AICPA names 2008 Outstanding CPA in Government awards

Kurt K. Kawafuchi, CPA, J.D.-M.B.A., LL.M of Honolulu and Robert B. Scott, CPA of Carrollton, Texas have been named recipients of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' 2008 Outstanding CPA in Government Award. Kawafuchi received the state government award. Scott earned the local government award.

The awards will be presented on August 18 at the AICPA's 25th Annual National Governmental Accounting and Auditing Update Conference to be held in Washington, D.C. These awards recognize CPAs working in the state and local government who have made significant contributions to increased efficiency and effectiveness of government organizations and to the growth and enhancement of the profession.

Kawafuchi, director of the Hawaii Department of Taxation, has significantly streamlined the operations of the department increasing both efficiency and performance. His guidance and leadership include one-stop taxpayer support, faster refunds, plain English correspondence, automated 24/7 telephone support, improved implementation of legislative changes and audit selection tools. Implementation of these and other programs have generated a record $308 million in collections over a previous record high of $113 million. He attends the department's free workshops throughout the Hawaiian Islands to reach out to practitioners, taxpayers, and new business owners in an ongoing effort to increase the understanding of the state tax administration. Kawafuchi has volunteered as director of the Hawaii Society of CPAs Board of Directors, chair of the Tax Section of the Hawaii State Bar Association, and co-chair of the Advisory Board of the Tax Committee for the School of Accountancy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Scott serves as chief financial officer and assistant city manager and is credited by many city officials across Texas as a champion of change for the Texas Municipal Retirement System (TMRS), the state-wide retirement system covering employees in over 800 cities. Through his research and questions of its financial practices, he found that the actuarial methods used to determine funding rates did not take into account plan provisions that most member cities had in place for many years. As a result of his discovery, the Board of Directors of TMRS changed its actuarial methods, which restored its credibility as a viable retirement plan. He has assisted Texas governments in implementing GASB's new standards on Other Post Employment Benefits by coordinating a share actuarial services contract through the local Council of Governments. This contract allows governments of all sizes to access high quality actuarial services for reasonable prices.

He currently serves as chair of the Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting Committee of the Government Financial Officers Association and for more than 10 years served as chair of its Texas Financial Reporting and Regulatory Response Committee where he testified to both the GASB and the state legislature on financial reporting issues. Scott is an active lecturer for the GFOA and the AICPA and has co-authored several professional journal articles.

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