Career journey

For talented accountancy graduates there are many different career options available, from joining a small private practice to working in-house at a large multinational firm, each with its own benefits.

However deciding the right route to achieve a successful and fulfilling career can take time.

For Debbie Noble, senior tax manager at Johnston Carmichael, her experience working at both a leading Scottish accountancy firm and a global oil company has proven to be the right mix for her, enhancing her knowledge of the North Sea market and shaping her long-term career.

She said: “I studied Accountancy and Finance at the University of Aberdeen, and following a summer placement with Johnston Carmichael, I secured a place on its graduate scheme.

“Johnston Carmichael has a fantastic offering of hands-on training and a network of experienced mentors. With Johnston Carmichael’s network of offices throughout Scotland and its global affiliation with PFK, it offers a learning curve which is exciting and satisfying as a graduate.”

Debbie Noble

Debbie worked her way up through the ranks of Johnston Carmichael to the position of senior tax manager, where she gained a strong understanding of oil and gas by working closely with the firm’s portfolio of clients operating within this sector.

Between 2008 and 2011, Debbie was seconded on two occasions to work in-house with the oil and gas exploration and production company, Talisman Sinopec, for a total of 12 months.

In 2013, Debbie felt that she was at a stage in her career where an in-house role would broaden her experience of the sector and therefore chose to join Talisman Sinopec on a full-time basis.

In April this year, however, Debbie rejoined Johnston Carmichael having further enhanced her skills and expertise in the field of corporate tax.

 “Opportunities to move from working in practice to an industry role in oil and gas are rare, and I grabbed this opportunity to enhance my knowledge of the sector and to experience working on the other side of the client / adviser relationship,” she said.

“I can now truly put myself in the client’s shoes and understand what they are looking for from their professional advisers in what is currently a challenging commercial environment for the sector.

“My experience working in-house has given me an invaluable insight into the internal workings of a multinational group and a greater understanding of my client’s operations and the challenges they face.

“There are many common themes when working within an in-house tax team compared to a private practice. Both roles demand strong technical knowledge, good stakeholder relationships and an ability to determine the best solutions to achieve strategic goals.

“In my role at Johnston Carmichael, I work with a range of different clients and get to know their businesses, rather than focusing on one company. This gives me a broader view of the industry, which I can use to deliver strategic insights on themes and emerging trends, meaning that I am well positioned to respond to them to the benefit of my clients.”


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