The AICPA recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of its Minority Initiatives Committee at the 2009 Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop in Peachtree City, Ga.
The workshop, titled “CPAs: Embracing a New Era,” emphasized the opportunities the profession provides and confirmed the Institute’s commitment to attracting a diverse pool of talent to the profession.
Ninety accounting students of diverse backgrounds from across the United States and Puerto Rico attended the workshop, bringing together the recipients of the 2008–2009 AICPA Scholarship for Minority Students and outstanding students selected by Ascend (formerly known as the National Asian American Society of Accountants), the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting, INROADS (a nonprofit organization that provides internships for minorities), the International Society of Young Filipino Accountants, the National Association of Black Accountants, the National Council of Philippine American Canadian Accountants, and state CPA societies.
The workshop gave students an opportunity to develop and enhance their understanding of the profession, with session topics focusing on the importance of networking and mentoring, and featured discussions on leadership development with professionals in public accounting, private industry and academia. Students also had the opportunity to demonstrate their leadership abilities in competitions, in which small groups presented on case studies. Alumni from past workshops assisted with the activities and offered students advice on passing the CPA exam and entering the workforce.
Since its inception, the Minority Initiatives Committee has developed scholarship programs to support students in colleges and universities; doctoral fellowships to increase the representation of minorities among university and accounting faculties; and leadership conferences to increase the number of minority students interested in college and the profession. Over the past 40 years, the AICPA has distributed more than $14 million in 10,000 scholarships and awards to minority accounting students.
Also, to commemorate the anniversary of the committee, the AICPA has released an e-book, CPAs of Color: Celebrating 40 Years, to illustrate the accomplishments of minority CPAs.