CPA Profile – Cormac Mohan

Accountancy Plus. Issue 04. December 2015

Becoming a CPA

Why did you choose the CPA qualification?

CPA, being an internationally recognised qualification, allowed me to work internationally with the Coca-Cola Company so it was particularly appealing to my USA employer.

Why did you become a CPA?

I first studied for a Diploma in Business Studies and then moved into Accounting while working. I studied mainly through Griffith College and Dublin Business School in the evening and weekends.

Who or what inspired you to become a CPA?

Growing up in a business environment I always enjoyed helping out in the family business on the administration side and was encouraged by my parents to get a formalised qualification in Business and Accounting.

Your Career

Describe your working life

I first started my career as a trainee accountant in Practice and worked as a Budget Accountant in the early 90’s. I moved to the Coca-Cola manufacturing plant in Drogheda with whom I progressed over a number of years both in Ireland and internationally as CFO responsible for the Nordics Countries (Norway, Finland & Denmark).

On my return to Ireland in 2000 I joined Microsoft European Operations Centre as a Senior Business Manager working closely with the MD responsible for the EMEA division. With my US company experiences, I sat on the board as Finance Director for two early stage Pharma companies listed on the NASDAQ until 2003.

It was always my planned career path to return to Practice. I acquired a practice in 2002 and this has grown organically over the last 12 years. We provide specialist support services for small to medium sized businesses. I am currently Managing Partner with FM Accountants & Business Advisors, responsible for leadership and business development of the Practice.

How has being a CPA benefited your career?

Being a CPA gave me a strong financial grounding to develop my career path into a leadership and Operational role. It allowed me to work across a number of sectors and functions both in Ireland and internationally. The CPA was of significant benefit while I worked internationally (USA / Nordics / Switzerland) for both Coca-Cola & Microsoft.

I have made lifelong friends all over the world through my business and career path to date.

What do you consider your greatest career achievement to date?

Having the ability to migrate from working in a multinational global environment back to Practice working in the SME sector and enjoying it equally.

Broadening my skillset to facilitate this change in career path and developing a practice business model that is client focused and service driven.

Helping clients through the last number of years during the financial crisis and destruction of wealth, both business and personal. In my view, it takes resilience and technical ability to see clients through the tough times which is not always tested during the good times.

What’s the best career decision you’ve made?

Seizing the opportunity to work abroad in the early ‘90’s thereby gaining an understanding of international business models enabling recognition and understanding of diversity and different perspectives.

The Accountancy Profession

What do you feel the benefits of being on Council of CPA or any other Boards are?

Working with a diversified group of people with varied sector experiences in achieving a common goal for the benefit of the organisation is rewarding. One gets a deeper understanding and learning from seeing different perspectives in talking big issues for any business. Strategic direction and leadership of any board and CPA council in my view are relevant in today’s changing environment.

What, in your view, are the most pressing issues for accountants?

The ability to be dynamic and look beyond the numbers to give solid business advice. While we are trained naturally to look at historical data points it is equally important for today’s accountant to be intuitive and have a forward looking perspective.

The one constant we are sure of is change, particularly in the technology and communication space – how we adopt as accountants over the coming years is critical to the profession as a whole. Communication, service delivery and competition are all key components against a backdrop of increasing regulation in our Profession.