NEW YORK, NY (October 20, 2021) – The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) today announced Belverd (Bel) Needles, CPA, CGMA, Ph.D., as the recipient of the 2021 AICPA Gold Medal Award of Distinction.
The Gold Medal is the highest honor granted by the AICPA. Since 1944, it has been bestowed upon CPAs whose influence on the accounting profession has been especially notable. Jack Finning, CPA, CGMA, and chair of the AICPA Awards Committee, presented Needles with the award during the virtual fall meeting of AICPA’s governing Council.
“Bel has had a tremendous impact on the profession that spanned the length of his impressive career,” said Finning. “His work as an educator and volunteer with the AICPA and the Illinois Society of CPAs has positively influenced countless students on their journey towards earning their CPA and entering the profession.”
Needles has spent more than 40 years at DePaul University, where he was one of the founding Directors of the School of Accountancy and currently serves as EY Distinguished Professor of Accountancy. He was the key driver of adding Management Information Systems (MIS) to the Accountancy curriculum and the establishment of the School of Accountancy & MIS. He developed the first combined 150-hour undergraduate and graduate program in Illinois in response to the new CPA requirement. His influence on global accounting and finance students endures through his textbooks and publications in leading journals. Today, he is a founding Principal of Needles & Powers, Inc., which provides educational resources and programs to Fortune 1000 corporations, consulting firms and investment companies.
Needles spent more than three decades volunteering within the profession and AICPA serving on a variety of task forces and committees including chair of the AICPA’s Accounting Education Executive Committee (1994-96). He is also a long-standing member of the Illinois CPA Society (ICPAS). As a founding member of the CPA Endowment Fund of Illinois, ICPAS’s charitable partner, he was instrumental in creating the Needles, Snow, Wish Accounting Scholarship Fund, which provides more than 20 tuition scholarships per year.
He received many career awards including AICPA’s Distinguished Achievement in Accounting Education Award and ICPAS’s Lifetime Achievement Award and its Outstanding Educator Award. Upon retiring, he received the Via Sapientiae Award from DePaul University, the highest award for service to the university.
A list of previous recipients is available on AICPA’s website.