Training to be an accountant during a recession had some advantages. I trained with a small firm in Scotland during the early 1990s. When the recession bit, I was retained and thrown in at the deep end, which gave me a really good grounding.
After qualifying with ACCA I joined a mid-tier firm in Glasgow. I was working with much larger clients which helped me to progress from an audit senior to audit manager and in May 2008 to partner.
Networking is important; it led to my next move. After discussions with the partner group I joined Alexander Sloan in 2013. I could see the huge potential in a firm with a solid reputation across Scotland’s central belt.
The ACCA Qualification has proved enormously helpful to my career. It gives you professional credibility and is a badge of technical expertise. Today I couldn’t function without it since my Audit Qualification allows me to sign off audit reports.
Our firm sees real benefits in rotating staff. We understand the importance of continuity of partners and senior staff to our clients; however, we aim to introduce new members of staff at lower grades to help grow the pool we have available with knowledge of our clients’ procedures, systems, personnel, etc.
I relish working with my diverse client base. I get a real buzz from the variety of working with small businesses and the advice they require to attending board meetings of large audit clients.
My first preference is always to go out and visit my clients. This provides a real window into the business and the key individuals behind it. It’s amazing what you can pick up from talking to people.
Q: You lead Alexander Sloan’s franchising unit. Tell me more about working with these types of businesses and any particular challenges it poses for accountants? A: Franchising is attractive for people who want to run their own business, but with the support of a larger brand behind them. Affords the opportunities for those who want to run their own business with tried and tested support behind them.
FRS 102 provides clients with the biggest change to accounting rules I have seen in my career. Clients are not always aware of the impact FRS 102 will have on the accounting framework. We are working closely to help them with the transition process, including the provision of compliance health checks.
Alexander Sloan will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2017. One client has been with us since 1908 and it will be a delight to see them help celebrate this milestone.
I have been a member of the ACCA Scotland Committee for just over one year. We are ACCA’s ‘eyes and ears’ on the ground, providing perspectives of the accountancy market in Scotland, as well as tracking the activity of our competitors and other businesses. We also promote ACCA’s regional networks and encourage members across the country to take advantage of the many benefits of membership.
Away from work I drive my ten year old son across the country to play rugby. Even then, my skills are put to good use; I am treasurer of his club (Glasgow Accies)!