Maria E. Walls, CPA was awarded Thomson Reuters' Office Holder of the Year award, part of Thomson Reuters Public Sector Champion Awards. Maria was selected to receive this prestigious award from among more than 1,000 Thomson Reuters government customers worldwide for her excellence in planning, leadership, and service to Beaufort County after successfully implementing several technology initiatives designed to improve efficiency and accuracy of the tax processes.

Maria was elected Beaufort County Treasurer in November 2014 after serving four years as the Deputy Treasurer under Douglas E. Henderson. As Deputy Treasurer, Maria created and implemented the first ever internal control policies for the Beaufort County Treasurer’s Office. Through leadership and training, fiscal responsibility was brought to the forefront of the Treasurer’s Office operations and the creation of streamlined procedures resulted in a significant increase in efficiency and accountability, proven by:

  • A 24% reduction of actual expenditures, totaling more than $598,000
  • Successfully transitioned the entire department to a paperless system
  • A decrease in overall staffing coupled with substantial increases in productivity with the establishment of annual employee reviews
  • Improved payment processing times as well as taxpayer conveniences with our BB&T partnership
  • Increased transparency by publishing collections and delinquent data, making it easier for those doing research or wanting to learn more about the taxation process
  • Expanded services such as: making redemption payments by credit card and debit card, accepting payments on behalf of other departments, and processing change of addresses

Additional achievements include:

  • Created and implemented an electronic cash receipting program through which other County departments submit their deposits to the Treasurer’s Office, providing an additional layer of control over funds coming to the County
  • Imposed checks and balances by which all work product is reviewed before processing
  • Eliminated the ability to generate checks within the Treasurer’s office, reducing the risk of fraud
  • Created an online registration process for Delinquent Tax Sale bidders, decreasing wait times and monetary risk the day of the auction

Maria is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and graduated Cum Laude with a Masters of Accounting, with a specialization in International Business, from Rider University. Prior to joining the Treasurer’s Office Maria worked in public accounting as an auditor for a multinational CPA firm ranked the 18th largest in the United States and then for the Lowcountry branch of a regional CPA firm. Her past professional affiliations include:

  • South Carolina Association of CPAs, Member
  • South Carolina Association of CPAs, Legislative Committee Member
  • Toastmasters International Member

In 2010, Maria was selected to join the South Carolina Association of CPA’s Young CPA Cabinet, a program exclusive to 20 individuals in the state geared towards the development of leadership and management skills within the CPA profession. As part of the Continuing Education Committee, Maria was instrumental in planning and coordinating the Emerging Leadership Conference in its inaugural and second year.

Active in her community, Maria has served on her Church Council, volunteered for Palmetto Animal League and other local non-profits, conducted financial literacy seminars as part of the Financial Literacy Project, holds leadership roles in partisan organizations and is a member of the Junior Service League of Beaufort.

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