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Everyone's a winner

The IAB Business Enterprise Awards celebrated good practice in business and finance. It was also an opportunity to enjoy an amusing, entertaining and rewarding

evening. Lesley Meall took notes and got told off for smoking...

her may be the only glamorous book-keeper in the film   Moonstruck, but she's certainly not the only glamorous book-keeper: the awards ceremony at the Cafe Royal was a sparkling affair, awash with champagne, sequins and strappy sandals (and that was just the men) - despite the freak snow that fell earlier in the day.

Professor Mike Harvey, IAB President, started the presentation ceremony by introducing Sandi Toksvig as master of ceremonies, extending special thanks to the sponsors, and praising all book­keepers. "In SMEs and small businesses it's frequently the book-keeper who does a lot of the work," he said, "contributing a lot to the economic growth of both companies and the country."

But this contribution often goes unappreciated, which is why the IAB introduced the awards.

Book-keeper of the Year was the first award, presented by IFA chief executive J. Malcolm Dean, who said: "Tonight is a night of celebration of those who are the engine room of industry and commerce."

Book-keeper of the Year was the first award, presented by IFA chief executive J. Malcolm Dean, who said: "Tonight is a night of celebration of those who are the engine room of industry and commerce."

The runner-up in this category was the first of many to accept his award with a beaming smile. "I haven't won anything since I was a kid," said David George, with obvious pleasure. The sentiment was echoed by this year's Book-keeper of the Year, Susan Whitehouse: "This has made everything I've done in my career worthwhile. Thank you so much," she said, adding: "You've made my day; you've made my life."

The award for Outstanding Student of the Year was sponsored by the small firms enterprise development initiative (SFEDIJ and presented by chief executive Christine Tolson. The winner, Jane Eastbourne, followed in the footsteps of Gwyneth Paltrow and numerous other Oscar winners by accepting her award tearfully. "All my hard work has been worth it," she said, with thanks to her teachers for bringing out the best in her. "I hope I can inspire others to work just as hard," she added. The runner-up was Louise Tate.

The Armed Force Award was sponsored by Careers Essex and presented by MD Linda Taylor. The winner, Gary Boyland from the RAF, said: "I was surprised to be nominated and even more surprised to win." The runner-up was Roberta J Wilson.

The award for Payroll Professional of the Year was sponsored by the IAB and presented by Sue Holgate, who took the opportunity to praise all payroll professionals. "They don't have the luxury of a suspense account," she quipped, "they have to get it right first time." There were two joint runners-up in this category: Judy Farle and Linda Rafferty. The winner Pauline Sullivan (profiled on page 19) was another victor surprised at her success: "I'm stunned; gobsmacked," she said.

The Business Entrepreneur of the Year rewards individuals who have made a difference in terms of the vision and success of a business, or someone who's moved forward after a redundancy. It was sponsored by Nat West, and presented by Eric Leenders, head of business banking and external affairs. The winner was Belbeer Panazar. "I'm very glad to receive an award like this," he said, "thank you." The runners-up were Roy Linus of RL Accounts, Paul Clarke of Paul Clarke Accountants and David Keeling of Simply Books.

The Small Business Achievement Award demonstrates improved business performance by increased market share or diversification into new areas. It was sponsored by Intuit and presented by business programmes manager John Stoddart, who said: "I would like to congratulate everyone - the standard was very high." The winner was Philip Simpson of MPS Accountancy Services, who incredulously accepted his award with the phrase: "To say I'm gobsmacked is a bit of an understatement." He also thanked his dad for his support for attending the ceremony with him, and for "sticking with the business". The runner-up was David Keeling of Simply Books.

The award for Tutor of the Year went to Martin Sands, who accepted on behalf of what he described as "a small, but very impressive college": Wrexham, North Wales . The runners-up were Jane Cater and Heather Post.

Social Entrepreneur of the Year was a new category, to reward contributions to new or existing projects that have made a difference to the local community. It was sponsored by New Business Magazine, and presented by Gavin Cloake.

The winner was Genya Johnson, who works with disadvantaged children in Rotherham . "I work with 200 kids each week, and I don't have time to think about me," she said. "This is the first time it's been about me, and it's really special. I never thought I could be an entrepreneur." The runner-up was Abrahim Dokrat.

Ian Irwin, chairman of the IFA, concluded the proceedings by thanking Sandi Toksvig for "keeping the evening very light-hearted, and doing it better than anyone at the Institute could have done". Irwin also thanked the sponsors, without whom he said there would have been "very few awards to give out", and the staff at Burford House for their efforts behind the scenes, and for "well exceeding the number of hours that should be expected of them".

Even Toksvig waxed lyrical on the evening, saying: "How fabulous to be at an event I didn't until tonight know I was missing," adding: "I'm going to have friends who are book-keepers." 

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