Interview: Susie Walker CA
As Johnston Carmichael launches a new path to personal development, Head of Tax, Susie Walker CA, reflects on her own career path and why Johnston Carmichael should be at the top of the list when people are looking for a rewarding career in professional services.
Susie, when and why did you join Johnston Carmichael?
After working as Head of Tax for large retail banking groups for over 20 years, based in London from Monday to Friday, I was looking for an opportunity to return to Scotland to spend more time with my sons, then aged 11 and 13, before they finished school and left home.
My career was still incredibly important to me and I still had a lot to offer but I wasn’t getting the balance right. In 2012, the opportunity became available at Johnston Carmichael and I’ve never looked back.
What was it about Johnston Carmichael that stood out to you?
It’s always been about the people for me and at Johnston Carmichael, we’re big enough to help you progress and gain a hugely diverse experience, but there is still that energy and entrepreneurialism that makes JC a great place to work.
The firm is an owner managed business and we let each person find their niche in a role that plays to their strengths. With 12 offices across Scotland, eight business lines and 14 sectors – there’s never a dull moment and lots of opportunities for different career paths.
What do you like best about your role as Head of Tax?
I genuinely feel like there has never been a better time to work in tax. The legacy view of a tax team is a team that sit and crunch numbers all day but actually we are rarely sat behind a desk. Whether at the forefront of client introductions or advising on transactions as part of the dealmaking process, we get close to the businesses we work with and learn so much every day.
My role over the last few years has been all about building a team fit for the future and it’s been great to see the influx of specialist talent coming to Johnston Carmichael looking to play a part in our growth and in the growth of our clients’ businesses.
Learning and Development at JC comes in all shapes and sizes, especially in tax, as specialist careers become more appealing; and last year we introduced a new personal development programme to support everyone’s journeys to success, whatever they may look like.
Tell us more about the new personal development programme, Your JC Path?
The programme celebrates individuality and enables staff to pursue their chosen career goals.
It was rolled out following intensive research with staff through surveys and focus groups to fully capture the essence of the firm’s employer brand which has been articulated in the programme’s strapline ‘Grow your own way’. It recognises the fact that success for individuals comes in all shapes and sizes, so one model doesn’t always fit.
The programme includes providing continuous coaching and real-time feedback using an award-winning app to help staff gain better insight into their performance and how it is impacting on their career as well as the wider success of the firm.
Our overall aim is always to encourage an engaged and committed workforce, and support fairness and transparency across the firm.
To find out more about a career with Johnston Carmichael, visit Johnston Carmichael careers.
This blog is one of a series of articles from our commercial partners.
The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of ICAS.