From the Big Four to AAB

After 12 years auditing financial service firms, Andrew took the big leap to join AAB. Three months on, he discusses the massive personal change that accepting the role brought and the breadth of services he has been involved in since.

AAB Life Blog

Blog3rd Dec 2021

Before deciding to make the big leap to AAB in early September, I had worked at Ernst & Young (EY) for 12 years. After completing the ‘EY Degree’ as it was then known at Lancaster University, I jumped straight into the audit of financial service firms and worked my way up to being a Senior Manager. Leaving EY was certainly not an easy choice and the prospect of interviewing for a firm in Aberdeen remotely was pretty daunting at the time!

Since joining AAB back in early September, I can gladly say I am only looking ahead at the experience and opportunities. From a professional perspective I have hugely enjoyed the variety of specialist areas, business size and clients that I am working on. From manufacturing to marine services, to upstream oil and gas and operators, there has been no shortage of variety and learning to keep me busy.

In the three months since joining it’s not only statutory audits that I have worked on. I’ve really enjoyed the breadth of services I have been involved with compared to my previous role on areas such as one-off technical accounting assessments, specific scope reviews and inputting in feedback to regulators as a firm.

I have also been lucky enough to be put forward to work in partnership with one of the firm’s involved in the FCA’s ongoing Digital Sandbox exercise on ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) reporting which I feel hugely honoured to be a part of. It has also been great to leverage the valuable experience I gained from managing large scale audit engagements at EY and use this at AAB to help our firm grow out its value and offering proposition.

Taking the plunge into AAB has also been a massive personal change as accepting this role enabled my family to move closer to family currently living in Campbeltown. Jim Pirrie and the wider partner group showed a huge amount of faith and transparency in discussing this with me, understanding my concerns all while offering a challenging and exciting role. The trips to Aberdeen might be at the mercy of the 20 seater plane to Glasgow, but I have no regrets given the positive impact this has had on my family and my own mental health and career.

One thing that also struck me particularly when visiting Kingshill View, AAB’s Aberdeen office, is how the team, being closer and more tightly knit than my previous job, is so much like a family. Everyone has been super welcoming and I have really enjoyed the agility of the partner group and manager team to make decisions and resolve issues quickly without waiting days and weeks. The hybrid working model and trust the partner group have shown has hugely impressed me in striking that perfect balance of being visible and delivering the Plus Factor to our clients and within our audit team while also not just being somewhere to be seen.

My final thought on reflecting on my job move is just how much AAB has grown even in the short time I have been here. Since interviewing for my job at AAB, Hardie Caldwell, Purpose HR and Sagars have all been brought into the wider Group. This combined with the backing of August Equity means that I see real future opportunities for growth in my role rather than a game of musical chairs, which motivates me more to work hard for my clients and use my experience to build out AAB to be instrumental in meeting our ambitious goals.

The good news is the next 12 to 18 months certainly do not look to be slowing down and I’m excited to see what the coming months and years bring for my career at AAB.

By Andrew Freeman, Audit Senior Manager

Share this page