Nicola McIntosh - Chief Financial Officer

Nicola Mc Intosh

Talk us through your career journey so far?

I always enjoyed social sciences at school and was interested in how companies function. My degree in Business Studies at RGU had a placement year as a 3rd year, I did mine at a large Operator in Aberdeen, this is where I became fascinated in Oil and Gas, and the complex engineering that underpins it all – maybe I should have been an engineer?

After I graduated, I worked at a Drilling Company where I climbed my way up the finance ladder and was promoted to Consolidations Accountant. I then joined a small operator in Aberdeen and stayed there for 19 years, in a number of finance roles progressing up the career path. Although I was there for 19 years, we had 3 company names on the door due to company sales which presented their own financial challenges – Oryx Energy to Kerr-McGee, which became Maersk Oil. Ultimately, I was Corporate Controller based out of Copenhagen for four years – without a doubt, one of the best jobs I have had the privilege to do. I was then Chief of Staff for the Chief Operations Officer for a brief time before a brand new challenge presented itself to me.

In 2016 I joined a start up organisation where I had the rare opportunity to build a Corporate Services Function from the bottom up. It has been an honour to sit on the leadership team of the Net Zero Technology Centre and see how far it has come from over the last 7 years.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I really enjoy the variety in my role – I am responsible for Finance, Commercial, Legal, HR, IT, HSE and Facilities Management in the business. I can spend a morning discussing the audit plan, then in the afternoon, be supporting with developing our future growth strategy!

Whilst I really enjoy all of the challenges, the best thing about any role is the team I work with. I am very fortunate to work with a fantastic group of individuals.

Did you always want to be an accountant? If not, what did you want to be?

I always found accounting and business management interesting, so I was always destined to be an accountant. I do sometimes wish I had become an engineer because I love the complexity of engineering in the Energy Industry and find it very fascinating.

Do you see the job of an accountant changing over the next decade, and if so, what do you see?

Any role is about Continuous Improvement and development and accounting is no different.

With the increasing use of AI, there are endless possibilities of its application in all areas of the business. I also think that continued automation is key to continue developing every finance function to ensure that the analysis of the data is the key value add.

I believe that every function in any business is an integral part of delivery and Finance is certainly no different. Virtually every activity will result in an entry, so it is key that every finance professional knows what their business is and sees well beyond the numbers.

Has the COVID pandemic changed the way you view work?

Flexible working is the new norm! The value that we can now get from having a hybrid working environment is enormous and provides a level of flexibility that we have never seen before – I used to have to race out of work to pick up my kids on time before the nursery shut – now it is much more relaxed – “go get your kids, then log back on later if you need to…”

Trust and accountability are key in a hybrid environment, deliver what is expected of you and trust your teams to do the same!

What advice would you give to an accountant who might be considering changing jobs?

My advice would be to ensure that you are clear why you are wanting to change roles and ensure that the new role will give you that level of change and satisfaction.

Consider if you want to move up the career ladder to become a leader, do you want to move into a new area of finance, do you want a change in sector?

I have seen a few times that people move from one identical role to the next and are not fulfilled in their new challenge as it isn’t enough for them – so make sure that you are always pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and learning all the time.

A piece of advice “If you have the aptitude to learn, you can always learn, so don’t be scared of the unknown!”

If you could, what advice would you give your 18 year old self?

I would tell myself to be braver and make sure you tell your leader what you want to do!

I was at a leadership course 10 years ago, and the key message was push yourself out of your comfort zone and be in control of your own career – this has stuck with me ever since.

What do you still want to achieve?

I have been very lucky to have had a fantastic career with great opportunities and brilliant teams so far.

I love a challenge and am happiest when I’m spinning lots of plates and driving the success of a team or organisation – so as long as I am in that space, I will thrive.

Being an accountant can be a demanding job with often long hours. How do you like to relax and what do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I have recently taken up playing golf, or at least trying to, so I am now often seen with my golf clubs in the car and playing golf in the evenings. I have quite a large garden so I also try to keep on top of that, along with walking my two dogs.

Lastly, tell us something interesting that most people don’t know about you?

I was run over by a car when I was 4, and spent 8 weeks in traction in hospital – all because I didn’t want to watch Spiderman on TV and ran across the road to play in the park.