The 2015 Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting

US Trade Magazine Accounting Today recently unveiled the special report containing Top 100 Most Influential People, its annual listing of the change-makers and thought leaders shaping the accounting profession.

Each year as part of their list, Accounting Today asks the candidates to name who they think are the three most influential people in the field. Barry Melancon, President and CEO at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), got the highest votes with 61 out of 115 responses, citing the breadth and depth of his knowledge about the profession, his communication skills, and the way he is leading accounting into the future. Next to him is Maryland Association of CPAs CEO and executive director Tom Hood with 27 votes.

The Most Important Task

Asked about accounting’s biggest and most important issues, Melancon said, “Evolving the profession at the pace of change we see in the business world is by far the most important task before us. We must embrace innovation, find a way to elevate the trusted business advisor relationship with clients and employers, and evolve to meet and anticipate market demands.”

Meanwhile, Hood also talked about being able to adapt to changes in the industry. “The need to get out of our box(es), start looking forward and learning how to be proactive,” he said.

Is Work-Life Balance a Myth?

As professionals are still on the quest for work-life balance, VeraSage Institute founder Ron Baker did not seem to be crazy about it. “Balance is for tires and ballerinas. Work-life balance is a misleading expression. Life and work are not two ‘different things, but intimately interrelated. The word ‘balance’ is also untrustworthy; it’s too obvious, not to mention a terminally boring idea,” the value-pricing philosopher quipped. Baker ranked third to Melancon and Hood with 13 votes.

“Ones to Watch”

Additionally, Accounting Today recognizes a few more players in the industry by coming up with “Ones to Watch” list. This list is a mix of some who have been influential for years, and others who are just beginning to make their presence known. It includes executives from cloud accounting software like Russell Fujioka of Xero, Stephen Kelly of Sage, and Cathy Iconis and David Leary of Intuit.


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