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Ignition blog  /   Culture  /   #WomenInAccounting – Meet the judges

#WomenInAccounting – Meet the judges

Let us introduce you to our judging panel for the #WomenInAccounting initiative.
CULTURE 8 mins 25 Feb 2019 by Brooke Kayira

Today, I’d like to officially introduce you to our judging panel for the #WomenInAccounting initiative. We’ve also included details on our judging criteria, ahead of the announcement on International Women's Day (8 March 2019).

We’re so proud to be running this initiative again, and even more excited to have four inspiring leaders within the industry joining the panel.

Three of the judges have recently joined forces to create AccounTEK Global, a not-for-profit initiative on a mission to create unique networking opportunities, host world-class events and be a central source of industry information that is independent and female focused.

We took a moment to hear from the judging panel, on their passions and why they’ve decided to be involved in this way.

Without further ado, here’s an insight into our panel -

Kelly Chard

Over the last few years, the number of female accountants breaking out of the mould and channeling their energy into delivering excellent accounting and finance advice in their own style has been amazing. Every day I wake up and look to Twitter or LinkedIn and am in awe of the strong and smart women doing things in a totally new and visible way (including my two co-founders at AccounTEK Global).

Many of these women in accounting are creating their own brands and their own culture while doing amazing work for their clients.

Throughout my career, I have focused on providing smart accounting advice that is delivered in an authentic and caring way. Women have a unique set of skills that allows us to do this so well. How great is it that young women in accounting now have awards like this to look to – where 50 intelligent and accomplished women in their field are showcased!

More than 50% of my clients are female, and more than 50% of their clients are female – so why wouldn’t they want a smart, focused and caring female in their corner as their accountant? With more female-led small businesses commencing now than in any era before it is so important for us to continue to support and develop the women in our own profession too.

You can also hear from her first hand on why she’s excited to be involved this year.


Lielette Calleja

Working in the private commercial accounting space before starting my own business 15 years ago I was fortunate to have been surrounded by strong, confident and enabled women in my career. I never felt that I had to fight for a place on the executive team.

This may sound strange to some but back then working hard, being inquisitive and going the extra mile was considered the making of someone who wanted to get ahead. I was that person; never did I shy away from challenging projects as I was always prepared to learn something new.

Going the extra mile seemed like the norm until the day arrived where I wanted to start a family. The thought of returning to the corporate workforce full-time with a baby at home left me feeling very anxious and knowing that I couldn’t even entertain the idea of working from home or having access to flexible working conditions with the company was not a right place to be in.

It became evident to me that having a child was not convenient for businesses.

It was also then I realised why most men progress further in their career and why they are afforded more opportunities.

We are fortunate indeed that times have changed since then and there is a focus on bringing women back to the workforce earlier as well as acknowledging that dads too can take paternity leave.

My journey as a business owner has been somewhat different. I had to find my voice amongst many others in an industry that had so much noise. I put myself out there even when I wasn’t comfortable from writing to speaking.

I made some bold moves in my business when I felt the timing was right. I consistently backed myself with every decision which has allowed me to build a lifestyle business by design.

AccounTEK global will allow me to bring that same confidence and self-backing that some women need who may be starting up their own practice because they want flexibility from the public/corporate world, or they just want to fulfill a dream of being a business owner. All three of us (Kylie, Kelly & myself) bring something entirely different to this organisation, but our end game is to lead and inspire women to be the best version of themselves even when things are constantly changing.

I am honoured to be one of the judges for Ignition's Top 50 Women In Accounting. There are some amazing and capable women out there who are championing the industry, and I look forward to seeing them be recognised.


Kylie Parker

With Ignition focusing the spotlight on Women in Accounting we also hope to assist raise the profile of these amazing women providing increased confidence, networks and an awareness of what can be achieved.

In 2018 the following statistics highlight the varying levels of female engagement at different career levels:-

  • 46% of new accounting graduates are women (AFR Women in Accounting)
  • 41% of Chartered Accountant’s are female (CA ANZ Annual Report 2018)
  • 14% or Partners in CA firms are female (AFR Women in Accounting)

Learning I was one of only two wholly owned female chartered accounting firms out of the 143 firms that applied for the top 100 Chartered Accounting firms for the Financial Review was a bit of shock. My career has spanned working at Deloitte in Media and Entertainment, as a commercial accountant at the BBC in London, co founding Partner in a mid tier firm, being a Xero Senior Account Manager back to a sole practitioner. Being a Chartered Accountant in Public Practice has already given me incredible career highlights including meeting Greg Norman in Florida, working on the Star Wars set and attending numerous ARIA awards.

Co founding AccounTEK Global with Lielette and Kelly is another opportunity for me personally to grow in learning from other women I admire and can learn from. We hope to create a community around digital technology in accounting and finance being empowered by women but supported by all. That’s why we are so thrilled to Partner with Ignition, a company that is so supportive of those in our industry.


AccounTEK Global

Author and gender communication expert Deborah Tannen says women are more likely to downplay their certainty than men. A woman's statement of, "From what I can tell, I think it'll work, but we never know for sure until we try", becomes, "This is a winner. We've got to go for it!" In order to increase the number of female presenters at industry events AccounTEK Global has been formed by Lielette, Kelly Chard and Kylie. Our professional backgrounds are all similar and we are all passionate about the digitalisation of the finance system including accounting, bookkeeping, fintech, acctech, tax, lawtech, broking, investment, financial planning, investment given they all interrelate. We also all run successful businesses, juggle family commitments, love learning and sharing our knowledge. We attend industry events with the core goal of helping our clients adopt digital technology and as women we would like to see a diverse representation of who we learn from as varied opinions and different personal experiences create more desirable learning outcomes. The membership based initiative exists to create unique networking opportunities, world-class events and promote women. Accountek Global will drive speaking, training, upskilling and career progression opportunities through a number of avenues including events, a robust speaker register and a central database for available resources.

In addition to increasing the representation of women at all levels of the accounting and finance sectors, Accountek Global will educate accountants on the importance of digital adoption as a key foundation for career development.

AccounTEK launches officially on 22nd March with our Inaugural Golf Day event. We will also be at the Accounting Business Expo both presenting ourselves and supporting other presenters putting in their time to share personal knowledge and experiences. We greatly appreciate the opportunities Laura Venables, Sholto Macpherson and her team provide.

Visit the AccounTEK website here.

Guy Pearson

Guy is a Chartered Accountant, a Tax agent with 15 years experience in public practice (8 as a Director) and a self confessed geek as a lover of numbers and technology. His mantra is “Utilitarianism” - the greatest good for the greatest number, or in short, to get the right information to the right people to make the right decision. His journey from cloud accounting firm founder to tech company CEO follows this path. A multi award winning entrepreneur, a keynote speaker and accounting industry stalwart (especially in the cloud discussion). Guy shares knowledge to help step change the industry and wants to help his fellow men and women get better advice to their clients, faster. Lastly, putting the gains where his mouth is, Guy has made numerous investments in startup fintech + business tech platforms around the globe and sits on a 12+ advisory boards.

"Utilitarianism is my thing and I'm a huge fan of Sheryl Sandberg. I've been lucky enough to work with and have some amazing women influence my career. I want to stand up and recognise those particularly who may not put their own hand up."

The judging process

After the 22nd February, the judges will receive the award submissions and allocate a score of 1-10 for each question based on two key areas:

  • Professional achievements
  • Community achievements

Some credit will be given to nominees that received multiple nominations, but only one award submission per person will be accepted.

The judging panel are responsible for determining the score allocation for each question.

The scores for each question will be totalled, along with any additional credit for multiple nominations. The final total will determine the shortlist of the Top 50.

Names will be removed from the award applications for anonymity.

We'll be announcing the shortlist on International Women's Day.

If you have any questions, please direct them to brooke@ignitionapp.com

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Brooke Kayira

Global Community and Referrals Manager  Ignition

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Published 25 Feb 2019 Last updated 31 Oct 2022