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Graduate Spotlight

Ryan O'Brien, tax associate, GES, who placed 1st in Ireland in Part 2 Exams

Ryan O'Brien talks about his experience on the graduate programme and how he achieved his fantastic results, placing 1st in Ireland for the CTA Part 2 exams this year.

The benefits that come with the Grad Programme including generous paid study leave in addition to in-house sessions by external experts really helped me in passing each round of exams first time.

Tell us about yourself, where you’re from and what you studied in college.

My name is Ryan O’Brien. I’m from Ballydaly on the Cork/Kerry border. I studied International Business in University of Limerick.

I’m an Associate 3 in the Cork office working in the Global Employer Services (GES) service line within the Tax practice.

How did you find out about our grad progrmmame?

I completed a 12-week internship in Deloitte back in 2018 in the Private Clients service line within Tax. I also got some experience working in the Corporation Tax department. I heard about the Grad Programme through associates who were completing the programme while I was on internship as well as various careers fairs which I had attended while in college.

Tell us about your experience in the grad programme.

For me personally, the experience has been challenging but very rewarding. I am lucky to work with some great people in GES. The work varies from day-to-day and as cliche as it sounds, no two days are the same. From the outset of the Grad Programme, associates are brought into engagement teams/projects so that they can get hands on experience from the outset.

Throughout my Tax Grad Programme, I have been fortunate to pass my Chartered Accountants exams and Irish Tax Institute Part 2s on my first attempts each time. The benefits that come with the Grad Programme including generous paid study leave in addition to in-house sessions by external experts really helped me in passing each round of exams first time.

Explain what the work experience is like? What kind of projects are you working on?

In GES, we alleviate (some) of the stress of individuals moving to a new country to work. Taxation can be difficult to wrap your head around, but when moving country and thinking about new work cultures and lifestyles, it is often the last thing people want to be worrying about.

The work varies from providing tax compliance and tax consulting services to globally mobile employees and their employers in relation to both the individual’s own tax obligations in addition to the company’s tax obligations. As a GES associate, you will also get an opportunity to get involved in employment tax, tax controversy and equity incentives projects.

There is a real people focus in GES as we have the opportunity to speak to people on a consistent basis who are moving countries to provide them with advice as to what it is involved from an Irish tax perspective. This involves discussing their Irish tax position with them as well as providing them with assistance on the preparation and filing of their tax returns.

As mentioned, the work varies from day-to-day and as a GES associate, we get experience on assisting multi-national companies with all aspects relating to having a globally mobile workforce.

What do you plan to work as after the programme and why?

I hope to remain with Deloitte after the graduate programme and continue to progress within the firm.

Tell us about the learning and development support you’ve received?

When joining the graduate programme, on the first day you are allocated a buddy who assists you with your learning and onboarding. You are also allocated a coach who is your main point of contact for the entirety of your graduate programme. Joining a new firm can be a daunting experience, however meeting your buddy and coach within the first few days of joining the firm makes settling into the firm that bit easier.

With regard to the ongoing learning and development outside of exams, there are many ways in which graduates can request feedback. Within Deloitte, there is a real open-door policy which ensures that after a piece of work has been delivered to a client, as graduates, we feel we can pick up the phone to the overseer who we worked alongside when preparing the final deliverable for the client and request feedback. This can also be done via the firm’s dedicated feedback platform.

What’s your advice to graduates applying to the programme?

My advice to graduates wishing to apply for the graduate programme would be to talk to current associates who are currently completing the Grad Programme to get a feel of what is involved. I would also encourage those who wish to apply to the Grad Programme to do some research in the area they may wish to work in before applying. I would recommend filling in the application early and making sure enough time is allowed to complete it in advance of the closing date for applications.

I suppose it wouldn’t be fair to say that life is by any means a walk in the park for the 3/3.5 years of the graduate programme. There is no doubt that studying and working at the same time can be challenging, but the hard work does pay off and it will be worth it when you have your qualification at the end of the programme. The ACA qualification is accredited across the world and so a few years hard work will make a massive difference in your future careers, both in Ireland and across the globe.

Another piece of advice I would give to graduates wishing to apply for the programme is that there is no requirement to have prior experience in the area you wish to apply for. I have worked with many people in the Tax practice who never studied tax in college or university and so these people are testament to the idea that you don’t have to be an expert in the area by any means before applying for the programme.

Describe your Deloitte journey so far in 3 words:

Rewarding, Collaborative, Motivating

Read more about our award-winning graduate programme here