As a Lecturer in Accounting, what specific areas of the profession and role motivate/fascinate you the most?
The interdisciplinarity of accounting. Engaging with numbers, and behind the numbers, through a critical lens. Also, application of diverse theories and philosophical approaches to the area of accounting - Marx through Foucault to Bourdieu. This allows you to be engaged with the vital ingredients of society, such as accountability, transparency, stakeholder engagement, public sector reforms and social emancipation.
Who or what inspired you to get into education and lecturing?
My dad and the quest for knowledge. I discovered I wanted to be an academic early on.
You are an Executive member of the British Accounting & Finance Association; tell us more about how you came to be involved and why it's important to you?
As with every discipline or practice, there is often a professional body that runs its affairs to foster progress. The British Accounting & Finance Association is one of such. I sit on the executive steering committee of its special interest group on Corporate Governance, which is my main research stream hence my association with them.
What areas of research are you reading about right now that excite you / or that you are involved in?
Interestingly, I am reading about two diametrically opposed research areas: transparency of the art world and governing prisons in Africa.
Your previous published works and academic articles have often looked at Africa and it's trading relationships with other nations, such as the piece in The Conversation comparing trade deals between China and the UK, and those between Africa and China and the rest of the world. In this current agitated political climate among a number of international territories (e.g. US and North Korea, The UK with Brexit), do you think Africa stands to benefit or lose-out from such fall-outs?
I view Africa benefiting if it strategically positions itself well. There is little to lose as there isn’t much on the table already. This notwithstanding, Africa could do with thinking about its competitiveness and what it brings to the Commonwealth. That can invariably cement mutual robust trade deals with Britain and the rest of Europe. If fresh flowers, which are perishable, travel through a decent supply chain from Kenya to the Netherlands, then why can’t Africa become the leading exporter of organic grown foods in Europe?
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to enhance their understanding of corporate ethics and social responsibility?
Engaging more in literature and practice.
Finally, alumni and students alike will be fascinated by your travels around the world, such as your recent work in Ghana. What have you found most satisfying about these trips and what advice do you have for aspiring lecturers and researchers in this regard?
Well, research is dear to my heart. Through these trips, I engage with diverse stakeholders such as high level politicians, NGOs, CSOs, citizenry, and the expatriate community living and working in Africa. This broadens my knowledge and enhances my research quality, output and impact. Academia, like other professions, has its highs and lows, but with the right level of passion and zeal for it – you are bound to excel!
Whether it's to find out more about Sharif's research interests, gain his advice on future study or ask about his career here at SUMS, please contact the Alumni Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.