AICPA Offers Tools to Encourage Diversity at CPA Firms

The American Institute of CPAs has introduced two new tools to help CPA firms and organizations expand and enhance their diversity and inclusion efforts.

The two tools, the Accounting Inclusion Maturity Model and the Recruitment and Retention Toolkit, are now available online.

The Accounting Inclusion Maturity Model helps firms evaluate their current diversity and inclusion efforts through a thorough online assessment. The Maturity Model consists of more than 100 questions across four key areas of business: workforce, workplace, marketplace, and community and supplier relations.

To provide a complete picture of the organization and its diversity and inclusion efforts, multiple teams across the organization, including human resources, marketing and finance, are encouraged to participate in the assessment. The assessment was developed through research and collaboration with accounting profession leaders on diversity and inclusion, with best practices tailored for the profession.

“CPA firms from across the country told us they genuinely want to improve their culture, but often don’t know where to begin,” said Ken Bouyer, Americas director of inclusiveness recruiting at EY and chair of the AICPA National Commission on Diversity and Inclusion, in a statement. “By using these tools, firms can see where their organizations are in terms of diversity and inclusion, and understand the steps they need to take to get them where they want to be.”

While the Maturity Model was designed to be completed by CPA firms and organizations with 20 or more CPAs, the model is scalable so that organizations of all sizes will find value in completing it. Once the assessment is completed, firms will receive a report that indicates how they are presently performing in 13 competencies, including Strategy and Implementation, Performance Management, Marketing and Advertising, and Supplier Relations.

“As demographics continue to shift in the United States and the share of entrepreneurial capital held by minority-owned businesses rises, it is increasingly obvious that clients and employers of CPAs will expect more diverse workforces,” said AICPA president and CEO Barry Melancon, who announced the new tools Monday at the AICPA’s Fall Meeting of Council in Boston. “Cultivating a culture that fosters diversity and inclusion is a business imperative.”

According to the U.S. Census, minority-owned businesses increased 45.5 percent from 2002 to 2007, with the total number growing from 4 million businesses to 5.8 million. In addition, minority-owned businesses accounted for 21.3 percent of the nation’s total businesses and generated $1 trillion in receipts.

In addition to the Maturity Model, to help firm leaders understand the nuances and best practices of attracting, recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce, the AICPA has created a Recruitment and Retention Toolkit. The toolkit provides an outline of the process necessary to make diversity and inclusion initiatives an ongoing part of a company’s culture, which in turn helps them fulfill their overall goals for recruitment and retention.

Also included in the toolkit is an action plan template, which provides examples to assist in implementing changes. Firms will find increased value by using the Recruitment and Retention Toolkit as a supplement to the feedback they receive from the Accounting Inclusion Maturity Model.

“AICPA research has shown that underrepresented minorities have made gains in the number of accounting majors, graduates, hires and firm partners—which is encouraging,” said Kim Drumgo, AICPA director of diversity and inclusion and vice chair of the National Commission on Diversity and Inclusion. “However their career paths still show a declining trajectory. At the same time, there has been an increase in awareness of the business case for diversity and inclusion within the profession. The intention is for these tools to serve as a catalyst to help firms get closer to the profession’s shared goal of better reflecting society as a whole.” 

The Accounting Inclusion Maturity Model is now available online at Beginning in Summer 2015, firms will have the ability to compare themselves against similarly sized organizations, aiding their understanding of how they perform relative to their peers. Any firm or organization has free access to the tool until May 2015. A charge will apply after that date.

The Recruitment and Retention Toolkit is also available online for free at

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