The New York State Society of CPAs installed its 95th president, Scott Adair, at a gala event last week in New York City.

Adair is chief financial officer of the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority in Upstate New York, and has been a member of the society since 2000, serving on a number of committees and in a variety of positions, including secretary/treasurer and chair of the Finance Committee, as well as president of the Rochester Chapter. Prior to serving in a number of positions in government, Adair worked for several years at Big Four firm KPMG. He holds a BS in Accounting from the State University of New York at Geneseo.

In both an interview and a speech at the event, Adair stressed the importance of promoting the profession and raising its profile. “Being a CPA means everything to me,” he said, noting that it took him 12 years of hard work to pass the exam. “We don’t toot our horn enough. We are quietly competent individuals. We need to make sure that people know who were are. We are a talented group; let’s get out their and toot our own horns.”

Among his other priorities are focusing on building up the society’s membership through outreach, particularly to younger CPAs through programs like the society Young Leadership Circle.

“We need to listen to our membership and figure out what they need from us. We represent a huge range of customers, from sole practitioners up to the Big Four,” he said. “You need to carry this back to your offices, to your partners, to your clients -- I need all of them to ask that people get involved in this profession and this society.”

He also said that the society’s strategic plan was in need of an update to be ready for the next 10 years, noting that it was last looked at six years ago, and that the society would be paying close attention to legislative initiatives in the state capitol of Albany, which he expects will pass a non-CPA ownership bill at some point in the future: “It’s inevitable that this state is going to pass non-CPA ownership; we need to be at the table to make sure it represents all of our interests.”

Adair succeeds J. Michael Kirkland, who was recognized in a video tribute at the event. In addition to growing the society’s membership, Kirkland oversaw its move to a new headquarters in downtown Manhattan.

“Michael has done an outstanding job, and we are all very grateful,” said Adair.

Kirkland echoed both Adair’s love of the profession and his encouragement to participation in the society, noting that accounting brings with it “the responsibility to give back just as much as was given to you. This is our profession; we must protect it.”

 

Awards

The society also presented several awards at the dinner:

  • The Outstanding CPA in Industry Award went to Suzanne Jensen, the chief financial officer and human resources director of the Business Council of New York State Inc.
  • The Emanuel Saxe Outstanding CPA in Education Award went to A. Rief Kanan, an accounting professor at the State University at New Paltz School of Business.
  • Lauren Silberman, an assurance associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers, recieved the Charles Waldo Haskins Gold Memorial Award for the highest score on the Uniform CPA Exam in New York State, while Daniel Eric Rubin, a real estate tax associate at PwC, received the Silver Award.