How I became an Assurance Partner and Head of FAAS Ireland
My name is Derarca Dennis and I joined EY’s Financial Accounting Advisory Services (FAAS) practice in March 2014, having previously worked in another Big 4 firm, and with a brief (2 year!) stint in industry. Making the move to EY from another professional services firm was a tough personal decision, having thoroughly enjoyed my previous role, but one which I now look back on as the best decision of my career. The prospect of regular and meaningful client facing interactions, on generating value-add relationships with my clients and supporting them with the continuous development of their finance functions, is what attracted me to EY and to my FAAS role.
My first few months in EY was spent advising private and listed companies on complex accounting and financial reporting issues, working across a variety of sectors and with particular focus on Pharma / Life Science, Technology, and Consumer Products companies. My network of internal and external client relationships grew significantly, as FAAS affords you the opportunity to work in all sectors and across all of EY’s service lines; Assurance, Advisory and Tax.
In 2015 I became Head of EY FAAS in Ireland, and joined EY’s NextGen partner-track programme. Over the course of the following 18 months I attended several development workshops, meeting regularly with other candidates from across the globe to prepare team-based presentations to global management, testing both my leadership skills and my children’s patience – juggling full time client commitments and a partner-track programme can be tough on your personal life! My family’s support kept me grounded and with a lot of work, it all paid off when I became an Assurance Partner in July 2017.
While FAAS gives me the opportunity to engage meaningfully with my clients, what I enjoy most about my role is the ability to develop the team that supports me. Our FAAS team has more than trebled in size since I joined EY, and our revenues have tripled since I took on the role of Head of FAAS Ireland. Our growth plans are ambitious, but with a great team of skilled individuals and a great team environment, I’m confident FAAS will continue its successful growth. My desire to build out the broader EY business recently landed me with a new role: Talent Partner for Assurance Ireland. I’m still figuring out how to break this one to my kids!