By Deanna C. White
This year, minority accounting students who aspire to become CPAs will have three opportunities to explore the possibilities the career can offer when the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) holds its Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop in three regional locations throughout the country.
For the past nineteen years, the AICPA has hosted the annual workshop exclusively as a national event in one location. But this year marks the first time two regional societies – the Ohio Society of CPAS (OSCPA) and the Alabama Society of CPAS (ASCPA) – have joined forces with the AICPA to host the program in multiple locations.
The Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop is designed to enhance diversity in the accounting profession by encouraging more minority college students to major in accounting and earn the CPA credential.
The 2013 workshop will be held:
- May 16-17 in Dublin, Ohio; hosted by the OSCPA.
- June 13-14 in Montgomery; Alabama, hosted by the ASCPA.
- June 27-28 in Durham, North Carolina; hosted by the AICPA.
The workshop is an invitational program for minority students enrolled in their sophomore, junior, senior, or fifth year of college or graduate school for the 2012-2013 academic year. Students should be interested in exploring a career in accounting and in becoming a licensed CPA.
Applicants will be assigned to regions based on travel accommodations given their respective cities of origin.
Applications for all workshops are being accepted through April 1, 2013.
According to the AICPA, the all-expense-paid, two-day event, sponsored by the AICPA Foundation, aims to "strengthen students' professional skills and understanding of the limitless possibilities and benefits of earning the CPA credential."
The workshop will provide top-performing college students with strategies for enhancing professional success, increasing confidence, and improving communication skills. The workshop will also provide them an enhanced understanding of the various career paths within the accounting profession to prepare them for their career path post-graduation.
The agenda includes speakers, panel discussions, and interactive workshops as well as the opportunity to interact with accomplished CPA professionals.
E. Bernard Goodrich II, coordinator of Student Diversity Initiatives for the AICPA, said the Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop is critical to helping increase diversity in the accounting profession for a number of reasons.
"The program illustrates to students from underrepresented populations that their career goals are truly attainable and positions them to begin developing a professional network, which will support their success", Goodrich said. "The information shared and the connections made during the workshop literally changes peoples' lives and strengthens the future of the accounting profession as students from diverse backgrounds obtain a deeper commitment and better understanding of how to navigate towards a fulfilling career."
Karen West, CAE, director of the Ohio CPA Foundation, OSCPA's charitable affiliate, said the OSCPA hopes the inaugural Ohio meeting of the Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop will pave the way for more accounting students to achieve their dream of becoming a CPA.
"The Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for minority college students", said West. "The path to the CPA credential can be challenging - the workshop prepares students for the road ahead, including passing the CPA exam and developing the necessary skills to be a successful CPA."
West noted that minorities are significantly underrepresented in the CPA profession. According to the 2011 AICPA Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits report, only 9.1 percent of students enrolled in accounting bachelor's degree programs were African-American in the 2009-2010 academic year, and just 6.3 percent were Hispanic.
"The demographics of our communities where CPAs serve are changing", West said. "Programs like the Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop are an important part of our effort to recruit and inspire a diverse pipeline of students who will be serving these communities in the future."
For more information on the 2013 AICPA Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop and eligibility requirements, or to apply for the workshops, visit ThisWaytoCPA.com.