“Instances that we deemed negative might ultimately lead to growth,” — 60 seconds with Derek Henry.

07 September 2022

Derek Henry, Partner and Head of Tax, has over 20 years’ experience in his field. He joined the accountancy firm in 2006 and became partner in 2015.

What was your first job?

Outside part-time jobs and summer work, I got a job in a sales role at AIB while I was waiting for my Leaving Cert results. I found the sales training interesting at the time and I believe some of the elements of this training have been important later in my career.

What pushed you to pursue a career in this field?

I had an aptitude for accounting and business in school, so my interest in these subjects coupled with an excellent accounting teacher, Mary Sheeran in St. Mary’s College, Boyle, Co. Roscommon, definitely led me down this road. A career in accounting opens a lot of opportunities and, like a lot of people starting out in accounting, I wasn’t fully decided on where the road would lead me to. However, during my studies I was attracted to the tax side of the profession and I always had an interest in law, so tax is a nice balance between the two disciplines.

With BDO, I was initially attracted to the business because of the opportunity it afforded me to work closely with business decision makers across a wide variety of clients.

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

Truthfully, I’ve had many great opportunities that have come my way in my career. I have performed a number of roles within BDO and co-authored a book with my colleague, Andrew Bourg. However, from a career perspective my greatest achievement to date has been cultivating good relationships with my colleagues and clients I have worked with. We have a great culture here and as a training firm it’s always very rewarding to see our trainees develop from new graduates to successful members of the business community both within and outside BDO.

From a personal perspective, by far my greatest achievement is my family, but in truth it is my wife’s greatest achievement and I am just lucky to be a player on her stage!

Career wise, would you do anything differently?

Although there are things I know now that I wish I knew when I was younger, I wouldn’t change any decisions I’ve made in relation to my career. I have learned from all the experiences and opportunities that have come my way.

We never know when instances that we deemed negative at the time might ultimately lead to an opportunity for growth and development that can prove very important in the longer run.

In one sentence, how would you define success?

Satisfaction with your journey/process — if you’re not happy on the journey, you probably won’t be happy when you get to your desired destination.

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

I’ve received great advice from a wide range of people over the years, but like most the best advice has always come from my parents. The best advice from my parents came when I was disappointed something didn’t go the way I had wanted it to, to which my mother told me “things won’t always come easy to you, but don’t wallow in it. Dust yourself off, learn from it and move on”. It was probably a contextualised version of “success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts”.


Content adapted from Business & Fiannce.