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#FDYP 2015: Financial Director’s 35 under 35

Financial Director and Accountancy Age are delighted to celebrate our Young Professionals Day. Here, for the first time, are the 35 brightest talents, under 35, in business. Follow our celebration on Twitter – #FDYP for Financial Director and #AAYP for Accountancy Age

Joe AdamsJoe Adams ACA
Age: 32
CFO, SpaceApe
Adams recently joined SpaceApe as CFO, and was previously group financial controller at game developer – and Candy Crush maker – King.
Has taken part in ICAEW’s Network for Finance Leaders. Having left a specialised music and media accounting practice not long after qualifying, he has worked in media, music and technology sector companies in both FP&A and financial accounting roles.
“I enjoy fast paced collaborative environments that never stand still, where every team is there to make things happen whilst being agile and adapting to problems and issues as they arise,” says Adams. “I especially enjoy relating finance to non-finance people and helping them understand how a finance function can both help and enhance all other areas of the business, provide insight, help drive innovation and positive change, and not just be all about the numbers. Though the numbers are important too…”

Yvonne AmponsahYvonne Amponsah ACCA
Age: 28
Senior internal controls analyst, Cummins
After graduating with a first class degree in Accounting and Finance from Glamorgan University, Yvonne joined the graduate scheme at Cummins. After just nine months she was asked to move straight in to a full time role. She passed all her ACCA exams at the first time of asking and was accepted in to membership in 2013. Yvonne joined ACCA’s Leaders of Tomorrow programme in 2014.

Amandeep BangaAmandeep Banga ACCA
Age: 31
Finance manager, Heinz
He started his career in 2007 as an accounts assistant at Thames Cash and Carry and has also worked at a financial analyst for DHL. He joined Heinz in 2013, the same year he qualified as an ACCA member. In 2014 Amandeep joined ACCA’s Leaders of Tomorrow programme.

Matt Bennett ACA
Age: 26
Finance analyst, Barclays
During his time at PwC he has received the Howitt Prize for his outstanding contribution to the profession. He has also won ICAEW’s Young Chartered Accountant of the Year award. Bennett won the award for his outstanding contribution as head of the NCASS student society during 2011/2012 and his role as National ICAEW Student Society Chairman in 2012.
Since then, he has joined his local District society. Due to high performances in his ACA exams he has also been awarded the R J Weston and Anne Jepson memorial prizes.

Natalie BowmanNaomi Bowman ACA
Age: 31
Head of governance & operations – group monitor liaison office, HSBC Bowman was winner of Women in the City’s Future Leaders Award 2014. She leads governance & operations within HSBC’s Monitor Liaison Office. Before joining HSBC in January 2013, Naomi was senior manager at EY specialising in operations and regulatory advisory. Outside the office, Naomi is a keen cyclist and triathlete – recently completing the London to Paris bike ride in May 2014. She is also a school governor for Tonbridge Federation and is a keen mentor

Richard Carter ACMA CGMA
Age: 34
CFO, Gate Ventures
In 2007 Carter joined AIM-listed Avanti Communications, and was responsible for setting up the company’s financial function, operations and processes and internal and external reporting procedures while moulding the company’s commercial strategy and working directly with the CEO. He was also the investor relations Manager and assisted with fundraisings in equity, debt and high yield bonds. He left Avanti in September 2014 to set up Gate Ventures with the other board members.

paul-connor-fd-inspired-energyPaul Connor ACA
Age: 30
Finance director, Inspired Energy
Paul Connor, 30, was appointed FD of Inspired Energy, a leading UK energy procurement consultant to UK corporates and SMEs, in November 2014. He joined as head of finance in September 2013, during a period in which the company successfully doubled turnover of £5.3m to £10.6m, and grown EBITDA from £2.6m to £4.5m.
During his time as FD the business has acquired Energisave Online Limited, as well as integrating two acquisitions into the Group in 2014, KWH Consulting Limited and Simply Business Energy Limited.

Duncan Cooper
Age: 35
Director of investor relations, Sainsbury’s
Cooper has served in senior finance and corporate roles in several major companies. At Sainsbury’s he was previously group FC, and prior to that head of finance – group development. He spent year as financial controller – technology at Sky, and spent five years at GSK.

Chris Dent
Age: 34
CFO, 7digital (7d)
Dent left Deloitte around three years ago and became finance director of UBC, an AIM-listed business. He has since driven a reverse transaction, whereby 7d reversed into UBC. He played an absolutely key role in terms in that transaction. He retained his job as CFO of UBC (renamed 7d) despite 7d being the larger business, and has served in this expanded role for more than a year.

Phil DunningPhil Dunning ACCA
Age: 32
Group FD and company secretary, entu
Phil Dunning is group finance director of entu, the home improvement group providing energy efficiency products and services to homeowners in the UK, which floated on AIM in October 2014. He joined entu straight after he graduated from Leicester University and quickly rose through the ranks. He was closely involved with the AIM admission as well as various Group acquisitions over the years, and during his tenure has seen year on year performance improvement and growth in the business.

Huw EdwardsHuw Edwards ACCA
Age: 31
Regional analyst, Monitor
Edwards says:”I got into accountancy because I wanted a stable career that would reward hard work. In my current role, I work closely with the NHS, ensuring the organisation is financially sustainable. There aren’t many subjects that that evoke as emotional a response from people. It’s really fascinating work.
“I chose ACCA because of its international status, and because I liked the open door policy. I’m proof that if you’re willing to put the work in, ACCA can give you a route to a very rewarding career.”

Amy Gilham ACA
Age: 28
Group Accountant, L&Q
Gilham won Best Newcomer at the National Housing Association Finance Awards. She qualified as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant in August 2013
Trained with and currently works for L&Q, a leading housing association, where she has been group accountant for the last year, with experience in group consolidation, management accounting, treasury, and construction finance. 
Gilham currently mentors two finance graduates and sits on the L&Q Foundation Board – overseeing charitable aspects of L&Q’s work and projects within the community. She has also been a scout Leader / activity centre volunteer for more 15 years.

Rob GrubbRob Grubb CA
Age: 34
CFO, Gresham
Grubb started his accountancy career at E&Y and Lucite International before joining Gresham Computing as group financial controller in 2009. Promoted to the role of CFO in 2011, during this time, Gresham has been through a period of significant growth. Not only responsible for the financial health of the company, he also also heads up the HR and IT functions.

Rebecca Hemsted ACA
Age: 34
FD, Sagentia
Hemsted was appointed to Sagentia’s board in 2014. She qualified at Deloitte where she spent six years including three years in New Zealand, and joined Sagentia from RM plc where she was business finance partner for the managed services business.

Stephen JosephStephen Joseph ACA
Age: 34
CFO, Ocean Outdoor
Joseph joined Ocean Outdoor in 2009 to start it on a growth journey after being backed by a venture capitalist. He has completed two MBOs, resulting in the group now being held by large cap private equity firm, alongside and two bolt-on acquisitions. The process was run on a tight schedule and could only have been achieved by the systems and data control that was built by the finance team. Jospeh is currently responsible for the financial and commercial management of the group. He takes the lead on structuring landlord deals, legal negotiations as well as ownership of procurement, HR, IT and of course investor and banking relations. He is a chartered accountant, having qualified at KPMG. He has been part of BDO’s ‘HOT20 FD’ awards.

Suzy KertonSuzy Kerton CA
Age: 27
Chief financial officer, Clear Books
Kerton trained as an ICAS chartered accountant at Baker Tilly, working in the audit department for three years, and qualified in September 2012. As well as working in the UK, she went on secondment to Baker Tilly Argentina and spent time in the firm’s Buenos Aires office, gaining invaluable international experience. On her return to the UK she was heavily involved in translating the Baker Tilly audit software into Spanish.
As well as handling everything finance-related at Clear Books, including bookkeeping, monthly reconciliations, VAT returns, processing payroll, monitoring KPIs, and managing budgets, she also trains Clear Books customers on using the company’s software and translating the software into Spanish and Portuguese.
Away from work, Kerton is a keen sportswoman, playing for her basketball team, the Westminster Warriors, and this year will be running in the London Marathon in aid of the charity, CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young), for which she has raised over £13,000 to date.

andrew-langfordAndrew Langford ACA
Age: 34
Vice president, European finance, Global Payments
Langford joined Global Payments as UK Director of Finance in July 2011 and was appointed Vice President, European Finance, in May 2014. Before joining Global Payments, Andrew had worked at Virgin Media and BT in key finance roles.
Since joining Global Payments, Andrew has overseen a number of ambitious initiatives: he overhauled and re-launched the sales commission scheme for all 120+ sales staff and launched a programme of quarterly roadshows to enable staff to deepen their understanding of financial performance and results. He has impressed with his ability to learn very quickly and adapt to working in what is a relatively specialist sector, as well as his leadership skills within the management team.
Langford now oversees the finance functions in Europe (UK, Spain, Czech Republic, Malta, Russia, Ireland and their Global Ecommerce business unit) where he has helped deliver double digit revenue and EBITDA growth. He has also won plaudits from external partners, such as the Pennies Foundation, with whom Global Payments works on a not-for-profit basis, to help charities collect donations via card payments.

Melissa LeongMelissa Leong ACCA
Age: 33
Treasury manager, Shell
Leong graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in 2005 and became an ACCA member in 2010. After university Melissa worked as a Business Recovery Services Associate Consultant for PWC Malaysia. She joined Shell in London as a Governance, Risk and Assurance Advisor in 2011 and joined ACCA’s Leaders of Tomorrow programme in 2014.

Sereena Malkani ACMA, CGMA
Age: 25
Financial analyst, BSkyB
Having completed her A-Levels at just 16 years-old and graduating from LSE at 20, Sereena has always been hard-working and ambitious. She joined Sky’s finance graduate scheme after finishing her degree and by the time she completed the scheme, she was responsible for the £30m consumables budget, working on the rebuild of the entire Home Service & Supply model and winning a ‘Believe in Better’ staff award along the way. Continuing her impressive academic record, she achieved the 4th highest mark in the world on the enterprise management paper in November 2012 during her CIMA studies while continuing to work full-time. Now a fully qualified management accountant, Serena is taking on ever increasing responsibilities at Sky, applying her business and financial expertise.

Michal MatyasMichal Matyas ACCA
Age: 31
Finance manager, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Services EMEA
Well-travelled, the graduate from Charles University in Prague and has worked for Johnson and Johnson in the Czech Republic, Paris and now London. Matyas gained his ACCA membership in 2011. In his current role he supports the global and European marketing teams with their budgeting as well as planning the finance for new product development.


Kathryn McKee - SkyKathryn McKee ACA

Age: 32
Financial controller, Sky Media
McKee joined Sky as a qualified accountant from practice, and has gone on to work on some of Sky’s biggest initiatives, including Sky Broadband growth and Sky Media’s recent deal activity. She has fantastic feedback and support from her commercial business partners, her team and her peers. McKee has also demonstrated great leadership this year by spearheading Sky Finance’s diversity initiative, setting up women’s leadership and networking events, and a website to share stories that encourage an inclusive culture.

Sanaz (Naz) Nowroozi ACCA
Age: 31
Group FC/finance transformation programme manager, The Barnet Group
An outstanding finance leader, Naz already has collected several key achievements in her career – Youngest Group Financial controller in the housing sector, key speaker at National Housing Federation Conference and Finance transformation programme leadership to implementation of a new multi-company ERP system. A true business partner, Naz possesses all of the key attributed to continue her progression to Finance. The Barnet Group is a local authority trading company, owned by Barnet Council.

Milan PatelMilan Patel ACCA CISI
Age: 30
CFO, DotDigital
Patel joined dotmailer in 2007 and was appointed as company secretary of the Group in 2009. Milan is a chartered certified accountant and an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments. Over the last eight years he has guided the company through its reverse acquisition of West End Ventures PLC onto the Plus Market and latterly the successful Introduction of the Company onto the AIM market. Milan has been instrumental in supporting the rapid organic growth of the Company being responsible for financial management, planning, reporting, risk, regulatory compliance and governance and most recently the implementation of dotdigital’s maiden dividend. Milan has over eight years’ experience in Finance and Accounting.

Graham Patterson
Age: 28
CFO, Aframe
Patterson has been “instrumental” in driving Aframe’s fast growing business forward, according to founder and CEO David Peto.
Patterson previously worked at BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, negotiating the renewal of the Top Gear contract as well as working on BBC.com and the business plan behind BBC Store. He originally qualified with EY as a CA.
Aframe is a technology business delivering a cloud platform for collecting, managing and storing professional video, which raised over $10m (£6.4m) in venture capital funding and is backed by Octopus, NorthStar and Eden Ventures.

Rebecca PittRebecca Pitt ACCA
Age: 29
Assistant VP, finance analyst, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
She graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in Accountancy and Law she qualified with ACCA in 2011 and joined ACCA’s Leaders of Tomorrow programme in 2012. At Bank of America Merrill Lynch Rebecca is responsible for weekly, monthly and quarterly revenue and profit analysis, competitor analysis and public regulatory disclosures.

Katie Rogers ACA
Age: 34
Group financial director, Telford Homes
Rogers joined Telford Homes Plc in 2007 as Financial Analyst following four years at PwC reaching Manager level during this time and winning an ICAEW award for outstanding performance in exams. Katie progressed to group FC within a year of joining Telford Homes and was appointed to the group FD in 2011 at the age of 30. She is also responsible for long term profit forecasts and maintaining ongoing relationships with the group’s banking partners, recently finalising a new £180m four-year revolving credit facility and successfully negotiating a reduction in the cost of capital. Katie also develops and maintains relationships with institutional investors through regular presentations and has been involved in successful share placings in the past. She is also the director with overall responsibility for human resources across the group. Outside of work, Rogers is married with a young daughter and is also a keen runner, recently completing the London Marathon.

Jonathan Simons ACCA
Age: 25
Internal audit manager – corporate and Europe, Whitbread
Simons came to Whitbread having already achieved a number of things – he was shortlisted 3 times for the British Accountancy Awards, was a global exam prize winner (1st place out of over 14,500) and winner of PQ Magazine’s ‘New Accountant of the Year’. Since joining Whitbread, he has bought his skills, knowledge and experience to the company and been able to make a significant difference, especially in supporting our overseas businesses. Simons is also part of the prestigious ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’ programme run by ACCA and certainly has a bright future ahead of him.

Naomi Smith FCMA, CGMA, FRSA
Age: 33
Head of public policy, CIMA
Following a high-flying career in audit and finance, including time spent in Shanghai, Naomi turned her talents to CIMA in 2008. She first headed up CIMA’s academic research funding unit before being appointed as Head of Policy Research. She was the lead author of the Global Management Accounting Principles, the world’s first set of global standards for the management accounting profession launched in October 2014. Following this achievement, Naomi was recently promoted to Head of Public Policy within CIMA’s new external affairs directorate. She contested the Cities of London and Westminster constituency as the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate when she was only 28 and is currently Chair of the Social Liberal Forum.

Helen Stroud ACA
Age: 34
Financial controller, Mind Candy
Stroud as described by Mind Candy COO Divinia Knowles: “I would 100% nominate my Mind Candy financial Controller Helen Stroud. She has single-handedly prepared accounts for all of our five entities for the past five years that our auditors haven’t questioned or modified at all. Has been able, through clever utilisation of tax reliefs, saved the business hundreds of thousands of pounds. “Stroud has managed all our customers and suppliers flawlessly over that time period, getting money in quickly and maximising payment terms without ever upsetting anyone. She has brilliantly managed a team of accountants that she has also mentored and helped with their qualifications, two of whom completely qualified in her care. And been an amazing business partner to other staff in other functions of the company so that finance is well respected as a strategic area rather than an administrative function.”

Ryan Stroulger 
Age: 27
FD and company secretary, Parkmead Group
Stroulger served as commercial director of the group before becoming FD. He has been responsible for identifying and driving forward numerous asset and corporate opportunities, such as the acquisitions of DEO Petroleum and Lochard Energy Group. Prior to this, he served as group finance manager, responsible for all aspects of Parkmead’s external financing, from strategic planning through to successful execution. He is a member of the IoD and was awarded the Corporate Finance Qualification by the ICAEW.

Trevor Taylor
Age: 33
Group FD, Billington Holdings
Taylor joined Billington as financial controller in August 2008. In March 2011 Trevor was appointed FD of Peter Marshall Steel Stairs Limited, a subsidiary of Billington. He graduated with honours from Birmingham University in 2002 in Accounting & Finance and then joined Allotts Chartered Accountants; he left five years later in 2008 to join Billington.

Nathan Taylor-Wright ACMA, CGMA
Age: 30
Project manager, Commerzbank
Nathan has worked his way up the career ladder at Commerzbank, having joined the bank straight out of sixth form. In 10 years, he went from school leaver to the manager in charge of Commerzbank’s school leaver scheme, recruiting young people with a similar background to his own. The scheme is geared towards talented students, living within the inner city London boroughs, who would not normally have the opportunity to gain a degree or the aspiration to work within financial services. During Nathan’s time at Commerzbank, he has achieved both a degree in business studies and the CIMA professional qualification.

Mitesh VelaniMitesh Velani ACA
Age: 33
Finance director, Saracens
In Velani’s own words: “A degree in mathematics from UCL has given me a strong analytical and methodical approach. Entering the professional services industry with Deloitte, I gained a well-rounded business qualification (ACA). Starting my own business I was able to apply these techniques from the ground upwards learning the value of money and strengthening my work ethic, character and resolve.
“As FD at a professional rugby club, I have enhanced my commercial skills through the development of a new stadium in North London. Reporting to a strong board and being involved with a passionate management team has led to success both on and off the field. “I genuinely enjoy working at Saracens and am intrigued by the balance that needs to be struck between business and sporting success. “Outside of work I am a keen sportsman and completed the Windsor Olympic distance triathlon in June 2014. I believe that success comes from a strong support network which starts at home and my wife Alka, in particular, has been a pillar of support in my career thus far.”

James WebberJames Webber ACA
Age: 32
CFO, Norman Broadbent
Webber joined the Company as CFO/group COO in March 2014 and joined the Norman Broadbent plc board in September 2014. He qualified as a chartered accountant with Deloitte and then worked for EY in its corporate finance team. During his time at EY, he was seconded to the UK&I leadership team, working alongside the COO, CFO and managing partner for People.

Hamza YusufHamza Yusuf CPFA
Age: 30
Head of finance, Hackney Council
Yusuf has worked tirelessly to make sure Hackney’s public services are run efficiently and sustainably in the wake of increasing cuts and service demand. In his role of Head of Finance at Hackney Council he has managed to restructure the finance function saving £450k and he helped to identify and implement 2 year saving plans of £7m with directors. Over Yusuf’s career he’s also made strides in making sure local talent is utilised to work and serve in his community through running and supporting CIPFA’s apprenticeship scheme for Hackney Council, helping to bring in the next generation of public finance leaders.

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