Gillian set on writing her own headlines
Ex-chemist finds formula for success in finance
"It’s not until you start to get involved that you realise just how wide the ACCA network is"
There is more than one way to serve your country.
Many people put their hands up to volunteer in the community. Others make it their life, by wearing its uniform and placing themselves in harm’s way in the world’s trouble spots. Gillian McCreadie does her own quiet bit by giving up her Saturdays to sell Mars bars and Daily Records in a newsagents in Glasgow.
It might not sound like a vital contribution to the national effort, but Gillian’s shop is in the Erskine Care Home, and it provides an essential lifeline for the injured and vulnerable ex-servicemen and women who stay there.
Gillian’s weekend stint is part of a family commitment to armed forces charities which began when her little brother’s best friend was grievously injured while serving with the Royal Scots in Afghanistan.
‘They were on patrol together, searching trucks, when it happened,’ said Gillian.
A pleasure and privilege
‘As fate turned out my brother wasn’t hurt, but his friend was seriously wounded. When he came home, he needed lots of care and rehab, but he was one of the lucky ones. He came through it. It was traumatic for all of us and for everyone who knew him and loved him, so we agreed as a family that we would all do what we could to support ex-service people who needed help. My contribution is working in the shop at Erskine. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to make a small contribution.’
It’s not like Gillian is new to working behind a counter, though.
Before changing direction and studying ACCA, she was set on a career as a chemist and worked in retail roles at Lloyds Pharmacy.
‘I did chemistry, physics and biology at school and my heart was always set on becoming a chemist. But it turned out to be quite boring! I switched to accountancy instead, mostly because the money looked good I have to be honest. But I am so happy I did because it is such an interesting career.
"Whatever the event, you always bring something back, you always learn something, and you never know where a chance meeting or a new connection will take you"
‘I’m also so pleased I chose ACCA because it has opened the way to so many opportunities.’
It did not take Gillian long to make her mark on the profession and ACCA.
‘I was new to the job and the managing partner where I worked said I should go to the local ACCA panel meeting. I did, and I was elected vice-chair of the ACCA Scotland committee.
‘I don’t like to hang around!
‘My advice to all young accountants is always to take part as soon as you can. Go to the meetings and the networking events. It’s not until you start to get involved that you realise just how wide the ACCA network is.
‘Whatever the event, you always bring something back, you always learn something, and you never know where a chance meeting or a new connection will take you. They’re about a lot more than free food and drink. And it’s not going to happen if you’re sat at home watching the TV!’
Voice and perspective
After two years she was elected ACCA Scotland chair, and now Gillian represents the global membership on Council, ACCA’s governing body.
‘I’m so proud to be in the role, and I like to think that I represent accountants who are newly qualified and in the early stages of their careers.
‘Compared to lots of my fellow Council members who have been in the profession for decades, I am relatively new and I can bring that voice and that perspective. And if I can offer advice to young accountants, I will.
‘I think it’s right that Council reflects all generations and ages, and if I can do that, I’m really happy.’