How to Get More Blacks and Latinos in Accounting

Joy Buchanan, DiversityInc, January 27, 2011

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Accounting continues to lack significant racial/ethnic diversity, which is a real challenge for accounting firms as they try to relate to increasingly diverse clients. Latinos comprise only 3 percent of the CPA profession and Blacks account for only 1 percent, according to the American Institute of CPAs. Data about new hires that were CPAs shows 4 percent were Latino, 4 percent were Black, and just 1 percent were American Indians.

Aggregate data submitted by the Big Four accounting firms for The 2010 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity® survey show a similar lack of racial diversity in management positions, except for Asians. The data shows 3.9 percent are Black, 3.5 percent are Latino and just 0.22 percent are American Indian. Asians, in contrast, account for 15.7 percent of management positions at the Big Four. The Big Four are Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG and Deloitte, Nos. 5, 6, 15 and 25 on the list, respectively.

{snip} Ernst & Young formalized its Discover Tax program in 2007 to attract more Blacks, Latinos and American Indians to the tax profession.

This month, Ernst & Young held its fifth-annual, all-expenses-paid Discover Tax event in New York City, hosting more than 100 Black, Latino, American Indian and Asian students from 58 U.S. colleges and universities. The students are recommended by the faculty of more than 200 schools where Ernst & Young actively recruits.

Raising awareness of tax professions is the challenge. {snip}

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Many times, Blacks, Latinos and American Indians want to go into professions they believe will have a positive impact on their communities, and professions in education, medicine and law are often the first to come to mind, Bouyer [Ken Bouyer, Americas director of inclusiveness and recruiting, who is Black] says. {snip}

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