New York State Society of CPAs: Celebrating a Century of Integrity

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New York State Society of CPAs: Celebrating a Century of Integrity (New York: New York State Society of CPAs, 1997, 135 pp., $25)

This volume commemorates the centennial celebration of the New York State Society of CPAs, an appropriate celebration since this state's society has been so historically influential in the profession of accountancy. The work provides descriptive summaries of the Society and the profession. While brief, these writings will likely be useful in future attempts to place the late 20th century New York State Society into historical perspective.

The primary historical work consists of four essays. The first (by Edward Mendlowitz) provides a concise, entertaining summary of the profession from the earliest record keeping to today. This essay condenses a great deal of historical information into a narrative format, including examples of the practice of accounting from cuneiform to 20th century standard setting, and examples of the roles played by the profession over the years, from the first American accountant arriving on the ships with Christopher Columbus to the contemporary auditing of Academy Award votes.

A second essay (by Gary J. Previts, Dale L. Flesher, and Tonya K. Flesher) relates the accomplishments of Charles Waldo Haskins, the founding president of the New York State Society, the first president of the Board of Examiners in New York State, and the first dean of the New York University School of Commerce, Accounts, and Finance (these three positions are just the most readily listed among his many achievements). The essay elaborates on Haskins' biography and his contributions to the early stature of the profession. The authors present a convincing argument for his induction into the Accounting Hall of Fame by describing his accomplishments (despite early death curtailing his contributions), contrasting them to those of others previously inducted. Given Haskins' prominent positions in the accountancy profession in New York, this book provides an appropriate forum for this detailed essay in commemoration of the contributions of Charles Waldo Haskins.

The history of the New York State Society itself is presented in the third essay (by James L. Craig, Jr.). He recounts the formation of the Society, its contributions, and those of its members throughout the last 100 years. For example, the Society assisted with the preparation of New York's income tax regulations, and several of its prominent members had already assisted in similar tasks at the national level. A brief discussion of diversity in the organization and a summary of the Society's advancement into the information age provide a snapshot of where the Society finds itself with respect to these very current concerns. …