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Unconventional outspokenness is the characteristic that has been widely honoured for the last two years in the Accountancy Age Personality of the Year Award, the headline accolade of the awards ceremony.

The Accountancy Age Personality of the Year Award is presented to individuals who have contributed most to the profession. It can be someone like Anne Redston, who won last year’s award for her unstinting campaigning against the controversial IR35, or Paul van Buitenen, who highlighted financial irregularities at the European Parliament.

The editorial team at Accountancy Age will over the coming weeks put their heads together to come up with this year’s shortlist. But readers will then be the ones to decide who gets the ultimate award in 2001. Voting will also be available online at AccountancyAge.com.

In a closely contested battle against high profile personalities like former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission Arthur Levitt and ICAEW deputy president Peter Wyman, Redston came out top to bag the award.

Redston, an Ernst & Young partner who led the Chartered Institute of Taxation’s protests, made a leading contribution to the debate and to behind-the-scenes discussions, both in other business groups and the government, on the issue.

She earned praise for her reasoned and diplomatic approach, and is a well-established writer on IR35 and other personal tax issues.

Spats with the government aside, this year’s winners will have to display similar professionalism and audacity to be in with a chance of winning.

So who can we expect to see in this year’s shortlist’ City regulators like Richard Sykes QC, head of the Financial Reporting Council; and Howard Davies, head of the Financial Services Authority, could get a look in for their efforts to make regulation more proactive.

There are many more to choose from. Look out for the final shortlist. Voting forms will appear in Accountancy Age next month.

For details on how to enter, awards sponsorship or to book a table, please visit our special website at www.accountancyage.com/awards call 020 7316 92762 or email awards@accountancyage.com

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