Showcasing the industry’s rising talent. The first instalment of our accountancy 35 under 35 rankings. Highlights 10 young UK professionals who are making great contributions.
The Accountancy Age 35 under 35 rankings seek to highlight the rising stars of the accountancy profession. Featuring those who have made great professional contributions to the field and their individual firms.
Each Monday in September, we will be releasing the next batch of 35 under 35 winners. Culminating in the top five being announced on September 27, 2021.
Today, we present the first round of noteworthy professionals who made the Accountancy Age 35 under 35 rankings.
The full 35 under 35 rankings will be unveiled on October 4, 2021.
35. RICHARD SINGLETON, FINANCE DIRECTOR, MENZIES
Singleton started at Menzies in 2011 on a three-year ACA training contract in the firm’s audit and accounts department. After completing his qualifications, he decided to move away from audit and focus on internal finance.
In 2017, an opportunity arose to become the financial controller for Menzies. Where he was able to focus on developing the firm’s internal finance function. Into a more dynamic, technology-driven and collaborative component within the business. Singleton succeeded and was rewarded with a promotion to finance director, replacing a retiring partner.
Along with focusing on all things finance, Singleton is an active member of Menzies ‘Better Place to Work’ team. He leads the firm’s environmental initiatives and working to finalise its ‘Low Carbon Roadmap’.
34. ANH HO, HEAD OF FINANCE, CIVIC ENGINEERS
Since joining the business in 2020, Anh has spearheaded Civic Engineers’ investment in technology. Championed process innovation and been an advocate for change and growth from its leadership team, down to graduates.
Under Anh’s leadership, her team have not only managed to redefine the way Civic Engineers approach finance. But her impact has crossed over to help improve many of our operational functions. In particular the financial side of recruitment processes, data and analytics.
In under 12 months with the business, Anh has Implemented Power BI to automate resource and project review. Creating dashboards to provide a real time view of performance and introduced financial modelling to translate the practice’s ambitions. She has also strengthened processes across all areas of the practice including human resources and IT.
33. ALEXIS GISH, DIRECTOR, PWC
Gish is a director in external audit at PwC, specialising in insurance leading our transformation agenda. She created the strategy for both upskilling the firm’s people on technology solutions. Enabling them to think differently, and creating digital assets which automate the work PwC does for its insurance clients.
The Claims Development Triangles asset enables teams to move from a sample-based approach to 100 percent completeness through automation. Gish presented to the regulators for audit and accounting, the FRC (including Sir Jon Thompson) demonstrating the triangle asset. How the proper use of it improves audit quality and provides insight. She also used her network to identify junior team members to present alongside her. Gish believes engaging these individuals in transformation is key to continue to attract young talent to the accounting industry.
Alexis prides herself on having regular one-on-ones to get to know all members of the team, including the most junior. She openly challenges approaches and listens to others when they challenge her. Which she believes is key to improving the quality of not only the team’s work but her own.
32. LUKE BATH, PARTNER, ALLIOTTS
Bath became Alliotts‘ youngest partner in 2018 at the age of 28. His career trajectory is attributable to his drive to innovate; dedication to clients. Commitment to the firm and ability to attract new work. It was apparent to his colleagues early on that he had partner potential.
Within Alliotts, he continues to disrupt and challenge. He works with internal teams to drive efficiencies; working collaboratively with colleagues to automate processes, reducing costs for clients whilst maintaining high service levels and improving delivery. He is on a mission to continually improve. Bath keeps updated on the latest innovations, making recommendations on technological improvements for clients and the firm.
Bath regularly hosts speaking events, workshops and webinars in partnership with VCs, industry bodies and software companies. He enthusiastically drives change and challenges the status quo, with his clients and Alliotts. His mission to make a difference within the profession attracts collaboration from colleagues. His fee portfolio grew by 300 percent in his second year as a partner and he is optimistic about the post-pandemic world.
31. CEMAL SOYDANER, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, CHARTERHOUSE ACCOUNTANTS
Soydaner’s leadership and management skills were identified by Charterhouse early on and after having been promoted. He was responsible for managing his own portfolio of clients. He was promoted later that year to departmental manager for audit and accounts.
Following his success with the audit and accounts department, Soydaner was promoted to an associate position in May 2020. With the main purpose of his role now being to sell profitable Charterhouse services. Although new in this role, Soydaner has persevered. The firm was looking forward to seeing him continue to grow within the business with a new focus on sales.
Soydaner is part of a senior managers group which assist the joint managing directors in the direction and safeguarding the vision of Charterhouse. In addition to this, since May 2021, he heads up three of the firm’s professional service departments. Including its business service unit, payroll and company secretarial units.
30. ELIZABETH WICKS, DIRECTOR, HILLIER HOPKINS
Wicks is one of Hillier Hopkins‘ rising stars. She joined the firm in 2010 as a graduate and quickly progressed through the ranks, becoming director in April 2021. Elizabeth is a key member of the firm’s dedicated education team, leading audits for academy trusts across the South East.
She established a new network that looks to empower women from all walks of business and at all stages of their career – SHE Means Business. The motivation behind network comes from Wicks’ own experiences of attending networking events and realising that there were “wonderful and knowledgeable people” missing from the table. Breakfast and after work networking events are difficult, if near impossible, for working parents so she wanted to create something that “was easy for everyone to attend”.
The network is a success, with 26 members that have continued to meet and attract new members throughout the pandemic. Her passion and ability to motivate and empower translates into the training of the next generation of Hiller Hopkins’ auditors too.
29. JAMIELEE JOHNSTON, PARTNER, MITCHELL CHARLESWORTH
Johnston started her accountancy career in Aberdeen and qualified as a chartered accountant in 2012 with first time passes. She relocated to England and joined Mitchell Charlesworth in 2016 as an assistant manager. Since then, she has gained three rapid promotions to manager in 2017, associate in 2018 and more recently being promoted to partner in 2021.
She looks after a portfolio of over 200 clients. Her strong client base is varied but includes a significant amount of charity and not for profit clients. Johnston’s work in the charity sector includes statutory audit, independent examinations, advising on the Charity SORP, advising on governance issues and presenting at board meetings. She has fully supported all her clients throughout the pandemic including assisting with bounce back loan applications, advising on CJRS, preparing forecasts and offering general business support advice.
With a clear focus on client delivery and growth, Johnston has successfully increased the fees from existing clients by taking proactive steps to meet their needs and deliver additional added-value services efficiently. Outside of work she is club secretary for a local running club on a voluntary basis.
28. PRASHAN PATEL, DIRECTOR, GRANT THORNTON UK
Patel is one of Grant Thornton‘s youngest directors having joined the firm as a trainee and progressed to director in under ten years. He has achieved a great deal in his time with the firm and has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to developing its global offering in the asset recovery and contentious insolvency arena. Prashan has devoted his career to recovering misappropriated assets on behalf of victims of fraud and has worked on and lead teams on some of the world’s largest and high-profile fraud cases. He is invited to speak as a specialist on this subject at various conferences, seminars, and webinars, both in the UK and other jurisdictions such as India and the Middle East.
Prashan has over the last few years helped set up Grant Thornton India’s insolvency practice and provides support to his colleagues in that jurisdiction in growing their asset recovery practice. He has also been invited by the Indian Insolvency Board, as an expert in his field, to consult on their new cross-border and personal insolvency law to be implemented in country. Incredible recognition of his expertise and knowledge, given his age.
Most importantly, he is a role model to aspiring young professionals within the team and invests a considerable amount of his time in their development and career planning. He has helped lead the firm’s Advisory graduate rotation programme allowing aspiring young colleagues to develop well-rounded skill sets for their future careers as they change ‘seats’ throughout their training contract and is committed to helping those with diverse backgrounds succeed.
27. JONATHAN SCOTT, TAX PARTNER, HAINES WATTS
Scott plays a pivotal role in Haines Watts’ consistent, organic growth, launching new group service lines and leading on two practice acquisitions, he has achieved a great deal with the firm. Having joined Haines Watts as an apprentice, Scott quickly progressed through his exams and was promoted tax partner in 2016 for his drive, forward-thinking and ambition both personally and for the practice. At the age of 26, this made him the youngest partner appointment in the group’s history.
Collaboration is at the heart of his success story. Whilst building a first-class reputation for specialist tax services, Scott worked collaboratively across the group to develop a nationwide offering. He takes a leading role in the North East and Yorkshire region. In 2020/21, turnover surpassed £8.3m – an organic increase of 12 percent on the year previous – and headcount exceeded 100, which is largely down to the new service lines headed up by Scott.
Scott recently helped to drive the social value strategy at Haines Watts, wherein the firm has partnered with a charity to help promote social mobility of young people in the region through a series career-based workshops, podcasts and fundraising activities.
26. KAPISHA VYAS, SENIOR TAX MANAGER, SIMMONS & SIMMONS
Vyas is an integral part of the Simmons & Simmons UK corporate tax team and has played a pivotal role. Establishing the transfer pricing practice over the last two years. Before joining Simmons & Simmons, she was part of a Big Four transfer pricing team. Her unique skill set as a Chartered Accountant with corporate and indirect tax, legal and advisory expertise means she’s excelled in providing integrated transfer pricing help to FTSE 100/350, AIM-listed and fast growth clients at all business stages.
Most impressive is her ability to help clients balance tax, legal and accounting considerations, using her breadth of experience of working closely with clients across the healthcare, life sciences, TMT, consumer products and financial services industries. In her spare time, she helps to raise awareness of issues facing women in the tax profession as a member of the Women in Tax London Committee.