Virginia Tech alumnae Lynne Doughtie and Kelly Richmond Pope have been named among 2020’s most powerful women in accounting by the American Institute of CPAs and CPA Practice Advisor.

Doughtie, who received a B.S. in 1985, is the former U.S. chairman and CEO of KPMG. Pope, who received a Ph.D. in 2001 and a Master of Accountancy in 1997, is an associate professor of accounting at DePaul University.

The awards are given annually to “women leaders who are helping to define and advance the profession,” according to a recent announcement by the AICPA and CPA Practice Advisor.

The awards “celebrate the increasing presence of women at the highest positions in accounting firms and organizations that oversee the profession and recognize those who have had the most impact,” the announcement noted.

“It’s a great honor for us to have two alumnae included in this distinguished group of 25 top accounting leaders who represent a diversity of backgrounds and roles across the profession and who are a source of inspiration to a new generation of women,” said John J. "Jack" Maher, head of the Department of Accounting and Information Systems in the Pamplin College of Business and the Tom Wells/Kathy Dargo Professor.

Doughtie, who has regularly appeared on various “most powerful women in business” lists throughout her career, served from July 2015 through June 2020 as U.S. chairman and CEO of KPMG. She built a 35-year career there that was capped by her appointment as its first female chief executive.

Doughtie is a longtime member of the advisory board of the accounting and information systems department and a member of the Pamplin Advisory Council. She is one of three co-chairs of Boundless Impact: The Campaign for Virginia Tech. She received Virginia Tech’s 2018 University Distinguished Achievement Award.

In the summer of 2020, she and her family and the KPMG Foundation made a $2.5 million commitment to Virginia Tech’s planned Global Business and Analytics Complex. Read more about Doughtie and her thoughts about her career and support for Virginia Tech here.

Pope had also worked at KPMG, in the forensic accounting practice, before launching her academic career. As a researcher, she has focused on organizational misconduct, ethics and fraud, and how organizations design cultures and compliance systems to confront these challenges.

Her research has been published in leading accounting and business ethics journals and resulted in her selection to develop a TED-Ed lesson, “How People Rationalize Fraud,” and a TED Talk, “Why Do We Hate Whistle-blowers?” Watch Pope’s TED Talk: “How Whistleblowers Shape History.”

In addition to being a popular keynote speaker and advisor to organizations, Pope is also a filmmaker. In 2017, she directed and produced the award-winning documentary, “All the Queen’s Horses,” which explores the largest municipal fraud in U.S. history. It premiered as the No. 1 documentary on iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and Direct TV during its debut week on the video-on-demand platforms in April 2018.

The announcement on CPA Practice Advisor noted the increasing numbers of women in the profession: “Women have surpassed men in accounting and auditing positions and are increasingly attaining the reins of power in accounting firms.”

It cited research by Catalyst showing that women comprise 62 percent of the number of accountants and auditors in the U.S. but hold 24 percent of partner roles at U.S. accounting firms and only 21 percent of partner roles at Big Four firms. It noted the potential of the profession being shaped significantly by women in the future as they continue to expand their leadership roles in the industry, public administration, and education.

Nominations for the award are open to the public and reviewed by independent judges who select the award recipients, based on criteria that include being a driving force for innovation and excellence, contributing to the success of their organization and the accounting profession, and representing the profession through civic and community outreach.

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