A man wearing a suit smiling at the camera. Behind him are several trees on a sunny day.
Garbhan McKenna. Image: PwC

Remote working places ‘a greater importance on good communication’

1 Mar 2022

PwC’s Garbhan McKenna gives an insight into his role in automation and how he has adapted to remote working.

Garbhan McKenna is an associate in the tax technology team with PwC Ireland, where he works on automation and RPA projects as well as supporting users on various applications and tools used in the tax line of service.

Like many others, he has had to adapt to remote working since the beginning of the pandemic and has found that communication skills have become more important than ever.

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However, he told SiliconRepublic.com about the increased flexibility he now has and how remote working has improved his work-life balance.

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‘There has been a strong emphasis on digital upskilling for all staff’

If there is such a thing, can you describe a typical day in the job?

I like to start each day by going over my schedule to make sure any calls or meetings I have that are a priority are top of my mind. I get any prep work for these done first thing.

After this I usually go through my emails. I then continue to work on the various projects that have been assigned to me.

Throughout the day I have catch-ups with team members to discuss projects we are working on.

What types of projects do you work on?

I am currently working on building a number of efficient high-profile end-to-end automated solutions. An example of this is Project Compass, which is an end-to-end automated continuous testing compliance process.

The purpose of this project was to provide a seamless, intuitive and simple method of collecting information and populating Alphatax.

Technologies I would be mostly using when working on projects would be UiPath and Alteryx as well as writing various programming languages.

What skills do you use on a daily basis?

Good communication is vital, together with technical and problem-solving skills.

Being able to listen and clearly understand the project requirements and specifications is important. Adapting to change positively is also important.

What are the hardest parts of your working day?

One of the challenges during my working day is managing my time effectively and prioritising the most important tasks to meet deadlines.

No two projects are the same and finding solutions in a creative way requires good concentration. I go to the gym regularly as I find exercise a great way of clearing my head and helps me concentrate each day.

Do you have any productivity tips that help you through the day?

As I work remotely, I would recommend choosing a quiet place to work with no distractions. I also set myself achievable targets each day. I try to do important tasks first and set myself clear goals that I want to achieve each day.

What skills and tools are you using to communicate daily with your colleagues?

For communicating with colleagues, I would mostly use Gmail and Google Hangouts. I can schedule work calls and send quick messages to work colleagues.

How has this role changed as this sector has grown and evolved?

When I started working in the tax technology team with PwC Ireland, I was working permanently in the office. Since Covid, I have been working remotely.

The move to remote working placed a greater importance on good communication within the company. In PwC, there has been a strong emphasis on digital upskilling for all staff.

Our technology team provides support in implementing the correct technology solutions. I find that working remotely has given me greater flexibility and has helped create a better work-life balance.

What do you enjoy most about the job?

Work fills a large part of my life and so I feel it is important that I enjoy my work. I am lucky to be working with great people who are experts in the field and learning from them.

Being exposed to different work projects, a range of technologies and excellent training gives me the opportunity to take on responsibility. I relish a challenge and enjoying my work motivates me to work hard to succeed.

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