During the 1990s, the practice became registered with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) as a Training Office, allowing for the first time local people to train and qualify as Chartered Accountants whilst still living in Orkney. Steven Sinclair was the first degree graduate to train with the firm, completing his CA qualification in 1995. Doris Hutchison, who had been with the firm since 1988 and had not gone to university, started her CA training in 1996 under the work experience route. She won two prizes and a commendation while training and qualified in 1998.
In 2001, Neil took Doris and Steven into partnership under the new trading name of “Orcadia” which continues today. A further expansion occurred in 2011, when Orcadia acquired the Kirkwall firm of Chartered Accountants “J & D Oddie” on the retirement of sole trader David Oddie CA. Their staff came to work in Orcadia’s premises and the clients became integrated into the practice.
Neil retired from the partnership in June 2014 to move south with his minister wife, Andrea; they and their family still retain considerable links in Orkney. At about the same time, a further local person, Kazia Watson, having joined the firm earlier, achieved her full qualification as a Chartered Accountant with ICAS. She became an associate of the firm in 2018. She became a director in July 2022 ensuring continuity in to the future for the practice staff and clients.
With a desire to further staff training and with the local Orkney College (part of the University of the Highlands and Islands) establishing a relationship with the Association of Accounting Technicians (MAAT) to provide accountancy training courses, the practice decided to take full advantage. MAAT provides an intermediate qualification for accountancy staff, which can be used as a gateway to full qualification as a Chartered Accountant. Our first staff member qualified with MAAT in 1999 and many have followed since then. Most of Orcadia’s staff have the work-based qualification with MAAT. Several have also gone on the gain their qualification with the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT).
Staff training and development remains an important focus at Orcadia.