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Press Release

Syracuse-Based CPA to Receive 2016 Urbach CPA Community Builders Award

Maya Lindsay
Published Date:
Sep 15, 2016
James Bowers

NEW YORK – (Sept.15, 2016) – The New York State Society of CPAs is pleased toannounce that NYSSCPA member James Bowers, a Syracuse-based CPA from Onondaga County, N.Y., has been chosen to receive the 2016 Urbach CPA Community Builders Award for his leadership in recovering a number of nonprofits throughout his career.

The Urbach Award is named in honor of the late Michael H. Urbach, CPA, who was also a partner at Urbach, Kahn and Werlin (now called UHY Advisors); former NYS Commission of Tax and Finance; and former board leader of a number of charities. The New York State Society of CPAs (NYSSCPA) and New York Council of Non-Profits (NYCON) co-sponsor the award. The Urbach Award is given to NYSSCPA members who have made outstanding contributions while serving on the board of directors of charitable organizations.

Bowers’ leadership and financial expertise aided two nonprofits in recent years:InterFaith Works, an agency located in Syracuse, which helps bridge the gap between people of different religions, races, and cultures through four major programs, serving over 26,000 people a year; Transitional Living Services (TLS) of Onondaga County, which serves people with developmental disabilities and behavioral health issues.

“I’ve been involved with Interfaith Works for a long time and I feel like they speak to me on a personal level,” said Bowers. “InterFaith Works is the type of organization that is needed now more than ever. During our Dialogue Circles, we go to schools, hospitals, and other locations to talk about our differences whether it’s racial, cultural, or political and try to understand what those differences are, which could be very hard to do.”

During the early 2000’s, InterFaith Works Board wasn’t sure that they could meet payroll and keep the agency alive. During Bowers’ service on the Board, he along with others, helped create an emergency planning project that restructured the executive staff, instituted cost-saving methods, built the morale of the remaining staff, and brought the agency through the crisis by 2004.

“In 2002, InterFaith Works faced a severe financial downturn,” said Beth Broadway, president and CEO of InterFaith Works. “Mr. Bowers was pivotal in saving the agency from closing its doors. He spearheaded the financial management protocols that were implemented and established a plan to put the agency back on solid financial ground.”

In addition to the changes made at InterFaith Works, Bowers’ accounting expertise was pivotal in TLS’s development of a new community residence for people with developmental disabilities that also expanded community support services for those with mental health issues. TLS merged with Enable in 2013 and is now called AccessCNY, where Bowers currently serves on their finance committee.

Bowers has been a Society member since 1974, is a member of the Syracuse chapter, and has chaired on a number of the Society’s Rochester and Syracuse Chapter committees. In the past, he has served on the board and as treasurer for the Dunbar Association; served as chair of the finance committee for St. Joseph the Worker Church, along with many other community-based organizations and non-profits.

“I would certainly recommend CPAs to give back to non-profit organizations, said Bowers. “The financial expertise of CPAs is needed to help balance budgets as funding for these programs tighten up. CPAs have a certain way of seeing things, such as how the mission of an organization and its financial status can work together. This is why CPAs should find an organization that they are interested in and give back.”

Bowers has worked as a CPA for clients in the short line railroad industry for more than 40 years and currently works at Bowers & Company CPAs, PLLC as partner-in-charge of the railroad industry. He continues to serve on InterFaith Works of Central New York Board of Directors and chairs the Faith Hope Community Center’s finance committee. Bowers graduated from St. John Fisher College with a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting in 1970.

Bowers will be formally awarded during NYCON’s Annual Business Meeting on October 6, at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY. To register for the luncheon on October 6th, contact Melissa Currado at mcurrado@nycon.org or call 1.800.515.5012, ext. 100.

About the New York State Society of CPAs

Founded in 1897, the NYSSCPA, is the premier professional accounting association for more than 26,000 members residing and practicing in New York State; encompassing all areas of public practice and private industry including  government, education, healthcare, real estate, technology, entertainment and finance.  It is the oldest – and the third largest such state society organization - in the United States.