Game On: CPAs in Action
Ethnic diversity in the CPA profession has not kept up with ethnic diversity in the general U.S. population. Profession-wide commitment is necessary to move the needle and create a representative and inclusive profession, so we needed to create innovative solutions to encourage students from underrepresented backgrounds to consider accounting.
Game On: CPAs in Action is an award-winning, free half-day career awareness program for minority high school students interested in accounting and business. It was established in 2008 and is the only program of its kind for any state CPA society in the country and is designed to help increase awareness of — and diversity in — the profession.
Game On features a variety of interactive sessions and activities to give the students a unique perspective on what the CPA profession about, what CPAs do on a daily basis, and what the work environment is like for a CPA. It includes a broad overview of the profession, a panel discussion featuring young professionals, interactive case studies, a group lunch and office tours.
The office tours in particular give the students a chance to speak with CPAs and learn that accounting isn't all cubicles and calculators — it’s problem solving, critical thinking, communications and more. They also demonstrate that the designation positions students to work anywhere — whether that’s public accounting, not-for-profits, government or private business. Students not only tour Big Four firms like PwC, they also tour major corporations like SalesForce.
We host the events in four cities: Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Gary/Hammond and South Bend. INCPAS members from each community volunteer their time to speak and host office visits and make themselves available to students interested in finding out more.
Over 1,500 have participated in the program since 2008.
While our organization has worked really hard and been innovative in promoting diversity within the accounting profession in Indiana, I was somewhat hesitant initially to sign the CEO Pledge because of our internal lack of diversity. As a small organization with low turnover, frankly, we just aren’t diverse. But in considering the aim of the CEO Action Pledge, I realized this is a chance to showcase what we’ve done for the CPA profession and jumpstart our internal efforts. So we are making sure the hiring process gets updated and looking in new places for talent when we do have an opportunity to hire. There’s a lot more work to do, but the CEO Action Pledge has been inspiring for us.