CPA Profile
Michael Smyth
CPA Profile
Michael Smyth
Michael Smyth

Title: Vice President, Financial Planning & Analysis
Company: Dell Technologies
Qualifications: CPA MBA


I was born and raised in Limerick and sat my leaving cert in Castleknock College in Dublin and attended University of Limerick where I graduated with my CPA qualification followed by an MBA. I have worked for Dell Technologies for 32 years, initially in Limerick and later taking assignments in South Africa and Slovakia before settling down with my family in Austin, Texas. I have been married to Caroline for 35 years and have two adult children, Naomi and Andrew who both live and work in Austin.

Why did you decide to start out in a career in accountancy?

I always enjoyed accounting in school and university. I started my working career in Supply Chain for a tech company, Wang Laboratories, but realised early on my passion was finance. I joined the Dell Technologies finance function, but I knew I needed the accounting qualification to be successful, and to gain the required expertise, credibility and confidence. You can only get so far without the qualification, and it’s a game changer and a ticket to entry for leadership positions.

Why did you choose CPA Ireland as your qualification route?
At the time I wasn’t sure if I wanted to make a career in practice or industry. CPA allowed me to get a recognized qualification before I had to make a choice between the two.

Also, CPA offered more flexibility – I was working full time and I was able to complete my program by night and on my own time. Today, the benefits are even greater as the Irish CPA qualification becomes more recognized globally.

Please provide a brief history of your career.
I started my career in Wang Laboratories in the early 80’s, spending 8 years in supply chain. I joined Dell Technologies in Limerick in 1991 and spent the next 13 years working across financial and cost accounting, learning the fundamentals of commercial finance and accounting. Over the next 8 years I moved to South Africa, Slovakia and Dell’s headquarter in Austin, Texas, taking leadership roles in Internal Audit, Commercial Finance, M&A and Shared Services. Next, I moved to Dell’s Information Technology function, working as the business leader in IT – teaching the IT organization how to think like a business, in addition to running the global program management function. After 6 years in IT, I returned to finance and spent 4 years leading our Sales Operations function – responsible for Sales Compensation design and Quota setting for our ~30k salespeople. Over the past year I have been leading our global sales FP&A organization……40 years in and still motivated!
What one word describes what your CPA qualification has given you?
What has been your biggest career achievement?
Wow…! I think moving to IT and being promoted to Senior Vice President and two years later being asked to interview for the vacant position of Dell’s Chief Information Officer! I’m a finance guy – we don’t usually get shortlisted to be the CIO of $100Bn company! Very humbling and satisfying.
What or who inspires you most in business?

Who – creators and innovators.

Michael O’Leary created travel (I mean, he got us all to travel to places we wouldn’t have otherwise based on cost/ease). Elon Musk – takes huge risks because he believes. Michael Dell – pioneered the direct model for PC’s and reinvented the supply chain for technology. I may not agree with some of their opinions or principles, but I admire their entrepreneurial spirit and success.

What – passionate leaders with a purpose beyond their self-interest – check out chef José Andrés of World Central kitchen – truly inspirational. Volodymyr Zelenskyy another leader I hugely admire.

What advice would you give to those recently qualified or currently studying for their CPA qualification?

Remember your brand defines you. Be the best version of yourself you can be by working hard, taking calculated risks (I went to South Africa, Slovakia and into the IT organisation when none of my peers would do it – they all helped my career tremendously) and always operate with the highest integrity. Oh – and have fun! Don’t take a job you won’t enjoy! If you are still studying, just know with 100% certainty, that the effort will be rewarded many times over. CPA is a hugely recognized credential.

How do you unwind?
I run every day at 6am with a buddy. It starts my day well. When you feel good about your body, your mind follows! Oh – and wine!! I finish the day with a nice glass of wine and family time!
What traits do you admire in others?

Humility, honesty, humour, positivity and caring.