The National Academy Foundation (NAF) has teamed with Big Four firm KPMG LLP and the KPMG Foundation in a move to strengthen high school accounting education at its Academies of Finance (AOF) nationwide.
Through this collaboration, the KPMG Foundation will make a substantial cash contribution to NAF over a period of years and KPMG LLP will work with NAF on their accounting curriculum. KPMG will guide and support NAF’s accounting course sequence to ensure industry relevance, including the professional development for teachers who will implement the curriculum. KPMG employees will also provide their expertise directly to the students through work-based learning experiences such as job shadowing, mock interviews, guest speaking, and resume/portfolio reviews.
NAF, established in 1982, has four types of academies: finance, information technology, hospitality & tourism, and engineering. The finance academies connect high school students in 243 locations around the country with the world of financial services, offering a curriculum that covers banking and credit, financial planning, international finance, securities, insurance, accounting, and economics.
“We continually look to collaborate with organizations that can help us advance our programs, and we are quite pleased to have KPMG take on this key role,” said JD Hoye, President of NAF. “We are certainly eager for KPMG to evaluate and enhance our accounting curriculum and to help us prepare students for success in college and in their careers.”
John Veihmeyer, KPMG’s chairman and CEO, said “Programs like NAF and its Academies of Finance work today to help us close tomorrow’s workforce readiness gaps, which are most evident among youth growing up in low-income and underserved communities.”
“It is our intention to build an effective accounting curriculum, and we will enlist support from several university professors in doing so,” he added. “The professors who will work with us are members of The PhD Project, which was started by the KPMG Foundation in 1994 to increase minority representation among business school professors. The Project has more than tripled the number of minority business faculty.”
Kathy Hannan, KPMG’s national managing partner of diversity and corporate responsibility, said that KPMG became familiar with the Academies of Finance in New York, which positively influenced the firm’s decision to make a deeper investment with NAF. KPMG’s New York office, its largest, has been involved with NAF academies since 1992, serving on academy advisory boards and providing classroom speakers, job shadowing, and paid internships for students.
“Our partners and professionals, serving our 80 offices nationwide, look forward to interacting with Academies of Finance students to help them build confidence and increase their skill sets,” she said. “When we think about talent sustainability, we recognize that students really begin to assess careers at the high school level, and therefore it is very important that our profession exposes and enlightens students to what a career in accounting is all about. This will provide long term benefits to the profession and the broader business market. We are excited about doing that.”