A Day in the Life with Alicia Cots

At AM, we’re on a mission to help people build better businesses. It’s what we were born to do. Whether it’s demoing a new product for a client or running a workshop, everyday we’re lucky enough to work with some amazing brands who are leading the way in what they do. And nothing makes us happier than seeing them thrive. 3 years into the Ashton McGill journey, we’re now a growing team driven by a shared goal for truly helping our clients, with curiosity, integrity and camaraderie.


As an accountant, a tech lover and an educator, Alicia is passionate about helping people. Doing everything with compassion and empathy, she envisions a different model for accountancy. One where accountants and their clients are closer than ever before, where an accountant functions as a key member of their team, guiding and helping them. As well as being our Tech Expert, Alicia is also a highly skilled photographer, basketball player and drone pilot. She provides additional value to our clients through her understanding of technology, design thinking, and general software wizardry! 


Read on for a typical day in the life of Alicia Cots!


What attracted you to Ashton McGill in the first place?


In the summer before my final year of university, I was looking at my options and opportunities after graduation. After hours of searching, website crawling and attending job fairs, I came across Ashton McGill. They were the only accountancy firm that was introduced to me in a totally different way, through an Instagram post. That told me a lot about Ashton McGill and how they wanted to do things differently. And the need for disrupting an ancient profession was what inspired me to send them that email that would get me into the then small team. Also, the more I got to know what Ashton McGill stood for, the more I realised how aligned they were to my personal values. This became really important when deciding if I would be a good fit for the organisation. 


What do you enjoy about working at Ashton McGill?


Getting to work with such an amazing team! It’s a great feeling to know that we all have different things in common which we can then enjoy together outside of the work environment, and as a family-owned business, it does feel like you are part of a family. We are all different people driven by the same objective, mission and similar values, which I think is the key to a well functioning, diverse team. As well as an amazing professional experience, I am learning a lot of personal lessons thanks to the amazing individuals behind Ashton McGill. I also enjoy working in such a forward-thinking practice which has design, technology and flexibility at its heart. The flexible and dynamic culture at AM meant I was able to work remotely whilst travelling around Asia in the summer months as a student. This gave me the unique opportunity to follow my passions and experience new cultures all whilst providing the same level of service to my clients. 


What’s a typical day like at AM?


A normal day would start with a walk down to the city centre to reach the open plan office in the heart of Dundee. Once in, we would start making coffees for the team (or tea or hot chocolate or any drink you fancy really! Even a beer!). We’d then have a good life/work catch-up with everyone before getting down to work. We usually put on a good playlist so that the environment is more enjoyable and relaxed to get stuff done (sometimes a bit of ABBA cos why not). You can have lunch whenever and wherever you want, but we try to have lunch together as much as we can, going out to enjoy a good meal or just having our own food altogether at the office. In the afternoon, I’d typically have software training and meetings with clients, as well as bookkeeping and accounts work to take care of. After the day comes to an end, we would then head home to enjoy time with our families, but sometimes we end up going for a beer just to enjoy some quality time together as a team. 


What’s your view on the future of accounting?


In my opinion, the future of accounting involves 3 aspects: technology, empathy and flexibility. It’s very important that the individuals in this industry are willing to evolve at the same pace as the new tools and technology in the market are developing. The accountants of tomorrow will have to be tech-savvy, or at least willing to learn how different systems work as they emerge and develop, as well as the potential benefits that new technologies can bring to the industry. 


Aside from this extra technical knowledge which is not taught at universities nowadays, some more psychological skills will have to be honed. Accountants can often get a bad reputation for using technical jargon, so it’s key that they communicate in a friendly and compassionate way, whilst using language that business owners can understand. This includes knowing how to really listen to another individual, and knowing how to communicate with each individual depending on who they are, as different communication methods might be more effective for some people than for others. 


Also, I think it will be really important to be flexible and open minded, accepting and treating your teammates how you would expect and like to be treated, and being open to individual diversity. The more open-minded and flexible we are, the more room for new knowledge there is and the more freedom people have to truly be themselves.


Where do you see your future with Ashton McGill?


I see my future in Ashton McGill as a path that is allowing me to grow on a personal and professional level, surrounded by incredible human beings. I imagine the future of Ashton McGill as a community businesses want to be a part of and where people would like to work. I am and will always be grateful for this amazing opportunity I was given out of nowhere (again, just through a post on Instagram) and hopefully it will be for a long time so that I can see and experience this growing team do great things in the future. I would love to travel ten years into the future and see that I am still part of the team and just look over at what we have accomplished. It would be great to see what size AM would grow to, and if there is a limit (I DON’T THINK SO!).


Come, Disrupt, Build. 


We’re currently looking to hire an exceptional new accountant to join our growing team. You’ll work with a blend of unique brands who are leading the way in what they do. You’ll work with designers, creators, brewers and makers, helping them build better businesses. Businesses built on culture, community and purpose. And you’ll help them shape meaningful brands that are made to last. 



The future starts now. Want to be a part of it? 


If this article has connected with you, please email our recruitment partner Andrew Ferguson at Vero Recruitment at andrew@verorecruitment.com.


You can view the full job description and apply here.