Meet the One Young CA 2016 judges
The judges for this year’s One Young CA competition include a range of talent and experience from the worlds of business, finance and the not-for-profit sector.
This diverse and talented group of CAs and industry leaders will select the winners of this year’s competition. The One Young CA competition identifies and recognises the top 35 CAs under 35 the leaders of the next generation who are really making a difference to our profession and beyond.
One winner will be selected in four categories – entrepreneurship, leadership, sustainability and CSR, and innovation and influence – key qualities that embody what it means to be a CA. One of the category winners will become One Young CA 2016.
The One Young CA 2016 judges
Jim Bishop CA
ICAS Council Member
Jim Bishop retired from his role as Senior Partner, Scotland at EY in December 2014 after 20 years as a Partner. He initially joined the firm in 1981 qualifying with the firms Dundee office.
From 1991 to 1994 he was Finance Director of Fife Enterprise re-joining EY in 1995. Over the course of his career at EY, Jim held a number of senior leadership positions including Head of Audit North Region and Lead Partner sponsor of the Entrepreneur of the Year programme in Scotland.
In 2008 he joined the Audit & Assurance Committee of ICAS and in 2011 took over as convener. Jim joined ICAS Council in 2015 and recently took up the position as Chairman/Convenor of the ICAS Member and Communications Board. He is also currently Chairman of Scott Group Investments and is a member of the Audit Committee of the University of Edinburgh.
Natalie Bretherick CA
Analyst, QMPF LLP, Edinburgh
One Young CA commended winner 2015
Prior to embarking on her CA training contract with EY, Natalie lived in Swaziland for seven months working with social enterprises established to support orphans. Whilst at EY she sought out opportunities to further develop herself, her career and her interest in microfinance, impact investing and social entrepreneurship. This culminated in participating in a project in Uganda working in collaboration with rural veterinarians and the Ugandan Government providing practical advice to optimise the veterinary business and utilise them as a tool to combat African Sleeping Sickness in the area. As part of her work at QMPF, Natalie advises on financing education, infrastructure and renewable energy projects, as well as completing research projects around the financing of social housing and energy efficiency initiatives.
Natalie is passionate about international development and is one of the founders of an NGO called Youth Employment Strategies with the vision to inspire youth in Africa to establish businesses primarily in the agriculture sector.
“The CA qualification has been beneficial and has provided a solid grounding of knowledge in business and accountancy. It has given me the skills to critically appraise businesses and offer recommendations for improvements. The CA qualification has also allowed me to travel to different places in the world and use my skills in international development. It has also given me access to a network of global professionals and the opportunity to meet inspirational, successful people.
“I was privileged to be asked to support the One Young CA / 35 CAs under 35 as a judge and I’m happy to be involved in the competition. I think the One Young CA / 35 CAs under 35 is a great platform for people doing inspirational work to be able to showcase their achievements and promote the projects they are working on. For those selected it’ll provide an unparalleled opportunity for collaborating and networking with others as well as receiving mentoring”.
Rob Carter CA
CEO, Fieldmargin.com, London
Rob studied Colour and Polymer Chemistry at Leeds University and after graduating, trained to be become a CA at EY Entrepreneurial Services where he worked exclusively with high growth technology companies. Rob then moved to become Finance Director and then the UK Managing Director of one of his clients, a large multinational mobile phone company. In 2007 he moved into the London web start-up scene, where he has been Chief Finance Officer or Chief Operations Officer (or both) for several start-ups including Booking Bug, Kashflow, Digital Theatre, shoemakers Atheist Berlin, Buildabrand, Pact Coffee and Broadband Genie. He has had a long-term fascination with entrepreneurs and a little seems to have rubbed off on him over the years.
Last year Rob started in his first CEO position with www.fieldmargin.com, a business he co-founded, which is bringing brilliantly simple software to farmers around the world.
“Undoubtedly the CA qualification accelerated my progress through the corporate ranks early in my career and the skills taught all those years ago are still called upon on a daily basis.
I’m looking forward to being a judge in the One Young CA competition because talented and precocious people are a complete fascination for me!”.
Kirsty Dingwall CA
Founder, Angelic Gluten Free, Inverness
Kirsty graduated from Strathclyde University with a First Class BA Hons Accounting & Finance and joined EY, where she qualified as a CA. After completing her CA training, Kirsty started up her own business, Angelic Gluten Free which started trading in February 2012.
Angelic Gluten Free specialises in a range of free from products and is currently available in over 500 retail outlets throughout the UK and Ireland including Holland & Barrett and Ocado. Angelic also exports to a number of international locations including Denmark, Malaysia, Germany and USA.
“When raising funds to start the business, bank lenders showed confidence in our plans, and I think that this was influenced by my CA qualification. Being grounded in a commercial setting whilst training as a CA has provided me with an invaluable skills set, which has helped us from the early stages and throughout our journey. We have an outsourcing business model and developing processes has been a key area for us. I have used the experience from my CA to develop processes and controls to implement, which has played a vital role in developing the foundations of the business.
I’ve been very fortunate in my career, and have a tremendous support network which has enabled me to follow my own path in business. I think it’s important to recognise when you’ve been fortunate and give something back. The One Young CA is a great initiative that can inspire and influence many other CAs in their careers, and I’m looking forward to being involved in the judging process”.
Elaine Halligan CA
Director, The Parent Practice
Elaine studied Law at Edinburgh University and then trained as a CA with Deloitte Haskins and Sells in Edinburgh. In the 1990’s Elaine moved to the Corporate Finance department with Coopers Deloitte. After having a family, she became director/ co- owner of The Parent Practice, an organisation dedicated to helping parents bring out the best in their children.
“My CA training and qualification has been invaluable for developing the logical rational brain needed to run a small business, as having business acumen and commercial awareness is vital to deal with the daily range of issues from managing cash flow to dealing with the new workplace pensions scheme to flat rate VAT!
“Connection and communication however are the key tools needed in a people oriented business and emotional intelligence quotient is by far the most important skill.
“As a judge on this initiative, I would hope to play a key role in ensuring the winning candidate is using their ICAS qualification to really make a difference on the world stage not just in the field of business but also to society as a whole.
“I like to challenge the traditional definition of what success looks like, and ensure that any winning candidate is using their strengths, whether it be as a leader or as an entrepreneur or as a creative innovator, and is clear about what legacy they are creating.
“As a judge, I see this as a platform to help influence the way that ICAS is perceived by the business world and to ensure that the CA qualification can be celebrated in its broadest sense as a 21st Century qualification, that enables people to harness and develop their strengths for the greater good of the business world and society.
“Nothing is more important to me than ensuring our future generation are clear about their mission in life and have strong sense of legacy, so delivering a sustainable positive impact after they have gone. The CA qualification is a powerful vehicle to enable this to happen and to have the opportunity to be able to judge which young CA under 35 meets these criteria is a very worthwhile project to be involved in”.
Indy Hothi CA
Senior Economist, EY, London
One Young CA 2015
Indy’s role as a senior economist for EY in London involves advising the public and private sector organisations on the economic, social and fiscal impact of their operations and polices and has included working on high-profile reports for the Premiere League and the UK Government. Indy also plays a key role in leading the EY Sikh Network as part of EY’s Interfaith Working Group. Outside of work, Indy provides pro bono services to a number of charities and is a trustee of Khalsa Aid, an independent relief organisation set up to provide humanitarian aid in disaster areas, war zones and places of civil conflict across the world. Indy is also co-founder of ‘Hothi & Othi’, which supports artists from developing countries and showcases their work in galleries across the UK with proceeds being divided between artists and selected charities.
Indy was winner of One Young CA in 2015 and represented ICAS at the One Young World Summit in Thailand.
“The CA qualification has been absolutely invaluable on so many fronts, from advising corporate and Government clients in my role at EY to being able to provide pro-bono services to charities & causes which I am extremely passionate about. The strength of the CA qualification should not be underestimated as it unlocks so many different opportunities and challenges across sectors and geographically.
“The 35 CAs under 35 is an absolutely wonderful initiative as it provides a platform to highlight the amazing work that CAs are doing all around the world and provide the support to do more. These individuals are future leaders in their own right and have the potential to change the world for the better”.
Founder, Accounting for International Development (AfID), London
Neil is the Founder of Accounting for International Development (AfID), an award winning social enterprise that supports a broad range of non-profit organisations globally through the provision of volunteer accountants. Assignments help build the financial management capacity of over 500 partners organisations in over 50 countries. Since its inception in 2009 AfID have arranged assignments for over 1000 accountants, providing over 250,000 hours of pro bono support.
Neil left his role as the London Regional Director for Robert Half International, the world’s largest and oldest international accountancy recruitment consultancy, to work as the overseas development director for Children’s Care & Protection in Rwanda (CCPRWA); a Rwandan NGO set up by orphans and refugees of the 1994 genocide to give vulnerable children across the country access to education.
This experience introduced the true extent of the International Development sector’s urgent need for accessible financial management support. AfID was created to fill this gap and provide the expertise needed to improve the effectiveness of their programmes and long-term sustainability.
“Here at AfID we have seen tremendous and positive impact young CAs can have on the lives of people working in International Development. We are keen recognise, encourage and reward more of their great deeds and hopefully inspire more accountants to do the same”.
Anna McKay CA
UK Lead, Athletics Lab, London
Anna studied Economics at Cambridge University and then joined EY on their graduate scheme, qualifying as a CA in their Audit and then Management Consultancy departments in London. Anna spent seven years at EY and was one of the first employees to join the Finance Improvement division of the newly re-formed Management Consultancy department.
In 2011 Anna left EY to set up her own health start-up called ‘Spinach’ which focussed on helping improve the health of management consultants. In 2013 she joined Athletic Lab to lead the launch of the Singapore-based company in the UK, building the company to comfortably turning over £50k/mth and growing monthly.
“Being so involved with start-ups has required me to apply my finance and consultancy knowledge in a very practical way. At various stages I have led on everything from business strategy and financial reporting to the Board, through to the very basic monthly budgeting and book-keeping.
“Many businesses are brilliant ideas but fail on basic financial management. My CA qualification has allowed me to manage my businesses to success. It certainly hasn’t been easy - we had many a day when we were juggling payments to balance an extremely tight cash-flow. I remember the month our rent-free period ended, and VAT bill and business rates bills all hit in the same month – we ended the month with £57 in our bank account and that took a lot of careful management on a day-by-day basis!
“I’m passionate about finding CAs who are using their qualifications to start fun, adventurous initiatives and companies. I want to support CAs who don’t want to follow the standard routes in accountancy and want to do something different. The One Young CA and 35 CAs under 35 are great initiatives for supporting these innovative and entrepreneurial CAs”.
Rachel McShane CA,
Finance Director, Head of Business Performance and Cost Strategy, Barclaycard, London
Rachel studied Mathematics and Economics at Nottingham University and completed both CA and CTA qualifications whilst at KPMG. Rachel joined Barclays shortly after qualifying and has experience in a wide range of finance roles across businesses and functions. She joined Barclays into Retail Banking and initially focused on portfolio returns and cost insight. In 2013 Rachel joined Barclaycard Central Functions, leading a project to redefine reporting capabilities and Exco service delivery within the team, before moving to Barclaycard BP&A as Head of Planning she was responsible for overall delivery of Barclaycard planning cycles.
Rachel joined Barclaycard in 2013 and is currently Finance Director – Head of Business Performance and Cost Strategy and is responsible for internal reporting (including the transition to the Centre of Excellence), external reporting including delivery of quarterly, HY and FY results of all Barclaycard planning activity, from weekly outlooks, to in-year RAF’s and the more strategic MTP cycles as well as driving forward the cost strategy for Barclaycard.
“The CA qualification has provided invaluable grounding in analytical capability, core finance understanding and more technical areas. Being a CA provides potential employers with confidence in both your technical ability but also professionalism and ability to operate within a corporate environment effectively. As a CA I’ve developed a range of very transferrable skills sets into both finance and more commercial roles (problem solving, multi-tasking, analytical capability and working effectively in a professional environment… most importantly impact and influence).
“The past eight years have been incredibly fast paced for me and my career and a large part of my success has been attributable to the grounding I experienced through training with ICAS and those professionals I met along the way. It has always been very important to me that throughout an individual’s career we should celebrate successes and also share experiences, so I am incredibly pleased to be part of finding the best and the brightest CAs from across our profession”.
Graeme Menzies CA
Finance Director, AFG Media Ltd / Morphsuits.com, Edinburgh
Graeme graduated with a degree in Accounting & Economics from the University of Glasgow in 2003 and qualified as a CA with PwC in Glasgow in 2007. After moving to Sydney, Australia to work in transaction services with PwC, Graeme returned to the UK and joined AFG Media / Morphsuits as Finance Director with responsibility for financial reporting, governance, strategy and oversight of legal and HR provision.
From plain black or white suits to superheroes and monsters, morphsuits have been making their presence felt at Halloween parties, stag weekends and festivals for the last six years.
“I believe that the CA qualification provides its members with the financial discipline to analyse and assess any situation before coming to a balanced decision on the best way forward. This belief and the structure it has given me throughout my career help me every day in the management of a developing SME. This is particularly important as we look to make the right commercial decisions, manage growth and control risk in a unique and young business.
“For me, the CA is more of a mind set or perspective than any number of formal rules or standards. It governs the way I approach and assess problems, as well as how I interact within the people who help drive our organisation. Fundamentally I believe it gives my colleagues confidence that I will apply rigour to support my work, remain objective and help support the team come to the most appropriate decision. And that’s a pretty good place to be.
“What I’m most excited to see is the variety of career paths that our new members have taken, to understand their motivations and their future aspirations. We all have a great qualification behind us and in the digital age when the marketplace is changing so much, I’m interested to see who of our new CAs are setting out to redefine the traditional view of an accountant on a global basis.”
Nicola Mills CA
Head of Management Accounts and Procurement, Amnesty International, London
Nicola studied International Accountancy at the University of Glasgow, gaining a first class BAcc. After graduating she trained to be a CA in Assurance at EY in Glasgow, working in engineering, automotive and retail sectors. After qualifying Nicola moved to EY London before deciding to align her personal interests with her professional experience and make the move into the INGO sector.
Nicola is currently Head of Management Accounting & Procurement at the International Secretariat of human rights campaigning organisation Amnesty International, based in London. The role involves supporting sound financial and strategic decision making, through effective financial planning, reporting, and procurement. She has most recently been involved in supporting the organisation with the development of their four year strategic plan, ensuring affordability of Amnesty’s ambitions and supporting impact-led decision making on allocation of the organisation’s finite financial resources. Over her time at Amnesty, Nicola has also been extensively involved in supporting organisational change, most notably the “Moving Closer to the Ground” project, which is seeing Amnesty open 11 new offices over five years.
“The breadth of the CA qualification has enabled me to deal with various challenges thrown at me over my career to date, especially in my current role where my focus is not on one particular discipline like Audit or Tax. It’s also given me an invaluable support network of people who I’ve studied and trained with, many of whom continue to inspire me to this day.
“I think initiatives like this are fantastic to exhibit the wide range of things that CAs are doing across different industries around the world, and to reward those that are an inspiration to me and others in the profession or thinking of joining the profession. Having had a less than standard career path myself into the INGO sector, I’m especially interested to hear from nominees who are having a positive impact on society or the environment through the work they do, and who are really changing perceptions of what it means to be a CA.”
Elizabeth Stewart CA
Partner, Heidrick & Struggles CEO & Board
Elizabeth studied Mathematics at Strathclyde University, focussing further into business accountancy in her post grad diploma, then qualifying as a CA.
Elizabeth is now a partner at Heidrick & Struggles and a member of the CEO and Board. She is responsible for providing the consulting organisations on strategic, business, talent management and leadership solutions. She provides in depth insight that enables Chairs, CEOs and C-Suite Directors to identify, evaluate and develop individuals, teams and Boards to operate at their best and secure sustainable organisational performance through planned succession.
“My CA qualification has provided me with a commercial perspective, imparted important ways of thinking and set the bar for ways of operating. It has given me a foundation which opened up a broader horizon for all my roles and instilled a respect for, and curiosity to engage with, diverse perspectives.”
“One Young CA allows us to celebrate the significant contribution of young talent in the industry and promoting them as role models and ambassadors for the profession aligns with my personal passion to enable the fulfillment of individual’s purpose and is vital for the continued life and exceptional reputation of CAs.”
Carrie Tucker CA
CFO, Exploration Capital Ltd, London
After qualifying with a degree in Economics & Accounting from Bristol University, Carrie qualified as a CA within corporate finance in EY.
Carrie is currently CFO at Exploration Capital, a single family owned office with a diversified portfolio of investments in traded equities, farmland & forestry, fertilisers, seed engineering, exploration and venture capitalist companies. In 2012, following an investment by Exploration Capital, she also took on the role of CFO at Gilo Industries Group Limited, a cutting edge engineering business, based in the UK, which as some ground breaking technology coming to the market in the next 12 months.
“My CA qualification has been the foundation of my career. It ensured that I have totally robust technical skills which enable me to analyse financial data quickly and accurately and to approach any accounting or finance issue and find a practical and workable solution.
“It has provided an excellent professional network – through my peer Group, Ernst & Young LLP and ICAS and has given me the confidence to present financial data to numerous international boards across multiple sectors.
“One Young CA is a fantastic initiative to really incentivise and recognise the best young CAs who are striving to achieve excellence and to ‘fly the flag’ for the accounting profession.
“I am keen to help individuals progress and to continually improve the reputation of our profession and if appropriate would be happy to mentor one of the selected 35 top CAs.”
Becky Woodhouse CA
Founder and CEO, Pure Spa, Edinburgh
After completing a degree in Chemical Engineering with Management from the University of Bradford, Becky decided engineering wasn’t for her. She chose to pursue a career in accountancy and to become a CA as she felt that the professional qualification would complement her mathematical background. She felt that a career as a CA would allow her to gain an internationally recognised business qualification to allow her to move around. Becky trained to become a CA with PwC. In 2002 she founded PURE Spa & Beauty, an award winning chain of day spas and beauty salons, employing over 100 staff in six locations across Scotland, serving over 60,000 clients annually. Becky’s vision was simple: to combine essential spa and beauty treatments in urban locations, putting clients first.
“My day job is founder and managing director of PURE Spa. I started PURE in response to a gap in the beauty and spa market for women and men like myself; those starved for some “me-time” I saw the need for somewhere convenient and flexible to clients and also offering a completely personalised service, tailored to the individual. The company now offers escapes in 6 convenient locations across Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen in stand-alone spas, shopping centres, retail stores and hotels.
“My job is very varied but focuses on company strategy, future growth and new business opportunities, whilst also leading the senior management team at PURE Spa. I have regular visits to each salon and I spend time with our teams.
“I sit on the board of the Spa Business Association in the UK, the leading trade body for the spa industry, and am involved in promoting the spa industry across the UK.
“I think the education received at ICAS is second to none and I would definitely recommend the CA qualification. It is extremely hard work at the time, but you learn so much in the process, not just on a technical and academic front but also how to juggle studying and working. It also takes a great degree of self-discipline which is absolutely necessary if you are to pass the exams first time around.
“I think this encourages a work ethic and balance in your life that you always have and can use to your advantage later in your career. I found that it also leads me now to approach my work always asking myself if, I am doing the activity that is going to have the best outcome and ensures that you can approach any problem confident that you will find a solution.”