The winners of the 2017 Max Block Distinguished Article Awards were honored during The CPA Journal Editorial Review Board meeting on August 14, 2017. This award recognizes excellence in three areas: In Focus/Features, Departments/Columns, and News & Views/Opinion. Awards were also given for Honorable Mention in two of the categories.

In Focus/Features. Two separate articles tied for the top spot in this year’s In Focus/Features category: “What’s Going on in Business Schools? Part II, by Kenton Walker, September 2017; and “State and Local Government Pensions at the Crossroads,” by Craig Foltin, Dale Flesher, Gary Previts, and Mary Stone, April 2017. Walker’s article discussed the gap between what accounting education provides and what the students it serves actually need. Kenton B. Walker, PhD, is professor and director of the school of accountancy at the University of Memphis, Memphis, Tenn.

Foltin et al. covered the current state of accounting for government pension plans, particularly in light of recent guidance from GASB that highlights their ongoing problems. Craig Foltin, DBA, CPA, is an assistant professor of accounting in the Monte Ahuja College of Business at Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio. Dale L. Flesher, PhD, CPA, is a professor of accountancy, associate dean, and holder of the Roland & Sheryl Burns Chair in Accountancy at the University of Mississippi, University, Miss. Gary J. Previts, PhD, CPA, is E. Mandell De Windt Professor in the Weatherhead School of Management and distinguished university professor of accounting at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. Mary S. Stone, PhD, CPA, is the Hugh Culverhouse Endowed Chair and professor of accounting at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Departments/Columns. “Accounting for Leases under the New Standard, Parts 1 and 2,” by Robert Singer, Alyssa Pfaff, Heather Winiarski, and Mark Winiarski, August/September 2017, won in the Departments/Columns category. This article provided a much-needed survey of the effects of FASB’s new standard for lease accounting, which begins to go into effect later this year. Robert Singer, PhD, CPA, is an associate professor of accounting at the school of business and entrepreneurship, Lindenwood University, St. Charles, Mo. Alyssa Pfaff is a trainee accountant in the financial planning and analysis department of Bunge Corporation, White Plains, N.Y., and a graduate of Lindenwood University. Heather Winiarski, CPA, is a senior manager at Mayer Hoffman McCann PC, Kansas City, Mo. Mark Winiarski, CPA, is a member of the professional standards group at Mayer Hoffman McCann.

Honorable Mention went to “Not All PCAOB Inspections Are Created Equal,” by Colleen Boland, Denise Dickins, Anna Johnson-Snyder, and Brian Daugherty, August 2017. This piece analyzed recent trends in PCAOB inspections and the inspection reports of top audit firms to evaluate how the board is doing in its mission to keep the big accounting firms in line. Colleen M. Bolland, PhD, CPA, is an assistant professor, and Brian Daugherty, PhD, CPA, is an assistant professor, at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wis. Denise Dickins, PhD, CPA, CIA, is an associate professor at East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C. Anna J. Johnson-Snyder,PhD, CPA, CFE, is an assistant professor at Bradley University, Peoria, Ill.

News & Views/Opinion. “The Equifax Data Breach,” by Walter Primoff and Sidney Kess, December 2017, won in the News & Views/Opinion category. The piece advised CPAs and firms on how to protect individual clients in the wake of the hacking of 145 million Americans’ personal information, as well as on how to protect themselves from similar breaches. Walter Primoff, CPA/PFS, CGMA, is a cybersecurity consultant to CPA and other professional firms and CEO of PrimGroup, Cos Cob, Conn. He is a past deputy executive director of the NYSSCPA and a former contributing editor of The CPA Journal. Sidney Kess, JD, LLM, CPA, is of counsel to Kostelanetz & Fink and a senior consultant to Citrin Cooperman & Co., LLP. He is a member of the NYSSCPA Hall of Fame and was awarded the Society’s Outstanding CPA in Education Award in May 2015. He is also a member of The CPA Journal Editorial Advisory Board.

Honorable Mention went to “‘Plain Paper’ Financial Statements Made Not So Plain: An Overview of SSARS 21,” by Vincent J. Love and Thomas R. Manisero, May 2017. This article reminded CPAs that, even though they are now allowed to prepare financial statements based on unaudited information, they still bear the responsibility for the accuracy of those statements, as well as the risk for failing to meet that responsibility. Vincent J. Love, CPA/CFF, CFE, is the chairman of VJL Consulting, LLC and a member of The CPA Journal Editorial Board. Thomas R. Manisero, JD, is a partner at Wilson Elser Moskowitz & Dicker LLP, White Plains, N.Y., specializing in the representation of accountants and accounting organizations.

Determining the Winners

The Max Block Distinguished Article Award winners are selected by the members of The CPA Journal Editorial Advisory Board and Editorial Review Board, who rank a selection of articles from a list of nominees determined by the editorial staff. The editors thank all of the board members who judged this year’s nominated articles.

About Max Block

Max Block (1902–1988) was a founding partner of Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP and served as managing editor of the NYSSCPA’s Journal (now The CPA Journal) from 1958 to 1972. Many individuals who knew him have described him as a visionary whose ideas helped form the basis for many reporting and practice management concepts used today.

Since 1975, The CPA Journal has recognized his contributions and achievements by bestowing the Max Block Distinguished Article Award on the most outstanding articles published in the past year. Although the judging and selection procedures have changed, the criteria remain the same: “An innovative and stimulating article which is of current significance and which is likely to be of lasting value.”

Overview of the Board Meeting

During the annual CPA Journal Editorial Advisory Board Meeting, the Journal editorial staff met with board members in person at the NYSSCPA offices as well as remotely via video teleconference. Aside from covering the Journal’s review and publication process, as well as an overview of the redesigned CPA Journal website (, the meeting saw a spirited discussion of the critical issues facing the profession. The topics discussed included recruiting and educating the next generation of CPAs, keeping up with rapidly changing technologies, the potential impact of sustainability and integrated reporting, the increasing need for specialized knowledge and possibly specialized credentialing, and how to maintain the profession’s high standards of quality. This discussion will continue in the pages of the Journal, as can be seen with this month’s education-focused issue.