School Leaver Programme | Josh’s Story

With a strong set of Higher results under his belt, Josh Meldrum (23) made an eleventh-hour decision to turn down his place to study accountancy at University in favour of a job at MHA Henderson Loggie. The direct entry route to becoming a qualified chartered accountant is becoming increasingly attractive to school leavers who want to earn while they learn. Josh takes up his story:


“I was all set to go to university to study accountancy when my teacher at Menzieshill High School in Dundee showed me the job at the local office of MHA Henderson Loggie. It seemed like a no brainer to me. I knew I wanted to be an accountant, and to go through the university route would take seven years, four of which I would be racking up student debt. By joining an accountancy practice straight from school I began earning money immediately. I am now a fully qualified CA and leading audit teams on client assignments after just five years.


“It’s fair to say I found my first year quite challenging. Even although I didn’t have to sit any exams I was thrown into the deep end of office life and full time work for the first time. By the time I was into my second year, things began to click into place and I had my first set of exams. As a direct entry candidate, you go at a slightly slower pace than graduates and complete the ICAS exams over four years instead of three.


“I’ve been asked if I regret missing out on university life, but as I wasn’t planning to move out of Dundee anyway it hasn’t been an issue for me as far as my social life is concerned. Most of my friends have taken up some form of an apprenticeship or on-the-job training. I don’t think it’s widely known yet that direct entry into accountancy is an option, but I would recommend it to anyone seeking a career in finance. I enjoy working as an auditor, and have so many choices now in how to develop my career.”


Josh is the first member of the MHA Henderson Loggie team to qualify under the direct entry route and the firm has continued to recruit both graduate and direct entry students as part of its annual CA trainee intake. Gavin Black, MHA Henderson Loggie’s Head of Audit, believes a mix of different backgrounds, skills and experience is important in building a high performing team.


Gavin said: “Josh is an asset to our business and a great example to our current and future trainees. He has achieved first-time passes in all his exams and developed a wide range of hands-on experience during his 5 years with us. We have three more direct entry trainees working their way through their training contracts at the moment and are seeking to bring on a new cohort each year. The firm’s client base is varied and we constantly strive to attract and retain the best people to allow us to continue to offer our clients what they need and expect from a leading Scottish independent firm of accountants.”


The programme for the 2020 intake of school leavers seeking a direct entry route to qualifying as a chartered accountant is now open.

Charity Newsletter – July 2019

Scottish charity law reform consultation responses published

The Scottish Government has published a summary of the responses received to it’s recent charity law consultation. Overall there was wide support for all the changes to Scottish charity law proposed by OSCR. The topics being consulted on were as follows;

  1. Publishing annual reports and accounts in full for all charities on the Scottish Charity Register.
  2. An internal database and external register of charity trustees.
  3. Criteria for automatic disqualification of charity trustees and individuals employed in senior management positions in charities.
  4. A power to issue positive directions to charities.
  5. Removal of charities from the Scottish Charity Register that are persistently failing to submit annual reports and accounts and may no longer exist.
  6. All charities in the Scottish Charity Register to have and retain a connection in Scotland.
  7. Inquiries into the former charity trustees of bodies which have ceased to exist and bodies which are no longer charities.
  8. De-registered charities’ assets and public benefit.
  9. The speed and efficiency of OSCR’s powers to gather information when making inquiries.
  10. The reorganisation of charities established under royal charter, warrant or enactment.

It has yet to be confirmed when a bill to implement these changes will be brought forward but OSCR have confirmed it will not be in the current session of parliament. The full analysis can be found here.


Charity Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) governance review

The findings of the SORP governance review were published on the 6th of June. The purpose of the review was to analyse the Charities SORP development process as the SORP is now about to be applied in four jurisdictions of the UK and Ireland; with four different regulators.

A key recommendation is that the SORP making committee should be smaller and they should engage more with the key users of charity financial statements, such as the media, trustees and donors and what their requirements of financial statements are. The report also recommends that financial reporting for smaller charities should be simplified. The full report is available here.


Tax update

Charity Corporation Tax returns – HMRC have confirmed that the 3,000 charities in the UK with the largest gift aid claims will be asked to complete a tax return this year.  If your charity receives a request to complete a tax return and to iXBRL tag your financial statements this is something our tax team are experienced in performing for our charity clients and they will be able to help you with.

Proposed restriction to the employment allowance – HMRC have launched a consultation on restricting the £3,000 employment allowance to employers with employer NIC totalling less than £100,000 in the previous tax year. The purpose of the changes are to ensure the allowance targets small businesses.

Introduction of Employers NIC on certain termination payments – A bill has been introduced to parliament to align the NIC treatment of termination payments with the income tax treatment. From 6 April 2020 employer NIC at 13.8% will be payable on any part of a termination payment which is liable to income tax, i.e. the element above £30,000. Termination payments will remain exempt from employee NIC. HMRC guidance is available here.


Using Conflict as a Catalyst for Change

In conjunction with MHA, our national association of UK accountancy firms, we have produced a monthly guide for embracing, managing and mitigating conflict within your charity. Each article covers a different type of conflict that may affect your charity, with the overall theme of using conflict as a catalyst for change. The full guide is available here.


NCVO Charity Tax Commission report

The NCVO Charity Tax Commission has published the following suggestions for the improvement of charity tax reliefs;

  • Reforming Gift Aid to direct the additional value of relief above the UK basic rate to charities unless donors opt-out.
  • Developing a Universal Gift Aid Declaration Database (UGADD) to provide a single, enduring declaration which individuals can make covering all their subsequent gifts to charities.
  • Simplifying VAT for charities, for example, reviewing the rules around shared services could encourage cross-sector partnerships.
  • The provision of clear guidance by HMRC to public bodies so they can provide the VAT status of any charitable funding.  Grants and contracts are treated differently for VAT purposes but can be difficult to distinguish in practice.
  • Consulting on the extension of business rates relief to wholly-owned trading subsidiaries.

The full report is available here.

Cristina Pirolli

Cristina trained and qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Henderson Loggie and currently manages external audit and advisory services to clients in the not for profit sector, from small local charities to those operating nationally. She also manages a portfolio of commercial companies across a range of sectors.

Cristina is also a member of the firm’s Charity Sector Group.

Andy Niblock

Andy provides audit and accountancy services to clients in both the commercial and charitable sectors. He trained and worked for a Big 4 firm, and also worked in industry for a period before returning to the profession.

Andy has very much a hands-on approach due to his time spent in industry, and understands the practical issues of running a finance function and the issues they are faced with.

Andy also specialises in outsourcing of finance functions, providing this service to companies without their own in house finance team. The service Andy provides means he’s often involved with companies on a day to day basis, providing advice and ensuring their time is freed up rather than worrying about the financial administration side of their business.

Angela Whyte

Angela provides audit services to commercial clients, ranging from small to large corporates, across an assortment of sectors including publishing, retail and construction.

She also manages a portfolio of Further Education Colleges across Scotland, providing external audit services, as well as managing a range of accounting and management accounts assignments.

Angela trained and qualified with MHA Henderson Loggie.

Fiona Morgan

Fiona works with a variety of owner managed businesses and charities, both large and small, advising them on accounting, taxation and business improvement. Fiona is also responsible for the provision of the audit service within Aberdeen office.

Fiona’s clients operate in numerous sectors including food & drink, tourism, manufacturing, oil & gas service, professional services, retail, property development and recruitment. Working with them from inception through all the crucial phases in the development of a business, she has a personal approach which ensures that she can provide advice and re-assurance when it’s most needed.

Using her experience with Mindshop International, Fiona helps clients develop their businesses through business improvement services, specifically strategic planning, sustainable competitive advantage, family business issues, leadership development, personal development, and lean management..

George Hay

George is an experienced auditor and business adviser having worked in a wide variety of sectors and roles throughout his career. George’s focus is on the Agriculture & Rural Business and Charities sectors while continuing to act in a business advisory capacity for his long-standing commercial clients.

George likes nothing more than working tirelessly with his clients to assist them meeting their objectives and co-ordinating the firm’s specialist services to achieve this whether that be in the area of organic growth, acquisitions, disposals or effective tax planning.

George is also an accredited mediator.

Ian Cameron

Ian has over 20 years’ experience as a Partner in Henderson Loggie dealing with a varied portfolio of clients, both large and small, helping them with all their financial requirements. He provides general business advice and accounts preparation, as well as both personal and corporate tax.

Ian acted as local secretary for ACCA and was also as part of the Scottish Executive Committee for ACCA where he acted as the National Technical Liaison Officer.

Ian is Head of the firm’s Motor Retail Sector Group.

Jamie Davidson

Jamie is an experienced auditor with strong technical skills who provides audit and accounting services to our clients across a wide range of sectors. He trained with a Big 4 firm and after qualifying in 1987 he gained twenty years of experience before joining Henderson Loggie in 2007.

Jamie has wide commercial experience having worked with clients in many sectors and of all sizes from owner managed businesses to large groups. As well as core audit, Jamie has been involved in large projects for clients involving acquisitions and systems implementation. He brings all of that experience to bear on his client relationships where he seeks to add value in a proactive manner.

Jamie specialises in the audit of charities and works with many high profile Scottish charities. He is head of our charities sector group and sits on the ICAS Charities Committee.

Steve Cartwright

With an extensive experience of working with owner-managed businesses, Steve’s main priority is working with clients to assist them in achieving their full potential in terms of growth and profitability and maximising the value of their business. This includes strategic and business planning and business improvement, as well as risk and lean management, helping clients reduce costs and inefficiencies.

Steve has been working with independent video games developers in Scotland since the late 1980s and is supported by a team with significant knowledge of the sector.

Steve is also involved in MHA Henderson Loggie’s Business Leaders Group. A group for Chief Executives and Managing Directors of owner managed businesses in Scotland. The group meets on a quarterly basis, giving members access to a wealth of business and continuous improvement tools and processes and networking opportunities both locally and globally, via our partnership with Mindshop International (a strategic leadership training organisation which operates globally).

As well as being a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, Steve is currently the Vice Chairman of the Tayside branch of the Institute of Directors and is one of the longest serving UK members of Mindshop International.