Our People

Our goal is to create synergies with our clients so that we become an active part of the organization's team.  As such, we commit a large number of hours determining the specific needs of each orgranization and establishing the correct staffing mix. Many of our clients have been with us for close to a decade and our staffing has remained constant during that time.  In many cases, Aurora's longevity with a client exceeds that of all of the Organization's existing personnel and board members.  Because of our own staffing stability, we often serve as an anchor for both new clients and existing clients as they undergo staff and board transitions.

Victoria Higgins, CPA

Victoria founded Aurora (previously Victoria Michitsch, CPA) in 2002.  Prior to that time she held positions at Deloitte and Touche, LLP (Manager – Enterprise Risk Management) and The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (Audit Officer).  She has published NASBA approved books and courses for CPA continuing education on topics such as Nonprofit Accounting and Auditing, Internal Controls/Fraud Prevention and the Federal Form 990.   After spending 15 years working with large banks and corporations, Victoria started Aurora to realize her passion for working with the nonprofit community.  Victoria possesses degrees in Accounting and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant.   Her memberships include the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, National Association of Tax Practitioners and New Jersey Society of CPAs.

Susan Croce, CPA
Director of Accounting Services

Susan brings to Aurora over twenty years of public and private accounting experience with an emphasis on the nonprofit industry.  Susan graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo with a Bachelor of Science, and received a Masters in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in New Jersey and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Douglas Garafalo, CMA
Senior Accountant

Doug is a long time member of our team.  He joined Aurora after spending 18 years in public accounting and private industry.  He also served as the Development Director for Franciscan Mission Service where he developed expertise surrounding grants and fundraising.  Doug served as Treasurer of the Board of Directors for a nonprofit senior housing facility and continues to serve as a Board member for other nonprofit organizations.  His responsibilities at Aurora include accounting management, grant reporting, budget monitoring, Board reporting and financial analysis for our Essex County, New Jersey clients.  Doug graduated from Montclair State University and received his MBA-Finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University – Metropolitan Campus, Teaneck, NJ.  Doug is a Certified Management Accountant and an active member of several NJ Chapters of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)

Stacey Putterman
Junior Accountant

Stacey comes to Aurora with basic accounting and bookkeeping experience after working for a non-profit educational fund. She graduated from SUNY Albany with a B.A. in sociology. Stacey's responsibilities include basic accounting, general administration, accounts receivable and payable and payroll processing for our Bergen County, New Jersey clients.

Nina Jefferson
Junior Accountant

Nina came to Aurora from a nonprofit community action organization where she served as the agency director overseeing all program, grant and fiscal operations. She brings with her a developed expertise surrounding financial management, agency revitalization, grant and board reporting. Nina also serves as a board member for a youth empowerment program in Somerset County NJ. Her duties at Aurora include basic accounting, general administration, accounts receivable and payable, office organization and payroll processing.

Julie Chan
Grants Manager

Julie works with clients to plan, research, and secure grant funding. She is an experienced resource development professional, having served organizations in the fields of financial access, youth development, and human services advocacy in the New Jersey and New York metropolitan region. Julie has a masters degree in urban planning from Rutgers University.

Meredith Lijoi
Client Administration

Meredith joined Aurora with over fifteen years of experience in Talent Acquisition and Human Resources for a Big 4 Consulting Firm and a Chief of Staff role for a large Financial Services Firm.  She has extensive experience in partnering with C-level executives, project management, program planning, and execution of project deliverables.   Her role as Client Coordinator includes office management, acting as a liaison for clients, and managing internal systems and processes. 

Barry Higgins
Director of Planning and Product Development

Barry has worked in the healthcare industry for near 30 years. The first 15 years as a practitioner/manager of 8 clinical services, safety, and risk management. During this time he also became co-founder/owner of DBS Consulting Services, which centered on systems analysis, planning, and implementing of small business accounting systems. This also included software programming of modifications of existing software and the development of new software modules to meet client specific needs. His second 15 years were served as an executive in the Information Services for Baystate Health Systems in western Massachusetts. There he was responsible for evaluating new technologies and strategic planning of IT related services. He also sat on IT strategic planning committees for the American Hospital Association, Premier Health Services, Mass Health Data Consortium, and the Pioneer Valley Economic Development Committee. He served 5 years as Chairman of Board of the Directors of the First Federal Credit Union. 

Lynn McIntosh
Quality Assurance Coordinator

Lynn joined Aurora with many years of experience in private accounting and taxation.  Lynn’s responsibilities include quality assurance, basic accounting and office management.