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Chartered Accountant of the Year Awards

Chartered Accountant of the Year Awards

Date: Thursday 26 October 2006

Place: Westpac St James Theatre, Courtney Place, Wellington

Start Time: 1900

Finish Time: 2230


First awarded in 1991, the Chartered Accountants of the Year Awards are judged on criteria that reflect the role Chartered Accountants and Accounting Technicians have in the development of their employers' business. Finalists are rewarded for their contribution to the accounting profession, community involvement and specialist expertise.

Entrants for the Chartered Accountant and Accounting Technician of the Year initially compete in regional finals. Regional winners then compete for the titles of Chartered Accountant of the Year and Accounting Technician of the Year.

The Chartered Accountants of the Year Awards are an initiative of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, which represents nearly 29,000 accountants in New Zealand and overseas.


+ Northern Region Accounting Technician of the Year Sharon Cohen

Sharon is a team manager with the Chartered Accountancy firm of Smith Chilcott Bertelsen Harry Ltd in Auckland, specialising in the preparation of tax returns for American nationals domiciled in New Zealand. Currently studying for a Bachelor of Business, she has successfully juggled her studies, work, time overseas in the United States training for her speciality, and her family and charity work.

As a team manager Sharon is responsible for guiding and training graduates and other team members and she is ensuring that future members will continue to provide real value to the business community.

+ Young Chartered Accountant of the Year Blaik Wilson

Blaik's career started with Big 4 training and proceeded to systems and project experience in the finance industry in London and New York. This led back to New Zealand to a software and consultancy business for Tuatara Management. He has successfully translated his experience working in large teams into effectively working for and with smaller companies, developing treasury and derivative policies and facilitating IAS compliance.

Blaik has made a substantial contribution to the interpretation of IAS 39 and the understanding of accounting for derivatives, having established a website on this subject, written articles for the Chartered Accountants Journal, delivered speeches and presented workshops.

As treasurer for Waiheke Community Childcare, which is attended by his daughter, Blaik is actively involved in raising funds for a swimming pool. He has been a key driver in the New Zealand National Parks and Conservation Foundation initiative to release 100 tuataras on Little Barrier Island.

Blaik believes the Young Chartered Accountants award sends a powerful message about the breadth of opportunities available to those with a Chartered Accountant qualification.

+ Blair Jackson

Blair is Managing Director of Lisa's Healthy Foods. Despite living most of his life in Australia, Blair describes himself as a staunch Kiwi with a passion for rugby, whose previous career progression took him from Assistant Accountant to Chief Financial Officer in the FMCG industry.

Blair is very actively involved in his current position, and is energised by having full responsibility for all aspects of running and growing a business. He enjoys building a team and a strong infrastructure based on the accounting and commercial principles developed early in his career.

Blair is actively involved in his church community and manages his work to retain a balanced and healthy lifestyle. He is an active runner, father of three and a lifelong vegetarian.

+ Midland Region Accounting Technician of the Year

Teresa Cousins

Teresa Cousins has been the Finance Manager at Fulford Radiology Services Ltd for the past three years, and manages a small but experienced accounts team. She credits her success to her New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants mentor Elanga Ekanayake.

During her days at Powerco Ltd, while the company was undergoing a long period of mergers and acquisitions she completed her Accounting Technician qualification. These days Teresa is occupied with mentoring her own staff, a variety of community service activities and raising her six-year-old son as a single parent.

+ Young Chartered Accountant of the Year

Stephen Graham

Stephen has been in Chartered Accountancy for 16 years, spending 9½ years in a small rural firm before moving to BDO Spicers in Rotorua in September 2000. During this time, Stephen has worked with a large variety of clients, including farming, timber and forest industry, tradespeople and tourism.

Stephen has an exceptional management style and is very well liked by the BDO team and clients. He was made a partner in the Rotorua office on 1 July 2006. Central Region

+ Accounting Technician of the Year

Zoe Chrystall

Zoe works for the MASH Trust, a not-for-profit organisation that provides community and residential services to people that experience disabilities. Since joining MASH two and a half years ago, Zoe has completely overhauled the accounting information system and reporting processes, providing Board and management with information to allow them to balance the needs of the people receiving the services and the need to make sound business decisions to ensure the continued viability of the organisation.

Zoe is a parent raising a six-year-old son, and the energy she displays in the workplace is also evident in her support for his sporting endeavours. She is a keen indoor netballer, a regular gym attendee and one of the drivers of social activities at MASH.

+ Lee Waller

Lee works for Palmerston North-based Truck Investments Ltd, providing management accounting support for two of the businesses within the group. He provides monthly reporting, financial and procedural advice and also manages staff responsible for accounts payable and receivable.

Lee has been responsible for the review of internal processes and procedures to enhance management goals, leading to increased sales and reduced costs.

Lee, who is married with one son, is an old boy of Palmerston North Boys High School. After 16 years playing senior rugby (including representing Manawatu, NZ Marist and Classic All Blacks), he now coaches junior rugby. He also plays golf, and is involved in multi-sports, having recently completed the Akitia Challenge, the Lake Taupo Cycle Race and the Tour de Manawatu.

+ Young Chartered Accountant of the Year

Rachel Farrant

Before joining BDO Spicers in 1998, Rachel spent several years experience in a Big 4 Chartered Accounting firm. Rachel is an energetic member of the BDO Spicers team who has an excellent rapport with her clients. She has been a highly effective member of the Wellington Branch Women Accountants Group and has had an active role in organising training seminars and events.

Rachel has a wide range of interests, many of which are based around her enjoyment of sport, in particular swimming and skiing.

+ Upper Southern Region

Accounting Technician of the Year

Kim De Garnham

Kim is the Manager Members Financial Services at Foodstuffs South Island Ltd. Her current role includes the management of two departments: Accountancy Services, which has a staff of nine and operates similarly to Business Services in a Chartered Accountancy practice, and Credit Control and Membership which has a staff of three and who administer over 4,000 member/customer credit accounts. She is also responsible for the financing of the Pak'n Save Food Warehouses, New World Supermarkets and Four Square Convenience Stores in the South Island and is the company expert in the Personal Properties Securities Act.

+ Young Chartered Accountant of the Year Murray Harrington

Murray is a director at PricewaterhouseCoopers, heading up Business Assurance for PwC in the South Island and is a regular presenter on governance, risk management and business succession topics around the country. He has worked in over 17 countries during the past decade, primarily in the energy utilities and infrastructure industries and prior to joining PwC worked for both Mobil Corporation and within the Big Four. Murray has also spent time as an investor, having purchased, set up and successfully exited businesses on his own account.

+ Lower Southern Region

Accounting Technician of the Year Amanda Leeden

Amanda is employed by Clarke Craw Ltd, a Dunedin-based public practice firm. Her role within the organisation is varied and includes preparation of financial statements, taxation returns, auditing and advising on accounting software packages. She also takes on the role of training, mentoring and supporting new accounting graduates. Amanda's special area of expertise is in computer software, involving the successful implementation and operation of computer packages for clients as well as for her employer, Clarke Craw.

+ Young Chartered Accountant of the Year Brendon Harrex

A director of the Gore practice Ward Wilson Ltd, Brendon is passionate about developing more innovative and creative ways of doing business in the public practice arena. His vision has enabled the implementation of eliminating reliance on timesheets as a pricing tool within his organisation. Brendon's strengths in the business advisory, development and succession services have contributed significantly to the growth in revenue of Ward Wilson in recent years.

+ International

Young Chartered Accountant of the Year Geoff Sewell

After several years as a Chartered Accountant in the banking sector in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, Geoff trained as a professional singer. He is now the CEO and owner of successful entertainment company Tenors and Divas Incognito, with offices in London, Edinburgh and New York.

A spinoff of his business is worldwide singing sensations Amici Forever, which Geoff co-created and starred in for four years.

Geoff is an entrepreneur, international recording artist, motivational speaker, sportsman, patriotic Kiwi and passionate fundraiser for autism and epilepsy charities.


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