Deloitte announced today the establishment of Making Accounting Diverse and Equitable (MADE), a commitment to generate more advisory, auditing, and tax career opportunities and leadership pathways for the next generation of certified public accountants (CPAs). MADE represents a bold vision for the accounting profession, both in terms of increasing racial and ethnic diversity, and helping students of color see and realize their future in business through the prism and possibilities of accounting.
“I couldn’t be more hopeful about the future of the accounting profession – racial and ethnic diversity is an essential part of that future,” said Lara Abrash, CEO of Deloitte’s US Audit & Assurance business. “Accounting is a fascinating career, providing strong job security, high income levels, and many avenues to leadership.”
No single act will help create the racial and ethnic parity that is essential to the profession, business, and society at large. MADE 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. Deloitte is committed to a comprehensive strategy to address major barriers faced by racially and ethnically diverse students and to grow the population of diverse talent, thus helping to transform the future of the accounting profession.
Included in Deloitte’s $75 million commitment is the Deloitte Foundation Accounting Scholars program. Over the next six years, Deloitte and the Deloitte Foundation expect to fund $30 million in scholarships to students pursuing a fifth-year master’s program in accounting from an accredited college/university program in the United States, in an effort to increase representation of racially and ethnically diverse students in these programs. Scholarships from the Deloitte Foundation 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.
The remaining $45 million of the strategy includes the following key elements:
- Stride CPA readiness program: Deloitte seeks to address barriers faced by professionals recruited through various schools or organizations when taking the CPA exam by supporting 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. The inaugural Stride CPA readiness program will unfold this summer for a cohort of the Fall 2021 starting class.
- Deloitte Academy: Accounting Edition program: Deloitte is committed to inspiring and preparing youth for long-term success by collaborating with high schools, colleges, state CPA societies, and various non-profits to bring accounting to life for thousands of historically underrepresented and underserved youth across the country.
- Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU)/Hispanic-serving institutions (HSI) strategy: Building upon Deloitte’s existing relationships with HBCUs and HSIs, Deloitte and the Deloitte Foundation will support faculty and administration with additional funding for curriculum development focused on the evolving skillsets needed by accountants.
- Climb Fellowship program: Deloitte recognizes that Black and Hispanic/Latinx professionals experience different challenges as they progress within their careers. With the goal of developing the next generation of accounting and business leaders, Deloitte is collaborating with academia to launch a fellowship program targeted at bringing mid-career accounting professionals across industries together to create a community and help position them for senior roles within their organizations.
- MADE working group: Racially and ethnically diverse business, academic, and community leaders bring a vast array of experiences and individual passions to advance equity and inclusion. Deloitte has formed a working group of these individuals to bring leading external perspectives, challenge our thinking, and create a forum to engage with one another.
While these efforts specifically focus on the broader accounting profession, they complement and build on Deloitte’s already stated goal of increasing the number of Black and Hispanic/Latinx professionals in its overall US workforce by 50% by 2025.
“We are very excited about this next step in our path towards racial diversity,” said Thalia Smith, Audit & Assurance partner. “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 or position youth of color to be part of the next generation of business leaders. Deloitte is uniquely positioned and will be a leader in addressing this complex and transformative issue facing the profession.”
Lara Abrash, CEO of Deloitte’s US Audit & Assurance business added, “Accounting has long been considered the language of business which creates opportunities for those who speak it. In an increasingly complex business world, this skill is and will continue to be more valuable than ever. 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.”
Steve Kimble, chair and CEO of Deloitte of Tax LLP added, “As leaders in the accounting profession, I believe it’s our responsibility to enable the change we want to see – in this case, taking concrete steps to create racial and ethnic diversity. I am optimistic about the impact this program will have on those pursuing a career in accounting and excited about creating pathways for the next generation of diverse business leaders.”
“At Deloitte, we know that teams made up of diverse, inclusive professionals are more powerful, innovative, and productive,” said Joe Ucuzoglu, CEO, Deloitte US. “We’re thrilled to make this contribution to help foster diversity in future generations of accounting professionals and ensure those from all backgrounds thrive in this profession we care so deeply about.”
Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including nearly 90% of the Fortune 500® and more than 7,000 private companies. Our people come together for the greater good and work across the industry sectors that drive and shape today’s marketplace — delivering measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to see challenges as opportunities to transform and thrive, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthier society. Deloitte is proud to be part of the largest global professional services network serving our clients in the markets that are most important to them. Building on more than 175 years of service, our network of member firms spans more than 150 countries and territories. Learn how Deloitte’s more than 330,000 people worldwide connect for impact at www.deloitte.com.
About the Deloitte Foundation
The Deloitte Foundation, founded in 1928, is a not-for-profit organization that supports education in the U.S. through a variety of initiatives that help develop the next generation of diverse business leaders, and their influencers, and promote excellence in teaching, research and curriculum innovation. The Foundation sponsors an array of national programs relevant to a variety of professional services, benefiting high school students, undergraduates, graduate students and educators. Learn more about the Deloitte Foundation.