CalCPA and IMA Collaborate on Advancing Accounting Profession

Initial Focus will be Multi-Part Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Research

Aug. 17, 2020

Montvale, N.J. and Burlingame, Calif. – IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) and California Society of Certified Public Accountants (CalCPA) announced a new collaboration focusing on advancing the accounting and finance profession through joint research, thought leadership education and awareness building. IMA and CalCPA will initially focus on the profession’s talent pipeline through a multi-part research program that studies the role of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in finance and accounting transformation. 

“Having a diverse, equitable and inclusive talent management process is critical to the future of the accounting profession,” said Jeff Thomson, CMA, CSCA, CAE, IMA president and CEO. “Organizations need to attract and retain diverse talent for the long term. This should be a priority of CFOs and their teams beyond the need for technological upskilling. While upskilling has helped the profession transform and remain relevant, more needs to be done in the area of developing the talent pipeline in terms of diversity.”

Although the demographics of the U.S. population and accounting graduates are racially and ethnically diverse, there is a gap in diversity of the accounting workforce, especially at higher leadership levels. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 23 percent of accountants and auditors are non-white and according to the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), less than 1 percent of CPAs in the U.S. are Black. 

“The profession is facing a watershed moment and has the opportunity to drive change—to improve diversity, equity and inclusion and the ability to attract and retain professionals from underrepresented communities,” said Anthony Pugliese, CPA, CGMA, CITP, CalCPA president and CEO. “The profession must come together to embrace best practices in diversity, equity and inclusion and collaborate on actionable programs that will help drive a cultural shift to ensure future sustainability of a diverse and inclusive profession.” 

According to research in December 2019 by the CPA Journal, students have limited interest in accounting majors in college or career paths in the profession, but that interest grows significantly higher after those same students are provided accurate information about accounting careers.

“This further demonstrates that the accounting profession needs to be proactive in showing future, diverse generations of students the possibilities of careers in accounting,” added Thomson. “IMA’s collaboration with CalCPA is an important step to raise this awareness and lay down additional pathways into accounting and future management roles.”

For the first part of the research program, the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) and NABA, along with several state CPA societies, will join IMA and CalCPA in the research effort.

“Our joint research program seeks to identify the underlying reasons for race and ethnicity gaps at senior levels of the accounting and finance profession in the U.S.,” added Pugliese. “We want to better understand the impact of DE&I on the talent pipeline, and we plan to identify actionable ideas to improve racial and ethnic diversity in the profession.” 

The first research report in the multi-part series, “Race and Ethnicity in the U.S.,” is expected to be released later this year. This research project is the first part of a broader initiative to address many DE&I factors in the U.S. and on a global scale, including gender, LGBTQIA matters, diversity of thought and others.

About IMA
IMA, named the 2017 and 2018 Professional Body of the Year by The Accountant/International Accounting Bulletin, is one of the largest and most respected associations focused exclusively on advancing the management accounting profession. Globally, IMA supports the profession through research, the CMA (Certified Management Accountant) program, continuing education, networking and advocacy of the highest ethical business practices. IMA has a global network of more than 125,000 members in 150 countries and 300 professional and student chapters. Headquartered in Montvale, N.J., USA, IMA provides localized services through its four global regions: The Americas, Asia/Pacific, Europe and Middle East/India. For more information about IMA, please visit IMA website.

About CalCPA
CalCPA traces its heritage to 1903 when the California State Society of Certified Public Accountants was organized. In 1909, it merged with two other state CPA associations to form CalCPA. CalCPA serves more than 45,000 members in public practice, private industry, academia and government, and has 14 chapters across California. CalCPA also offers more than 1,400 live courses, conferences, webcasts and on-demand self-study courses annually. More information is available online.