NHS Wales Finance leader wins ACCA Award after overcoming leaving School with No Qualifications

NHS Wales assistant director Tim Kelland has been named ACCA UK Advocate of the Year 2020 for championing the organisation and inspiring young people with his incredible journey to success.

Tim, from Pontypridd, joined the NHS in Cardiff in the post room at the Mid Glamorgan Health Authority 36 years ago, after failing all his exams at Coed-y-Lan Comprehensive School, where his father John was Deputy Head.

His academic struggles had left him with no confidence, and he did not believe he could attain any professional qualifications until 1999, when a senior NHS manager persuaded him to study to become a qualified accountant with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

Eight years later, he had qualified and even become a Fellow of the organisation. He was so grateful for the opportunities that becoming a qualified finance professional presented, that Tim has spent decades mentoring younger members of staff in the NHS and promoting ACCA to future students.

Tim says: ‘The only way I feel I can pay the people back who have supported me, and to repay the ACCA organisation, is to promote the qualification to the next generation of students.

‘I love telling students about my journey, how a boy with no qualifications was inspired, and how the ACCA has made me the person I am today.’

As assistant director of NHS Wales’ Finance Delivery Unit, based in Pencoed, Tim now has responsibility for some pivotal projects that keep the NHS operating efficiently.

In recent times, he led the project developing a stock control system to ensure the NHS in Wales had enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff tackling the global pandemic.

The ACCA advocacy award, which is now in its fourth year, is given to an ACCA member who has gone above and beyond to champion the professional body across categories such as inspiring the next generation, developing future members and promoting inclusion.

The judges were particularly impressed by Tim’s advocacy over the long term including:

  • Single-handedly establishing the annual Wales ACCA Healthcare conference and taking a personal and active involvement in developing the programme for the event
  • Input and support for ACCA’s selection as the accountancy qualification of choice for the
  • NHS Wales Graduate Training Scheme and taking an active involvement in recruitment and ongoing support of students
  • Being a registered mentor with NHS Wales Finance Academy
  • Providing support to the ACCA Wales office, as a member of the ACCA UK Health Sector Member Network Panel.

After receiving the award, Tim said: ‘I am so grateful to the ACCA for recognising my work by awarding me this prestigious award. Prior to me commencing the qualification my academic record was poor, and I had little confidence in my own ability.

‘Passing all the exams and joining the ACCA family transformed my life. The qualification has created a number of work opportunities and allowed me to have a really successful career in NHS Wales, and at long last, I have achieved something that has made my dad proud of me.

‘I am grateful to so many people for getting me to where I am today, but I could not have achieved the success I have without the support of my wife Marianne. She has been my rock. I will always continue to promote the great work of the ACCA and take great pleasure in telling new students about my ACCA journey, and the positive impact it has had on my life.’

Claire Bennison, head of ACCA UK, said: ‘Tim is an example of the opportunity that exists in the accountancy profession for those who fall outside a more traditional career model of school to university. I am delighted he has been recognised for his invaluable contribution to help the next generation feel inspired and confident about their own potential.’

Professor Alan Brace,  Director of Finance, Finance Directorate, Health and Social Services Group, Welsh Government & Honorary Professor Swansea University School of Management, said: ‘The strength of the accountancy profession in NHS Wales is built on people and Tim is not only a key part of those foundations but also epitomises what a real professional should be.

‘When people mention what’s good about NHS Finance in Wales, they usually also mention Tim.’

Tim’s boss Hywel Jones, Director, Finance Delivery Unit, NHS Wales, added; ‘Tim is an outstanding finance professional who is a key part of the NHS Finance Delivery Unit and the finance community within NHS Wales. He is an inspiring individual, who is extremely passionate about ensuring that the profession, organisations, and their people achieve their potential.’

Tim will now be put forward for the ACCA Advocacy Award for Europe & Americas.