Joe O'Regan FCCA, director of Harvard GSS

Joe O Regan FCCA is a busy guy at the best of instances, however as for so many folks the world over, Covid-19 has driven the demands on him to another degree entirely.

He is the director of Harvard University s Global Support Services (GSS), a reasonably new organisation within the university that helps scholars, faculty as well as staff in another country. GSS does everything from responding to in another country emergencies to repatriating university associates in times of disaster. Yet even for an enterprise used to disaster response, the pandemic has been a complete recreation-changer , says O Regan.

In January of this year, GSS started tracking the covid-19 outbreak in China, running intently with the college s departments to assess the possible impact on Harvard s world operations. By March, the college had determined to droop on-campus classes, requested scholars to depart campus, and prompt the ones in a foreign country to return house. O Regan as well as his crew at GSS collaborated with Harvard officials on repatriating hundreds of students residing in america university s dormitories, many of whom wanted to go back to in a foreign country properties, whilst serving to deliver again Harvard college, group of workers and scholars from their international outposts. Exodus

We engaged our crisis management team early on, explains O Regan, who even in the middle of a virulent disease stays measured and affable, and nonetheless speaks with a soft Irish accessory. Within a matter of days, students left campus, training went on-line, personnel set to work remotely, and many research tasks had been wound down. All was performed, after all, whilst keeping up the college s venture of training as well as scholarship.

Agility, flexibility and even spontaneity have outlined O Regan s global career. He could have almost definitely change into a scientist, perhaps even a meteorologist like his father, however for an opportunity encounter whilst he was once 17. One summer at an area swimming hole in his home the city of Kilkenny, before heading off to study technological know-how at University College Dublin, his trail crossed with an accountant who informed him about ACCA.

He talked about this programme the place it is advisable in truth work as well as study at the same time, O Regan recalls. I discovered that actually inviting. Overnight, science and Dublin were out, as well as accounting was once in.

O Regan began his accounting career as a trainee auditor in Ireland whilst learning with ACCA. That first 12 months, he was getting into figures manually into targeted ledgers, operating with companies as diverse as pubs and consulting practices. In the second 12 months I moved all guide accounting records onto computer systems, he says. But he admits the guide way made an enduring imprint on his accounting mind. Beyond borders

With his ACCA Qualification in hand, O Regan graduated from a finance programme presented by way of the Irish Industrial Development Authority, as well as was once placed within the Dublin-based totally model corporate LS Ramsay, which was once then looking to cross global . O Regan s activity was figuring out learn how to make that happen. That seeded my pressure for global work, he says.

O Regan s profession complicated while working for US firms with operations in Ireland, together with AT&T and IT trade Amdahl, before he in the end crossed the Atlantic to work for fireplace protection methods producer SimplexGrinnell.

Here he controlled all the accounting as well as reporting for the USA$2bn company, while developing trade apply pointers and monetary reporting methods international. It was once probably the most busiest occasions of his existence.

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I was travelling a lot and not seeing my family much, he recollects. But when coming back from one long overseas trip, O Regan discovered that his son slightly acknowledged him. He decided that a profession alternate was once very important.

In 2002, he landed a brand new function because the director of finance and administration of the Waldorf School in Lexington, Massachusetts, the place he still lives lately. Over the course of a decade, O Regan helped turn out to be the personal college, first by restructuring its funds and administrative resources, and through helping arrange an emergency response plan. Milk and honey

Life was once good and less disturbing within the non-benefit zone. O Regan even enrolled in a path on biodynamic farming and took up beekeeping. At one point, he had more than one hundred,000 bees. But through this point his youngsters had grown up, and I wanted to get again into what I was used to doing , he says.

He spotted a place at Harvard that piqued his interest. They had been on the lookout for somebody with a non-profit historical past as well as international finance enjoy. A big part of me being certified for the job was my ACCA credentials, says O Regan. The largest get advantages I’ve received from my ACCA coaching is the international part, which prepared me for running and dealing with very complex operations in diverse environments. To me this was once the dream job and I got it.

That dream job was launching Harvard Global. Back then, the agency used to be just a non-profit startup; now, it helps Harvard faculties and centres run analysis projects international.

That first yr was once loopy, O Regan says. He helped arrange research centres in London, Johannesburg, Mumbai, Dubai as well as somewhere else, as well as was instrumental in developing multinational and multicurrency systems that built-in with Harvard s monetary structure.

Reliable accounting and fiscal services and products are extremely vital for higher education, which may also be very complicated, with different laws and laws for various streams of income presents, donations, investments, tuition as well as business, he says. Some large institutions like Harvard have very difficult business fashions, as well as the monetary methods should be in a position and nimble sufficient for accounting and monetary products and services which can be meaningful in each and every area of operation.

O Regan s breadth of enjoy soon earned him a promotion to director of the agency, where he added the world safety and security element to his portfolio for Harvard. Data protection challenge

The previous couple of years have presented new and complex global demanding situations to the GSS remit, together with the United Kingdom s withdrawal from the EU as well as compliance with the EU s data protection requirements. To accommodate the will for GSS s European operations to stay situated within the EU, O Regan as well as his crew are lately in the means of relocating the university s representative for the EU s General Data Protection Regulation from Londonto Ireland.

Despite the shake-ups, O Regan has controlled to stay resilient as well as humble. I’m very fortunate to have an especially talented team that is very committed to our mission and imaginative and prescient, he stresses. This group is cutting edge, diverse, devoted as well as fun to work with. Together, we have now travelled the sector during the last few years, as well as it’s been great to peer the culmination of our labour in the field.

The emergence of Covid-19 has additionally forced O Regan as well as the university to take a look at the implications of an ongoing international crisis. Everyone pulled together as well as operationalised key choices in no time, he says, however financial making plans as well as management will probably be key to the long-time period well being of our university, community, and the upper education region in general.

In 2016, O Regan and the GSS group were tasked with helping to satisfy a collection of challenges posed via the newly put in Harvard president Larry Bacow. The college, mentioned Bacow, needs to use the significant resources entrusted to us our assets, concepts as well as other people to handle tough problems as well as painful divisions It is up to us to depart our country as well as our international a greater position the following day than it’s lately.

To that end, O Regan as well as his workforce set out to make GSS as well as its products and services as visual and known across campus as possible, thru effective advertising and marketing and partnerships with departments, centres as well as colleges right across the college. Keeping Harvard s students, teachers and other staff protected is GSS s paramount concern, as well as the business enterprise works closely with them on trip consultations and trip-chance mitigation, together with give a boost to for sexual assault as well as gender violence, incident assessments, advisories as well as signals, and emergency reaction management. Other operations

The different element of O Regan s work is offering Harvard s out of the country researchers with hiring options, the college s insurance policies, nation immigration as well as residency necessities. He as well as his GSS staff additionally manage 3rd-celebration distributors as well as coordinate with Harvard s human assets and finance departments, including help with budgeting, banking as well as country-specific tax considerations.

What I love about finance is that the numbers tell a story about an corporation as well as the history of the corporation, and you’ll also take that tale into the future, O Regan says. Accountants need in an effort to translate numbers into tales as well as what they really mean, therefore other folks can make selections and affect the path of the company, each brief term as well as long term.

That s why my accountancy coaching has really stood the test of time. No matter what job I’ve been in, there’s always been accounting. That s the place I come from. It’s 2d nature to me.

Speaking of nature, O Regan has not too long ago lower back to beekeeping and put in a brand new hive in his lawn. Now that I’m operating from home, he says, perhaps I ll have extra time for it. CV


Director, Harvard GSS, Massachusetts


Associate director for finance as well as administration, Harvard Global


Finance and admin director, Waldorf School, Lexington, Massachusetts


Accounting controller and world finance manager, SimplexGrinnell/Simplex Time Recorder, Massachusetts


CFO, Lake Region Manufacturing, Wexford, Ireland


Finance manager, Amdahl, Dublin, Ireland


Finance supervisor, AT&T, Bray, Ireland


Finance supervisor, LS Ramsay, Dublin, Ireland Basics

Harvard Global Support Services (GSS) gives global travel, analysis and programming reinforce for college kids, school as well as workforce throughout Harvard s colleges, departments as well as centres. Since 2011, GSS has helped the Harvard group minimise possibility, arrange complexity as well as maximise the affect of its world shuttle and activities.

The GSS crew has deep wisdom of safety, crisis management, finance, HR, international business as well as more, as well as handles trip-related issues within the following spaces:

safety and security




financial as well as felony issues

analysis centre operations

International SOS (Harvard s emergency reaction programme).

In 2024, slightly below eleven,000 Harvard affiliates registered international shuttle, amounting to an predicted thirteen,878 trips to 166 countries. The identical yr, the business enterprise triaged 336 scientific and safety incidents around the world and assisted 254 Harvard departments with 1,979 inquiries in the case of world study, research and projects.

Sarah Sweeney, journalist

This article used to be first printed in the July/August 2024 China version of Accounting and Business magazine