In 1969, there were approximately 100,000 Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). Of those 100,000, only 136 were African American. Now, after decades of working to eliminate bias and barriers faced by African Americans in the field of accounting, there are more than 5,000 black CPAs.
One of the major organizations pushing for the advancement of African Americans in accounting is the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA). Dedicated to studying and removing the unique obstacles black accountants face, the NABA has been instrumental in making accounting a more fair and equitable profession.
History of the NABA
In 1969, the NABA was formed when a group of nine African American accountants met to discuss the limited opportunities available to African Americans pursuing careers in accounting. That famous meeting of the “NABA Nine” in New York City and their desire to “make a difference” led to the creation and rapid growth of the NABA.
As the organization worked to create opportunities for African Americans at every level of the profession, their mission took shape and was embodied in their motto “Lifting As We Climb.” This idea is at the core of the organization’s goals—to support African Americans already in the profession and to create opportunities for African Americans to enter the profession.
By creating opportunities for mentorship, networking, professional development, job placement, scholarships, and further education, the NABA has had a profound impact on many individuals as well as the profession as a whole.
Supporting the NABA’s Efforts
To help create opportunities for African American accountants and to help the NABA fulfil its goals, consider the following potentially valuable options:
- Donating to the NABA scholarship fund can help provide a pathway for prospective accountants to enter the field.
- Sponsoring an employee’s membership to the NABA. Like any other form of professional development, membership can help employees understand and reach their potential.
- Offering to send employees to the NABA Convention. This can help make connections and bring valuable insight and information back to the practice.
Through the NABA, many have found and created important opportunities. Everyone has a role to play in eliminating the barriers faced by African American accountants. SDC CPAs and Dee Studler, the company’s founder and managing member, is just one of many companies today promoting diversity and inclusion in the field of accounting.