Drum roll please! This list of 35 professionals showcases the best young talent in Accountancy and features those who display innovation and dedication to lead the way and transform their respective fields. In partnership with Accountancy Age.

Abbey joined Adams Moore as a Trainee Accountant in September 2016 through the Accounting Apprenticeship Scheme. She began with basic sole trader accounts and steadily advanced to handling more complex clients, driven by her excellent feedback. In 2021, Abbey was promoted to Manager, overseeing all accountants in the firm, including 12 senior and more experienced colleagues. She has earned the respect of the entire team and fostered a strong team ethic.

While managing her responsibilities, Abbey was also studying for her CIMA exams. Despite her aversion to exams and the challenges of online learning during the pandemic, she persevered and qualified in 2022. Abbey was awarded her professional designation upon qualification.

In 2023, Abbey was promoted to Client Service Partner, becoming one of three partners with comprehensive responsibility for managing the Accounts Function, our largest department, and for winning and managing large clients (300 clients). Her ascent to the top of our business within seven years, marked by hard work and late nights, has been characterized by grace and humility, earning the admiration and respect of everyone in the business.

Alex trained to become a Chartered Accountant at Saffrey in Manchester before returning home to West Wales to join a growing local practice. His work ethic and aptitude for delivering high-quality service led to his rapid recognition, and he was appointed as a director at the age of 28, just three and a half years after joining the firm.

In the last year, Alex transitioned from his director role to take on the new challenge of setting up his own independent firm, AW Chartered Accountants. Through this new venture, Alex focuses intently on his clients, working closely with them to achieve their unique goals, whether that is increasing profitability, scaling, or enhancing business efficiency. His forward-thinking approach is driven by cloud-based software, enabling clients to make informed, up-to-date decisions.

In just a few months, AW Chartered Accountants has experienced remarkable growth, rapidly expanding to over 60 clients. The firm’s success has already been recognized with a nomination for a Welsh Business Growth Award, highlighting its rapid growth and commitment to customer excellence.

Alex and AW Chartered Accountants provide services to clients across various industries, but they have also been recognized as specialist accounting advisors to the UK tourism industry. Thanks to Alex’s experience and understanding of the industry, the firm is one of only two Welsh accounting firms accepted as associate members of the British Holiday and Home Parks Association (BH&HPA), the leading trade body for the UK holiday park industry.

Alisha possesses a rare specialization in fintech audit and accounting, distinguishing her from many of her peers and helping BKL develop fintech as a key area. She was one of only nine women shortlisted for a Citywealth Powerwomen 2024 Award in the ‘Woman of the Year: Fintech/Crypto’ category, where she won Bronze. This accolade reflects her standing among industry peers and clients, with the winners determined by public votes following nominations.

Starting her career at BKL as a trainee, Alisha has dedicated her professional journey to the firm, ensuring that her ambition and development have supported the growth of the business, her service line, and her colleagues. Just four years into her career, Alisha helped BKL stand out among competitors and fintechs by making BKL the first mid-sized UK accountancy firm to officially accept Bitcoin as a fee payment through BitPay. She researched crypto payment providers and spearheaded the process, a pioneering achievement reported across accounting and crypto publications.

Since 2022/23, Alisha has grown her client portfolio by a third, contributing to a 75% increase in BKL’s financial services clients over the same period. To meet the needs of this growing client base, Alisha has built exceptional technical expertise. Her knowledge of FCA-regulated clients and safeguarding audits is unmatched and will support BKL’s strategic growth in the sector. Her recent qualification from the International Compliance Association in Governance, Risk, and Compliance, is uncommon among audit professionals and will benefit clients, especially those seeking FCA authorisation.

Partner, Alliotts LLP

Andrew embarked on a unique path to accountancy. After joining the British Army at 18, he served as a Grenadier Guardsman, guarding the royal palaces and performing state ceremonial duties before deploying to Afghanistan in 2012. Following an injury, Andrew transitioned to consulting before ultimately moving into accountancy.

Andrew trained in general practice at a small boutique firm before joining Alliotts LLP as a Senior Manager in 2021, where he led the Guildford Outsourcing and Accounts team. He was promoted to Associate in 2023 and became a Partner in 2024. In his role, Andrew advises fast-growing start-ups and established businesses, offering his expertise as an outsourced CFO/Finance Director and drawing on his general practice experience to leverage relevant tax subsidies.

Andrew works across various sectors, including gaming, hospitality, space, and professional consulting, assisting businesses seeking or having achieved inward investment. He has advised clients on preparing and pitching for investment and supported due diligence efforts for those looking to acquire businesses.

As part of the Game Changer programme sponsored by Games London, Andrew has mentored gaming start-ups and helped deliver the UK’s largest video games trade mission at Slush in Helsinki. At Alliotts, Andrew continues to challenge norms and drive innovation through the adoption of new technologies in the profession.

Partner, Glazers Chartered Accountants

Ben Allen’s remarkable rise in the accounting industry is marked by his recent appointment as one of the youngest partners in the history of Glazers. Within just five years post-qualification, Ben has not only secured a partnership but has also driven significant growth and strategic initiatives within the firm.

At Glazers, Ben has been instrumental in developing the outsourcing function, establishing robust internal processes that have enhanced the firm’s operational efficiency. As Head of Marketing, he has significantly boosted Glazers’ online brand presence, with his Thought Leadership posts on LinkedIn attracting as much as over 200,000 views. His expertise in managing high-profile clients is exemplified by his work with one of the leading luxury watch brands globally, showcasing his ability to handle prestigious and complex accounts.

Ben’s approach is holistic and client-focused, offering a full spectrum of services that provide valuable insights and guidance. His advisory-led methodology has notably contributed to the development of a group of companies which has created a new online global trading platform, helping them achieve a projected valuation exceeding $250 million. In addition to his professional achievements, Ben is dedicated to mentoring Glazers’ growing team of professionals. As HR Partner, he has revamped HR strategies with a strong emphasis on professional development, playing a pivotal role in guiding team members through their qualifications and career advancements. His mentorship has been crucial in fostering a culture of success within the firm.

Across his various roles, Ben has streamlined costs and improved overall business functions at Glazers. He also extends his expertise to the community, serving as treasurer for two charities, demonstrating his commitment to societal improvement. His leadership roles within Glazers and his community work reflect his wide-ranging impact and dedication.

Group Board Director and Head of Operations, RPG Chartered Accountants

Ben Brownson, at 29, serves as Group Board Director and Head of Operations at RPG Chartered Accountants in Manchester, a top 100 practice. After joining RPG from Deloitte in March 2022, he has swiftly risen through the ranks, becoming COO within 21 months. His recent election on May 1st, 2024, as the youngest ever board member of DFK UK and Ireland (“UKI”), a national group within the DFK International accountancy association, underscores his rapid professional ascent and the recognition of his contributions to the field.

Ben has been instrumental in leading RPG’s digital transformation project, transitioning the firm from a traditional practice to one with a robust technological foundation. His unique use of technology, centered around Microsoft as the core vendor, has set RPG apart within the sector. This strategy has empowered employees, enhancing operational efficiency and client service quality. Ben’s leadership in technology and being one of the most progressive thinkers in the sector, has made him a prominent public speaker on the topic, with engagements at international forums, technology webinars, and the upcoming Accountex in May 2024.

One of Ben’s notable achievements at RPG is the evolution of the traditional secretarial team into a high-performing operational team focused on project management and transformation. Built from scratch within a year, this team has played a crucial role in adopting technology efficiently and according to best practices. His efforts have significantly improved RPG’s operational processes and have ensured a sustainable growth trajectory.

In addition to his internal contributions, Ben manages a diverse portfolio of clients, including individuals, listed companies, and notable transactions such as leading the firm’s largest ever transaction for a client in 2023. His advisory-led approach has driven significant client growth and satisfaction, initiating 16 new clients in early 2024 alone.

Payroll Director (Head of Payroll), Duncan & Toplis

Damon Tunnicliffe is a rising star at Duncan & Toplis. Earlier this year, he was promoted to Head of Payroll after 15 years of impeccable performance. His tireless drive and ambitious work ethic have seen him progress from working in payroll processing to payroll manager, payroll Associate Director, and now as Payroll Director. In this role, he oversees one of the group’s largest service lines at a critical time as Duncan & Toplis embarks on its biggest period of growth in its nearly 100-year history.

Damon has been absolutely integral to the success and mounting momentum of the growing team, which has expanded from 6 to 26 dedicated payroll staff across the UK under his leadership. He manages a robust client portfolio of over 1,300 companies, ensuring seamless payroll operations and overseeing the processing of more than 24,000 payslips each month.

As Head of Payroll at one of the largest independent accounting and business advisers in the East Midlands, Damon is a passionate payroll professional dedicated to delivering exceptional service across various sectors. Adept in business development, he drives efficiencies and innovative solutions, enhancing client experiences. Importantly, he is a proud member of the Sage client advisory group, the Kreston Global Payroll Group, and the Association of Bureau Managers.

Commercial Finance Director, Stagecoach Group

Dan is a modern finance leader with an exceptional track record and wide-ranging experience gained from leading international corporate groups over the last 12 years. His notable achievements include playing a pivotal role in navigating the sale of Stagecoach Group Plc to new private equity ownership, and shaping and securing government funding schemes and management actions to ensure the survival of the business and the wider sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As a natural leader, Dan empowers and develops his team to deliver outstanding work and is an unwavering ally to diversity and inclusion efforts. His commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace and developing high-performing talent has made a significant impact within his organization.

Outside of his professional day-to-day role, Dan devotes a significant amount of time to The Change Foundation, where he serves as a Board Trustee, Treasurer, and Chair of its Resource & Governance Committee. In these roles, he has had a substantial impact on the financial strength of the charity and its ongoing success in changing the lives of marginalized young people around the world. Dan’s dedication to both his professional and charitable endeavors highlights his commitment to excellence and positive social impact.

Corporate Services Director, Ensors Accountants LLP

Dominick joined Ensors as a recently qualified Audit Senior at the end of 2016. Technically very strong, with a commitment to delivering and a passion for building relationships with clients he quickly progressed. In 2022 he took on sole responsibility for managing the Ipswich audit team in very challenging circumstances. With long term expansion plans, but short term staffing issues and resource constraints, there was strategic focus on the addition and development of students.

Understanding the need for a new way of working to deliver this, Dominick devised and led an initiative to lower the grading required to line manage students and opened the opportunity up to those that wanted to. This reduced the ratio of students per manager, delivering better training and mentoring to fast-track development. This also gave the opportunity for more responsibility and progression which has encouraged retention.

Dominick puts faith in those around him and strives to ensure they have the support needed to thrive. He began delegating more responsibility, creating a management team which focused on people, culture and development to build a group capable of meeting their own, and the firm’s, objectives. Several new ideas were brought to fruition, including regular bite-size practical training.

The new management structure and initiatives have helped to navigate change, preserve the Ensors ethos, meet existing client needs and create the platform for growth. Since Dominick took responsibility for the audit team in Ipswich, the head count he’s ultimately responsible for has increased by around 50% to 41 people. Following the success, other offices have also introduced earlier line management.

Corporate Finance Director, Saffery LLP

Erin works as a Corporate Finance Director at Saffery, specialising in a range of due diligence services, including vendor due diligence, vendor assist, buy-side due diligence, and associated services. She is AAT and ACCA qualified. Erin began her career in corporate finance at 16 as an apprentice and has since gained experience across various departments, including accounts, audit, tax, and outsourcing, working in firms of all sizes, from small accounting practices to one of the world’s largest firms.

Erin has acted for a diverse range of clients, including entrepreneurial, private equity-backed, and privately-owned businesses. She joined Saffery in Manchester in 2023 as part of a new Corporate Finance Team in the North West. Since then, Erin has been working to expand Saffery’s market presence through various business development activities, including hosting networking events, participating in an internal roadshow, and engaging in a range of external marketing activities. For her clients, Erin provides early-stage bespoke advice, including vendor due diligence and vendor assistance services.

Erin has advised on financial due diligence for many deals, notably for River Capital on their investment in Built for Athletes and for Maven Capital Partners regarding their investment in MyPura.com Limited. Erin won Finance Professional of the Year at the 2022 Manchester Young Talent Awards and co-founded the team that won Young Professional Team of the Year at the 2023 Insider North West Young Professional Awards.

Advisory Manager, ESG Lead, PWC

Everitt co-leads the ESG Sustainability & Climate Change advisory at PwC in the British Isles, based in the Isle of Man. He collaborates with clients to refine and integrate commercial insights, trends, and strategies centered around key sustainable stakeholder themes, including purpose, strategy, performance, and ESG. Everitt leads strategic roadmap processes, from benchmarking analysis to providing recommendations and developing disclosure and sustainability management process strategies. He coordinates data and trend analysis to advise on effective shareholder communication, resulting in secure long-term relationships and partnerships aimed at transitioning to a more sustainable future and best supporting stakeholders.

Before joining PwC, Everitt completed a Full-Time MBA at Warwick Business School, focusing on Corporate Finance and ESG. His past experience includes global advisory roles, particularly in short-term and long-term ESG and net-zero goals. Everitt’s clients span a range of industry sectors, including Financial Services, Real Estate, REIT, Banks, Insurance, Asset Management, and Merchant Services. He has also worked on projects in Aerospace, Utilities, Oil & Gas, Retail, Manufacturing, Transportation, Medical/Pharma, and Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) industries globally.

Partner, Moore Kingston Smith

Francesca Robe, who became a partner in May 2024, has been with Moore Kingston Smith since joining as a trainee in 2009. With over 15 years of experience focusing on the creative industries, she works with owner-managed businesses, assisting them in achieving their growth goals through her extensive knowledge and passion for the marketing services and media sectors.

Following her return from maternity leave in 2024, Francesca’s promotion to partner underscores her dedication to her clients and her field of expertise. She is committed to supporting and inspiring the next generation of leaders in the accountancy and professional services sectors. As a mentor, she guides individuals through their career development, helping them progress into more senior positions and build robust internal and external networks. Francesca is particularly passionate about supporting working parents and those returning to work after a period of leave, drawing from her own experience.

Francesca co-edits and presents Moore Kingston Smith’s Annual Survey on the financial performance of marketing services companies. This industry-respected report examines the results of the UK’s top agencies across various marketing services disciplines. It is considered an essential reference tool for industry insiders, analyzing the performance of over 250 agencies and providing a comprehensive summary of key statistics, including profit and productivity ratios, people costs, and numbers. The report benchmarks key performance indicators and evaluates the impact of various trends on the industry’s financial performance.

Actively engaged in her field, Francesca collaborates with the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) on its Accelerator Scheme, assisting in the development of emerging agencies. She frequently presents on evaluating performance, tracking key ratios, and benchmarking results against industry standards, as well as advising on employee incentives.

Head of Audit, Harold Sharp Limited

Fred is fast becoming a notable figure in the audit sector. He rapidly advanced to Audit Senior Manager within five years at PwC, achieved his Responsible Individual (RI) status at 29, and is set to become Harold Sharp’s youngest shareholder.

Driven by his commitment to audit, Fred joined Harold Sharp as Head of Audit in November 2023 with the goal of achieving his RI status within 12 months. He accomplished this in April 2024, seven months ahead of schedule, demonstrating his deep understanding of auditing standards and ethics and his commitment to maintaining high-quality audit work.

In the past five months, Fred has doubled the size of the Harold Sharp audit team. His extensive knowledge of UK audit standards and his reputation for audit excellence have helped him build a strong pipeline of work to meet growing capacity. He leads significant audits, including the £25,000 audit of a network of 60Estate Agency franchise offices and the £100,000 group audit of 16 companies in the care industry. Recently, he secured two complex audits in the Charity sector, and has enhanced the firm’s reputation as a trusted component auditor.

Fred also focuses on fostering a culture of continuous learning at Harold Sharp. He develops training sessions and materials to support his team’s professional growth, ensuring they stay current with audit methodologies.

Senior Manager, KPMG LLP

George joined KPMG in 2014 through the School Leaver Apprenticeship programme, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with ICAS and earning a degree from Exeter University. Beginning his career in Banking Audit, George worked on a variety of engagements, including large and complex listed entities. His skills and qualities led to his invitation to take a leading role in a newly created Centre of Excellence focused on Credit Risk. In this role, he was instrumental in establishing the team and creating template workpapers that are now widely used across the Banking Audit practice of over 500 professionals.

Recognising his expertise, George was recruited to join the central Department for Professional Practice, where he has applied his practical fieldwork experiences to develop audit methodologies and tools. He has been integral to creating a series of new materials issued to auditors to support the effective and consistent delivery of high-quality work.

These materials have been so successful that many have been adopted for use internationally across the global network. George’s ability to distil complex topics into digestible messages, along with his adaptability, was also demonstrated in his creation of materials to support the audit of IFRS 9 for non-banking corporate entities.

Audit Quality Director, Kreston Reeves

From a young age, computers have been an integral part of Graham’s life. His early fascination with PowerPoint animations evolved into a passion for programming, leading to 20 years of experience as both a hobbyist and semi-professional programmer, including three years as a lecturer. This extensive background in technology significantly informs his approach as an auditor.

Graham’s enthusiasm for audit, combined with his technical expertise, has defined his career. He has spent his entire post-qualification career in technical roles, previously within a Big4 firm until January 2024. As an audit subject matter expert, he supported thousands of engagement teams on audit-related queries and oversaw the audit technical helpline. Graham’s unique skill set bridges the gap between audit and technology, enabling him to integrate conceptual knowledge with practical implementation to enhance quality and efficiency.

In his prior role at KPMG, Graham developed the firm’s policy for evaluating and accrediting technology solutions, applied to over 100 tools. He was a key contributor to the global network’s accreditation policy and advised firms worldwide on managing risks associated with audit technology. He also established the firm’s quality standards for standardized work papers, focusing on usability, reliability, and accessibility, which were applied to over 400 work papers and are still in use today.

Additionally, Graham played a pivotal role in the network’s implementation of AI-empowered audit software and led the design and development of the firm’s internal generative AI virtual assistant, winning the firm’s innovation competition in 2023. His commitment to inclusivity led to the creation of tools to support staff with dyslexia, and he built an automated staff allocation tool, saving administrative staff several hundred hours annually.

Partner, Shipleys LLP

Hannah Van Ross joined Shipleys LLP in 2016 as a supervisor and has since made an impressive ascent to becoming a principal (partner) within just six years. Her contributions have significantly impacted the firm across multiple dimensions, showcasing her expertise and leadership.

As a sector champion, Hannah has specialized in and expanded Shipleys’ presence in key areas, including financial services, particularly payment service and e-money institutions (PSRs/EMIs), venture capital funds, and technology and SaaS companies. She has played a pivotal role in providing up-to-date advice and assistance to financial services clients facing evolving regulations. Hannah’s thought leadership is evident through her extensive articles, particularly her guidance in these sectors. Over the past four years, her client portfolio has quadrupled, reflecting her success in winning, onboarding, and retaining both business and private clients. Additionally, Hannah has driven and built the firm’s outsourced online accounting service offering in the London office, leveraging platforms like Xero.

Within Shipleys, Hannah is dedicated to supporting colleagues’ development and career progression. She actively provides advice and guidance, contributing to the delivery of various “lunch and learn” and audit technical sessions. Her hands-on approach and mentorship have been instrumental in fostering a supportive and growth-oriented environment for her team.

Hannah is also a committed member of Shipleys’ senior team committee driving the firm’s ESG strategy. Her efforts have led to the firm achieving carbon-neutral status and improving process efficiency through technology. Additionally, she collaborates with the HR team to enhance workplace inclusivity and wellbeing support for colleagues.

Isla MacGillivray

Partner, Saffery LLP

Isla qualified as a chartered accountant in 2015 and joined Saffery the same year. Isla became a Partner in 2022 at the age of 32, the youngest Saffery Partner at the time, and quickly rose to Head of Saffery’s London Film and TV Group two years later.  At the point of becoming Partner, Isla managed the largest client portfolio at Saffery, alongside holding key team roles (staff manager and client service champion).

She provides specialist financial, accounting, audit and taxation advice to a range of clients, from small independent British film producers to the largest UK and Hollywood studios, streamers and developers across film, TV and video games. Isla is one of the very few people who specialise in all three major creative sector tax reliefs.

She has worked on countless very large and well-known feature films, TV shows and video games including Star Wars, Silo and Fall Guys. Isla has lectured extensively, both at home and abroad, at various industry events, including at Cannes Film Festival, Content London, FOCUS, MOVE Summit and EGX. She has given many presentations, including those hosted by the British Film Council, Women in Film and TV, The Production Guild, Northern Ireland Screen, Screen Scotland, Animation UK, Animation Scotland which over the past year have focused on the new AVEC & VGEC legislation.

jack edmonds

Director, Crowe U.K. LLP

Jack joined Crowe in 2011 as an AAT school leaver and quickly progressed through the ranks to Director at the age of 31. Jack assists his clients with tax and accounting compliance matters, often clients will come to him with problems and he is often quick to find a solution. Whilst the day-to-day compliance is critical to the success of his clients and team, his role has evolved over the last few years and he now spends a lot of his time helping business owners overcome underlying issues within their business, assisting with business plans, profit improvement and succession issues.

Jack has been a huge factor in the growth of the business solutions team in the Midlands region. When joining the team in 2011 there were just 8 members of staff, today the team sits at currently 50 and continuing to grow. Having been a finalist at the firm’s annual awards for the previous two years, Jack won the client service award in 2021 for his outstanding commitment to customer service where he goes above and beyond to help his clients, supported by many testimonials.

As an accredited Mindshop facilitator, Jack leverages his extensive knowledge and coaching skills to benefit his client base. Whether it’s problem-solving, strategic management, or leadership development, Jack is unwavering in his dedication. His candid approach to difficult conversations has garnered admiration from clients, who rely on his sound advice to propel their businesses forward.

Audit and Accounts Senior Manager, Wilson Wright part of BKL

James, Audit and Accounts Senior Manager at Wilson Wright, part of BKL, is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Accountants. Although James was a late developer, he has shown remarkable progress since he began his accounting career. Despite not excelling at school, he was a Prefect and Vice Captain and enjoyed playing sports. His career began in sales, which he loved, but his true upward trajectory started when he began training to be an accountant.

James qualified as an accountant in 2017 at LB Group and later became a Client Manager at Haines Watts during the pandemic. He joined Wilson Wright in autumn 2022 and quickly received the Employee of the Quarter award for his dedication to clients and his team. Earlier this year, James secured a coveted spot on the DFK Emerging Leaders programme and was elected by his colleagues as the DFK Emerging Leader of the Year 2024. Recently, he was promoted to Senior Manager.

Adam Cramer, Managing Director of Wilson Wright, remarked, “The award was an affirmation of all that James stands for and all that he delivers on a daily basis for the benefit of clients and colleagues alike.”

James is known for fostering close relationships with his clients, taking the time to understand their businesses and goals to help them achieve their commercial ambitions. One client noted, “I have worked with many accountants, James is by far my accountant of choice. He manages to explain complex information in the most simple and straightforward way that allows me to make the best decisions regarding my finances. I trust his judgment and that he will always get things done in the most efficient and effective manner. He is a pleasure to work with, and I count myself very lucky to have him on my team.”

Deal Advisory Partner, Cowgills

Becoming a partner at a top 15 accountancy firm by the age of 33 is no mean feat, but James Kennedy’s desire to both achieve his goals and support his clients in achieving theirs was a challenge he was always going to succeed in.

Advising on over £500m of deal value during his short career, James has brought immeasurable value to Cowgills, both financially and in terms of team evolution and transformation. He’s played a pivotal role in the development of the Cowgills Deal Advisory team over the past six years.

James joined Cowgills in 2018 as one of just two people based in the Manchester office. Since this time, it has grown to a 30+ team, one of the largest Deal Advisory teams in the North West, which has subsequently led to the creation of Transaction Services and Debt Advisory to sit alongside Lead Advisory, Strategic Support and Research.

Whilst James has experience in a variety of businesses and industries, his key focus is the healthcare sector where he has advised on £300m of transaction value. Notable transactions include Community Health and Eyecare, Diagnostic Healthcare and supporting Pitalia Capital on their investment in Chemist4U.  Other non-healthcare-based transactions include the JD Sports plc acquisition of a 60% stake in Total Swimming – owned by gold and bronze Olympic winning swimmers Rebecca Adlington and Stephen Parry respectively – which won ‘Best £10m-£50m Deal of the Year’ at North West Insider’s 2023 Dealmaker Awards.

Partner, SMH Group

Jonathon joined SMH in 2005 as a trainee.  At the time, SMH was a small practice with 8 staff, who had just opened a small second office.

After his AAT, he completed ACA in 2013. In 2014 at the age of 26, he was made a partner (1 of 3) in the practice. In 2017, the Senior Partner decided to retire which resulted in a management buyout between Jonathon and the other remaining partner. At this time, SMH had 23 staff members, 3 offices and 2 partners.

2017 was a pivotal moment for the business & Jonathon’s career.  With the previous Senior Partner gone, SMH set an ambitious growth plan to become one of the top 100 firms in the country. The plan was substantial organic growth, acquisitions & diversification.  Fast forward to today, SMH have hugely exceeded their expectations – SMH Group ranked 86th in Accountancy Age’s 50+50 for 2023 and have grown much further since then. Jonathon has been absolutely integral to this and is now the driving force behind the business.

Over the 7 years since 2017, Jonathon has negotiated 10 acquisitions, including the structure of the deals, term, numbers, timing etc which culminated in all deals going through as planned.

Along with this, SMH has opened additional service offerings, with Residential Mortgages and Commercial Finance departments established in 2019 & 2020.  The above achievements have seen the firm achieve over 1000% revenue growth since 2017. SMH now sit as one of the largest multi-disciplinary firms in the region with circa 150 staff members & 10 offices.

Director, Haysmacintyre LLP

Karen joined haysmacintyre as a trainee in 2012, qualified in 2016, and was promoted to Director in 2020 after progressing swiftly through her managerial career. She now serves as Co-Head of haysmacintyre’s Financial Services team.

Karen’s extensive knowledge of the Financial Services industry equips her with a unique skill set that adds significant value to her clients in an advisory capacity. She is known for building strong client relationships and has been described as very responsive and reliable, facilitating the meeting of incredibly tight deadlines. Her robust network of complementary sector service providers allows her to deliver a holistic approach to client service.

While Karen primarily focuses on audit in her role as Director, she has also assumed vital leadership responsibilities within the firm. She has played a crucial role in reshaping the audit department and fostering a strong team culture within the Financial Services team. As a Team Leader and a member of the Audit Operations Committee, Karen has contributed significantly to staff development, training, and career progression. She established the mentorship programme within the team and mentors several colleagues across the firm, supporting and encouraging them in their careers and empowering them to take control of their future.

Karen spearheaded the setup of haysmacintyre’s second-ever office and trading subsidiary overseas in South Africa—the first in the firm’s 100+ year history. This significant undertaking showcased Karen’s entrepreneurial mindset, persistence, and dedication, as she completed the project within nine months with all employees onboarded. This was an opportunity to create a better working environment for remote colleagues by ensuring the right people were in the right roles, regardless of location.

Audit Data Analytics Director, RSM UK

As Head of Audit Data Analytics at RSM UK, Konrad has been at the forefront of the firm’s digital transformation to enhance audit quality and efficiency through innovative data-driven solutions. His dedication to pioneering new analytics capabilities has empowered audit teams to deliver premium, technology-enabled audits that meet rising client and regulatory expectations.

Under his technical leadership, he co-founded RSM’s UK Audit Data Analytics team and has rapidly scaled it since, contributing to RSM’s Global 2030 Audit Strategy. Leveraging cutting edge tools, the team has implemented a growing app library across audit, enabling self-service analytics that offer deeper insights from complete data populations, which, alongside automated data ingestion, drive considerable time savings.

Konrad leads numerous projects designed to reduce the audit burden and foster smarter ways of working. His expertise differentiates RSM, highlighting how their digitally powered audit approach provides exceptional quality with agility for audit teams. In major tenders, his team’s input on data capabilities has been pivotal in securing premium client wins.

Konrad drives digital transformation, both internally and externally. His thought leadership is featured in RSM training videos and the in-house data analytics curriculum. Representing RSM at external events and on industry groups like the FRC Technology Working Group strengthens the firm’s brand as an analytics leader contributing to guidance on emerging areas like AI and analytics.

UK Head of Digital Delivery Services, Azets

Luke is a leader in cloud accounting, known for his innovative approach. Since starting his career in 2008, he has been instrumental in modernizing and streamlining accounting practices. As a Director at Azets, Luke has played a key role in technology adoption across the firm’s 60+ UK offices. He was an early advocate for cloud accounting and ensured clients’ compliance with MTD regulations, assisting over 2,000 clients in transitioning to modern, tech-driven workflows. By embracing AI and machine learning, he has helped clients optimize their time and efficiency.

In 2021, Luke completed his Prince2 project management qualification and led the standardization of procedures, training over 1,200 staff on a new platform during the global pandemic. His leadership facilitated collaboration and resource-sharing across the UK network, resulting in consistent efficiency gains and enabling Azets to offer additional advisory services.

Luke regularly shares his knowledge at client and internal events and speaks at accounting conferences, including DAS, Accountex, and Xerocon. His expertise has earned him seats on three advisory boards to help software providers shape the future of the accounting landscape.

In 2023, Luke was promoted to UK Head of Digital Delivery Services at Azets, where he oversees vendor relationships and leads the 160+ digital success team. Under his guidance, the team won the 2023 Digital Transformation award at the Accounting Excellence Awards and National Firm of the Year in 2023 and 2024 at the Xero Awards. Luke takes pride in his team’s client satisfaction, reflected in an NPS score of +66 within 18 months of establishing the service line.

Associate Director, ONE Advisory Limited

Max Morris’s career trajectory at ONE Advisory has been impressive and continues to ascend. Since joining the firm as a manager in 2021, he has become an indispensable member of the team, particularly in the Financial Reporting and Transaction Support department. Max has been instrumental in expanding this department, leading its ICAEW training program, and overseeing recruitment.

As a member of the senior leadership team, Max has significantly contributed to the department’s growth. His ability to build strong client relationships allows him to provide valuable advice, fostering long-term client loyalty, which has been a major factor in the department’s success.

Max’s influence extends beyond his professional responsibilities. As head of the firm’s social committee, he has been crucial in organizing events that celebrate the diverse cultures and backgrounds of ONE Advisory’s team members, helping to create a more inclusive and cohesive workplace environment.

In recognition of his leadership, ambition, and vision, Max was promoted to Senior Manager in 2022 and then to Associate Director in 2023, making him one of the youngest members of the firm’s senior leadership team. His colleagues are confident in his ability to continue growing the firm and nurturing talent, ensuring a bright future for both Max and ONE Advisory.

Partner, Azets

Naomi qualified at a small firm in Surrey and joined Azets’ London office as a tax senior in June 2015. She achieved prizewinning results in all three of her professional qualifications and was awarded prizes in the ICAEW Tax Faculty’s essay competition in 2014 and 2015. Progressing quickly, Naomi was promoted to partner just over six years later, in October 2021, at the age of 30.

Naomi now heads up Azets’ private client tax team in London and is an active member and contributor to the firm’s national private client hub. She manages a portfolio of some of the firm’s most complex private clients, including non-doms, non-residents, and offshore trusts. Known as a technical specialist across the firm, Naomi is frequently called upon to assist colleagues in other offices with technical queries on niche private client issues.

Throughout her time with Azets, Naomi has led the production of external communications on various topical issues, including the Requirement to Correct, the Trust Registration Service, the 60-day capital gains tax reporting process, and most recently, updates on the proposed non-dom changes. She has also written for Taxation and Tax Adviser magazines, jointly presented at an ICAEW webinar on the Trust Registration Service, and presented internally at the firm’s online tax conference during Covid.

Partner (Head of Tax), Child & Child

Patrick joined the law firm Child & Child, as a partner and Head of Tax. In 2023, he founded the ICAEW practice within the firm and his portfolio includes ultra-high net worth individuals, family offices, an international investment bank, and high-profile influencers. Clients are able to benefit from the expertise of the other partners in the law firm, across a variety of disciplines, high end Property, Corporate, Disputes and wider Private Client legal services.

Patrick trained with Sagars (now part of the AAB Group), and qualified as a chartered accountant with BDO in London, in the Consumer Markets team. He has since held senior finance positions at White & Case LLP (a US law firm in its London office), and at Farrer & Co. Currently, he is a partner in the Private Wealth & Tax team at Child & Child, and serves as the firm’s Head of Tax. By offering accounting and taxation services alongside private wealth and tax legal services, the practice ensures a comprehensive and exceptional level of client service to a broad range of clients.

Patrick’s client focus includes accounting and tax services for owner-managed trading businesses, property investment companies, professional practices, wealth management and tax structuring on property, business, and fund, transactions. Clients range from those with significant accumulated personal wealth to business owners of high-performing trading and investment companies.

Moving forwards, Patrick intends to grow the private client function within Child & Child, and to elevate the profile of Alternative Business Structure (ABS) model law firms. He believes that this approach will boost growth, and long term sustainability, across the accounting & legal industries, expanding the exceptional service provision to a wide range of clients. According to Patrick, this models represents the future of the collective professional practice, enabling continued exceptional client service, for aspiring trusted advisers.

paul hyde

Associate Director, Wilson Partners Limited

Paul is a highly experienced and qualified accountant who excels in both client relations and team management. Known for his expressive and outgoing nature, Paul’s strengths lie in people management. He has been actively involved in running internal sales training for a cohort at Wilson Partners, where he has excelled in developing skills and encouraging others to identify and service client needs, even those clients may not be aware of.

With a keen interest in sales, Paul has taken ownership of collating and delivering sales reports for the board on a monthly basis. This reporting allows the team to focus on lead sources, assess future pipelines, identify potential resource constraints, and understand areas for improvement—such as analysing why some prospects do not proceed with the firm. These insights have been instrumental in making incremental improvements to internal processes, evidenced by improved client conversion rates during Paul’s tenure managing this process.

Paul is also an avid networker, pushing his business development skills further by co-hosting seminars with local professionals and colleagues. These sessions provide a platform for clients and contacts to enhance their knowledge within a supportive forum.

Rebecca Roberts

Director, UHY Hacker Young

Becki joined UHY in 2018 as an Assistant Manager in the Accounting and Business Services team. She quickly advanced to Senior Manager in 2020 and was promoted to Director in December 2023, demonstrating her ambition, vision, and strong leadership skills. In early 2020, Becki was appointed UHY’s National Head of Cloud Accounting. In this role, she coordinates UHY’s UK cloud accounting initiatives and introduces additional service lines that leverage emerging technologies, resulting in continued client growth.

Becki has been instrumental in driving the momentum of digital accounting across UHY, earning recognition within the industry. She is frequently sought after for commentary by app providers and led UHY to be shortlisted for the National Partner of the Year category at the 2024 Xero Awards. Reflecting on her role, Becki stated, “I chose UHY because I saw an opportunity to lead in innovation and new ways of working across the firm. Becoming the National Head of Cloud was a significant milestone in my career. My role involves promoting UHY values, and I derive great satisfaction from being an active member of the Values Forum and advocating for wellbeing across the Nottingham office.”

In an industry that is rapidly evolving, Becki’s leadership and commitment to strong values make her an invaluable asset to UHY, with a bright future ahead.

sarah richards

National Head of Tax, Sedulo

Sarah is the National Head of Tax, leading the corporation, personal, and private client tax teams across all five UK offices (Manchester, London, Leeds, Liverpool, and Birmingham).

She has over 17 years experience, having previously held a number of roles in industry and in practice (EY, Deloitte).

Sarah has achieved significant revenue growth  whilst retaining, training and growing the team. She is also passionate about diversity and inclusion.

Recently appointed as Chief Risk Officer (CRO), Sarah has been focusing on establishing a risk function and fostering a robust culture across the Group. She has developed a risk reporting tool to capture a digital risk register. Sarah was nominated for Tax Mentor of the Year at Tolly’s Taxation Awards and serves as a mentor for underprivileged young individuals in London. Previously, she was the events lead at the Multicultural Network at Deloitte.

Outside of work, Sarah has four children aged 4 to 18 and 10 godchildren. Despite a challenging upbringing and a non-traditional start to her career, Sarah was the first in her family to graduate university and has worked incredibly hard to reach her current position as Tax partner.

scott trent

UK CFO, Onore Group, Cakesmiths

Scott pursued an unconventional route by obtaining his AAT qualification instead of attending university. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with EY in 2014 at the age of 22, passing all exams on his first attempt. Within 12 months of qualifying, he was promoted to the role of Audit Manager.

Scott then joined one of his clients, Refresco, as their Financial Accounting Manager and later advanced to the position of Financial Controller. In 2020, amid the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, he transitioned to Cakesmiths, a then-small business, as their Finance Director. Under his financial leadership, the business experienced rapid growth, with turnovers increasing from approximately £3 million in his first year to around £22 million in just three years, with ambitions for further significant growth.

This period of substantial expansion included two separate sale processes in which Scott played a crucial role. The first was a Management Buyout (MBO) backed by Lloyds Development Capital (LDC) in March 2022, followed by a Secondary Buyout (SBO) with the PE-backed Onore Food Group in January 2024. In March 2024, Scott was promoted to UK CFO of the Onore Group. In addition to overseeing Cakesmiths, he is now responsible for the Finance & IT functions of Proper Cornish, a sister company.

siobhan holmes

Director, Haysmacintye

Siobhan, a director specializing in the not-for-profit sector where she serves as the Team Lead, has been with the firm for 12 years. During her time at the firm she has garnered respect and admiration for her determination and drive. Siobhan has been instrumental in growing a newly established team within the audit department and serves as a positive role model for both trainees and qualified staff.

Her clients range from general charities to independent schools. As the team lead, she is heavily involved in trainee recruitment, learning and development programs, staff performance, team budgets, KPIs, and the overall strategy of the team. Additionally, she has authored several publications for both internal and external use.

Siobhan has also pioneered NFP Awareness Month at the firm, which takes place in June to raise awareness of the team, the sector, and the impact of not-for-profit organisations. This initiative aims to dispel myths about the sector.

Her role extends beyond technical audit work. Siobhan’s commitment to the sector and the staff is at the core of every decision she makes. She is supportive, passionate about the people, the work, and her clients, making her truly inspiring.

sophie woodburn

Manager, F. W. Smith, Riches & Co.

Sophie is a natural leader who has demonstrated exceptional skill in managing key audit assignments. Leveraging her strong technical proficiency and strategic insight, she delivers cost-effective and practical solutions to any challenges presented. Additionally, Sophie has been a crucial member of the tendering team, contributing to the successful acquisition of substantial audits and the growth of the firm’s client base.

Sophie is passionate about the accountancy profession, particularly in advocating for the strengths of small and medium-sized firms. In September 2023, she was elected to the newly formed Shadow International Committee as the UK & Ireland regional representative of MGI Worldwide, our international accounting network. The Shadow IC includes one elected member from each of the network’s eight regions, incorporating the perspectives of the next generation into global decision-making. Sophie’s valuable contributions include her role as a lead member of MGI’s ‘Tomorrow’s Leaders’ group, engaging young professionals to enhance their personal and professional development. The most recent virtual workshops attracted over 200 delegates globally.

Sophie’s success within MGI led to her being invited to the UK Alternative Accountancy Summit, where she participated in the Future Leaders seminar, discussing future generations’ expectations from employers and the evolution of the accountancy profession. Her performance earned her an invitation to another panel session the following day to discuss the increasing use of AI in the profession.

tess alexander

Associate Director, Gravita

Tess has been working at Gravita for the past seven years, demonstrating a commitment to excellence and leadership, resulting in four rapid promotions since qualifying with an ACA in 2020. She currently holds the role of Associate Director.

As an Assistant Manager, Tess personally secured two substantial audit clients, including a group that handles the distribution of music royalties for independent music companies. Through her efforts, this client became a significant audit account and entrusted Gravita with their R&D claims, reflecting the strength of the professional relationship she helped cultivate.

During her time at Gravita, Tess has continually contributed to enhancing operational efficiency through new technologies. She played an instrumental role in implementing a new digital audit management software called Inflo. Since starting to use the software in 2019, Tess was part of a five-member team that spearheaded its implementation, creating a manual for the rest of the team. Her leadership in the project was recognized with an internal award, underscoring the impact of her contributions.

tom bradbury

Corporate Finance Director, Wilson Partners Limited

Tom is a chartered accountant who qualified in audit at EY, achieving first-time passes on all exams. During his five years at EY, he obtained his qualification in the first three years and advanced to the position of manager over the next two. Tom worked across a varied portfolio of clients, including Hewlett Packard Inc. and Cape plc, managing audits and leading complex aspects such as US revenue recognition and industrial disease (asbestos) provisions.

During his time at EY, Tom supported the integration of data analytics into audits, becoming an office ‘champion’ and point of contact for various tools available. He also supported and later led annual “pass the baton” sessions, which were full-day sessions for each intake across their first three years to introduce and prepare them for their coming year.

In 2017, Tom joined HMT LLP, a boutique corporate finance advisory firm, to pursue a career in corporate finance. He performed and led financial due diligence across transactions of varying sizes and sectors, predominantly for both private equity and corporate clients. In 2019, he moved to Wilson Partners Ltd. as a senior manager to help build the due diligence team and support lead advisory mandates, presenting a new and exciting challenge.

Tom has now been at Wilson Partners for five and a half years, progressing to a Director role, leading a team of nine, and spearheading internal corporate finance training delivery. The team currently performs up to 40 due diligence assignments a year across various sectors for private equity, corporate, and high-net-worth clients. He has also led two MBOs and a multi-million debt refinancing for recurring clients.

35 Under 35 insights

View previous winners here

“This is a vital event in the accountancy calendar to celebrate those who will inevitably shape the future of UK accountancy.”

Andrew Hilliard, Managing Director, AJ Chambers

Our latest insights