I'm of the opinion that the seventh time you perform the same assignment, it should come that much easier. With any luck along the way, you'll encounter precious few surprises.Funny how that theory falls by the wayside each time the editors of Accounting Today begin to compile the list of potential candidates for our Top 100 ranking of the profession's most influential people.
Unlike our Top 100 Firms feature, which is purely a quantitative measure, our Most Influential is an arduous and vast exercise in subjective judgment, because influence - unlike, say, annual revenue - is extremely hard to rank.
This year was no different.
Not only did we receive the most nominations and submissions ever, but we sometimes had to make the difficult decision to replace several long-time members of our century club. But with that came an evolution of sorts, which dovetailed nicely with this year's theme.
As I've stated on numerous occasions in this space, this is not your father's accounting profession. A generation ago, you would not have to search too hard to find those tethered to the partner track clocking in a grueling 2,800 hours a year.
But that was then and this is now. Over the past several years, best practice phrases such as work/life balance have been repeated with increasing frequency, and the profession has begun to gradually unshackle itself from its cornerstones of tax and audit to create, and subsequently service, an array of specialty niches. As a result, the spheres of influence in the profession have become broader, as niches such as forensics and litigation support have suddenly become hotter than a windshield in Phoenix in July. And those who have quickly become the foremost authorities in those areas have, in our minds, risen to a point where they have to be considered influential.
Which brings us to the Most Influential's Class of 2007.
As with any list that carries the prefix "Top," there are bound to be arguments, surprises and even scattered bouts of stunned silence. But to me, that type of debate is healthy.
This year, as in those past, our Top 100 Most Influential will carry a number of the same people, usually those whose very position is defined as influential - regulators, lawmakers, association heads, et al. Then there are others who've implemented what our staff felt were progressive, or dare we say radical, strategies in such traditional areas as staffing and recruiting, or generating financing for their firms.
And not to sound clichéd, but size doesn't always matter. In many ways, some smaller practitioners in the 2007 class have been more creative than their counterparts at larger firms.
We hope you enjoy this year's Top 100 Most Influential as much as you have in past years, and feel free to drop me a line.
Remember, the only constant is change.
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