The AICPA announced this week that Danielle Supkis Cheek, president of D. Supkis Cheek in Houston and adjunct professor at Rice University, was named winner of the Outstanding Young CPA Award in Honor of Maximo Mukelabai. Supkis Cheek was recognized for her volunteering efforts in the profession and commitment to financial literacy in her community.

The award was presented to Supkis Cheek by Dan Griffiths, director of strategic planning at Tanner LLC, at the AICPA’s EDGE Experience conference for Young CPAs in Las Vegas this month. Griffiths was honored with the award in 2015.

The award is named after Maximo Mukelabai, 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. The AICPA established the award in 2011 as a tribute to Maximo's life.

The Outstanding Young CPA Award looks to recognize a CPA under 40 who shows a commitment to the accounting profession via successful practices, community involvement and contributions.

“The spirit of volunteerism has always been deeply embedded in the accounting profession and CPAs have a lengthy history of giving back to their communities,” stated Cheryl Reynolds, AICPA vice president, communications, advertising & brand management. “Helping Americans make better financial decisions is one of the causes of the CPA profession. Danielle’s work in the Houston area promoting financial literacy to people who have the opportunity to pay those lessons forward is a creative and innovative way to reach as many people as possible with her message.”

“As a CPA, people naturally come to me with questions about their personal finances. I was surprised and discouraged by how frequently people make poor financial decisions, regardless of their education level, and I wanted to help make them aware of how minor changes in their approach to money could have a big impact,” said Supkis Cheek, in a statement. “I elected to focus my outreach on females and small business owners, as they have a tremendous ability to influence the financial behaviors of their families and community and can help further the message and create more awareness about the importance of financial literacy.”

A member of the AICPA, Texas Society of CPAs (TSCPA), Houston Chapter of the TSCPA, and American Women’s Society of CPAs, Supkis Cheek is a frequent presenter and published author. She has served on the AICPA’s GenNext Task Force, Women’s Initiatives Executive Champions Task Force and as a committee member on the Private Companies Practice Section Technical Issues Committee. She was additionally honored by both The CPA Practice Advisor and National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts on their ’40 Under 40’ list, and a 2014 “Rising Star” by the TSCPA.

Nominees for the Outstanding Young CPA Award are judged on the following:

  • 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
  • Hold an active CPA license and be between the ages of 22 – 40. 

To be considered for the award, candidates submitted applications detailing on their volunteer history, alongside professional references from peers, AICPA staff, employers, and state CPA societies. The AICPA’s Young CPA Network Task Force reviewed the nominations and determined the winner. 
The application period for next year’s award will open in early 2017.

For more information on the award, head to the AICPA's site here.