Whatever happens between the political parties, the most likely outcome of this year’s general election is a big swing towards the accountancy party.
The parliament that dissolved included 10 MPs with accountancy qualifications. While Labour’s stalwart and CIPFA member Harry Cohen is standing down, there is a bumper crop of accountants among the election’s parliamentary candidates - so far we've identified 50 or so with links to the profession.
Few members of the profession would be surprised to learn that the Conservatives are most strongly represented, with 25 accountant-candidates. The list included several young, photogenic women; in its bid to recruit Cameron cuties to see beat back “Blair’s babes”, the Tory party has used accountancy as a major recruiting ground.
The Liberal Democrats have a surprisingly strong contingent of 17 accountants. If the party can sustain its strong showing in the pre-election polls, several of these candidates could find themselves with a new career on 7 May.
Looking at the profession’s internal rivalries, PwC has the highest number of candidates by far. Deloitte and KPMG had a few representatives, but the constituent firms of PwC cropped up time and again. As far as we can tell, the ICAEW has the largest number of prospective candidates, but only just. Around a quarter of the candidates are management accountants.
Liberal-Democrat candidate Geoff Seeff was surprised to learn there were so many accountants in the running. “I’d hate to think that out of a Parliament of 650 that 50 MPs were accountants,” he quipped.
But that wouldn’t be such a bad thing, he added: “I think all 50 candidates will have something in common. Professional accountants are trained to analyse, challenge and question... I imagine the other 49 of my colleagues will approach the task in the same way.”
Here’s a rundown of the accountancy’s general election candidates (in alphabetical order) – and please let us know if we’ve overlooked anyone else.
Irwin Armstrong (Con), North Antrim
Founder of a medical diagnostics company, Armstrong studied accountancy at the University of Ulster and is now a CIMA fellow. He’s up against Ian Paisley Jr, son of the Democratic Unionist Party figurehead who won the seat with a 55% majority in 2005.
Result: DUP 46.4%; Trad Unionist 16.8%; Sinn Fein 12.4%; Con 10.9% - No joy for Tory hopeful
Peter Bone (Con), Wellingborough
Bone qualified as a chartered accountant in 1977 and has run a public company and a family business. Elected in 2005, he puts his expertise to good use as a member of the Finance Bill Committee and Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments.
Karen Bradley (Con), Staffordshire Moorlands
Chartered accountant and tax adviser Bradley trained with KPMG, where she worked as a technical adviser to the shadow Treasury team. She now advises Tory members of the Finance Bill Standing Committee and has a good chance in this reshaped constituency.
Nasser Butt (Lib Dem), Tooting
Butt graduated with a degree in finance in 1982 and subsequently qualified with ACCA. Now working as an accountant, he devotes his spare time to campaigning for human rights and the Lib Dems. He came second as the candidate for Mole Valley (Surrey) in 2005.
Therese Coffey (Con), Suffolk Coastal
After completing a PhD in chemistry, Coffey joined Mars and qualified as a chartered management accountant, rising to the position of finance director for Mars Drinks UK. She is a very good bet to take over from John Gummer in this safe Tory seat.
Michael Cox (Lib Dem), Uxbridge & South Ruislip
The Lib Dem surge failed to unseat sitting Tory MP John Randall. Cox will have to return to his day job as a Rickmansworth practitioner and leader of the Lib Dems on the local council.
2010 result: Con 48.3%;Lab 23.4%; Lib Dem 20.0%
Ian Cuthbert (Con), Washington and Sunderland West
Cuthbert started his career with a small Sunderland accountancy firm before moving into industry, where he is now a marketing manager for Orange. As campaign manager and agent, he helped his wife Angela win the 2007 Washington East by-election.
Result: Lab 52.5%; Con 21.9%; Lib Dem 17.1% - A great showing, with Morale-boosting 56% increase in Tory vote
Victor D'Albert (Lib Dem), Bury South
D'Albert was a founder member of the Liberal Democrats and stood for the party in Bury South in 1997 and 2005. He has served on Bury Council for nearly 20 and works in the town as an accountant. He also chairs the Prestwich Local Area Partnership.
Derek Deedman (Lib Dem), Arundel & South Downs
Deedman worked in local government from 1964 until he retired in 1997 and has been a member of CIPFA since 1969. He has chaired the regulation, audit and accounts committee of West Sussex County Council and stood for Arundel & South Downs in 2001 and 2005.
Robert Deeks, (Lab) Christchurch
Deeks is currently finance manager at a leading life science & high technology company. A qualified chartered accountant, he said, “My audit training ensures that I can cut through political spin.”
Result: Con 56.4%; Lib Dem 25.3%; Lab 9.8% - No luck for Labour as vote drops more than a third.
Charles Dodman (UKIP), Eddisbury
Dodman, who until recently was a paid-up member of the Conservative Party in Chester, switched his affiliation to stand as the UKIP candidate for Eddisbury. A chartered accountant from Chester, Dodman lost faith in Tory policies on the environment and Europe.
Charles Dundas (Lib Dem), Livingstone
Dundas sat CIMA’s entry level exams while working in accounts at the National Australia Bank Group’s Glasgow shared service centre, but accountancy career was side-tracked by a run for Glasgow Bailleston in 2001 and a campaign for the Scottish Parliament in 2003.
Jack Easton (Green), St Albans
Easton is a chartered accountant who has whole-heartedly embraced environmental causes. He commented: “St Albans needs to go green for the good of us all, and I want to help.”
John Edwards (Lib Dem), Beaconsfield
ACCA member Edwards works in Slough as a finance professional for a FTSE 250 company. He was a member of Slough Borough council for eight years and served in its ruling cabinet during 2004-08.
Alex Feakes (Lib Dem), Lewisham West & Penge
After qualifying as an accountant and working in tax consultancy with PwC, Feakes worked for Network Rail before setting up his own film and video company. An experienced campaigner, Feakes ran for the Lib Dems in Beckenham in 2001 and improved his showing in Lewisham in 2005 but could not sustain his momentum in this newly drawn constituency.
2010 result: Lab 41.4%; 28.3%; Con 25.7%; UKIP 2.5%; Green 2.1%
Michael Foster (Lab), Worcester
Michael Foster qualified as a management accountant while working at Jaguar Cars. He left in 1991 to become a lecturer in accountancy and finance. He became Worcester's first ever Labour MP in 1997 and has held the seat since.
Stewart Geddes (Con), Edinburgh West
Glasgow-born Geddes was brought up in Brazil, but returned to Scotland and qualified as a chartered management accountant while working for a major Scottish bank. He is standing against Lib Dem shadow work and pensions spokesman John Barrett.
Nick Gibb (Con), Bognor Regis & Littlehampton
Formerly a chartered accountant specialising in corporate tax with KPMG. After two runs in Labour strongholds, Gibb won Bognor Regis & Littlehampton in the 1997 general election. He is currently Tory shadow minister for schools.
John Gough (Con), Barrow and Furness
As a chartered accountant who qualified whilst working for a London merchant bank, Gough has a tall order on his hands in the Labour stronghold of Barrow. He has worked as a scuba diving instructor and is now an IT contractor.
Justine Greening, (Con), Putney
Greening was a finance manager at Centrica before being elected as the MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields in 2005. She has been a shadow Treasury spokesman and was shadow minister for London during 2009-10.
Karen Hamilton (Lib Dem), Birmingham Perry Barr
Lib Dem hopes in this Labour-held Midlands constituency slumped to a distant second, with just 22% of the. A long-shot to win, Hamilton's weak showing typified the Lib Dems' lack of progress on the night.
2010 result: Lab 50.3%; Lib Dem 22.0%%; Con 21.3%
Mark Harper (Con), Forest of Dean
Having qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG in 1995, Harper joined Intel in 2002. He then set up his own chartered accountancy practice and was elected in 2005. He moved to the Tory work and pensions team in the 2007 reshuffle.
David Heathcoat-Amory (Con), Wells
Heathcoat-Amory trained with Price Waterhouse. A fellow of the ICAEW, he was assistant director of finance of the British Technology Group from 1980-83. He was re-elected in 2005 and served on the Treasury Select Committee.
Mark Hoban (Con), Fareham
Mark Hoban qualified as a chartered accountant within a firm that became part of PwC and worked there until he was elected MP for Fareham in 2001. He increased his majority in 2005 and was appointed shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury.
Michael Holly (Con), Heywood and Middleton
Holly trained as a chartered accountant and became a senior partner in in the Manchester office of a large, international accountancy before leaving in March 2005. A councillor for Rochdale, he has served on its performance scrutiny and audit committees.
Ian Jackson (Lib Dem), Lichfield
An accountant working in the distribution industry, Jackson has been a Litchfield District councillor since 2003 and for the past three years has led the council’s Lib-Dem/Alliance coalition group. He stood for Lichfield in 2005.
Meirion Jenkins (Con), Birmingham Yardley
After training as an accountant with Austin Rover in Longbridge, Jenkins moved into the software industry and set up his own company, which he sold in 2003. Jenkins continues to work in the industry as a company director
Satnam Kaur Khalsa (Lib Dem), Hayes & Harlington
Kaur is a qualified accountant who works as an auditor for a local authority and voluntary treasurer of the Hounslow Community Farming Association. She came third for the Lib Dems in the nearby Feltham and Heston constituency in 2005.
Jeremy Lefroy (Con), Stafford
The candidate for this Tory target marginal is a qualified chartered accountant who started his career in a Ford engine plant. While in East Africa during 1989-2000, he helped to found the Tanzania Coffee Association and works with farmers there from Staffordshire.
Karen Lumley (Con), Redditch
The Tory candidate for former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s marginal Redditch constituency is a "Worcester Woman" who may have a direct say in the election result. A former accountancy trainee with Ford, the housewife politician came a close second in 2005.
Sarah McCarthy-Fry (Lab), Portsmouth North
McCarthy-Fry qualified as a chartered management accountant with GKN Westland. After holding junior ministerial posts for schools and local authorities, she recently she was appointed Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury.
Tim McKay (Lib Dem), Edinburgh South West
McKay qualified for ICAS while working at Coopers & Lybrand in 1984. After a stint in asset management, he became a lecturer at Napier University. A convenor of two Edinburgh council committees, McKay is challenging Chancellor Alistair Darling for his seat.
Nigel Mills (Con), Amber Valley
Mills qualified as a chartered accountant in 1999 and works as an international tax adviser to large and small businesses. As an Amber Valley Borough councillor, he chairs the scrutiny committee and serves on its governance and audit board.
Michael Moore, (Lib Dem), Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk
Michael Moore qualified with Coopers & Lybrand in Edinburgh. Following Sir David Steel's retirement, Moore won the expanded Ettrick and Lauderdale seat in 1997 and increased his majority in the 2005 election.
David Mowat (Con), Warrington South
Mowat is a high flyer who joined Accenture after qualifying as a chartered accountant. He became the consultancy’s youngest UK partner in 1989 and rose to global managing partner. He also served as a borough councillor in Cheshire during 2007-09.
Gary Mulvaney (Con), Argyll and Bute
Mulvaney is a an ACCA fellow and has worked in local government, marketing and the motor trade. He is currently principal of a Helensburgh motor dealer, having previously worked as its finance director. He has been a local councillor since 2003.
David Reeves (Lab), Mid Bedfordshire
A Territorial Army reservist who served in Iraq during 2003, Reeves now has a quieter occupation as an accountant for Imperial College University. He also worked for Al Gore’s unsuccessful campaign for US president in 2000.
Bruce Roberts (Lib Dem), Clwyd South
An accountancy practitioner serving local businesses, Roberts has served as a school governor in two local schools, chairing one for many years. He is also a member of the Board of Governors at Glyndwr University.
James Rushton (Con), Stoke-on-Trent South
Accountant and business advisor Rushton works in the Stoke-on-Trent office of a large, regional accountancy firm. He is a school governor and is involved with a charity that provides sailing opportunities to people who live with a disability.
Geoffrey Seeff (Lib Dem), Chingford & Woodford Green
A chartered accountant-turned-urban regeneration consultant, Seeff is challenging former Conservative party leader Iain Duncan-Smith for his seat. He has specialised in urban development since working at the DOE on secondment from BDO Stoy Hayward.
Alok Sharma (Con), Reading West
Sharma, a qualified chartered accountant, has worked on a factory production line, been a company auditor, tutored university students, run a business and advised other companies.
Naomi Smith (Lib Dem), Cities of London & Westminster
The head of research for CIMA lived in Northern Ireland between the ages of 10 and 18 and was selected for Arthur Andersen’s graduate programme. She then worked in Deloitte’s tax department and HSBC in Hong Kong before joining CIMA.
Ian Swales (Lib Dem), Redcar
Consultant and management trainer Swales is a qualified chemical engineer and ACCA accountant who worked for Yorkshire Electricity and ICI. After becoming head of leadership development for the chemical giant, he started his own consultancy in 1999.
Deborah Thomas (Con), Twickenham
After attending Cambridge University, Thomas qualified as a chartered accountant with PwC. She now works for advertising group AMV. She came third in Birmingham Hodge Hill in the 2005 general election, but is up against sitting MP and Lib Dem shadow chancellor Vince Cable.
Julian Tisi (Lib Dem), Windsor
Currently a finance manager for Centrica, Tisi trained as an accountant at a small practice in Essex. He subsequently went to work for PwC in Guernsey and Barbados. This election will be his first outing as a Parliamentary candidate.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Con), Berwick-upon-Tweed
Trevelyan qualified as a chartered accountant with Price Waterhouse in London and worked in PwC’s corporate finance department before moving to Northumberland in 1996.
Elizabeth Truss (Con), South West Norfolk
A qualified management accountant, Truss has worked for ten years as a commercial manager and economics direct in the energy and telecommunications industry. After coming second in Calder Valley in 2005, she has a good chance of winning this time.
Mike Weatherley (Con), Hove & Porslade
Weatherley is a qualified chartered management accountant and chartered marketeer. He was previously part owner of Cash Based in Newhaven, and a financial controller for Pete Waterman and is currently finance VP for a film licensing company.
Alex Williams (Con), Stretford and Urmston
Williams qualified as a chartered accountant in 2001 and works for a large professional services firm in Manchester. He has served on Trafford council since 2003; as the current deputy leader Williams is a good outside bet for a surprise victory.
How they fared - 2010 election results
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