Friday, 09 July 2021 09:17

An eventful first year at AAB

An eventful first year at AAB

So that’s my one-year anniversary here at AAB arrived. I’ve been one of those ‘unfortunates’ who started a job with a new employer during lockdown. I say unfortunate, as there’s no substitute for that friendly face sitting at the next-door desk when you’re struggling with that first timesheet! But it wasn’t a disaster, far from it. I have to say that the whole firm has really gone the extra mile to make all the new starts feel welcome from the get-go, even in these unusual circumstances.

When I started talking to AAB about joining the Edinburgh office as a Director, it was clear that we had the same objectives and that there was an Ian Marshall sized gap I could fill within the Business Advisory Group. The firm has very active sector teams that ensure specialists across AAB work together to provide bespoke services to our clients. Due to my experience working with Tech businesses, I was asked to lead the firm’s Tech strategy to ensure our ultimate goal is met: AAB becomes the accounting firm of choice for Tech companies in Scotland.

The Tech Sector in Scotland is thriving. There were the initial successes of Skyscanner and Fandual and these 2 companies have proved to world that Tech companies can get to scale from headquarters in Scotland. Now it’s time for the next generation to push on and pitching competitions like EiE and Scottish Edge are vital in providing a forum for these ambitious and interesting companies to show us what they can do.

It sounds a bit cliched, but one of my main motivations in life is contributing, albeit in a small way, to the creation of jobs in Scotland through the growth of Tech companies. My own personal view is that Tech will become a vital part of the Scottish economy and will eventually overtake Energy in dominance. Some colleagues in our Aberdeen office may not agree, but at least they humour me and encourage the ambition!

What especially keeps me motivated to make a difference is seeing up close what a difference good decision making using accurate numbers can make to a business. 2 clients I have been advising for some time both have increased their headcount by at least 30% in recent times, meaning more people in good jobs with Scottish companies.

All this has only been possible thanks to the wider AAB Tech team and indeed my team in the Edinburgh office. The Tech industry is fast-paced and company founders rightly expect things to be done differently from the norm to make sure they get the best results. I feel all of us at AAB have stepped up to make sure this is happening for our clients, and I’m really impressed on how everyone has risen to the challenge.

Outside my client commitments, the firm is committed to making sure everyone thrives and feels supported at work, or indeed at home. I was impressed when AAB was one of the first companies to commit to Hybrid working and I think people responded well to this adult approach as we’re trusted to work to our full potential wherever suits us and our clients best.

A couple of lovely gestures in the last 12 months have also made me think I’m working in a different kind of accounting firm. When I fell off a horse in November (hence the photo choice, but that is a story for another time!) and realised I wouldn’t be able to sit down properly for a couple of weeks, the COO made sure very quickly that I had a chair that I could at least hover on without screaming in pain. And who doesn’t like to receive a shopping voucher on their birthday? Or a hand-delivered gift at Christmas, especially when part of it is in liquid form! Small gestures, but sometimes it’s these that can make a firm a great place to work.

By Ian Marshall, Business Advisory Services Director and Head of Tech Strategy