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Comedian Caulfield serves up the laughs at NorSCA Dinner

Have you heard the one about the award-winning comedian who analysed accountants’ websites at this year’s Northern Society Business and Awards Dinner?

Both “silver foxes” and students (aka “hipster accountants”) were the subjects of jokes from this year’s guest speaker, comedian Jo Caulfield, whose entertaining talk was packed with the sort of wry asides that make her one of most in demand acts on the UK comedy circuit.

Jo served up the after dinner laughs with her comedy critiques of the corporate websites of many of the firms present. From pointing out the “Scandi-noir” vibes of one company’s choice of imagery to questioning the need for quite such detailed directions to an office, Jo considered the merits of everything from posing with calculators to over enthusiastic mission-statements (“are you sure it’s not really a cult?”). By the end not only was the entire room in stitches, but those firms who’d escaped her attention were feeling a little disappointed not to have been part of the fun.

All for a good cause

Guests saw a more serious side to Jo earlier in the evening as she spoke about this year’s chosen charity – Macmillan Cancer Support. Jo explained how Macmillian had supported her sister when she had cancer; providing advice in the early days, offering financial assistance when she was too sick to work, and supporting her and her loved ones in the final stages of her illness. Her words resonating with many present numerous donations came in, resulting in (with match-funding of one thousand pounds from Barclays Business), almost £3,000 being raised on the night.

Celebrating a very special centenary…

After a warm welcome from NorSCA President, Keith Proudfoot, who expressed his delight that so many members and guests were in attendance, ICAEW President, Fiona Wilkinson, spoke about the opportunities and challenges facing the profession. Touching on the fact that audit remains in the spotlight, Fiona reminded members that they are uniquely placed to engage and lead the debate. After highlighting the need to embrace changing technology – and be prepared for its impact – Fiona went on to discuss diversity in the profession.

Fiona talked about the fact that her year in office serendipitously coincides with a significant milestone in Institute history: the centenary of the admission of ICAEW’s first female member, Mary Harris-Smith. Fiona explained that despite numerous attempts to join, it was not until the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act of 1919, that Mary was admitted as a member. Praising her tenacity and determination, Fiona shared news of how the anniversary will be marked, including the commissioning of a portrait of Harris-Smith that will hang in Chartered Accountants’ Hall.

Celebrating student success…

A key part of the Dinner is the presentation of student awards. Stephen Twaddle from Deloitte and Laura Atherton from The National Audit Office won the Order of Merit Awards. The Presidents’ Prizes – which are awarded to those who have not only demonstrated both academic excellence, but also who have also made an exceptional contribution with their professionalism, business acumen or teamwork – where presented to Sam Bell of Dodd & Co, who won the Professional Stage Presidents’ Award; and Andrew Jacott of Deloitte who won the Advanced Stage Presidents’ Award.

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