Top industry recognition for AAT career changer

Sarah Knight MAAT is presented the 2013 AAT CPD prize by AAT Vice President, Dr Rachel Banfield (MA CPFA PGCHE FHEA FMAAT)
Monday 18 November 2013 - 11:30

Sarah Knight of Sutton in Craven, North Yorkshire has scooped a prestigious industry award from AAT.

Working as a Finance Officer at University Academy Keighley, a Governor at Eastburn Junior and Infant School, and writer for AAT Comment, Sarah has won AAT's top prize for Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

The award recognises commitment to learning and development 

Each year AAT awards a celebrated £1,000 to the individual who has demonstrated the greatest commitment to continuing their professional development.

Currently studying towards chartered accountancy with the ACCA and an Open University management qualification, 31 year old Sarah was required to submit a year of CPD records to be considered for the prize.

Of over 430 members, she was announced in the top six finalists to go through to interview stage in London and was later announced as the prize winner, impressing the judging panel with an innovative presentation on CPD and an honest approach to development, career progression and work/life/home balance.

But despite her recent success, Sarah hasn’t always been certain about her career path.

“Following disappointing A-Level results, I abandoned the idea of going to university for a career in retail management. But there came a time when I realised I was really unhappy career wise. I was working for a franchise of an international automotive brand and, where I was happy with my work and my employer; I was not stretched or fulfilled.

“My light bulb moment occurred when I was flicking through the local paper and saw that the local colleges and schools were advertising for students. I scoured the internet for courses and stumbled across AS Accountancy which later led to me studying the AAT Accounting Qualification.

“I was overwhelmed when I got the call to say I had won the prize. I couldn’t speak initially but had to pull myself together as we were in the middle of year end audit. I worked hard on producing pieces of work that not only were enjoyable for the reader, but also portrayed my core values and ethics towards accountancy and professional development.”

AAT Membership Coordinator, Aleksandra Trzmiel commented: “Sarah demonstrated an array of CPD undertaken across a variety of different platforms including reading, further study, creative writing and, mentoring. Her drive and enthusiasm is commendable. She has demonstrated a strong drive and determination in achieving her learning goals and she sets a great example to other members.”

The winners of the 2013 AAT CPD Prize

  • First place: Sarah Knight MAAT
  • Second place: Suzanne Thomas MAAT
  • Third place: Ian Wilson MAAT