Aideen Farrell is a Senior Manager in our EY Ireland Financial Services Tax Team specialising in VAT. Read her story below.
In 2017 my husband and I were looking to buy a house, and we were debating where we wanted to live. I had grown up in a small town where from an early age, I could walk to school and the shops. So, I wanted my kids to also have that freedom – rather than being stuck in a car all the time! My husband is from Limerick, and one weekend when we were down visiting his folks, we had a look at some houses in the city and the rest is history! We found our forever home and made the move.
Around the time we were moving to Limerick, an EMEA indirect tax job came up in a large US medical device business based in Limerick. I had always loved practice and didn’t think the industry was for me, but I decided to take the plunge and make a change.
Moving from practice to industry was a steep learning curve – which took me by surprise. I learned so much about how a global multinational works from the inside. There were VAT consequences to every transaction the company entered, so I found myself getting involved in so many different aspects of the business. From working with the IT team on system upgrades, dealing with the product managers to determine the VAT rates of products, to dealing with the marketing team on managing costs for promotional events that they were putting on.
While I was enjoying the work itself, I did miss having autonomy over how and when I worked. In industry, I found my time was far more constrained due to constant compliance deadlines. Also, the fact that we were US-headquartered with a very different culture meant that we didn’t really have the option to work flexibly or from home. With two very active boys at home, I felt like I was constantly chasing my tail. I knew I needed a change.
Along with needing greater flexibility, I realised that I missed the variety working in practice offered me. In industry, you work for your employer. In practice, you have the opportunity to work with multiple clients and every one of them is different. When you have a mixed portfolio, your work is always varied and interesting. I had always presumed that once you left practice to work in industry that that was it, you never went back! However, when the opportunity came up to work with EY Ireland Financial Services, I jumped at it. I knew that this wass where my heart and passion lay.
From my initial conversations with the team in EY, the thing that stood out to me the most was that they were very open about their flexible working arrangements. The TAX team is based in Dublin, but they were so accommodating of the fact that I was based in Limerick. They didn’t see it as an obstacle, but something to be embraced and supported. I could work from home or use the Limerick office whenever it suited me, and there was no pressure to be in Dublin every week – it was only when there were an important client or team meetings or when it suited me. Moving to EY really was a no-brainer.
I started in EY on a 4-day week. At the time I assumed this would never last, but I was so surprised by how many people were availing of the flexible working arrangements. From the top down there is an underlying respect and acknowledgment that everyone has a life outside work. It’s the simple things like encouraging you to put your working hours on your signature, and not being embarrassed to wrap up a meeting with a client on time because I had to pick my kids up from creche.
Like all things in life, the reasons why someone would want to work flexible hours are varied from wanting to play golf on a Wednesday afternoon with your mates, to having to take care of an elderly parent or training for a marathon. All in all, it doesn’t matter who you are, what time you started or where you were working from – as long as we do what we need to.
Our team, Financial Services VAT, is a newly established team that is currently one of the fastest growing VAT practices in Ireland, as well as within the wider EY international VAT network. Over the course of the last year alone, I have advised on some of the biggest M&A transactions to take place in the Irish financial services market. All from my spare room in Limerick! This is a period of great change and it’s resulting in a huge demand for a wide range of Indirect Tax advisory services. If you are looking for an opportunity to work on exciting and innovative VAT projects, have a varied and flexible working day, and have the ability to work with a wide range of clients across all financial services sectors, then EY is the place to be.
This is a place where you can grow and progress in your career, while also getting the space and flexibility to maintain a healthy work life balance. It’s a place where everyone’s opinion is valued and different experiences and skill sets are embraced and encouraged.
I have never looked back from the minute I made the decision to move EY, and I know you won’t either.
If you would like to Connect with Aideen on LinkedIn or reach out with any questions click here.