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Author: Cassandra Gray, NASBA Communications Manager
Posted: March 15, 2012

For years, individuals have been honored for their dedication and contributions toward the mission of an organization or cause. The U.S. Congress presents the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences presents the Oscars and the Harvard Business Review acknowledges the Best Performing CEOs in the World.

By the same token, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, Inc. (NASBA) presents awards annually to deserving individuals who have made a notable impact on state boards of accountancy, NASBA and the accounting profession. These awards include the William H. Van Rensselaer Public Service Award, the NASBA Distinguished Service Award and the Lorraine P. Sachs Standard of Excellence Award.

Established in 1988, the William H. Van Rensselaer Award was created in memory of NASBA's first full-time executive director, William H. Van Rensselaer, and recognizes an individual who has contributed to the development of a new program, improvement of a current program for the boards of accountancy, or who has influenced passage of rules or statutes to strengthen accountancy regulations.

The NASBA Distinguished Service Award, established in 1999, honors a volunteer for unswerving commitment and dedication to enhancing the mission of NASBA.

Created in 2008, the Lorraine P. Sachs Standard of Excellence Award was formed to honor a current state board executive or administrator that has shown outstanding service to improving the effectiveness of accounting regulation-on both local and national fronts.

In 2011, three individuals were honored as NASBA Award recipients and formally recognized during NASBA's 104th Annual Meeting in Nashville, TN. Among the recipients included Sandra A. Suran, recipient of the William H. Van Rensselaer Public Service Award; Philip W. Gleason, recipient of the NASBA Distinguished Service Award; and Barbara R. Porter, recipient of the Lorraine P. Sachs Standard of Excellence Award.

Sandra Suran is no stranger to NASBA. In fact, she served as president of NASBA in 1984-85, only the second woman to hold the position. During that time, she spearheaded initiatives such as the comprehensive process which brought the then 54-member organization together to create its first common plan, as well as work to create more awareness at the AICPA about NASBA's many roles and benefits to the accounting profession. Most recently, Suran has served on NASBA's Past Chair Advisory Council, as well as the Communications, Enforcement and State Board Relevance and Effectiveness Committees.

"I am glad to be involved with NASBA," Suran said. "In the years between my prior service and now, I have been consulting and active in the CPA community, so I am glad to be speaking again about many issues, both old and new, and to be promoting the value of the state boards. As governmental agencies are dumping boards into other areas, they are losing their ability to protect the public. With all that's going on in the financial and regulatory processes and with financial issues in general, there is an increasing need for the boards' input, and so they need to be independent and effective. Twenty years of budget cuts have weakened the boards, and are preventing them from doing their job at a time when that is most important. We must address that."

Since receiving the award in October, Suran has used her recognition as a vehicle to broaden the public's understanding of accountancy regulation and the purpose and function of state boards of accountancy.

As NASBA's Distinguished Service Award recipient, Philip Gleason's involvement with NASBA has spanned 20 years and includes serving as a delegate, member of the Board of Directors and past chair of the Relationships with Member Boards and CPE Advisory Committees. Of particular note, the initial draft of the Statement on Standards for Continuing Professional Education (Standards) was created during his tenure on the CPE Advisory Committee. Gleason also helped in the transition from a pencil/paper CPA examination to the current computer-based model as a member of the Examination Review Board.

"It's very nice to be shown such appreciation for my work, and my longevity," said Gleason. "I have seen [NASBA] go through some revolutionary changes, and I have been pleased to be a part of that."

Being named a Lorraine P. Sachs Standard of Excellence Award recipient was a history-making moment for Idaho State Board of Accountancy Regional Director, Barbara Porter. Porter, who is set to retire from her post later this month, says being honored was especially significant in that she considers Sachs one of her heroes in the profession.

In addition to working to enhance the relationship between the Idaho Board and the Idaho Society of Certified Public Accountants, Porter also lent her skills to NASBA's Executive Directors Committee, as well as the State Board Relevance and Effectiveness Committee. She also served a three-year term on the AICPA's Board of Examiners.

"In the past 15 years, we have seen some major changes in the profession," said Porter. "We have to be both the critical and constructive voice in order for the profession to be successful. Being able to talk with others, and be active in ensuring the integrity and value of accountants, is vital in our country."

Under the leadership of Chair Billy Atkinson, the NASBA Awards Committee will hold its 2012 call for nominations March 15-June 15, 2012. During this time, all NASBA members and supporters are strongly encouraged to nominate any outstanding persons who possess a genuine passion toward enhancing the effectiveness of state boards and the accounting profession.

The 2012 awards criteria and nomination form are available on the Award Criteria page on this website. You can also view a list of past award recipients.

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