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.

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, charitable and agricultural sectors. He trained and worked for a Big 4 firm, and also worked in industry for a period before returning to the profession. Andy is Head of our Agriculture & Rural Team.

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.

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.

Stuart Inglis

Stuart has considerable experience in managing assurance audit work across the Firm’s portfolio of public sector clients including further and higher education, local government, housing association, research organisations and Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs). He has played a lead role in developing the Firm’s risk-based approach to internal audit to ensure full compliance with the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards.

In particular, Stuart has been involved in both internal and external audit assignments within the further education sector since the incorporation of colleges in 1993 and currently manages the Firm’s audit and other services to a significant number of colleges throughout Scotland.

Stuart has a detailed understanding of the corporate governance, performance management and financial issues relevant to the sectors in which he works. He uses his knowledge and experience to identify appropriate best practice benchmarks, an approach that is well received by clients who recognise the ‘added value’ that he provides.

Suzanne Kerr

Suzanne is involved with a wide variety of client work such as accounts preparation, VAT returns and management accounts services for all business types such as sole traders, partnerships and limited companies including personal tax and corporate tax guidance. As well as being involved in commercial organisations, Suzanne has a large client base of charities and non-profit making organisations where she provides independent examinations. Suzanne also has a number of charity audit clients including non-incorporated charities and charitable companies.

She has experience of clients ranging from retailers, sole traders, off-shore workers, friendly societies, property managers, chartered surveyors, cancer supporting charities and many more.

Suzanne is extremely supportive to client needs and is ready to listen, discuss, advise and support clients to meet their requirements at any time. Suzanne joined MHA Henderson Loggie in 1996, she trained and qualified with the firm.

Gavin Black

Gavin is an experienced auditor with strong technical skills. He also brings significant commercial experience, having worked with a wide range of international and UK groups and owner managed businesses.

Gavin spent over ten years working in Edinburgh, where he trained and qualified. Gavin’s specialisms include manufacturing and distribution, infrastructure, professional practices, retail businesses and student associations.

Originally from Forfar, Gavin is a graduate of Dundee University.