You may have noticed a new face in our Edinburgh offices. We’re delighted to welcome Nic Black, who starts as a Principal Consultant in our Public Practice team under Ibi Kabir. 

As a qualified Chartered Accountant, Nic gained a wealth of experience within the industry, working with the Big 4 and Top 10 firms across the Channel Islands and Australia. She’s spent the last 14 years in Dubai.

Nic now joins us from her previous role as People and Culture Leader for Grant Thornton UAE. We sat down with her to learn more about her rich background and views on the public practice market.

What was it like to live in Dubai?

Very hot. Ha, ha! The lifestyle in Dubai is great with a real outdoors experience. It’s also a very glamorous location with cultural diversity.

What brought you to Scotland?

I wanted to move a bit closer to family.

How long have you worked in Public Practice?

I’m a qualified Chartered Accountant who transitioned over to People and Culture, Coaching, and Training. However, the thread of Public Practice has remained throughout my career, so essentially over 20 years.

You’ve worked in Public Practice for a long time, what are some of your career highlights to date?

I began my career with Coopers and Lybrand, who became PwC when I qualified. 

Before I qualified, I was fast-tracked to management, which was unusual yet flattering. 

By the age of 30, I was a Financial Director for a large listed public company, which gave me great exposure and required me to work in a fast-paced, fun, and exciting industry. I’ve gained a wide range of experiences after completed several project and transformation roles. These projects included transitioning clients from UK GAAP to IAS, SOX Compliance, Internal Audit, Due Diligence, HR Transformation Projects, Cultural Change Projects, D&I Transformation, and establishing PwC’s Academy in the Middle East. 

The best part was experiencing different cultures through working in different locations internationally. I’ve worked in the Channel Islands, England, Scotland, Australia, Oman, Bahrain, and the UAE.

When did you make the switch from being a Chartered Accountant to a recruiter?

I’ve always had a keen interest in recruitment and naturally connected colleagues and friends with other colleagues and friends who were recruiting. 

I’ve been involved in internal recruitment for around a decade. I’ve helped with voluntary recruitment and coaching of Mums returning to professional roles over the last few years. 

Change Recruitment, however, is my first dedicated recruiter role.

What’s your favourite part of the Public Practice market?

I like learning and understanding what’s happening in businesses and markets. What the challenges are and, ultimately, how I can help to add value. Public Practice provides the opportunity to do this.  

What changes do you see happening in the Public Practice market in the near future?

That’s a great question. 

There’s such a huge scope for change in this market, given the quickly evolving smart and technological changes. These changes are bound to affect how both Clients and Professional Practice firms conduct business. I also see further growth in Advisory as a result of client transformational change projects and various restructuring and M&A opportunities. 

It will also be interesting to see how audit and financial reporting adapts to the digital age. Taxation is also in an exciting space with the volume of global business and new tax requirements being implemented in areas like the Middle East.

There are also the requirements for new and increased regulatory requirements and adaptation to the additional pressures this puts on Professional Practice Firms, which seem to grow over time. Public Practice Firms continue to be under the microscope, especially in light of large scandals, and I see further, more stringent requirements being placed upon firms as a result. 

I think that there are lots of challenges here for Public Practice, but also lots of exciting changes to adapt to and embrace. 

What initially attracted you to the position at Change?

Change has a great reputation in the market and I like that this role is specifically recruiting for Public Practice Senior Roles. I feel that I can add value to both clients and candidates, given that I’ve worked in Public Practice and at a very senior level. 

How are you finding it so far?

Great. The team is fantastic, real professionals and very welcoming, and the clients and candidates have been great.

What are you most looking forward to at Change?

Helping candidates progress in their careers and clients gain more success for their business.

Where do you see your career in 5 years? 

In a Recruitment Director role.

Favourite holiday? 

Australia, the landscape is fantastic. There’s such a massive variety of things to do over there, and the people are great.

Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met?

I’ve met quite a few famous people over the years in Dubai, but certainly, the most memorable was Jason Mamoa!

Seen any good movies or read any good books lately? 

I’ve recently been re-reading a book because it’s such a great and insightful book and given the volume of change in my life, I thought it was worth a revisit — the book’s Life Lessons from the Monk who Sold his Ferrari. If you’ve not read this one, I highly recommend it. 

Meet Our Other New Recruits

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Join us as we sit down with Chinese national Aixin Hin to discuss the international recruitment market and how she’s finding life in the UK.