IAFA 2023

IAFA 2023: Award Winners

Following the International Accounting Forum and Awards (IAFA) 2023 held at the Leonardo Royal Hotel London City on 29 June, the International Accounting Bulletin and The Accountant teams are pleased to share the winners of the 17 awards.

Network of the Year: Baker Tilly International

Runner-up: Moore Global 

The judges found that this network showed a real commitment to listening, understanding and supporting the advancement of their members. This network has succeeded at achieving record revenues in the past year, a growth they saw on a global scale. They have also made advances in rolling out a global strategy plan devoted to internal education, and continue to position themselves as an employer of choice.

Association of the Year: PrimeGlobal

Runner-up: Allinial Global

The winner of the Association of the Year award demonstrated to the judges that they were committed to continuous improvement of their membership and the support they offer. Betting on an ambitious agenda, they have successfully delivered, prioritising ESG education, achieving double-digit growth, and reaching a member satisfaction score of 84%.

Rising Star Association: Inpact Global

This association is expanding their reach and impact to become a real challenger in the accounting Associations space.  Judges were impressed with their achievements, given how their relatively small team has been able to make the best out of the resources at hand, going out of their way to successfully implement their ambitious 5-year strategic plan, aligning three separate parts of the association, into one cohesive, global association.

Digital Innovation of the year: PwC

Runner-up: Deloitte 

The judges recognised how PwC demonstrated the real value its audit tool can add to their clients’ business in the future, without compromising quality, taking the bold step to invest over $1bn in AI technology, while always keeping a human-centred approach to design and development. 

Well-being initiative of the year: BDO Brazil

BDO Brazil delivered an initiative that was simple and easily understood, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Smiley, the precursor to the modern-day Smile emoji, with the launch of the #ASmileMakesADifference initiative. By designing a picture frame with the hashtag on it, team members have been invited to take pictures of themselves, making use of these frames, while sharing them online, sharing good vibes and further creating a positive culture in the workplace.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Initiative of the Year: Nexia International

Runner-up: Allinial Global 

Nexia International demonstrated the power of providing under-represented minority groups and women with the training and support to achieve higher levels in their companies, through their own merit. This was accomplished, by launching the pioneering peer-led Aspiring Women Leaders Programme (AWL), a diverse initiative that attracted 40 delegates from 10 countries across Europe, Middle East and Africa, North America, and Asia Pacific regions. Education and setting an expectation that "you can do it" is the way to break down the barriers to board level appointments.

Professional body of the Year: ACCA

Runner-up: CPA Canada 

The judges found that ACCA consistently shows it is not an organisation to rest on its laurels just because of its long- established base. This professional body works tirelessly showing continuous commitment to the industry on multifarious levels, and in developing its talent-pool, to be future ready.

Sustainability initiative of the Year: PrimeGlobal

Runner-up: Deloitte

PrimeGlobal presented an initiative characterised by accessibility, having been created in collaboration with B Corp certified firms and displaying clear case studies which not only illustrate how firms can achieve sustainable goals, but further allow for users to easily engage with these goals, noting that impact will only be made through implementation.

Communications Campaign of the Year: ACCA

Runner-up: Praxity 

As part of their “Accounting for a Better World", ACCA has sought to mobilise members of the accountancy profession. To unleash the potential to drive sustainable business, this organisation has provided its members with equitable access to educational materials, illustrating the changes needed to create a fairer, more ethical world, allowing them to identify key priorities accountants should have, to advance these goals.

Accountancy Software of the Year: MyWorkpapers

My workpapers joins the dots for workflow and creates greater efficiency in practices.  Their on-going roadmap of development is customer-focused on continuous improvement, and their latest update allows users to take full advantage of all the features of their platform, by bringing tax return data directly into the software, truly revolutionising user-experience.

Cloud Initiative of the Year: Inflo

Inflo showed their commitment to providing the most secure platform - validated by some recent high-profile breaches that this company was protected against. As cloud services in accounting become the norm, our judges were looking for the next step in cloud-enabled software, provided by the winner by way of a more secure platform, whose cloud initiative has successfully removed the need for physical paperwork, Excel files and other manual processes, thereby reducing errors and ensuring customer protection, while preserving the quality of the end-product.

Customer Experience of the Year: Syft

Syft is characterised by their commitment to getting users off to the best experience from the very beginning. By facilitating financial reporting and data analytics through their one-of-a-kind app, users are provided with clear visualisations of complex financial information. By using Syft Analytics Application, you can check data integrity and generate beautiful, bespoke reports.

Accounting Fintech Start-up of the Year: Beeye

Runner-up Iplicit 

The judges recognised Beeye for building in advanced technology from that start and for building traction in the market. Having been named one of the nine most innovative companies in Canada by Microsoft, Beyee has received financing from the Canadian government for some of their A.I. projects. They seek to provide a workforce management and planning solution that puts collaboration at its core to simplify resource management.

Young Accountant of the Year: Christina Fung

Christina Fung is a great example of someone who had an alternative career before coming into the profession in 2017, joining the industry with great drive and passion. She embodies GHJ Advisors' mission to #BeMore. She is co-leader of GHJ’s Women’s Empowerment Cohort, reflecting how team members of all backgrounds can better support each other and build allyship, in the accounting industry.  She was selected to be a representative face of the Firm, and is now a featured figure on the front page of GHJ’s website as a future leader.

Accountancy Leader of the Year: Samantha Louis, CEO of Praxity

Samantha joined Praxity as CEO in June 2021 from the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA), where she was Vice-President in charge of International Advocacy. Prior to this she was Regional Vice President for Africa at the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).  

Samantha is a Fellow of CIMA and a Chartered Global Management Accountant. She is a graduate of University of the Witwatersrand and has completed post-graduate courses in public relations and management. She completed a Masters degree in Business Administration, with distinction, through the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), at the University of Pretoria in 2002.  

Samantha served on the Advisory Board of the Australian Institute of Performance Science and the City of London Lord Mayor’s Appeal Diversity Senior Leadership Group. She has served as a technical advisor to the Professional Accountancy Organisation Development Committee of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). Her nonexecutive directorships have included the Board and Executive Committee of the Financial and Accounting Services SETA (FASSET) and the Board of Roedean school (South Africa). She has also served as President of the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA) and chaired PRISA’s Accreditation Committee. She has represented the Africa region on the Board of the Global Alliance for Public Relations. She is currently on the Council and Finance Committee of Roedean school.  

And now we may ask, how did all this start? Samantha was recruited after an extensive headhunt from an excellent group of final candidates. Sam was finally chosen, as her personality suited the ethos of Praxity, and the committee’s belief that she would have the drive, the ambition and, most importantly, the ability to take Praxity to even greater heights.

Personality of the Year: Özgür Demirdoven

Özgür joined Allinial Global in 2021 as director of the association’s growing EMEI region, focusing on new member recruitment and addressing the needs of EMEI member firms. Upon the retirement of Job Dieleman, Özgür moved into the role of Executive Vice President, Global Commerce, where alongside Mark Koziel’s exceptional vision, Özgür oversees the association’s regional directors to increase commerce and collaboration among member firms and to drive membership growth in each of Allinial’s regions. 

Özgür’s educational foundation, graduating from the illustrious Kabatas High School, led him one day to join the Board of trustees in 2019, contributing to a foundation that has generated over $1 million in funds. This remarkable achievement provides educational opportunities for talented yet underprivileged students from all corners of the country, championing equal access to education. Most recently, Ozgur has also been admitted to the school’s audit committee to oversee the Trust’s activities.  

Beyond his devotion to education for all, Özgür’s drive for positive change extends to his involvement in various business associations. As a board member and treasurer of the Dutch Business Association in Turkey, Özgür has tirelessly worked to enhance commercial and cultural ties between the two nations. Additionally, he holds membership in the Great British Business Club, a community facilitated by the Department for International Trade (DIT) and the British Chamber of Commerce in Turkey (BCCT). 

In summary, Özgür’s story unfolds as a remarkable journey of service, within education, and business leadership.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Barry Melancon

There are but a handful of individuals that are known throughout the world for their sustained contribution to the accountancy profession. This year, we are proud to recognise Barry Melancon, President & CEO of the joint AICPA-CIMA international association.  

Barry began his accounting career in 1979 at a small CPA firm in Louisiana and had very quickly progressed to partner. He joined the AICPA in 1995, 28 years ago, and under his leadership the organisation has grown to become the largest professional accountancy body in the world.  

Following the merger initiated with CIMA, a strategy designed to elevate management accounting globally, the combination now boasts some 700,000 members and students. 

Barry was also an instrumental figure in the establishment of the Chartered Global Management Accountant designation (CGMA). 

Throughout his career, Barry has been a champion for change and progress. His unwavering advocacy for ethics and integrity has helped shape policies that protect investors, enhance transparency, and elevate the standards of the accounting profession. His efforts have played an instrumental role in rebuilding trust and confidence in financial markets, reinforcing the fundamental principles upon which both our profession and our economies thrive.