This time last year we announced the AAB Edinburgh team had just doubled its office space to accommodate the growth in our teams. A year on felt like the right time to reflect on 2020 – my first year as Managing Partner and boy did I pick a good year to take on a new challenge!
At the time of our announcement, I was quoted as saying “It is great to be able to reflect on the success we have achieved in Edinburgh to date. We look forward to driving growth across all areas of our business in the central belt in 2020.”
2020 was some whirlwind, and although it wasn’t in the way we imagined, the team still achieved exactly that.
And that team grew quickly. Key appointments including Andy Shaw (Audit), Ian Marshall (Business Advisory) and Richard Johnson (AAB Wealth) meant that each of our 7 business units are now represented at a leadership level in the Central Belt and that’s a really important milestone for us. Their appointments have also allowed us to enhance our sector teams across Scotland, particularly in the tech, business services, public & third, and construction & property sectors. I’m delighted to say our Edinburgh Leadership meetings are swelling in numbers. The virtual board room table is pretty full these days!
Throughout lockdown, two things have been right up there as priorities for me. Looking after our people and making sure our clients got the same awesome experience, they had come to expect from AAB. To make sure we could do the latter, we’ve seen exciting growth across all of our teams. Our payroll & employment taxes team has expanded significantly, and we have continued to welcome recent graduates into our teams, meaning a total of 15 new people have joined us in Edinburgh since March 2020.
AAB is known for being a sociable firm; we work hard and have a lot of fun doing it. Nights out and nights in were part of AAB’s DNA before the pandemic. We obviously organised after-work drinks and quizzes, but as lockdown continued, we all found it a bit more of a struggle to sit in front of our screens for longer than needed on a Friday.
What a lot of us really miss is the chatter in the office across the departments and teams. We try to replicate this during town halls where our teams share the office’s latest developments, but we do this with a fun social twist. We’ve also created squads that are working on projects to encourage collaboration. This has been really important as many of our Edinburgh team don’t typically work together, but sat next to each other every day before the pandemic and socialised throughout the working day and beyond.
At AAB we’ve always focused on the importance of health and wellbeing, and during the last year we had to adapt how we look out for each other. That’s been really important to me as I juggle home schooling and working, just like so many of our team and clients. There’s been a fair amount of flexing my day, and Teams calls with muted moments to help with school work or to do my daughter’s hair! And that’s OK, because we’re all in the same boat.
We’re all struggling in different ways and it’s ok to admit this is tough. The key has been checking in with each other. Not for work reasons, but to make sure we’re all keeping our heads up. I’m now a dab hand at a virtual coffee.
Every business has faced the challenges we have, but it’s the opportunities people have created from this that make each team unique. I’m unbelievably proud of the resilience and positivity of the AAB team and although we have adapted well to everything 2020 has thrown at us, I’m looking forward to walking into a full office once more. The first office night out post lockdown can’t come soon enough.