go too far wrong in life.’
While fortunate to enjoy ‘a brilliant job with a brilliant organisation’, work-life balance is important to Doyle and, though single, family life is very much in the frame. He plays an important guardianship role in the care of his nieces and nephews following a family tragedy in 2012 when a car crash claimed the lives of three of his brothers.
Doyle is also a keen runner who recently completed his first marathon, and an ardent traveller who ‘three weekends out of four won’t be in Ireland’.
While he sees much to look forward to in the year ahead, few moments are likely to match the experience of his parents discovering he had become chair. ‘It was in The Irish Times but, more importantly for them, it was in The Tallaght Echo.
‘It was great to see the pride in their faces when they saw I had made the local newspaper. These things matter and they remind me how fortunate I am to have my family, my employer and the ACCA organisation behind me.’
Find out more about Stephen’s career highlights in this AB article
Join Stephen at ACCA Ireland’s conference on 1 June