2017 Arthur J. Dixon Memorial Award

 Deborah Walker (left) with Lisa C. Germano
Deborah Walker (left) with Lisa C. Germano

Deborah Walker, CPA, MBA, received 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 AICPA Tax Division, was presented Nov. 8 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 Co.

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 her areas of expertise are executive compensation; qualified retirement plans and other tax-preferred retirement plans; employment taxes; compensation arrangements; tax controversy issues related to employment taxes and compensation items; and health and welfare benefits.

 In addition to her work with Cherry Bekaert, Walker edits for Bloomberg BNA, focusing on the Compensation Planning Tax Management Portfolios, and consults with other clients.

Prior to her work at Cherry Bekaert, 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 has also authored numerous articles regarding compensation and benefits matters for The Tax Adviser and other publications, believing that to be a useful way to communicate to other tax professionals and the public various tax issues that can arise. She was editor-in-chief of the Journal of Taxation of Employee Benefits and an editorial adviser to The Tax Adviser.

Walker's service as an AICPA volunteer spans 30 years. She currently serves on the planning committee for the annual AICPA Employee Benefit Plans Conference, of which she has served as chair and co-chair; on the AICPA Employee Benefits Tax Technical Resource Panel; and on the AICPA Health Care Task Force. She 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 for several years. Additionally, she has served as chair of the AICPA Section 89 Task Force and the Health Care Task Force. Other AICPA tax panels on which Walker has served include 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 annual award honors the memory of Arthur J. Dixon, a CPA who had an outstanding record of service to the tax profession and to the AICPA Tax Division. The award was established after his death in 1981 to honor outstanding CPAs in the area of taxes.

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