Accountancy Age Awards 2001 – Are you this year’s top accountant?

Top notch and up-do-date technical accounting skills are still a must have. These, however, are no longer enough.

The Accountant of the Year award is a new category launched this year to recognise and reward accountants who have also built up a range of other skills and attributes, ranging from IT knowledge to interpersonal skills.

All qualified accountants, whether in business, practice or the public services are eligible for the category. You can enter yourself, or be entered by someone else.

Entrants must be below the level of finance director or partner, although our independent panel of judges will be looking for evidence to suggest this is where the individual is heading.

A shortlist will be unveiled in September, and the overall winner announced at a glittering awards ceremony on 7 November at the Natural History Museum in London, where they will join top accountancy figures from all sectors for what always proves to be an enjoyable and memorable evening.

In addition to a trophy, the winner will also receive a £500 cash prize.

Those in charge of training accountants at the various institutes are only too aware of the widening set of skills demanded of today’s accountants, and have faced the challenge of revamping syllabuses for trainees and developing new courses for experienced accountants.

Mark Protherough, head of educational affairs at ACCA, says: ‘The key change we have seen in recent years is the growing diversity of what accountants do. They still need to be able to do the basics, but also a much wider range of things.’

In particular, Protherough points to the greater strategic roles accountants have to play in their businesses, and the increasing involvement they have in IT issues.

But more knowledge is not necessarily enough. Accountants also need to know how to convey it. Communication and presentation skills, mastered by the likes of former Accountancy Age Awards ceremony hosts Clive Anderson and Juliet Morris, are essential.

Protherough says: ‘There is much greater emphasis on interpersonal skills, such as talking and presentations. The ability to understand clients’ needs has become very important. The accountant cannot hide away any more.’

The successful accountant of the future will also have to get to grips with environmental and ethical issues.

Protherough sees this as a growing area of importance, and says those accountants who can get to grips with the growing audit, regulatory and measurement issues the area throws up will enjoy increasing opportunities in the future.

He advises accountants who are not sure they have the requisite skills to sit down and assess their strengths and weaknesses, and to consider ways of addressing the latter.

Asking colleagues, he suggests, is one way of trying to find out where there is room for improvement.

He suggests accountants look to their institutes or employers for training opportunities where needed.

Career management is also an area where the good all-round accountant needs to excel, and there is no better way of proving your worth than winning or being shortlisted for this prestigious award. So get to work on your entry now.

For details of how to enter, sponsorship opportunities or to book a table, please visit our website or email

ACCA sponsors Accountant of the Year award

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is the world’s largest and fastest growing international professional accountancy body, with nearly 300,000 members and students in 160 countries. Committed to helping people of talent and ability to achieve personal and professional success, ACCA continues to develop and implement innovative methods to train, examine and regulate professionals.

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