Tutor Profile: Calum A. Macdonald CA
Lecturer Calum A. Macdonald CA tells us about his ICAS journey and how he came to join the tutor team.
A more direct route
Having received unconditional offers from a variety of universities, I was all set to accept an offer and start studying. However, my Uncle (also a CA) sent me a few links to information about firms to look at.
After completing some applications, I was offered three different accounting direct entry jobs and chose to join Johnston Carmichael as a Direct Entry Student. At the time, my idea of what an accountant did and what accountants actually did were two very different things.
ICAS was an easy choice for me. Several of my family are CAs and they have always told me about the prestige that ICAS has.
I spent the first three years of my career working within the Business Solutions / General Practice department at Johnston Carmichael’s Glasgow office. From this, I was able to learn many skills found within Financial Accounting & Business Management and, once I had a hang of the basics, it didn't take long for accountancy to become something enjoyable.
ICAS was an easy choice for me. Several of my family are CAs and they have always told me about the prestige that ICAS has. I looked into the course structure and decided that ICAS was the professional qualification which I wanted to complete.
The firm was happy to support me through the Direct Entry route of ICAS and I became their first student to complete the CA qualification straight from school.
Leading and lecturing
As my career progressed, I moved onto Audit work and was involved in audits across a range of industries: from vehicle rental companies to fish factories. I still often share stories from my experiences at this time with my students attending TPS Assurance & Business Systems classes.
Following this, I decided to specialise in Financial Services and led audits including Investment Managers, Funds and Lending platforms. I worked between Glasgow, Edinburgh & Elgin (with occasional trips elsewhere) and enjoyed building relationships with clients.
Luckily, a position at ICAS was just being advertised - the rest is history.
After qualifying as a CA, I found that one of the best benefits is being able to display the designatory letters after my name. After all the exams, it certainly is worth it and something to be proud of!
It was while I was attending the ICAS Admission Ceremony that I enquired with one of the directors about available ICAS positions. Luckily, one was just being advertised - the rest is history.
Advice for CA students?
Never struggle in silence! If you are struggling with something which has been covered in class or on myCABLE, speak to one of your tutors. The lecturing team (including myself) are always happy to help out with any queries you have.
While in class, the material can often feel overwhelming. However, breaking it down into bitesize chunks often makes it more manageable. Remember to practice as many workshop exercises and additional material questions as possible – these really help to improve your technique.
Beyond the numbers
Aside from lecturing and working at ICAS, I am a classically trained singer. I can often be found performing in Glasgow, Edinburgh and locally in Renfrewshire (where I live).
After school, I reached a bit of a crossroads where I had to decide between Accountancy or Music. The former won out in the end but music remains a great passion of mine and I spend most nights in the week doing something related to it.
I can also be found taking part in some sport or another. In the Summer months, I like to wakeboard and practice as many freestyle tricks as I can. In Winter, I enjoy skiing. I try to ski in one of the resorts in France each year for a week. This year's choice was Tignes / Val d’Isère – I enjoyed testing myself to see how many black runs I could tackle.