Eight influential and innovative young CAs

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By Eleanor O'Neill, CA Today

28 July 2016

With less than two months until our 35 CAs under 35 category winners and One Young CA are announced, CA Today takes a closer look at our Influence & Innovation shortlist.

This category is for the young CAs who are making their mark on the industry and initiating change for good. The confidence and ingenuity to implement new ideas was essential and has highlighted these candidates among the best the professional world has to offer.

Our finalists have streamlined processes, inspired new ways of thinking and challenged the status quo.

ICAS places enormous value on our members who can reinvent themselves and the profession, demonstrated by the theme of the 2016 ICAS Conference: ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurs in Brexit Britain’.

The 2016 ICAS 35 CAs under 35 Influence & Innovation finalists

Heather Abel CA

Tax Advisor, Shell Canada

"The CA qualification has allowed me to build on the solid grounding of knowledge in tax and accountancy...and expand my expertise in international tax."

Career summary

  • Qualified as a CA with EY. 
  • 2008: Assistant Tax Advisor at EY.
  • 2011: International Tax Advisor at EY.
  • 2013: Treasury Operations Tax Advisor at Shell Canada.

The judges liked: Initiative and adaptability.

Rimla Akhtar MBE CA

Inclusion & Diversity Consultant, RimJhim Consulting

"I actively use my experience and pride of being a CA to create real sustainable change for our world. I’ve worked as far afield as the US, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and across Europe."

Career summary

  • Qualified as a CA with PwC.
  • 2005: Senior Associate at PwC.
  • 2014: FA Councillor at the Football Association.
  • 2015: Inclusion & Diversity Consultant at RimJhim Consulting.
  • Treasurer of The Listening Service.
  • Chair of the Muslim Women's Sport Foundation.
  • Inclusion Advisory Board Independent Member of the Football Association.
  • Advisory Board Member of Shirzanan Global.

The judges liked: Confidence and integrity.

Patrick Brown CA

Senior Management Accountant, Department for International Development

“Being a CA has given me experiences that I would never have achieved without the qualification. Most importantly, I have a job that I love, that makes me feel fulfilled and makes me happy."

Career summary

  • Qualified as a CA with Robb Ferguson.
  • 2004: Company Accountant at United Casting.
  • 2008: Senior Accountant at Robb Ferguson.
  • 2013: Financial Accountant at the Department for International Development.
  • 2015: Senior Management Accountant at the Department for International Development.

The judges liked: Integrity and drive.

Pete Ferguson CA

Senior Compliance Manager, Green Investment Bank Plc

"Had I not started on the CA path I doubt I would be in the position I am today in my career, or had the opportunity outside of work to share my knowledge and skills to support others."

Career summary

  • Qualified as a CA with PwC.
  • 2011: Senior Associate at PwC.
  • 2013: Manager at PwC.
  • 2015: Senior Manager at PwC.
  • 2015: Senior Compliance Manager at Green Investment Bank.
  • Volunteers with the Edinburgh Limb Loss Association.

The judges liked: Dedication and motivation.

Gillian Hunter CA

Tax Manager, Johnston Carmichael

"I believe that the confidence and business skills I developed while training to become a CA stood me in great stead for the CTA which has provided me with further skills in my chosen career."

Career summary

  • Qualified as a CA with Johnston Carmichael.
  • 2011: Chartered Acountant at Johston Carmichael.
  • 2013: Tax Acountant at Weatherford.
  • 2014: Assistant Tax Manager at Johnston Carmichael.
  • 2016: Tax Manager at Johnston Carmichael.

The judges liked: Drive and responsibility.

Suzy Kerton CA

Financial Accountant, The Cabinet Office

"I hope that my move to the Cabinet Office shows other CAs that the opportunities for CAs are endless and demonstrates how prestigious the CA qualification is."

Career summary

  • Qualified as a CA with RSM.
  • 2009: Audit Supervisor at Baker Tilly (RSM).
  • 2012: Audit Supervisor at Baker Tilly International.
  • 2014: Chief Financial Officer at Clear Books.
  • 2015: Co-Founder of Anything International..
  • 2016: Financial Accountant at the Cabinet Office.

The judges liked: Passion and innovation.

Edward Phippen CA

Senior Executive, EY

"The CA qualification has provided me with the confidence to take on any professional challenge with the knowledge that my  training ensures I have the tools to tackle a wide range of business issues and problems."

Career summary

  • Qualified as a CA with EY.
  • 2009: Corporate Finance Team at EY.
  • 2012: Executive at EY.
  • 2014: Senior Executive at EY.

The judges liked: Motivation and integrity.

Claire Sowden CA

Principal Analyst, Capital One (Europe)

"My CA qualification has been the driving force for my career path. The analytical skills have enabled me to aid business decisions and explain finance implications of projects."

Career summary

  • Qualified as a CA with EY.
  • 2010: Audit Associate at EY.
  • 2014: Cost Finance Analyst at Capital One.
  • 2015: Principal Analyst at Capital One.

The judges liked: Confidence and ambition.

The winner of the Influence & Innovation category will be announced in a prestigious awards ceremony at the CA Dinner in London on 7 September 2016.

The annual event will be hosted by ICAS Chief Executive Anton Colella and ICAS President Ken McHattie CA. This year, our after-dinner speaker will be comedian and TV personality Jo Brand.

It is the perfect opportunity to connect with eminent business leaders across a range of industries and broaden your professional network.

Along with the chance to be named the 2016 ICAS One Young CA, the category winner will receive a free place at both the CA Dinner and the flagship ICAS Conference, a mentor as part of the ICAS career mentoring programme and various speaking opportunities at future ICAS events.

Find out more about this year's candidates and show your support by up-voting your favourites on the One Young CA website.


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