Q&A with Robbie Mutch: Joining the Edinburgh team, starting exams and working from home

Robbie was our first graduate to begin his AAB career in our Edinburgh office. Find out how his career in Corporate Tax is moving forward, his ATT studies and the benefits he's found from working from home:

AAB Life Blog

Blog11th Feb 2021

When did you join AAB?

I started at AAB in September 2019, along with 25 other graduates, school leavers and University placements.

What did you study at university and what university did you attend?

I graduated from Heriot-Watt University in June 2019 with a First Class Degree in Accountancy & Finance. I really enjoyed my time at University but was eager to start my career by the time I had finished.

What initially attracted you to AAB, and how did you hear about the firm?

Being from Aberdeen originally, it’s hard to not know about the firm. Many of my friends from school and their family members have worked at AAB through the years and sung the praises of the graduate scheme and the firm in general. The community spirit of the firm (from the dynamics within the team to the firm’s investment within its communities), along with the investment and dedication to training young professionals stood out from the other accountancy firms that I researched.

How did it feel joining AAB’s Edinburgh office?

Having been in Edinburgh since 2014, I was keen to stay here and start my career in the city so the opening of the Edinburgh office was the perfect opportunity for me. When I applied for the position, I didn’t realise that I would be the first graduate student in Edinburgh who had never worked in Aberdeen before, which was slightly daunting. This was short lived as everyone made me feel welcome and there were a few familiar faces in the office to put me at ease.

The adjustment from University to starting at AAB was made easier by the support offered by my colleagues both in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. The Learning and Development team made sure that when the time came to start my studies towards my professional qualification that I had all the information available in order to decide which path was best to go down.

Also, with other members of the team doing exams at the same time it is easy to bounce ideas off each other and support is never hard to come by. The fact that AAB has so much success in training gradates is testament to all the support and advice offered from all members of the firm.

What department do you work in?

I work in Corporate Tax, although have many clients from the Business Advisory department, so I  work with a wide variety of clients and colleagues. As well as my Edinburgh based clients, quite a few of my clients are based in Aberdeen, so I work with the wider department on a daily basis.

Although I am only in year 2 of my career, I’ve been exposed to such a wide variety of clients and worked with multiple teams across the business, so I feel like I’m in quite a unique position and am constantly learning from colleagues across the whole business.

What would you say are the key aspects of your role?

My day-to-day tasks mainly involve the preparation of tax computations and personal tax returns. I am starting to provide support to our Expertise to Entrepreneurs team and support Corporate Finance on some valuation work which provides variety to my days.

You sadly only had about 6 months in the office before the country went into lockdown, how have you found working from home?

Well now I’ve been working from home for twice the amount of time I was in the office so it is more familiar to me! The first few months were a challenge with the whole firm finding their feet in the new working environment we found ourselves in. We have been very good at adapting to the different restrictions imposed and how these affect how and when we work.

Are there any positives you have found in terms of work or work-life balance from lockdown?

I now see my colleagues in Aberdeen every day as opposed to once a month! Also, through Microsoft Teams I can have a ‘face-to-face’ conversation with colleagues in other departments that I may have only spoken to over the phone prior to lockdown last March. At the start of working from home it was difficult to find a balance as I didn’t have a dedicated workspace, but with some tinkering of our office set up at home it’s now a lot better and I have separation between work and down time.

The dogs have become very used to having both me and my girlfriend at home during the day so it will be a shock to the system when we go back into the office for them more than us!

Are you studying towards any exams?

I am studying towards my ATT & CTA qualifications. I sat my first ATT exam in November and was very pleased to find out that I passed at the end of January. I am hoping to sit 2 more in May before moving on to the CTA qualification at the end of the year.

How are you finding studying from home as well as working from home?

Doing my revision courses at home was a new way of learning for me, as I was used to in class learning at University, but the institute did a great job of adapting the courses into an online format. Doing the exam at home was a strange experience, slightly more stressful doing it on the computer rather than written but now that I am familiar with the process hopefully it will be more straightforward for my next set of exams.

What are your career goals for the year ahead?

For the year ahead I hope to gain my ATT qualification, keep learning from my colleagues and hopefully get back into the office and see everyone again!

By Robbie Mutch, Corporate Tax Assistant

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