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Accountant first woman to head tax committee.

Deborah J. Levinson, partner, Kenneth Leventhal and Company was recently elected to chair the Real Estate Accounting Committee of the New York Society of Certified Pubic Accountants, making her the first woman to ever head the committee.

Levinson, 36, will serve as chairperson for two years, during which time she expects the committee to deal with such timely issues as reviewing New York City certiorari requirements.

"This committee and the New York Society aren't a rule making body," said Levinson, who has been a member of the Leventhal firm since 1980 and a partner for the past three years. "It's really to serve. The committee is educational by sharing information with the general public."

The New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants is the largest state CPA society and boasts 90 technical and administrative committees.

According to Levinson, the existing guides, the CIRA Guide, for co-op and condominium accounting is not working in practice and the committee plans to study the issue and offer recommendations.

"In becoming chairperson, I was selected and asked if I would like to do it, and I chose to say yes," said Levinson, who has been a member of the committee for three years. "I was eager at the opportunity, to be forced to organize and lead about 60 people to coordinate and orchestrate all these programs.

"The other thing I like about the committee is the incredible cross-section of private industry and public practice," she added. "The whole purpose of the committee is to provide service to members, to share information, and to give something back to the profession."

A Manhattan resident, Levinson is a specialist in real estate finance and a consultant to major institutional lenders in the review and restructuring of troubled mortgage portfolios. She said that joining Kenneth Leventhal and Company was the best decision she ever made, crediting the firm with allowing her to develop in areas aside from her specialty of auditing and accounting.

Kenneth Leventhal and Company is the nation's eighth largest accounting firm, and is highly-regarded for its expertise in real estate and related financial industries. The firm is headquartered in Los Angeles and is associated internationally with Clark Kenneth Leventhal.

"A headhunter called and said Ken Leventhal was moving from Great Neck to New York City and asked would I be interested," said Levinson, who was working at the time as a staff accountant at a medium-sized firm in the city. "It's 13 years since and it's been the best decision I ever made, they've really allowed me to function as a business person."

Levinson, a graduate of Bernard H. Baruch College of the City University of New York, explained that she really just fell into her chosen profession and was receptive to opportunity when it came her way.

"I was good at math and I had a relative who was an accountant and I sort of fell into it, she said, noting that real estate was a field where women could succeed based on ability and performance.

"The trend over the years has been for women entering the field because it's entrepreneurial," Levinson said. "You're contributing to help them make money and I don't think they care whether you're wearing pants or a skirt."

In addition to her work with the State Society of Certified Public Accountants, Levinson is a member of the American Institute of CPAs, and is also treasurer of Commercial Real Estate Women of New York, a nonprofit group representing senior-level professionals from the many disciplines that relate to commercial real estate transactions.
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Title Annotation:Deborah J. Levinson elected to chair Real Estate Accounting Committee of the New York Society for Certified Public Accountants
Author:Alger, Derek
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Column
Date:Aug 25, 1993
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