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December 18, 2011

Editor’s letter: Recognising the most influential

Nicola MaherIn this issue we have put together our inaugural top 30 list of the most influential people in accounting, from politicians, policy makers and regulators to standard setters, firm leaders and CFOs.

We took a list of 100 people, carefully selected by our editorial team, and with the help of our judging panel whittled it down to 30. The top 10 were based on the candidates with most votes.

This was a challenging task as so many people have an impact on the profession and there are some who have not made our list that deserve high praise.

The Accountant was then lucky enough to talk to the majority of the top 10 influencers. This is the first time this publication has spoken to so many senior influencers for one feature article.

Speaking with EC internal markets commissioner Michel Barnier was an honour. He is a man with such power that he can influence European markets and the world is carefully watching what ends up happening to his audit proposals. Plus, it is notoriously difficult for journalists to interview EC commissioners, quite often you will speak to their spokespeople or advisers, so this was a real privilege.

The Barnier interview was conducted through an interpreter – yes, he prefers to conduct his interviews in his mother tongue French. Barnier told me how his most unusual time as a politician was when he and Jean-Claude Killy organised the Winter Olympics in Albertville, France.

He said: “It is quite unusual to commit 10 years of your life for 16 days but it was a fascinating and exciting time.”

Another influencer who I thoroughly enjoyed speaking to was International Integrated reporting Committee chairman Mervyn King.

King has had a pretty extraordinary life from being the youngest ever appointed South African Supreme Court Judge – he is also the youngest to ever resign from the post, aged 40 – to inspiring an entire generation of South African cricketers through ‘mini cricket’.

The corporate governance champion brought white and black players together for the first time and also invented a ball that bounced like a cricket ball but was soft like a tennis ball. He even gave us a cricket analogy for how a company is performing from its financials through to its sustainability practices.

His advice for integrated reporting: “Tell your story – do what you say, say what you do – and write it down in your integrated report in a clear and understandable language.

“Just tell everybody in a nice story your state of play in your company and how it will be in the future and that is it, finished.”

Sounds easy, right?

Merry Christmas

As this our last edition of 2011, I want to thank you for your support this year and wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a successful New Year.

In 2012, The Accountant will bring you more editions packed full of news, features and exclusive research.

We kick off the year with our World survey looking at the leading professional accounting bodies around the world and some of the major issues affecting the markets in which they operate.


Nicola Maher

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