This month International Accounting Bulletin hosted its annual global industry awards celebrating worldwide best practice in the accounting profession. The awards ceremony was part of a half-day inaugural IAB accountancy forum in London and joined industry leaders and old friends from around the world.
More than 100 industry leaders attended the International Accounting Bulletin industry awards in London this month. Three years after the inaugural IAB Awards, the event has grown its reputation and year after year we are attracting more and more nominations and attendees.
This year we received very strong nominations across all 13 categories. The shortlist and the winners were decided by the judging panel comprised of Jane Howard, head of accounting and actuarial liability at Wragge & Co, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) head of external affairs Sue Almond, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) chairman Ian Ball and International Accounting Bulletin editor Ana Gyorkos.
2014 IAB AWARDS WINNERS ARE:
NETWORK OF THE YEAR
The judges were impressed by the strong nomination material, especially client development and demonstration of a thoughtful approach to achieving growth without compromising quality or service. In 2013 RSM admitted members in 11 countries and conducted in-country mergers in Argentina, Brazil, Norway and the UK. The network grew cross-border referrals by 17% in 2013 and in Q1 2014 referral figures were up 15%, compared to Q1 2013. With its "Where on Earth" and the "RSM World Day" initiatives the network has successfully strengthened its brand internally and with external interested parties.
RISING STAR NETWORK – sponsored by Intuit QuickBooks
TGS’s growth, in just over two years, into an organisation of 1,300 staff in 48 locations in 30 countries convinced the judges of its potential. The new network has reported a fee income increase of 20% so far in 2014 by adding further members in six countries. TGS has also created a modern brand identity, with currently 60% of members adopting the TGS name as a prefix and further firms looking to adopt it in the second half of 2014. The judges were impressed with the international nature of TGS and felt it really reflected the raising star nature of the award.
ASSOCIATION OF THE YEAR – sponsored by Star Computers
In this category we have a highly commended association, INPACT International. The judges felt the association demonstrated growth in its culture as well as business growth. They were also impressed by the relationship-based approach and regional activity focus.
The association was awarded the raising star award in 2013 by IAB and the judges concluded that this year the association has demonstrated strong growth, a spread of new members, and a clear indication that its growth is sustainable. With annual revenue of $4.1bn, 33,496 staff, and enhanced delivery of internal services to member firms and external services to clients, Praxity demonstrated strong performance and achievement in the past year.
RISING STAR ASSOCIATION OF THE YEAR
Antea, an association from Spain, has impressed the judges with its quick development and expansion since its inception in 2008. Antea is present in 60 countries with more than 200 offices, $236m in revenue, and 3,016 staff.
AUDIT INNOVATION OF THE YEAR
- KPMG for its Lean in Audit
With this innovation KPMG has taken the ‘Lean’ customer-oriented business improvement methodology focusing on delivering quality and value through the eyes of the ‘customer’ and used it in delivering a financial statement audit.
Lean thinking emerged in the early 1990s and quickly became one of the most widely used business improvement techniques. It is supported by the Lean Enterprise Research Centre, which together with Harvard University is recognised as one of the centres of excellence for Lean thinking.
The concept of introducing Lean into the audit was conceived by KPMG’s Australian firm in 2011 as an idea to improve audit quality and increase value for clients. Thus far the method has been introduced to more than 15 audit clients, with more than two-thirds saying the method has improved their experience with the firm.
ADVISORY FIRM OF THE YEAR
PwC announced at the end of 2013, and finalised in early 2014, its acquisition of global consultancy Booz & Co, which has 300 partners, 3,000 staff, 57 offices, and $1.4bn in annual revenues. In April the business, now part of the PwC global network, was rebranded as Strategy&.
This investment by PwC convinced the judges of its commitment to addressing client demand for a correct strategy, and its ability to execute this via an experienced and accountable advisor.
EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR
- Grant Thornton International
The judges were impressed by the network’s strong commitment to its employees, its secondment programmes, and its focus on quality.
In 2013, the network set out to create a global Employee Value Proposition (EVP) for the organisation. While the EVP is still in development, the network says it will be used to clarify what it has to offer to potential employees in a clear and powerful manner, enabling Grant Thornton to attract and retain the best talent in the marketplace.
To support the learning and development programme the network also has an Advanced Manager Programme as well as a Leadership Foundation, which is helping staff develop into better leaders. The judges were also impressed by the network’s global talent mobility programme, which has to date supported 320 secondments across the network.
SUSTAINABLE FIRM OF THE YEAR
This is a third win in row for KPMG in this category and goes to show the global network’s strong commitment to running a sustainable business.
After surpassing the Phase I emissions reduction target, KPMG’s current ambition is a further 15% reduction in net emissions per full-time equivalent by 2015, compared to 2010. The network reported significant progress in 2013 and is on track for its goal, thus far achieving an 8% net emissions reduction since 2010. KPMG has also publicly disclosed its global results and reported to the Carbon Disclosure Project.
KPMG also continued its policy of significant investment in communities – through pro bono activities, skills-based volunteering, financial contributions, and general volunteering.
In 2013 the network also sponsored Enactus, a university-based organisation spanning more than 30 countries that encourages students to make a difference in their communities, while developing their skills to become responsible business leaders.
SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKING CHAMPION OF THE YEAR
Due to a significant number of nominations in this category, from single firms as well as global organisations, we decided to hand out two awards: one for a single firm and another at international organisation level.
- Ebner Stolz
The judges were impressed by how the firm managed to increase the number of job application in the past 12 months due to its social media campaigns and by the collaboration between its social media, marketing and HR team.
The firm especially focused on Facebook as a key vehicle to strengthen its brand, by communicating news, launches, success stories, and by sharing authentic content that has been informative, engaging and humorous.
In Q1 2014 KPMG’s global LinkedIn company page acquired 27,000 followers and its Twitter account acquired 13,900 followers, bringing the total to 115K+ and 100K+ followers, respectively. The network also launched an Instagram account to share photos for industry and recruitment events. Shortly after launch, it achieved a 61% engagement rate, the highest of all social channels used by the network.
Like last year, KPMG’s social media campaign, World Economic Forum Live (WEFLIVE), was one of the most successful campaigns, with enhancements introduced in filtering, search and data visualisation features.
In the past 12 months, the number of UK businesses using Xero more than doubled from 22,000 to 47,000, and globally Xero now has 284,000 customers. Xero’s online accounting software is based entirely in the cloud, providing access to up-to-the-minute data which helps customers get a better understanding of their current financial position, take control of their cash flow, and run their businesses more effectively.
The achievements which convinced the judges were the strategic partnerships which the company entered into in the past 12 months. In March 2014, Xero announced a major strategic alliance with Big Four firm KPMG UK. In the same month, it also reached agreement with the UK’s RBS Group for the supply of direct bank feeds for Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest customers, which has been rolled out this summer.
IAB 2014 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
- Prof. Arnold Schilder
Schilder trained and started his career at PwC and during this time finished his PhD as well as served as the president of the Dutch professional body NIVRA.
From 1998 to 2008, he was a member of the Managing Board of the Dutch Central Bank, responsible for banking regulation and supervision. In addition, he served as the chair of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s Accounting Task Force from 1999 to 2006, and a member of the Public Interest Oversight Board from 2005 to 2008.
In 2009 he has been serving as chairman as the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board.
Since his appointment, he has played a key role in guiding the IAASB as it strives to enhance the quality and consistency of practice throughout the world. 90 jurisdictions around the world already use or are in the process of adopting or incorporating IAASB’s International Standards on Auditing (ISAs).
As of 2015, he will continue to lead the IAASB for another three year term.
IAB 2014 PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
- Paul Druckman
Over the past 12 months, Paul Druckman and the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) were able to significantly enhance integrated thinking in the accountancy industry.
The release of the world’s first-ever integrated reporting (<IR>) framework in December 2013, a milestone on the way to a broader corporate reporting, has surely been the council’s major achievement.
The principles-based framework aims to concisely communicate how an organisation’s strategy, governance, performance and prospects lead to the creation of value in the short, medium and long-term. It is a promising shot at improving the relationship between companies and investors.
Druckman and the IIRC managed to convince major companies to pilot the framework, and following the framework eventual release, while there is clearly some way to go towards widespread adoption, more and more regulators and companies across the globe are now going ‘integrated’.
But the framework release has not been the only achievement in the last year. By cooperating with standard setters and institutes through MoUs and networks, Druckman and the IIRC continuously strengthened the global discussion about <IR> and broached continuative topics such as assurance on <IR> or <IR> in public sector accounting.
Druckman originally pursued an entrepreneurial career in the software industry, before accessing the financial industry. Prior to his leading role in <IR>, he served, amongst others, as director of the UK Financial Reporting Council and as president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
As the chief executive officer of the IIRC, Paul Druckman has now become the face of <IR> and a principal advocate for transparency and sustainability in finance worldwide.
IABYOUNG ACCOUNTANT OF THE YEAR 2014 – Sponsored by Xero
- Kader Kaneye
In 2010, at the age of 25, Kader Kaneye was appointed chief executive officer of KMC Niger and became the youngest executive partner in Niger.
After his appointment, he successfully restructured and developed KMC Niger, creating new services lines for accounting, tax & law and executive training. As a result, numbers of clients and professional staff are today five times higher than they were four years ago, with clients up from 40 to 200 and staff from 7 to 41. KMC Niger is now ranked amongst the top three consulting firms in the country.
Through his leadership, Kaneye is addressing prominent local and global issues, such as the promotion of woman in the workplace (woman represent more than 1/3 of the KMC Niger staff and hold key positions), and the enforcement of Islamic finance.
Kaneye has recently been selected to attend the summer 2014 Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, a new flagship program of US president Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative.
Beside his managing position with KMC Niger, Kaneye serves as regional executive partner of HLB KMC West Africa and as the youngest vice-president in the history of the Professional Chartered Accountants Board in Niger (ONECCA).