Media Release: ‘Scotland’s greatest living explorer’ establishes VAT team at French Duncan


CRAIG Mathieson, described as ‘Scotland’s greatest living explorer’ – as described by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society on account of his various polar expeditions – has joined leading mid-tier accountancy firm, French Duncan, as a partner to head up a new VAT department.

Graeme Finnie, managing partner at French Duncan, regards the appointment of former Johnston Carmichael director, Craig Mathieson, together with senior manager, Claire McCaffray, as a coup that illustrates the firm’s burgeoning reputation.

“Having identified a requirement to bolster our VAT expertise, we’ve gone out and secured the best possible VAT team available; a move which is reflective of our ambition,” he said.

“I believe that French Duncan can now boast a VAT team in Scotland to rival anyone in the marketplace and can offer clients direct access to top quality VAT advice.

“Given that VAT represents 20 per cent of net spend, it is an issue of pressing relevance to all clients – the sums involved can be significant and if you don’t deal with the issues appropriately, then the penalties and financial ramifications can be considerable.

“Prior to their time working together at Johnston Carmichael, both Claire and Craig worked within Big Four practices (at KPMG and Ernst & Young respectively), and their appointments provide further evidence of the success of our strategy of recruiting experienced, senior personnel with experience in large, international firms.

“These appointments represent a substantial investment for French Duncan and, as a firm, we regard our ability to attract two such highly-regarded professionals, who were established and happy in their roles with clear paths for career progression, as a real coup and a ringing endorsement of our burgeoning reputation as a firm.”

Born in Johnstone and raised in Buchlyvie, Mathieson began his working life overseas in the military before moving into Customs & Excise as a VAT Inspector and Anti-Fraud Officer.

He then joined Ernst & Young, where he remained for seven years prior to his appointment as a Director of Indirect Tax Duties at Johnston Carmichael in 2007.

“Joining French Duncan represents a fantastic opportunity,” he said.

“If you get offered a partnership in a good accountancy firm with an excellent background and, important for me, a good reputation with HMRC, it presents an ideal opportunity in which to progress. That’s why, when, following some months of discussion, the offer was made, it was accepted by return.

“A big attraction for me was the blank canvas; the fact that French Duncan did not have an existing VAT department, which enabled us to set everything up properly from scratch.

“I’m a former HMRC Officer, so I like to do things by the book, and this opportunity to come in and start an indirect tax practice from scratch very much appealed to me.”

With a global remit, French Duncan’s new VAT department will manage indirect taxes for clients of all sizes – from sole proprietors to international companies – across all sectors.


For further information please contact Craig Mathieson on tel 0141 221 2984

Issued on behalf of French Duncan by Liquorice Media tel 0141 561 4018

Date 2 April 2012

Notes to Editors

  • In 2001, Mathieson led an expedition to various unclimbed peaks in Greenland. Following the success of that trip, he went on to lead the first dedicated Scottish expedition to the South Pole, man-hauling his sledge 730 miles over the Antarctic continent.
  • In 2006, he led a successful expedition to the North Pole, taking along a previously inexperienced 16 year-old Scottish boy as a means of inspiring the youth to re-discover the outdoors through the joys of exploration.

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Contact: Susan Christie
Phone: 0141 561 4018