Stuart Mackay is an Audit Manager and part of the Technology, Media and Telecommunications team in Scotland with Grant Thornton. Stuart is one of the experts on hand to answer your burning questions at the RookieOven Drop In Days which take place every month - find out more here.
How did you get started in this area?
I took the typical route of going to university and from there I trained at a small firm before subsequently moving to Grant Thornton after qualifying.
Why are you passionate about Scottish technology?
Having first really got involved in the sector around 2 and a half years ago I just love talking to people in the space. Technology and its development allow such innovative ideas and businesses to come out of it. I find the people in Scotland are also so passionate about it and want to really make an impact globally in what they do.
What's your one biggest piece of advice for people in the Scottish tech scene?
Take yourself seriously and act professionally from the start. Ensure that you take advice from the immense number of information sources available, and don’t write off paying for advice. Whilst it can be scary, the benefits could far outweigh the initial cost.
What mistakes can people avoid?
Getting caught in a silo - make sure that you're getting out and speaking to people. I often hear about people who believe they're designing the perfect product but haven't actually confirmed that anyone would want it. A great way to look at it I heard recently was "you are not your customer".
Also, I wouldn't be an accountant without mentioning to keep on top of your books, especially your cash flow, as you should really know almost at any time how much cash you have and how long you can last on it.
What's your vision for the Scottish tech ecosystem?
Grant Thornton recently launched the VibrantScotland campaign and my vision for the ecosystem is linked very much to that. I envisage an ecosystem that works together to create lots of successful businesses bringing money and jobs into the economy and with the increased purpose in many companies hopefully address some of the social issues the wider country faces. I think this rather than a "Unicorn" philosophy will allow more successful businesses to be created.