Certain things in life you just come to expect.

For instance, charity or credit-card offer calls that ring in precisely when you sit down to dinner.

Or when the temperature approaches 100 degrees during a New York summer, several subway lines will simultaneously fail at rush hour or the air conditioning units in the cars will malfunction.

But fall is another matter.

I've always harbored mixed feelings about the onset of the autumnal equinox.

Fall is far and away my favorite season in the Northeast, with crispy air and changing foliage, but conversely, it's also when I have to sift through the fallout from candidates for Accounting Today's annual "100 Most Influential People in Accounting" who weren't included in the feature.

My odyssey in providing salve for hurt or irate feelings for those who didn't make the cut began exactly five days into my tenure as editor.

A prominent consultant to the profession was inexplicably omitted (more through sheer carelessness than a deliberate snub) and I was forced into damage control mode even before I had memorized the names of my staff.

But it was then I realized how closely people in the profession monitor the list. And that's a good and somewhat flattering thing.

I learned that when some of the Big Four firms, who normally treat our press inquiries with all the priority of an oil change, submit a number of possibilities and then -- to my amazement -- actually make follow-up calls to ensure we've received their materials.

This year is proving true to form, as I've already received several borderline angry inquiries as to why either they, or candidates they submitted, failed to make the final cut.

And if you'll pardon the overused cliché, there are several schools of thought on this.

The first is the hard truth that some of them wouldn't make it if the list was expanded and renamed the Top 400 Most Influential. This is certainly not meant to demean in any way the terrific job they're doing, but within the sphere of national influence, they're not what can be termed as a change agent or policy maker.

The second is that, invariably, there are three or four monster issues that affect the profession each year -- i.e. tax reform, options expensing, new legislation -- and many of the people on the front lines of those issues are usually ripe for inclusion.

Unfortunately, those additions usually come at the expense of others who have made the T100 Most Influential in past years.

And lastly, there are people in certain posts who will inarguably make it every year regardless of what else transpires.

Therefore, in my sixth fall of girding for the inevitable phone calls and e-mails, I'm far better prepared than I was that September day in 2000.

Now, I just refer everything to my managing editor.

Rank has its privileges.

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