The Grand Harbour Hotel, Southampton welcomed 170 of the south’s ICAEW chartered accountants, their guests and fellow professionals, for the Southern Society of Chartered Accountants’ (SOSCA) annual dinner.

Highlights of the evening included a welcome by this year’s SOSCA president, Richard Cartwright, a prize giving for young accountants in ICAEW’s Southern district who passed their exams during 2016, a talk by TV finance commentator, Justin Urquhart Stewart, a charity auction and raffle.

Richard Cartwright spoke about SOSCA’s role in helping to develop a strong local economy and its work in developing partnerships with Southampton Business School, the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Business Alliance and Business South. He added that SOSCA is doing more than ever to support ICAEW members, and flagged up the need for financial education for all.

Justin Urquhart Stewart painted a very positive picture of many of the world’s economies and reminded the audience that the UK is the world’s fifth biggest economy, eighth biggest manufacturer and third largest recipient of inward investment. What is important is to maintain confidence going forward and ICAEW chartered accountants have their part to play.

Hilary Lindsay, ICAEW president then introduced Professor Martin Broad, head of Southampton Business School, who presented awards to the trainee accountants who were top scorers in their exams in the past year.

They were Stuart Hayward, Rebecca Bently and Antoni Gomez of KPMG and How Yan Chin of EY, July 2016, and Abigail Rutherford of Smith & Williamson, Richard Owen of PKF Francis Clark. Abigail Rutherford also achieved the highest overall score in the south for her exams and received the Annual Order of Merit 2016.

As chairman of SOSCA’s charity of the year, Team Solent Sharks Wheelchair Rugby Club, Paralympian gold medallist Peter Hull MBE, talked about the sport, his own journey from world-class swimming to the emerging sport of wheelchair rugby and his role in supporting disability sport in Hampshire and Southampton over several decades.

The charity auction and raffle raised approximately £2,500 towards another sports wheelchair for the club, as it launches its youth team in what is an exciting highly competitive mixed gender sport.

Andrew Edmonds, managing partner of Smith & Williamson LLP was the highest auction bidder, buying a wheelchair rugby-based away day for his team.

The main sponsor of the night was CMA Recruitment Group, and other sponsors were Independent Financial Solutions, Southampton Business School, the Grand Harbour Hotel and the organisers, Richard Cartwright and Rachel Monk, southern ICAEW regional executive.