The finalists and winners have been selected by an independent panel of judges: Moklasz vice president Andrea Rabb, Responsible Investor senior reporter Carlos Martin Tornero, The World Bank financial management specialist John Ogallo Senior, FAC immediate past president Olivia Kirtley
Abraham Briloff award for extraordinary contribution in promoting transparency and public accountability (editor’s choice)
Winner: Prem Sikka
This year’s editor award is named after Abraham Briloff a qualified USA accountant and accountancy professor who would have been 100 this year. Abe, as he was affectionately known, 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.
As such this year’s editor’s award sought to recognise 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.
And this year’s winner is an emeritus professor of accounting at the University of Essex Prem Sikka, 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, he 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.
Accountancy Software of the Year
Inflo is a secure cloud-based software platform conceived by accountants for accountants. It automates processes to offer new ways of using analytical data techniques to achieve the same assurance or advisory objectives.
Jurors highlighted the software’s innovative, simplicity and efficiency attributes. And described it as a true game changer enabling client interface, efficiencies and analytics without need for large capital investments.
Advisory Project of the Year
Winner: SKP Business Consulting (Nexia International)
SKP Business Consulting (Nexia International) was rewarded for the services provided to an Israeli company entering the Indian market, This involved helping their clients from location planning to on-the-ground assistance in setting up their factory. Jurors praised the integrated solution delivered to the client at excellent level.
Association of the Year
Praxity is no stranger to The Accountant & International Accounting Bulletin awards nor to the category of Association of the year as it has already won it three times in the past. This year, once again, jurors praised this association for their outstanding progress, support and knowledge sharing on a global level.
Audit Innovation of the Year
Winner: PwC's GL.ai
PwC's GL.ai is an innovation made of algorithms. It analyses billions of data points in milliseconds and applies judgment to detect anomalies in the general ledger.
Jurors have been impressed with the way this innovation integrates artificial intelligence to revolutionize risk based approach in auditing. Although it is still at a pilot phase, the combination of technology with auditor expertise and experience has the potential to exceed the abilities of both individually, and bring the audit into the next stage of digitalisation.
Communication Campaign of the Year – Professional Bodies
Winner: Accountancy Europe for its rebranding campaign
The campaign rewarded in this category was a rebranding exercise which jurors described as an effective communication strategy reinforced by the use of eye-catching visuals. But beyond a change in logo and name the rebranding addressed a change in strategy, which engaged the organisation’s members, team and board. One juror said that it contributed to heightening the profession in Europe.
Communication Campaign of the Year – Networks & Associations
Winner: MSI Global Alliance's MSI Month
Jurors rewarded MSI Global Alliance’s internal marketing campaign which offered an opportunity for member firms to engage with the association’s newly launched brand and increase awareness with the benefits of the membership. Jurors described it as a well-structured campaign with a great success, increasing brand awareness and rising knowledge of its scope and capabilities.
Communication Campaign of the Year – Single Firms
Winner: Green Hasson Janks's #BeMore
Green Hasson Janks's #BeMore is a communication campaign which aimed to achieve a more life balance for accountants. Using the communications channels well the campaign focused on communicating to employee how they can be more both professionally and personally. Jurors described it as a well messaged campaign both internally and externally.
Employer of the Year
Winner: Grant Thornton
Grant Thornton is recognised in the market for its particular focus in the last few years on its employees both at member firm level and at global level. Grant Thornton has embedded in its 2020 strategy the objectives of being the most recommended firm not only for clients but also by its people. It aims to achieve this through a number of initiatives but in particular through transformational leadership and what it refers to as “people experience” which aims to put people at the heart of everything it does. Jurors described the submission as simply outstanding.
Network of the Year
RSM came very close to taking the prize last year, and therefore it is of little surprise that they caught the jurors’ eye this year again. Continuing on strong achievements following its successful global rebranding RSM impressed jurors with its strong achievements over the last two years which resulted in a stronger, better position and a much more understood alliance. Jurors praised RSM for its ability to strengthen its basic foundation and at the same time build on new areas and projects.
Professional Body of the year
Winner: Institute of Management Accountants
The Institute of Management Accountants managed to face professional challenges and competition from other professional bodies in 2016 by focusing on its core values. One juror noted the professional body's constant encouragement of its members for professional education. The introduction of campaigns and specific certification helped the professional body reached a record 90,000 members, its highest membership in the last 35 years.
Rising Star Association of the Year
Winner: MSI Global Alliance
MSI Global Alliance is rewarded for the successful implementation and ripping the benefits of a strategy which was launched in 2015. The strategy focused on marketing, growth, member services and creating greater cohesiveness between members and the global association. Jurors praised progress made on all four fronts and the overall success of the strategy.
Sustainability Champion of the Year
Winner: CPA Canada
CPA Canada made a concerted effort in the past year to help organisations integrate environmental and social issues into strategic planning and financial decision making. Jurors praised CPA Canada for its remarkable voice and reach and a very comprehensive sustainability strategy that encompasses community outreach, equality, employee welfare and the environment.
Thought Leadership Initiative of the year: Professional bodies
Winner: CPA Canada's Financial Literacy Program
Through its dedicated Financial Literacy Program CPA Canada provides education, workshops (on more than 35 topics), seminars, books for specific audiences such as seniors, adults, students, entrepreneurs or newcomers.
Through this program one juror said CPA Canada contributes a great deal to enhancing financial knowledge which is of vital interest. Another juror praised the impact of the program and its responsiveness with customized content for unique circumstances
Thought Leadership Initiative of the year: Firms, Associations, Networks
Winner: Grant Thornton's Women in Business
Grant Thornton was rewarded for choosing to tackle a very actual issue, gender equality. Grant Thornton issues annually a report which showcases the role of women in senior corporate roles and the path to better gender diversity. It highlights very vital outcomes for more gender-balanced senior leadership teams. One juror described the media coverage generated as outstanding (almost excellent).
The following three categories were voted by a selection of individual and organisational stakeholders. (Each organisation cast one vote).
Young Accountant of the Year
Winner: Sanaa Moussaid
This was the most contested category and the Sanaa Moussaid took the lead by a margin of two votes. Moussaid is the founding and sole partner of audit and accounting firm MSSO Audit Conseil Expertise. Besides her work with her firm Moussaid is involved in the French professional body where she chairs since December 2016 the Paris branch’s committee for women and since March 2017 the national committee for digital transition.
Personality of the Year
Winner: Deepti Ahuja
Deepti Ahuja won with 62.5% of the votes. Ahuja joined her firm at an entry level position and worked herself up to senior partner and vice president – global sales business advisory indirect tax and transfer pricing. After making partner Ahuja built the firm advisory department growing it in short span from 0 to 60 people.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Winner: Edward ‘Ed’ Nusbaum
Another clear victory in this category with Edward Nusbaum taking 56% of the votes. The lifetime achievement award is only more fitting due to the fact that Nusbaum will retire at the end of the year after 8 years at the helm of Grant Thornton International. Under his tenure the network has grown by 33% in global revenue and 55% in global headcount. Equally the network membership grew by 26% and the number of offices rose from 529 to 733.