Rewind back to the summer of 2012 and Diarmaid Guthrie ACA was on a three-month internship at Baker Tilly, then known as Hughes Blake.
The following year, he graduated with a B.A. in Accounting and Finance from Dublin City University and officially joined the firm as a trainee.
Today, he is a Manager in the Corporate Recovery Department, where he leads one of the department’s teams, assisting companies and individuals in turning around their businesses.
What drew you to working here?
At the time when I was finishing my final year in college, I had spoken to a number of friends and colleagues who had worked in some of the bigger firms. They explained to me that they only ever worked on companies which operated in one specific industry without ever experiencing other industries and companies.
I think it was the fact that I could work on cases with companies across a broad range of industries, such as retail, machinery leasing, mechanical engineering and construction sectors, that drew me to working with Baker Tilly. This gave me a wide variety of experience.
Was this always your desired career path? Did you consider any other industries/roles before you joined Baker Tilly as an intern?
Yes, I always wanted to become an accountant. From a young age, I had an interest in maths and regularly helped out with my father’s family business during the summer months and busy Christmas periods.
I thought accounting was a perfect match between the numbers, operating and trading elements of a business. I was offered training contracts with other similar sized firms but chose Baker Tilly as I felt I would be afforded the greatest opportunity to grow and develop.
Summary of your experience so far?
My experience has been so vast to date. As well as working on all types of insolvency cases – examinerships, liquidations and receiverships – I have had the opportunity to broaden my skill base with some corporate finance assignments.
I have also been involved in a number of speciality assignments such as non-performing loan advisory, independent business reviews, independent expert’s reports and loss assessment reports.
Additionally, I spent twelve months on secondment in Baker Tilly South East Europe’s Cypriot office where I was the Manager in charge of setting up the corporate recovery team in Nicosia for a joint venture between Baker Tilly Ireland and Baker Tilly South East Europe.
Name a career highlight.
While there have been numerous highlights of my career so far, including the many successful examinership cases I have worked on, my ultimate highlight has to be being nominated for ‘Young Accountant of the Year’ at the Irish Accountancy Awards in 2017.
At the tender age of 24 and having only started out in my professional career, this was a really proud moment for me and my family.
Biggest challenge to date?
With certainty, my biggest challenge to date was re-locating to Cyprus for my 12-month secondment. As well as not knowing many people when I first moved over, I also had to cope with the language barrier and cultural and mindset differences.
Although this took time to get used to, I really enjoyed my time in Cyprus; it was a great learning experience. However, the 40-degree heat during the summer months was a real challenge and one I could never get used to!
Don’t let age be a deciding factor. While I recognise that I am quite young for my position, age should not be a barrier to progression.
What is the key to career development?
Listening and learning from those around you. You should never be too proud or afraid to put your hand up and ask for advice or seek help.
What is crucial to driving performance?
The Corporate Recovery team in Baker Tilly sets incredibly high standards across all their assignments and key to driving our performance is maintaining those high standards.
As part of the management group of the CR department, it is my responsibility to not only uphold these standards up but to live by example and lead team members. If those standards drop then the performance of the whole department drops.
What do you love most about your job?
The satisfaction that comes with a successful scheme of arrangement at the end of an examinership. Knowing that you have saved the livelihoods of staff members who would otherwise be unemployed is a great feeling and is one of the reasons why examinerships are so interesting.
Words of wisdom for future interns?
Throw yourself into every opportunity. Ask loads of questions and soak up every piece of advice and all the learning experiences.
To learn more about Diarmaid Guthrie, visit his LinkedIn profile here.