1%. That 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.