Accounting professor Prem Sikka will receive a special editor’s award from The Accountant and International Accounting Bulletin at a one-day conference and awards dinner in London on 4 October – The Digital Accountancy Forum & Awards 2017.
Sikka is emeritus professor of accounting at the University of Essex, which he joined in 1996. Before then he worked at the University of East London between 1979 and 1996. He qualified with ACCA in 1977 and held various accounting positions in industry and commerce before committing to a career to academia.
In 2003, Sikka helped the launch of the Tax Justice Network and is now one of its senior advisers (unpaid). He has advised and given evidence to the EU and UK parliamentary committees. Most recently, he was an adviser to the UK House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee for its investigation into BHS and related pension matters. His research on accountancy, auditing, corporate governance, money laundering, insolvency and business affairs has been published in books, international journals, newspapers and magazines.
Sikka will be awarded the Abraham Briloff award for extraordinary contribution in promoting transparency and public accountability of businesses.
This special award recognises the work of an individual who has sought to improve transparency and accountability by asking the hard questions and questioning the dominant apparatus of truth, recognising that accountancy goes beyond debit and credit to subsume a broad canvas of disciplines involving the liberal arts and sciences. This recognises that accounting is a moral and political practice rather than a technical one.
The award is named after Abraham Briloff (19 July 1917 –12 December 2013) who would have been 100 this year. Abe, as he was affectionately known, was a professionally qualified USA accountant and accountancy professor who gained fame through his prolific writing and fierce criticism of malpractice within the profession. Briloff called upon the profession to act ethically and argued that in return for enormous social privileges and status, it must have a genuine commitment to society and be able to “see beyond the numbers” as he told The Accountant in an interview in 2013 a few months before his death.
Prem Sikka said: “It is an honour to receive this award, especially as it named after Abe.”
The Accountant and International Accounting Bulletin editor Vincent Huck said: “No one other than Prem Sikka fits the bill better to receive an award named after Abraham Briloff. Not only do they share a common set of ideas, but they have the same insatiable drive and passion in promoting them. The accountancy profession and professionals often boast of occupying a moral high ground and claim that they act in the ‘public interest’, but such claims are now increasingly met with public scepticism.
“Rather than addressing the criticism, professionals have often been too quick to dismiss it, even when it comes from their own ranks. The profession needs to nurture its critics as, ultimately, a profession is only as good as its critics.”
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