Gillian McKay Senior Tax Manager

What has been your career path so far?

I came to accountancy quite late, from a social care background where I had been working with homeless people and drug addicts. I then went travelling in Indonesia. When I returned, I decided to something professional that fitted with what I had been doing before and accountancy seemed like the ideal choice.

I started my professional career at Sayer Vincent in 2008 and spent almost five years with the firm, but then decided to work on the other side of the fence with charities. I enjoyed several great roles, as Head of Charity and Voluntary Sector for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and Director of Finance at Imperial College Healthcare Charity, before returning to Sayer Vincent in 2019, as a senior tax manager.

What do you enjoy about the charity sector?

I have always been interested in tax and took my tax exams in 2010 whilst I was with Sayer Vincent. I came back to Sayer Vincent because it’s a great firm that is truly dedicated to the charity sector. It has a wide range of clients, with diverse needs which is very stimulating.

Tax can be a complex area for charities. I love to support all our clients and make tax easier for them to understand, advising them on all sorts of issues including gift aid, corporation tax compliance, employee taxation and VAT.

What are your key skills?

Apart from my financial skills and qualifications, I am a good listener. Because of my background in social care, I understand people. I’m a member of lots of counselling groups and did a psychology degree. Accountancy can be a dry subject matter, so it’s the human aspects and the relationships that make a firm stand out. I hope this is what I bring to my role!

What makes you proud?

I’ve been involved with Sayer Vincent for a long time and it makes me proud that the service and ethos that the organisation started with is still going strong. We put people and clients first. Also it makes me proud to see new graduates join the firm blossom. We’re a very people focused business and it’s great to see people develop and grow in their careers.

Tell us something people may not know

When I was 10, I was capsized by an Orca whale when I was in a boat with my Dad and dog! I lived near Loch Long where they had a submarine base. The radar from this attracts Orcas and one summer one got stuck in the loch. It was a terrifying experience, but luckily, we all lived to tell the tale!

What do you get up to outside of work?

Running, I’ve ran six marathons. It’s really good for your not only for my physical health but my mental wellbeing. I also enjoy cooking and am addicted to cookery programmes. I’ve been a vegetarian most of my life and really enjoy trying out new vegetarian recipes.