Magazine article The CPA Journal

Celebrating 85 Years Together of Serving the Profession: The NYSSCPA and Baruch College

Magazine article The CPA Journal

Celebrating 85 Years Together of Serving the Profession: The NYSSCPA and Baruch College

Article excerpt

We're a different breed now," says Stuart Kessler, renowned tax accountant, former president of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA), and Baruch College MBA, of the accounting profession to which he has dedicated his career. Kessler is a wonderful example of the long relationship that the Society and Baruch College have forged over the decades for the betterment of accountancy-a profession that today is more inclusive, more diverse, and more sensitive to serving the needs of both business and consumers.

Distinguished Histories

The NYSSCPA and Baruch College have been leaders and partners in promoting accountancy ethics, values, and growth, during the ongoing evolution of the profession. The NYSSCPA incorporated in 1897, more than a century ago. Not long after, in 1919, Baruch College-then known as City College School of Business and Civic Administration-first offered degree programs in accounting.

"Baruch has been a natural magnet for opportunity," says Steven Lilien, Weinstein Professor of Accountancy at Baruch and a former chair of the accountancy department. "We've always had high standards, we've always been demanding, and we've always met the needs of the city's changing ethnic groups, reaching out, offering New Yorkers exceptional opportunity."

Today, accountancy programming and research are a focus of the college's Stan Ross Department of Accountancy, which has granted more than 8,000 degrees in accountancy over the past decade. The dean of Baruch's Zicklin School of Business, H. Fenwick Fluss, says that "we strive to find new, innovative ways to prepare our students, to broaden their thinking, and to examine the wider world in which they'll soon work."

Inspiring Accountants

Numerous Baruch-trained accountants have gone on to make significant contributions to the profession; such alumni include Emanuel Saxe, class of 1923; Abraham Briloff, double alumnus, classes of 1937 and 1941; and Bert Mitchell, double alumnus, classes of 1963 and 1968.

Emanuel Saxe

A graduate of the class of 1923, Emanuel Saxe (1902-1987) was the longtime dean of Baruch's business school and a member of its faculty for 31 years. David Saxe, a longstanding adjunct professor in Baruch's Department of Law and associate justice of the New York Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, First Judicial Department, says, "My father's relationship with Baruch was a 'forever' one."

Of Emanuel Saxe's contribution as an editor of the State Society's Journal, his son says, "I suspect my father felt that it was his obligation to his profession to assist accountants with interesting, timely writings on the subject of public and private accountancy." Emanuel Saxe was recognized by the NYSSCPA with a Distinguished Service Award, was inducted into its Hall of Fame, and is the namesake of the Society's Dr. Emanuel Saxe Outstanding CPA in Education Award (see the sidebar, And the Award Goes to ...).

Abraham Briloff

Abraham Briloff (1917-2013), known as "the philosopher-king of accounting," was a Baruch professor, a double alumnus, classes of 1937 and 1941-and, at one point, Dean Saxe's student.

Briloff taught and lectured for decades at Baruch, and wrote extensively and insightfully about accounting issues. Upon Briloff s death at age 96, New York Times financial correspondent Floyd Norris described him as "by far the most prominent accounting critic."

Charles Dreifus, Briloff s former student who became a portfolio manager and securities analyst with Royce Funds, says, "Abe felt that the CPA license came with an obligation to act as a professional responsible for the ultimate beneficiary, and in a corporation, that ultimately filtere down to the shareholders. …

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