Matt Gorrie CA
With the launch of the Proud to be a CA initiative, I have been thinking about what makes me proud to be a CA, and it is definitely the feeling of being a member of such a respected professional community.
After leaving university, I wanted a role which allowed me to learn more about business but without being tied down to a particular career role.
In that respect, the CA qualification has proven to be ideal; there are misconceptions that it ties you down to sitting at a desk working in spreadsheets, but I have found the exact opposite to be true.
The qualification has allowed me to work in different businesses of various sizes and types and participate in projects abroad.
I joined Johnston Carmichael’s Inverness office in 2007, qualifying in 2010 and moved to KPMG Aberdeen in 2011.
I’ve always had a real interest in training and development and undertook an opportunity to join ICAS as a member of their lecturing team.
After more than six years at ICAS, I moved to the University of Strathclyde in 2018.
The most rewarding challenge
My current role involves delivering courses to undergraduate and postgraduate students; I have also been involved in teaching on Strathclyde’s MBA programme.
Since many Strathclyde graduates go on to train as accountants, I believe that it’s very important for CAs to be involved in the training process.
I always try to bring my own experience and background into my teaching, I think it’s important that students learn the privileged position that CAs hold.
My CA training was simultaneously one of the hardest but one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.
I tell those approaching a training contract that they should be prepared to work extremely hard, but that they will get a lot out in return if they do.
I often tell them that from day 1 of their training, they need to be aware that clients will believe and act on what they say.
It’s therefore important that they make sure to provide clients with the accurate and impartial information that is needed.
Continuing a legacy of trust
By far the biggest asset we have as a profession is our trustworthiness.
Ultimately the commercial world cannot exist without information, and if this information is not trustworthy then investment and financing would quickly dry up, leading to economic problems on an immense scale.
It is the role of the accountant to ensure that relevant and accurate information is provided, so the importance of the accountant in society cannot be overstated.
Recent auditing scandals, however, have shown how quickly this trust can be damaged – if there is one overriding priority which we must have for the future it is to ensure that trust in the profession is maintained.
The day the public loses trust in the profession is the day we are finished as a profession.
The future of the CA
It wasn’t until I had qualified as a CA that I realised what an immense achievement and privilege it is.
I think that the greatest value that we have as CAs is the CA brand: an internationally recognised sign of quality which means that businesses the world over will seek your advice and assistance.
From my own background, I know that many small businesses see their accountant as their most trusted business advisor, and for any issues or problems the accountant will be their first port of call.
This does not mean, however, that we should be resting on our laurels.
The rapid advances in technology appear likely to be a big disruptor in the accounting marketplace, and I expect that some of the more traditional bookkeeping work of the accountancy profession will be less in demand as AI and other modern technologies become more prevalent.
This also presents significant opportunities for CAs as growing demand for and reliance on data will lead to CAs becoming increasingly required as advisors and experts to help the business world cope with this rapidly changing environment.
The key challenge for CAs in the future is ensuring that our skills remain relevant while in no way diluting our traditional qualities of integrity and trustworthiness.