Posted: 21 Sep. 2020 5 min. read

Five questions with one of 2020’S Top 100 Young CA’s

Five members of our Deloitte Scotland team have been included in the ICAS Top 100 Young Chartered Accountants list, which celebrates and recognises 100 inspiring individuals working in the world of accounting, finance, and business.

This year’s list names eight young Deloitte professionals, five who are based in Scotland. Eddie HaldaneAndy McAllister and Will Walter are based in our Edinburgh office and Graeme Andrew McLeish and Stuart McConnell are based in our Glasgow office.

It is a great achievement to make it onto the list and it presents a wonderful chance for these talented young CAs to be recognised by their peers, despite a challenging year.

We caught up with Eddie Haldane, from our Edinburgh office to find out what it takes to be recognised as one ICAS’ Top 100 Young CA’s.

What did it mean to you to be named on the Top 100 Young CAs list?
Being named on the list is a huge honour and rather humbling when I look around at the people I work with and those who have helped me at every stage of my career so far. The profession is crammed full of incredible people who work tirelessly every day in pursuit of excellence, and I’ve always tried to live up to that and build a reputation deserving of the environment I work in. Inclusion on the Top 100 Young CAs list is an indicator of some success towards that aim and that feels great!

What are the main skills you need to work as a Chartered Accountant?
There are, of course, the skills that accountants are stereotyped as needing (numeracy, attention to detail, ownership of a green visor…) but I see modern Chartered Accountants needing to harness a much more varied skill set.

In my role, there is definitely a requirement for an analytical mind that embraces challenges and enjoys problem solving. However, what is becoming increasingly important is successfully managing constant change and building a resilience to working in such a fluid environment. Keeping pace with technical change is not simply having an awareness of legislative updates but more about being organised and diligent in setting aside time to really engage with the changes and what they mean for clients. Without a disciplined attitude you simply won’t get to it.

Additionally, being a CA in the Big 4 means being a global citizen and having an openness to working across borders and cultures. It simply isn’t possible to go-it along - successfully operating globally means building a strong international network of dependable people, and that requires a number of attributes. Two that stand out are:

  • Being a clear communicator – being able to clearly and concisely articulate the purpose and objectives to come out of a working relationship is a key skill, especially when working in teams without a common first language.
  • Investing in helping others – having a strong network means being committed to helping out others. Building goodwill in your network (and being able to capitalise on it when needed) comes from being a trusted advisor in the other direction.

Describe a typical day
Typical days are hard to come by, although my kitchen table has been a reliable staple since March. From that trusty base my day will usually start with a reconciliation (accountants love a good reconciliation): what meetings do I have for the day ahead; what e-mails have come in overnight and how do they need to be prioritised; what tasks had I already set myself to achieve; how can my team help and how can I help them. Planning is always the first activity (assuming yesterday’s timesheet isn’t outstanding…).

From there, each day will chart its own path but with similar core ingredients:

  • Compliance activities (reviewing or preparing tax deliverables);
  • Client calls (specific topics or relationship management);
  • Team calls (planning deliverables or discussing technical points);
  • Account administration (risk management/commercial actions);
  • Independent time to consider business development or technical learning;
  • Team technical updates;
  • Regular re-shuffles of the to-do list.

There are also a few cups of tea in the typical day too!

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy many aspects of my job and find the variety is something that I particularly like – each day presents itself with new challenges and I strive on that. If I had to pick one particular area of my job then it would be the problem solving. I really enjoy grappling with the legislation and working through it to find solutions. I find it to be really satisfying being given a problem, being challenged to come up with the answer and then finding the best way to articulate that back to the audience.

What advice would you give someone wanting to break into this career?
I would start by explaining how varied a career as a Chartered Accountant is and therefore encourage any prospective CAs to follow their interests – there will almost certainly be a role for them to make their own. The more your working environment can complement your skills and interest, the greater the experience will be. As such, my advice is to follow what you enjoy and build a career around that.

There is also something to be said about getting out what you put in. There are certainly times when being a CA can feel like an uphill struggle and there is no end in sight to the long list of tasks to get through. However, it is a career worthy of the perseverance it requires and I’ve found myself to be quite amazed at how much I’ve learned and experienced in such a short space of time. My advice is to commit to the journey if you think it’s for you.

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Key contact

Eddie Haldane

Eddie Haldane

Associate Director, Tax

Eddie is a talented corporate tax specialist with a deep understanding of his clients and their culture. Where he has identified potential issues of tax non-compliance, he has worked with taxpayers to disclose and agree those issues with the relevant authorities. He combines technical understanding of new legislation with practical advice that enables his clients to conduct their business internationally while maintaining full comprehension of their obligations.