South African Wayne Berson among top 100 people making a difference in accounting


Wayne joins the list with Barry Melancon, Tom Hood, Allan Koltin and President Donald Trump.

According to Accounting Today’s “Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting”, one of the key emerging trends in accounting revolves around the role of technology in transforming the profession. The last few years have also seen a sudden resurgence of interest in and innovation around the audit function. 

The report lists the 100 most influential people in accounting, one of which is South-African-born Wayne Berson. 

Wayne is the CEO of BDO USA. He was born and raised in Cape Town and studied at both the University of Cape Town and the University of South Africa. His first full-time job was as a member of the audit team at Mazars in Cape Town. He is also a pilot. 

In the report, Wayne says that since taking the helm of BDO USA seven years ago, his goal has been to turn the company into a “21st-century powerhouse”. He is doing just that through ambitious investments in M&A, technology, upskilling the firm’s workforce, and more.

The most influential people

The 152 candidates for the top-100 list were asked to list the three people that they think have the most influence on accounting. 

Sixty-five named Barry Melancon, president and CEO at American Institute of CPAs, as well as CEO at Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA), one of the three people they think have the most influence in accounting. 

The second-most influential person was Tom Hood, CEO at MACPA and Business Learning Institute. Allan Koltin, CEO at Koltin Consulting Group Inc., came in third. 

The other people on the list are:

  • Ron Baker, founder of Verasage Institute
  • Jay Clayton, chairman at Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, executive director of finance thought leadership at Oracle
  • US President Donald Trump
  • Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO at
  • Jennifer Wilson, co-founder and partner at ConvergenceCoaching
  • L. Gary Boomer, visionary and strategist at Boomer Consulting Inc.
  • William Duhnke, chair at PCAOB
  • Russell Golden, chairman at FASB
  • Bill Reeb, chair at American Institute of CPAs
  • Jim Bourke, managing director of advisory services at WithumSmith+Brown
  • Joe Adams, managing partner and CEO at RSM US
  • Alan Anderson, president and founder of Accountability Plus
  • Solon Angel, founder of MindBridge Ai
  • August Aquila, CEO at Aquila Global Advisors
  • Joanne Barry, executive director and CEO at NYSSCPA
  • Michael Bernard, chief tax officer of transaction tax at Vertex Inc.
  • Chandra and Sharada Bhansali, co-founders of AccountantsWorld
  • Jim Boomer, CEO at Boomer Consulting Inc.
  • Dawn Brolin, executive vice president of business development and compliance at Powerful Accounting powered by Out of the Box Technology
  • Ken Bishop, president and CEO at NASBA
  • David Cieslak, executive vice president and chief cloud officer at RKL eSolutions
  • Lauren Clemmer, executive director at Association for Accounting Marketing
  • Sue Coffey, executive vice president of public practice at AICPA
  • Gale Crosley, president at Crosley+Co
  • Kevin Dancey, CEO at International Federation of Accountants
  • Sarah Dobek, president and founder at Inovautus Consulting
  • Bob Dohrer, chief auditor at AICPA
  • Lynne Doughtie, chairman and CEO at KPMG
  • Neil Fishman, president at National Conference of CPA Practitioners
  • Lee Frederiksen, managing partner at Hinge
  • Hector Garcia, CEO at Quick Bookkeeping & Accounting
  • John Garrett, consultant, comedian and speaker
  • J. Russell George, treasury inspector general for Tax Administration
  • Michelle Golden River, president at Fore
  • Sasan Goodarzi, CEO at Intuit
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa
  • Kelly Grier, CEO at EY
  • Angie Grissom, president at The Rainmaker Companies
  • Tom Groskopf, technical director at AICPA Center for Plain English Accounting
  • Jeffrey Hales, chairman at Sustainability Accounting Standards Board
  • Aaron Harris, CTO at Sage
  • Hans Hoogervorst, chair at IASB
  • Charles Hylan, shareholder at The Growth Partnership
  • Kacee Johnson, strategic advisor at
  • Randy Johnston, CEO and founder, executive vice president at NMGI and K2 Enterprises
  • Roman Kepczyk, director of firm technology strategy at Right Networks
  • Sidney Kess, ‘The dean of tax education’
  • Ed Kless, senior director, partner development and strategy at Sage
  • Mark Koziel, EVP of firm services at Association of International Certified Professional Accountants
  • Art Kuesel, president at Kuesel Consulting
  • René Lacerte, CEO and founder at
  • David Leary and Blake Oliver, co-hosts at “Cloud Accounting Podcast”
  • Taylor Macdonald, senior vice president of channels at Sage Intacct
  • Chuck Maniace, vice president of regulatory analysis & design at Sovos
  • Jason Marx, CEO of tax and accounting North America at Wolters Kluwer
  • Jim McGinnis, executive vice president and general manager of professional segment, and tax and accounting North America at Wolters Kluwer
  • Ed Mendlowitz, partner at WithumSmith+Brown
  • Ariege Misherghi, leader of accountant segment at Intuit
  • Steven Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary
  • Rep. Richard Neal, D-Massachusetts
  • Jay Nisberg, president at Jay Nisberg & Associates 
  • Jody Padar, CEO and principal at New Vision CPA Group
  • Enrico Palmerino, CEO at Botkeeper
  • Hitendra Patil, director of practice development at AccountantsWorld 
  • Carl Peterson, vice president of small firm interests at AICPA
  • Scott Peterson, vice president of US tax policy and government relations at Avalara 
  • Jeff Phillips, CEO at Accountingfly
  • Anthony Pugliese, CEO at California Society of CPAs
  • Terry Putney, CEO at Transition Advisors
  • Charles Rettig, IRS commissioner
  • Ben Richmond, US country manager at Xero
  • Darren Root, CEO at Rootworks LLC
  • Marc Rosenberg, president at The Rosenberg Associates
  • Clar Rosso, EVP of engagement and learning innovation at Association of International Certified Professional Accountants
  • Charlotte Rushton, president of tax and accounting professionals at Thomson Reuters
  • Tim Ryan, US chair and senior partner at PwC US
  • Heather Satterley, owner and founder of Satterley Training & Consulting, and QB ‘Appy Hour Enterprises
  • Todd Shapiro, president and CEO at Illinois CPA Society
  • Donny Shimamoto, managing director at IntrapriseTechKnowlogies 
  • Joel Sinkin, president at Transition Advisors
  • Dr. Sean Stein Smith, assistant professor at City University of New York, Lehman College 
  • Rick Telberg, founder and CEO at CPA Trendlines
  • Sagar Teotia, chief accountant at SEC
  • Ralph Thomas, CEO and executive director at New Jersey Society of CPAs
  • Jeff Thomson, president and CEO at IMA
  • Joe Ucuzoglu, CEO at Deloitte US
  • David Vaudt, chairman at GASB
  • Amy Vetter, CEO at The B3 Method Institute
  • Geni Whitehouse, Countess of Communication
  • Sandra Wiley, president at Boomer Consulting
  • Joe Woodard, CEO at Woodard Events
  • Candy Wright, chair at Private Company Council 
  • Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon
  • Diane Yetter, president and founder at Yetter Consulting Services Inc. and Sales Tax Institute
  • Scott Zarret, president at

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