The 18th CIGAR Biennial Conference and PhD Colloquium were held from 23 to 25 of June 2021, being managed remotely by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Despite the virtual format impeding the socialization that we much appreciate, the virtual colloquium and conference were highly and lively participated, like CIGAR events usually are.
Presentations and debates happened under the broad theme «Public Sector Accounting for a Sustainable Future», with about 170 participants from all over the globe.
The PhD Colloquium included 11 projects discussed by a group of over 30 participants, animated by the speeches of Sumit Lodhia (University of South Australia) and Mark Christensen (ESSEC Business School, Singapore).
In the main conference, there were 54 paper presentations, organized in 4 parallel sessions (A to D), on several topics, namely: financial reporting and standards; budgeting; non-financial reporting; auditing, transparency, and corruption; hybridity; and COVID-19 measures.
For the first time in the history of the CIGAR Network, a panel on Public Sector Accounting (PSA) Education was run, opened by an interesting dialogue on the topic between Jim Chan (one of CIGAR Network founders) and Jens Heiling (panel proposer). This panel was firstly proposed by Jens Heiling at the CIGAR Biennial Conference in 2019, who, together with Professor Jim Chan, also proposed the creation of a study group on PSA Education. This group was formed with Jens Heiling, Sotirios Karatzimas, Caroline Aggestam-Pontopiddan and Susana Jorge serving as co-conveners, and acted formally for the first time in this virtual conference.
Three keynote academics presented us with their speeches:
Ian Carruthers, Chair of the IPSASB, and John Verrinder, Head of the EPSAS Unit at Eurostat, also offered presentations on the current state of IPSAS and of the EPSAS project and matters of sustainability.
On Friday morning, a tribute was held in the memory of Olov Olson, who sadly left us recently. References to the work and life of the Professor were addressed by colleagues and close friends, namely: Chris Humphrey (University of Manchester, UK), Frode Mellemvik (Nord University, Norway), James Guthrie (Macquarie University, Australia), Giuseppe Grossi (Kristianstad University, Sweden, and Nord University). The memorial was chaired by Anatoli Bourmistrov (Nord University, Norway). This was a moving moment, where, in the conference, all remembered the legacy left by Olov Olson to public sector accounting and financial management.
At the end of the event, in the General Assembly, news about the Executive Board renewal were disclosed, with Josette Caruana (University of Malta) and Anne Stafford (University of Manchester, UK) leaving, and Nives Botica Redmayne (Massey University, NZ) and Pawan Adhikari (University of Essex, UK) joining the Board.
Many thanks and appreciation to the colleagues and friends leaving, for all their work and commitment to the Network. A big welcome to those starting now with us.
Due thanks should also be given to the conference organizers—all fellow colleagues in the Executive Board, Tjerk Budding, Josette Caruana, Sandra Cohen, Giuseppe Grossi and Anne Stafford. A special thanks to Tjerk Budding and his team at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, for all the desk and technical support.
Also, we would like to express our gratitude to Jens Heiling for taking the initiative of running the panel on PSA Education. Indeed, PSA Education is at the core of the mission of the CIGAR Network, as explicitly stated in our governance document: “… the mission of the CIGAR Network is to promote worldwide discussion and research about public sector accounting, including international comparative studies, namely through (…) the advancement of education in comparative governmental accounting.” This group certainly appears to hold a promising future in the Network, starting immediately with a mini-theme forthcoming in the PMM-CIGAR journal 2nd Edition.
Lastly, but certainly not the least, many thanks to all authors, keynote speakers and chairs, for the presentations and discussions—without you, neither the colloquium nor the conference would have been possible.
For the concluding presentation at the General Assembly at the end of the conference please click here.