MACPA members account for only about 1 percent of CPAs worldwide, but their influence is far greater.

Each year, Accounting Today publishes its list of the 100 most influential people in accounting. This year, five exceptional MACPA members made the cut.

Lyle Benson is president and founder of L.K. Benson & Company. An MACPA member since his licensure in 1982, Lyle has served the MACPA and the AICPA for several years. After serving on the MACPA Personal Financial Planning Committee for many years, he joined the AICPA PFP Executive Committee, where he now serves as chair.

Wayne Berson is CEO of BDO USA, LLP, and chair of the Global Board of Directors of BDO International, Ltd. An MACPA member since 1991, Wayne served early in his career on the association’s Business Valuation and Litigation Services Committee. He recently served on the Appeal Bonds Task Force (http://www.macpa.org/blog/4535/maryland-s-2015-legislative-victories-underscore-the-value-of-associations) that scored a major victory for Maryland business last year. Through a series of well orchestrated mergers, Berson is on track to make BDO only the seventh firm in the country with more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

Ed Karl is vice president of taxation at the AICPA and a member of MACPA since 1977, the year he became a CPA. In his role, Ed is responsible for the review, formulation, and  submission to Congress, the Treasury Department, and the Internal Revenue Service of technical and policy recommendations. He also serves as the principal liaison for the AICPA with the Internal Revenue Service. The profession relies on Ed to keep CPAs ahead of the ever-growing tax code.

Jody Padar is CEO and principal of New Vision CPA Group in Chicago, Ill. Though Jody is an Illinois CPA, she has maintained membership with the MACPA since 2012. Her book, The Radical CPA: New Rules for the Future Ready Firm, lays out a blueprint for what she calls the “new firm.” After taking over her father’s firm four years ago, she has become one of the profession’s emerging thought leaders in all things social and cloud.

Last but not least, our own visionary leader, Tom Hood, makes the list again. As Accounting Today remarked, “His greatest attribute isn’t that he consistently  glimpses into the future more quickly than the rest of us (though he does). It’s that he’s able to bring it back to the present and serve as its tireless, inspiring and effective champion.” I’ll add that he isn’t just the tireless, inspiring and effective champion for the future of the profession, but for the MACPA’s staff and members as well. Also worth noting, Tom ranked No. 2 on Accounting Today’s list, just below AICPA CEO Barry Melancon. 

Each influencer was asked by Accounting Today, “What is the most important issue currently facing the accounting profession?” Here’s what the MACPA’s influential members had to say:

  • Benson: “As specialization continues to grow in the accounting profession, we need to provide resources, career paths and opportunities to the next generation of CPA firm / practice leadership in these areas. Personal financial planning is a perfect example of this. CPAs are the thought leaders in the financial planning profession, and we need to continue to raise the visibility and bring the next generation into this area.”
     
  • Berson: “Accounting, like all professional services, is a people business. Any firm is only as good as the professionals it recruits, trains and retains. As the U.S. economy is improving, the battle for talent will continue to intensify as we seek the best and brightest professionals to help us achieve our growth goals.”
     
  • Karl: “IRS service levels! The IRS says it has insufficient funds to assist taxpayers and practitioners, and IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says its service levels are ‘abysmal.’ Congress believes the IRS acts inefficiently, and in some cases, inappropriately, and has significantly slashed the IRS’s budget to pre-2009 levels. And the news is not getting any better for the IRS as the House Appropriations Committee recently approved a FY 1016 IRS budget that would fund the agency at 7.7 percent below its FY 2015 level. There is no question regarding the ‘disease’ – abysmal service – but there is a huge divide regarding the cure! An objective and transparent solution that results in the service levels that the taxpaying public, practitioners and, indeed, Congress and IRS would expect, must be found.”
     
  • Padar: “Changing to adapt to the world around them. The world has changed, the way we do business has changed, our customers want to interact differently with their CPAs, and yet most CPAs have not changed to meet today’s consumers’ needs. They feel the change and they know they need to do something, yet they have not started on the journey to remain relevant. Technology has become the core of today’s ‘New Firm,’ yet too many CPAs think only about it terms of efficiencies, instead of a new way to define and serve under new business model. As a result, they are losing top talent because the ways people want to work are dramatically changing.”
     
  • Hood: “The need to get out of our box(es), start looking forward and learning how to be proactive. All of the major issues facing the professio — like succession planning, generations, adding value, and adopting technology — we should have seen coming based on the ‘hard trends’ of demographics, technology, and government regulations. The good news is that being proactive and anticipating future trends is a skill accountants and CPAs can learn, and it will benefit their firms, clients, and organizations they work for.”
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