We’re not saying that pillars of the profession don’t frequent this site (we know Tom Hood shows up from time to time) but chances are, if you’re reading this at noon on a Friday with absolutely no intention to even pretend like you’re working for the rest of the day, you’re not among the AICPA’s new Leadership Academy choices.

The diverse group of 34 young CPAs will attend courses, lectures and mentoring sessions to develop the skills necessary to become the next generation of leaders in business, industry, government and the accounting profession.

“The AICPA takes its commitment to diversity and the development of young leaders within the accounting profession very seriously,” said Paul Stahlin, CPA, AICPA chair. “Within the last three years, we’ve happily witnessed a surge in the amount of highly qualified young people choosing to become CPAs. The young CPAs selected to participate in this year’s Leadership Academy have demonstrated their commitment to the profession, to their communities and their potential to become future leaders.”

This year’s participants represent a cross section of the profession’s role in the American capital market system, meaning they come from different backgrounds, specialties and even ethnicities. Some work in public accounting and others in business, industry, government or academia. The 2011 class has twice the number of business, industry and government participants as the classes of 2009 and 2010. The tax and audit split is 50 / 50 and 11 states have first time candidates. On an ethnic, gender and geographic basis, this year’s Leadership Academy is as diverse as America. They are equally divided between men and women and include CPAs of Asian, African American, Caucasian, Hispanic / Latino, Native American and Pacific Islander descent from all over the United States.

“The Leadership Academy is a great example of how the AICPA works to achieve its vitally important mission to develop young CPAs to lead the accounting profession and help meet its obligation to serve the public interest,” said Barry Melancon, CPA, AICPA president and CEO, who will address the Leadership Academy. “These ambitious, talented professionals are the future of the accounting profession. And through the AICPA’s Leadership Academy, the future begins now.”

The Institute selected the participants from a large pool of candidates sponsored by either their employers and/or state CPA societies. Candidates, who must be under 35 years of age, were selected on the basis of their work history, licensure information, professional volunteer activities, community service and awards and honors. In addition, each candidate supplied a statement explaining why participating in the academy would be important personally. AICPA senior leadership reviewed and evaluated each submission and a selection committee recommended the participants. All finalists were personally approved by both the AICPA Chair and CEO.

What this means is that it isn’t too late for a lot of you, but, you know, you better stop spending so much time complaining about work and start kissing up to your state society folks.

In all seriousness, this is an excellent opportunity for these young CPAs, and if any of them do somehow read this, we’d love to hear from you and talk about how you feel about being chosen.