AICPA Bestows Highest Taxation Award to Deborah Walker, CPA, MBA

Deborah Walker, CPA, MBA is the recipient of the 2017 Arthur J. Dixon Memorial Award, the highest honor bestowed by the accounting profession in the area of taxation. 

The award, given by the Tax Division of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), was presented today at the AICPA Fall Tax Division Meeting in Washington, D.C. by Lisa C. Germano, CPA, CGMA, president and general counsel of Actuarial Benefits & Design Company. 

Walker is the National Director of Compensation and Benefits at Cherry Bekaert LLP in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office where, with more than 35 years of experience, she provides guidance to executives and employers on a broad range of related issues.  Among Walker’s areas of expertise are executive compensation; qualified retirement plans (including 401(k) plans and ESOPs) and other tax preferred retirement plans, such as Internal Revenue Code Section 403(b) plans, IRAs, SEPs and Simples; employment taxes; domestic and international short and long-term incentive compensation arrangements; tax controversy issues related to employment taxes and compensation items; and health and welfare benefits.  She also counsels clients on fringe benefits, such as expense reimbursement arrangements, personal use of corporate aircraft, interest free loans to employees and various life insurance arrangements.  Walker concentrates on the federal tax consequences of these items and ensuring that benefit plans achieve strategic business goals.  In addition, she advises clients on compensation deductions in mergers and acquisitions, accounting methods for compensation items and financial statement reporting of compensation and benefit items.   

In addition, to her work with Cherry Bekaert LLP, Walker edits for Bloomberg BNA, focusing on the Compensation Planning Tax Management Portfolios, a part of Bloomberg BNA’s Tax and Accounting Center, and consults with other clients, including financial institutions, compensation consultants and law firms.

Prior to her work at Cherry Bekaert LLP, Walker served as a partner in the Washington National Tax Practices at KPMG and Deloitte Tax and as Deputy to the Benefits Tax Counsel in the Office of Tax Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where she developed a broad understanding of drafting legislation and regulations.  She started her accounting career with KPMG in Raleigh, N.C. 

Walker is also a published writer.  She has authored numerous articles regarding compensation and benefits matters, believing that to be a useful way to communicate to other tax professionals and the general public various tax issues that can arise.  Walker was editor-in-chief of the Journal of Taxation of Employee Benefits and a member of The Tax Adviser Editorial Board.

Walker’s service as an AICPA volunteer spans 30 years.  She currently serves on the planning committee for the annual AICPA Employee Benefit Plan Conference of which she has served as chair and co-chair, the AICPA Employee Benefits Tax Technical Resource Panel and on the AICPA Health Care Task Force.  Walker has served as a member of the AICPA Governing Council and as the chair of the AICPA Tax Executive Committee, on which she also served as a member of the panel for several years.  Additionally, she’s served as chair of the AICPA Section 89 Task Force and the Health Care Task Force.  Among the other AICPA tax panels on which Walker has served are the Tax Legislation and Policy Committee, Employee Benefits Taxation Committee and the Life Insurance/Disability Plans Committee.

Walker holds a B.A. in Economics from Alfred University and an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The AICPA’s annual award is in honor of Arthur J. Dixon, a CPA who had an outstanding record of service to the tax profession and to the Institute’s Tax Division.  Dixon was chairman of the AICPA's Tax Executive Committee from 1977 to 1980 and posthumously won the first award named in his honor.  The award was established after his death in 1981 to honor outstanding CPAs in the area of taxes.


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