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NYSSCPA Posthumously Honors Past President David J. Moynihan

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
May 11, 2015

David J. MoynihanThe NYSSCPA has posthumously awarded its 2009–2010 President David J. Moynihan with one of its highest honors, in recognition of his commitment both to the Society and to the profession, which spanned the course of several decades and included a variety of roles. 

Moynihan, who passed away in January after a yearlong battle with cancer, was named the recipient of the NYSSCPA’s Distinguished Service Award, which is given to CPAs who have set themselves apart as Society leaders through dedicated service, public advocacy and other activities. Though the award was conferred after his passing, the 12 members of Moynihan’s 2009–2010 Executive Committee, who collectively nominated him for the honor—Margaret A. Wood, Elliot A. Lesser, Mark L. Meinberg, C. Daniel Stubbs Jr., Liren Wei, Joseph M. Falbo Jr., Scott M. Adair, Dave R. Herman, John B. Huttlinger Jr., Martha A. Jaeckle, Suzanne M. Jensen and J. Michael Kirkland—submitted his name for consideration before his death.

An audit partner in The Bonadio Group’s Syracuse office, Moynihan joined the Society in 1982 and was a formidable presence from the day he was added to its membership rolls. His statewide presidency was preceded by leadership roles in the Syracuse Chapter, where he eventually served as president from 2001–2002, and varied work with Society committees, ranging from the Government Accounting and Auditing Committee to the Political Action Committee and the Peer Review Committee. 

In their nomination letter, members of his executive committee recalled him as an inspiring and enthusiastic leader who was emboldened—rather than discouraged—by challenges. He led the Society at the height of the country’s economic crisis. What’s more, his presidency coincided with a time of immense and, to some, unsettling change for New York CPAs: The state had just passed the Accountancy Reform Law—the first significant amendment to the law that regulates the CPA profession in New York in more than 50 years, and the State Education Department had begun to draft and adopt its implementing regulations. Moynihan also represented the NYSSCPA when the state drafted the rules for New York’s first peer review oversight program, which was also borne out of the reform law, and was one of the first CPAs to be appointed to the State Board for Public Accountancy’s Quality Review Oversight Committee, the body charged with monitoring the state’s mandatory peer review program for public accounting firms.

“Dave explained to us, not necessarily in words, but always by his actions, that the challenge that lay before us were not problems, but opportunities to make our great Society and profession even better,” committee members wrote. 

They noted, too, that Moynihan’s leadership style was a collaborative one, in which he actively sought out as many different viewpoints as possible. His presidency, they said, was known among those who served with him as an environment where people were encouraged to speak freely and comfortably. Moynihan was less concerned about being right than getting it right, an attitude that impressed David R. Herman. 

“For me, personally, it definitely reinforced the fact that if you’re going to do something, do it right,” Herman said. 

Moynihan used his oft-repeated mantra, “Quality Matters,” to remind CPAs and New York business leaders about the importance of audit quality. 

“For those who have worked with him, they have most certainly heard the words ‘quality matters’ countless times,’” the committee wrote. 

After his presidency, Moynihan remained an active CPA. He served as a member of the AICPA Council, vice chair of the institute’s Peer Review Board and chair of its Education Committee. He had been appointed to the AICPA Board of Directors, but passed away before he could serve. 

He was active in numerous other community endeavors outside the CPA community as well. Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed him to the New York State Advisory Board, which advised the state’s Agriculture and Markets Committee on internal controls; Moynihan chaired its audit committee. He was also the vice chair of the Central New York Community Foundation, Inc.; chair of the finance committee of St. Patrick’s Church; a board member and treasurer of the Partners for Education & Business; a board member of the Onondaga Citizens League; a board member of the Spanish Action League of Onondaga County; a member of the Syracuse Economic Development Corporation’s Loan Committee; and a member of the Le Moyne College Board of Governors. 

In March, the Society’s Foundation for Accounting Education (FAE) launched The Moynihan Fund, an educational trust meant to capture Moynihan’s passion for community service and the education of practicing and aspiring CPAs. The fund will encompass all of the FAE’s college accounting scholarships and high school accounting introduction programs, including the Career Opportunities in the Accounting Profession (COAP) program.

As a final illustration of Moynihan’s profound influence upon the Society, Executive Committee members noted that among the 12 of them, 11 have subsequently become Society officers, including four Society presidents: Wood, Kirkland, Adair and Falbo. 

“This simple statistic illustrates something about Dave that those who have had the good fortune of working with him already know: He is a selfless man who always places the organization, its members, and the profession before himself,” the committee wrote. “His term as president was not centered on what he wanted but instead driven by the desire to identify, encourage and cultivate future leaders to guide our Society long after his term as president concluded.”

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