This month, Annette Nellen, CPA, CGMA, Esq., finished her two-and-a-half-year term as Chair of the AICPA Tax Executive Committee (TEC). A constant advocate for modernizing tax systems and the AICPA’s Principles of Good Tax Policy, she has been a reliable and knowledgeable presence for the AICPA and for practitioners during the interpretation and implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
When you first meet Annette, you instantly recognize that she has a strong, inquisitive nature. To many, it would come as a surprise that Annette wasn’t sure of her career path when she started college. She enrolled at California State University, Northridge, as an undeclared major. Following her usual determined and analytical nature, she decided to give accounting a try. She hasn’t looked back.
Four decades later, she has an extensive list of professional experiences and achievements. Annette has work experience in industry, at the IRS and Ernst & Young. She has dedicated her time to chairing committees, writing comment letters and speaking at conferences for the AICPA, the California Society of CPAs, the American Bar Association and the California Lawyers Association. She is also a well-known, inexhaustible writer for The Tax Adviser, The Tax Insider, State Tax Notes and many other popular tax publications. And in 2013, she received the Arthur J. Dixon Memorial Award, the most prestigious recognition awarded in the tax profession.
With all these activities, publications and accomplishments, being a teacher is what she’s most proud of. Looking back, she said her favorite career moment was realizing she wanted to teach. Luckily, she found herself being naturally good at it. Annette has spent 29 years teaching at San Jose University with courses in tax research, accounting methods, property transactions, employment tax, ethics and tax policy. She is also actively involved at the university in various initiatives and enthusiastically connects and engages with her students. As a constant champion for the future of the accounting profession, she is passionate about how young people can help shape that future and avidly instills this in her students.
Annette lives by her personal motto: “If you don’t know something, look it up. Expand your horizons. Knowledge is powerful.” And all of us — accounting students, practitioners and the AICPA are grateful for it.