The Latest

Industry News: Have you heard about the ‘2021 Black CPA Centennial’ campaign?

Have you heard about the ‘2021 Black CPA Centennial’ campaign?

As February marks the beginning of Black History Month, organizations across the accounting profession have marked the occasion by commemorating the 100th anniversary of John Cromwell Jr. becoming the first registered Black CPA with a new yearlong diversity program.

On Monday, a number of prominent accounting organizations — including the American Institute of CPAs, the Diverse Organization of Firms Inc., the Illinois CPA Society, the National Association of Black Accountants and the National Society of Black CPAs — announced a national awareness campaign, dubbed the “2021 Black CPA Centennial” campaign, that looks to recognize Black CPAs in the U.S. and continue to make impactful strides across diversity, inclusion and equity across the CPA profession.

The program comes at a time when Black CPAs still account for less than 1 percent of all CPAs in the U.S., according to the National Association of Black Accountants.

“As we work to continue building a more diverse and inclusive profession, it’s important that we recognize the efforts of those who broke down barriers,” said Crystal Cooke, the AICPA’s director of diversity and inclusion, in a statement. “By earning his CPA license, John Cromwell helped paved the way for future generations of Black CPAs and fueled the profession’s journey toward greater diversity and inclusion.”

The new campaign will look to “honor, celebrate and build” upon the history of Black CPAs via articles, videos and events recognizing trailblazing professionals, while also sharing the common goals of:

  • Honoring the past: Educate accounting and finance professionals, as well as the public, about the barriers the first Black CPAs overcame;
  • Celebrating the progress: Recognize Black CPAs for influencing the profession, engendering trust and breaking barriers; and
  • Building the future: Highlight Black CPAs who are blazing trails and creating legacies by becoming the first achievers in significant areas in the profession and society. Also support Black student enrollment in accounting programs; provide opportunities to prepare them to enter the CPA profession; and encourage the recruiting and retention of more Blacks CPAs in firms and organizations of all sizes.

“We’re honored to bring forward this important national centennial commemoration that will undoubtedly help drive momentum, encouragement and support for more Black people to enter the accounting and finance profession and become CPAs,” said Todd Shapiro, president and CEO of the Illinois CPA Society, in a statement. “As CPAs serve as protectors of the public’s interest and strategic business advisors, it’s in all our best interest to help pave the way for more Black people and other underrepresented minorities to shape the CPA profession into one that matches the diversity of the people it serves.”

More information on the 2021 Black CPA Centennial campaign is available on


Sean McCabe 

Senior Editor, Accounting Today

By Sean McCabeFebruary 01, 2021, 3:50 p.m. EST2 Min Read

Share this article