Recently we spoke to Sinead, a KPMG Director in London, whom we assisted in moving from Ireland to the Channel Islands. She offered to share her story with us to help inspire others who might be considering making a move.
When Sinead first came to us she was an exam-qualified Accountant and Tax professional (AIPI) but was not time qualified. She wanted to move overseas for the experience and because she knew that if she did not go then, she would get settled in Ireland and probably never leave. She also wanted more for her life and to make some good money. House prices at that time were very high and she did not think she would ever be able to afford to buy in Ireland. Some friends were moving to the Channel Islands and had heard great reports of the training she would receive there. She had to decide between the Cayman Islands and the Channel Islands and felt the Caymans were just too far from family and friends. She attended a recruitment screening event organised by Think Global Recruitment and was introduced to representatives from KPMG. She was shortlisted for the Channel Islands training roles, then moved to a psychometric panel interview with a case study, which was really tricky. But luckily she impressed and she got the job and moved to Guernsey.
Settling into Island life
As Sinead opted to stay closer to home she did not have many concerns and homesickness was not really an issue. She settled into her new location fairly quickly. KPMG were good and supportive of her and her colleagues and they were soon a close-knit team. Everyone had to be self-reliant as nobody had any family or friends on the island, so a sense of solidarity developed very quickly. Arriving during busy season it took her a bit longer to fully find her feet but by the summer she had gained confidence in her role and fully integrated into the island community.
She walked to work and could afford to live alone, in a high standard of accommodation. There is a great pub culture in the Channel Islands which reminded her of Ireland – very sociable and more of a meeting place for friends than just for drinking. ‘The camaraderie was brilliant’ – nobody had a support network in place, so their work friends became their family. The weather was gorgeous in summer, the shopping and restaurants were great and she still considers some of the people she met there her closest friends. She did not really notice many cultural differences, as there were so many Irish people on the island. Weatherwise, the improved climate changed the socialising, which became very important. The team feel was different to anything she had experienced before or has experienced since.
Moving to London
Three years later she met her husband, also working in KPMG in Guernsey, and when he moved back to London Sinead decided to go with him. She moved back to London as an Assistant Manager but the following Spring was given a Manager’s portfolio and was promoted to Manager the following year. Fast forward a few years and Sinead is still working for KPMG, only now she is Director! Her career has been hugely successful and she contributes that to her move. ‘I would not be a Director of KPMG without my experience in the Channel Islands. Travel gives you confidence, exposure to different clients and allows you to break out of your comfort zone’.
Reflecting on the move
Sinead considers the move ‘the best she’s ever made’ and has no regrets and still visits regularly, it was close-knit, work hard/play hard team environment where she was able to live well and yet save. She received a good solid training, made lifelong friends and met her husband. The move allowed her to gain confidence, forcing out of her comfort zone, learning about new cultures, showing bravery and willingness to risk something new. There seems to be no downside, the improved salaries and the chance to meet life-long like-minded friends. Oh, and she found a husband!
Sinead says this is the best thing she has ever done. ‘An accountancy qualification is a passport to living and working anywhere in the world and I have not one regret about doing this – everyone should do it’. When she has recruited in the past, she has brought people into the team and then advised them to travel and work in other KPMG offices throughout the world.
How Think Global Recruitment Helped
In terms of preparation from Think Global Recruitment Sinead said she was very well-prepared and was given advice that has served her well since. Sinead has done lots of recruiting since and has never forgotten some advice that Abigail gave her – and has used this advice many times – ‘that, given a certain level of numerical ability, anyone can be trained to be an Auditor, so, therefore, it is much more important to have a personality that fits in with your organisation’. She has rejected technically brilliant candidates who she knew would not fit into the team, while she has recruited good team players who she knew would be great for the department but maybe needed more training to reach the technical proficiency required.
Please get in touch with us here if you would like to discuss moving overseas with one of our advisors.