AAT accounting technician of the year: Sonya Ashbarry

To scoop the AAT Technician of the Year 2009 judges looked for entrants to
demonstrate the professionalism, imagination and innovation that has led to
organizational success and has made a real difference to their organisation and
the clients with whom they work.

Sonya Ashbarry, the winner of this year’s accolade, had a background
described as a rags-to-riches tale. The young mother said she stumbled across
the AAT qualification when she was looking for “something to do” at her local

Sonya had to wrestle with providing for a family with school bills looming,
so went on a meteoric rise from college student to establishing her own company
– Eagle Education and Training – providing AAT guidance. She recalls the immense
feeling of achievement in winning her qualification and this spurred her on to
becoming a qualified AAT tutor.

In crowning her the AAT Accounting Technician of the Year, judges said the
way Sonya used her qualifications to teach and promote the brand to others “fell
squarely into the innovation criteria” for the award.

She enjoyed the professional development that allowed her to reflect on the
psychology of teaching and learning, but recognised most public and private
institutes “adopted very traditional attitudes towards course structure and
delivery of courses which often didn’t reflect how we live learn and work in the
real world”.

Ashbarry saw a niche in the market for non-traditional, flexible learning
opportunities and she took the courageous step and set up her company.

Her vision was to provide AAT classroom and home study courses which provided
flexibility and enabled learners to join courses throughout the year, tailoring
courses to suit their individual needs.

Judges described this as “a wonderful story. This is a true rags to riches
story and she used her qualification to build up a strong business”. One judge
said: “Without a lot of support she has carved out her success.”


Ashbarry’s “Study Buddy” learning resource has made the daunting task of
qualification markedly easier by engaging students in enjoyable, varied
activities enabling them to learn easily in manageable sections. One judge said:
“She has used the AAT to keep improving and making a difference.”

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