My role is very much technology based and I really enjoy learning about new software and tech. It also gives me the opportunity to speak to a wide range of people from a variety of backgrounds; for instance, I could be talking to someone who is running a charity followed by someone who owns a farm.
Creating relationships and building a rapport with clients is great, and working alongside them to help streamline their finance function gives me a real sense of satisfaction.
Alexander Sloan was established in 1867, and we are proud to be one of Scotland’s longest standing independent accountancy firms. Our firm operates out of two offices – in Glasgow and Edinburgh – and we have around 50 staff.
I have seen the effects of climate change on friends and family living abroad, and the small steps we take today can have a big impact on all our futures
At present, one of our main challenges is transitioning clients to digital accounting, including supporting them in digitalising records and helping their staff while they work from home due to the pandemic. We also know net zero will be a big area in the coming years. We are taking steps to understand what we need to do as a firm, and how to help our clients implement a green strategy. There is a lot to be achieved! I have seen the effects of climate change on friends and family living abroad, and the small steps we take today can have a big impact on all our futures.
Our profession has a very important part to play in providing and reporting key environmental, social and governance (ESG) information to businesses. We will need to help them improve processes and internal controls, and ensure they have key metrics in place to measure their carbon footprint. Having accessible financial information that is held on a cloud-based platform will make it easier to measure ESG metrics.
For those beginning their digital transformation journey, I would recommend tackling one area at a time. This might include looking at systems and processes, and whether time and efficiencies could be made. I recommend planning out the stages of implementation and what possible knock-on effect it would have on the running of the practice. It is also a good idea to reach out to contacts who are a bit further along in their journey. If you’re feeling daunted by what you see as a large task, I know from personal experience it’s useful just to have a chat with others, as it can help to draw parallels with what you are going through.
Being confident enough to raise ideas and solutions to clients is an important skill for future accountants. We need to have great communication skills and be conscientious enough to know what effect our actions may have on a client’s decisions.
Having technical knowledge is important, but equally important is how you converse with clients and react to ever-evolving economic conditions.