It wasn't all that long ago that family doctors were "general practitioners." You went to them for everything from removing a deep splinter to an outbreak of the mumps. Specialists were usually reserved for more dire conditions.Not anymore. The general practitioner has evolved into an "internist," while specialties in the medical field have sprung up like weeds in a vacant lot.
The accounting profession is undergoing a similar evolution. The generic accountants who performed a variety of traditional client services are being usurped by specialists in booming niches such as forensics, litigation support, valuation, cost segregation, IT consulting and, of course, financial planning.
And as a result, specialists have elevated themselves to positions of influence.
We believe that that evolution is reflected in this year's ranking. That's not to say that those who've been associated with the profession's foundations - i.e., audit and tax - are no longer influential. It's just that the pool of powerbrokers has become larger and more diverse.
That's both good and bad.
Good because it amplifies how a rising number of individuals are viewed as wielding influence over the direction of the profession. Conversely, it makes our job that much harder to pare the list down. Too many viable choices and too little space.
As with any year - or evolution, for that matter - the old order changeth. Many of you will notice the absence of several long-time members of the Most Influential roster, as new additions have emerged as change-makers.
But although some of the T100 stalwarts have exited this year's ranking, that doesn't in any way diminish their effect on the profession, past or future. Many of them still wield - and will continue to wield - influence that will help shape the accounting landscape.
Also, if any of you are recreational linguists, you may have noticed that on this issue's cover, our Latin needs a bit of remedial help. So please resist the urge to e-mail us with corrections. We occasionally take artistic license with our layouts.
With that, the editorial staff at Accounting Today proudly presents the 2007 class of the Most Influential People in Accounting.
The evolution continues!
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