What is the 40 Under 40?
Gail Perry: The 40 Under 40 awards have been around for about a dozen years. And what we’ve done over the years is recognize young members in the accounting profession who are making a difference. Since I’ve been with the magazine for the last four years, we’ve been looking for people who are embracing change in the profession, because the accounting industry is changing right now. We’re looking for people who are demonstrated leaders. People who are collaborating with others in the business to make sure the profession moves forward as a group across all the generations. People who are visible in their community, as well as on a national level.
What’s the process you take at CPA Practice Advisor to select the recipients?
Gail Perry: People either can apply themselves or someone can nominate them. I think we received about 300 submissions this year. After that, there’s a bit a weeding out process.
We’re looking at people who meet the requirements that we have listed online. After we’ve weeded out the lists, there are still over 200 hundred still that meet those requirements. Then we look at them internally. We use members of our advisory board and our thought leadership group to help with judging. We finally arrive at a list of 40 who really stand out from the rest as being amazing young leaders in the profession.
What struck you as something particularly interesting about this year’s group?
Gail Perry: I’m seeing more and more people who are graduates of the AICPA’s Young Leadership Program or similar state accounting societies that have young professional leadership programs. I think they’re getting expert advice on positioning themselves in their careers. We’re seeing people who are working with their state societies or with the AICPA in leadership roles or working with new young leaders coming up through the ranks. We see people who are on boards of their alma maters or local not-for-profit groups. We’re seeing people who are going back to their high schools and offering to help high school students with personal finance information and tax education. We’ve got members who are from the AICPA. We have members from the big four and medium and small firms. We have solopreneurs. We have educators. We have people who have more than one job.
We have people in this year’s group from all spectrums of the industry. No matter where they are coming from, they are embodying the different aspects that we’re looking for in terms of leadership roles and national exposure and probably what’s most important, is that they are reaching out to others and trying to move the profession forward by helping others do the same thing.
What was one of the most unusual stories you’ve heard about one of the nominees in this years’ crop?
Gail Perry: I could probably tell you forty amazing stories. But one that struck me as particularly fascinating is we have, one of our members is a woman from Kabul, Afghanistan, obtained her education here in the United States. She now has a Bachelors and a Master’s degree and is a manager at Deloitte in the DC area, which I think is fascinating since she’s from a country where women often are not allowed to be educated.
Want to hear more from the interview with Gail Perry and Ed Kless? Listen to the full podcast interview.