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Profile of a Chartered Accountant in Industry – Keith Scott FCA, Business Performance Manager, NI Water

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Keith Scott FCA- NI Water

Keith Scott FCA

Anyone interested in a career in finance will know that Chartered Accountancy is Ireland’s most recognised accountancy qualification and sets up our members for challenging and rewarding careers in business. For an insight into the type of roles held by our members, we re-publish a profile of Keith Scott FCA which recently appeared in Ulster Business magazine. In this article Keith discusses his career path, becoming a Chartered Accountant and his current role in Northern Ireland Water. We acknowledge and thank Ulster Business magazine for their permission to re-publish this article here.

What is your current role and why does it appeal to you?

I am the Business Performance Manager at Northern Ireland Water (NI Water). The primary focus of the role is reporting performance against our Business Plans, internally to the Executive Committee and the Board, and externally to our Stakeholders. I have recently been working on the redesign of our key performance indicators for the Price Control 2013 period (2013-2015). Other aspects of the role include major incident and business continuity planning, corporate governance, internal investigations, and the delivery of in-house training on economic regulation. One of the areas which appeals to me is seeing how the Business Plans are delivered and being able to frame how that performance is communicated. We recently completed our three year (PC10) Business Planning period which saw further improvements in our comparative efficiencies and levels of service when compared against our comparator group in the rest of the UK.

How did you choose this career field and what has been your path?

Having initially completed an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and Management Science at The University of Stirling, I enrolled on the Post Graduate Diploma in Accounting at the Ulster Business School. This provided a robust grounding for undertaking a professional accountancy qualification and I can’t recommend this course strongly enough. It is specifically designed for students from non-relevant degrees and provides the same exemption as an accountancy degree. I decided to train as a Chartered Accountant with ASM, a mid-sized practice in Belfast. This provided a broad exposure to the audit of private and public sector organisations, along with experience in taxation and economic appraisals. I also completed the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditing (UK and Ireland) qualification while at ASM. I joined NI Water Service in 2006, one year before transformation to a Government Owned Company. This was a very busy period which saw the introduction of new legislation, a Regulatory Licence and the establishment of an Economic Regulator for water. I relocated to Bermuda in 2008 to work in offshore investment funds for two years. This provided exposure to other forms of regulation and involved servicing a client base across North America and Europe. It also offered the opportunity to undertake the Chartered Financial Analyst qualification.

Can you provide us with an example of a challenge which you have dealt with in your current role?

The reclassification of NI Water’s status to a Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) following the deferral of domestic water and sewerage charges resulted in the need to review the corporate governance arrangements. This involved combining the private and public sector governance codes into a new governing document with our sole Shareholder, the Department for Regional Development.Operating within the two codes makes NI Water unique within the UK water sector.”

(C) Ulster Business magazine 2013

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