One Month in Corporate Recovery: A Trainee’s Perspective

One lesson I took from my Strategy Class in college was the danger of organizational drift. The environment around us is constantly changing – new regulation tells us what paperwork needs filing and globalization tells us what new threats we face. When you work for Baker Tilly Hughes Blake you realize that this is a firm that doesn’t get dragged in with the tide.

The sphere of finance is sometimes slated as a self-serving industry. Like many millennials I seek a well-paying career – but not at any cost. Working with insolvent businesses it turns out may give me that chance to achieve the former while providing a social value.

One tool we often use in Corporate Recovery is Examinership. Examinership is an alternative to liquidation for cash-hindered businesses that would otherwise have bright futures. Although the daily rigours of insolvency work probably aren’t much different to other transactional finance jobs, the end result is. Its businesses -often SMEs – that you’re helping and real people’s jobs that you’re saving.

It has now been a month since I first entered Baker Tilly’s red doors at Holles Street. In a way the firm and I are on similar trajectories. Although the firm has a vintage of experience – its roots go back to Frederick G. Blake in 1916 – it recently made a big change. Ten months ago it became part of the reputable Baker Tilly brand.

When Hughes Blake joined the Baker Tilly international network of 745 offices, it pledged to add 60 new staff to its ranks. The company’s growing ambition has meant expanding its walls – literally. Builders will be arriving any day to knock a hole through to our neighbouring building, to accommodate the growing staff. Corporate Finance will make its new home next door.

This is undoubtedly an international company.  It’s not just the global reach of Baker Tilly but the diversity within the Dublin firm. Looking around the office you find a scratch map of nationalities, from Brazil to Cameroon to Malaysia. Besides the full-timers, others come from abroad for shorter-stay on secondment. The net result is a lot of cross-cultural learning and occasional delicious Brazilian brigadeiro sweets in the kitchen.

This time last year I had started my South American journey and was taking salsa lessons and drinking Club Colombia in the bars of Medellin. Though business travel isn’t quite the same it does mean that I won’t stay stagnant in Dublin for too long.

Since I arrived my colleagues in Corporate Recovery have spent time helping Baker Tilly Cyprus. The Mediterranean country recently did a legislative copy and paste of the Irish Companies Act concerning the Irish insolvency practice of Examinership. Our expertise in the field means that we will be spending more time there and I am looking forward to my deployment next year.

One thing you don’t want as a trainee is to be pigeon-holed. The volume of Business that the big corporates attract means that they have steady streams of clients from all sectors. When a graduate comes in, they will often be assigned to one of these and see nothing else e.g. banking, retail. Whilst many Business & Finance graduates are sponged-up by the large financial services firms, there are big benefits to working in a medium sized firm.

At Baker Tilly you can find yourself working with a tech company one day and a nursing home the next. The variation of work means that I rarely find myself bored or repeating myself. That’s not to say the work is always easy – insolvency is a high-stakes game and the learning curve is steep. Despite these challenges I can say that I am really enjoying the experience.