The winners of the 2018 Max Block Distinguished Article Awards were honored during The CPA Journal Editorial Review Board meeting on August 5, 2019. This award recognizes excellence in three areas: In Focus/Features, Departments/Columns, and News & Views/Opinion. Awards were also given for Honorable Mention in each category.

In Focus/Features.

This year’s In Focus/Features winner was “Accounting in the Public Interest,” by Steven Mintz, March 2018. Mintz’s article discussed the AICPA’s 2014 changes to the Code of Professional Conduct regarding conflicts of interest, pointing out the holes that still exist in the code and advocating a strong emphasis on character and moral values in accounting ethics education. Steven Mintz, PhD, is professor emeritus of accounting at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Calif. He is a member of The CPA Journal Editorial Advisory Board.

Max Block Award winner Joel Lanz

Honorable Mention went to “Questioning the Effectiveness of Independent Audit Com mittees: Does the Current Regulatory Regime Improve Reporting Quality?” by April Klein, March 2018. This article examined the effectiveness of the current audit committee independence standards and regulations, based on an analysis of the stock market’s reaction to companies implementing them. April Klein, PhD, is a professor of accounting at the Stern School of Business at New York University, New York, N.Y.


“The Audit Report Returns to its Roots: An Historical Perspective on Critical Audit Matters,” by Howard B. Levy, February 2018, won in the Departments/Columns category. This article analyzed the Auditing Standards Board’s sweeping changes to the audit report (as proposed in November 2017), particularly the inclusion of reporting on matters the auditors found significant (termed “critical audit matters” by the AICPA), and attempted to predict their effect on future reports. Howard B. Levy, CPA, is a principal and director of technical services at Piercy Bowler Taylor & Kern, CPAs, Las Vegas, Nev., and an independent technical consultant to other professionals. He is a former member of the AICPA Auditing Standards Board and its Accounting Standards Executive Committee, and a current member of its Center for Audit Quality’s Smaller Firms Task Force. He is a member of The CPA Journal Editorial Advisory Board.

Since 1975, The CPA Journal has bestowed the Max Block Distinguished Article Award on the most outstanding articles published in the past year.

Honorable Mention went to “Untangling the Inherited IRA Rules: Retiring Baby Boomers and the Im pending Transfer of Wealth,” by Richard L. Russell Jr., Richard L. Russell, and Kristina Kesselring, May 2018. This piece gave an overview of the rules surrounding withdrawals and rollovers from traditional IRAs, an issue many CPAs can expect to deal with in coming years. Richard L. Russell, JD, CPA, is a retired assistant professor of accounting and current lecturer in accounting at Jackson State University, Jackson, Miss. Richard L. Russell Jr., JD, CPA, is an assistant professor of accounting at Metropolitan State University of Denver, Denver, Colo. Kristina Kesselring, CPA, is the owner of Colorado Diverse Accountancy, Denver, Colo.

News & Views/Opinion.

“Enterprise Technology Risk in a New COSO ERM World: Eight Challenges Facing Management,” by Joel Lanz, June 2018, won in the News & Views/Opinion category. The piece stressed the importance of evaluating and managing technology risk as part of the entire organization’s risk management strategy, urging senior executives to set the tone from the top. Joel Lanz, CPA/CGMA/CITP/CFF, CISA, CISM, CISSP, CFE, is the founder and principal of Joel Lanz, CPA, P.C., Jericho, N.Y. He is a member of The CPA Journal Editorial Advisory Board.

Honorable Mention went to “First Look at the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: The Impact on Individuals at Different Stages of Life,” by Sidney Kess, James R. Grimaldi, and James A.J. Revels, May 2018. This article covered important changes the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) made to rules regarding marriage, divorce, having children, paying for education, retirement, and other significant life events. 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. James R. Grimaldi, CPA, and James A.J. Revels, CPA, are partners at Citrin Cooperman.

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 criterion remains the same: “An innovative and stimulating article which is of current significance and which is likely to be of lasting value.”

Max Block Award winner Steven Mintz

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 tele-conference. Aside from covering the Journal‘s review and publication process, the meeting saw a spirited discussion of the critical issues facing the profession. The topics discussed included the difficulty of implementing financial accounting standards, how to attract diverse students to the accounting major, the state and local response to the TCJA, whether CPAs are qualified to give opinions on cybersecurity risk, and the gap between the knowledge tested in the CPA exam and what skills firms are looking for in their new hires. This discussion will continue in the pages of the Journal, as can be seen with this month’s education-focused issue.