Head of ACCA Scotland calls for accountants to inspire youngsters into profession

Head of ACCA Scotland calls for accountants to inspire youngsters into profession

Craig Vickery, Head of ACCA Scotland told accountants they must inspire young people to join the profession, at Accountancy Age's Edinburgh Roadshow

Head of ACCA Scotland calls for accountants to inspire youngsters into profession

Craig Vickery, Head of ACCA Scotland, called on accountants to inspire young people into the profession. Vickery made the comments last week at the Accountancy Age Edinburgh Roadshow, where he told the delegates present that they must “light the fire in youngsters.”

“Despite what you might think every one of us in this room has a wonderful story of success, and we can inspire somebody who’s coming through school to join a fantastic profession. ACCA certainly would love to hear from you the respective institutions and say, ‘this is my story, this is what I’ve achieved. And this is what you can achieve with that inspiration.’ So, let’s light the fire in those youngsters of today.”

He also said that employers were increasingly looking for talent outside of the traditional university educated route, supporting a range of training schemes and apprenticeships.

“I know that people are asking, and employers are opening up those routes, they are challenging themselves. They are working to recruit people from different areas. And that can only be good,” Vickery said.

Sitting on a panel and speaking to around 40 delegates, Vickery also spoke about attracting young talent to work (and stay) in Scotland. This was particularly in the light of new technology and how it is transforming accountancy.

“We live in a wonderful country,” he said. “We also work in an exciting, vibrant, forward thinking profession. Despite appearances, we are developing the profession, and it is exciting the potential that we can have in our careers.”

“We need to look at the development of young people right the way through until they become not-so-young people. we’re developing people, right until the point they exit our business. As a country we need to embrace people who come here from wherever they come, welcome them in, skill them up, and bring that warm Scottish welcome, which we’re famous for. And it does exist,” he said.

“We all know that when we go abroad, if you say you’re Scottish, you get a much warmer welcome than if you say something else,” he joked.

Susannah Simpson, Head of Private Business Scotland at PwC also sat on the panel. She called for other Scottish cities to learn from the example set by Dundee, which has recovered well from recent struggles to attract graduates.

“They’re working on it, having suffered in the past with a huge crash in population that literally walked out the door to London after qualifying,” she said. “They’ve really focused around tech and attracting young talent and being really vibrant, whether it’s to computer games or whatever. But it comes back to this re-skilling and upskilling workers and not being frightened of developments of change and automation and AI but giving people the skills to deal with that.”

However, she did say that the current Scottish tax system needed simplifying to make the country more appealing to movers.

“I do think tax system-wise, the government has a part to play in that, in making us more attractive, as a place to live or work. With things like stamp duty, for instance, north of the border it is more expensive to buy up here if you’re moving up. We have a very complex system for personal taxes. It’s more complex than south of the border in terms of different rate bands. And so, there is a role that’s to be played by the government.”

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