60 Seconds With

“A shared vision which is bought into by all, irrespective of employee grade, is essential” – 60 Seconds with Cormac Kelleher, International Tax Partner at Mazars Ireland

By Business & Finance
20 February 2024
Pictured: Cormac Kelleher

Cormac Kelleher is an International Tax Partner at Mazars Ireland.

What was your first job? 

Working in a pub at the age of 13 was my first job. Despite having worked in multiple professional environments in the interim, I still think it was the best training I received. You are exposed to a huge variety of people, personalities and attitudes. The skill of learning to deal with a customer who is unhappy with their food forms the foundation of learning to deal with clients in a professional environment, while juggling (or struggling) with last orders on a Saturday night teaches you to multitask and prioritise. 

What pushed you to pursue a career in this field? 

I always loved numbers, which probably stems from my father who loves math as well. When aimlessly and cluelessly filling out CAO forms at 17, I decided to stick with an area that I enjoyed, and accountancy felt like the right choice. It was only once I started in college that I realised that accountancy is much broader than numbers and it is where I became interested in tax. It proved to be the right balance between numbers, law and questioning things. 

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

Mazars at its core is a training firm. Each year there is a new cohort of college graduates embarking on the start of their professional career. It is fantastic to have worked with these individuals over the years and to see them having morphed into savvy, seasoned professionals. 

Career-wise, would you do anything differently?

While I have been very fortunate in my career to have had great mentors and worked with fantastic clients, if I could change one thing, it would be to have worked internationally with our firm for a few years. Doing so would, in theory, have given me exposure to other ideas, ways of working and insights, the best of which could have been brought back home. 

In one sentence, how would you define success?

Success is a combination of attaining professional, personal and team objectives, while having some fun along the way. 

What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given?

In a professional services environment, there are always competing demands on your time and there is always another email to reply to. A mentor of mine used to suggest a pause before hitting send on a mail. Walking away for five minutes gives you a chance to reconsider the points and reflect on if this is the best course of action. Clearly you can’t have pauses throughout the day for every mail, but it can be beneficial for the larger, more complex matters.

How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

A shared vision which is bought into by all, irrespective of employee grade, is essential. This shared vision needs to be checked into regularly. It is not something that gets looked at annually. If it is shared, the ideas of more junior staff should be adopted where feasible. This collaborative team approach will generate greater ownership, motivation and accountability. Along the journey of this wider shared vision, the smaller wins need to be acknowledged and celebrated. 

How do you handle adversity?

Adversity can often be triggered by a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of a situation. The easiest, but incorrect, thing is to double down on a position. This can merely add fuel. Listening and trying to understand the other perspective can help establish that possibly the other person did not have the most current information, and the issue is not actually an issue. Equally, it may help you realise that you did overlook an issue that is important to them, but you didn’t even consider. 

How do you relax?

I took up tennis in the last couple of years. It can be an enjoyable and frustrating game in equal measure. 

What are your aspirations for the future of the business?

The focus for 2024 is to build on the existing growth of our Financial Services Tax team. The FORVIS Mazars alliance, which will occur in Summer 2024, will be a fantastic springboard on which we can grow. We have had some great senior staff appointments in late 2023 so the building blocks are all in place. 


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