During Monday's session at the AICPA's 2016 Spring Council meeting in New Orleans, Kim Drumgo - director of diversity & inclusion at the AICPA - alongside Rich Caturano - chairman of the National Commission on Diversity & Inclusion - gave an update on the accounting pipeline and professional resources in attracting and retaining diverse professionals.

Caturano quoted PwC's new chairman, Tim Ryan, as to what he considers to be the right attitude towards diversity and inclusion in the profession: "If you are a leader and diversity and inclusion are not a priority for you, you won't be a leader for long."

Drumgo covered the partnership between the AICPA and the National Academy Foundation, which looks to engage the largest network of diverse high school students looking to pursue accounting as their field of study. Drumgo reported that there are approximately 26,000 Academy of Finance students, with a 97% of graduation rate amongst Seniors. 94% of said graduates plan to go on to a two or four-year university.

Drumgo also introduced the AICPA's Fall 2016 webinar series focused on diversity, with sessions such as "Understanding Inclusion," "Assimilation vs. Inclusion," "Diversity 101," and "The Business Case for Diversity & Inclusion" being offered later this year. Registration for the web series begins June 15 on the AICPA's diversity page. The AICPA's archived series on unconscious bias is also available on the page.

The two also pointed to the AICPA's Inclusion Solutions monthly newsletter, which keeps approximately 28,000 professionals up to date on best diversity and inclusion practices.

Richard Caturano closed the session by asking Council attendees what they personally plan to do on making diversity and inclusion a reality.

"Who's it up to next [for diversity]? It's all of us that are going to have to make a difference. What are you going to do about it?"

For more on the 2016 AICPA Spring Council, follow the event on Twitter here.