“I never thought that being a minority was an obstacle in becoming a CPA,” said George Willie CPA, MBA and managing partner of Bert Smith & Co. in Washington D.C. “I believe if one continually strives to be technically good, there can be no obstacle in the pursuit of one’s profession.”

This is just one of the perspectives found in the AICPA’s eBook entitled, “CPAs of Color: Celebrating 40 Years.” The goal of the eBook is to illustrate the accomplishments of minority CPAs. Participants who attended the Institute’s Leadership Workshop at the end of May, got a sneak peek at the publication which will be released in July.

Ninety accounting students of diverse backgrounds from across the country and Puerto Rico attended the Leadership Workshop held in Peachtree City, Ga. Attendees were recipients of the 2008-2009 AICPA Scholarship for Minority Students and other star students selected by associations representing minority accountants and state societies.

Session topics focused on the importance of networking and mentoring and seasoned professionals were on hand to discuss leadership development. Alumni from past workshops also offered students advice on passing the CPA exam and entering the workforce.

Accounting enrollments are up 19 percent to more than 203,000 students across all degree programs, according to a 2008 Supply & Demand study conducted by the AICPA. Minorities were 26 percent of bachelor’s enrollments comprising 11 percent Black/African American, 8 percent Asian, 6 percent Hispanic/Latino and 1 percent American Indian/Alaskan Native.

To view an excerpt of the eBook, go here.