TheAICPA and NAF announced on Wednesday a new program that aims to educate and prepare a diverse workforce ready to enter the profession. The AICPA/NAF Recognition Program looks to combine multiple learning platforms and experiences specifically designed to engageNAF Academy of Financehigh school students concentrating on accounting, early in their career decisions.

The nationwide program will teach students both soft skills – communication, time management, leadership - and technical skills that will prepare them to pursue an accounting degree at a post-secondary institution. Students will also learn about career possibilities available to CPAs.

“By focusing on a combination of technical accounting skills and soft skills, the AICPA/NAF Recognition Program will help strengthen the pipeline of diverse students entering the accounting profession,” stated Kim Drumgo, AICPA director of Diversity and Inclusion and vice chair of the National Commission on Diversity and Inclusion.

“The program will expose high school students early in their career decision making process to the opportunities that being a CPA offers, as well as the support they’ll receive from the accounting profession as they work to earn their CPA license and throughout their careers," she continued. "The AICPA is excited about our partnership with NAF and we look forward to implementing the program and growing it in years to come.” 

A pilot program will begin this fall, with academies in districts in Florida, Maryland, North Carolina and New York. These pilot academies will provide comprehensive education and resources to students in four states to better prepare them to pursue careers in the accounting profession.

NAF’s Academy of Finance connects high school students with the world of financial services, offering a curriculum that covers entrepreneurship, banking and credit, financial planning, international finance, securities, insurance, accounting, and economics, among other topics. Today, there are 212 Academies of Finance in 123 school districts across 35 states, including the US Virgin Islands. They serve more than 25,000 students annually, 61% of whom are from low- to moderate-income families.

TheU.S. census projectsthat minorities will comprise the majority of the population in the U.S. by 2045. The AICPA/NAF Recognition Program will look to address these changing demographics by broadening the pipeline of talent and creating more inclusion in the profession.

“What makes NAF academies so special are the relationships we have with the business community,” stated JD Hoye, president of NAF. “With the NAF/AICPA Recognition Program we are adding value to an educational experience that we know works. Industry alignment and recognition is the key to the development of an educated and skilled workforce.”

Students will be recognized upon completion of following requirements:

•        Complete and pass at least two finance or accounting courses

•        Participate in a paid internship facilitated by NAF

•        Complete an online enrichment program designed to help develop soft skills and provide exposure to various careers in accounting.

•        Register as a student affiliate member on AICPA’sStart Here, Go Places.

•        Complete an AICPA online pre- and post-program survey to assess their perceptions of the accounting profession and their likelihood to take future accounting courses.

For more on the AICPA and NAF, head to their siteshereandhere.