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Ian Vacin, MBA, MEM – 2016 20 Under 40 Superstars Honoree

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Ian Vacin, MBA, MEM

Co-founder and VP Product Marketing
San Francisco, CA



  1. Aside from the accounting websites, which blog/website do you consider a must-read?  I am a news junkie and read the New York Times incessantly. We live in a global economy and always connected world, and I believe you need to know what and why things are changing in real time around you.
  2. In what ways have you contributed to your firm/company to make it better?
    In a smaller company like ours, you wear many hats just like most of the accounting professionals I meet. My contribution focuses around my understanding and observations of the profession plus my experience across various functions required for us to execute (from product management to product marketing to marketing). I am, like several others on the team, are a swiss army knife ready to perform a new role or task at any time to ensure that we able to move our business forward.
  3. In what ways do you participate in the professional community to change/improve the accounting profession? 
    I spend a significant amount of time on the road meeting with accounting professionals (over 2K this year alone) across the US and globally to learn, share, teach and observe in order to understand their barriers, learn the best practices, advise on how firm’s can grow, and take note of the opportunities to innovate to make the lives of accounting professionals that much easier.  
  4. In what ways do you participate in your local community to help others?
    My family is very active in sports teams, community groups, school and after school activities.  We are active in local charities and in related community give back events.
  5. What changes do you foresee in the accounting profession of the near future (3-5 years)?
    The industry is going through the largest shift we have seen in decades. The five major changes include: 1) Number crunching takes a back seat; 2) What’s your specialty; 3) Intuitive, integrated IT; 4) Age matters; 5) Go global.  At Karbon, we outline these in detail in our recent 2016 Trends report:
  6. How do you see yourself participating in shaping the future of the accounting profession?
    With my tenure at Intuit, Xero and now Karbon, I am committed to being a change agent for the profession by innovating in the processes and tools that help accounting firms run and run profitably. The biggest positive impact that I can make to help small businesses (who drive the world economy) is to assist the trusted advisors that enable them to be successful.  That drives me and that guides me to help the accounting profession in whatever way I can each and every day.
  7. What is your career philosophy? 
    Seize the time you have to make as positive impact as you can. Can you look back (occasionally if possible) and honestly say you did the best you could to leave things better for yourself, family, friends, colleagues and society in general?  Hopefully the answer is always yes.
  8. Describe one person who has been an important mentor to you and how that person helped change your life. 
    I would choose Jennifer Lewis who managed and mentored me while I led the QuickBooks ProAdvisor Program at Intuit. She is an amazing person, leader and role model.  She taught me how to think strategically, let go, understand what is really important, make the hard decisions, and have empathy for others while being firm when necessary. She is the best people manager I have ever had.



Learn more about this year’s 40 Under 40 Honorees.