Issue 1 June 2011
In this issue New Budget Package Health & Safety Update Engagement Model Promotion iXBRL Directorsâ€™ Conference Training Survey Student Recruitment
Business Development - Just Do It! New Website News
Sandy Manson Chief Executive I hope you enjoying reading our first executive team newsletter, which includes the latest news from our executive team functions: Business Development, Facilities, Finance and Administration, HR, IT, Marketing and Training and Development. We have decided to theme the first issue around our five core values: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Innovation Integrity Service Sustainable Growth Teamwork
We believe that these are the standards and behaviours which we all need to consistently aspire to and live by in order to make us a better firm for both our employees and our clients. These are also those values which clearly differentiate us from our competitors. We have related these core values to projects that the executive team has carried out to show how we can act by our core values each day through our work.
Our Core Values Integrity
We constantly strive for innovation, looking for ways to make our business and our clients’ businesses better.
This can be done by consulting others to get a better answer and using efficient and effective procedures and systems.
Sandie Mowat E-Marketing Coordinator
& Dave Pyett IT Systems Engineer In July we asked you for your opinions on the Intranet and how you would like to see it develop. We had a great response from almost 300 of you , so thank you for your time and involvement. After that survey, we went out and met with department heads to understand the diverse needs of the company. We have now decided the best route to take, and are working on the design process. The aim is to provide a simple, easy-to-use solution that aids you with your daily tasks. The new intranet should be in place by the end of June, and we will be carrying out training sessions once it’s gone live, so that you can get the best out of it. ■
Document Management From
Douglas Rintoul Partner One of the key components of the new CCH practice management system is an integrated Document Management System. This will allow us to file client documents including e-mail into the system, so that as well as being able to see the WIP and tax return for a client in CCH, you will be able to view their documents. This will take place in the next financial year and we will be working with various departments to ensure the processes are correct. ■
Sandie Mowat E-Marketing Coordinator Our email campaigns are now co-ordinated through the new website. Users (both clients and non-clients) can register on our website, giving the user control over the news and updates they receive from us. Users can manage their personal information on the system, ensuring details are as up-to-date as possible. Users can choose to receive the various sector newsletter, emails, firm News and Tax updates. The Audit team have also begun sending updates. There is also the option to sign up for a weekly email from our web providers, who specialise in accountancy websites. This email is sent out weekly and our clients have to ‘opt in’ to receive this email. As this is a completely separate system from CCH, we will be doing a monthly comparison of both systems to ensure that both the email system and CCH contain the same client information. ■
New Practice Management System From
John Joss Systems Developer Our existing CMS practice management system was replaced at the end of March 2011 with the new ‘fully integrated’ practice management system from CCH software. The new CCH system combines functionality from the existing CMS and CCH systems. A single ‘Central’ database will replace the existing CMS JCLive, CMS JCBSLive and CCH Tax databases. The new system will provide Campaign Management functionality to automate newsletter distribution and a document management module will be introduced early in the new financial year. We will also see the introduction of the new CCH Accounts Production module in 2011. The new system gives a complete view of information for each client including contact details, addresses, WIP balances, outstanding debt balances, tax returns, accounts, fees, documents, and marketing campaign information. One of the benefits of this ‘fully integrated’ system is that client records only need to be set up once in the central database. At the moment we may have to setup the same client in all of the CMS JCLive, CMS JCBSLive,Viztopia and CCH Personal Tax systems. Maintaining information, like client contacts and addresses, in one central database will also be a lot easier than it was, where client information may be duplicated or spread across three different databases. One of the main challenges we faced in moving to the new system is transferring our current data from the existing CMS and CCH databases to the new central database. To achieve this we have been working with CCH software to create a conversion process which will combine, consolidate and convert data from our existing systems in to the new ‘fully integrated’ CCH system. ■
New Budget Package
With the benefits of B2B social media increasing, Johnston Carmichael has begun developing a social media strategy to utilise the various channels.
As the firm continues to grow there an increasing desire for the Finance Department to produce succinct and meaningful financial information that the Operations Partners can use to manage their office as efficiently as possible. Part of that process is to ensure we set targets that have a meaningful basis, and to give all of us a realistic and fair challenge for the coming months. The firm’s budget and cash flow projections have historically been created in Excel but we have well out-grown the existing model. Therefore, we are currently in the process of implementing a new budgeting and reporting tool from IBM - Cognos Planning.
LinkedIn – We have company profiles for JCCA and JCFS and we encourage staff to have their own personal LinkedIn profiles. If you would like to create your own profile, please refer to the Johnston Carmichael LinkedIn Guide. Mark Houston, Partner, Glasgow office, has created a group on LinkedIn for Tax Planning for Entrepreneurial Scottish Companies, which has been successful and even resulted in being asked to tender. If you would like to set up a services or sector focused group, please get in touch with a member of the Marketing Team. Twitter - Craig Hendry, one of the Directors of Johnston Carmichael Financial Services, recently began utilising Twitter and at time of print had 81 followers, not quite as many as Lady Gaga, but only another 7,704,111 to go! As this has been a success, we have launched a JC Twitter page, which has helped drive traffic to our website and increase our online presence. Watch this space as we are working on a Facebook page to be launched late summer. ■ twitter.com/craigshendry twitter.com/JC_Accountants
As well as allowing us to custombuild the budget model to suit our business, it will also be linked to our new Practice Management system CCH, which has just gone live and will therefore allow us to use the reporting capability to produce our various management reports more efficiently. The budget process for 2011/12 was completed using the new model. ■
Integrity As individuals we work with integrity, discretion, honesty and trustworthiness and treat people with courtesy and respect to build relationships. The firm’s assets are our people, our reputation, our clients and our culture and to protect these assets, we act legally and ethically.
Encryption Policies review of e-mails From
Nicola Brown Training & Development Coordinator Lesley Wilson is currently reviewing and updating the firm’s policy documents with the assistance of various Heads of Service Lines and Executive Team Heads, as it is some time since this has been done. It is proving more of a challenge than anticipated - not least in ensuring that all policies are actually in the Policy Documents folder on the Document Library! We are taking this opportunity to also reconsider what are ‘policies’ (rules of the firm) and what are procedures or guidance, and to tidy up our style template for policy documents. We will draw your attention as appropriate to any policies which are changing. ■
Engagement Letter Revision From
Alistair Buchan Finance Director ICAS recommends we review our terms of engagement regularly and update as appropriate and the timing of amendments is largely driven by regulatory changes in relation to the work we perform. However, it is some time since we updated our general terms – i.e. those standard areas that cover all of our clients, regardless of the type of work we do.
Douglas Rintoul Partner There was a change in the law back in April 2010, where the maximum fine for breaching the Data Protection Act was raised from £5,000 to £500,000. At the same time extra guidance came out regarding the security of client information, in particular e-mail communication. ICAS have since provided advice in that where clients outsource their employees’ payroll to us, we should be encrypting all e-mail communication which holds their employees personal data. As such we are currently rolling out a product across JCBS and communicating with clients so that they are able to open the encrypted mail. Dependant on advice of best practice from ICAS this may be rolled out across JC as well in the future.
iXBRL This is an acronym for “Inline Extensible Business Reporting Language”. As from 1 April 2011 it became mandatory to file Corporation tax returns, tax computations and accounts with the HMRC using iXBRL for companies with accounting periods ending after 31 March 2010. For more detail or clarification regarding this legislation, please refer to Graham Seager’s e-mail of 10 December, but I will cover what it means from an IT viewpoint.
Instead of providing a paper copy or even an electronic PDF to HMRC, the information has to be in this iXBRL format. So what does this mean? XBRL is where information on say a set of accounts or CT600 tax return is tagged using a standard code list called a Taxonomy. Thus “Sales” or “Cost of Sales” will always be a certain code no matter which coding structure the parent accounts system uses. This means when HMRC receive the information they can analyse it in a standard way with no human intervention. The “i” part of iXBRL means that as well as producing a list of Taxonomy codes with values against them, the actual format of the tax return or accounts is maintained, so it can be read by a human. The tagging is stored in the document which can be read in any browser. Thus you are able to open the iXBRL set of accounts and by hovering over figures the coding is shown. This has caught many of the software producers on the hop, as they have to write new versions of the software to create the output files, but we are on target to have our systems up to date in advance of the deadline. ■
Brand Guidelines and New Templates
So, we have recently commenced a complete revision of our terms. We also plan to change the format of what we The Johnston Carmichael brand is such an produce in line with that recommended by important asset of the firm, in order to ICAS, ACCA and CIoT, and so will provide the keep our brand reputation, we have been client with three separate documents being (1) working on revised set of Brand a covering letter which highlights the main areas Guidelines which will be distributed of work covered (2) separate “schedules” shortly and will be available on detailing the specific terms of each area of work the Hub. and (3) standard terms of business covering areas This document outlines the such as client ID, data protection and feeing and integrity of the Johnston payment terms etc. In future, should the scope of Carmichael brand, what it work extend to an area not previously included, we will stands for and how it should simply issue a further schedule as an addendum to the be displayed.The document letter already in place. has been produced to ensure all staff and We have issued the various heads of functions with template relevant external schedules covering their respective areas of expertise for agencies, such as review, and have reissued engagement letters to all of our clients. ■
Sarah Robertson Marketing Manager
designers achieve a consistent style across all our communications. Every piece of communication which goes out from the firm, needs to be consistent in style, from an email to a tender document. As such, we have produced a new tender template and are working on a new powerpoint template which must be used. These templates reflect the style of our website, ensuring that everything has a similar look and feel to it. By ensuring consistency of our communications with clients, contacts and targets will help reinforce the strength of the Johnston Carmichael brand. ■
Internal Review A plea to talk From
The firm carries out regular reviews of key areas of work to ensure that standards are being maintained and that any issues in an area, or opportunities to improve matters for the clients’ benefit, are taken. The areas which are looked at most years include:
Every six months we analyse staff turnover levels to see what the statistics can tell us about your engagement and we carry out exit interviews to get to the bottom of staff members’ feelings about the firm.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Audit files and audited accounts Business recovery and insolvency Clients’ money Company secretarial Consultancy Corporate finance Corporate tax Investment business Money laundering Office support, e.g. reception, filing, storage Payroll Personal tax Pink pack accounts and files Tax credits Trusts and executries Unincorporated accounts VAT
Considerable time and effort is put into this process, to ensure we are identifying the risks in the work we do, reviewing work widely across the firm, and then take action on any points arising. The good news is that we generally find we are producing high quality work, and there is consistency around the firm in how we do our work and lay out our files. While the process is managed by Lesley Wilson, Chief Executive Sandy Manson reviews all review reports and agrees the actions to be taken. The review cycle started in February 2011. If your files or your area are being reviewed please do continue to give every cooperation to the internal reviewers, who work hard to ensure we continue to be a quality firm. ■
It is very frustrating to feed back the results of this to partners and line managers only to be told “I had no idea they felt that way”. Regretfully, no-one in our business has a crystal ball. If you feel we’re not offering you what you need - be it better feedback, career development etc. – please tell someone. We can’t fix what we don’t know about – and we’d appreciate the opportunity to try! ■
Health & Safety Update From
Avril McLeod Director The cold snap last winter certainly brought us many challenges in each of our offices and we worked hard to ensure there were appropriate arrangements in place to keep car parks and external walkways as clear as possible. We used 2 tonnes of rock salt last November /December, which we certainly didn’t expect to be the case so early in to the winter. Roof leaks, broken guttering and frozen heating units, the joys that seasonal weather brings! The team have invested quite a bit of work on health and safety this year, particularly with the development of the new health and safety page on the Hub. From this page there is a link to the document library and the firm’s health and safety policy and information can be found here. We hope that you find this useful and informative. As the firm grows it is important that our policies and working procedures are periodically reviewed to ensure they are fit for purpose.
This year we engaged the services of an external health and safety consultant to undertake an audit of our current health and safety policies and working procedures and will report back with any findings and suggested recommendations.The auditor has been provided with our health and safety information and we currently await his feedback. As a firm we are required to carry out the specific testing to all electrical equipment in the workplace. The programme for the testing of our portable appliances and fixed wiring has been completed. I am pleased to report that to date no significant problems have been identified however there is no room for complacency and the team work hard to ensure high standards are maintained. We also encourage input and feedback from you all as this is very important – if you ever come across a situation which you believe may result in a health and safety issue then please report this to your local health and safety representative or office manager immediately. ■
At Johnston Carmichael we take pride in the level of service we provide and want to make a difference for clients. We give exceptional personal service through one key point of contact for all client services.
We think ahead and work with energy and enthusiasm. We strive to be the firm of choice in the markets in which we operate and our range of services and specialism’s is extensive and growing.
Claire Milton Marketing Communications Coordinator We continue to publish annual newsletters for our key sectors, with the introduction last year of a Food and Drink newsletter. With the Green Energy sector growing so quickly, we recognised the need to revamp our current Energy Newsletter and replaced it with two sector focused newsletters, Green Energy News and Oil & Gas News. Another new development in 2010 was the introduction of our ‘flippy newsletters’, which are available for downloading on the Hub and website. These make it much easier to email our newsletters to clients and contacts. We would like to thank those of you who give up your time to write articles for our newsletters and if you have any new article suggestions, please get in touch with Claire or Sarah. ■
New Website From
Sandie Mowat E-Marketing Coordinator On 24 September we launched our new website. The website has been designed using our corporate colour palette and uses typography as well as images to get our key messages across, add colour and create impact. The home page opens using our new strapline ‘Let’s talk about growing your business’. Since going live, we have had over 130 non clients sign up to receive our email updates and this number continues to increase each month. Number of new clients/new client enquries The new website has already provided us with an increase in the number of new client enquiries we receive online, with 20 enquiries since the new website was launched. This has resulted in three new clients signing up to our services so far. Visitor numbers increase on 2010? We are pleased to see an increase in the number of visits, average number of pages viewed per visit, number of visitors and the average time spent on the new website, compared with the same period in 2010. Comparing the figures of January to March 2010 to January to March 2011 shows that our visitor numbers have increased by 14%. ■
Marketing Communications Coordinator
In 2010 we held three agriculture seminars across the country.These seminars were held jointly with Stronachs Solicitors and covered the various issues which could arise when passing on the family farm to the next generation. When Sex and the City 2 was released in cinemas in June, a few of the CRMs in the Aberdeen office seized the opportunity to take their female clients out for an evening of cocktails and canapés followed by a screening of the film in the cinema, this was a really successful evening and something different to the dinners we often do. The FIFA World Cup provided an excellent opportunity to meet with our clients over a few beers and the Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen offices all held events. In November we co-sponsored The Scottish Opera’s performance of The Marriage of Figaro in Aberdeen with Ledingham Chalmers LLP. Both firms invited clients and non-clients to enjoy a pre-theatre meal, followed by the performance. A great night was had by all who attended. The last few months have also been packed with a range of free seminars held in our offices.These include Corporate Seminars which provided an update for Financial Directors in Inverness, Elgin, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh,Tax Seminars covering strategies for high earners in Elgin, and Cash Management Seminars for small businesses in Aberdeen.The feedback from these seminars has all been positive and they enable us to provide added value to many of our clients. ■
We work with two PR agencies, KD Media in Edinburgh and Glasgow and MacKenzie PR in all other offices. In 2010, we had extensive coverage in all of the major press in Scotland, below is a selection of the cuttings. We secured lead coverage in the Press & Journal and The Herald for both budgets, by negotiating sponsorship deals. The charity efforts during the year were also well reported in a variety of publications, including the Fraserburgh Herald, Business 7, Scotland on Sunday, Farm North, The Northern Scott and the Press & Journal. We’ve had some very good coverage during 2010 across all our offices and we are grateful for all your efforts writing these articles. If you have any ideas for future articles please get in touch with Claire or Sarah. ■
New clients Throughout the year Johnston Carmichael has had some significant new client wins including these companies. ■
At Johnston Carmichael we want to grow at a pace that we can manage with profitable fee income. This is crucial to our success. We value technology, learning and leadership and commit to investing in these areas.
New Year - new printers
Training & Development Coordinator
IT Systems Engineer
The 2010 Directors’ Conference took place at Dunkeld House Hotel, and 40 directors worked hard on a wide variety of agenda items, all of which should move the firm forwards.
We have now moved to a Managed Print Service with Capital Solutions providing support for approximately 90% of all printers and copiers used within the business.
Sandy Manson (Chief Executive) and Andrew Shepherd (Chairman) were in attendance throughout lending their support, and Julia Timmins kept the conference ticking over from an administrative point of view. This year we had two external speakers, on aspects of communication. One speaker, Lorna Hudson, focused on standards of personal appearance and dress, which was thought provoking and challenging. ■
The benefits of this strategy to the business are, it: • provides a cost effective solution to our printing needs, allowing substantial savings to be made on document printing costs • replaces all the older and inefficient print devices • reduces resolution time for issues with any device in any office - Capital Solutions have their own Helpdesk and local highly-trained engineers who provide a fast and efficient response • lessens the impact on the environment by using fewer and more efficient printing devices • frees up the IT Team to focus on pro-active system support. ■
PC and laptop replacements From
Martyn Winterburn IT Support Assistant We have recently invested in replacing over 150 PC’s and laptops across the firm. These were machines which were over 5 years old, and causing efficiency problems for those using them in terms of poor performance and increased IT Support calls. At the same time we invested in some new technologies to speed up the roll out of new and existing equipment. Inverurie became our staging area because of its central location and available free space for deliveries and the build process. Recycling of the packaging was done via Moray Council in Elgin. Asset tagging and licensing information have to be recorded for both Insurance and Software Licence compliance. Next came the preparation and installation phase which has been significantly improved by utilising a pre-installed Johnston Carmichael specific Windows 7 Image from Dell. This image removes many off the slow manual configuration steps, and coupled with some in house ‘IT black magic’, has allowed us to prep and distribute over 150 new computers over 10 offices, over a 2 month period while maintaining normal support operations and with minimal impact to the end user. Dell managed the collection and recycling of the old hardware thus saving us valuable storage space and ensuring we remain true to our culture of Corporate Social Responsibility. ■
Business devlopment - Just do it! From
Adam Hardie Business Development Director In 2010, we developed a client management and development training programme which we have put approximately 50 of our client facing staff through, as part of our Professional Excellence Programme. The below guide was produced to encourage better client focus for Partners and Client Relationship Managers.
Although the firm is based around 10 locations, we are one team.
To ensure we work as a team, we must, work well together, share our knowledge and challenge and support our people.
Learning & Development Director
The firm is committed to making Johnston Carmichael a great place to work and values and rewards hard work.
Nicola Brown Training & Development Coordinator The Training Team (aka Nicola Brown) has been busy reviewing all the appraisal interim forms for additional training needs, and adding them to our Training Needs database for actioning. You may receive calls from the team to clarify what you and your line manager are looking for. ■
Compensation & benefits
Iain Abernethy During the autumn we were busy working to secure the services of students who will join the firm in 2011.This intake includes at least one student for every office and to date we have 20 students ‘signed up’. The students will be joining us to participate in one of the following schemes: • Aberdeen University Bursary Scheme • JC Graduate Training Programme • Banff and Buchan College Partnership • Strathclyde University Placement Scheme • Dundee University Placement Scheme • The Robert Gordon University • Edinburgh University Placement Scheme Placement Scheme • Inverness College Partnership Graduate recruitment is a very competitive market and we continue to work hard in order to seek innovative methods of keeping one step ahead of our competition. We are delighted to have secured very strong candidates for 2011who we hope will enjoy working with the firm.To help this process be successful representatives of the firm have attended and presented at recruitment events across the country. We have also been working with The Robert Gordon University to secure students for the year long placement.There are four students joining the firm who will work in the Aberdeen, Elgin, Huntly and Inverness offices. Summer placement positions have also been filled and again this has been helped through presentations and contact with Aberdeen, Dundee, Strathclyde and Edinburgh universities. The summer placement is an excellent time for students to gain real life experience within an accounting practice and can be used as an extended interview for possible future work with Johnston Carmichael. In the autumn we dealt with over 300 applications and interviewed 62 students. ■
Sarah Taylor HR Director Flexible benefits, salary sacrifice for training contributions, child care vouchers, pension changes... we’ve looked at a number of different pay and benefit initiatives over the past couple of years. So where are we? ‘Flexible benefits’ is the big one. We’d like to introduce an on-line platform to allow each of us to select from a menu the benefits that matter most to us, trading between cash, benefits, and holidays, within certain limits. We took a long, hard look at this and worked up what it could look like for Johnston Carmichael. As you might imagine, the costs – both up front and ongoing – are very substantial. With the economy in such a fragile and uncertain condition, and with the other financial pressures that our business is currently experiencing, we concluded that it wouldn’t be prudent to introduce such a scheme at the moment. So it has been parked – but by no means forgotten.
Engagement model promotion From
Sarah Taylor HR Director
“My manager sets high standards and actively works with me to achieve them.”
If you recognise this then you must be getting familiar with the Firm’s ‘Engagement Model’ which we launched last year as a quick and easy guide for managing people. Managing people well can sometimes seem to be something of a black art, but this should only be the case if we’re asked to do it without being shown how. Many managers struggle with whether to be ’nice’ to their staff, or to concentrate on getting results. But this shouldn’t be an ‘either / or’. The very best managers are highly demanding, setting their staff challenging targets which, when met, deliver a great sense of achievement, but they do so supportively and kindly. The Engagement Model – which you can find on the HR pages of The Hub, and on the wallet cards sent out last year – is thirteen simple statements that show our managers how to pull this off. If you can answer ‘strongly agree’ to most of these statements, then your manager ought to be a pretty effective people manager. And that means that your team should also be delivering results for our business.
Instead, we have taken some alternative steps to improve our benefits. By switching our pension provider to Scottish Widows, we can now offer you a wider fund choice and lower management charges, But the Engagement Model is no use to a manager in isolation. He or she will need making sure more of your hard earned cash ends up your help to understand what works for you, and what doesn’t. Feedback needs to where it belongs - in your pension pot. And for those of be two way – your manager needs it from you just as much as you need it from him you with substantial childcare fees, we now offer a voucher or her. scheme which could save basic rate taxpayers over £900/year. So this year we will be asking you, as part of your main appraisal, to have a think We place a great deal of emphasis on the importance of about the thirteen statements and let your manager know how he or she is training, so we’re also exploring whether the Revenue can pick doing. We are all different, and like to be managed in different ways, so help up part of the tab for your contributions.This isn’t quite as simple your manager understand what matters to you, what you’d like him or her as saying “great idea - let’s do it”. Contrary to popular belief, salary to continue doing, and what you’d like him or her to change. Give sacrifice schemes aren’t always self financing, there are question marks examples to aid understanding. over the VAT treatment, and we have to be sure the potential savings for you justify the changes to employment contracts etc. Watch this People management needn’t be a black art – let’s keep it simple! ■ space, because we hope to be able to make a decision on this shortly. ■
360 feedback reports
Career map development
Lesley Wilson Partner As you are probably aware, the firm was incredibly busy over the first quarter of 2011, as a number of time consuming projects were underway: conversion of corporate tax returns to online filing, with the tagging of accounts which involved; the move to the new practice management system CCH, which involved considerable work across the firm; and reissues of engagement letters in connection with those matters. Finally the move to LLP status effective 1 June 2011 has involved quite a bit of work too. To avoid additional stress to partners and staff in completing what can be a considerable number of individual feedback reports, we have taken the decision to defer the 360 feedback exercise for partners and managers until the summer of 2011, by which time the above projects will have been completed. The intention is to have the individual reports for partners and managers ready for the autumn update appraisals rather than the spring main appraisals. Note that directors and senior managers are due to receive their feedback in spring 2012. If anyone has any queries on this please contact me. ■
Lesley Wilson We started to roll out the Career Maps in 2006, and we now have Career Maps in place for: • Accounts • Audit • Business Recovery and Outsourcing • Tax • Outsourcing • General practice • JCFS • JCBS VAT team
“We will do any review in the same way we create any original map - in full consultation with a representative group .”
We are working on the drafts of the Corporate Finance and Administration/Support Career Maps. Once these last two are in place we have no plans at this time to develop any further Maps - we need a sizeable work group for a Career Map to be beneficial to staff and their managers, however we will develop further maps where needed. The feedback received to date is that they are useful to you, in that they have achieved our objectives of achieving consistency around the firm in our expectations of people, and have also brought transparency into what is needed if people are looking to get on in the firm. Also, as far as we are aware, the short but formal process people need to go through in order to move from one Stage of a Career Map to another seems to be achieving the necessary balance between having enough challenge in the process without being overly bureaucratic. We are about to go back to the beginning, to review each Map to check it still entirely reflects the career ladders in an area, and what is expected of people at each Stage. We will do any review in the same way we create any original map – in full consultation with a representative group. Again, if you have any thoughts on if and how we should develop the maps, please let me know. ■
Staff News Around the Offices Below is a brief update from around the offices of major events over the last few months.
Firm -Wide Exam Success! Congratulations to everyone who passed their exams so far this year. The following students passed exams towards their ACCA qualification: Scott Allan, Kirsty Park and Andrew Craig (Aberdeen), Sarah Stewart, Sam Holden and Karen Wilson (Forfar), Kian Coertze (Edinburgh), Louise Gow (Perth) and Amy Inglis (Elgin). We are also delighted that our Association of Accounting Technician (AAT) students have achieved a fantastic 100% first time pass rate in the AAT exams. Our successful students are Sarah Anderson (Aberdeen), Nicola Hepburn (Fraserburgh), Jenna Wilson (Fraserburgh), Susan Scarborough (Huntly), Rachael Adam (Inverurie) and Gail Little (Perth) and all progress onto the next stage of their AAT studies. Congratulations to Rebecca Bliss (Inverness) for completing her VQ Administration Level 2 and to Emma Green (Huntly) for completing her SVQ Business and Administration Level 3. ■
Kaz Johnston in Elgin celebrated her 21st Birthday on 22 April. Carole Jackson in Elgin celebrated her 60th Birthday on 24 March. Neil Smith in Huntly celebrated his 40th Birthday on 23 February. Wilma Farquharson in Huntly celebrated her 50th Birthday on 14 February. Emma Green in Huntly celebrated her 21st Birthday on 28 April. Steven Massie in Inverurie celebrated his 21st Birthday on 26 April. Rory Machray in Inverurie celebrated his 30th Birthday on 1 February.■
Staff have also been busy fundraising around the offices with activities ranged from the recent London Marathon to a Casino night and a sponsored silence.
Happy Birthday to Johnston Carmichael
All offices took part in a Spring Dress Down Day, raising £1668.17 on March 18th.
This year also marks the firm’s 75th Birthday and our birthday party takes place on the Saturday 4 June at the Aberdeen Treetops Hotel. We hope to see you there. ■
Treasure Hunt 22 people from the Inverness office went on a Treasure Hunt around the hostelries of Inverness on Friday 1st April. After leaving Weatherspoons, Team Captains from the Social Committee escorted their teams on a tour of four pubs, giving clues along the way which they had to solve in the quickest time possible.
A huge well done and congratulations to our marathon runners who all completed the course with very respectable times. Andrew Shepherd (3:22), Sarah Anderson (4.20) and Richard Walker (4:45) all ran as part of the Cancer Research UK Gold bond team and Johnston Carmichael’s seasoned marathon runner Fiona Macritchie (3.26) also took part. Over £15,000 has been raised by Andrew, Sarah and Richard for our firmwide charity Cancer Research UK. This has helped boost our CSR fundraising total for this year, which is currently sitting at over £40,000. ■
Spring Dress Down Day and Red Nose Day Aberdeen raised £251 by selling breakfast rolls, homebakes, dress down, raffle and a quiz. This is going to Comic Relief. Edinburgh raised £336.67 by selling bacon rolls and car washing. Half of the money is going to Comic Relief and half to The Pilrig Park School. Elgin raised £213.70 by holiday a dress down day, selling Belly Button Softies rolls and a Pick Your Pose poster. All the money raised is for Comic Relief. Forfar raised £34.20 for Comic Relief. Fraserburgh raised £35 by holding a dress down day, selling bacon rolls and doing some games. Glasgow raised £63.10 for MD Scotland. Huntly raised £104.80 which will be split by £10 going to Cancer Research UK, the rest is going to Huntly Day Care Centre. The money was raised through Dress Down and the sale of homebakes. Inverness raised £368.70 by selling bacon rolls, homebakes, car washing, quiz and square game. Inverurie raised £100 by selling homebakes and dressing down. The money is to go to the Olivia Downie Appeal.
Alongside this one of the team members had to wear a tee shirt and get as many signatures as possible from members of the public. For every signature 10 seconds came off the total time. Carrie Macrae overcame her “natural shyness” and was the star getting 125 signatures on her tee shirt – most of which were inoffensive.
Perth raised £161 by dressing down, having a curry lunch and pudding. This is going to The Braveheart Trust. ■
Congratulations to Gordon McCarlie (Aberdeen) on his engagement to Suzanne Corcoran. Congratulations to Martin Bannerman (Inverness) who got engaged to Donna Campbell on 20 February. Congratulations to Colin Stirling in Edinburgh and his wife Judith who had a baby girl on 21 February, who they have named Lucy. Congratulations to Chris Campbell (Elgin) and his wife Emma who had A good night was had by all with Donald Begg’s team, a baby girl on Tuesday 12th April, who they named Chloe Louisa. Chris Boyd, Jill Smith and Ian Lewis proving to be clued up Congratulations to Laura Anderson, (nee Ritchie), from the and Carol James’s team, consisting of Scott Jeffrey, Carrie Aberdeen office, who got married to Scott on April 22nd 2011. ■ MacRae and Fiona Macritchie seemingly clueless. ■