October 19, 2021

Number of the Day: 1%

No, this post isn’t going to be about which dick-swinging Big 4 firm gets to brag about being top in global revenue this year (it’s Deloitte, just FYI). 1 — or rather, less than 1 but that didn’t work in a headline — is the percent of CPAs in the United States who are black.

To put that into perspective, there are 658,267 actively licensed CPAs in 53 of the 55 licensing jurisdictions as of September 2, 2020 (Hawaii and Utah aren’t included in the data we found via NASBA for some reason). I’m math-averse but I asked Alexa how much 1% of that is and she told me 6,582 or thereabouts so hopefully we can trust her. Coincidentally I looked to see if there’s some comparison I can make here, and all I could come up with is that’s about the same number of people who are injured by pillows each year. Which isn’t helpful, I know.

Anyway, back to the state of diversity in the accounting profession today. At the NASBA Annual Meeting last month, National Society of Black CPAs (NSBCPA) Chair Shannon Nash pointed out that less than 1% of United States CPAs are black, and that share of the pie has remained unchanged for 40 years.

“If we do not do something now, then when?” she asked.

Her organization, which was founded earlier this year, seeks to “increase the number of Black CPAs by providing the most relevant knowledge, resources, and advocacy; and to promote cultural competence, diversity, and inclusion within the profession.” Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of John Cromwell becoming the first black CPA in the U.S. More information on his backstory, as well as info on a scholarship in his name, can be found at the NSBCPA site.

Additional reading:

AICPA 2019 Accounting Graduates Supply and Demand Report [PDF]
AICPA CPAs of Color Publication [PDF]

Latest Accounting Jobs--Apply Now:

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7 Comments

  1. I’ve noticed teens of all origins, sexualities, creeds, races, and religions have one thing in common: they don’t want to grow up to be accountants. It sounds lame.

  2. Many boards of accountancy do not record race information. I am sure the percentage is low but I believe there are more than 6,300 black CPAs in this country.

  3. So what? Let’s lower the standards for black people..of they know what cash and expenses are let’s make them cpas..

    You people are a joke..the test is the same for everyone, if they arent smart enough to pass that’s on them..I mean you do have to study and bot just spit rhymes or ball.

    1. Lower the standards?….so lame for you to even think that way. There are systemic issues that they have to overcome even before sitting for the exam. Everyone can’t afford to get both a bachelors and masters in order to get licensed. That’s $100k for most people.

      1. Poor people are among all races- it’s not just the black community that needs assistance financially, if that’s what you are referring to.

    2. As a black CPA. I can attest that no standards were lowered for me to get my license. This is a common misconception perpetrated by idiots that diversity and inclusion means “lowering standards”. The reason I passed had a lot to do with having access to resources, like study materials, that would have cost me at the most over 2k. Additionally, being in a position where I can dedicate a lot of unpaid time to study without having to worry about paying bills. So to your point maybe increasing the number of black CPAs has absolutely nothing to do with “lowering standards” and more to do with providing resources.

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