More than 100 Minority Students Graduate from AICPA’s 2018 Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop

AICPA’s Annual Invitational Program Aims to Increase Diversity in the Accounting Profession

July 16, 2018

NEW YORK (July 16, 2018) - The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is pleased to announce that 103 minority college students have completed the 2018 Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop (ASLW). The ASLW is a three-day invitational program for minority students of Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander ethnicity. It is designed to strengthen minority college students’ professional and networking skills, while helping them to prepare for a career in accounting. The students who participated this year’s event in Atlanta, Georgia have declared majors in accounting, finance or tax and intend to pursue the CPA designation.

AICPA has conducted the ASLW program – an annual, all-expenses paid event for minority students anticipating a career in accounting – for 24 years. The costs of the students’ travel, hotel accommodations and meals are covered by the AICPA Foundation. This year’s students represented a wide variety of backgrounds from universities and colleges across the United States and Puerto Rico.

“There’s a world of opportunities for talented students who want to go into one of the many professional areas in which CPAs operate today,” said Kim Drumgo, director of diversity and inclusion for the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants and vice chair of the AICPA National Commission on Diversity and Inclusion. “The Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop provides minority students an in-depth look into the career options available for CPAs. This event sets up students for success by answering their questions about the accounting profession and giving them the knowledge and tools necessary to sit for the CPA Exam with confidence.”

At this year’s ASLW, themed “CPA: World of Opportunities,” students engaged in panel discussions and learned from presentations led by Barbara Williams, CPA, CGMA, Immediate Past Chair of the Georgia Society of CPAs, Randy Bradley, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Tennessee, Jonna Martin, president of business etiquette training firm AdvanceMe Associates and Billy Williams, CPA, partner in audit practice at KPMG’s Houston office. Also featured in the program were Patrick Connally, Engagement Director at Teradata, Claude Steele, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Stanford University, Jena Burgess Singleton, PHR, CEO of professional development consulting firm Coach Jena B. LLC and other noteworthy speakers and leaders in the accounting profession. Subjects covered included personal branding, strategies for increasing confidence, business dining etiquette and effective networking techniques, among other topics.

Students also had the opportunity to hear updates and advice from Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, President and CEO of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), CEO of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants and Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, Immediate Past Chairman of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

“As a first-generation college student, it was inspiring to hear from professionals in the accounting field who had similar backgrounds to mine, and it was wonderful to network with like-minded students from around the country,” said Joyce Ozuna, a recent Master of Accounting graduate from Rice University. “It was evident that much thought and effort went into planning the conference, and I definitely recommend all qualified students look into attending ASLW.”

The AICPA held the ASLW concurrently with the Accounting Diversity Pipeline Symposium, which brings educators and professionals together to talk about the progress, research, and future opportunities to bring more minority college students into the accounting profession’s pipeline. “Having these conferences co-located lets accounting students and professionals interact and learn from one another in a casual environment,” added Drumgo. “It really deepened the experience for students and educators who are pursing the same goals to be in the same room together.”

Eligible candidates for ASLW include ethnic minority sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students with majors in accounting, finance or tax, and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Typically, candidates have the intention of obtaining their CPA qualifications, show active involvement in both campus and community life, and hold a Student Affiliate AICPA membership. However, anyone with an interest in the program is encouraged to apply.

A list of the 2018 ASLW graduates is available on the AICPA's website.

Students are invited to connect with the AICPA via social media and learn more about the ASLW at ThisWayToCPA.

For details on Accounting Diversity Pipeline Symposiums and other AICPA Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, contact diversity@aicpa.org.