Newly-Formed Group Aims to Increase Diversity in Accounting Profession

Jack Humphrey, Regulatory journalist
September 11, 2012 /

The AICPA has announced the creation of the National Commission on Diversity to serve as champions of diversity within the accounting profession.

The formation of the Commission reflects a renewed focus on diversity within the profession and the need to increase the retention and advancement of underrepresented minorities to better reflect the clients and communities CPAs serve.

The 15-member Commission is comprised of representatives from minority professional advocacy groups, CPA firms, state CPA societies, and leaders from business and industry, government, and education. They are holding their first meeting this week at the AICPA’s Durham office and will meet quarterly.

“The AICPA has done a tremendous amount of work to make the profession more inclusive and we will continue to build upon those efforts,” said Kim Drumgo, vice-chair of the Commission and director of diversity and inclusion at the AICPA. “The Commission brings together a wide range of stakeholders to address the issue of diversity. This is a critical step towards ensuring the profession’s continued growth and ability to meet the needs of those we serve.”

Recent AICPA research provides a snapshot of the ethnic composition of the profession and establishes a benchmark as the Commission begins its work. According to the 2011 Trends in Supply of Accounting Graduates and Demand for Public Accounting Recruits, minorities accounted for 25% of the new accounting bachelor’s and master’s degree graduates hired by CPA firms in 2010, an increase from the 17% reported in 2001.

The increased number of graduates can be viewed as a positive sign, but the survey also found that while minorities make up 20% of professional staff positions, only six percent of firm partners are ethnically diverse.

“The profession has made some encouraging progress recruiting from all races and ethnicities, but we still have work to do – particularly when it comes to retaining and promoting minorities,” said Ken Bouyer, chairman of the Commission and Americas director of inclusiveness recruiting at Ernst and Young. “We’ve formed the Commission because to continue to move the needle, a lot of people will need to work together. This issue is critical and ultimately our results will impact the profession for years to come.”

According to the U.S. Census, minority-owned businesses increased 45.5 percent from 2002 to 2007 from 4.0 million businesses to 5.8 million, while their receipts increased 55.0 percent. These minority-owned businesses accounted for 21.3 percent of the nation’s businesses and generated $1.0 trillion in receipts.

“It is imperative that the profession’s makeup evolve to reflect the diversity found in American businesses and society as a whole” said Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, AICPA President and CEO.

The Commission will work toward proposing AICPA strategies to increase the number of minorities in the accounting profession. This process will involve investigating and understanding the barriers to the long-term success of minorities by analyzing recruitment and retention data within the accounting profession. In addition, the Commission will closely monitor the population trends and analyze the impact of these trends on both the profession and the clients CPAs serve.

The board of the Commission, chaired by Bouyer, with Drumgo serving as vice-chair, is comprised of the following members:

Jeff Chin, CPA – Ascend
Peggy Dzierzawski, CPA – Michigan Association of CPAs
Lena Ellis, CPA – City of Fort Worth
Manuel Espinoza, CPA – ALPFA
Eduardo Jordan, CPA, CGMA – Nolet Spirits USA
George Krull, CPA – AICPA Foundation
Richard Levychin, CPA, CGMA – KBL, CPAs
Kenneth Macias, CPA – Macias, Gini & O’Connell, LLP
Don McCleod, CPA – Don McCleod, CPA, PC
Lisa Ong, CPA – PricewaterhouseCoopers
Gail Sparks Pitts, CPA – Oakland Community College
Ed Ramos, CPA – Dwyer, Pemberton & Coulson, P.C.
Frank Ross, CPA – Howard University School of Business
Ralph Thomas, CPA – New Jersey Society of CPAs

 

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