6 months on: 35 CAs under 35

One Young CA finalists
By Eleanor O'Neill, CA Today

8 March 2017

Last year, ICAS launched a search for 35 of the best young CAs in the world. Now, as preparations are underway for a new competition in 2017, we caught up with some of the finalists who made their way onto the list.

The ICAS 35 CAs under 35 and One Young CA competition is a great opportunity for young CAs to share their successes and gain recognition in their respective fields.

Speaking about last year's success, ICAS Chief Executive Anton Colella said: "The 35 CAs under 35 competition has been a fantastic showcase for the breadth of talent and reach we have at ICAS. Our young members come from all walks of life and are found in every industry imaginable, promoting and proving the value of the CA qualification.

“So many extraordinary stories and achievements were shared with us last year and Rimla Akhtar (2016 winner) has been the embodiment of what our One Young CA should be.

“I am delighted that we will again be recognising ambassadors like her in 2017 and cannot wait to see what the awards have in store."

Nominations for this year's competition will open on Monday 3 April 2017. 

The best of the best

The calibre of entries year on year highlights the value of CAs in the professional world and speaks to the achievements of the successful 35.

Ed Brewerton CA, a finalist in the 2016 Leadership category, said: "The experience was absolutely incredible. What made it even better was meeting people who are achieving such brilliant things and are having such great ideas at such a young age, then realising that there are very likely to be so many more people exactly like that in the profession."

When I was originally nominated, I didn’t fully appreciate the scale of the competition.

Jamie Davidson CA, featured in the Sustainability & CSR category, added: “It was a real privilege to make the Top 35 list and to connect with other CAs who are really making a difference in their chosen field, not only in the UK, but also internationally.

“It gave me the opportunity to stop and take stock of the things that I am proud to have achieved since qualifying.”

Pete Ferguson CA, recognised for Influence & Innovation, noted: "When I was originally nominated, I didn’t fully appreciate the scale of the competition. I am extremely proud of the achievement and the recognition it has brought me within my organisation, across my network and with family and friends."

Why get involved?

As well as garnering recognition, inclusion in the awards brings a number of benefits on a professional and business level.

Brian Toward CA, an Entrepreneurship category finalist, explained: "My nomination to the Top 35 was picked up by the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce. They featured it in their press communications which then lead to my nomination as Glasgow Young Business Person of the Year 2016, which was obviously another fantastic honour."

It was great to meet so many like-minded individuals at one event, and opened lots of doors.

Katherine Ritchie CA was shortlisted in the Leadership category. She said: “It opened my eyes to a lot more; meeting the people that I have on the journey, I have gained friends and mentors, plus feel a lot more connected and involved with ICAS.

"I have learned from others who have achieved remarkable success and it was great to collectively celebrate achievements.”

Shortlisted as an Entrepreneur, Mark Spiers CA added: “Whilst it was amazing being recognised for my work and achievements, it has mostly benefited me on the networking side. It was great to meet so many like-minded individuals at one event, and opened lots of doors."

A nudge in the right direction

Winner of last year's Leadership category Colin McLellan CA had the following advice for entrants: "When applying, focus your story on the value you’ve added and the things that you make you extraordinary."

Ben Collins CA, also recognised for Leadership, agreed: "It is important for the judges to understand your career story and how this has impacted both your workplace and the community in which you operate.

Focus your story on the value you’ve added and the things that you make you extraordinary.

"Think about what you can tell the judges in this respect and the key messages you want to give. There is stiff competition so sell yourself!"

Fellow nominee Graham Stirling CA added: "During the application and interview process try to think outside of the box, you will be competing against a fantastic bunch of talented CAs, therefore the more creative your ideas the better."

Jenny Hatfield CA was shortlisted in the Entrepreneurship category. She encouraged taking initiative: “Don’t wait for someone else to nominate you. If you feel that you fall into one of the categories just go for it."

Find out more about the 2016 35 CAs under 35 and stay up-to-date with announcements on CA Today.


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