This profession really counts

The cream of the accountancy profession were rewarded at the first awards night in the region dedicated to them alone.

The cream of the accountancy profession were rewarded at the first awards night in the region dedicated to them alone.

Hundreds packed the Gosforth Park Marriott Hotel in Newcastle to toast the achievements of the winners of the inaugural Nigel Wright North-East Accountancy Awards.

Judges included leisure entrepreneur and star of Dragon's Den Duncan Bannatyne, One NorthEast chair Margaret Fay, senior partners and directors of Newcastle law firm Dickinson Dees and the regional branch of KPMG as well as Journal business editor Iain Laing.

Mark Simpson, head of the North-East division at Nigel Wright, opened the awards ceremony. He said: "Nigel Wright is delighted to sponsor these awards. As a business, Nigel Wright has been working with finance professionals throughout the region since the 1980s.

"In the last year, we have taken on in excess of 26 staff to support this expansion.This week we opened the doors to our first London office.

"This facility will support the level of business that we are currently doing in the south of the UK and will help us to grow our share of the market in this region.

"As a business, we are committed to the North-East and will continue to be based in the region as we expand our services nationally and internationally."

The finale of the night was the Outstanding Achievement Award, which was presented to Procter and Gamble for the acquisition of Gillette.

Nigel Wright, of sponsor Nigel Wright Recruitment, said: "Following the acquisition of Gillette by P&G, it was critical to its success that the business systems were speedily but effectively integrated. To merge 75 legal entities shipping to over 80 countries, to make it all work with no negative business impact, whilst ensuring Sarbanes Oxley compliance and to do this on time, and on budget is without doubt an outstanding achievement."

A highlight of the evening was Ann Hall winning the finance director of the year award for her work turning around the financial fortunes of Cleveland Police.

Robin Bloom, senior partner of award sponsor Dickinson Dees, said: "Not only did she transform the financial performance of her employer from being poor into excellent against national benchmarks over a short period, at the same time she has established her credibility at the highest level in a sector where women are notoriously underrepresented.

"To do this as accountant rather than a serving police officer says an immense amount not only for the value she has added to the finances of the Cleveland Police authority, but also to her strong interpersonal skills.

"Her efforts will no doubt have indirectly contributed to the decision to allow Cleveland Police to remain an independent authority.

"She can show a direct correlation between the improvement in finances of the force and the ability to focus resources on fighting and solving crime, so making Cleveland a safer place to live and work."

The event has been planned for two years by +catalyst and was organised by Benchmark Communications. Vincent Woods, managing director of Benchmark, said: "This has been a great event to reward people with great skills. All those who were nominated and shortlisted, as well of course the winners, should be proud to be a part of the celebrations.

"The financial employees in companies have such a key function in making business work they deserve this recognition."

And the winners are

Finance Director of the Year: Ann Hall, Cleveland Police

Accountant of the Year: Jack Shreyhane, P&G

Young Accountant of the Year: Joanne Evans, P&G

Employer of the Year: KPMG

Corporate Finance Deal of the Year: PricewaterhouseCoopers, CA Group Ltd.

Firm of the Year: PricewaterhouseCoopers Newcastle

Business Finance Team of the Year: P&G Payment Service Continuous Improvement Services

Public Sector Finance Team of the Year: Cleveland Police

Outstanding Achievement of the Year: P&G

Special Commendation, Software Package of the Year: Waterstons

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer