Our team

Our team

team

NCheng LLP consistently receives high endorsements from ours clients, a testament to our team's knowledge, experience, and passion.

With a collective experience of over 100 years, our leadership team regularly encourages and rewards innovation and new ideas, and is committed to continuously expanding the knowledge base of our professionals.

At NCheng LLP, we work in a cooperative, synergistic environment where team members draw on each other’s strengths, thought leadership and diversity. With every new client, we continuously fine-tune our collaborative efforts, resulting in better results for our clients.

The stable relationships and the collaboration between team members are a large part of our core strength. By providing a learning environment for our 80 employees, we are able to grow the talent within the company and develop leadership. This stability helps keep us focused on long-term solutions for our clients.

Learn more about our leadership team below and explore how we can service your financial and organizational needs.John Giordani, CISA IT Director and Cybersecurity Officer

kwabina appiah, cpa

Partner

Jake Jongkwon Lee, CPA

Partner

Nerou Cheng, CPA

Managing Partner

Jose Ignacio Fiocca

Principal

Michelle Blankenship

Principal

kwabina appiah, cpa

Partner

Kwabina Appiah is a partner in the audit department.

Kwabina has over 30 years’ experience in public accounting providing a full range of audit, accounting and advisory services to diversified clients in the not-for-profit, government and commercial sectors. His involvement in diversified engagements for several not-for-profit entities as engagement partner, has given him an understanding of their accounting, audit, compliance, performance and reporting requirements. He has significant experience with public and private grants compliance, governance matters and the regulatory environment impacting not-for profit entities. His past experience also includes several years as a partner and Chief Operating officer of a major CPA firm in New York City. He has served clients involved in community and social action services, health care, advocacy as well as educational and cultural activities.

Kwabina holds an MBA in Accounting & Finance from the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University in the City of New York and a BS from the University of Ghana.

Jake Jongkwon Lee, CPA

Partner

Jake Jongkwon Lee is a partner in the Financial Advisory
Services department and also serves as the Chief Financial Officer of NCheng LLP.

Jake has more than 15 years’ experience working with a large and diverse group of not-for-profit organizations, both international and local. Jake has significant expertise in the design of accounting and financial reporting systems. He is also very familiar with many systems used by not-for-profit entities for fund-raising, regulatory and grant compliance. He has extensive knowledge in cloud-based accounting and has designed and installed several financial and reporting systems for a wide variety of clients that receive funding and grants from federal agencies, State and City of New York.

Jake has an MBA in Accounting from St. John’s University and a BS in Business Administration from Sogang University in Seoul, Korea. He speaks fluent Korean.

Nerou Cheng, CPA

Managing Partner

Nerou Cheng is the founder and Managing Partner of NCheng LLP.

Nerou has over 30 years of experience in public accounting dedicated exclusively to serving the not-forprofit sector. He has provided invaluable services in financial statements audits and advisory services to several not-for-profit clients in areas such as financial management and reporting, internal controls, governance and regulatory compliance.

He serves on the Board of a number of nonprofit organizations. Nerou has an MBA from Ball State University and a BSBA from Georgetown University. He also holds a Certificate in Public Accounting from Pace University.

Jose Ignacio Fiocca

Principal

Jose Ignacio Fiocca is a Principal in the Financial Advisory Services department.

He has over 20 years’ experience in providing accounting and fiscal management services to clients in the not-for-profit sector. Jose works very closely with the senior management of the clients he serves and has
significant experience in designing control systems and procedures to assist in the management of various activities and programs of his not-for-profit clients. Jose’s extensive experience with a variety of financial systems helps his clienst to review and monitor budgets, program reports, financial projections and the management of multiple and diversified funding sources. Jose holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA). He is fluent in Spanish.

Michelle Blankenship

Principal

Michelle Blankenship is a Principal in the Financial Advisory Services department.

She has more than 25 years experience serving clients in the not-for-profit sector and manages a wide array of financial advisory services for clients at NCheng LLP. Michelle’s specialty includes financial reporting and compliance and assisting clients to manage budgets and various public and private grants toachieve program objectives. She is very familiar with grant and reporting requirements of various federal, State and City grants. Michelle attended Michigan State University and Hunter College.

Carlos Norena

Director

Maureen Friar

Director

Alwayne Burke, CPA, CGMA

Senior Manager

Ekaterina Rodionova

Manager

Xi Wang, CPA

Manager

Carlos Norena

Director

Carlos Norena is a Director in the Financial Advisory Services division.

He has over 22 years of experience in accounting and financial management and has served clients in both the not-for-profit and commercial sectors. He has in-depth knowledge of many accounting systems and very familiar with accounting and reporting systems for not-for-profit entities. He assists clients in the daily management of fiscal transactions, budgetary monitoring and compliance with various regulatory and grant requirements.

Carlos has an MBA and a BBA in Accounting from the University of Medellin in Colombia. He is also a CPA in Colombia, and speaks fluent Spanish.

Maureen Friar

Director

Maureen Friar is Director, Business Development and Consulting Services.
She manages the marketing and communications for NCheng LLP and provides consulting services to CEOs and boards of directors on their development, fundraising and governance best practices.
Maureen has nearly 30 years’ experience leading nonprofit organizations on the local, state and national levels.  She has been a passionate advocate for social justice and community development, championing issues related to affordable housing, gender equality, grassroots organizing, disability rights and the environment. Her expertise in organizational sustainability helps nonprofits grow to the next level.
Maureen has a Masters of Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BA from Brown University.

Alwayne Burke, CPA, CGMA

Senior Manager

Alwayne Burke has over 15 years of diverse experience in public accounting and the private sector. Prior to joining Ncheng LLP, Alwayne worked for a large Global Public Accounting Firm, as well as Regional and Local Accounting Firms. He has also worked with private companies where he served in the capacity as Vice-President of Finance. Alwayne has extensive experience working with not-for profit (including higher educational institutions), government, construction, healthcare, hospitality and manufacturing entities. In addition to audits of financial statements of clients in the
not-for profit, government and the private sectors, Alwayne has also specialized in single audits and the audits of employee benefit plans.

Alwayne is Certified Public Accountant in the State of New York and Florida. He holds a B.B.A. in Accounting from Baruch College, City University of New York.  He is currently a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New York State Society of CPAs.

Ekaterina Rodionova

Manager

Ekaterina Rodionova is a Manager in the audit department.

She has more than 10 years of experience in providing services to clients in the not-for-profit sector. Her expertise is in the audits of not-for-profit organizations including audits of federal grants (single audits). She has been involved in several audits of not-for-profit entities including real estate partnerships and HUD multi-family housing projects. She also has experience in joint audits with a “Big 4” accounting firm. Ekaterina holds a BBA in Accounting from Baruch College.

Xi Wang, CPA

Manager

Xi Wang is a Manager in the Financial Advisory Services department.

She has over 8 years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector, Xi provides invaluable services to her clients at NCheng. She has extensive experience in financial management and reporting for not-for-profit entities. She also has expertise in many software systems used by not-for-profit entities to process accounting fundraising and grant transactions. She works closely with the senior management of her clients to help them in their daily tasks and monitoring of operations. Xi has a B.S. and MBA from Troy University, Alabama.