Technical and Insight
A year like no other
Following 2014, the ‘year like no other’ to quote BBC Scotland, 2015 is promising to be another significant one for ACCA Scotland.

Following 2014, the ‘year like no other’ to quote BBC Scotland, 2015 is promising to be another significant one for ACCA Scotland. 

Welcome to the first Scottish Outlook of 2015. 

A growing trend this year is school leaver recruitment – an area where ACCA members can assist by influencing the next generation – with many employers looking to develop this stream. Think of the difference we could make if every member were able to visit their old school and talk about their career and the benefits of holding a global accountancy qualification? Contact me if you’re interested in helping.

In the run up to the General Election we have already held three election debates (Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow) with candidates from all four parties speaking.  A fourth event took place in Aberdeen today (20 March). Teaming up with IoD Scotland these events provide an opportunity for members to get close to candidates and question them on the issues of importance to their businesses. 

We’re only three months in, but this year we’ve already demonstrated ACCA’s unique position in the Scottish business community – holding a Women in Leadership event at Strathclyde University and a roundtable discussion (attended by Annabelle Ewing MSP Minister for Youth and Women's Employment) on ‘Who accounts for social mobility?’  

Other events on our members’ network programme include a recent F1 themed talk in Aberdeen on building high performance teams and a budget breakfast with BDO in Glasgow.

I look forward to meeting with and talking to many of you over the course of the year.

Craig Vickery - head of ACCA Scotland

ACCA Scotland rocks!
In February ACCA Scotland held a ‘perfect match’ speed networking event for undergraduates and employers at the Hard Rock Café in Glasgow.

In February ACCA Scotland held a ‘perfect match’ speed networking event for undergraduates and employers at the Hard Rock Café in Glasgow. 

Attended by 32 3rd and 4th year undergraduates from the four universities in and around Glasgow the event allowed students and employers to discuss live vacancies and register for ACCA. The students rotated around the room (speaking on a one to one basis) in intervals of just under 10 minutes. 

Employers represented were Morgan Stanley, CBRE, BNP Paribas, Milne Craig, French Duncan and Johnston Carmichael. Arnold Clark couldn’t attend in person, but did provide flyers promoting its ACCA graduate scheme. 

BPP and Kaplan attended to offer advice on studying and working at the same time.

Feedback from attendees has been good – one tweet thanked ACCA Scotland for a great evening and the Hard Rock was a great venue. Our objective was to demonstrate the employability of ACCA members and students across Scottish business. Evidence suggests we succeeded in demonstrating this to attendees.


ACCA's Guide to Budget 2015
Download ACCA's Guide To Budget 2015 and Guide to Tax Rates and Allowances 2015 now.
ACCA's Guide To... Budget 2015 and Guide To... Tax Rates and Allowances 2015 summarise the key information you need from this year's Budget. Download both now and share them with your colleagues and clients.

If you work in practice, both Guides To... can be customised at the top to include your firm's name. We actively encourage you to share them with clients and contacts!
Congratulations on your exam success – this could be you!
Congratulations to students in Scotland who have had good news regarding recent exam results!

Congratulations to students in Scotland who have had good news regarding recent exam results! 

Each year, ACCA Scotland holds a ‘celebrating membership’ dinner to welcome our new members and to provide an opportunity to celebrate your achievement with friends and family. It is one of the highlights of the ACCA Scotland calendar and this year’s event takes place on 29 October in Edinburgh. 

For those of you who have successfully completed your exams, don’t delay – complete your ethics module and your practical experience requirements as soon as possible so that you can take advantage of the benefits offered by ACCA membership, use your ACCA letters and celebrate with us in October. 

Lucy Park (pictured) who attended the celebrating membership dinner in 2013 has since gone on to join the ACCA Glasgow & West of Scotland Members’ Network panel, feature in an ACCA promotional video and been shortlisted in the New Practitioner of the Year category of the British Accountancy Awards 2014! She has also just secured an exciting new position with Johnston Carmichael as a business solutions senior. Don’t delay, take your next step with us in your ACCA journey! 

During the celebrating membership event her parents said: ‘What a wonderful evening! Thank you for the opportunity to come along and celebrate our daughter’s achievements with fellow ACCA members. We are so proud of her.’ 

If you need any help on applying for ACCA membership, please contact ACCA Connect on 0141 582 2000 who will be able to help you take the next steps.

Diversity matters and leadership insights – this event offered it all
Joint event examines what today’s business leaders have learnt on their way to the top.

Joint event examines what today’s business leaders have learnt on their way to the top. 

ACCA, CIMA, IoD Scotland and ICAEW Scotland joined forces in early February to host a leadership event at Glasgow’s Strathclyde University. ‘Leadership: why gender diversity in the boardroom makes commercial sense’ not only looked at the benefits that a diverse board brings to a business, but explored the careers of the panel and the lessons they had learnt on their way to the top. 

Meet the panel
Prof Sara Carter OBE, Associate Deputy Principal (Learning and Teaching) and Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Strathclyde chaired the event. Stewart Hastie (MD, The Inclusive Consultancy), Stella Morse (CFO, Genius Foods), Caroline Donaldson (Director, Kynesis and the IoD lead on Women onto Boards) and Alison McGregor (CEO Scotland, HSBC) made up the panel, sharing insights into their careers, advice on developing yourself and others and even exploring how the way that the human brain works can impact on business decisions. 

Bias, brains and business…
Stewart Hastie opened the talk, sharing statistics that highlighted the commercial benefits enjoyed by firms with women in top level roles and explaining how the brain works, the perils of making snap decisions and the impact of unconscious bias. He even caught out a few of the audience with a maths problem which demonstrated how going with your gut instinct and not taking time to think more deeply can give you the wrong results.

Keeping it real
Genius Food’s Stella Morse talked about her career to date and what prompted some of her decisions, before sharing the Genius success story and discussing how retaining brand authenticity has helped them grow to be one of the leading companies in their sector.

The importance of a diverse board was the key message from Caroline Donaldson who shared examples of the benefits that it can bring to business and discussed how she helps make that happen. 

‘Lift as you climb’
Concluding the presentations, HSBC’s Alison McGregor talked about her career, how family life had influenced some of her decisions, and the importance of ‘interfering mentors’ – and why she aspires to be one. She explained that she builds strong teams by looking for people who aren’t like her, ‘picking out the gems and polishing them up’ and helping others make connections. ‘As women we have a huge responsibility to lift as we climb, not pull the ladder up behind us,’ she said. 

Exploring the topics raised
The event ended with a question and answer session and with so much to consider, the questions came thick and fast, covering everything from how to get others to share your passion and creating a workplace where people can really shine. The buzz in the room at the end of the event was evident, with many guests taking the chance to talk to the panel one-to-one and a huge amount of positive feedback from speakers and audience alike. 

Who accounts for social mobility?
Scottish Parliament hosts ACCA Scotland discussion on social mobility.

Scottish Parliament hosts ACCA Scotland discussion on social mobility.

Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. We believe that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development. We aim to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of consistent global standards.

Our values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and we ensure that, through our qualifications, we prepare accountants for business. We work to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers to entry, ensuring that our qualifications and their delivery meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers.

It was therefore with great pleasure that ACCA Scotland was able to welcome Annabelle Ewing MSP, Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment to a discussion on social mobility held at the Scottish Parliament in January. Parliament – with the stunning backdrop of Arthur’s Seat and the Palace of Holyrood – was a fantastic venue to hold this important discussion. 

Addressing representatives from Scottish businesses, universities, local authorities and education the Minister noted the alignment of ACCA’s views on social mobility/ payday lending / living wage with the First Minister’s agenda on a more socially just Scotland.

An interesting roundtable discussion followed on ACCA's report Who Accounts for Social Mobilty? The Holyrood event (and sister events in England and Wales) will be reported upon in ACCA publications and used to build ACCA’s reputation in business, academic and government circles.

Business with purpose
Christine McGrory, founder of The Key, has many reasons to be happy.

Christine McGrory, founder of The Key, has many reasons to be happy. Established in 2011 her business has witnessed unprecedented growth despite others in the personal development industry experiencing challenges. How is this done? By practising what you teach!    

Christine (pictured) reveals: ‘The Key is unlocking a “new vibe” in Scotland and across the UK. We are helping small businesses and large corporates to be more open and aware that positive change and growth will happen only when the focus is on possibility and creating the right environment for opportunity.’

Christine continues: ‘When challenged, people lose their way and yet this is the exact point at which business leaders should be getting clear about what they do want and not what they don’t want!’

This is exactly what Christine and her Key Corporate team do; they help individuals re-energise their vision and also tap into what Christine believes to be the most powerful business driver of all... purpose.

‘When people and organisations understand and are in alignment with their vision and purpose, magic can happen. It is such a natural and obvious thing yet it is often overlooked as a way to turn business around and move it forward. We leave the numbers to the numbers people and we get to work on the less tangible but equally important factor controlling business success or failure and that it is the energy and mind-sets of the people within the business.’  

With an MSc in leadership and a BSc in industrial chemistry, Christine believes that she has the perfect combination of thinking. ‘I am extremely creative and imaginative but as a scientist I also have the ability to understand process and complex concepts. I think this is the perfect combination as it enables me to help business owners think big but also be able to take these ideas and make them a reality through world class process.’

The Key has been franchised in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Ayrshire with Aberdeen and London to follow this year.

Christine’s daughter Megan has recently launched The Key New Generation in Education enabling young people to embrace the power of these Key philosophies and success principles.

The Key Corporate arm of the business is showing teams, leaders and organisations that opportunity exists if they have the vision and belief to make it happen. ‘Many of the global brands in existence today were created during times of recession. Our business expansion is the proof that what we teach works. We engage people at a totally different level and we get sustained results. We have successfully worked with a number of member organisations and are happy to share our philosophies with others.’

Be inspired – meet Christine
ACCA Scotland is delighted to be partnering with Christine McGrory and The Key in 2015 to provide our members with the tools to grow both professionally and personally. Christine has been voted one of Scotland's most influential women by The Herald and has also received recognition from the Queen for her work in the community.

We hope that you will join us later in the year in Glasgow and Aberdeen to hear more from Christine.


No more tax returns!
In last week's Budget the chancellor announced that small businesses and ten million individuals will no longer need to file tax returns.
In last week's Budget the chancellor announced that small businesses and ten million individuals will no longer need to file tax returns.

This will rely on: 
  • the successful and secure rollout of digital accounts for taxpayers
  • the correct information being in these accounts
  • all information being complete
  • businesses keeping their records up-to-date and these records being accurate, with distinctions between areas like capital and revenue being clear.

The digitalisation aspect of the proposal – linking business accounting software to a digital account by 2020 – is ambitious and there is no clear proposal as to how this will be achieved.  

In the document Making tax easier; the end of the tax return the government states ‘their accounting software will be able to feed data straight into their digital tax account, so most businesses will simply log-in to check their details with no need to send an annual return.’ 

We are concerned at the potential tax loss to the exchequer, the risk of continual defaulters and also the fact that businesses and individuals may end up paying more tax than is due. 

Icing on the cake for Scottish Bakers as Jumpstart makes them plenty of dough
Have you considered how to maximise the opportunities presented by R&D tax relief?

Have you considered how to maximise the opportunities presented by R&D tax relief? 

The Killie Pie is a tasty Scottish treat, but not half as tasty as the near £500,000 tax consultants Jumpstart has served up for Scottish bakers – including the makers of Rugby Park's famous half-time delicacy.

Jumpstart, the UK's leading research and development (R&D) tax relief specialist, has been working in partnership with Scottish Bakers, the voice of the baking industry, since 2010, and has helped member companies gain £444,000 in valuable reliefs. It has also identified more than £2m in eligible spend.

Now the Edinburgh-based company is turning its attention to English-based bakers, to bring its unique blend of technological and business expertise to bear south of the border. 

For the past four years, Jumpstart has been educating members of Scottish Bakers on the potential benefits of R&D tax relief, helping them understand what is eligible, identifying eligible companies and assisting them to submit compliant claims. 

Those who have seen significant gains include Brownings the Bakers, of Kilmarnock, which was established in 1945 and has grown to become the largest craft bakery in the West of Scotland. Its signature Killie pie, sold at Kilmarnock FC's ground, has won a string of awards.

John Gall, managing director of Brownings, says: ‘Until we started using the Scottish Bakers service provided by Jumpstart, we didn’t realise that the R&D tax relief scheme even existed. We subsequently have told many bakers in the industry about the missed opportunities.

‘Bakers conduct projects all the time that are eligible under the scheme and when we got the tax refund we were extremely delighted and surprised.’ 

Other bakers who have benefited under the Jumpstart-Scottish Bakers initiative include the Bell Food Group of Shotts, makers of the famous Bells steak pie; Calder Millerfield of Glasgow, Best Steak Pie winner in 2012; The Kindness Bakery, a traditional craft bakery in Aberdeenshire;  and Ingram Brothers, the bakery ingredients manufacturer from Paisley. 

Ronnie Miles, finance director at Bells Food Group, says: ‘We should have done this sooner. The money we received was well worth the effort and if I calculated the hourly rate based on the money we received it was time well spent. My board of directors reckon it’s the most financially productive I’ve been for 22 years.’ 

Cameron Kyle, technical director at Calder Millerfield, says: ‘As a business, we were unsure how many of our projects would potentially qualify. However, most surprisingly, we learned that a “failure” was one of the best projects for eligibility, since it demonstrates that research is being carried out.’ 

Both Jumpstart and Scottish Bakers are now poised to move toward helping English-based bakers, enlisting the help of the Craft Bakers Association, an English trade association with more than 600 members. 

A London based baker, dating back nearly 150 years, with 92 employees and 600 product lines hopes to be the first to reap the benefits of this new initiative. 

Brian Williamson, managing director of Jumpstart, says: ‘This illustrates that R&D tax relief is relevant across a wide range of sectors, and not confined to science or technology-based enterprises. 

‘Scottish Bakers has worked very closely with us over recent years and the results are really starting to show. We will soon take our offering to bakers in the rest of the UK and that will be the icing on the cake.’ 

For further information about Jumpstart, contact Brian Williamson, managing director at Jumpstart at: 

T: 0131 240 2900


Scottish Accountancy Awards – nominate now!
Don’t delay – time is ticking to enter these awards before the 1 April deadline.

Don’t delay – time is ticking to enter these awards before the 1 April deadline. 

Nominations are now open for the Business Insider Scottish Accountancy and Finance awards which are sponsored by ACCA amongst others. 

These prestigious awards recognise the skills and achievements of accountants across all sectors and the results will be announced at a gala dinner on 18 June at the Hilton Hotel, Glasgow. 

ACCA members have had success in a number of categories in previous years and we hope to see this continue in 2015! 

Nominate now for: 

  • Accountant of the year
  • Accountancy firm of the year
  • Small accountancy firm of the year
  • Finance Director of the Year
  • Emerging Finance Director of the Year
  • Public sector finance team of the year
  • Young accountant of the year
  • Insolvency team of the year
  • Tax team of the year
  • Training manager of the Year. 

All nominations must be submitted by 1 April 2015. 

Further information and how to enter is available on the Awards’ website.

Moving on up
Congratulations to two ACCA members on their recent promotions.

Congratulations to two ACCA members on their recent promotions. 

Aberdeen-based member Steve Nicol who was recently appointed as chief financial officer to Wood Group PSN. 

Steve moves up from his role as chief financial officer of WGPSN's UK operations this month to take on the role for the Wood Group subsidiary's global operations. 

Meanwhile, Edinburgh-based ACCA member Wemyss Stewart has been promoted to partner by accountants and business advisers Scott-Moncrieff. Wemyss, who has been with the firm for 16 years, specialises in advising owner-managed businesses with tax planning, accounting systems and controls, expansion and succession planning. 

ACCA Scotland offers its warmest congratulations to both Steve and Wemyss.


Get involved – support your regional members’ network!
There are many ways that you can get involved with ACCA and make the most of your membership.

There are many ways that you can get involved with ACCA and make the most of your membership. 

One of these is to stand for election to your regional members’ network panel. 

Information on the election process will be sent to members by email shortly or you can request a nomination form for completion by contacting us via email

The regional members’ network panels have a number of key objectives which include to:

  • act as an ambassador for ACCA – as a leading professional body which provides relevant qualifications and services to its members
  • act as the ‘eyes and ears’ of ACCA on emerging local or sector-specific issues
  • advise on the content of local or sector-specific meeting programmes and networking events
  • share ideas for events, high quality speakers, this includes potential interesting venues, speakers, businesses, event partners and social activities
  • meet and greet at events hosted by the network and chair some events
  • ensure all activity contributes to ACCA’s strategy. 

We know that our members lead incredibly busy lives so we value your contribution. 

If you’d like to find out more, please contact Elizabeth McLaggan, engagement manager, ACCA Scotland on 0141 534 4812. 


Network events across Scotland
Details of recent ACCA Scotland events.

Details of recent ACCA Scotland events. 

Wake up to Westminster
In less than 50 days the UK goes to the polls to determine our next government. Who will have the best policies to take Scotland and the UK forward? 

ACCA Scotland has been running a series of Wake Up to Westminster! breakfast hustings events in partnership with the Institute of Directors to give members and guests the opportunity to hear and question candidates from the four main parties standing. Events have already taken place in Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow with the final event in Aberdeen last Friday: 

Aberdeen, Friday 20 March, 7.45am – 9.45am

hosted by Aker Solutions

  • Conservative Colin Clark  Candidate for Gordon
  • Labour Richard Baker MSP, North East Scotland
  • Lib Dem Aberdeen North Christine Jardine, Candidate Gordon 
  • SNP Kirsty Blackman, Candidate for Aberdeen North. 

Budget breakfast (Glasgow)
On 19 March we were delighted to have again joined forces with BDO LLP for a budget breakfast event to bring you the latest news and views on the Chancellor’s Budget speech from a panel of BDO experts. 

  • Martin Bell, Tax Partner and Head of Tax for Scotland
  • Peter Gouw, Tax Partner
  • Ross Marshall, Tax Director
  • Paul Russell, VAT Director.

ACCA Aberdeen Dinner
On 13 March we held our annual ACCA Aberdeen Dinner at the Chester Hotel. Sponsored by Right People, we were delighted to welcome Highlands’ based fashion designer and professional golfer Christian MacLeod who is ‘one to watch’ in Scotland’s new breed of media savvy entrepreneurs. 

We were also delighted to welcome Bafta award winning actress and comedienne Jane McCarry – better known as Isa from Still Game – who entertained us with an evening of comedy and theatrical anecdotes.

Jane McCarry

Wide range of Professional Courses open for booking
Book your next ACCA Professional Courses event in Scotland now.
Book your next ACCA Professional Courses event in Scotland now. Click on the link to each event to book your place.


Saturday CPD Conference Two 
30 May, Marriott Hotel 

Saturday CPD Conference Three 
10 October, Marriott Hotel 


Saturday CPD Conference One 
28 March, Marriott Hotel 

Saturday CPD Conference Two 
13 June, Marriott Hotel 

Saturday CPD Conference Three 
21 November, Marriott Hotel



Employment and Personal Taxes Update 
2 December, Apex International Hotel 

Business and Corporate Taxes Update 
2 December, Apex International Hotel 

A Practical Approach to Dealing with the New UK GAAP - The Key Issues 
3 December, Apex International Hotel  

A Practical Approach to Dealing with the New UK GAAP - Dealing with Transition 
3 December, Apex International Hotel

Scottish careers