More than 40 years ago, the AICPA recognized the need to support people of color within the CPA profession. The AICPA launched the Minority Initiatives Committee and began a minority accounting scholarship program. Among the many accomplishments during this time are: scholarships for minority accounting students, fellowships for minority doctoral students and the Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop.
As we celebrate National Women’s History Month, CPAs can take pride in knowing that women have maintained a solid foothold in the profession since the early 1980s. Not only that, women have represented half of all accounting undergraduate and graduate students since the early 1990s. Men and women share credit for opening the doors of the profession to ensure that all top talent can enter and thrive. However, there is one place where the numbers are still skewed male: at the partner level in CPA firms. One goal of the AICPA Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee is to call attention to this issue and offer solutions to firms and professionals on why and how to drive change.
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Each year during February, children across the U.S. are taught that there was a time, in our not so distant past, when whole populations of Americans were excluded from enjoying basic human rights because of the color of their skin. Last year, three CPA Legends, Nathan Garrett, Sr., Aurora Rubin and Jim White were asked to speak about their life experiences as CPAs and the challenges, triumphs and changes that have occurred in accounting. What is their common experience? They were among very few CPAs of color at the time they entered the profession.
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Deanna White of AccountingWEB recently spoke to Theresa Yeboah, a Georgia State University student who was awarded the scholarship three consecutive years, about the impact the AICPA’s Minority Accounting Scholarship has had on her education, as well as her plans for the future. "I have benefited tremendously from the scholarship," said Yeboah. "The scholarship helped me to pay for school and my expenses so I did not have to work so much and could focus my attention on my studies and activities, like Beta Alpha Psi. It gave me more time to devote to my dream of becoming a CPA." This fall, Yeboah was one of 78accounting students from 36 states across the country awarded the AICPA Scholarship for Minority Students. Recipients are selected based on academic achievement, a demonstration of leadership and volunteerism, and an overall commitment to becoming a CPA. The 2012-13 Minority Scholarship application deadline is April 1, 2012.
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More Magazine named ‘accountant’ as one of the top ten careers for women who wish to balance a career and a personal life. “Younger people are saying, ‘Yes, I want to telecommute or take a two-year sabbatical and come back where I left off’—and providing these options is helping employers attract and retain talent,” says Mary Bennett, a member of the AICPA. Beyond the possibility of work/life balance, the article noted that the CPA credential also provides the flexibility to work in a field you're passionate about and move among a wide range of industries, since businesses in all sectors need accountants.
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The year is 2020. The global economy has rebounded, the U.S. is celebrating less than five percent unemployment and the CPA profession is experiencing record growth. Your organization is doing particularly well and what’s more, your staff, senior leadership and partners’ ability to connect with a diverse clientele is the talk of the profession. Clients include a biotech start-up seeking to cure spinal cord injuries; a women-owned IT consulting company; a Kenya-based manufacturing firm; a law firm specializing in same-sex marriage and estate planning issues; and a car dealership owned by a Native American father/son team.
What led you to the success you’re experiencing? You cultivated your diverse team of talented staff using inclusive leadership. But, what is inclusive leadership?
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