Ready for anything: 4 questions with EY Belfast’s Karen Martin

"Never in my wildest dreams did I expect EY in Northern Ireland to be dealing with transactions of this nature.” Karen, a Senior Manager in our Business Tax team, shares her experience of life at EY Belfast (second time around).

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1.  This is your second career with EY Belfast – what made you come back?


My graduate career began with eight years at EY, gaining my professional qualifications and a grounding in business tax. When family circumstances moved us to Scotland, I left EY to try something new.


First came a number of years  working with some of Scotland’s most well-known entrepreneurs with another Big Four professional services firm. But with a growing family of young children, we decided to move back to Northern Ireland for the great schools and proximity to family. At this point I took on an industry role as European Tax Manager with an Irish headquartered listed company


My plan was to move back into a UK business tax role and I had opportunities with several employers. What sold me on EY, above all, were the people. The lovely sense of team at EY Belfast hadn’t changed. It felt like coming home.



  1.   To what extent does your work have a global impact?


The size of clients and the complexity of transactions we’re involved in mean there are lots of opportunities to make a global impact. For example, I’m currently working with a UK-headquartered group to restructure their operations in Singapore, Germany and Greece, and bring more activity back to the UK.


Another restructuring project I really enjoyed had a value in excess of £2 billion and involved collaboration with overseas tax, legal and accounting teams. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect EY in Northern Ireland to be dealing with transactions of this nature.





  1.   What’s been the biggest aspect of your career development?


Not a day goes by that I don’t learn something new, thanks to the sheer variety of work we do. On any given day, I may be dealing with a global transaction in the morning and a local owner-managed business in the afternoon.


Because of this, I’ve greatly developed my ability to manage relationships and projects of any scale –multiple workstreams across disciplines, offices and countries – to the point where I can pretty much handle any transaction at this point. I feel ready for anything – and that’s a great thing to be able to say.



  1.   How do you balance work and family life?


Flexible working is open to anyone at EY, which is something I really appreciate. I live in the countryside just outside Belfast and normally travel in at non-peak times. So I start work at 7am and finish at 3:30pm, Monday to Friday, with Wednesdays off.


Having time in the afternoon and evening for my young children makes a huge difference. Arrangements like this work very well for EY too, as it means that people like me can continue to have a successful career while raising a family.


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