Black CPAs across the country are celebrating the one-year anniversary of the National Society of Black Certified Public Accountants (NSBCPA).
Chartered on June 8th, NSBCPA was organized to increase the number of Black CPAs and provide resources for members to thrive in the profession. According to the organization’s website, Black CPAs are the most underrepresented group within the CPA profession. Surveys have shown that less than 1% of CPAs are Black. Also, there are less than 3% of Black staff at public accounting firms.
CPA Exam Review Program Helps More Black Accountants
The NSBCPA has been on a mission to change those statistics. During the organization’s first year, the NSBCPA has developed strategic programming and partnerships to further the development and awareness of Black CPAs. The organization has even garnered support from high-profile executive leaders, including Wall Street billionaire Robert F. Smith. In December 2020, Smith pledged $1 million to support Black CPAs.
“Raising Black representation in the financial workforce doesn’t just put more Black people in high-quality jobs. It helps build opportunity and wealth over generations while promoting financial literacy that is so crucial to achieving prosperity,” said Smith. “Representation matters and this program will help aspiring accountants see that they belong in this field.”
Smith’s investment has helped to jumpstart NSBCPA’s one-of-a-kind virtual CPA Exam Review Program (“CPA Breakthrough”). This program helps Black accounting students develop a roadmap for success during all phases of the CPA exam process. Members of the NSBCPA have been instrumental in getting students to the exam finish line. They’ve committed to providing mentorship, motivation, and CPA exam success tips.
“It’s not an easy exam. But who better to make Black CPAs than Black CPAs?” said Felicia Farrar, NSBCPA Chair and founder of the CPA Review Program, during an interview.
Over 100 students have participated in the CPA review program over the past few months. It’s been cited that the four-part CPA exam may even surpass the bar examination’s level of difficulty. Leveraging a group of top instructors and supportive partners, NSBCPA exam review candidates have been to push through the rigorous exam process and cross the finish line.
Partnerships Help More Black Accountants Achieve Success
In the last 12 months, NSCBPA has been able to educate the community, provide members with continuing professional education, and empower CPA exam candidates. But the organization didn’t achieve this success alone. There was a team of partners who believed in the mission and invested in the future of Black CPAs.
So far, the organization has attracted investments from the AICPA Foundation, Deloitte, Intuit, PwC, Wiley, NextEra, GHJ Foundation, Kenton Klaus Charitable Fund, and Wishing Out Loud.
Becker, Gleim, Controllers Council, and CPA Academy have also contributed to the organization’s mission through in-kind donations and partnership opportunities.
“We’re proud to partner with corporate and community partners to increase the number of Black CPAs in the profession,” said Farrar. “This year marked the 100th anniversary of the first-ever Black CPA, John Cromwell. For that and so many other reasons, now is the perfect time to form partnerships that will move the needle in the accounting profession. The next generation needs to know that they can pursue a successful career path as a CPA. These skills will help the next generation to become strategic business advisors. They will play an instrumental role in building generational wealth in black communities.”
NSBCPA has also hired a CEO to increase diversity in accounting initiatives. Executive leader Darryl R. Matthews Sr. was selected to serve as the President and CEO. Matthews brings more than 30 years of diversified leadership experience to the table. With a talented team of dedicated leaders in place, there is no doubt that the organization will make a mark in the accounting profession.
“My vision is to ensure that through effective programming and mentoring we will be the premier membership society of choice for blacks pursuing certification in public accounting, and excellence in their professional endeavors,” Matthews said in a statement.