A three hour daily round trip from her home in Bangor to Portadown is something Gill Johnston was happy to take on board when she was appointed Director of GMcG Portadown, one of three offices that form the GMcG Group of Chartered Accountants along with GMcG Belfast and GMcG Lisburn.
But it’s a rewarding journey when Gill considers the success and growth of the practice she now manages. The Mandeville Street practice employs 20 full time staff and services an extensive portfolio of clients of all sizes and across virtually all industry sectors.
Gill joined GMcG (then known as Goldblatt McGuigan) in 1999 after training and qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in England. Her role in GMcG’s Audit & Business Advisory Services department involved managing a diverse client base.
In 2004 Gill availed of an opportunity to work with Mercia, a leading UK-wide training and organisation. This added to Gill’s experience in understanding business requirements and delivering training based solutions across a range of areas.
Equipped with new skillsets and industry experience, Gill was asked to re-join GMcG’s Audit & Business Services team as an Associate Director in 2009. As well as having a range of client service responsibilities, her role evolved to encompass management of the in-house training requirements across the GMcG Group.
With a growing portfolio of clients and no shortage of drive and technical ability, Gill was appointed GMcG Director in 2016 and assumed the role of managing GMcG Portadown in the same year. Managing a practice the size of GMcG Portadown is not a light undertaking and requires experience as well as hard work and business know-how. With a talented team of advisers supporting her, it is a role Gill relishes.
However, Gill explains that it’s not without the day to day challenges of working in a competitive environment that requires an unwavering focus on meeting client expectations:
“Clients demand a level of expertise and service that they can rely on, especially when many are experiencing challenging trading conditions amidst our current economic and political climates. What is important is that GMcG continues to add value, helping our clients to strategically plan, explore opportunities and adapt to change, however that should present itself”.
Meeting these expectations and having the technical expertise to add value are key components of the GMcG ethos; and something Gill worked towards since her first days as a trainee Chartered Accountant. The key to forging a successful career in the accountancy profession? Gill explains:
“A successful accountant and business advisor will always need a sound commercial awareness as well as an understanding of technological changes and their application. However, of fundamental importance is the investment in client relationships, to know their business, their issues and the type of expertise they need. This is crucial in ensuring ongoing and successful collaboration between advisor and client.
It can be a long term effort and something that often demands commitment and dedication beyond a 9-5 working day. But, for me, it’s always a rewarding investment, especially when I see our clients thrive and grow.”