Moving Towards a Culturally Diverse Accounting Profession

Mary F. Calegari, San Jose State University
E. Jenkins, San Jose State University

Copyright © 2010 Allied Academies.


This paper discusses the increasing diversity in the accounting profession. Evidence is presented substantiating that over one third of recent accounting graduates are from ethnic minority backgrounds, the majority of whom are Asian/Pacific Islanders. In our university specific data, we find an even higher percentage (71%) of ethnic minorities receiving accounting degrees, with Asian/Pacific Islanders as the majority group. We also show that over one fourth of new accounting graduates hired by accounting firms are ethnic minorities of which fifty percent are Asian/Pacific Islanders. However, a recent survey by the AICPA indicates that only 4% of partners in accounting firms are ethnic minorities, again half of whom are Asian/Pacific Islanders. Due to the predominance of this ethnic group, we discuss several Asian cultural values that are perceived to negatively impact success and how they can be viewed as positive attributes. Practical tactics are then prescribed for Asian/Pacific Islanders to be proactive in increasing the probability of attaining partnership. Finally, recommendations are made for diversity programs to ensure that accounting firms recognize the importance of promoting a diverse workforce to maintain their competitive edge.