20 Mar, 2024

Providing a financial service – but with a social conscience.

Lisa O’Brien joined ifac in 2017. She believes coming from a dairy background is a huge advantage as it helps her understand the very specific challenges that the farming community face.

“When people come into our Monaghan office to meet with me, they may well see a host of qualification and certificates on the wall, but at the end of the day, it’s ME they’re buying into – not my academic qualifications. So it really helps when they realise that I know about the sector and that I’m sympathetic to the very specific challenges of the farming community”

“It’s so much easier building a relationship of trust when my clients know that I appreciate what their working life is like"

I understand the financial background to their business. In a typical meeting with clients, much of the chat is about farming matters and not about accountancy issues at all.”

Lisa is very much a client-facing member of the ifac team and spends most of the week in our Monaghan office. In working in what some might perceive as a man’s world, she points out that she’s only ever had one client who didn’t want to work with a female accountant. Once people know you know about farming and you know about accountancy, your gender very quickly becomes something of an irrelevance.

Lisa joined ifac from a small accountancy practice – Hugh Lennon and Associates in Cavan – following her studies at Maynooth University, where she qualified with a BA in Finance and Accounting. Over her six years with us, she’s had plenty of time to form an impression of the company. What sets ifac apart, according to Lisa, is their determination to see their clients do well for themselves. “The only way WE can succeed is when THEY do, so it’s very much a Win-Win situation.”

Lisa takes a very personal interest in her clients and regards herself as an advisor and a confidante as much as an accountant. “It’s very often the case that if a farming couple have a major financial challenge, I may be the only one who they’ve shared their dilemma with. That’s a great honour, in some ways, but it also places an extra onus of responsibility on my shoulders.”

“I’m very acutely conscious of the emotional strain they may be under, and will often check in with them to see how they’re doing – and to make sure that they know they have someone in their corner who’s working to get them to a better place business-wise.”

“I believe that companies like ifac have a social responsibility to the sector we serve, and from my own personal experience to date, I’m very definitely not the only one in the company to have this view.”

Lisa O'Brien

Talk to Lisa O'Brien

Senior Accountant047 84292monaghan@ifac.ieLinkedin
Marian Purcell
Success Story

When Marian came on board in 2022, it was as a short-term maternity cover, but within a few short months, it was obvious to everybody that we were never going to let her go!

Marian Purcell, Digital Media Specialist
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