Wednesday, 07 November 2018 09:19

Using industry experience in practice

Gary Johnstone joined AAB in 2009 as Head of Outsourcing. Since then he has evolved his role from launching the payroll service to Client Service & Business Development Senior Manager. Gary is now a Director within the firms’ payroll and employment tax solutions team servicing a diverse client base around the world. Before his career at AAB Gary spent 15 years within the Oil and Gas sector working with Accenture, BP and Shell. For this week’s blog we interview Gary about his time in the Oil and Gas sector, and how the skills and experiences he gained have been transferable and influence the way he performs his role at AAB.

Leaving school at 16, with an O grade in accounting amongst others, Gary went straight to college completing an ONC then HND in Financial and Management accounting and completed 1 year full time on ACCA studies. Gary was immediately drawn to the exciting Oil and Gas Sector. When asked what he found appealing about this, he mentioned that, at the time, the oil and gas sector was a seen to offer long term, successful careers. He was drawn to the variety and complexity it offered and, being in Aberdeen, the oil capital of Europe, it was a solid industry to be a part of.

During his 15 years in the oil and gas sector he worked for many different companies in many different roles, starting as an Accounts Assistant to his final accounting based position as Lead Allocations Analyst at Shell in 2009. We asked Gary, “What influenced your decision to join the AAB team as Head of Outsourcing after 15 years in the Oil and Gas Sector?” He told us The AAB Partners, namely Mike Brown, Robbie Gordon and Ishbel Sutherland, were the ones who initially sparked his interest to joining the firm. He added, It was a completely different route to what he was used to, but he saw it as a fresh new challenge and a chance to apply his expertise in a new sector. AAB presented a challenging opportunity to take his career to the next level, one that he has risen to: having assisted 100s of clients with overall process design, system integrations, making better use of technology and challenging existing processes, he brings a truly unique and varied skillset from several years of different accounting roles within the oil and gas industry.

When asked to reflect on any specific examples of skills he learned during his time at the beginning of his career in the Oil and Gas Sector which he utilises regularly in his current role as a Director at AAB, he told us he’s learned that building strong and meaningful relationships is crucial and the best way to earn respect from the people you work with and for. Having fun was also something Gary mentioned he’s learned and implements in his current role.

Finally, we asked Gary “How do you use your experience gained in the sector to help clients you work with now?” He said that he has a better understanding of the processes involved with making change happen. He has the capability to challenge what businesses do and ask the question “can it be done better or more efficiently?” He knows that it takes trust and bravery to implement change but is confident in his ability to drive the most value from a client’s processes, mirroring AABs purpose of supporting our client’s ambitions through the Plus Factor. Offering a personalised service geared to each individual business and delivered by a team of professionals seeking to add value.

Gary Johnstone, Director.