We met with Emerson Burke Murphy, a former Vet from UCD (2009) who graduated from the Professional Diploma in Accounting (PDA) (2010 First Class) to discuss the change from veterinary to accountancy and his exciting career path which followed.

Why did you choose to change career to accountancy after veterinary medicine?

Veterinary medicine has a very high employment rate due to the small number of graduates each year so this was never a concern of mine. I was always going to specialise in veterinary (equine surgery or equine reproduction) but I came to realise that the opportunities in veterinary at this level were very limiting. I am someone who enjoys understanding the bigger picture of what they are involved in and being removed from this would have frustrated me in time as a vet. Chartered Accountancy appealed to me as a profession involved in some of the most diverse aspects of business.

How did you hear about the Professional Diploma in Accounting (PDA) in DCU?

I graduated from veterinary (UCD) and commenced the PDA in September, graduating in 2010. I secured a training position with KPMG during the 2008 Milkrounds. As part of my interview preparation I was aware of the wall I might face when seen to be making such a dramatic change in direction. To this end, I carried out my own research and through this, became aware of the PDA and its merits. My firm were also very encouraging about the PDA as they had seen good results with it previously. I had the option to begin my training contract in 2009 but stuck with my decision regarding the PDA.

How did the PDA help you with your accountancy exams?

I wanted to complete the PDA as I felt it would ensure I was making the right move and would also give me a head start in KPMG rather than worrying about the most basic accounting concepts during my first audit busy season. The PDA was an incredible help with the CAP2’s as I felt that the PDA syllabus (particularly financial reporting) covered far more than the CAP1 syllabus. One particularly helpful aspect of the PDA structure was all-day tutorials on a Friday. Accounting is best learned through experience and the range of issues tackled during these sessions was very helpful.

How did the interdisciplinary mix in the class help your mind develop?

I still have some very good friends from the PDA who are continually developing professionally. The mix of disciplines was refreshing, particularly coming from such an intense and focused discipline like veterinary. Some of the most memorable participants in my class were the science graduates and the law graduates. This mix is something that the firms look for when recruiting.

Why did you choose Corporate Finance? Do you feel that being a non-relevant graduate gave you added insights in this field and why?

Audit was fundamental in my training and is a great way to understand the detailed financial (and to an extent operational) workings of clients. However, I always wanted to move in the corporate finance direction as the variety of work and the satisfaction from being much more involved with clients and their commercial needs (rather than the regulatory requirement of audit) relates back to my initial reason for choosing Chartered Accountancy.

When I first came to London I expected people to be mystified or resistant to my differing academic background. The reality has been that people see it as an asset as the range of issues dealt with is so diverse and challenges to the normal ways of thinking are always welcome.

After completing the Professional Diploma in Accounting in DCU, Emerson qualified as an accountant (ACA) in 2013 and worked in KPMG for 3 years but is now in Deloitte UK as an Assistant Manager in Corporate Finance and is studying for a Diploma in Corporate Finance via the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments.

Find out more information and apply for the Professional Diploma in Accounting in DCU here!

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