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Professionals Honored for Contributions to Accounting

Several accounting and tax professionals who made significant contributions to the accounting profession were honored at the recent National Society of Accountants (NSA) 70th Annual Convention in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Several accounting and tax professionals who made significant contributions to the accounting profession were honored at the recent National Society of Accountants (NSA) 70th Annual Convention in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Several NSA Affiliated State Organizations (ASOs) were also presented with major awards.

Person of the Year – This award went to Karen Hawkins, who recently retired after six years as the Director of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPS). During her tenure, she positioned OPS as a valuable resource for the accounting profession, encouraging continuing education and adherence to ethics, which elevated the profession.

Accountant of the Year – This award was presented to Joseph Santoro, CPA, ABA, CVA, of Wolfeboro, NH for outstanding achievement and service to NSA, the accounting and tax profession, the state society, and the community. A former two-term NSA District I Governor, he has chaired numerous NSA committees, including Budget, Education, National Affairs, and Peer Review and Accounting Standards Committee and serves also as a member of the Board of Directors for the Accreditation Council for Accounting and Taxation, where he has for many years worked as a subject matter expert for its credentialing examinations. Santoro is also known nationwide as an author and lecturer for Gear Up, with which he has been associated for more than 20 years, and continues to lecture on accounting and taxation at more than 80 seminars each year.

Distinguished Service Award – This award was presented to Joan LeValley, EA, ATA, ATP, owner of JCL & Company in Park Ridge, IL for significant and exemplary contributions for the betterment of NSA and its membership as well as the accounting profession. The award recognizes continuous service, loyalty, and dedication to NSA. She is a past chair of the NSA Federal Taxation Committee and past president of the Independent Accountants Association of Illinois (IAAI). LeValley served a six-year term on the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council (IRSAC), was recognized as the NSA Accountant of the Year in 2008, and is a three-time recipient of the IAAI Person of the Year Award. She is also chair of the NSA Tellers Committee.

Affiliated State Organization (ASO) of the Year – This award went to the North Carolina Society of Accountants (NCSA) for its commitment to NSA and its members during the past year. This society has a strong commitment to educating its members at the state and chapter levels, and it also believes it is important to educate the professional community, the public and state legislators about NSA and NCSA. The society has a highly professional website that serves as a portal for news and information and has worked to promote membership in both NCSA and NSA.

Norma Kraus Award – This award, given to the best State Director of the year, was presented to Curtis Banks Lee, Jr., ATA, ATP, of Raleigh, NC. He is one of the most visible proponents in his state for protecting the accountants’ right to practice. He has also exercised influential leadership while upholding the highest levels of integrity and civility. Lee was elected Secretary-Treasurer of NSA at the convention.

Keith Billings Memorial Award – This award is given in memory of Keith Billings, a mainstay of the original NSA Editorial Review Committee, and recognizes the most outstanding ASO publication based on content, coverage of activities, timeliness of articles, newsletter format and overall appearance. The award for ASOs with fewer than 300 members went to the Arkansas Society of Accountants and its publication, ASA News. The award for ASOs with 300 members or more went to the Pennsylvania Society of Tax & Accounting Professionals and its publication, Pennsylvania Accountant.

National Editorial Award – The award for the best article of the year went to Bob McKinley, CPA, PC, of Spokane, WA for his article, “Pruning,” featured in the November 2014 issue of the Washington Association of Accountants WAA Update. In the article he likened his personal experience in pruning grape vines in his garden to pruning clients in a practice and shared practical advice and the list that guides him in choosing clients to prune.

Golden Quill Award – This award honors outstanding contributions to the NSA magazine – Main Street Practitioner. Manuscripts were judged on subject matter, accuracy, and clarity of presentation. This year’s recipient is Joseph Santoro for his “SARS 21 is Coming” series, which tackled a tough subject with a well-written and informative style, giving readers clear insight into a significant change in the world of compilation and review services. In his article the author offered a detailed guide of “things to come” with emphasis on the major changes coming to financial statement reporting.

Best ASO Website – This award, which recognizes website appearance, content and usability went to the Public Accountants Society of Colorado (for ASOs with fewer than 300 members) and the California Society of Tax Consultants (for ASOs with 300 members or more).

Outstanding Tax Talker Award – This award recognizes an NSA member for their exceptional participation on the NSA Tax Talk, an online discussion forum launched in 2006 that grows in popularity every year. Members often cite it as one of the NSA benefits they value most. The award went to Mark Nelson Jr., EA of Nelson Tax Accounting in Milwaukee, WI.