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The industry training path – uncovered

“Industry” pretty much refers to any business that isn’t an accounting practice; and that’s a whole lot of companies!

Broadly speaking, industry can be divided into two distinct categories – those with a financial product/service and those without a financial product/service. Let’s look at these two categories in a little more detail to help you tell them apart and understand some of the key considerations for each.


1) Financial product/service companies

Examples of financial product/service companies include Banks (e.g. Bank of Ireland), investment banks (e.g. JP Morgan), insurance/reinsurance (e.g. VHI/Axis Capital), aircraft leasing (e.g. Avolon) and fund administration (e.g. State Street). In addition to providing a financial product/service, these companies will typically be:

  • Found in larger cities. Dublin, for example, would have the vast majority of these companies in Ireland (so your future career is more likely to be in Dublin than in, say, Sligo);
  • Employ a larger number of people and have very large finance teams (this makes sense seeing as they are finance companies); and
  • Employ accounting graduates in typical accounting roles and also, within operational finance roles. You can work in the finance team, but also in the actual business in a front-end or middle office setting.


2) Non-financial product/service companies (pretty much everything else!)

Examples of non-financial product/service companies include pretty much every other company you can imagine. IT software (e.g. Google), IT hardware (e.g. Intel), pharmaceutical (e.g. Pfizer), medical device (e.g. Boston Scientific) and retail (e.g. Pennys/Primark). These are large multinationals through to smaller Irish companies; companies that make a product or provide a service, distribute a product/service or sell a product/service directly to businesses or to the public (that’s you or me!) through retail outlets or online. In addition to providing a non-financial product/service, these companies will typically:

  • Be spread more evenly throughout Ireland (but, of course, with a bigger density in Dublin/Cork);
  • Represent both Irish companies and multinational companies that have a presence in Ireland (think of snowflakes – they might look the same at a glance, but each one is different);
  • Employ a varied number of people with one-person accounting teams up to 300 person accounting teams; and
  • Have accounting graduates working in accounting and related roles, but not so much in operational roles (at the beginning anyway).

The sheer variety of different company and industry types can be a little overwhelming…

Now you have a way to tell some of these companies apart, read more in our ‘Places to Train’ section about some of the things you should keep in mind when trying to make a decision on which route to go.

Ed Heffernan

Ed's experience spans over 15 years with local and global names. A subject matter expert in, and advocate of, accounting careers.

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