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Jun 08, 2020

PICPA Stands as a Proactive Force for Change

Colgan, Mike - PICPA CEO & Executive DirectorBlairReese100x130By Michael D. Colgan, CAE, PICPA CEO & Executive Director, and Reese C. Blair, CPA
PICPA Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board Chair


 In these incredibly difficult moments, we cannot be silent. The unjust killing of black people and people of color, like George Floyd and countless others, must stop. To all PICPA members, especially black members, colleagues, and friends, we see you, we hear you, we stand with you, and we are committed to making a difference.

Systemic racism has impeded access to the accounting profession for decades. The PICPA will continue working to dismantle those obstacles and build stronger, more inclusive pathways to becoming a CPA. Minorities represent less than 10% of CPAs and accountants. While many firms have tried to address this issue, not enough progress has been made. The accounting profession has much work ahead to create a diverse and inclusive environment. Systemic racism cannot be tackled by one or two individuals. We as a community must work on this together.

All of us have a responsibility to find solutions and heal the damage. We need to heal with open hearts, open minds, and open ears. We need to honestly talk and carefully listen to each other. We need more empathy. We need more compassion. We need to be kind and gentle with each other. We need to be allies to communities of color.

We need to do more.

The PICPA is committed to doing more – to being a resource for our members by being intentional about advocating for diversity in the accounting profession.

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
 
-Martin Luther King, Jr.


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2 comments

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  • Not a Virtue Signaler | Jun 10, 2020

    I agree with the first comment wholly and thank you for speaking up on our behalf. What is systemic racism anyway? Listing statistics about the proportion of CPAs that are minorities (incorrectly by the way - it is 17.5%, not less than 10%) doesn't provide evidence that there is systemic racism present that "impedes access."  Systemic racism in this context would require the presence of some legal, procedural, or structural hindrance to minorities becoming CPAs, but what specifically are those road blocks that impede minority access? If they do in fact exist, why don't you list them and we will all get on board to change them immediately. The PICPA has a minority scholarship given out annually, as does the AICPA, the National Association of Black Accountants, Ascend (Pan-Asian Organization for Business Professionals), as well as the association of Latino Professionals for America.  Are such scholarships typical within racist systems?

    I am especially curious as to what specifically needs to be changed for Pennsylvania CPAs not to have vague/indirect blanket accusations of racism fired off in our direction.  I have yet to meet a Pennsylvania CPA that would base employment decisions on skin color instead of on professional qualification.  Everybody here supports the success of minorities in accounting, whether professionally or otherwise.  It is morally wrong to imply that we aren't already "allies to communities of color" and that we are somehow inherently racist. So then, what more are we supposed to do?  How do we have a responsibility to identify specific solutions to an intangible problem that you can't even illustrate actually exists?

    You indicated that we need to listen more. Well, I am all ears.  Let's get another mass email out addressing the SPECIFICS of systemic racism in the Pennsylvania CPA community.  Only then can a reasonable and meaningful discussion be held about what actions, if any, to take. Otherwise, this is just pathetic moral posturing.

  • 20-year Member | Jun 08, 2020

    Distribution of personal virtue-signaling editorials like this one is neither welcomed nor should be tolerated by PICPA members who continually meet far higher ethics standards than any unlicensed profession.   Baseless and false rhetoric such as “Systemic racism has impeded access to the accounting profession for decades”  is a personal insult to every member of the accounting profession, which has proven to be the most non-prejudicial industry in the history of the world.  Obviously fake statistics such as “Minorities represent less than 10% of CPAs and accountants.” have no place in a professional association website or email sent to CPAs who are exemplars of factual communication.    

    The well-known fact is that more than 28% of all professional staff in accounting/finance functions of U.S. CPA firms were minorities in 2018.  See the AICPA 2019 demographic trends report at https://www.aicpa.org/content/dam/aicpa/interestareas/accountingeducation/newsandpublications/downloadabledocuments/2019-trends-report.pdf.  

    Before again abusing this forum as a platform for their personal agendas, Mr. Colgan and Mr. Blair should educate themselves by reading the consolidated report of six independent, long term studies conducted by nine university professors from MIT, Harvard, Rutgers, University of Pennsylvania, University of Illinois, and University of California Berkley (see https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288833442_The_effects_of_diversity_on_business_performance_Report_of_the_diversity_research_network/link/568577e308ae051f9af1e189/download ).  

    Their five year research effort in search of a business case for diversity concluded that gender diversity had positive effects on group processes while racial diversity had negative effects (see p.10). More specifically “Gender diversity was positively associated with group bonuses in business units with a people-oriented organizational culture, diversity-focused human resource practices, and customer-oriented business strategy but not in units that lacked those specific cultures, practices, and strategies. Racial diversity was negatively related to performance in business units with competitive organizational cultures, growth-oriented business strategies, and training-focused human resource practices.”  

    Mr. Colgan’s and Blair’s comments exhibit an ignorance of this long ago well-established fact by continuing a misdirected effort to disseminate their personal political agendas toward the membership of our professional association.  Walter William’s website, http://walterewilliams.com/ is a great place for them both to begin their education on this subject.  An esteemed economics professor, author and syndicated columnist, Walter E. Williams has for decades been explaining to the uninformed why discrimination and lack of diversity has no correlation with success in business, but rather it is the behavior and characteristics of ethnic groups themselves that determine their own success:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKgHc6bWqZ4

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