L: Hi! My name is Laura Connolly and I am from Douglas in Cork I studied commerce in UCC graduating in 2017. During my time at UCC I completed a six-month work placement in PwC Dublin within their Asset and Wealth Management Department in 2016. From this, I was offered a graduate contract and returned in 2017. I spent the first 2 years of my graduate contract in Dublin before transferring to the Cork Office in July 2019 I completed my ACA exams as part of my graduate contract and was admitted to Chartered Accountants Ireland in June 2021 I joined EY in May 2021 as part of the WAM department in Cork.
L: When I began to consider what I would like to do after my graduate contract, I started by looking at companies based in Cork. Staying in Cork was an important factor for me when it came to deciding what my next move would be. I had been aware of EY from an early age as I avidly followed the Entrepreneur of the Year and I knew EY had a Cork office, so it inspired me to look for opportunities in EY.
During my research, I read a lot about EY and the career prospects within the business. The thing that drew me to EY the most was the focus on teamwork and the global network. The fact that you can work across geographic means you can share knowledge and insights and offers more learning opportunities. It also indicated that there would be opportunities to work across various clients rather than being held back by geographical location – which really excited me.
L: Since joining in May 2021, I have been able to work across a number of audits working with team members based across a number of geographical locations! As I mentioned, this was one of my biggest reasons for joining EY and it has allowed me to network with a large group of people.
There is a real sense of community within the Cork WAM department, and everyone is willing to share knowledge and discuss any issues you may be having. They were amazing at helping me settle in. Beginning a new job while working remotely was daunting, however, I always received so much support from my team.
Something that surprised me since joining, is how much EY is investing in technology. The use of the tools for testing and sampling during the audit has been a real help during the audit process as they can help cut out a lot of the manual and repetitive areas. It has also allowed me to develop my own knowledge of technology which has been a great bonus for me! It’s something I didn’t know I’d get to experience and I’m glad I have.
L: The people within EY are very supportive and help you carve your own path in order to further your career and knowledge. My councilor has been a huge support for my career development – We make sure to prioritise conversations around what I want from my career and what they can do to help me get there. asking “What do you want from your career” and what they can do to support these goals. The extra capacity freed up from the tech investment gives you the opportunity to get involved in different parts of the business.
EY also has what they call ‘Badges’, which are certificates you receive when you complete an EY learning course. There are so many options for courses you can take, and they all allow you to further your own knowledge in areas that are of interest to you. One that I am currently looking into is the Data Analytics Badge, as this is an area I would like to build my knowledge in. Focusing on this learning means I can build the skills I need to make more improvements to the Audit process – and those methods & improvements could be beneficial to the whole team!
L: As part of the WAM team, I work on several fund audits. I get the opportunity to communicate with the Client, Partner, and administrator of these funds during the course of these audits, and some of these individuals are based outside of Ireland.
I love that I get to work with my more junior colleagues to find solutions for any issues they may be having. I have found that during my time working in Funds Audits it is very important to support colleagues at all levels and help them with any issues they may be having and to ensure that everyone feels supported and connected as a team – particularly during Covid times. I try to bring this to all audits I work on as I think it is an important part of the success of an audit.
L: I think there is a real culture of collaboration in EY. Our audit teams are not just based in one geographical location, team members can be in various areas of the world and we are all working on the same audit with a common goal. So, with this in mind, I think communication is key in an audit – from Staff/Assistant to Partner. We need to ensure that all members of the team feel that they can ask questions or raise anything they are unsure of.
On a few of my audits, I have been able to reach out to my global colleagues who may have more experience in an area and may be able to help me to know what to do. I have been able to bring these skills forward to other jobs and advise others who may have been having the same issue I had. It’s all about learning and then sharing those learnings across the team. I think this sense of collaboration is strong in EY.
L: I would recommend EY as a place to work as you get the opportunity to work cross-border with different teams. The people in EY are very helpful and are always available to answer any questions you may have. There is a lot of training provided as part of the onboarding process and the EY Badges program allows you to deepen your knowledge in areas that may be of particular interest to you. The Cork WAM team is a growing team in EY Ireland and offers a lot of support and mentorship during the process of joining EY.
We are currently recruiting for a number of positions within our Assurance team across all levels. To learn more about Assurance Careers in EY Financial Services Ireland, read our People Stories here and explore our current vacancies here.