Aberdeen-based accountancy firm Hall Morrice has recruited a record number of graduates to its ranks. Seven new graduates and placement students will be working with the independent firm as part of its strategy to fuel future growth by fostering the very best new talent.
Hall Morrice has a high level of previous success in honing the skills of graduate accountants - it has a graduate retention rate of over 90% and several staff members who started their careers with the firm are now in managerial and director roles.
The firm has appointed five graduates - Jonny Henry, Aileen Rollo, Sarah McDonald, Peter Cowan and Chris Stout - and has also taken on Robert Gordon University (RGU) placement students Kelsey Simpson and Sharon McRuvie to work with them in the academic year.
"We have always found that developing and nurturing our own talent has produced the best results for us," explains Shonagh Fraser, Partner at Hall Morrice.
"We expose our graduates to a wide range of different clients, industries and responsibilities, ensuring they receive meaningful training while also being well supported as they continue their studies towards qualified status".
"We usually take on one or two graduates each year, but we anticipate further growth in business and workload and that is why we have decided to increase the number of young people we are supporting as they start out on their career. We hope that they will grow along with us."
Sarah (26) is from the Western Isles and initially spent time with Hall Morrice during her placement year at RGU. She is now working full time in the business advisory team, and will be studying towards Association of Certified Chartered Accountants exams.
She says, "I did a lot of research about the firm, and I could see how supportive they were in helping graduates with their professional exams. I also learned they had won a number of awards for being a good employer".
"I really enjoyed every aspect of my placement, and it was a huge relief when they offered me a graduate position. It meant that I could focus on learning in my final year, and not be worried about what would happen after university".
"We all feel really supported, not just by the mentors who we sit alongside each day, but the whole team right up to partner level. Shonagh has developed bespoke learning programmes for us: we get study leave for exams and they even provide us with laptops to help us study".
Chris (21), originally from Dundee, is a Chartered Accountancy student and is working with the audits and accounts team. He applied for one of the graduate positions at Hall Morrice after reading about the firm on the ICAS website.
"I've already started studying for the CA exams, and it's great to be able to do that so quickly after graduating as we are all still in university study mode. There's continuity to the learning," says Chris, a graduate of Edinburgh's Heriot Watt University.
"I wanted to come and work here because, strategically, they are in a great position. I could see from the website and all the testimonials that I would get to work for a wide variety of clients".
"Being the size of firm that it is, we can get experience of working in different departments so we can decide what we want to specialise in a few years down the line."
Placement student Kelsey (19) learned about Hall Morrice at an open day held at RGU. Kelsey, originally from Fochabers, explains, "Hall Morrice has a really good reputation with the university, so I was very keen to get a placement.
"I spoke to a few people about Hall Morrice and they all said the same thing - the firm was small enough that we would feel part of the team and never be put in a corner and left to our own devices, but big enough that there would be lots of variety".
"What I've really enjoyed is meeting other people who also started out as placement students, but are now qualified. It's been great to get their advice and see how things might progress if the placement goes well".