Meet our new President - Mary Gleeson FCPA, FIATI

We all have experienced a changed world, both within our personal and working lives. The pandemic has given us time to reflect and more than ever, we value good health for ourselves, our families, friends, and colleagues.

One significant change has been how we communicate with one another. Even though I am currently unable to meet you in person or indeed, shake your hand, I will prioritise my representation of Accounting Technicians Ireland, its members, and wider community.

These days, Zoom has become our best friend and I already know so many of you from our weekly Members’ CPD Webinars and through my role as Chairperson of the ATI Munster District Society. Over the years, we have delivered many successful MDS training and networking events due to the work of the Committee Members. I am also a member of ATI’s Finance Committee and was appointed to the Board in 2017.

Whilst I can’t quite believe that this is my 25th year as a member of Accounting Technicians Ireland, there certainly have been many developments over the last two and half decades, and my membership has proven a valuable cornerstone to my career.

A foray into accounting and finance

I studied to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in 2001, becoming a Fellow in 2014. During this time, with the help of a supporting family and fantastic friends, I raised two wonderful daughters, Rose and Julie Ann, to whom I passed on the importance of professional education. They too have succeeded in their careers in medicine and law respectively. They learnt growing up from watching ‘Mammy’ study, that the world is what you make it.

My first introduction to accountancy was helping my father maintain the old red ledger books for our family business, providing me with an appreciation of the realities of running a business in rural Ireland. Supporting SMEs became a key driver in studying to become an accountant, and I now run my own Financial Management and Accounting Practice.

A belief in the power of community

I have a passion for supporting community development and I have enjoyed working as Financial Controller for Ballyhoura Development CLG for the past twenty-two years. A community-led development company, the organisation works with individuals, communities and businesses in the Ballyhoura region of East Limerick and North Cork.

Our commitment to community development at Ballyhoura, saw us become a founding member of Social Enterprise Republic of Ireland (SERI), a new initiative which provides support to allow social enterprises to thrive.

I am also involved in reviewing the governance and financial systems of various enterprises, particularly the compliance with the new Code of Governance for Charities. A career highlight was my work with Accounting for International Development (AfiD) which enables accountants to use their skills to support charities based all over the world.

I took up a placement with a charity in Peru which focussed on personal development, education, and social enterprise. It was an experience of a lifetime and I left having implemented a new financial system which offered funders reassurance that their support was delivered for the benefit of the charity.

My work with charities, both here in Ireland and abroad, has only reinforced my belief in education and personal growth as key mechanisms for coping in times of crises. It is a strange time to be coming on board as President of Accounting Technicians Ireland but more so, it is a motivating and hopeful one.

Full-proofing the future of the accounting technician

I only need to consider the huge strides taken by Accounting Technicians Ireland in moving to e-assessment for our students in June and to providing weekly CPD Webinars with over 3,000 Members taking part since the series went online in May.  

As a community of practice, supporting one another has never been so important. This is very true when it comes to helping a new generation of accounting professionals. I have been involved with the Accounting Technician Apprenticeship since 2017. Ballyhoura Development CLG was one of the first employers to sign up to the programme and I had the pleasure to personally mentor two apprentices who joined our finance team. The programme offers a refreshing balance of a progressive education and invaluable work experience.

I am honoured to represent Accounting Technicians Ireland as President for the coming year; a year which brings new challenges and transformation. I want to extend my gratitude to outgoing President, Sinéad Donovan, for her leadership over the past year. One of my priorities will be to oversee the roll-out of our new Strategy 2024 – ‘Shaping and Responding to the Environment’ which was developed under her auspices.

We will use Strategy 2024 to guide us through these evolving times and to help us address the challenges of our future, build a more diverse and active membership community, and provide visible pathways for those who want to progress. I look forward to working with our dedicated Board and staff to ensure we deliver on our commitments to you and the Accounting Technician profession.

Mary Gleeson - President of Accounting Technicians Ireland.

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