In an emotional speech on Thursday night, Gail M. Kinsella was installed as president of the New York State Society of CPAs.
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Kinsella, a partner in the Audit Practice Group of Testone Marshall & Discenza LLP in Syracuse, accepted the position from outgoing president Richard E. Piluso, a retired vice president of internal audit at Loews Corp. Kinsella spoke at the NYSSCPA’s 115th annual election meeting and dinner about how she wished her parents were there to see her receive the honor. She said the death of her parents had changed her world dramatically. “I could have stopped, but I moved forward,” she added.
During her speech, Kinsella urged the CPAs in attendance to do more outreach. “When was the last time you had a conversation about the profession with someone outside the profession?” she asked. “We need to cultivate relationships with a more diverse population and attract younger members to the society.”
“As an organization formed in large part to serve and protect the public, we must remain focused on our role as public advocates of our profession. I believe that cultivating a more flexible and inclusive membership will be critical in effectively representing the public that we protect, and in shaping the future of the profession. Change is upon us, now is our opportunity,” she said.
Kinsella joined the NYSSCPA in 1991 and has served as president-elect, vice president and a member of its Board of Directors and Executive Committee. She was chair of the NYSSCPA/FAE Affiliation Task Force. She is also a former president of the Board of Trustees for the Foundation for Accounting Education.
Kinsella has also served as president, president-elect, vice president and treasurer of the NYSSCPA Syracuse Chapter, a member of the Career Opportunities in the Accounting Profession (COAP) Advisory Board for the chapter and a member of its Awards Committee.
Kinsella is past chair of the United Way of Central New York and Hospice of Central New York Board of Directors. She was past trustee of the Onondaga County Public Library and served on the Samaritan Center Finance Committee. A graduate of Leadership Greater Syracuse (a community leadership training organization in Central New York), she is the recipient of the 2012 Women of Distinction Award from the Girl Scouts of NY Penn Pathways. She has also received the American Red Cross Women Who Mean Business Award, Central New York Women in Business Award, The President’s Volunteer Service Award, Central New York 40 under Forty Award and the Junior League’s In League and Community Service Award.
Piluso Reflects on NYSSCPA Accomplishments
Before handing the reins to Kinsella, Piluso discussed the various accomplishments of the NYSSCPA in the past year. He noted that New York State passed its CPA mobility law last fall, allowing CPAs with licenses in New York State to practice in other states and vice versa. He urged New York CPAs to contribute to the CPAPAC that lobbies the state government in Albany. He noted that the NYSSCPA has not yet taken a position on the question of non-CPA firm ownership, however. In New York State, CPA firms must be 100 percent owned by CPAs, which makes it difficult to attract partners who are experts in areas such as technology.
Piluso noted that the NYSSCPA was one of only four state CPA societies around the country to have increased its membership in the last two years.
He also said the NYSSCPA has developed a greater relationship with the Financial Accounting Standards Board and its parent organization, the Financial Accounting Foundation, in the past year, meeting with both FAF and FASB officials to discuss private company accounting standards.
The NYSSCPA has sent in two comment letters to the FAF over the question of setting up a separate standards board for private company accounting after a Blue-Ribbon Panel issued its recommendations and then after the FAF produced its proposal for setting up a Private Company Standards Improvement Council, Piluso noted. FAF president and CEO Terri Polley and FASB chair Leslie Seidman were both seated on the dais at the dinner. Polley said during a reception before the dinner that the FAF trustees are planning to hold a meeting on May 23 and may make their decision on the proposal at that meeting.
NYSSCPA executive director Joanne Barry thanked Piluso for his service and credited him with being one of the most active presidents, traveling all across the state to do work on behalf of the society. As a former executive at Loews Corp., he had been actively involved in the sales of both the New York Giants and New York Jets during his distinguished career, she noted.
Kirkland Named President-Elect
At the NYSSCPA meeting, the Society also named the president-elect who will succeed Kinsella next year. He is J. Michael Kirkland, a director in Deutsche Bank’s Accounting Policy Group.
Kirkland was president, vice president and a member of the Executive Board of the NYSSCPA Manhattan-Bronx Chapter. He also served as a member of the chapter’s Nominating and Cooperation with Bankers & Other Credit Grantors committees.
He is a member of the American Institute of CPAs, the National Association of Black Accountants, Inc., the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and the Accountants Club of America.
Other NYSSCPA Award Winners
At the annual meeting and dinner, the NYSSCPA also gave a special recognition award to Joseph M. Falbo Jr., a tax partner at Tronconi Segarra & Associates in Buffalo, and the Dr. Emanuel Saxe Outstanding CPA in Education Award to Tracey J. Niemotko, an associate professor of accounting at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh. George T. Foundotos, a tenured professor of accounting at Dowling College in Oakdale, and Stephen P. Valenti, a clinical professor of accounting at New York University in Manhattan and a sole practitioner, both received the distinguished service award.
The two highest scorers on the 2011 Uniform CPA Examination in New York State received the Charles Waldo Haskins Memorial Gold and Silver Awards. Daniel J. Busby of Atlanta (formerly from New Paltz), a member of the Assurance Services team at Ernst & Young LLP in Atlanta, received the highest score on the CPA exam. Joshua J. Eikenberry of Brooklyn, a tax associate at McGladrey & Pullen LLP in New York City, was second highest.