Accountancy can often be perceived as a monotonous occupation, punching numbers in and staring at a screen.
However, for Emily Smith, who has recently taken on the role of Head of Statutory Accounting and Tax for Equiom Scotland, the role is far from that.
Executive Magazine had a chance to catch up with Inverness-based Emily who filled us in on what it's like to work at leading firm Equiom.
Emily, tell us a bit about yourself, what is your background and experience to date?
After a great 4 years at University in Glasgow studying Economics and Accountancy, I decided to take the opportunity to further my education with ICAS and become a Chartered Accountant. Not quite the traditional route, I entered the industry with Tesco Bank, establishing a great foundation in financial services through their rotational graduate scheme programme.
After a successful 4 years, I made the move to work for NatWest Group, with a focus on Statutory and Disclosure Reporting. Then arrived the Covid pandemic...
Covid changed a lot of my priorities, so I decided to make the 250-mile journey back up north to my home county of Caithness. Working remotely isn’t without its challenges, and I found myself missing the office environment more and more.
I have always been really driven and super motivated, so when I started to look into the job market at the start of this year, the role at Equiom instantly jumped out at me. After 5 months in the role, I have spent significant time getting to know our clients, enabling me to provide them with the best solutions we can.
Describe your typical day:
No two days are the same, which I am sure any accountant would tell you. The outdated perception of accountants that we sit with huge ledgers and punch in numbers all day is very much a thing of the past. Our knowledge encompasses all areas of compliance and our client base ranges from small cafes in the Hebrides to large hotel chains across the UK.
The workload is extremely diverse, and we consult on all aspects of compliance, from statutory accounts to VAT returns, to sole trader and limited company tax planning. We are a very approachable team, and our main focus is around client engagement, ensuring we are providing a personalised service which is suitable for the individual. It is important to me that I am someone my clients know and recognise, rather than a name at the bottom of an email.
As the Head of Statutory Accounting & Tax, I lead our team and coordinate our workload, ensuring every employee has varied and challenging work. At Equiom we are a large training firm, hiring individuals from a range of different study backgrounds which brings with it the opportunity to mentor trainees, something I have found to be one of the most rewarding aspects of the role.
What’s top of your agenda at the moment?
Getting the message out, both locally and further afield, around the range of services we can provide, that often potential clients aren’t fully aware of. Our personalised service and range of technical expertise allows us to consult on all areas of statutory accounting and tax, beyond the more traditionally known management accounting team within Equiom.
We also want to make sure that we are recruiting and retaining fantastic local talent through our trainee programmes – making people aware that regardless of your pre-requisite studies, if you are driven and motivated to learn, a role at Equiom could be an exciting opportunity for you. The working environment at Equiom Scotland is extremely encouraging.
Why did you choose to work at Equiom?
Making the jump from industry to practice can be challenging, with differing priorities and working patterns, but as someone who loves a challenge and craved a diverse workload, Equiom was a very easy choice for me. I have been able to build my own team alongside a tremendously supportive senior management team.
Equiom is a forward-thinking business, and with new investors recently on board, the company is always evolving, growing and changing. There has also been a big investment in technology, specifically around our new hybrid working policy. Equiom recognises the differing circumstances of all its employees, providing a flexible working environment. I work remotely 3 days a week and Equiom have always supported this flexibility.
Being able to help further the careers of individuals through the training programme was massively attractive to me when moving roles to Equiom. We are always adapting and improving our offering to employees to provide a truly unique journey for Trainees through our established Training Programme which also includes a dedicated Training Manager. We pride ourselves on providing a flexible approach to individual circumstances allowing Trainees to have a good work life balance while achieving their goal of becoming a Qualified Accountant. Everyone I have worked alongside are like-minded motivated people, making the office environment a great place to be in a post-Covid world.
Equiom Scotland is a leading provider of accountancy services, serving companies looking to outsource key business processes. With a focus on Accounting, Payroll & People services, and Payments & Collections, our teams help clients reduce costs, manage risks, improve business processes and ultimately achieve business success.