Rutherford Cross recently hosted its inaugural Women in Finance Leadership Forum with Claire Treacy, Director of Bealach Advisory. At the virtual event, Claire shared an overview of her career journey and highlighted her approach that allowed her to successfully transition from tax and risk specialist to CFO.
Career Journey to Date
Claire initially trained with KPMG in their Expatriate Tax team joining as an Assistant and progressing quickly to Senior Manager. Claire was on the path to Directorship but felt there was something missing long term and made the decision to move into industry.
After deciding to make the move out of the profession, Claire joined Scarborough. On joining, the company had just 20 employees and Claire was particularly impressed with the culture and the team. The role Claire joined for focused on Tax but longer term she could see opportunities for development. Claire became the sole in-house tax specialist for a privately owned real estate investment and development group. In this role she provided technical and project management support in the acquisition and disposal of large pan-European asset portfolios.
Australian Property Group VALAD acquired Scarborough six months before the financial crisis in 2007. Due to the crash, Claire’s role as Head of Tax changed very quickly to focus on restructuring debt and risk management, with Claire working to establish a risk framework and register.
In 2015, VALAD was acquired by Cromwell Property Group. When the existing CFO resigned, Claire was called by the CEO be told about the change and that her current position would be unaffected. Claire had the instinctive reaction to ask if they would consider her for the position, motivated by the desire to move into more strategic finance roles and away from the specialist tax and risk functions. Claire was successful and appointed as CFO.
After four years of commuting to London in her role of CFO, Claire set up Bealach Advisory. Currently in her portfolio, she is working with Intergen as Director of Treasury and Business Planning Advisory.
Claire’s Career Advice
Broaden your skill set and industry experience
Claire’s initial training with KPMG and dealing with clients gave her a strong professional preparation and consultative mindset to expand her skill set beyond a purely specialist focus and allowed her to step into the role as CFO.
Define what success means to you
Success is different for everyone. It is not necessarily just a job title. Think about what is important to you and what you are looking to get out of your career.
Look for opportunities
Put your hand up, ask the question, be prepared to say yes to things you may not want to do and never say no immediately. Think about what the opportunity may bring and keep an appetite for change.
Seek out a mentor
Coaching and mentoring are hugely important for career success, as is continually developing your skill set
Relationships are key
Networking, building your team and investing in professional relationships are hugely important. They are something to continually develop and work as Claire showed when building a networking in Scotland from scratch when first setting up Bealach Advisory
Plan your journey as you go
It is okay not to have a clear idea of your career journey. Claire mentioned that she has only become more strategic in her career moves within the last five years.
To find out more about Rutherford Cross events, or to discuss your senior finance recruitment needs, please contact [email protected].