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).
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.