Johnston Carmichael recruits major names in Scottish tech for 'ground-breaking' advisory board

Accountancy firm Johnston Carmichael has assembled a “ground-breaking” tech advisory board including top names in the sector in Scotland – with a view to helping clients expand globally.

The group includes seven external advisers, with seasoned entrepreneurs, business leaders and investors, and it will help the business’ clients access “expert advice on achieving growth”.

High-profile sign-ups encompass former ScotlandIS chief executive Polly Purvis; life sciences business ODx Innovations’ boss Giles Hamilton; and Alisdair Gunn, a founder of the Turing Festival and boss of Framewire, Scotland’s advisory practice for tech and digital start-ups.

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Johnston Carmichael said the board will provide its existing in-house team with help on strategy and delivery, and, where appropriate, directly connect group members with clients and contacts of the firm.

'We look forward to working with companies that have ambitious plans for internationalisation,' says Polly Purvis. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.

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Edinburgh in focus as accountancy firm Johnston Carmichael bolsters leadership t...

It also includes Hazel McIntyre, a consultant financial director and adviser with a background in fundraising, acquisition and disposals; Grant Smith, board member at The Data Lab, and consultant to third sector organisation ONE Digital & Entrepreneurship; and Les Gaw, a non-executive director and early-stage adviser, whose current roles include chief executive of financial software firm Contigens.

Also joining the board’s ranks is Brendan Waters, corporate finance advisor to tech businesses including sports betting tech giant FanDuel, and founder of Cruachan Advisory.

The external experts are joined by Shaun Millican, partner and head of technology and life sciences at Johnston Carmichael, and Andrew Holloway, corporate tax director and head of the firm’s entrepreneurial taxes team.

The external experts are joined by the likes of Shaun Millican of Johnston Carmichael. Picture: contributed.

Johnston Carmichael said the board will boost its expertise in the technology sector, adding that it acts for a wide range of such companies, “from start-ups to international corporates”, and is a sponsor of major events such as Future X’s Start-up Summit and Scottish Edge.

The accountancy and business advisory firm also noted that Scotland’s digital economy adds £7.5 billion to gross domestic product every year. It also cited research conducted by ScotlandIS finding that a third of tech firms expect to grow following the pandemic.

Polly Purvis – whose roles include director of Edinburgh Science Festival and board member of Converge Challenge, which works with universities to support spin-outs – welcomed the newly formed tech advisory board as a “really exciting development for growing businesses in Scotland’s burgeoning technology sector”.


She added: “The past year has demonstrated that many of the traditional barriers to international expansion are now greatly reduced, with an increasing range of reliable technology tools enabling long-distance business to be conducted remotely, and enabling teams to work effectively from locations around the globe.

"We look forward to working with companies that have ambitious plans for internationalisation. With more and more Scottish firms looking to dip their toes in global waters it’s a really exciting time for the Scottish tech ecosystem.

“We’ll be using our experience to advise businesses on the funding and investment opportunities open to them and the challenges they may face along the way as they seek to start up and scale up, and we look forward to working with Johnston Carmichael’s team to do this.”

Also commenting was Mr Millican, who said: “We want to ensure businesses operating in the [tech] sector, regardless of their size, have access to the support required to help them grow and contribute to the country’s future success.”

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