In our last Sector Spotlight focusing on careers in Financial Services we hear from Ryan Allan, who is an Associate Director with Scholes Chartered Accountants.
Ryan has always had an aptitude for numbers and started studying accountancy with finance at University. However, when a trainee position came up at Scholes at the end of his second year, he decided to apply and left University to take on the role. He has since completed his professional qualifications alongside working with the company.
Can you describe a typical day in your role as an Associate Director?
No two days are the same, but each day must start with a cup of coffee!
I have a wide variety of responsibilities. Some days can be spent preparing or auditing accounts, but I also spend time managing my team and their workload. It’s more than just preparing accounts though. I often prepare business plans, help with tax planning, assist with grant claims on funded projects, and have time chatting with folk about their businesses and try and give useful advice.
How did you end up in this role?
I have always had an aptitude for numbers, so studied accountancy at Stromness Academy. I then went on to study accountancy with finance at university. After coming back home at the end of second year for the summer, I saw a job advertised for a trainee position at Scholes CA. I didn’t mind Uni, but decided I would much rather come home and train in a work place. I applied for the job, and luckily Karen and Ivan gave me the opportunity to start on this career path.
I then started studying AAT one morning a week at Orkney College, which I completed after about a year. The next step was then to start studying for ACCA exams. It was a big step up from AAT, but working whilst studying definitely helped. I found that everything was much more relevant being able to apply to my work.
I finished the ACCA exams in January 2016
What is the best thing about your job?
I have always had an interest in finance so I tend to enjoy most of the work I do, however it is definitely most rewarding when you help someone achieve their goals. For example, I often prepare/assist with business plans which has helped a client obtain finance to start or expand their business. Seeing those businesses grow and thrive over the years is very satisfying.
What is the worst thing about your job?
It is always frustrating working in an office on a sunny day, however this is probably outweighed by the benefits of working inside on the long cold wintery days!
Of course, there are tasks I enjoy less, but there’s not really a ‘worst thing’ about the job.
What skills do you need to undertake your role?
I have always thought that hard work and a good attitude are the most important ‘skills’. I don’t think it really matters how many A’s you get at school or college, if you have the attitude to try hard and give the challenges you face a good go, you will be far more likely to succeed.
What qualifications do you have?
I am a member of ACCA (one of the professional bodies for accountancy). Other than school grades, I don’t have many other qualifications, but I suppose it is about having the right qualifications.
Would you recommend this job to young people, if so why?
Definitely. It is a career with a lot of different opportunities and very often you get to actually make a difference to businesses.
I’ve known for a long time I would have a career in finance, but I know quite a few folk that have trained in completely different fields, but have ended up working in finance and enjoying it.
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