Newly-Formed Group Aims to Increase Diversity in Accounting Profession

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

More information and resources on the Commission are available at http://www.aicpa.org/Career/DiversityInitiatives/Pages/AICPANationalCommissiononDiversity.aspx

About the AICPA

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is the

world’s largest member association representing the accounting

profession, with nearly 386,000 members in 128 countries and a 125-year

heritage of serving the public interest. AICPA members represent many

areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice,

government, education and consulting.

The AICPA sets ethical standards for the profession and U.S. auditing

standards for audits of private companies, nonprofit organizations,

federal, state and local governments. It develops and grades the Uniform

CPA Examination and offers specialty credentials for CPAs who

concentrate on personal financial planning; fraud and forensics;

business valuation; and information technology. Through a joint venture

with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), it has

established the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)

designation to elevate management accounting globally.

The AICPA maintains offices in New York, Washington, DC, Durham, NC, and

Ewing, NJ.

Media representatives are invited to visit the AICPA Press Center at aicpa.org/press.