AICPA Forms New Diversity Commission

In efforts to increase diversity in the accounting profession, the AICPA has created the National Commission on Diversity. The 15-member Commission, comprised of representatives and leaders from minority professional advocacy groups, CPA firms and state CPA societies, will focus on retaining and advancing underrepresented minorities in the profession.

“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.”

The Commission will use research data from the AICPA’s 2011 Trends in Supply of Accounting Graduates and Demand for Public Accounting Recruits as a benchmark for its work. According to the report, while the hiring of minority graduates increased from 17 percent in 2001 to 25 percent in 2010, only six percent of firm partners are ethnically diverse. This percentage is much lower than the 20 percent of minorities that serve in professional staff positions within the accounting profession. In contrast, the U.S. Census found that minority-businesses increased 45.5 percent from 2002 to 2007 and their receipts increased 55 percent, accounting for 21.3 percent of the nation’s businesses and generating $1 trillion in receipts. The Commission plans to use data such as this and more to research the barriers minorities face in terms of recruitment, retention and promotion and monitor population trends.

“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 hold its first meeting this week at the AICPA’s Durham office and meet quarterly moving forward.

“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.”

The remaining board of the Commission members include:
Jeff Chin, CPA - Ascend
Peggy Dzierzawski, CPA
- Michigan Association of CPAs
Lena Ellis, CPA
- City of Fort Worth
Manuel Espinoza, CPA
Eduardo Jordan, CPA, CGMA
- Nolet Spirits USA
George Krull, CPA - AICPA Foundation
Richard Levychin, CPA, CGMA
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