To say Andrea Knowles was thrown in at the deep end at train operator Northern Rail last year would be a major understatement.
The Accountancy Age Young Accountant of the Year 2010 took the finance function by the scruff of the neck after the company had a boardroom overhaul in 2009, which resulted in the finance director and financial controller taking on new roles.
“This is a standout entry that meets all the requirements,” one judge said.
“As young accountant of the year, Andrea has been put into a very difficult position in a very junior position in her career and seems to have excelled in the challenges she has faced.”
Andrea, a recently CIMA-qualified financial accountant stepped up to a role – which had little day-to-day guidance because of the management changes – to ensure the finance department continued normal operations.
Her Northern Rail bosses said this included full accountability for the month and shareholder reporting and full processing of complex areas such as defined benefit pension accounting and taxation.
The young accountant went on to identify a significant six-figure VAT rebate that was due, resulting in a thank you letter from the shareholders.
Andrea also helped to develop and mentor several individuals currently taking professional exams and found the time to help them through the trials during a busy period which included significant investment of her own time.
In summary, Andrea has ensured that, despite major disruption, the high-quality financial output from the Northern Rail team has been maintained.
The judges praised Andrea’s commitment, attention to detail, team ethic and all round contribution as “a real achievement and something that merits significant acknowledgement”.
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