Monday, 19 November 2012 09:34
Ireland is home to some of the biggest multinational companies in the world, with many now the largest employers in this country. MNCs operate on an international level and have offices in major cities all around the world. They are usually host to the biggest offices, the top salaries and the greatest opportunities, which is why there has never been a better time to speak the same language as them: multilingual.
English is the predominant language of business, however it is not the only one. The August Morgan McKinley Employment Monitor highlighted that employers are looking for part qualified and qualified accountants with a second European language, so knowing a language such as French, German or Spanish could increase your employability dramatically. The most recent report for October showed that the majority of hiring continues to be among multilingual professionals in the accountancy sector. In the coming years, the value of knowing a language such as Mandarin Chinese, Russian or Arabic will put you at a distinct advantage to your peers, as the market becomes closer and trading partners stretch further across the world.
According to Ed Heffernan from Morgan McKinley, jobseekers need to direct their attention towards the MNCs in Ireland as they have a large number of roles and available positions. “Multinational companies have a higher demand and appetite for accountants than non-multinational companies. The variety of roles is staggering, from internal audit to commercial accounting to financial accounting and the 101 names you can give to those different disciplines, with the higher volume at the 0-3 years post qualified stage.”
He comments on how difficult it can be to move from an SME to a MNC for jobseekers, noting that without a second language, the transition can be further complicated. “A significant proportion of multinational companies in Dublin will employ a shared service centre structure, so they’ll be doing the accounting and finance for EMEA. The reality is these teams will be receiving invoices in French and German. People from other offices are more comfortable if they can speak to a French or German speaker at the end of the phone and you may also have to speak to regulatory bodies in these countries.”
A report by Forfás and the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) highlighted the need to improve foreign language skills to meet employers’ needs in exporting companies and recommended boosting foreign languages, such as French, German and Mandarin Chinese, at university level. Una Halligan, chairperson of the EGFSN, said “At third level, findings are that there is a relative lack of Irish graduates with foreign-language proficiency and international market experience. Employers value such a period abroad, which increases the students’ employability and job prospects.”
The CPA designation is recognised worldwide and with international agreements with accountancy bodies around the world, CPAs can work and travel with ease. However it is worth noting the importance a second language can add to your experience and broaden your horizons in terms of the roles you can fulfil. Learning a second language has never been more accessible, with numerous classes now available across the country. There are also numerous options online and through books, CDs and DVDs.
In an increasingly smaller world and with rising competitiveness amongst job seekers, there has never been a better time to give your career and CV that extra edge. As Ed Heffernan points out, “If you are a CPA student who has fluency in French or a second European language, you are fundamentally more employable.”