Emma James

Back to the list of award winners

This year’s award goes to Emma James, an inspirational accountant who has gone beyond the call of duty. James, who already has a number of awards behind her, left school at 16 with no qualifications. Four years later she became a single mother and put her career on hold.

James refused to give up though, and through the government’s New Deal for Lone Parents, she received a £600 grant, which she put towards an AAT training course.

During her studies she managed to gain a job at medical recruitment agency Nationwide Locum Services in Swansea.

Due to her lack of academic qualifications part of the deal of her employment was to pass the first year of AAT.

Then, just as James was throwing herself into her studies and new job, her daughter was diagnosed with chronic ITP, a disease that affects the immune system. James had to spend much of her time in and out of hospital, juggling her maternal duties with her job and studies.

If her achievements in managing to forge a career, complete her studies and raise a child weren’t enough, James went on to introduce a number of ideas into her workplace.

Over the last year she has implemented a credit control system, bringing the sales ledger in-house. In line with James’ success to date, the project exceeded her lecturer’s expectations.

Within a few months there was an improvement in the cash flow of the group and customers were happier with the service. The audits carried out consistently receive a high score.

The target of debtor days was achieved within two months and by the third month it was exceeded by almost six days.

Cash collection was above target by 12% and has continued to improve every month. Now James manages the credit control system and has a number of staff working under her.

Indeed, the group’s new finance director praised James for the implementation of the new credit control system. As a result she has been invited to the head office to discuss the system with the finance department, with the view to it being implemented at head office.

Her boss Adrian Evans, who has supported and encouraged her from the beginning, said: ‘Her approach is proactive and she is always seeking to improve.

‘During the period Emma has been in charge of credit control, debtor days have been reduced dramatically. She has an excellent attitude to her work and is a first-class credit controller. Her ideas and systems have been implemented by other companies within the group.’

James has also received a letter from Jane Scott Paul, chief executive of the AAT, thanking her for being an inspiration to others.

James has now progressed to full AAT membership and received a pay rise and a promotion.

Given her success in her job, James is now embarking on her studies for the ACCA qualification.

Entrants had to demonstrate professionalism, imagination and innovation that had led to organisational success and had made a real difference to their organisation and the clients they worked with.

Related reading