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William Grant & Sons

Rare Characters Welcome

We are a global spirits company that is immensely proud of our portfolio of premium brands. William Grant & Sons have a presence across 180 Global markets and a wide portfolio of premium award-winning brands which include The Balvenie, Glennfiddich and Hendrick’s Gin to name but a few.

We are looking for 3 Newly Qualified CA’s to join our business on our finance leadership programme. See below the link to job and an interview with Dave Smith, the first successful candidate that joined the programme in 2015.


An interview with Dave Smith, their first successful candidate on the Finance Pathways

Tell us a bit about your background, and where you worked before joining WG&S. 

  • I was brought up in the Shetland Islands
  • I moved to Glasgow to study Accountancy and Finance at the University of Glasgow
  • I spent a year travelling before taking up a position with PwC in Glasgow as a Tax Associate where I completed my CA qualification with ICAS
  • I moved into the Transactions Services department of PwC working on buy and sell side due diligence projects across various industries.
  • I left PwC after five years to take up the opportunity to be part of the Finance Pathways program at WG&S.

What is it like to work at WG&S?

  • WG&S is a great place to work. There is rarely a dull moment. As a fast growing, family owned business we are free to make decisions and move forward at a pace which larger, less nimble publicly owned competitors cannot.
  • This means ever changing priorities and a constant stream of new projects to work on. While this can be challenging, it makes working here rewarding as you are actively involved in the growth of the business, whatever your role.
  • There is a freedom that comes with working at a fast growing family owned business. I feel I have the freedom to highlight areas requiring improvement, suggest and design solutions and implement those solutions.
  • The international nature of the business means there are opportunities to work with colleagues from around the world. These opportunities will only grow as the business continues to grow.
  • A relatively flat hierarchy allows regular exposure to senior figures across the business.

Where have your placements taken you thus far?

    During my two and a half years with WG&S I have spent time in all three areas of WG&S Finance:
  • Operations Finance – Based in our Bellshill office I was involved in projects to improve efficiency in the Packaging and Supply Chain function including Inventory Management and Transportation. This placement saw me spend time on our sites in Paris, Girvan and the true home of the business, Dufftown.
  • Group Finance – Based in our Bellshill office I undertook three mini placements in the Internal audit, Financial Reporting and Control and Management Reporting teams. Some highlights include an on-site audit of our distributer in California, working on various aspects of the statutory accounts and preparing an in depth historical analysis of the global company results for the board.
  • Commercial Finance – Based in our New York and Edison offices I am spending a year working within the Financial Planning & Reporting and Commercial Finance functions of WG&S US business. I am currently primarily based in New York and work on Management reporting and Budget preparation for the US business. Over the remainder of this placement I will be spending time in the Commercial Finance function both on a National US level and Regional level and will be working on process & reporting improvement projects.

What makes you a rare character?

  • Growing up on a fairly isolated Island of c.20,000 people gives you a slightly different perspective on life
  • I like to travel, see new places and try new things.
  • I don’t like standing still for too long in life, continuously moving forward.
  • I like to simplify, life is complicated enough.

What would you say to someone who is thinking of applying to the Finance Pathways programme?

  • This is a rare opportunity for a qualified accountant to get a rounded view of business and its finance functions within a structured program. The opportunity to see the business from various different perspectives and work with great people from different locations and backgrounds will make you a better professional and person.
  • The freedom you get from working for a family owned company means you can make a real difference to the business even over a short time period.
  • This is not your standard day-to-day job. Roles, locations and priorities will change regularly which is challenging but means there is rarely a dull moment. Flexibility is key.
  • You will get out what you put in. Due to the success and growth of the businesses there are many opportunities for learning and progression if you go out and take them.

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