Accounting Today’s 100 Most Influential – Part 2

Here we are in the second part of a three-part series.  May I present to you…five more of Accounting Today‘s 100 Most Influential that are new to the list.


Brian Fox – Founder/President,

For those of you not in the accounting industry, an audit confirmation refers to when the auditor sends a letter to the entity’s debtors and creditors (those who owe to the entity and those to whom the entity owes) verifying the accounts payable/receivable amounts shown in the entity’s books.  As you can imagine, this process can get pretty tedious and complicated.  That is, until you look to for help.  Brian Fox started his company in 2001 as a means of “improving the audit confirmation process for the banking and accounting professions.”  His current product line, however, is applicable across all industries.  From accounts receivable/payable confirmations to Employee Benefit Plan audit confirmations to  bank confirmations and even for legal confirmations for auditors, not only economizes the audit confirmation process, it makes it interactive.  Both auditor and audit client can now engage in the process together, thereby making it more collaborative and efficient, and prepared for the accounting industry’s future.


Russell Fujioka – President, Xero US

While we’re on the subject of collaborative accounting software, let’s check in with what some consider the national leader on cloud-based systems.  Xero has really increased its stronghold in the North American market, carving a niche in small businesses and entrepreneurs.  Their cloud-based products cover all aspects of accounting, including inventory, payroll and invoicing, and have even extended their services to mobile devices.  Smart, considering that by the end of the decade, everyone will be on their phones.  Another benefit of Xero is their Partner Program, in which practices who get more of their clients on Xero’s software climb the partnership levels and receive benefits.  All the more reason to become engaged with them.  I could go on, of course, but I’ve got four more people to cover.  Visit to learn more.


Charles Hylan – Partner, The Growth Partnership

The Growth Partnership is a St. Louis-based practice management firm, and like many others, they work with accounting professionals in the areas of running and managing their practices, conduct leadership trainings, and specialize in marketing consulting as a means of facilitating growth.  What I really like about them, though, are their values.  Each one of them is minded towards creating a true firm of the future, especially “think strategically, critically and creatively” and “communicate and collaborate robustly”.  The firm of the future, in my opinion, is centered around transparency and open communication between all levels of the practice, thus contributing to a more positive work environment centered around the development of its professionals and firm growth.  Furthermore, creative thinking is what will drive the industry forward, as people such as the Most Influential build their companies by chartering new territories in all areas of the professional realm.  As they say, doing what you’ve always done will get you what you’ve always gotten.

Finally, the last value is “work hard and have fun”.  And rightfully so, if you don’t enjoy what you do and feels like work, how are you really spending your life?


Olivia Kirtley – President, IFAC

Since taking the helm of IFAC’s Board in November 2014, she has positioned herself as an industry leader with respect to increasing globalization in the accounting industry.  IFAC is an international organization “dedicated to serving the public interest by strengthening the profession and contributing to the development of strong international economies.”  It recently released a 2016-2018 Strategic Plan, which details how to maximize opportunity in global markets and alleviate risk.  It states,

“IFAC is uniquely positioned to spearhead initiatives that demand:

•a global reach
•freedom from commercial and political interests
•the ability to create dialogue and debate.”
This speaks volumes to the potential of the industry to truly expand its reach within a global economic ecosystem, not just within the context of business, but in society.  Principles of accounting exist in everything, if you think about it, and IFAC’s work in identifying trends and insights will undoubtely serve the profession well as it moves forward.  To read the entire plan, check it out here.

Art Kuesel – President and owner, Kuesel Consulting

Kuesel Consulting has been in operation since 2013, but before then, Art Kuesel held various marketing positions within the accounting industry.  His understanding of firm operations on the inside has contributed to his knowledge of what it takes to grow an accounting firm, enhancing the value and scope of what a marketing department can accomplish.  Click here for an interview with him at the AICPA Growth & Profitability Summit in Orlando three years ago, speaking about marketing trends in accounting.

One thing I really like about his site is the section for recipes.  He’s actually got a testimonial from a client, speaking on behalf of his guacamole.  I must say, the chipotle chilies in adobo sauce have really piqued my interest – I love the idea of a slightly smoky guacamole.  But here inlies the talent in marketing.  Because he has the recipe section on the website, he sticks out in my mind for reasons other than just accounting and marketing.

And with that, I’m going to lunch.  Come back next week as I wrap up this series!


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