‘We have adapted well’
We revisit IFA Scotland branch ambassador Duncan Walker, to hear how the country is managing lockdown – and work his practice has undertaken.
Tell us about your role, responsibilities, and what has changed in the last two years
Well, I still run my own practice, Duncan Walker Partnership, as managing director with my wife Sharon, in Edinburgh.
What has changed has been COVID-19, of course. This has meant a lot of work for my firm, particularly time-consuming furlough claims. However, this has been countered to some extent by holding client meetings on Zoom – being more productive and making some time back.
We’ve been providing advisory support for clients to help them through this period. We’ve taken new clients on in this period as well, normally due to the fact they haven’t had the support and advice they needed from their previous accountant since lockdown came in.
What is the current business and economic climate like in Scotland?
It’s patchy. In Edinburgh, because we’ve got a lot of public sector workers and office-based jobs, we’ve done OK. The local construction industry has been pretty strong as house prices have gone up. We’ve not suffered as much as others, apart from with tourism. Overall, Edinburgh’s been OK. Aberdeen and further north are also OK. But there are black spots: the true impact will not come until the support from government stops and the full effect of Brexit is known.
What have you been doing regarding the IFA?
We’ve adapted quite well to the change in circumstances. Instead of physical meetings, we’ve put most of it online and I’ve continued to have branch meetings online. It’s been a good thing because it’s enabled more people to be able to attend events because of our wide geographic spread of members. We’ve had new members take part who previously couldn’t.
We’ve been able to continue holding quality CPD events.
Face-to-face will still be important but it’s been shown that it doesn’t have to be the only way.