BSc in Economics, 1971 Company
Goldblatt McGuiganRole in company today
I qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1976 and, following my traineeship, became Partnership Secretary to Brian Morton and Company “The Housesold Name”.
The story of Goldblatt McGuigan, in its current form, begins on April Fools Day 1978 when I was 27. My intention had always been to go out on my own in practice when the time was right. Goldblatt and Co was established on 1 April 1978 at 115 University Street, Belfast.
At the time, trading conditions existed that helped facilitate this transition. For instance, the opportunity was there to enter an established traditional market that had not experienced much competition. In addition, for the first time, The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland permitted its member firms to advertise.
Eventually, and after much negotiation and deliberation, a formal business link with Touche Ross, now Deloitte, was established in 1984. This provided our Firm with a ‘Big 8’ firm’s backing while competing in the local market.
After a seven year relationship, the opportunity arose to disengage from the UK Firm in 1991 and as a result, Messrs Sam Goldblatt and Michael McGuigan retired on 11 October 1991 for the first time.
Today, Goldblatt McGuigan is an eight Partner Firm based in Alfred House, Alfred Street, Belfast and is one of the largest independent firms in Belfast. In addition, the firm also comprises Robinson and Company and Moorhead Hall in Portadown and Hanna Thompson in Lisburn. Overall the staff complement is around 100 excluding Partners.
The achievements of the Firm to date have been based on a mix of organic and dynamic growth coupled with having available to us the highest standard of professional staff.
During my career I have also had the honour of being Chairman of the Ulster Society of Chartered Accountants. The Society is the District Society of the Irish Institute and is the professional body representing members in all business walks of life.
For many years I have had an involvement with The Lord’s Taverners Charity which seeks to give young people, particularly those with special needs, a sporting change and I am Chairman of the Northern Ireland Region. It can be challenging to balance what can sometimes seem like two full-time positions but my involvement is as worthwhile as it is fulfilling on a personal note.
There is no question that the academic programme undertaken at Queen’s University Belfast graduating with what was then known as an approved degree in Economics, provided me with the foundation I needed to pursue a career in accountancy. Not only did it provide me with the tools and skills sets, the degree programme was also an influencer in my development as a person.
I completed my degree programme longer ago than I care to remember when Economics was the main business degree. It provided an excellent grounding for school leavers to enter various businesses and professions including law, insurance and accounting. Of course, today there is a whole range of specific degree programmes including Law and Accounting which didn’t exist in my studying days.
My advice to young people is to talk to their careers advice team to determine what best suits their objectives. Attend the open days and give real consideration to the degree programme. Even if further down the line business is not desired, it equips graduates with a diverse range of transferable skills into other industries.