Finnish Congress Heroes: EAA 2023 Espoo


The 45th Annual Congress of the European Accounting Association

We had the privilege of speaking to Seppo Ikäheimo, Chair of the EAA 2023 Organizing Committee, about the highly anticipated EAA Congress and its host destination, Espoo, Finland.

How was the congress?

Seppo Ikäheimo, Chair of the Organizing Committee:
The congress was a success. The Finnish local context was very much present in the congress as we treated the delegates with local food like fish, vegetables and reindeer sausage. 

One of the most popular extracurricular activities was a hiking trip to Nuuksio National Park, located in Espoo. The delegates were exposed to a unique experience of being so close to the city centre, while at the same time being in the Finnish nature around a campfire, eating salmon soup. Such opportunities for informal interactions and shared experiences play a pivotal role in fostering connections among the scientific community. Though, as a 60-year-old professor I don’t recommend singing karaoke till the morning hours with the students, Ikäheimo chuckles.  

Annalisa Prencipe, President of the European Accounting Association: 
"It’s the  first time for me in Finland and I have been captured by the beauties of this country. All the arrangements were well planned, and everything worked seamlessly from the facilities and technical aspects to the special activities and the gala dinner." 

Credits: EAA, Seppo Ikäheimo

How would you describe Espoo and Finland as a congress destination?

Finland is a very nice country to host scientific congresses due to several reasons. The most appealing factor is that everything works well in Finland. We follow our schedules, we trust people, public transport works perfectly, there’s clean food, and clean air. 

As a city Espoo radiates a positive atmosphere around academic research and innovational activities. Espoo is known for being a hub of know-how, research and development. It also is the most sustainable city in Europe according to studies that measure economical, ecological and social development. Sustainability is one of the main criteria according to which EAA chooses its congress locations. 

Annalisa Prencipe, EAA: 
"I was impressed about not only the beauty of the country but also how inclusive it is. People are very welcoming, and everyone speaks English which helps with communicating. Also, the delegates shared a feeling of safety in Finland. You feel safe touring around in Finland even at nighttime."

Credits: EAA

Could you describe how sustainability and social legacy of the congress were considered?

In terms of environmental sustainability, all the lunches featured vegetarian options, while the usage of plastic was minimized in favour of recyclable materials. The congress embraced a nearly paperless approach, with research papers made available electronically, showcasing the positive impact of digitalization on sustainability. In all aspects of planning the congress, we tried to be mindful of sustainability and efficient in the way we use resources.

The social aspect was also considered. Significantly reduced prices were offered to Ph.D. students, enabling their active participation. Furthermore, a group of 25 international students from various universities assisted in organizing the congress. I believe our students had a really good time and gained relevant work-life experience – they were also invited to the gala dinner and got to network with the delegates.

One aspect about sustainability that is often overlooked is the fact that many research papers presented in the symposium focused on sustainability topics. As researchers in accounting, we are contributing a lot to the regulation of sustainability reporting. Our mission is to contribute to a more sustainable world with research and intellectual contributions.

Credits: EAA

Background on the EAA Congress

The EAA Congress holds a distinguished position as the flagship scientific event of the European Accounting Association. The congress was supposed to be held in 2021 but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Covid-19 changed the way EAA organizes most of its events, however, the EAA annual congress is one of the few events that is organized live. The EAA Congress not only provides a platform for discussing research papers, accounting as a discipline and accounting topics, but also fosters networking, camaraderie and the enjoyment among the scientific community.

Professor Ikäheimo hosted the EAA annual congress for the first time in 1993 – it’s fair to say that he knows a thing or two about hosting scientific conferences.

Annalisa Prencipe, President of the European Accounting Association and Seppo Ikäheimo, Chair of the Organizing Committee, EAA 2023
Credits: EAA, Seppo Ikäheimo

EAA 2023 in Espoo

• The Annual Congress of the European Accounting Association
• 23-26 May 2023
• Organiser: Aalto University School of Business
• Participants: Over 1300 
• Watch the video from the conference. 

• 300 000 residents
• City known as a hub of know-how, research, and development.
• Espoo is the most sustainable city in Europe according to studies that measure economical, ecological, and social development.
• Aalto University: six dynamic schools combining science and art with technology and business.
Visit Espoo Convention Bureau: free of charge services for congress organizers. 

Credits: EAA