Q&A with Angus McCuaig, AAB Glasgow Managing Partner

In this latest instalment of our Life at AAB blog we catch up with Angus, AAB Glasgow Managing Partner, to find out more about him, his career to date, and how the Glasgow team have settled in.

AAB Life Blog

Blog12th Nov 2021

It’s been 7 months since we announced our merger with Hardie Caldwell and welcomed our Glasgow-based colleagues to the AAB Group.

In this latest instalment of our Life at AAB blog we catch up with Angus, AAB Glasgow Managing Partner, to find out more about him, his career to date, and how the Glasgow team have settled in.

Firstly, did you always know accountancy was for you? Is this what you went on to study at university or college?   

All through school Maths was one of my strongest subjects but I also had a keen interest in Scottish History. When starting to think about life after school I suppose you could say my head ruled my heart and I went with the option that I enjoyed but could also open up a lot of avenues for me.

At the end of fifth year, I was looking into options and realised accountancy was of real interest to me. I sat O-Grade Accounting in my sixth year and found it came really naturally to me. I then went on to study a Bachelor of Accountancy at Glasgow University from 1988-91. I am however happy to say my interest in Scottish History has continued as a hobby for me.

What about after university? Where did your career start? 

I stayed in Glasgow and joined Hardie Caldwell as a Trainee. Thinking about it, this means I have been part of the team for 30 years! Where has the time gone?

I went straight into the audit department, however at that time due to the size of the business, we all regularly helped with other departments so this gave me good grounding and knowledge of other areas of the business.

As time went on, I continued to work in audit, being trusted with bigger jobs, and became ICAS qualified in 1995.

And looking back to that time, how much has changed?  

Oh, so much. On my first job out at a client on audit I was given a poly bag of receipts and was told to summarise the information on a bit of paper! It took the best part of two days to do so!

I also remember that whilst I was training we got our first computers in the office. There were only about 3 or 4 of them and you had to book a time slot to use them. The devices were met with some trepidation but we gradually got used to them. I was a supervisor by the time everyone got a computer at their desk. It’s amazing how much the technology has developed and processes have completely transformed.

And how have things changed for the Glasgow team since the AAB merger? 

So much has changed, and as Managing Partner I really notice this. We are part of a bigger network and team, we have more structure, more meetings and more actions to ensure we are always doing the utmost for our clients and people. We’ve really been able to build on the strong foundations we already had in place which is really satisfying for everyone here.

This support from our colleagues across AAB has really been there since day one. I’ve had unwavering support and assistance from colleagues and fellow partners of AAB as we settle in and move forward.

The merger has been really positive for everyone involved and just as it’s opened up many doors for us in Glasgow, we’ve been able to support the other AAB teams which is rewarding.

One point has remained. The team here in Glasgow are phenomenal and work exceptionally hard to exceed our clients’ expectations. The merger has allowed us to expand that team, that family, into a bigger and stronger family- the AAB family.

I couldn’t be prouder of the team here in Glasgow and the efforts they have put in over this integration period and I can honestly say we are delighted and very proud to be part of the wider, and ever expanding, AAB family.

We’re still on the journey and settling in, and this will go on for some time, but everyone across AAB is helping us achieve this, especially Lyn and her Edinburgh team as we form a united Central Belt presence.

I’m still heavily involved in client work but now I sit on the AAB Board, attend leadership meetings, the audit group meetings and Central Belt business development meetings. Thanks to remote working this has all been possible and I’ve been able to ‘meet’ so many people across the business. The past 7 months have completely flown by!

I am however looking forward to seeing more of our brilliant team in the Glasgow office as we push forward in our Return to Office under our client and team focussed hybrid working model.

Tell us more about how Hardie Caldwell and AAB worked together over the years before the merger 

We worked a lot with AAB through the Accelerate network, and Hardie Caldwell was actually one of the five founding members of the network which started in the 80s, and we helped bring AAB into the network shortly after AAB was formed. The Accelerate network now has over 20 firms in it and over the years we kept very close contact with the guys at AAB, especially in the last 5 years. The merger takes that co-operation and togetherness to another level.

Looking back, was there anyone in particular that you think had a positive impact on your career? 

It’s got to be my predecessor Partners: Robert Mackay, Marion Hopper, John Anderson and Ken Harkness. Robert and Marion interviewed me, ironically in the History department at Glasgow Uni! I was the last candidate of the day so I felt the pressure to make a memorable impression.

Each of those four Partners shared their knowledge with me and supported me throughout my career, especially when I moved up to Audit Compliance Partner in 2009 then Managing Partner in 2013.

And finally. if you could tell the current generation that are joining firms at entry level one thing, what would it be? 

Honestly, just keep working hard, be dedicated and bring as much enthusiasm and energy into the job and the team as possible. It’s cliched but that’s the reality. You don’t get anywhere in life if you don’t work hard and work well with your team members.

Interview with Angus McCuaig, Glasgow Managing Partner

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