The American Institute of CPAs has selected William E. Balhoff, managing director and CEO of Postlethwaite & Netterville, a firm in Baton Rouge, La.,  as the new chairman of the AICPA’s board of directors.

Balhoff plans to establish a new Center for Plain English Accounting during his tenure as chairman, he said during his acceptance speech Tuesday, and discussed the role of CPAs in society. “The quality of our work and our people are the two most important factors in establishing and maintaining our profession’s reputation,” he said. “CPAs take pride in doing the right thing, the right way. Clients and employers experience that quality and respond to it.”

Balhoff, 59, was elected to the one-year volunteer post Tuesday morning by the AICPA’s Council at the close of its Fall Meeting of Council in Los Angeles. Tommye Barie, CPA, a partner with the southeastern accounting firm Mauldin & Jenkins, was voted in as vice chair.

After graduating from college, Balhoff joined Postlethwaite & Netterville in 1976, when it had 22 employees. The firm has now grown into a Top 100 firm with more than 600 staffers. Working for just one firm, Balhoff said he’s had the opportunity to tackle a half-dozen job categories in the course of his career, in such diverse fields as technical audit, accounting, consulting and firm management.

Balhoff describes his firm as family, and said he took great pride that most of the firm’s leaders and partners came to Los Angeles to see him voted in as chair. “Everything in my life—from home to school to firm to this profession—it’s all family to me,” he said.

Balhoff spent the past year as vice-chair of the AICPA, and has a lengthy record of service to the organization. He is a past executive committee chair of the AICPA Private Companies Practice Section, which focuses on firm practice management. From 2003-2004 and again from 2008-2009, he served as a member-at-large of AICPA’s Governing Council. From 2005-2007, he served as a member of the AICPA’s Board of Directors.

Balhoff graduated with an accounting degree from Lousiana State University and also graduated from the National Banking School at the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce.

He and his wife, Sandra, have three children. Two daughters are following in his footsteps in the profession. One is already a CPA, and the other is preparing for the exam. He lives in Baton Rouge, La.

Awards Presented
Also during the conference, the AICPA awarded Bob Graham, former United States Senator and former Florida Governor, the AICPA Medal of Honor. Graham has served on the AICPA board of directors from 2005-2013. The AICPA Medal of Honor recognizes an individual who is not a CPA whose work has had a significant impact on the profession. The Medal of Honor is the highest AICPA award for a non-CPA.

Susan K. Whitelaw, CPA, also received the Institute’s Public Service Award for Individuals. She serves as the annual support committee chair of the Arc of Caddo Bossier’s Foundation Board and as the board’s vice president. She also serves as treasurer for the Hap House board and the Louisiana Disabled Persons Housing Corporation., chairperson of the Feist Weiller Cancer Center’s annual ball and in the past has been a member of the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Task Force.

In addition, 18 CPAs have been selected to receive the AICPA’s Sustained Contribution Award, which recognizes members who have contributed measurably to the AICPA and the accounting profession through volunteer service. All the recipients have served on an AICPA volunteer group for 20 years or more, and at one time have led a committee, task force or resource panel within the organization.

The following CPAs were recognized at the fall meeting of the AICPA Council: 

•    Rick J. Anderson, Seattle, Wash.
•    John Mason Andres, Texarkana, Tex.
•    Barry Barber, Manalapan, N.J.
•    Ernest F. Baugh Jr., Chattanooga, Tenn.
•    Linda J. Blessing, Laclede, Idaho
•    Diane Sylvia Conant, Las Vegas, Nev.
•    E. C. Johnson Jr., East Sandwich, Mass.
•    John L. Kreischer, Doylestown, Pa.
•    Deborah D. Lambert, Pinehurst, N.C.
•    George A. Lewis, Lafayette, La.
•    Harold Lamar Monk Jr., Gainesville, Fla.
•    Belverd E. Needles Jr., Winnetka, Ill.
•    Keith Owen Newton, Chicago, Ill.
•    Robert M. Pielech, New Bedford, Mass.
•    Gary John Previts, Rocky River, Ohio
•    Ronald L. Seigneur, Lakewood, Colo.
•    David Joseph Sibits, Cleveland, Ohio
•    Gordon A. Viere, Minneapolis, Minn.

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