The AICPA has named Dan Griffiths, director of strategic planning at Tanner LLC, the winner of the Outstanding Young CPA Award in Honor of Maximo Mukelabai. Griffiths was recognized for his leadership role with the Utah Association of CPAs (UACPA) and service to his local community.
The Outstanding Young CPA Award recognizes a young CPA who personifies an unwavering commitment as demonstrated through successful practices, involvement in and contributions for the interest of the accounting profession. The award was presented to Griffiths by Mark Rich, director of investments at the Kimbell Art Foundation, at the AICPA’s E.D.G.E. Conference for Young CPAs in San Antonio. Rich was the recipient of last year’s award.
“One of the defining qualities of a CPA is a willingness to give back to both the profession and their communities, lifting those around them through their volunteer service,” said Cheryl Reynolds, AICPA vice president, communications, advertising & brand management, in a statement. “Dan's extensive work with young CPAs and volunteer work in his community embodies the spirit of service that Maximo Mukelabai was known for and the award was designed to recognize."
A member of the AICPA and the UACPA, Griffiths has been an active volunteer and leader in the profession over the years. He previously served as chair of the AICPA Young CPA Network Committee; chair of the West Jordan, Utah, City Budget Committee; chair of the UACPA ProNet Council; and UACPA Business and Management Council Representative.
Griffiths was also a founding board member of Financial Ready Utah, a non-profit organization affiliated with the UACPA to promote financial preparedness and currently serves on a legislative commission of the State of Utah dedicated to fiscal preparedness.
“It is tough to grasp the extent to which all of us in the profession are standing on the shoulders of those who have come before us and worked so hard to make the profession what it is today,” stated Griffiths. “Inheriting the public trust and the brand recognition of the CPA has been a great gift for me, and I’m happy to play my part by paying it forward and giving back to the profession.”
Griffiths has continued to expand his outreach throughout his community by serving as a board member of the Utah State Board of Education. He also has worked as a Hispanic Outreach Committee leader in Provo, Utah, planning events to publicize community resources available to the Hispanic community. In addition, Griffiths provided free tax assistance for the community through the Volunteer Income Tax Association and has completed missionary service in the Phoenix, Ariz. metro area.
“Having known Maximo personally, it’s very humbling to receive an award created in his honor. I was initially reluctant to submit myself for the award, and I suspect many CPAs are equally hesitant about doing anything that feels self-promotional. But I was encouraged to apply by someone who helped me see the award through the lens of celebrating the spirit of volunteerism in the profession and giving back to your community. It’s about telling those stories of giving back to inspire others to do the same. It’s not about the person receiving the award,” Griffiths added.
The primary criteria used to judge nominations for the Outstanding Young CPA Award are:
- Demonstrates passion and eagerness to encourage and pique students’ interest in accounting as a career
- Contributes recommendations and best practices toward improving processes and/or activities
- Performance in committee and/or other volunteer activities that relate to the engagement and advancement of the profession
- Involvement in community-based organizations to improve the lives of citizens.
Maximo Mukelabai was a member of the inaugural class of the AICPA Leadership Academy and the youngest chair of the North Carolina Association of CPAs board of directors. Tragically, his life ended abruptly at the age of 36. The AICPA established the award in 2011 as a tribute to Maximo’s legacy. The award was renamed The AICPA Outstanding Young CPA Award in Honor of Maximo Mukelabai in 2014.
Peers, AICPA staff, employers and state CPA societies submitted nominations for the annual award. The AICPA’s Young CPA Network Task Force then reviewed all qualified nominations and determined the winner.
The application period for next year’s award will open in early 2016. Those with questions on the nomination process may contact YoungCPANetwork@aicpa.org.