Catherine Devaney CA tells us how she fulfilled her career goals while indulging her passion for dance. Here's how the rewards of teaching impact both her working life and her toe-tapping weekends.
No rushed decisions
I liked accounting at school, I liked it at college and I liked it at university, so I guess it was just part of me. I was never a future planner – I took it a year at a time to decide what my next step would be.
I left school after sixth year and went to college to study Business Administration, and ended up in HND Accounting, working in a small accounting practice in the east end of Glasgow over the summer.
My sister told me that Glasgow Caledonian University was having an open day and to go along as she heard there was a direct entry route into second year with my HND qualification – I got in. I was nearly the oldest person on the course as there were only three direct entrants!
No matter what role I've had in my career, I use my experience from the CA.
When I left university I really liked both accounting and the idea of teaching so I had to decide between the two. I spent some time in both primary and secondary schools to see what it was like and knew straight away I didn't want to work in a secondary school! I decided I would go into the accounting profession and then see if any education opportunities came my way after that.
Why I became a CA
I had heard about ICAS at university and very good things about the value of the qualification. I looked out for vacancies where the ICAS qualification was offered and applied for jobs.
The technical and professional skills gained through the qualification are valuable in every aspect of business. It gives a breadth and depth to your knowledge that you can draw on as you progress through your career. No matter what role I've had in my career, I use my experience from the CA.
Being a CA brings you access to a variety of professional communities working in your field of expertise. It opens up the global door to take on roles anywhere in the world. As a lecturer for ICAS, I have been able to work in Luxembourg, Uganda and throughout the UK.
Advice for students
ICAS is a challenge and you really need to put the time into your studies. Listen to and follow the advice given by your lecturers on how to learn the material. And ask questions – better to find out the answer than hope it doesn't get asked in the exam!
Coming back to ICAS
I completed my CA training with Campbell Dallas and started working with accounts preparation. I didn’t believe them when they told me clients would hand in their accounts in plastic carrier bags – how wrong I was!
After qualifying, I moved onto work in the audit department at EY in Glasgow. My CA training and experience of accounts preparation helped when auditing the various areas of financial statements for clients.
During my time there, I attended core skill training and loved the education/trainer role and wanted to get more involved. I was reading the CA magazine and, as always, I looked to see what jobs were being advertised.
The education department was looking for a lecturer and it sounded like my ideal job – combining accountancy and teaching! I decided to apply to get some interview experience and to find out what was required to get a job like this. Turns out they liked me and 11 years later I am still at ICAS.
The best moment is when [students] step onto the stage at the admission ceremony; it's not only the parents and grandparents that are proud of them!
What I currently do at ICAS
I have been the TPE Level Controller for over seven years now. I started out teaching PAR and taxation and am still a part of the taxation lecturing team.
My role is varied – lecturing is only one aspect of it. For example, I am involved with managing courses, creating material and international projects such as working with the Ugandan professional body to develop best practice. No two days at ICAS are the same.
I enjoy helping students – it's rewarding when you spend time helping them to understand a topic, giving advice on exam technique and reviewing work for them, to then see them pass and qualify.
The best moment is when they step onto the stage at the admission ceremony; it's not only the parents and grandparents that are proud of them!
I have been dancing since I was two and have a dance school with one of my sisters, which takes up my Saturdays, but I enjoy it.
If I wasn't teaching with ICAS, I would be dancing – it really is my passion. I love all sorts of dance and theatre. Ideally, I would be dancing in West End shows or for music artists and be a well-known choreographer!
Special talents are hard to come by but it's not often you come by a tap-dancing, baton-twirling, stage-dancing CA!