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Who are the most influential thinkers in world?

Identify leaders in your chosen discipline, research top professors in your area of study, and search for schools based on the luminaries who most inspire you!

Note: These rankings change dynamically as our artificial intelligence system learns new things and incorporates new publications and citations. Academics are constantly doing research and publishing new insights, with the result that our measure of influence is subject to continual adjustments. For quality assurance reasons, however, we forgo real-time changes, with most public updates happening only quarterly. In any case, don’t be surprised to see our rankings change over time.

Methodology: How and Why We Rank by Influence …

Gender designations here are based off data sourced from Wikidata.

About our data on gender

List of the most influential people in Accounting, for the years 2010 – 2020

Feargal O'Rourke
# 1
Feargal O'Rourke

1964 - Present (57 years)

#24033 person's overall influence

Feargal O'Rourke is an Irish accountant and corporate tax expert, who is the managing partner of PwC in Ireland . He is considered the architect of the famous Double Irish tax scheme used by U.S. firms such as Apple, Google and Facebook in Ireland, and a leader in the development of corporate tax planning tools, and tax legislation, for U.S. multinationals in Ireland.

Warren Buffett
# 2
Warren Buffett

1930 - Present (91 years)

#334 person's overall influence

Warren Edward Buffett is an American investor, business tycoon, philanthropist, and the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. He is considered one of the most successful investors in the world and has a net worth of US$78.9 billion as of August 2020, making him the world's seventh-wealthiest person.

# 3
Markus Braun

1969 - Present (52 years)

#114404 person's overall influence

Markus Braun is an Austrian tech investor and digital entrepreneur. From January 2002 until June 2020, he was the CEO and CTO at Wirecard AG.

Elon Musk
# 4
Elon Musk

1971 - Present (50 years)

#450 person's overall influence

Elon Reeve Musk is a business magnate, industrial designer, engineer, and philanthropist. He is the founder, CEO, CTO and chief designer of SpaceX; early investor, CEO and product architect of Tesla, Inc.; founder of The Boring Company; co-founder of Neuralink; and co-founder and initial co-chairman of OpenAI. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2018. In 2018, he was ranked 25th on the Forbes list of The World's Most Powerful People, and was ranked joint-first on the Forbes list of the Most Innovative Leaders of 2019. As of September 2, 2020, his net worth was estimated by Forb

# 5
Stephen Haddrill
#183405 person's overall influence

Stephen Haddrill is chief executive officer of the Financial Reporting Council in the United Kingdom. In November 2018 he announced he would be leaving the post.

Bill Gates
# 6
Bill Gates

1955 - Present (66 years)

#80 person's overall influence

William Henry Gates III is an American business magnate, software developer, and philanthropist. He is best known as the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation. During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of chairman, chief executive officer , president and chief software architect, while also being the largest individual shareholder until May 2014. He is one of the best-known entrepreneurs and pioneers of the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s.

# 7
James J. Leisenring
#405970 person's overall influence

James J. Leisenring is a retired member of both the International Accounting Standards Board, based in London, and the Financial Accounting Standards Board , based in Norwalk, Connecticut.

# 8
Christoffel Wiese

1941 - Present (80 years)

#121547 person's overall influence

Christoffel F. Hendrik Wiese is a South African businessman and former billionaire. His source of wealth is consumer retail.

# 9
Jan Marsalek

1980 - Present (41 years)

#226868 person's overall influence

Jan Marsalek is a former Austrian manager, known for his position as board member and chief operating officer of the German payment processing firm Wirecard. He has been a fugitive since June 2020 because of his role in the Wirecard scandal.

Jeff Bezos
# 10
Jeff Bezos

1964 - Present (57 years)

#1342 person's overall influence

Jeffrey Preston Bezos is an American internet entrepreneur, industrialist, media proprietor, and investor. He is best known as the founder, CEO, and president of the multi-national technology company Amazon. The first centi-billionaire on the Forbes wealth index, Bezos has been the world's richest person since 2017 and was named the "richest man in modern history" after his net worth increased to $150 billion in July 2018. According to Forbes, Bezos is the first person in history to have a net worth exceeding $200 billion.

# 11
David G. Friehling

1959 - Present (62 years)

#55853 person's overall influence

David G. Friehling is an American accountant who was arrested and charged in March 2009 for his role in the Madoff investment scandal. He subsequently pleaded guilty to rubber-stamping Bernard Madoff's filings with regulators rather than fully reviewing them. His role in covering up Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme makes it the largest accounting fraud in history.

# 12
David Tweedie

1944 - Present (77 years)

#534175 person's overall influence

Sir David Philip Tweedie is the former chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board and the ninetieth member of The Accounting Hall of Fame.

Brock Pierce
# 13
Brock Pierce

1980 - Present (41 years)

#144860 person's overall influence

Brock Pierce is an American entrepreneur and former actor known for his work in the cryptocurrency industry. As a child actor, he was in Disney films The Mighty Ducks , D2: The Mighty Ducks , and First Kid . He is an independent candidate for president of the United States in the 2020 United States presidential election.

Steve Ballmer
# 14
Steve Ballmer

1956 - Present (65 years)

#2577 person's overall influence

Steven Anthony Ballmer is an American businessman and investor who served as the chief executive officer of Microsoft for fourteen years from 2000 to 2014. Ballmer is the current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association . As of July 2020, Forbes estimates his personal wealth at US$71.4 billion, ranking him the 11th richest person in the world.

George Soros
# 15
George Soros

1930 - Present (91 years)

#358 person's overall influence

George Soros, Hon is a Hungarian–American billionaire investor and philanthropist. , he had a net worth of $8.3 billion, having donated more than $32 billion to the Open Society Foundations.

# 16
Paolo Berlusconi

1949 - Present (72 years)

#23773 person's overall influence

Paolo Berlusconi is the younger brother of the former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. He is the publisher of the newspaper Il Giornale and the head of the investment group Paolo Berlusconi Finanzaria.

# 17
Jochen Zeitz

1963 - Present (58 years)

#38633 person's overall influence

Jochen Zeitz is the President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Harley Davidson, Inc. He served as the Chairman and CEO of PUMA, the global Sporting Goods company for 18 years. He also served as Board Member of Kering, the luxury goods company, and chaired their Sustainability Committee for whom he developed its global sustainability strategy. Zeitz is currently a Board Member of Harley Davidson, The B Team, Cranemere, and the Kenya Wildlife Service . In addition to this Zeitz previously served on the board of Wilderness Safaris. Jochen Zeitz is also the co-founder of The B Team with Sir Rich...

Yvon Chouinard
# 18
Yvon Chouinard

1938 - Present (83 years)

#29274 person's overall influence

Yvon Chouinard is an American rock climber, environmentalist, and outdoor industry billionaire businessman. His company, Patagonia, is known for its environmental focus.

# 19
Maurice R. Greenberg

1925 - Present (96 years)

#15233 person's overall influence

Maurice Raymond "Hank" Greenberg is an American business executive and former chairman and chief executive officer of American International Group , which was the world's 18th largest public company and the largest insurance and financial services corporation in history.

# 20
Richard Adam

1957 - Present (64 years)

#241206 person's overall influence

Richard Adam is an English chartered accountant and businessman particularly associated with the financial management of media, construction and property-related companies. He was a board director of construction and services business Carillion from April 2007 to December 2016. After the company went into liquidation in January 2018, Adam was criticised by a Parliamentary select committees report, and the Financial Reporting Council and other regulators started investigations into his conduct.

John Elkington
# 21
John Elkington

1949 - Present (72 years)

#8542 person's overall influence

John Elkington is an author, advisor and serial entrepreneur. He is an authority on corporate responsibility and sustainable development. He has written and co-authored 19 books, including the Green Consumer Guide, Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business,The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets That Change the World, and The Breakthrough Challenge: 10 Ways to Connect Tomorrow's Profits with Tomorrow's Bottom Line.

# 22
Fred Wilpon

1936 - Present (85 years)

#50944 person's overall influence

Fred Wilpon is an American real estate developer, former baseball executive, and the majority owner of the New York Mets.

Tim Cook
# 23
Tim Cook

1960 - Present (61 years)

#2148 person's overall influence

Timothy Donald Cook is an American business executive, philanthropist and industrial engineer. Cook is the chief executive officer of Apple Inc., and previously served as the company's chief operating officer under its cofounder Steve Jobs.

Ross Levinsohn
# 24
Ross Levinsohn

1964 - Present (57 years)

#29590 person's overall influence

Ross Levinsohn is an American media executive who has worked in media and technology. He held a brief, controversial tenure as publisher of the Los Angeles Times, and served as interim CEO of Yahoo for two months in 2012 after serving as Executive Vice President, Americas, and Head of Global Media. Levinsohn previously served as President of Fox Interactive.

# 25
Daniel S. Loeb

1961 - Present (60 years)

#19360 person's overall influence

Daniel Seth Loeb is an American investor, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist. He is the founder and chief executive of Third Point, a New York-based hedge fund focused on event-driven, value-oriented investing with $10.8 billion in assets under management, as of March 2016.

Amory Lovins
# 26
Amory Lovins

1947 - Present (74 years)

#4885 person's overall influence

Amory Bloch Lovins is an American writer, physicist, and Chairman/Chief Scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute. He has written on energy policy and related areas for four decades, and served on the National Petroleum Council, an oil industry lobbying group, from 2011–2018. In 1983, Lovins was awarded the Right Livelihood Award for "pioneering soft energy paths for global security." He was named by TIME magazine one of the World's 100 most influential people in 2009.

# 27
Bruno Steinhoff

1937 - Present (84 years)

#412165 person's overall influence

Bruno Ewald Steinhoff is a German billionaire businessman, the founder of Steinhoff International, a South African-based international retail holding company, and its executive chairman until September 2008. He is now a non-executive director, and a member of the supervisory board.

Scott Cook
# 28
Scott Cook

1952 - Present (69 years)

#146740 person's overall influence

Scott David Cook is an American businessman, the co-founder of Intuit, director since March 1983 and chairman of the executive committee. Cook is also a director of eBay and Procter & Gamble. As of 2005 Cook's net worth is estimated at over US$1 billion.

# 29
Thomas Proulx

1961 - Present (60 years)

#250613 person's overall influence

Thomas Proulx, better known as Tom Proulx, is an American computer programmer and entrepreneur. He was a co-founder and first programmer of Intuit and a pioneer of usability testing in the 1980s. He was the main programmer of the first version of Quicken and prime mover of its successful merger with TurboTax.

Jack Welch
# 30
Jack Welch

1935 - 2020 (85 years)

#1298 person's overall influence

John Francis Welch Jr. was an American business executive, chemical engineer, and writer. He was Chairman and CEO of General Electric between 1981 and 2001. When he retired from GE he received a severance payment of $417 million, the largest such payment in business history. In 2006, Welch's net worth was estimated at $720 million.

Mark Zuckerberg
# 31
Mark Zuckerberg

1984 - Present (37 years)

#308 person's overall influence

Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is an American media magnate, internet entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is known for co-founding Facebook, Inc. and serves as its chairman, chief executive officer, and controlling shareholder. He also is a co-founder of the solar sail spacecraft development project Breakthrough Starshot and serves as one of its board members.

# 32
Motilal Oswal
#194969 person's overall influence

Motilal Oswal is an Indian businessman. He is the chairman and managing director of Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd which he co-founded with Raamdeo Agrawal in 1987.

# 33
Tony De Nunzio

1959 - Present (62 years)

#85580 person's overall influence

De Nunzio has extensive experience in the European retail and consumer goods sectors as a finance professional, CEO and chairman.

Alnoor Bhimani
# 34
Alnoor Bhimani
#26624 person's overall influence

Alnoor Bhimani is Professor of Management Accounting, Founding Director of LSE Entrepreneurship at the London School of Economics and Political Science . He is former Head of the Department of Accounting. Bhimani's academic work covers financial controls in the digital economy; management accounting and strategic finance; entrepreneurship and economic growth; and global development and governance issues.

# 35
Zafar Khan

1968 - Present (53 years)

#254363 person's overall influence

Zafar Iqbal Khan , is a British accountant and businessman, and was the finance director of Carillion from 1 January to 11 September 2017.

# 36
Prafulla Chhajed
#405762 person's overall influence

Prafulla Chhajed is an Indian chartered accountant and the former president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India for the year 2019–2020.

# 37
Sheila Fraser

1950 - Present (71 years)

#24325 person's overall influence

Sheila Fraser served as Auditor General of Canada from 2001 to 2011.

# 38
Dermot Desmond

1950 - Present (71 years)

#33951 person's overall influence

Dermot Desmond is an Irish businessman and financier. He is estimated to be worth €2.04 billion and is ranked by the Sunday Independent as the ninth-richest person in Ireland.

Bernard Ebbers
# 39
Bernard Ebbers

1941 - 2020 (79 years)

#20789 person's overall influence

Bernard John Ebbers was a Canadian businessman, the co-founder and CEO of WorldCom and a convicted fraudster. Under his management, WorldCom grew rapidly but collapsed in 2002 amid revelations of accounting irregularities, making it at the time one of the largest accounting scandals in the United States. Ebbers blamed his subordinates but was convicted of fraud and conspiracy. In December 2019, Ebbers was released from Federal Medical Center, Fort Worth due to declining health, having served 13 years of his 25-year sentence, and he died just over a month later.

# 40
Simon Dingemans

1963 - Present (58 years)

#265797 person's overall influence

Simon Paul Dingemans is an English former banker and businessman. Until May 2019 he was chief financial officer at GlaxoSmithKline. In July 2019 he was appointed chair of the Financial Reporting Council, and was set to lead its transition into the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority, but left in May 2020.

Bill Ackman
# 41
Bill Ackman

1966 - Present (55 years)

#22011 person's overall influence

William Albert Ackman is an American investor and hedge fund manager. He is the founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, a hedge fund management company. Ackman is considered by some to be a contrarian investor but considers himself an activist investor.

Phil Knight
# 42
Phil Knight

1938 - Present (83 years)

#5770 person's overall influence

Philip Hampson Knight , is an American billionaire businessman. He is the co-founder and chairman emeritus of Nike, Inc., and was previously chairman and CEO of the company. As of July 23, 2020, Knight was ranked by Forbes as the 26th richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of US$39.2 billion. He is also the owner of the stop motion film production company Laika.

Antonio Conte
# 43
Antonio Conte

1969 - Present (52 years)

#201800 person's overall influence

Antonio Conte is an Italian professional football manager and former player. He is the head coach at Serie A club Inter Milan.

# 44
Cheryl S. McWatters
#256016 person's overall influence

Cheryl S. McWatters is professor and Father Edgar Thivierge Chair in Business History at the Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa.

N. Murray Edwards
# 45
N. Murray Edwards

1959 - Present (62 years)

#14860 person's overall influence

Norman Murray Edwards is a Canadian oil sands financier and a co-owner of the Calgary Flames hockey team. With an estimated net worth of $US 1.5 billion , Edwards was ranked by Forbes as the 32nd wealthiest Canadian and 1511th in the world. Edwards has launched several major Canadian companies, including Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, Magellan Aerospace Corporation and Ensign Energy Services Inc.

Larry Ellison
# 46
Larry Ellison

1944 - Present (77 years)

#2526 person's overall influence

Lawrence Joseph Ellison is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist who is a co-founder, the executive chairman and chief technology officer of Oracle Corporation. As of October 2019, he was listed by Forbes magazine as the fourth-wealthiest person in the United States and as the sixth-wealthiest in the world, with a fortune of $69.1 billion, increased from $54.5 billion in 2018.

Sangeet Paul Choudary
# 47
Sangeet Paul Choudary
#25359 person's overall influence

Sangeet Paul Choudary is a business scholar, entrepreneur, advisor and author. He is best known for his work on platform economics and network effects. He is the co-author of the book Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy and How to Make Them Work for You.

Charlie Munger
# 48
Charlie Munger

1924 - Present (97 years)

#10738 person's overall influence

Charles Thomas Munger is an American investor, businessman, former real estate attorney, architectural designer, and philanthropist. He is vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate controlled by Warren Buffett; Buffett has described Munger as his partner. Munger served as chairman of Wesco Financial Corporation from 1984 through 2011. He is also chairman of the Daily Journal Corporation, based in Los Angeles, California, and a director of Costco Wholesale Corporation.

Jim McKelvey
# 49
Jim McKelvey

1965 - Present (56 years)

#23595 person's overall influence

Jim McKelvey is an American technology entrepreneur, businessperson and philanthropist who is the co-founder of Square, a financial paymentss company. McKelvey was appointed as an Independent Director of the St. Louis Federal Reserve in January 2017. As of September 2020, McKelvey is ranked by Forbes as the 378th richest person in America.

# 50
John Leahy

1950 - Present (71 years)

#46641 person's overall influence

John Leahy is an American businessman. He is a former chief operating officer–Customers at Airbus , as well as the company's chief commercial officer between August 1994 and 2017, and a former member of the Airbus main board of management. Well known as one of the commercial aviation industry's most prolific aircraft salesmen, he made a significant contribution to the increase in Airbus's market share, from 18% in 1993 to 57% a decade later. He is responsible for over $1 trillion in sales. Airbus SAS was a government-owned company between 1993 and 2003.