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Distinguished Service Award Winner: Alan E. Weiner
By Chris Gaetano
Posted on 5/19/11

For most people, it is enough to do a job and to do it well. Less common are those who do a job, do it well, and then go above and beyond to serve their entire profession. Less common still are those who do all of this for decades at a time -- unless you are past Society President and Suffolk Chapter member Alan E. Weiner, named this year’s recipient of the NYSSCPA’s Distinguished Service Award.

Weiner will be honored tonight, May 19, at the NYSSCPA’s 114th Annual Election Meeting Dinner at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square.

A member of the Society since 1967, Weiner has a record of contributions and achievements within the NYSSCPA that spans more than 30 years, including service as the Society’s president in 1999–2000, as well as president-elect, treasurer, and as a member of the Society’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Weiner has also served on the FAE Board of Trustees as president, secretary/treasurer and member.

Weiner has also chaired the Society’s Tax Division Oversight, Partnerships and LLCs, and Awards committees, and is currently a member of the Partnerships and LLCs Committee. He has also previously served as a member of the Closely Held and S Corporations, Committee Operations, Finance, Political Action, Relations with the Legal Community, History and Annual Leadership Conference committees. He also served as chair of the Estate Planning Committee and as a member of the Federal Tax and Estate and Personal Financial Planning committees for the NYSSCPA’s Nassau Chapter.

Weiner also chaired several task forces: the Limited Liability Company (LLC) Task Force in 1991, the Clinton Tax Proposals Task Force in 1992, the Tax Simplification Task Force in 2003 and the Staff Compensation Task Force from 1999 to 2001.

He also actively served on tax committees for the AICPA and as a member of AICPA Council.

Weiner’s involvement with the Society began when he was asked to edit The CPA Journal’s federal tax column. This led to him being invited to the Society’s offices in Manhattan to elaborate further upon his ideas, and he ultimately was an editor for the publication from 1983 to 1985. This initial role extended into a long history of Society service that continues to this day.

His passion for the profession was instilled at a young age, as Weiner’s father was also a CPA and a member of the State Society. Weiner includes his father’s CPA certification among the plaques and certificates hanging on his wall.

Working as a sole practitioner, his father often took Weiner along when visiting clients, allowing the young man a front-row seat from which to examine the profession. Like many sole practitioners at that time, Weiner said that the work was a family affair -- working with his father from the ages of 13 to 17, he wrote up cash journals and general ledgers, prepared checks for clients and processed W-2 forms. He later went to college to major in accounting, where he came to be particularly interested in tax issues.

“Taxes have never not been interesting to me. … You get involved in businesses and people and families, and it was just fascinating,” he said.

Weiner compares tax accounting to a chess game, saying “it’s a bunch of puzzles,” adding that he had always had a head for math.

Shortly after graduating from college, Weiner decided to continue his education and earn a law degree. While he has not practiced as an attorney, Weiner said that having a legal background has helped him in business by allowing him to communicate more effectively with lawyers.

During the course of his education, Weiner made it a point to seek out the most difficult classes and most challenging professors. This passion for learning continued well into his professional career.

“If you don’t keep up with the education in any profession, not only will you fall behind, but you don’t do justice to your clients, and client service was always paramount in my mind,” he said.

“When I would go to a prospective client, I was always interested in why [they] are leaving [their] current accounting firm, and you’d get answers, sometimes, like ‘I just don’t think they’re good.’ But many times, a prospective client would say they don’t return calls, and everyone wants to know they are being listened to,” Weiner said.

Though currently retired, Weiner still remains active, saying that his is the type of personality that requires constant stimulation.

“Even in the evening, I will have on the TV, but I’ll be reading newspapers or whatever else is current,” he said.