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Samuel D. Leidesdorf, CPA Named to NYSSCPA Hall of Fame


Lois Whitehead, Public Relations Manager

NEW YORK, NY, May 18, 2005 – The New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants has honored Samuel D. Leidesdorf, CPA (deceased) with induction to its Hall of Fame at its Annual Election Meeting and Dinner held today at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel.

According to Jeffrey Hoops, CPA, Chair of the Society's Awards Committee, Leidesdorf was selected for the Hall of Fame due to his leadership in the early accounting profession. "Samuel Leidesdorf is an example of outstanding ethical leadership in the accounting profession. The example of compliance standards and ethical leadership demonstrated by his firm was one the whole accounting profession followed. He was also a highly recognized philanthropic civil servant," Hoops said.

Leidesdorf, a nationally and internally known accountant, was born on September 25, 1881 in New York City. His early ambition to be a physician were thwarted by the necessity of helping to support his widowed mother; at age 13, he began his working career as an errand boy, earning $3.50 a week. He rose to the position of bookkeeper and credit man, earning at age 20 the handsome salary of $5,000 per year.

He continued his studies at the New York School of Accounting and at Pace College launched his lifetime vocation. In 1905, Leidesdorf organized his own accounting firm, S.D.Leidesdorf & Co., certified public accountants, which grew and eventually became one of the largest accounting firms in the nation. Fortune Magazine recognized it as a “Pioneering Firm” in 1932.

At age 23, Leidesdorf was the accountant for Montefiore Hospital and became a member of the board of trustees. At the time, the hospital was badly in need of funds and Mr. Leidesdorf helped raise the necessary capital. He was renowned for his ability to enlist people to provide financial support for the causes with which he was associated.

In nominating him for this award, Martin Leventhal, CPA said, “Samuel Leidesdorf was a visionary and a rainmaker who built a quality and large accounting firm with vigorous professional standards. He left behind a legacy of caring, concerned involvement and tangible evidences of his philanthropy.”

From the beginning of his career, Leidesdorf showed he was a man before his time. For example, he insisted that inventories should be observed and checked thoroughly along with accounts receivable. Not until after he testified and stated this during the McKesson Robbins case in 1939 (the Enron of its time) did these practices become generally accepted. His employees were prohibited from owning stock in client firms long before this practice became mandatory.

One of the original members of the State Council of Accountancy, he served in that capacity from 1934 to 1942. He received the Society’s Distinguished Service Award in 1961. He served on many committees for the Society and the AICPA.

At the time of his death in 1968, the firm he founded was in the top 10 of accounting firms in the United States.

The Society’s Hall of Fame was established in 2000. Criteria for acceptance requires that an individual:

  • Demonstrated leadership within the profession and in the larger community within New York State;
  • Demonstrated a record of achievement and provided vision and knowledge of broad business issues;
  • Made a demonstrated impact on the profession through outstanding professional accomplishments
  • Provided distinguished service to the profession or the larger community;
  • Contributed to accounting research, literature, or education
  • Demonstrated commitment and leadership in adapting to changes in the profession;
  • Made a contribution toward influencing the future of the profession;
  • Provided significant service to accounting organizations;
  • Been a member of the NYSSCPA for a significant part of his/her career;

Candidates also must have worked for a minimum of 25 years as a CPA, with 10 of those years of experience in New York State, and have either attained the age of 65 or who have died, become disabled or otherwise ceased to be actively engaged in accounting-related employment

About the NYSSCPA

Representing 30,000 CPAs, the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) is the oldest and largest state accounting organization in the nation.

Incorporated in 1897, the Society is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to establish and maintain high standards of integrity, honor, and character among certified public accountants. Its members are CPAs working in public practice, industry, government and education in a state that serves as the home of Wall Street and major financial institutions.

The New York State Society of CPAs is located at 3 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016. To learn more about the Society call 800-633-6320 or visit the Society’s website at www.nysscpa.org.

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