The accounting profession helps businesses drive successful commerce around the world. From tax law changes to financial statement reporting changes, so much is happening in this space that it can be hard to keep up. Rather than gathering all the information, you can follow industry thought leaders sharing critical information through their own speaking and social media channels.
The following is a guide (in no particular order) to those who have their fingers on the pulse of accounting and its intersection with technology.
25 Financial Influencers Every Accountant Should Follow in (2024)
#1. Jennifer Wilson
(Co-founder and owner, Convergence Coaching)
Jennifer Wilson is co-founder of ConvergenceCoaching, LLC, a management consulting firm that helps CPA firm leaders achieve success. The creator of the first successful CPA firm influencer program while an employee of state-of-the-art software (creators of MAS90 software, which Best Software later acquired and then Sage), Jennifer changed the relationship between accounting and technology forever.
She has been recognized with awards in every category and is a thoughtful and outspoken mentor to CPA firm managing partners worldwide. You will find her annually in the list of ‘Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting’ by Accounting Today, the Most Powerful Women in Accounting, and CPA Practice Advisor’s Top 25 Thought Leader Hall of Fame.
#2. Randy Johnston
(Regular columnist, Entrepreneur, Technologist, CEO – K2 Enterprises, Network Management Group, Inc.)
Randolph P. (Randy) Johnston is one of the top-rated speakers in the technology field. His entertaining and informative presentations make him a regular at National Conferences and State CPA Society events around the U.S. He is a CPA Practice Advisor Top 25 Thought Leader and has been recognized by Accounting Today as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting for 13 consecutive years.
Randy’s ability to quickly share key information about multiple applications (in a way that still qualifies for CPE) has enabled accountants of every generation to keep abreast of the latest technology.
He is a partner in K2 Enterprises in Hammond, LA, and Founder of Network Management Group, Inc. in Hutchinson, Kansas.
#3. Doug Sleeter
(Founder and former CEO of The Sleeter Group, Advisory Board Member – Multiple Companies)
Doug Sleeter is the founder and former CEO of The Sleeter Group. After selling his business to Diversified Communications (Accountex conferences) in 2015, Doug has provided considerable insights to technology companies around the world. His advice and mentorship on applied technology and the people behind it will be a priceless gift to everyone he meets.
A CPA Practice Advisor and Top 25 Accounting Industry Thought Leader, Doug was inducted into their 2017 Hall of Fame. Throughout his career, he has been instrumental in driving accounting software education for bookkeepers and accountants, leading to numerous industry awards including Accounting Today’s ‘Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting’ list from 2008-2015.
He is passionate about small businesses and the technology that enables them to thrive. His latest mission is getting the profession to embrace blockchain technology and cryptocurrency when he’s not busy with his real passion, woodworking.
#4. Erik Asgeirsson
(President and CEO – CPA.com, Speaker)
CEO of CPA.com, Erik Asgeirsson, has over 20 years of experience leading technology organizations. He has been recognized as one of the ‘Top 100 Most Influential People in the Accounting Profession’ by Accounting Today for 10 consecutive years, thanks to his influential role in identifying technology solutions and promoting them to accountants through CPA.com.
He is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars and a Digital Now Advisory Group member for business leaders.
#5. Joanie Mann Cooper
(Consultant and Hosting Solution Pioneer)
Joanie Mann was one of the first people involved in hosting desktop applications. Her blog, bookkeeping in Bunny Slippers, helped accountants worldwide embrace the idea of hosted accounting applications. Her expertise in SMB/SME application hosting and remote access solutions and her accounting software knowledge make her a sought-after speaker and consultant.
A true believer and frequent evangelist for the technology-enabled or cloud-enabled service model, she also deeply understands the SMB market and its unique requirements.
#6. Chandra Bhansali
(President at AccountantsWorld, President, and co-founder – Micro Vision Software Inc.)
Dr. Chandra Bhansali was a proponent of cloud technology before it was called the cloud. He is president and co-founder of online accounting software and a community for accountants at AccountantsWorld.com.
He introduced the first Windows-based professional tax system in the ’90s and has been listed in Accounting Today’s list of ‘100 Most Influential People in Accounting’ for more than ten years.
#7. Geni Whitehouse
(CPA, CITP, CSPM, Author of “How to Make a Boring Subject Interesting: 52 Ways Even a Nerd Can Be Heard”, Writer, Speaker, Blogger)
Geni Whitehouse is recognized as one of the most powerful women in accounting (by CPA Practice Advisor), a Thought Leader, and one of the Top 100 Influencers in accounting. A keynote presenter at accounting and tech conferences worldwide, she divides her remaining time between working as a winery consultant at Brotemarkle Davis & Co in Napa Valley and speaking, writing, and tweeting about the latest happenings in the accounting profession.
A former tax partner in an Atlanta CPA firm and a former software company executive, Geni is the author of “How to Make a Boring Subject Interesting: 52 ways even a nerd can be heard” on Amazon.com. She is also a co-founder of Solve Services, a remote bookkeeping firm serving the wine industry.
#8. Gary Boomer
(CEO at Boomer Consulting, Visionary & Strategist)
Gary Boomer is a visionary and strategist at Boomer Consulting, Inc., and is recognized as a leading authority on technology and practice management in accounting firms. He speaks around the globe on topics related to strategy, firm practice management, and technology innovation.
An innovator in the accounting profession, he also launched ” Circles ” groups that meet regularly to provide Chief Technology Officers of larger CPA firms unique learning opportunities and peer support.
He is the author of numerous books and a regular contributor to Accounting Today. In addition to his work with large CPA firms and his participation in organizing the annual Winning is Everything Conference, Gary has counseled companies like Microsoft, IBM, Intuit, Sage, and more.
#9. Paul Caron
(Publisher and editor-in-chief TaxProf Blog)
Paul Caron is one of the most popular online bloggers at TaxProf Blog. As a Dean and Tax Professor at the Pepperdine Law School, he has published six books on tax concepts, including Estate and Gift Tax.
#10. Jeanette Franzel
(Former Board member, PCAOB)
Jeanette Franzel was appointed to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) by the SEC, where she served until January 2018. Before joining the PCAOB, she spent 23 years at the Government Accounting Office, ending her tenure as a Managing Director overseeing all aspects of the organization’s financial audit oversight of the U.S. federal government.
Jeanette, a speaker and lecturer, has been awarded GAO’s Distinguished Service Award and the AICPA’s Outstanding CPA in Government Award. 2010, she received the International Achievement Award from the Association of Government Accountants.
#11. Tom Hood
(CEO and executive director at MACPA, Influencer in Leadership, Learning, & Technology)
Tom Hood is one of the most innovative influencers and change agents in accounting. As CEO of the Maryland Society of CPAs, he has created and delivered learning programs that have helped accountants make the shift to firms of the future.
A regular member of the Accounting Today Top 100 Influencer community 2018, he was named the second most influential person in the profession, coming in second to Barry Melancon.
Tom is also among the first five leaders inducted into the CPA Practice Advisor’s Thought Leaders Hall of Fame. His mission is to help CPAs, accounting professionals, and finance executives thrive in these times of change.
#12. Rita Keller
(President at Keller Advisors, Speaker, Blogger, and Management Strategist for CPA Firms)
Rita Keller is a CPA firm consultant focused on firm practice management. She helps firms address partner issues, marketing, HR, management, and technology topics. She has been an influential member of the CPA Firm Management Association which helps firm managers advance their careers through professional education and peer networking. She is a speaker, coach, blogger, advisor, and champion of global CPA firm managers.
#13. Jody Padar
(Accounting Ambassador & Bot Advisor at Botkeeper, The Radical CPA, CPA Firm CEO, Accounting Technology Influencer, LinkedIn Top Voice)
Jody Padar is a CPA leader driven by a mission to bring real and sometimes “radical” change to the accounting profession. She has been on the frontlines of the ‘Digital CPA movement in the accounting profession.
Jody embraces social media, cloud computing, and other advanced technologies and is always looking for innovation that enables accountants to impact their clients significantly. She is the author of two books for accountants: The Radical CPA and From Success to Significance.
#14. Jennifer Warawa
(Executive Vice President – Partners, Accountants & Alliances at Sage)
Jennifer is Sage’s executive vice president of Partners, Accountants, and Alliances. In this role, she oversees strategy and execution for Sage’s partner program. Before joining Sage, she built and ran an accounting, bookkeeping, and consulting firm in Canada for 12 years. She is a regular presenter at Sage events around the world.
#15. Dawn Brolin
(Speaker, Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, True Accounting Rockstar, and QuickBooks Expert)
Dawn Brolin is a Certified Public Accountant, CEO of Powerful Accounting, LLC, and Certified Fraud Examiner. Thanks to her energetic and entertaining presentation style and her experience as a podcaster, Dawn has been named as one of the ‘Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Accounting’ 2012-2017 list by CPA Practice Advisor and the ‘Top 10 Managing Partner Elite – Great Accounting Firm Leader” list by Accounting Today in 2017. She specializes in Taxes, QuickBooks Solutions, Accounting, Cloud solutions, and Payroll options.
#16. Sandra Wiley
(President, Boomer Consulting, Inc.)
Sandra Wiley is a visionary leader and serves as the president of Boomer Consulting, Inc. A human resource specialist, strategic planner, and personal coach, she is a frequent lecturer at conferences around the country. Sandra has written for the CPA Practice Management Report, Accounting Web, Accounting Today, Lagniappe of Louisiana, and many other publications.
Connect with Sandra – LinkedIn
#17. Joanne Barry
(Executive Director of the New York State Society of CPAs)
Joanne Barry currently serves as the Executive Director of the NYSSCPA (New York State Society of CPAs). Her specialties are advocacy, media, business development, editing, strategic planning, governance, writing, and more.
#18. Rick Telberg
(President and CEO at CPA Trendlines)
Rick Telberg is President and CEO of CPA Trendlines, a paid subscription service that delivers timely news and practice management tools. A former editor of Accounting Today, Rick has a depth of understanding across all areas of the accounting space and frequently shares his knowledge and deep insights on social media channels of all kinds.
#19. Ron Baker
(Founder, VeraSage Institute)
Ron Baker is an anti-timesheet revolutionary. He founded the VeraSage Institute, a think tank for like-minded visionaries seeking to move the accounting profession forward. He is a deep thinker and futurist and the author of ‘The Firm of the Future’ and ‘Pricing on Purpose’. He specializes in ethics economics, marketing, pricing, and leadership for professional services firms, from accounting to law to IT and advertising.
#20. Carol Campbell
(Director of the IRS Return Preparer Office)
Carol Campbell was named the IRS Return Preparer Office director in August 2012. As a director, she is responsible for the IRS’s oversight program of the tax professional industry including the Annual Filing Season and PTIN programs.
She worked at the U.S. Department of Labor before joining the IRS in 1991. At the IRS, she served as a senior docket attorney in Chief Counsel and later as counsel to the National Taxpayer Advocate. In 2003, she became Division Counsel for Wage and Investment. In May 2010, she became Deputy Chief of Staff for the IRS Commissioner.
Read more about Carol – Website
#21. Steven E. Sacks, CPA
(CPA, CGMA, ABC)
Steven Sacks has been a prominent accounting figure for over 35 years. Noteworthy achievements in his career encompass pioneering the initial set of CPA consulting standards, establishing the Accredited in Business Valuation credential, and orchestrating conferences dedicated to business valuation and litigation support services. Additionally, he has contributed to the field by publishing practice management and technical guides for consulting services.
In 2020, he authored the book “The New Fundamentals: Practical Guidance for Today’s Accounting Firms,” earning the APEX Grand Award for excellence in print media from Communication Concepts. Before this, Steven was managing editor for the award-winning BusinessEdge, a newsletter by the Michigan Association of CPAs focused on CPAs in the private sector.
Follow Steven – LinkedIn
#22. August Aquila
(Professional Service Firm Consultant, Speaker and Author,Professional Service Firm Consultant, Speaker and Author, Aquila Global Advisors, LLC)
Leveraging over 25 years of experience in the accounting profession, August J. Aquila, a renowned speaker, consultant, and author, is a driving force for US, Canada, UK, and India professional service firms.
Through his leadership as CEO of AQUILA Global Advisors, he delves into areas crucial for firm success, including designing effective compensation plans, resolving internal conflicts, transitioning through leadership changes, and crafting strategic roadmaps.
His expertise in succession planning, mergers & acquisitions, and general partnership issues has empowered countless firms to navigate complex challenges and achieve sustainable growth.
Whether through his consulting work or his insightful book, “CPAs That Sell,” August empowers accounting professionals to excel in their technical skills and become adept at business development, a crucial differentiator in today’s competitive landscape. His dedication to the profession shines through in his comprehensive solutions and unwavering commitment to guiding firms toward a brighter future.
Follow August – LinkedIn
#23. Becky Livingston
(Founder and CEO of Penheel Marketing)
Becky Livingston boasts over two decades of experience in marketing and communications, coupled with a robust background in technology. With a career trajectory spanning from computer programming in chemical engineering to web development and online marketing, she has accumulated a wealth of expertise.
Becky’s journey includes diverse roles in non-profits, large corporations, and CPA firms, including a stint with the Big Four CPA firm KPMG. Her managerial acumen is translating complex concepts into reality while maintaining a holistic perspective. Becky is committed to sharing her wealth of knowledge as the best-selling author of the “Accountant’s Social Media Handbook” and an avid blogger.
Known for her speaking engagements at conferences nationwide, she covers topics ranging from CPA-related conferences and social media forums to non-profit groups and educational settings. Her latest work, “SEO for CPAs: The Accountant’s Handbook,” underscores the growing importance of search engine optimization in the expanding landscape of tax and accounting businesses. Becky’s dedication to continuous learning and knowledge-sharing remains a cornerstone of her success.
Know more about Becky: LinkedIn
#24. Seymour Goldberg
(CPA, MBA, JD, senior partner at Goldberg & Goldberg PC in Melville, New York)
Seymour Goldberg also holds the position of professor emeritus of law and taxation at Long Island University. Formerly, he served as the director of the Tax Institute at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, collaborating with the IRS on various tax programs for professionals.
Renowned for his expertise, Seymour received the American Jurisprudence Award in Federal Estate and Gift Taxation from St. John’s University School of Law. His profound knowledge became evident in 1990 when he discovered incomplete or defective IRA beneficiary forms during a review for a CPA’s client.
This led Seymour to rectify numerous IRA beneficiary forms to prevent issues arising from incomplete provisions. Over the past decade, IRA institutions have updated their beneficiary forms, ensuring proper allocation to the issue of a predeceased child. However, Seymour cautions that individuals must remain vigilant, as outdated forms may still be on file unless the IRA owner is proactive in updating them.
Follow his work on his website – Goldberg & Goldberg PC – Trust Estate Probate
#25. Marc Rosenberg
(Managing Partner, Rosenberg Associates)
Marc Rosenberg, a renowned figure in the field of CPA firm management, is a nationally acclaimed consultant, author, and speaker specializing in partner compensation and retirement, management strategies, mergers, profitability, and overall firm strategy. With a base in Chicago, his influence extends coast to coast, having consulted with over 1,000 firms for more than two decades.
Marc co-authored the definitive guide, “CPA Firm Growth: Keys to Practice Development,” alongside Jeffrey S. Pawlow and Charles Hylan, offering invaluable insights into acquiring great clients and fostering rapid revenue growth.
Acknowledging his significant contributions, Accounting Today has consistently recognized Marc as one of the “100 Most Influential People in Accounting” for an impressive 12 years in a row. His expertise has also earned him a coveted spot in the Top 10 Most Recommended Consultants list by INSIDE Public Accounting, solidifying his status as a key thought leader in the industry.
Follow Marc on LinkedIn
Staying ahead of the curve in the dynamic world of accounting requires constant learning and inspiration. Luckily, the USA boasts a vibrant community of thought leaders and influencers sharing their expertise through various platforms. Whether you’re a seasoned CPA, a student aspiring to join the field, or simply someone interested in financial literacy, following these individuals can enrich your knowledge and broaden your perspective.
If you are looking to learn more about accounting and the latest technology, start by following these leading voices in the profession. You can also follow Ace Cloud on social media –Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to get the latest insights into the world of accounting and the cloud.