At Brown Schultz Sheridan & Fritz (BSSF), you will often hear us say “we exist to help people achieve extraordinary outcomes“. That means all people. We strive to embrace a culture of celebrating the uniqueness of not just our team members but our communities and our future.
Impact Requires Change
As a Firm, we made a pledge to listen to different perspectives and to enact change within our organization where necessary.
Internally, that meant creating a more robust training for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) for our team members. While our policies and training were adequate, we believe there is always room for improvement. We took action to hire a consultant to work with us on creating two mandatory half-day training sessions for our team members that were interactive and engaging. We also created a DEI Committee to ensure that DEI remained a focal point for our organization.
Externally, we asked ourselves what we could do to impact change in our industry and community. A study released by the Institute of Management Accountants in February of 2021 named lack of exposure to the accounting profession prior to college and insufficient support during college as two contributing factors that disproportionately reduce the profession’s attractiveness to underrepresented groups. These statistics show that we need to do more to show students of all backgrounds that accounting is a viable and attainable career.
Measures BSSF Took
To help show the viability of accounting as a career, we took the following measures:
- To help mitigate the issue of insufficient support while in college, BSSF started an annual scholarship with the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) for students who are majoring in accounting. NABA is a nonprofit membership association dedicated to bridging the opportunity gap for Black Business Leaders in accounting, finance business, and entrepreneurship.
- The Firm provides an annual contribution to the AICPA Foundation to cover a student of color in our region to attend the Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop, which aims to strengthen students’ professional skills and understanding of the benefits of the CPA designation.
- BSSF honors the culture and contributions of Asian American and Pacific Islanders. As part of our DEI efforts to impact change in the business community and our industry, the Firm makes an annual contribution to Ascend Leadership Foundation. The Foundation is a non-profit Pan-Asian organization primarily engaged in research with a mission to advocate, enable and assist Pan-Asians in North America to become the leaders of today and tomorrow.
- We also started the annual series, Find the Right Path: Accounting. The first part explores the accounting profession, educational tracks and what an accounting career is and is not. The second part includes a panel of our team members, who answer questions submitted by students. These webinars are then made available to high school teachers and students with the goal of educating students on the accounting profession prior to college.
These actions may simply be a drop in the bucket. However, with enough drops from both organizations and individuals, the bucket will eventually overflow with change. And change is exactly what we need to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive space for our industry and our community as a whole.