Students Staff

16 April 2014

Lifetime Achievement Award for Essex expert who fights for financial sector reform

Professor Prem Sikka

Professor Prem Sikka.

Accountancy expert Professor Prem Sikka has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Accounting and Finance Association (BAFA). The award recognises his distinguished service to the accounting academy.

Professor Sikka, of Essex Business School, has already received, in 2006, the Accounting Exemplar Award from the American Accounting Association (AAA), and is now the only living UK academic to receive these awards from the American and British academies.

The award, presented last night in London, is only given to individuals who have made a substantial and direct contribution through research, teaching and/or public service to UK academic accounting and finance over the course of their careers.

Professor Sikka, who joined the University of Essex as Professor of Accounting in 1996, said: "The recurring theme in my research and teaching is that accounting is a moral and political practice rather than some dry technical phenomena.

“It matters because it has serious consequences, as recent debates about tax avoidance and banking crash have once again vividly demonstrated. I have always believed that academics should stimulate public debates and have been very fortunate to have been able to communicate with mass audiences through the popular media".

Professor Sikka has been called upon to give evidence to and advise parliamentary committees and regularly features in national broadcast and print media debating the need for financial sector reform.

He has also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Amity Business School in India (2004); a Working for Justice Award from Tax Justice Network (2008); and a Lifetime Achievement Award from PQ Magazine (2009). In 2010 Accounting Age listed Professor Sikka as one of 50 most influential people in the “Financial power list 2010: Where the power lies”.

Describing Professor Sikka’s “distinguished and very full career”, President of BAFA, Professor Jeffrey Unerman, said: “Prem has published about 60 academic papers, numerous book chapters and monographs, and media articles. He has appeared numerous times on radio and television in the UK and abroad. To those outside the academy he may be the most recognized accounting academic.”
Professor Unerman also highlighted that in 2003, Professor Sikka co-founded the Tax Justice Network, which now has worldwide branches and about 90,000 activists. In 2011, he won a five and half year freedom of information legal battle in which he represented himself against HM Treasury and the Information Commissioner to secure information about the frauds at the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). This case changed the operation of Freedom of Information in the UK.


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