The Top 10 People in Accounting

The most influential people in the field of accounting, according to our survey of their fellow candidates.

Most Influential People Most Influential People

Each year as part of our Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting list, we ask candidates for the list to name who they think are the most influential people in the field — and here they are, ranked by the number of nominations they received from the 122 candidates.

1. Barry MelanconPresident and CEO, American Institute of CPAsNominations: 60 1. Barry Melancon
President and CEO, American Institute of CPAs
Nominations: 60

As head of the 370,000-member institute, Melancon is bound to be influential – but with more nominations than the next three people combined, it’s clear his standing doesn’t come just from the position he occupies. T100 candidates noted his “tremendous” leadership, the “respect he has earned over the years,” his vision, and his political savvy, as well as specific achievements like the AICPA’s co-creation of a global management accountant credential. “He is addressing issues and challenges that few of us have even considered,” one candidate noted.

2. Mary SchapiroChair, Securities and Exchange CommissionNominations: 22 2. Mary Schapiro
Chair, Securities and Exchange Commission
Nominations: 22

“A strong leader at the SEC at a time of re-evaluation and transition,” as one T100 candidate described her, Schapiro has the whole profession (and the rest of the business world) waiting on her decision on whether the U.S. will adopt IFRS, and if so, how.

3. Leslie SeidmanChair, Financial Accounting Standards BoardNominations: 22 3. Leslie Seidman
Chair, Financial Accounting Standards Board
Nominations: 22

Our T100 candidates saw Seidman facing a perfect storm of standard-setting issues: completing the convergence agenda with the IASB even as she prepares FASB for the potential advent of IFRS in the U.S., all while working to keep her board engaged and relevant in the private company standards debate.

4. Douglas ShulmanCommissioner, Internal Revenue ServiceNominations: 18 4. Douglas Shulman
Commissioner, Internal Revenue Service
Nominations: 18

IRS commissioners are, by default, hugely influential, but the “bold and ambitious” Shulman has gone well beyond that, reshaping the service’s relations with taxpayers and practitioners through preparer registration and a technology-driven vision of frictionless compliance.

5. James DotyChair, Public Company Accounting Oversight BoardNominations: 12 5. James Doty
Chair, Public Company Accounting Oversight Board
Nominations: 12

Doty has shaken up the profession with his willingness to question fundamental issues, like the nature of the auditor’s report, and the inherent potential conflict of interest in the auditor’s position. One T100 candidate dreamed, “If only more of our accounting regulators would be as candid as Doty about the challenges the profession faces.”

6. James KroekerChief accountant, Securities and Exchange CommissionNominations: 12 6. James Kroeker
Chief accountant, Securities and Exchange Commission
Nominations: 12

The final decision on IFRS may lie with the SEC commissioners, but one T100 candidate said that Kroeker “holds within his hands the ability to shape the SEC’s policies according to how he frames the issues” for them – and that’s on top of the chief accountant’s already-influential role.

7. James MetzlerVice president of small firm interests, American Institute of CPAsNominations: 12 7. James Metzler
Vice president of small firm interests, American Institute of CPAs
Nominations: 12

“A gifted communicator” who “listens to the needs of members to steer the priorities” of the AICPA, Metzler enjoys tremendous respect as an advocate for the many small firms who make up the bulk of the profession.

8. Hans HoogervorstChair, International Accounting Standards BoardNominations: 9 8. Hans Hoogervorst
Chair, International Accounting Standards Board
Nominations: 9

With IFRS one of the premiere issues in accounting, the new chair of the IASB wields enormous influence. The T100 candidates noted his heavy to-do list: continuing convergence with FASB, while persuading the U.S. to adopt his standards without too many changes or carve-outs. The former Dutch finance minister has his work cut out for him.

9. Mark KozielVice president of firm services & global alliances, American Institute of CPAsNominations: 8 9. Mark Koziel
Vice president of firm services & global alliances, American Institute of CPAs
Nominations: 8

“The heir apparent to Jim Metzler,” as one T100 candidate called him, Koziel is the youngest person in the Top 10, and those who nominated him particularly noted his ability to help firms understand and deal with the radical changes they face. Yet another lauded him “for effectively changing people’s perceptions of the AICPA.”

10. Gary BoomerCEO, Boomer ConsultingNominations: 7 10. Gary Boomer
CEO, Boomer Consulting
Nominations: 7

Technology and firm management guru Gary Boomer is the only person in the Top 10 who’s not a regulator or an AICPA staffer. Instead, he’s a consultant who has helped hundreds of firms of all sizes build stronger, more efficient, more profitable practices. As one T100 candidate put it: “They count on him for solid advice -- and he delivers.”

See the Full List of the Top 100 Most Influential See the Full List of the Top 100 Most Influential

For the complete list of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting of 2011, you can access the digital edition at

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