Mark Quigley from Accenture Financial Services gives us the lowdown on his work navigating the sea change in retail banking.
As a senior manager in Accenture Financial Services, Mark Quigley needs to make sure his team is on top of disruptive new developments seeping into financial services from its tech-centric counterpart, fintech.
When your job is about keeping pace with an industry currently racing through significant transformation, being disciplined about switching off becomes important – though Quigley has a toddler at home who helps him to quickly break out of his workplace frame of mind.
Enticed by the variety a career at Accenture presented him, Quigley says his favourite part of the job is the team he works with, and emphasises the importance of good relationships with your co-workers.
Quigley and his colleagues chiefly work in the retail banking space, and he counts himself lucky to have been involved with some major projects both in Ireland and the UK. He took time out of his busy schedule to give us a taste of a day in the life of a financial services manager at Accenture.
‘We’re going through a step change in the type of projects being delivered within the banking sector’
– MARK QUIGLEY
What is your role within Accenture?
I’m a senior manager in Accenture Financial Services, working with teams to deliver large-scale, transformational change in retail banking, with innovation at the core.
If there is such a thing, can you describe a typical day in the job?
Most of my time is spent with my team making sure we are bringing the best of what we offer and that we are clear on what we are delivering. This mostly means staying at the forefront of what’s relevant in banking, be it new capabilities such as digital and AI, products that can help our clients, or responding to regulatory change. Also, it means staying focused on delivery and making sure we’re on top of timelines, budgets and issues.
After that, it really does vary. Today, for example, I’m finalising Accenture Ireland’s forthcoming research on the SME sector and participating in multiple project meetings, before closing out the day with a team dinner.
What types of project do you work on?
I’ve been lucky to work with talented teams delivering a broad range of retail banking products in Ireland and the UK. At the minute, I’m implementing enhanced payments capabilities.
The one consistent factor throughout all the change is the focus on understanding what our client needs and working with them to deliver value. I do think we’re going through a step change in the type of projects being delivered within the banking sector. While improving customer experience and responding to regulatory changes are always at the core, customer demand for digital payments, the onset of open banking, the ability for banks to partner with fintechs and the opportunities provided by big data means there is a lot of change being delivered that is disrupting the market and providing new, more personalised customer experiences.
What skills do you use on a daily basis?
The ability to put myself in the client’s and customer’s shoes is vitally important, and always helps lead to successful outcomes. I also put real emphasis on making an effort to build strong relationships with the people I work with.
Aside from that, taking an analytical approach to working with teams to resolve technical challenges through good process and communication are key skills that are core to a career in Accenture.
What is the hardest part of your working day?
Switching off – although I have to say that has gotten a lot easier recently with a toddler welcoming me home at the door.
Do you have any productivity tips that help you through the working day?
It’s easy to get distracted with interruptions in today’s workplace, by emails, calls or meetings. I take a few minutes each day to think through my priorities and the items I need to focus on.
Also, switch off email alerts on your phone. If it’s important enough, you’ll get a call!
When you first started this job, what were you most surprised to learn was important in the role?
That the quality of your relationships with those you work with are almost as important as the quality of your work.
How has this role changed as the financial services sector has grown and evolved?
Probably two things. Firstly, the pace of digital change has revolutionised customer expectations and means that we need to be at the forefront of market trends to bring relevant offerings to our clients. This will only continue to accelerate with open banking, AI, analytics and the ability to partner with fintechs. Secondly, the prevalence of regulatory change since the financial crash has meant implementing solutions to remain compliant. This drives a lot of the complex projects we help deliver.
What do you enjoy most about the job?
Primarily, my team and the people I get to work with every day. It’s their level of professionalism and work ethic that helps me be at my best. Secondly, the variety. For me, one of the main attractions of Accenture is the opportunity to take on new challenges and refresh your career on a continuous basis.