AAT asks for a record number of votes in this year’s Council election

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Calling members: as AAT develops its new strategy, we need your vote to help us shape our plan and the future of the profession.

As AAT prepares its strategic plan for a new era we are delighted by an excellent crop of nominees for the important upcoming elections to AAT Council.

22 members have come forward – a record in recent years. They offer a wide range of backgrounds and experience to help AAT carry forward its new strategic plan (see below).

To complete the picture, AAT is calling on the rest of the membership to show their commitment by voting.

AAT CEO Sarah Beale comments:

“Members should have a say in the direction of their membership body, and we need your participation to make this process a success.

“By voting you can ensure we have a diverse Council representing the breadth of our membership and contributing the kind of leadership we need for AAT’s next chapter.”


Voting for the AAT Council election is limited to MAATs and FMAATs. You can read the personal statements of nominees below, or on the online voting portal.

In order to vote you will need your security code, provided by email (unless you specifically request print communications.

Go the voting portal

Candidate statements in alphabetical order

Chris Argent MAAT

I firmly believe the AAT’s mission, “to promote practical financial skills to empower people and enable businesses to achieve their potential.” is entering new ground. Therefore, I am excited to apply for Council for three distinct reasons.

1. “Practical financial skills” must include digital/data skills to truly “empower people and enable businesses” today. I believe the AAT can change the accounting profession by being the “digital academy” of accounting talent.

2. Clare Bennison has recently joined as Director of Marketing and Commercial who I know from the ACCA and will be looking for/ driving new opportunities at AAT.

3. Sarah Beale is also new in role and has a great opportunity to drive new initiatives, like the digital academy.

With this change of personnel and this new opportunity, I have chosen this year to apply for Council, after 20+ years of membership, to support Council and advise on the digital shift and what it might mean for AAT.

My experience covers, senior management of finance teams, leading finance and analytics transformation in many organisations, developing syllabi and materials with training providers, charity trustee positions at an educational charity and a sports club, and running my consultancy and media business.

Lucy Cohen FMAAT

As the founder of the first ever subscription-based firm, I am well versed in change-management and challenging the status quo. In my 16 years in practice as an AAT Member in Practice, I have gone from a scrappy start-up founder, to a well-established businessperson who is regularly called on to provide industry insights to peers.

I am closely connected to the accounting community at large, in 2021 being awarded the AccountingWeb Outstanding Contribution Award for my work in the industry and supporting other accountants through the pandemic.

I have experience of serving on various boards outside of accountancy. In 2020 I was appointed to the Economic Strategy Board for the Swansea Bay City Deal, and in 2021 to the Sketty Business School Advisory Board.

I think that my knowledge of the accounting industry, grass roots experience of building a firm and understanding of the business world in the wider context, provide me with the experience required to serve the AAT well.

If appointed to the council, I would use my skillset and experience to support the AAT in their growth as, what I believe to be, the most exciting and versatile accounting qualification.

Jane Collins MAAT

I am applying to be a member of the AAT Council as I have a high regard of the professional body, in which I have had connections since 2000, in various roles.

Firstly, as a student at South Devon College enabling me to see the benefits of the qualification and membership and the route to entrepreneurship and self-employment.

Secondly as an Assessor Coach for apprentices when working at the training provider, working with AAT lecturers Employers and Apprentices. During this role I completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Education and now lecture in accountancy and have progressed to Programme Co-ordinator for both Accounting and Apprenticeships for the College.

These varied roles have provided insight into all aspects of AAT, and I have also been a member in practice. I see the positive change in students when progressing through the qualification levels either as apprentices or adult learners. The change in students’ confidence and the progression opportunities available to a diverse group of students, that is brought through studying and being part of AAT, is wonderful to see. The wider skills students learn including Business Awareness, Ethics and Sustainability heightens their employability skills.

I would value being part of the council.

Katarina Collins MAAT

AAT has been my gate into the exciting world of accounting. It has provided a solid base for my work and further studies, but also a source of knowledge, skills, new professional relationships and friendships built on common grounds of our profession. I really like that AAT also fights for important issues of 21st century – above and beyond accounting and bookkeeping issues.

I am truly grateful for all that AAT has done for me – and I am excited to offer something in return.

I already started by joining the very supportive and enthusiastic committee of AAT Swindon Branch few years ago – but I would like to extend that by my nomination for AAT Council.

I would like to offer my existing knowledge and skills gained by studying further, working in practice and industry and also develop myself even more personally and professionally by supporting AAT Council.

Wayne Cook FMAAT

For the last 2 years I have had the honour and privilege of serving on the AAT Council and for the past year I have served on the Audit Board. It has been a challenging but enjoyable and rewarding time and I have learned a lot more about the AAT.

I am very passionate about the AAT having been a member for 26 years becoming a Full Member in 1996 and a Fellow Member in 2015. I am a Licenced Accountant and have run my own practice for 14 years. I have been involved with the Exeter Branch Committee for 11 years currently as the Treasurer. Prior to this I was the Chair for 4 years.

I have had a varied career, having many years’ experience in local government, industry and now in practice so I know what it is like to be at the sharp end for businesses and I can bring this experience and versatility to the AAT.

If I am re-elected it will be a great honour and I will work hard to help grow and develop the AAT and encourage others to become members of the AAT and to embrace the qualification.

Ben Gadsby MAAT

I first started studying with AAT in, I think, 2010 and have been an MAAT since 2014. While I have not worked in accountancy now for a number of years, my more recent career gives me a different skillset which I think will be useful for AAT Council.

I am an education and skills policy expert and have worked in policy roles in local government, Parliament and the third sector. I am currently Head of Policy and Research for a charity, and an Associate Fellow for a think tank.

I have expertise in several policy areas relevant to AAT’s work including employment, apprenticeships, traineeships and qualifications. I understand the policy making and the political environment and managing these types of stakeholders, and I have a range of relationships across government, think tanks, and the skills policy community.

If elected to AAT Council I would hope to support AAT’s public policy work, and also bring my understanding of the external environment we all operate in to the table in wider strategic discussions.

AAT Council is (understandably!) very well served by accountants and financial professionals. I hope my different perspective can be a valuable addition to the team.

Rebekah Glover FMAAT

After leaving school, I started my journey to qualify as an accountant. I gained the AAT qualification in 2012 and qualified with ACCA in 2016. I have always been a supporter of the AAT qualification, and in 2019 I recruited an AAT apprentice. I have the experience of being both the AAT student and the AAT employer.

I am currently Finance Director at VNC Automotive Ltd. I have worked in practice and industry, and in both listed business, and in SME start-ups. In addition, in 2019, I started my own business whilst working full time as a FD.

I have a broad knowledge of all aspects of business, not just finance, and feel my experience would bring a vast amount of knowledge to the AAT Council.

I have been featured in AT magazine, as well as sitting on the panel for the CPD course “Digital Decoded”.

I have been nominated for “Rising Hero in Finance” at the Digital Finance Function Awards, and I will be speaking at the GenCFO summit.

I would like to stand for election to bring my knowledge, skills and passion to the AAT Council and to ensure the AAT continues to be a forward-thinking professional body.

Adrian Hart FMAAT

Having been a Member of AAT for over 25 years and being a fellow member of AAT and CIMA I feel I can bring a wealth of experience to this role.

Whilst the majority of my experience has been in the Public Sector, I am also a Member in Practice (Licenced under CIMA, Exempt from AAT) and can therefore also understand the needs of the private sector especially small businesses.

My roles have included a strategic angle and whilst in the NHS I undertook a management leadership qualification. This has enabled me to understand the strategic direction of the business, enable action plans to achieve that direction and not lose sight of why the business is there, by understanding the needs of the different stakeholders.

I also feel passionate about the term ‘Accountant’ being a protected term, not only to acknowledge the hard work & commitment of the accountancy profession but also to protect businesses.

As a long-standing member of the AAT, I feel it is appropriate for me to contribute to the AAT to encourage students to follow a career in accountancy and become lifelong members of AAT. I would also encourage collaboration between CIMA and AAT.

Eve Jones FMAAT

Why I want to run for the council

I have been AAT FMAAT since 1997 and worked as the Financial Controller in automotive manufacturing sector.

In July 2021 I was elected the Chair of AAT Birmingham Branch and since then I have been running a successful team of 6, by organising very well attended events and webinars.

What are my attributes?

I am very passionate about AAT and I want it to reach to wider audience, hence I am targeting the education sector with past, present and future students. I want to bring to the table my knowledge, enthusiasm and energy in expanding to wider-spread audience.

How I plan to do this?

  • Engage with students at all levels at various colleges by using social media and visits
  • As the Chair of AAT Birmingham Branch, bring in different speakers for different target audience, to entice attendees.
  • Work hand in hand with Regional Manager to access other institutions
  • As a lecturer, I have first-hand knowledge AA syllabus, delivery with excellent pass rates
  • Currently, working on new 2022 qualification for September 2022

In return I will learn a lot by being a member of Council and working with the Executive Team.

Jennifer Lashley MAAT

In support of my application, I am bringing my varied work experience in finance – starting last century (!) – to the AAT council.

This experience is in various sectors – PLCs, public bodies and charities, in finance teams and latterly as the sole finance worker. As well as permanent posts, I’ve undertaken temporary roles, often being parachuted in to troubleshoot problems, so I have a good idea on how isolating it is to work as ‘the finance person’ in a company.

A full member of AAT for 5 years, I used my CIMA qualifications to join AAT, having found it a more welcoming environment than CIMA so far.

I would like to use my experience to assist AAT students and members manage their workloads. I would like emphasis on IT being a major part of the accountant’s CPD, including regular audits of their IT knowledge.

In previous volunteer roles, I’ve worked on the ‘coalface’ – this trustee role gives me the chance to look at another side of an organisation strategically and contribute to its further growth.

Matthew Lewis MAAT

Having started my career in finance in 2016, immediately after leaving Sixth Form, I have a very recent experience of obtaining MAAT through a private practice apprenticeship scheme and wish to represent recent and current students at the AAT Council level to ensure that decision making considers our student members.

I made the transition to working in industry at my local NHS hospital 2 years ago and have seen the value that MAAT brings to a CV and the valuable technical knowledge it provides; having transitioned from practice to industry, I can bring the perspective of someone working in management accounts in the public sector, which sometimes seems secondary to financial accounting in the communications.

A key component of my role as Finance Manager involves holding operational teams to account and ensure proper financial governance, especially as a steward for taxypayers’ money in the public sector. I can bring this scepticism and accountability to council decision-making, as well as the refusal to act as a ‘yes-man’.

I am interested in learning more about the operational components of the Association, as well as engaging in decision- making that can improve the experiences of students and members of AAT.

Salina Loum FMAAT

I was born in the UK and I am of mixed parentage.

After completing College in 1999, during a gap year, I secured an office junior position in an accountancy practice and within three months of joining, aged 19, I was offered an unprompted trainee accountancy position. I accepted.

I married in 2003 and in 2004, pregnant, I left practice to work in house, to develop my skills further. In 2006, I started a bookkeeping business whilst still employed part time.

I became AAT qualified in 2014. In 2015, my family and I moved to Wales and I opened my own practice, becoming an AAT licensed member in practice.

Over the last 20 years, I have gained accounting skills (financial and management reporting, taxes, payroll, auditing etc) and business development skills (marketing, computing, human resources etc). These skills have helped me to grow my business and to better support my clients in running their businesses.

As a British woman of ethnic origin, I hope women from all backgrounds are inspired to qualify and / or take the leap to run their own business.

I believe I can bring value and service as a member of the AAT Council.

Vanessa Myatt FMAAT

I have been involved with the AAT since I began my studies in 1990 and have been a student, a qualified member, an employer supporting other AAT learners, a teacher at a college and my current role includes a trainer/assessor in the private sector. I am also a practicing member and hold a full licence.

My work includes working as an accounting technician in practice, industry, public sector and as a tutor in both public and private practice, supporting learners with the diploma and apprenticeships.

I can offer the council my diverse experience and passion for the AAT, with a mixture of skills across all areas of accountancy as an employer, learner and practicing member. I am best placed to address and contribute to the Councils key responsibilities and am up to date with industry changes across all the accountancy and education industry.

I am a fully qualified teacher and have been involved with developing the delivery of the Q2022 in my current role as well as developing resources.

I would actively participate in meetings and be able to contribute great value to discussions and decision making, assisting the Council in fulfilling all its responsibilities.

Daniel Perrin FMAAT

I am a Fellow Member of the AAT and run my own accountancy practice in South Wales as well as teaching accountancy part time in my local college. Over the last ten years I have served on the South Wales Branch as Chairman and Treasurer. My passion and continued commitment for AAT is what has prompted me to run for Council, because I am confident that I can positively and proactively contribute to AAT’s strategy and core values. I have benefited tremendously from the AAT qualification and I believe in giving back and want to help ensure members and future members continue to be the most valued in the accountancy profession. I would also welcome the opportunity to contribute my knowledge and skills from across my accounting profession and work closely with the AAT and other committee members to uphold the high standards of AAT.

Ajay Prabhakar FMAAT

Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity in 2019 to represent all of you as your elected council member. In my two years’ term, I have represented the AAT audit board and have gained an in depth understanding of the functionality of AAT.

AAT local branches are always first in my priorities and I am always looking forward to finding ways to support young and experienced AAT members. I have twenty years’ experience running my own practice. I started off as a committee member and over the years, with my thorough dedication to the AAT, I have become the chairman to our local Birmingham branch.

Covid-19 has taught us to work differently in the profession and technology plays a very important role. My vision for the AAT is to make it a more agile and progressive organisation.

I am a ‘people person’ and a firm believer in networking and engaging with other professionals.

I am very grateful for your continued support and I believe that I have the moral strength and leadership skills to lead and carry the best interests of our fellow professional colleagues, locally and nationally.

Fatimah Razak MAAT

I am a member of AAT and a licenced member in practice. I have been part of the Derby AAT branch committee for nearly 4 years and taught AAT bookkeeping at a local adult education centre.

I believe the AAT qualification is a life changing qualification and the opportunities it has opened to me such as setting up my own business from home and teaching AAT to students. I truly owe my professional achievements to AAT including having the opportunity to teach a qualification that changed my life. Seeing the growth, confidence, and ambition in my students’ eyes to change their lives by studying AAT was deeply rewarding.

I believe the time is right for me now to give back to AAT and play my small part in making a valuable difference. I am enthusiastic, passionate and committed to helping AAT grow and reach far and wide.

I would welcome an opportunity to join the AAT Council and be part of its amazing journey changing many lives.

Edward Reilly FMAAT

Until July 2021 I was the Town Clerk at three large Town Councils. The latest being St Neots Town Council, the biggest town in Cambridgeshire. I was responsible for providing advice and guidance to twenty-one Councillors, over thirty staff, and the wider community.

I am a Fellow of the AAT as well as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management. I have also completed DMS and an MBA.

I played a major part in the establishment of a Business Improvement District in Sleaford and played a significant role in St Neots achieving a Neighbourhood Plan.

I spent almost thirty years in the Royal Air Force completing tours of duty throughout Europe and the UK as an Accountant, Personnel Officer, and Facilities Manager. Upon leaving I became Bursar of a state secondary school, I was a member of the Senior Management Team and was responsible for all support services. I later worked as the

Finance Manager for a division of BP before becoming the Group Accountant a company comprising caravan parks, log cabin manufacture and a transport company.

I was the first Chairman of the Lincolnshire Branch of the Association having lobbied for its establishment.

Jiteshchandra Shah FMAAT

I’ve been a member for more than 40 years, and understand member needs. I’ve been Chairman, Treasurer and Publicity Officer of the Branch, and am experienced in advising businesses, charities and not for profit organisations. I have time, energy and experience to offer my services.

I grew my business many fold and in diversity, due to my skills in advising and am a specialist in helping growing enterprises in accounts, financial advice and taxation, ranging from self-employed, entrepreneurs, limited companies, charities and not for profit organisations. Additionally, I am a Business Mentor to social enterprises.

I am an energetic and practical person providing a hands-on approach of customised services for members. I would specialise in a “culturally-friendly service” targeting the needs of the entrepreneurs. I could contribute by:

  • maintaining existing customer loyalty, ensuring that we offer a quality service;
  • diversifying into different sectors;
  • contributing to UK and overseas markets;
  • working in partnership with other organisations to develop AAT; and
  • attracting new members to generate new income for the Association.

I have a wealth of experience and would really like to share my varied skills by being involved with the Council.

Danny Thompson FMAAT

I am a long term AAT qualified and fellow member of the AAT.

I have worked in the Property Accounting industry for c16 years and can offer a wealth of knowledge and experience from the skills I have gained. I am currently working for Leaf Living Limited which is a Blackstone owned platform (largest private equity company globally).

I have previously been an AAT marker which was a great experience for me to develop another skillset.

I started the AAT straight out of school, at the time my opportunities were limited (due to circumstances I didn’t do GCSE’s) and the AAT gave me a real opportunity to give me an industry recognised qualification and develop a career. I am passionate about the AAT (I am always selling the AAT to everyone who will listen!) and in particular how I can help other people especially from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Francesca Tricarico MAAT

I have had my AAT qualification since 2014.

I went back to studying in 2011 after having 2 children.

Just before I qualified, I got my dream role (after 2 attempts) in a local accountancy firm that I felt was the best in the area. In the time I was there, I fell in love with cloud accounting.

2016, I set up my own social event (networking) this was a quarterly event I ran to encourage an informal way to meet business contacts and encourage confidence.

Whilst “networking” I met my now business partner in 2018 and in 2019 we set up our own accounting firm.

I applied for my AAT license and within months we gained lots of new clients and we hired our first couple of employees.

We now have a team of 9 with an apprentice starting with us in September ready to study her AAT! We built our business on social media only (mainly LinkedIn) with no paid marketing.

I can bring a fresh approach to the council. I loved studying my AAT and I love encouraging other people to achieve more! The industry is changing, I want to help encourage that change!!

David Walker FMAAT

This year I celebrate 30 years as an AAT member and having had the honour of serving on council previously I am seeking election to Council again following a break of three years.

During my previous time on Council I served on the Member Services, Resources, Investment and Audit Boards; and I was Chairperson of the Investment and Audit Boards.

My career has seen me in roles in both practice and industry, having been a Finance Director for ten years and I am currently lead Partner in the York office for a firm of Chartered Accountants.

My voluntary career has not only seen me give time to our Association, but I have also been Treasurer for the Charity Abbeyfield York Society for over 20 years.

The experience above has not only allowed me to help train and mentor AAT students but also see them go on to further studies and blossom in their own careers.

It is this passion for assisting our students and members attain their potential that brings me back to stand for election to Council.

We need to ensure the sustainability of the AAT for future generations.

Libby Walklett FMAAT

The AAT restored my ‘mojo’.

Following a career gap, incorporating maternity leave, and caring for my father, my confidence took a beating. Studying this professional qualification made me accept I was more knowledgeable than I thought. Through naturally assisting other students in my class and being encouraged by my own tutor to apply for a teaching position myself, I regained my confidence.

With no prior experience, I taught AAT, gaining above average retention and results in the process; I marked AAT Sage exams and, more recently, was approached to be an apprenticeship coach.

I was nominated in 2017 for 3 AAT awards, winning the CPD Champion 2017. What an honour!

I regularly promote the AAT, whether face to face or online, telling others what a great qualification it is.

I’m now a proud FMAAT, working as the Financial Controller of a charity and have my own micro-practice. I’ve signed up for my local committee and recently took part in AAT marketing activities.

Given all that I’ve gained, it’s time to give back; with support, enthusiasm, and energy – encouraging the AAT to positively impact staff, students, members in industry, public sector, charity, and practice, leading the industry by example.

David Nunn is Content Manager at AAT.

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