Challenge: attract diverse students to the accounting field
Idea: zero in on untapped groups from which to recruit
Solution: a combined effort of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the Florida Institute of CPAs (FICPA) and the School of Accounting at Florida International University (FIU) focused on high-performing community college students
Results: a resounding success
“We recognized a huge deficiency in the number of minorities pursuing a degree in accounting, a deficiency we wanted to change,” said Aisha Washington, U.S. diversity sourcing leader, PwC. “We discovered a rich population in community colleges, and the six-day residency program we funded and ran in conjunction with the FICPA and FIU validated our interest in this population and enabled us to make some very lasting connections.”
Video: Organizers and participants discuss the Accounting Development Program.
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“The Minority Initiative Committee of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has been around for 40 years, so there has long been a desire to increase the presence of minorities in the profession, but we hadn’t seen much progress,” said Sharon Lassar, who has led the School of Accounting’s outreach programs and is a member of the committee. “Not only do community colleges offer an excellent pool of candidates for four-year programs, but also, FIU has exceptional transfer services to ease their transition.”
All participants are enriched.
Twenty-nine students, half from outside Florida, were selected for the highly-competitive program Accounting Development Program (ADP), which included exposure to every aspect of accounting, tied together by preparation of a case study that put them in the shoes of a professional making a proposal. They also received professional development coaching and completed a community service project.
Members of the College of Business Administration’s ALPFA at FIU and Beta Alpha Psi chapters volunteered as counselors, gaining valuable experience of their own.
“The students were very devoted, especially so early in their education,” said Ali Vayanim, vice president, ALPFA at FIU, who lined up the FIU volunteers and who offered to proofread emails and résumés of the dozen students he got to know well during the week.
Brenda Hubbard, director of academic relations and student initiatives, the FICPA, contributed administrative services.