As of 2021, African Americans are the most underrepresented group in the CPA profession. They account for less than 1% of CPAs, and public account firms have reported that less than 3% of their entire staff is African American. Until 2020, the number of African American CPAs increased at only a snail’s pace, as it took 44 years to even reach 100 African American CPAs in the United States. Fortunately, one national professional organization is looking to turn the tide and increase Black representation in the CPA community.
Chartered on June 8, 2020, the National Society of Black Certified Public Accountants, Inc. (NSBCPA) was organized to increase the number of African American CPAs and provide resources to those looking to get started and thrive in the profession. The firm celebrated its one-year anniversary by looking back at all of its success and maintaining a positive outlook on the future.
“My vision is to ensure that, through effective programming and mentoring, we will be the premier membership society of choice for Blacks pursuing certification in public accounting, and excellence in their professional endeavors,” said Darryl R. Matthews Sr., the program’s new President and CEO, in a statement about the organization’s future.
First-Year Successes of the NSBCPA
With an eye toward the future, the NSBCPA celebrated the following wins from the last year:
- November 2020 – The NSBCPA launched a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam Bootcamp Program for Black accounting students. Supported by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the program provides participants with all of the resources they need and more to excel at the CPA exam and succeed in their field.
- December 2020 – The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam Bootcamp Program received a $1 million donation from philanthropist and entrepreneur Robert F. Smith, who hopes the program will promote financial literacy and help build opportunity and wealth over generations for African Americans.
- January 2021 – The NSBCPA celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first African American CPA: John W. Cromwell Jr. The same month, Terrice Watson, CPA, also passed the CPA exam, becoming another African American CPA to help represent a highly underrepresented group.
- February 2021 – Executive leader Darryl R. Matthews Sr. was chosen to be the President and CEO of the NSBCPA. Matthews has over 30 years of diversified leadership experience in association management, federal government operations and consulting and, with the help of his team, is looking to make a mark in the accounting profession.
The Future of the NSBCPA
While the future of the NSBCPA and its mission to increase the number of African American CPAs is uncertain, it is evident that there have been a lot of positive efforts in the right direction. Over 100 students have participated in the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam Bootcamp Program since June 2021 and have been able to push through the exam process despite the four-part exam potentially surpassing the level of difficulty of the bar exam.
Aside from the generous gift from Robert F. Smith, the NSBCPA has been able to recruit even more investments from like-minded organizations that support the NSBCPA’s mission and the future of Black CPAs. AICPA Foundation, Deloitte, Intuit, PwC, Wiley, NextEra, GHJ Foundation, Kenton Klaus Charitable Fund and Wishing Out Loud are just some of the organizations that have provided donations. Becker, Gleim, Controllers Council and CPA Academy are also offering partnership opportunities and donations to NSBCPA.
Learn more about the CPA Review program and becoming a CPA. You can also check out other ways Robert F. Smith is helping to uplift members of the African American community.