Diversity in the Accounting Profession

The Importance of Diversity

The remarkable growth of the accounting profession in the past forty years ranks as one of the most dramatic occupational success stories in modern business history.

While the accounting profession is expected to grow by 16 percent between 2010 and 2020, applications by minorities to accounting programs at colleges and universities actually are declining. This is occurring while the number of minority-owned businesses is projected to skyrocket.

Whites still hold approximately 75 percent of the professional positions in accounting, and 90 percent of the partnerships.

Women comprise only 21% of partners at firms although they are 45% of all accounting employees at firms. Further only, 15.8% women of color earned bachelor’s degrees in accounting in 2011-2012 school year.

It is up to all of us in the profession to work together to address this critical issue—diversifying the talent pipeline.


Howard University

The Howard Center for Accounting Education has partnered with the American Institute of CPAs to establish the “Pipeline Working Group” to create a unified, nationwide initiative that reaches out to underrepresented minority students at high schools, community colleges and universities, as well as to their teachers, guidance counselors, and parents—to educate them about the profession.

For more information please read the full study: "Attracting Underrepresented Minorities to the Accounting Profession: Insights into Diversifying the Talent Pipeline."

AICPA Commission on Diversity

The AICPA’s Commission on Diversity says, “Diversity is all the ways we differ and inclusion is turning those differences into assets.” The group serve as champions within the accounting profession proposing strategies to recruit, retain, and advance under-represented minorities in the profession. For more information please visit them online here.

Watch highlights from the 2014 Diversity Symposium:



National Association of Black Accountants (NABA, Inc.)

NABA’s overarching objective is to bridge the opportunity gap for people of color and to create business leaders. Focusing on the essential skills for success, NABA offers unique value-added leadership training and professional development opportunities, as well as venues for organizations and individuals to develop and build relationships.

For information about the 2015 NABA Inc. National Convention and to get involved visit them online here.


Gender Diversity

Teresa S. Polley discusses the important issue of gender diversity and helping women ascend to leadership roles.

Teresa S. Polley presents keynote address at the 23rd Annual Stern Women In Business Conference at New York University.
Teresa S. Polley interviews with Accounting Today: FAF Diversity Initiative.
Teresa S. Polley discusses some of the challenges women face in the financial services industry.