BLI Leadership | Leadership / Management

20 MACPA connections among the CPA profession’s most influential people

The MACPA's influence throughout the profession continues to grow.

No fewer than 20 MACPA executives, members, thought leaders, and strategic partners have been included on Accounting Today’s annual list of “The 100 Most Influential People in Accounting.” They include:

MACPA staff / members

  • Tom Hood: The MACPA’s CEO was named the profession’s second most influential person, behind only AICPA CEO Barry Melancon. “Rarely has a keen eye for the future been combined with such infectious enthusiasm and tremendous communication skills,” Accounting Today writes. “The depth of Hood’s influence is only rivaled by the breadth of his vision for the profession.”
  • Kimberly Ellison-Taylor: The AICPA chair and Baltimore native was named the profession’s third most influential person. “As a black woman, Ellison-Taylor breaks barriers, but it’s as a leader with a vision of accounting’s future, and the ability to communicate both that vision and her love for the profession to accountants everywhere, that have allowed her to take the chair’s traditional influence to an entirely new level,” Accounting Today writes.
  • Wayne Berson: The CEO of BDO USA is a native of Cape Town, South Africa, and an MACPA member. “Now in his second term, Berson continues to pursue the strategies that made BDO the first new billion-dollar firm in years, with strategic mergers across the country, as well as strong initiatives for organic growth in consulting and advisory services,” Accounting Today writes.
  • Jina Etienne: The Baltimore native and MACPA member served until just recently as president and CEO of the National Association of Black Accountants. “Etienne has put her prominence in the profession at the service of NABA’s members, pursuing the association’s mission with education, events, resources, alliances and initiatives like its recent partnership with the IMA,” writes Accounting Today.
  • Jody Padar: The Chicago native is CEO and principal of the Illinois-based New Vision CPA Group. She joined the MACPA to be connected with the association’s future-focused vision and strategy. “Breaking all the rules to build a ‘radical’ new firm has succeeded tremendously so far for Padar,” Accounting Today writes, “and with a new book on the way, she looks set to keep preaching her new model of how the 21st century accountant should practice.”

MACPA partners

  • Chandra Bhansali, CEO, AccountantsWorld: “One of the original pioneers of the cloud for accountants, Bhansali continues to strengthen his portfolio of tools, while sharing his vision of a profession transformed by the possibilities offered by technology,” Accounting Today writes.
  • Hitendra Patil, director of practice development, AccountantsWorld: “Though he has raised his profile with his position at AccountantsWorld, Patel carved out his own thought leadership in the profession long before with a barrage of articles and social media posts that culminated in his thought-provoking book, Accountaneur,” Accounting Today writes.
  • Karen Abramson, CEO, Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting: “As a leader of one of the biggest providers of tools to the tax and accounting profession, Abramson leaves her mark on the desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones of countless accountants,” Accounting Today writes.
  • Jason Marx, CEO, Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting, North America: “Marx hasn’t been in accounting for long, but he learns quickly, and has his unit leveraging the cloud and smarter technology in a steady stream of useful tools and upgrades that get right to the needs of practitioners,” Accounting Today writes.
  • Erik Asgeirsson, CEO, “Along with his team at, Asgeirsson is a tireless evangelist for all the ways technology can serve the profession — and help it serve its clients better,” Accounting Today writes.
  • Greg LaFollette, strategic advisor, “A veteran thinker on the subject of technology and accounting, LaFollette is both a major educator and one of the engines of’s crusade to get the profession ahead of the curve,” Accounting Today writes.
  • Kim Austin, business development manager, Intuit: “Austin’s influence is retail — literally going inside firms of all sizes coast to coast to bring them new tools, new strategies and new thinking about everything from technology to how they run their practices,” Accounting Today writes.
  • David Bergstein, evangelist to the accounting segment, Intuit: “Few can match Bergstein’s kaleidoscopic perspective,” Accounting Today writes. “As a long-time practitioner who’s also a veteran software executive, he brings all sides to his work educating countless other practitioners on how to adapt to a rapidly changing world.”
  • Brad Smith, chairman and CEO, Intuit: “While it’s still a major desktop presence, Smith has turned Intuit’s focus firmly to the cloud, with the majority of its new QuickBooks clients coming in through QBO, and he has the company constantly scouting the future for new tools and technologies to delight its users,” Accounting Today writes.
  • Ed Kless, senior director, Sage: “Think of Kless as one of accounting’s philosophers-in-residence, asking pointed questions and applying his restless intellect to a wide range of issues, even as he joins fellow philosopher and radio co-host Ron Baker in aiming to eliminate both outdated practices like the billable and the outdated thinking that supports them,” Accounting Today writes.
  • Taylor Macdonald, senior vice president of channels, Intacct: “Intacct may have just been bought by Sage,” Accounting Today writes, “but we suspect that won’t affect MacDonald’s influence as one of the premier channel leaders in the field; after all, he used to run Sage’s channel, too.”
  • Jennifer Warawa, executive vice president of partners, accountants and alliances, Sage: “As Sage ramps up its game with cutting-edge bots and its acquisition of Intacct, Warawa’s prominence in the field can only help it move to the next level,” Accounting Today writes.
  • Amy Vetter, global vice president of education and head of U.S. accounting, Xero: Vetter also is an MACPA member who joined in 2016 to better connect with the profession’s most forward-thinking CPAs. “Vetter must remain in close touch with her inner practitioner,” Accounting Today writes. “How else to explain her uncanny ability to communicate so well with accountants on subjects she cares about, like the value of the cloud to a practice, and the need for work-life balance?”

BLI thought leaders

  • Donny Shimamoto, managing director, Intraprise TechKnowlogies: Shimamoto also delivers thought leadership programs for the Business Learning Institute. “We don’t usually let members of the Top 100 describe themselves,” Accounting Today writes, “but Shimamoto’s linkedIn blurb is both accurate and too good to pass up: ‘Improving the world, one accountant at a time …’ And he does, through his technology consulting, his thought leadership, and his work with state societies, the AICPA and many other groups in the profession.”
  • Ron Baker, founder, VeraSage Institute: Baker also delivers thought leadership programs for the Business Learning Institute. “Every year, more accountants buy into Baker’s message about the need to switch to value pricing,” Accounting Today writes, “and that means more and more are ready to hear his larger message about innovation, modernization and, most important, transformation.”

“We are incredibly proud to see this many MACPA connections standing out in a profession that includes more than half a million CPAs in the United States,” said Hood. “Our heartfelt congratulations go out to each of them.”


Bill Sheridan