Deloitte today announced the creation of Making Accounting Diverse and Equitable (MADE), a commitment to generate more advisory, auditing, and tax career opportunities for the next generation of certified public accountants.
The initiative combines both financial support and the depth of resources an organization of Deloitte’s size can bring to attract diverse individuals into the accounting field and support them as they chart their pathway from high school to business professional to leadership in the profession.
Filling A Gap:
Deloitte has stated its goal of increasing the number of Black and Latinx professionals in its overall US workforce by 50% by 2025.
This is encouraging — because today, Black and Latinx talent constitutes 6.6% and 6.5% of the firm’s workforce respectively, Deloitte’s 2021 DEI Transparency report suggests. These levels drop further when segmented along senior leadership roles: at the Partner, Principal or Managing Director (PPMD) level, Black talent represents 2.1% of the team, while Latinx individuals drop to 3.6%.
Promising progress, however, has been seen: a 10.0% overall growth for Black representation and a 12.1% growth for Latinx representation since FY2018. Last year, Deloitte launched the Black Action Council to architect and execute the firm’s long-term strategy to advance Black employees. The firm also expanded self-identification options to recognize multidimensionality in identity.
The MADE commitment, albeit targeting the tax and accounting divisions, will also contribute towards the overall trajectory of increasing diverse representation at the firm.
“The representation of racially and ethnically diverse CPAs in our profession is unacceptably low and bringing these voices to the conversation requires decisive, bold investments.” Lara Abrash, CEO of Deloitte’s US Audit & Assurance business said. MADE is not only a diversity-focused investment, but a long-term contribution towards society at large, she added. Abrash is correct — because corporate diversity has the potential to bridge systemic income gaps across historically underprivileged communities.
$30 Million In Scholarships:
Of the $75 million commitment, $30 million will fund scholarships (through the firm and its foundation) to students pursuing a fifth-year master’s program in accounting from an accredited college program in the United States. Scholarships will cover 100% of tuition at participating universities with a mutual desire to increase diversity in master’s programs, and, in turn the accounting profession.
Applications for the 2022 school year will be collected in the fall of 2021 by participating universities with scholarships granted in late 2021, Deloitte announced.
$45 Million In Key Programming:
- Deloitte Academy, Accounting Edition Program: To prepare youth for long-term success by collaborating with high schools, colleges, state CPA societies, and non-profits to bring accounting to life for historically underrepresented and underserved youth across the country.
- Stride CPA Readiness Program: To address barriers faced by professionals when taking the CPA exam. This program will support their preparation with real-time access to and instruction from experienced CPA tutors, providing up to 13-weeks of fully-paid time, the majority of which is dedicated to studying, and covering exam costs.
- Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) And Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSI) Strategy: To support faculty and administration with additional funding for curriculum development focused on the evolving skill sets needed by accountants.
- MADE Working Group: To convene racially and ethnically diverse business, academic, and community leaders and bring a vast array of experiences and individual passions to advance equity and inclusion.
- Climb Fellowship Program: To develop the next generation of accounting and business leaders through collaboration with academia. This fellowship program targets mid-career accounting professionals across industries.
“In order to address the disparity, conscious, and deliberate effort must be taken. We know that unless we tackle the underlying problems, the best of intentions will not get the profession to where it needs to be,” Thalia Smith, Audit and Insurance Partner at the firm said.
Appreciating rewards in the accounting profession, Smith called herself “lucky” to be part of this field. As a Black partner at the firm, she hopes to minimize this “luck factor” for youth of color entering the industry. The MADE program will be a gateway to materialize this aspiration.
Scaling this effort will be key. Because Deloitte provides audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world most prominent brands, including nearly 90% of the Fortune 500 and more than 7,000 private companies. Given the size of their business, organizations like Deloitte must continue to pour strategic investments in leading diversity and inclusion efforts through both, internally-focused programming and externally-focused DEI philanthropy. A long-term, sustained commitment is imperative.