In an effort to increase and diversify the number of students entering the accounting profession, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and NAF, a professional network of leaders interested in preparing high school students for college and careers, will formally launch the AICPA/NAF Recognition Program. Piloted at schools in Florida, Maryland, New York, and North Carolina during the 2015–2016 academic year, the program was rolled out nationwide this fall at 209 NAF Academies of Finance operating in 117 school districts in 32 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NAF Academies partner with high schools in primarily low-income communities to offer a curriculum focusing on literacy, STEM, and college and career preparation.
The year-long Recognition Program will introduce students to career opportunities available to certified public accountants. It also will teach them skills in accounting and finance, as well as leadership, entrepreneurship, communication, and time management. To be recognized by the AICPA/NAF program, students must pass at least two finance or accounting courses, graduate from high school, participate in NAF-facilitated paid internships, complete an online enrichment program, and register as student affiliate members on the AICPA’s “Start Here, Go Places” website.
Students are more likely to enter the accounting profession if they’ve had early exposure to accounting courses and information about the opportunities related to careers as CPAs, says Kim Drumgo, AICPA director of diversity and inclusion and vice chair of the National Commission on Diversity and Inclusion. “This program is a way to increase the diversity in the profession by drawing from the widest possible pool of talented students.”