Black people are hugely underrepresented in the accounting profession, with some estimates putting the share of CPAs who are African American at less than one percent.
A long and ugly history of racist hiring practices at accounting firms has a lot to do with this, but so do current CPA license requirements, according to Theresa Hammond, professor at San Francisco State University’s College of Business. She says aspiring CPAs must take an additional two to three extra semesters of coursework after graduation, which can put people from low-income backgrounds, who may need to start earning income right away, at a disadvantage.
On this episode of our podcast Talking Tax, host Amanda Iacone speaks with Hammond about her research into why the accounting field still struggles with diversity. She’s joined by Shannon Nash, chair of the National Society of Black CPAs, who talks about her efforts to reform the way CPA licenses are awarded and change the way the African American community views accounting as a profession.