It's not all about a finance background

Dom Elsdale, who is originally from the UK, trained with Davies Mayers Barnett LLP.  After qualifying as a chartered accountant, he joined RSM Channel Islands in 2016, where he is now an audit senior.

Having left university, Dom joined a regional firm in Gloucester.  ‘It wasn’t a particularly large firm, which came with its benefit and drawbacks. While I had a great experience and training, the firm’s size and market orientation toward local regional business meant my access to larger clients with technical issues was limited.'

‘I would still promote the virtues of a smaller firm to anyone thinking of embarking on an accounting career.  It allows you to work with all members of the team, across all levels. You tend to be exposed to the complete audit process early in your training which I believe offers a broader training experience.’

Having trained in the UK, Dom was looking for a fresh challenge when his ICAEW studies came to an end.  ‘Being based in the South West, the clients I worked with were typically involved in more traditional industries like manufacturing and merchandising.  They weren’t involved with financial services, so when I became aware of the opportunity to work in Jersey I was both intrigued to find out more and a little apprehensive.’

Dom says that his initial research and discussions produced diverse results.  ‘Jersey from an outside perspective, often leaves people confused. Certainly many people I spoke to were unclear what opportunities the Island could offer someone in my position. It looked like any new employer would be focused in one way or another on the finance industry, and while I was keen to develop my experience in this arena I was concerned that my background and training didn’t make me an obvious fit.’ He knew it was important to find the right business to join.  ‘I wanted new experiences and challenges and felt a move to Jersey would provide that, but I also wanted to ensure I had the chance to transition my skills to the new environment.  I undertook research to identify which firms would be the best fit for me and would allow me to develop into the new role in a way I found comfortable. As anyone working in practice will tell you, in the world where rules and regulations are constantly evolving, learning is an ongoing process. Having joined RSM, I was given a series of in-house training sessions delivered by my new colleagues and a selection of external training, all of which were designed to quickly integrate me into the local environment.

‘Of course, despite my perceptions, financial services is not the only industry and I was really pleased to have the opportunity, early after my arrival, to work with some great commercial clients, especially in the hospitality sector which pulled directly on my existing experience and allowed me to make an immediate contribution to the firm and its clients.'

Realising there is more to Jersey than financial services allowed Dom to settle into his new role much more quickly than he had anticipated.  ‘The transition happened much more smoothly than I had expected.  Of course there are new challenges, but there is so much more to Jersey and I was able to apply my previous experience much more than I had originally anticipated.’

‘Since joining RSM I have been fortunate to work with truly large clients and complex investment structures, but also local family-owned businesses that have been part of Jersey since long before I was born. I have worked with groups who operate on an international scale alongside local firms whose operations are a part of everyday local life. But perhaps most importantly, I work across a range of industries and get a lot of variety in my client relationships and working experiences.’

‘My background is different to that experienced by someone who has trained in Jersey.  But ultimately the core skill sets are similar and with the right support the transition is not as daunting as it might first appear.'

Joining RSM

RSM Channel Islands is an Approved Employer with both the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.  Candidates wishing to apply for training positions with us should submit a covering letter and full CV by email to [email protected].

RSM Channel Islands is an independent member firm of RSM, the world’s sixth largest provider of audit, tax and consultancy services, encompassing 120 countries, 800 offices and more than 41,000 people. 

This article was published in the December 2017 Jersey Evening Post Careers and Employment Review supplement.

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Matt Berry