The National Association of Black Accountants and the Howard University School of Business Center for Accounting Education are launching an effort to encourage a greater number of black CPAs.

Blacks comprise only 3 percent of all CPAs, according to the American Institute of CPAs, and account for less than 1 percent of partners in CPA firms. The organizations have begun an advocacy initiative, CPA Bound, to increase those figures.

NABA and Howard University want to address the barriers to CPA certification and educate more minority accountants about the importance of obtaining the certification. At NABA’s annual convention in June, the group convened a summit to explore the issues that contribute to the small number of black CPAs.

This isn’t the first time NABA has addressed this issue. The group has already taken steps to identify black CPAs at the partner, chief executive and chief financial officer levels and heighten their visibility as role models. NABA plans to showcase all new CPAs at its annual convention next year. The group also has proposed setting up a mentoring program, creating a CPA learning track at its regional conferences, and conducting a survey of CPAs to gauge their attitudes.

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