DAFA 2021

DAFA returns to celebrate key industry achievements

The team at The Accountant and International Accounting Bulletin are proud to recognise the achievements of those in the profession over the past year

On 4 November, the Digital Accountancy Forum and Awards (DAFA) returned as a live, in-person event for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

The insightful conference was followed by a gala dinner and awards reception to celebrate the important work carried out by accountants, firms and software vendors.

The team at The Accountant and International Accounting Bulletin were proud to present 11 corporate and three individual awards to recognise the achievements of those in the profession over the past year

Network of the Year: Nexia International

The judges were impressed by the network’s achievement of a five-year strategy which included increased focus on the adoption of the global branding platform, enhanced member firm collaboration to win, retain and service transnational clients and the implementation of best-in-class technological solutions.

Cementing an outstanding period of progression, Nexia advanced one place in the global rankings to eighth position, with aggregate fee revenues of over $4.5bn.

Rising Star Network of the Year: MGI Worldwide 

In 2015, MGI Worldwide became a network and last year successfully merged in the association CPA Associates International, to double in size.

During the post-merger acquisition period, the combined group was ranked among associations, but now, with over 70% of their firms falling under the network definition, the network rightly earns the Rising Star Network award.

Association of the Year: Praxity Global Alliance

Praxity, within a three-year strategy, achieved its goals to raise standards and further support the effective operation of its member firms.

The outcome was better service, even closer collaboration between member firms, and an extraordinary 13th year of consecutive growth, with aggregate fee revenues hitting $7bn and strengthening its position in all key markets.

Rising Star Association of the Year: Allinial Global

Allinial successfully implemented a strategy that aimed at improving the association’s position and reputation across the world, improving rankings and both staff and client satisfaction.

Allinial’s Technology Consortium has supported innovation to greatly enhance the delivery of client services.

Digital Innovation of the Year: Deloitte

With AI moving from an efficiency tool to a strategic imperative, Deloitte anticipated the urgent need to bring the rigour of its audit and assurance experience to AI.

Working together, Deloitte specialists in data science, governance, model evaluation, audit and assurance developed enabling technology to operationalise the Trustworthy AITM Framework in Omnia, Deloitte’s global audit platform.

Well-being Initiative of the Year: BDO Brazil

The introduction of this new category befits our collective global health and well-being experience from the impact of Covid-19.

Faced with the issues arising from the Covid crisis, BDO Brazil organised, as part of their 20th anniversary celebrations, a BDO Virtual Run to engage their professionals in the firm’s ambition of making life better even in challenging times.

The result – 600 professionals from BDO Brazil’s 24 offices covered over 5,000km across the country, promoting mental and physical well-being. The event received tremendous coverage on social media and promoted the benefits of being ‘together’ in challenging times.

Diversity and Inclusion: PrimeGlobal

The PrimeGlobal Talent-Diversity Equity and Inclusion initiative was established with member firm involvement, with the goal being to infuse diversity and inclusion conversations and insights into the very fabric of the association’s and firms’ strategies providing the same opportunities for all

Initiatives undertaken included a challenge for all PrimeGlobal Managing Partners to sign the CEO Action Pledge, supporting a more inclusive workplace for employees, communities and society, and an expansion of the Women’s Leadership Community of Practice to all four PrimeGlobal regions.

Professional Body of the Year: ACCA

The ACCA wields profound influence within the accountancy industry and beyond, including the finance and business world, government and society as a whole.

The judges conferred the award for its professional insights work, typified by the production of a major report, Professional accountants at the heart of sustainable organisations. This report identifies four new emerging career zones of opportunity for finance professionals where they can make vital contributions to businesses and other organisations.

Sustainability Initiative of the Year: PrimeGlobal

PrimeGlobal launched its Environmental and Social Responsibility (ESR) Insights initiative in January 2021, encouraging all member firms to think about net zero carbon solutions and new business opportunities, presented by embracing sustainability initiatives.

PrimeGlobal has also integrated ESR Insights into its Strategy to 2025 plan.

The PrimeGlobal nomination highlighted multiple initiatives of its member firms to support the environment and local communities.

Accountancy Software of the Year: Inflo Digital Audit

The judges recognised that this cloud-based software, which includes the latest module, Inflo Workpapers, is among the profession’s first data-driven audit platforms designed for the modern digital business world.

Inflo Workpapers offers a comprehensive audit engagement workflow solution, with innovative audit methodology, end-to-end workflow, integrated collaboration and data analytics. It enables an entirely new service experience and level of value for audit clients as well as for staff.

Communications Campaign of the Year: PrimeGlobal

The judges selected PrimeGlobal for its communications process around the June 2021 launch of its Strategy 2025 – Building Our Future Together.

The campaign included promotion and consultation with over 90% of PrimeGlobal member firms and stakeholders and consisted of 40 meetings, member firm survey input and polling questions, competitor analysis, a scan of industry megatrends and conversations with relevant professional bodies and experts.

Young Accountant of the Year:
Becky Belanger, Praxity Global Alliance

Becky was recruited from an audit role at KPMG, to become international project manager at Praxity Global Alliance in April 2020.

She has played a pivotal role in developing and rolling out initiatives across multiple service-lines, to drive positive change within the association and quickly become a trusted facilitator for the member firms around the world.

Becky’s first project was to coordinate the Covid-19 online resource which won last year’s IAB’s Thought Leadership Award. Subsequently, Becky has since implemented several other projects to assist member firms in working together more effectively.

Personality of the Year:
Kirsty McGregor, Corporate Finance Network

Qualifying as a chartered accountant at just 22, Kirsty McGregor specialised in corporate finance for SMEs, working at national and regional firms.

Kirsty became known as an expert CPD trainer in this niche market, and she then founded The Corporate Finance Network for accountancy firms that wished to develop their corporate finance services.

Kirsty has provided technical, research, marketing, operational and training services to around 50 accounting practices, assisting many of them to launch a corporate finance offering to their clients for the first time. She is a regular contributor to the press, and has given interviews on television and radio.

Lifetime Achievement Award 2021:
Graeme Gordon, Praxity Global Alliance, and Kevin Arnold, Nexia International

For the first time, the judges gave the Lifetime Achievement Award to two recipients who have delivered consistent and exceptional levels of achievement. 

Graeme (took over at then-fledgling Praxity nearly 12 years ago. He has helped build it into one of the world’s largest audit, tax and consulting associations. 

Kevin was appointed CEO of Nexia International 10 years ago, when the network was ranked 12th. Nexia has since grown substantially, doubling aggregate fee income to $4.5m and rising to eighth position globally.

Graeme Gordon, Praxity Global Alliance

Kevin Arnold, Nexia International