Now in their fourth year, ACCA’s advocacy awards shine a spotlight on members who act as powerful advocates for ACCA and the accountancy profession.
‘Through these awards, we want to acknowledge all the great support that members give ACCA and celebrate their passion for their qualification,’ says John Weston, ACCA’s head of member advocacy and satisfaction. ‘Many people work incredibly hard to gain the ACCA Qualification, and that engenders so much pride in it. That sense of pride and achievement creates a desire to give something back.’
As he explains, advocacy is not a programme. ‘It’s about a culture and a set of behaviours,’ he says. It can also take many forms, involving different types of activity. For example, this year’s winners have been advocates through running webinars on topics such as digital skills, speaking to university students about careers in accountancy, organising conferences, encouraging employers to recruit and train ACCA professionals, mentoring and encouraging younger colleagues, and posting ACCA news on social media – among other things.
‘I am often amazed by the experience of our members and the impact the qualification can have not only on individuals, but also their communities'
These individuals also provide powerful stories of how ACCA and gaining the ACCA Qualification can change people’s lives. ‘This year one of our regional winners left school with no qualifications and is now a senior finance manager in the health service,’ Weston says. ‘That shows the life-changing power of the ACCA Qualification.’
Such experiences inspire a passion and commitment to help others gain the same benefits. ‘By being an advocate, members can change other people’s lives too,’ Weston says. Award winners often recall the positive impacts of mentors on their own lives, and want to do the same for others, while also seeing ACCA as a supportive family that reaches across organisational and national boundaries.
This year’s judging process was as challenging as ever, with the six regional winners selected from winners at national level. Participants are assessed on various factors, such as their actions to attract and inspire the next generation, support the development of other members and promote the ACCA brand. Consideration is also given to the way they demonstrate ACCA values of inclusion, integrity and innovation.
The regional judging panels consisted of members of the ACCA Council and other senior members.
‘The decisions on the winners are made at the highest level by ACCA members themselves,’ Weston says. ‘Choosing the winners is so hard because no two advocates’ stories are the same.’
Nevertheless, winners must be chosen. The six regional advocacy award winners for 2020 are as follows:
- Africa: Oluyomi Akinyemi FCCA, associate director, Data & Analytics, KPMG and head of the KPMG Insights Centre in Lagos
- ASEAN and ANZ: Heather Smith FCCA, founder of Anise Consulting
- Eurasia and New Markets: Ivan Topolya FCCA, managing director, finance department, Sberbank
- Europe and Americas: Tim Kelland FCCA, assistant director, Finance Delivery Unit, NHS Wales
- China: Bonnie Chan Kit Yee FCCA, financial planning and analysis manager, The Green Organic Dutchman (previously manager, FP&A, Pandora Jewelry Asia-Pacific Limited)
- Middle East and South Asia (MESA): Rathnakala Kumaragurunathan ACCA, associate director, Acuity Knowledge Partners
Weston encourages more people to enter next year’s awards, hoping to hear even more inspiring stories from around the international ACCA network. ‘I am often amazed by the experience of our members and the impact that the ACCA Qualification can have not only on individuals, but also their communities,’ he says.
The judges would also like to commend the following runners up in the regional awards, all advocacy award winners in their own countries:
Godfrey Beyagala, Uganda
Karan Gupta, Kenya
Susiku Nasinda, Zambia
Wilson Siaw Min Koh, Singapore
Nishta Saxena, India
Candice Czeremuszkin, Caribbean
Dev Ramnarine, US
John Gaynor, Ireland
Ian Ng, China
Tehmina Shehryar Khan, Sri Lanka
Imtiaz Ahmed, Middle East
Mohsena Khanom, Bangladesh