Earlier this year, the International Accounting Forum and Awards celebrated industry leaders and trailblazers. In our post event coverage, The Accountant and International Accounting Bulletin spoke to some of the winners to hear about their career journeys and what led to their success. As the year comes to a close, we highlight some of the standout winners from 2023.

Lifetime Achievement: Barry Melancon

There are but a handful of individuals that are known throughout the world for their sustained contribution to the accountancy profession. This year, we were proud to recognise Barry Melancon, President & CEO of the joint AICPA-CIMA international association.

In an interview following his win, Melancon told IAB and TA reporter Santiago Bedoya-Pardo: “We [accountants] have a notion that we need to be actively embracing new things, we need to be responsive to the interests and needs of clients, stakeholders, and different groups in society. Keeping this in mind is very important for the profession. I believe our job, our profession, is something that is very meaningful to society, to both people and institutions, and by keeping ourselves aware of new trends and developments we can keep ourselves relevant to them.”

Personality of the Year: Özgür Demirdoven

Özgür joined Allinial Global in 2021 as director of the association’s growing EMEI region, focusing on new member recruitment and addressing the needs of EMEI member firms. Upon the retirement of Job Dieleman, Özgür moved into the role of Executive Vice President, Global Commerce, where alongside Mark Koziel’s exceptional vision, Özgür oversees the association’s regional directors to increase commerce and collaboration among member firms and to drive membership growth in each of Allinial’s regions.

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Young Accountant of the Year: Christina Fung

Christina Fung is a great example of someone who had an alternative career before coming into the profession in 2017, joining the industry with great drive and passion. She embodies GHJ Advisor’s mission to (hashtag) #BeMore. She is co-leader of GHJ’s Women’s Empowerment Cohort, reflecting how team members of all backgrounds can better support each other and build allyship, in the accounting industry. 

Speaking to The Accountant following her win, Fung said: “In accounting – specifically public accounting – your most important asset is your people. If you don’t have quality people, you have nothing. So the focus on what makes people excited about coming to work, what makes them feel accepted, what makes them want to stay, is really important.”

Professional body of the Year: ACCA

At IAFA, our panel of judges recognised how ACCA consistently shows it is not an organisation to rest on its laurels just because of its long- established base. ACCA works tirelessly showing continuous commitment to the industry on multifarious levels, and in developing its talent-pool, to be future ready.

Network of the Year: Baker Tilly International

The judges found that Baker Tilly International showed a real commitment to listening, understanding and supporting the advancement of their members. This network has succeeded at achieving record revenues in the past year, a growth they saw on a global scale. They have also made advances in rolling out a global strategy plan, devoted to internal education, and continue to position themselves as an employer of choice.

Association of the Year: PrimeGlobal

PrimeGlobal demonstrated to the judges that they were committed to continuous improvement of their membership and the support they offer, betting on an ambitious agenda, they have successfully delivered, prioritising ESG education, achieving double-digit growth, and reaching a member satisfaction score of 84%.