Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 09.28.15SOME of the brightest business brains in accounting hit on a winning formula at an awards ceremony on Friday [October 16].

The Northern Society of Chartered Accountants (NorSCA) staged its annual Northern Society Business and Awards Dinner, an event which both recognised the most talented ICAEW students in their field and the role of ICAEW chartered accountants in northern business.

Paralympian and House of Lords peer Tanni Grey-Thompson was among the guests at the event, which attracted 250 people to Newcastle’s Civic Centre for the prestigious awards ceremony.

Big winner of the evening was Newcastle City Council councillor, Michael Burke, who claimed the much-coveted Presidents’ Award Professional Stage honour.

Judges selected Mr Burke for the award after he successfully delivered a number of technically complex briefs for his employer, the National Audit Office. As well as a committed accountant, Mr Burke is also committed to his community, playing an active role supporting a number of important activities.  As well as being a councillor, he volunteers as a football coach, and gives up lunch hours to support local school children with their reading skills.

Mr Burke, who went head-to-head with five other shortlisted ICAEW students, said: “I’m delighted to have won this award.  It’s great to be recognised for my work.

“Of course, I would like to congratulate all of those shortlisted for the award, and to thank my employer, the National Audit Office, for the support I have had during my career so far.”

Rob Tindle, President of Northern Society of Chartered Accountants, said the awards provide an opportunity to showcase the most talented and innovative members of the business community across the North East and Cumbria, and recognise the value that chartered accountants offer.

He said: “Michael is a deserving winner of this fabulous award and his entry really shone out. He is a prime example of how the skills of a chartered accountant go way beyond organising the books of clients. We bring a wealth of experience, insight and knowledge to the table, helping businesses grow, diversify and avoid potential pitfalls.”

“This event is a fantastic showcase for our profession and the strength of nominations this year proves the amount of incredible talent that exists in the Northern region. It is always incredibly tough to choose winners, but this year was a real challenge. I’d like to congratulate Michael and the other winners for their awards and their ongoing, unwavering commitment to our profession.”

George Smith, who trained with KPMG Newcastle, was also a winner on the night, scooping the Order of Merit, Advanced Stage award.  He said: “I’m really happy, and proud to be named the winner.

“It’s taken a lot of hard work, but it’s fantastic that it has paid off in the end.”

Five awards were handed out on the night:

  • Order of Merit, Professional Stage– Joanna Scott, Saint & Co, Cumbria
  • Order of Merit, Advanced Stage– George Smith, former KPMG employee, Newcastle
  • President’s Award, Professional Stage– Michael Burke, National Audit Office, Newcastle
  • President’s Award, Advanced Stage– Thomas Burt, Kenneth Easby Chartered Accountants, Bedale
  • BASE Mentor of the Year – Linda Collins, Armstrong Watson, Carlisle

As well as providing an opportunity to recognise talent, the event raised around £5,300 for the British Wheelchair Racing Association.  Emerging sports star Jade Jones – a leading British wheelchair racer – attending the evening, along with local MP Iain Wright, who represents Hartlepool and ICAEW President Andrew Ratcliffe.

Baroness Grey-Thompson said: “It is a huge honour to be part of the Northern Society Business and Awards Dinner.  As a former competitive athlete, I really do believe in the power of awards in bringing out the best in people and recognising those who have pushed themselves further to achieve great things.  But also, as a peer, I am thrilled to be part of an event that recognises an industry that makes such a positive difference to UK Plc.

“I really enjoyed hearing about the talent of all of the ICAEW students who made the shortlists.  Their work is to be commended.”

The awards recognise talent in the North East, Teesside, North Yorkshire and Cumbria – the Northern footprint of the ICAEW, which is represented by the Northern Society of Chartered Accountants.  For more information, visit