Alexander Sloan, which at 151 years old is one of Scotland’s longest established firms of accountants and business advisers, has today announced the appointment of its first ever female senior partner.
Having joined the venerable firm as a trainee Chartered Accountant upon graduating from university in 1999 and made partner in 2013, aged 34, Allison Devine’s latest appointment also makes her one of the youngest senior partners within the Scottish professional services sector.
She now takes the reins from Andy McBean, who retired from the firm, which operates from offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow, at the end of last year.
A key member of the firm’s Charities’ Technical and Training Group and also head of the firm’s delivery of Virtual Finance Director services, Ms Devine’s main role at Alexander Sloan sees her manage a wide and varied portfolio of business, with clients including those operating in healthcare, retail, manufacturing and the Third Sector.
She said: “As senior partner, I intend to try to carry on where Andy has so successfully left off. I am very proud to have been appointed to this role and am committed to ensuring that Alexander Sloan is a firm that continues to be respected for delivering quality services to our clients, is valued as a forward thinking employer, and contributes to the success of everyone we engage with.
“Alexander Sloan is a very long established firm but it has never stood still. It is more important than ever that we are not only receptive to changes in the profession but also that we strive to anticipate them, bespoke service lines accordingly, and continue to be pioneers in our specialisms. We must lead by example and set ourselves apart. We cannot take anything for granted.”
Ms Devine, who is training principal for the firm’s CA students and who has helped foster a new workplace culture and practice to attract and retain the best talent, paid a moving tribute to Andy at his retirement party.
She said: “I consider myself very fortunate to have been influenced by a professional who demanded the highest of standards and embodied integrity within our firm. As senior partner Andy led by example and inspired and challenged people to give their best. Those are values which I intend to continue.”
Phil Morrice, managing partner, said: “It is with great pleasure that we welcome Allison as senior partner. She has been with the firm for 18 years and she is absolutely in tune with our ethos of providing the best possible quality of service for our clients.
“She is also acutely aware of how quickly change occurs in the profession and of the need not only to stay abreast of but also to keep ahead of events and to involve all our people as the firm progresses through its second century.
“We would all like to record our thanks to Andy whose contribution to the firm has been immense over more than three decades. His last 10 years as senior partner have been of particular significance to our strategy.”
Mr McBean, who steps down after 33 and a half years with Alexander Sloan, trained with Grahams, Rintoul and gained experience with some of the great accounting names such as Arthur Young (now EY) and Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC). He had been senior partner for 10 years.
He said: “It has been a wonderful anniversary year and I feel I am bowing out on a high note after our 150th anniversary Civic Reception in the City Chambers and all the other events of the year. It is remarkable to reflect on the firm’s proud history.
“The profession is changing all the time, in terms of standards and the way we provide services. The senior partner does not have all the answers or make all the decisions. Leadership, if anything, is about utilising the people and the skills that you have.
“I am particularly proud of building a greater presence in advisory services, which is the future, and of helping to bring on younger people such as Allison and Phil who are now leaders.”
The firm said Mr McBean intends to devote his retirement to golf, though he may consider non-executive roles with some of the many public sector bodies he has advised. He will also maintain his role as trustee of the Edwin Morgan Trust, which celebrates the 100th anniversary of the poet’s birth in 2020.