The finalists and winners have been selected by an independent panel of judges including: Jane Howard partner at Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP, Ndungu Gathinji former chairman of the institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) and former IFAC board member, and Mark Koziel vice president – firm services & global alliances at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
NETWORK OF THE YEAR
This has been a very tough category. BDO has taken the award by a small margin, thanks to strong nomination that demonstrates the network’s active and aggressive strategy in growing in key markets. Alongside this, BDO has added additional emerging markets while still maintaining a high focus on quality. BDO has added members in 20 new territories around the world over the last year, while strengthening its position in larger markets such as the USA, Canada, the UK, New Zealand, and South Africa.
RISING STAR NETWORK
With strong growth year on year since its inception in 2005, Shinewing’s nomination caught the judges’ eyes thanks to its networks’ strategy as the leading the Chinese organisation to come away from its domestic market and present itself as an important player on the international scene. Judges have commended the network’s growth in Asia Pacific and voiced their expectations to see the network’s success in other regions of the world like Latin America and Europe.
ASSOCIATION OF THE YEAR
Winner: DFK International
DFK International is the second fastest growing organisation in the top 10 global associations in financial year 2014. It has expanded its presence beyond its traditional footholds of Europe and North America and added members in all regions. DFK International sustained growth despite some challenging conditions in key markets as well as its all rounded nomination with a particular focus on sustainability, and its internationally driven mind set and resilience in front of adversity were all contributing factors for the association’s win in this category.
RISING STAR ASSOCIATION
INPACT’s nomination came highly commended from the judges taking part in last year’s award, making it an expected candidate for this year. The judges have been impressed by the relationship-based approach and regional activity focus, as well as work completed throughout the last year to align INPACT’s regional alliances, upgrade its IT systems and bolster communication.
AUDIT INNOVATION OF THE YEAR
According to the judges, Deloitte leads the way into the future of audit with its big data manipulation and innovation. Argus is one of Deloitte leading-edge tools which expands the universe of audit from numerical data to the language of business buried in documents. Argus is made of cognitive technologies, which can perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence: Argus analyses a complete set of documents and by comparing the set to a base template can spot any differences and summarise those differences in a heat map.
ADVISORY FIRM OF THE YEAR GLOBAL
Winner: Crowe Horwath International
In 2014, Crowe Horwath International reported a global growth of 23% in advisory with the global risk consulting practice as the largest contributor to that growth. Crowe Horwath’s global risk consulting practice comprises more than 1000 partners and professionals around the world, and the judges have commanded the networks’ one firm approach internationally.
ADVISORY FIRM OF THE YEAR SINGLE FIRM
Winner: Nexia BT Group
In just five years, Nexia BT Advisory Services Ltd., the advisory arm of Nexia BT Group, has increased staff by tenfold and is expected to reach the €1m mark in revenue in financial year 2015. The firm’s hand on approach has contributed to its growing recognition in Malta and has won it contracts in key projects that are at the forefront of the island’s agenda. Such as its work with Malta transport in helping to create a unified overarching strategy consolidating the Malta maritime authority, Malta transport authority, and the directorate of civil aviation into one entity.
EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Grant Thornton
Grant Thornton retains this award, as the organisation has once again impressed the judges by demonstrating its strong commitment to employees with the belief that experience created for staff is directly linked to the experience offered to clients. An example of the various initiative launched in 2014 is the Global JAM, a three day online event where Grant Thornton invited all of its 40,000 employees from 130 countries to share ideas and opinions that shape the organisation’s future. 14,000 people registered and 34% of those logged a comment, producing a total of 13,000 posts. From there Grant Thornton developed a series of actions and initiative, such as the global flexible working practices toolkit, to help with all stages and levels of offering and implementing flexible working practices at a local level.
SUSTAINABLE FIRM OF THE YEAR
KPMG has won this category for a fourth time in a row. KPMG has impressed the judges with its commitment to push for sustainability internally and not just as an offering to clients. The network has reported 10% reduction in net emissions since 2010, which is on track to reach its goal of 15% reduction by end of 2015. Externally the network continues to help clients improve their own environmental and social performance, not only through KPMG’s sustainability services, but across all other lines.
SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKING CHAMPION OF THE YEAR GLOBAL
KPMG retains the award in this category for a second year in a row. KPMG has demonstrated a steady growth in online followers and judges have been impressed by KPMG’s WEFLIVE initiative, a twitter aggregation data visualisation service at the World Economic Forum. This along with other social media initiatives demonstrated the network’s global impact in social networking.
SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKING CHAMPION OF THE YEAR SINGLE FIRM
Winner: Nexia SKP
Judges have commended the firm’s social media strategy. It heightens brand awareness and visibility resulting in an increased number of followers (+133% on LinkdIn, +609% on facebook) as well as website traffic referral (+158% visits). A series of social media campaigns, around tax, India’s budget and recruitment have demonstrated the firm’s growing reach in the social media sphere.
IT VENDOR OF THE YEAR
Caseware products offer files synchronisation and collaborative working in the cloud, while helping to increase speed and efficiency for clients so that firm’s receive information on both efficiency and quality of their audit process. More importantly judges felt this product has been designed for firms of all size, which has made a very powerful argument for Caseware’s award.
YOUNG ACCOUNTANT OF THE YEAR
Winner: Amy Askew
Amy Askew has progressed from ACA trainee to Partner at Menzies LLP in less than ten years. Three year old twin boys keep Amy busy while her ability to balance a large and varied client portfolio has her as an outstanding role model for young professional females. Amy has a strong focus in developing Menzies LLP’s Business Valuations specialism, a superb academic background and an unparalleled commitment to the profession. Enthusiasm and talent have afforded Amy senior positions at a young age, including ACA trainee to Menzies’ corporate manager within three years.
PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Winner: Sacha Romanovitch
Sacha Romanovitch is CEO at Grant Thornton UK LLP. She is the first woman to lead a major professional firm in the UK. Prior to her current role Sasha has been National Leadership Board People and Culture Leader, and Head of London Advisory. Sacha is a leading voice both in the accounting profession, public and media sphere for social mobility and gender equality, as well as having a specific expertise in alignment and trust within senior leadership settings. She led the cultural change programme at Grant Thornton UK and transformation of the People and Culture team to deliver it.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Winner: Geoff Barnes
Geoff Barnes has been chief executive officer and president of the world’s eighth-largest accountancy network Baker Tilly International for fifteen years. He is currently chairman of the International Advisory Panel of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
Under Geoffs’ leadership Baker Tillys’ global network has grown from 59 countries to 133 countries, while its entire global revenues have increased from US$900m to US$3.6bn . Geoff has been instrumental to securing high calibre clients, member firms, and talent, as well as helping the Baker Tilly achieve world class status. Judges unanimously praised his charisma and leadership and wished him well in his soon to come retirement.
International Accounting Bulletin Awards 2015 finalists