WASHINGTON, DC - The Greater Washington Society of Certified Professional Accountants (GWSCPA) on Dec. 1 awarded Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi with a president's award for his contributions to the District of Columbia and the accounting profession.
Specifically, the plaque says, "For his continuing dedication on behalf of the citizens of the District of Columbia, for extraordinary devotion to improving the financial systems and services vital to the business community, reflecting favorably upon the highest standards of the accounting profession in government service and upon his personal and professional character."
Ralph Bazilio, GWSCPA president, says, "Dr. Gandhi's contributions have significantly improved the business and financial climate of the District. His dedication to fiscal discipline has made a substantial difference to the citizens and businesses of the greater Washington, DC metropolitan area."
Gandhi was appointed District CFO on June 7, 2000, after being nominated by Mayor Anthony A. Williams and confirmed by the Council of the District of Columbia and the DC Financial Authority. As District CFO, Gandhi is responsible for the city's finances, including its $5 billion annual budget and its bond obligations.
"Serving as Chief Financial Officer is a great opportunity to put the District's financial house in order and contribute to its financial viability and its ability to create a climate for economic development," says Gandhi. "But the real success story in turning around the District's finances is the hard work and dedication of the District's employees."
For his tenure as CFO, Gandhi has established three goals: (1) ending Fiscal Year (FY) 2000, and all subsequent years, with a balanced budget; (2) receiving a clean opinion, on time, from the city's independent auditors for FY 2000 and beyond; and (3) providing effective, efficient financial systems to support the decision processes of District policymakers.
Prior to this appointment, Gandhi served as Deputy Chief Financial Officer for Tax and Revenue for the District of Columbia, where he led a 600-employee organization that administers tax laws and annually collects $2.7 billion in local revenues. When Gandhi joined the Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) in 1997, the District's tax system was in disarray. Its revenue base was shrinking, its employee morale was sinking, and deficits were projected.
Under his leadership, OTR demonstrated a remarkable turnaround. Successes achieved included collecting substantially more in tax revenue than in previous years, turning projected deficits into huge surpluses in FY 1997 ($185 million), FY 1998 ($445 million), and FY 1999 ($86 million); improving the District's accounting practices for business tax receivables, thus attaining a "clean opinion" from external auditors; issuing more than 150,000 tax refunds within 15 days during the 1999 and 2000 tax-filing seasons; establishing a new Telephone Information Center and a one-stop, walk-in Customer Service Center to improve public outreach; and introducing an Integrated Tax System.
Founded in 1923, the Greater Washington Society of CPAs is a professional organization that serves more than 2,400 members in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.