I am honored to be on the 2012 Accounting Today Top 100 Most Influential People list.

Thank you Accounting Today.

I think this year’s list, more than many in the past, warrants a closer look.

The editor’s make their case in their opening, The Top 100 People: Always a work in progress.

“Because accounting is changing, growing and evolving; it’s a work in progress, and so our list has to be a work in progress, too.

As technology grows more important in accounting, we include new IT experts; as new regulatory bodies are formed, we add new regulators; as more Millennials and Gen Ys rise to positions of importance, more of them will

appear among the Top 100; as the profession explores more new specialities, we’ll add experts from those fields; and as more women and minorities (hopefully) join the profession, we’ll add more women and minorities.”

I think their perspective is on track and we should all pay attention to these changes as they form four major themes for the upcoming year:

  1. Regulatory changes
  2. Technology – social, mobile, cloud
  3. New generations of leadership (I am proud to see two of the AICPA Leadership Academy alumni in this year’s list – Donny Shimamoto & Jim Boomer)
  4. Emerging entrepeneurial small firms (A definite counter-trend to the merger-mania going on)

Take a hard look because this list is like looking into a crystal ball for the next few years.

The regulators are different and more prominent. The Top Influencers on page 56 show Mary Schapiro (SEC), James Doty (PCAOB), Douglas Shulman (IRS), Leslie Seidman (FAF), Hans Hoogervorst (IASB) and the next president in the Top 10 influencers. That is six out of ten!

Many of the new arrivals reflect the new and emerging technology providers, putting the exlamation point on IT and cloud services that are proliferating (Many were at our Innovation Summit last June!). People like Jim Boomer, Donny Shimamoto, Jim Bourke, Geni Whitehouse, Jennifer Warawa more than double the “established” IT leaders in our Profession. Look at many of the CEOs of major accounting tech companies on the list this year incuding the AICPA’s CPA2Biz CEO, Erik Asgeirsson.

The young and the restless make their mark as young, tech-savvy practices are innovating their way to the front of our profession. I call them the “tribe” (See post CPAs Gone Wild at SXSW) and we had the two leaders of the “tribe” at our Beach Retreat in July (Jody Padar & Jason Blumer). Look for more of them to make this list in the near future and pay attention to what they are doing – it is pretty cool. We have one taking the helm of the MACPA next year (Byron Patrick).

And I am glad to see a solid representation of the new and emerging group of leaders (millennials & Gen-Xers) making the list which shows our Profession is willing to “listen to our junior officers” and give them a voice. It also shows that the succession plan for our Profession as the AICPA and many states CPA societies “graduate” new leaders from their leadership development initiaitives.

Our good friend and tireless thought leader, Ron Baker (Verasage leader & Value Pricing evangelist) shows up as sixth in the Top 10. Congratulations, Ron! Does this mean it is time to start paying attention to his work, finally?

I am also excited to see two MACPA members, Wayne Berson (New CEO of BDO) and Jina Etienne (AICPA Tax Division) making the watch list, congratulations!

Who is missing? In my opinion I think there should be one of the thought leaders in XBRL making the list due to its current global and regulatory impact and its potential future impact (ala the DATA Act). I would add Mike Willis (PWC) and Hudson Hollister (Data Transparency Coalition) to the “people to watch list”. See my related post, Data (and XBRL) is the New Plastics.

Congratulations to all who made this prestigious list this year and in future lists – Our Profession needs your leadership!

Related posts:

Next generation leaders chime in on the future

Are we entering the age of the small firm?

Top 7 Issues Facing Young Professionals

Tom Hood interviews Ron Baker

Our Business Learning Institute is proud to have developed and run the Leadership Academy for the AICPA, Colorado, Louisiana, and of course our own at MACPA! 

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