Making the move overseas: My journey from South Africa to Ireland

Naydia Balassis

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Making the move overseas: My journey from South Africa to Ireland

Naydia Balassis moved to Dublin from Johannesburg with EY Financial Services in January 2018. She was promoted to manager in our Assurance practice in October of that year.

After completing my articles, having obtained a Bachelor of Accounting Science (BAccSci) undergraduate degree from University of Witwatersrand and a Bachelor of Commerce Honours in Accounting CA (BCom Hons CA) from University of Johannesburg, I worked for a year as an Assistant Manager at EY Johannesburg. I always wanted to live and work abroad, so my boyfriend, Neil, and I decided it was time to embrace one of the many international opportunities available to us as qualified CA(SA)s and to make a move overseas. We moved to Dublin from Johannesburg in 2018 and we were offered support and assistance in relocating right from the moment we signed our contracts.

EY Ireland, and particularly the Dublin office, appealed to us for a number of reasons. Firstly, it provided the opportunity for us to remain in our chosen sectors while gaining experience in new client industries, such as aircraft leasing. With Brexit looming, Ireland has attracted a number of large financial institutions and company head offices to its shores, which meant that the move to EY Dublin provided significant opportunities to broaden our client portfolios and expertise.

Secondly, fantastic double-digit growth in EY Ireland meant that we would not have to ‘take a step backwards’ in our careers, but rather that there would be opportunities for career progression going forward – as evidenced by my promotion to Manager in October 2018.

The move also offered us the opportunity to work on audits of multinational companies with truly diverse teams which include colleagues from India, Philippines and the USA, to name but a few. It gave us the chance to embrace and enjoy a European way of life in an English speaking country and, very importantly, it gave us a good work-life balance. This meant we could take up hobbies that we did not have time to partake in previously.

As a manager in the assurance practice my day-to-day job is centred around the clients I am working on at any given point in time and the deliverables due. My role typically involves a lot of hands on coaching which is a part of the job that I really enjoy. In general my teams and I are based in the Dublin office, but we have the flexibility to work from home when we need to. During our busier periods we encourage the use of working in collaborative project rooms, which enhances communication and is a great opportunity for learning. We are currently working to incorporate more innovative tools into our audits and so I have been attending a number of workshops in order to drive this on our engagements going forward.

Working at EY Financial Services has given me the opportunity to work for a firm that shows it genuinely values its employees. It has allowed us to work on teams where you are made to feel welcome and a part of the team from day one, leading to wonderful new friendships, both within the ever expanding expat community and with our new colleagues as well. It has allowed us to work with partners who are genuine and approachable, to work in an environment where your hard work is noticed and appreciated and to enjoy a way of life that allows you far more freedom than we were used to previously.

Moving to Dublin with EY Financial Services has been a wonderful decision. In the time we have been here we have had the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally.  I would highly recommend a move with EY Ireland to others who, like us, would like to see what the overseas market has to offer.

Interested in making the move? Apply HERE

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