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State Board Report

April 2016

NASBA’s strategic plan now includes promoting the CPA license to ensure an adequate supply of CPAs and promoting diversity and inclusion, NASBA Chief Relationship Officer Alfonzo Alexander pointed out to the Executive Directors Conference. He reported the theme of NASBA’s Diversity Committee is: "It is time to be intentional." NASBA wants to impact diversity on the front end of the professional pipeline by getting candidates eager to become part of the process, as well as farther down the pipeline when appointments are made to State Boards and the NASBA Board of Directors. Mr. Alexander reported on how the committee is working with other organizations to support their various diversity efforts, as well as using statistics gathered by NASBA to document information about candidates making it into the pipeline.

With the assistance of NASBA Director of Continuous Improvement and Analytics James Suh, a meeting was held with North Carolina State Board of CPA Examiners Executive Director Robert N. Brooks; NASBA Past Chair Walter Davenport; Shawana Karkouki of the North Carolina Association of CPAs; Kevin James of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University; Norma Montague of Wake Forest; Eddie Sams of DHG (Dixon Hughes Goodman, LLP); Jack Cathey of University of North Carolina-Charlotte via phone; and Messrs. Alexander and Suh. Pointing out that North Carolina has the highest number of historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) in the nation, Mr. Suh challenged the North Carolina meeting participants to consider how they could get more of these schools to participate in the North Carolina Board’s CPA Examination scholarship program.

Looking at one of the top CPA-producing HBCU school’s candidates’ performance in 2011 2015, of the 129 accounting majors, only 29 took the Uniform CPA Examination and of those only 8 passed all parts of the Examination. Analyzing the data collected by NASBA 2011-2015, Mr. Suh reported 32.1 percent of the African-American candidates made only one attempt to pass the Uniform CPA Examination, while just 12.1 percent of the Caucasians made only a single try. He said lack of resources, guidance and review course providers could all be contributing factors and he invited discussion.

NASBA’s statistics also show that 58.3 percent of African – American CPA candidates take the Uniform CPA Examination after their 30th birthday, as compared to 35.5 percent of the total population (including African-American candidates) who take it that late in their careers, Mr. Alexander pointed out.

Mr. Brooks reported to the Executive Directors Conference that he thought that the diversity meeting held in his state with NASBA staff should be packaged and taken to every state, because he and the others in attendance had learned so much about the problems in their state and others. Executive directors from Florida, Kentucky, Ohio and Texas told the Executive Directors Conference about the programs that their Boards had instituted to assist minority students. These include scholarships for minority students for their fifth year of study, accounting career awareness programs and materials to enhance high school accounting courses.

Mr. Alexander said NASBA is undertaking analysis of data to find out why so few African American students are becoming CPAs and where they are dropping out of the process.

The National Commission on Diversity and Inclusion, sponsored by the AICPA, has many programs in operation, Boyd E. Search, chief executive officer of the Georgia Society of CPAs, reported. These include: webinars on unconscious bias; an e-newsletter Inclusion Solutions which currently has over 25,000 subscribers; and working with HBCU.

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