Dispelling 4 myths that shroud diversity and inclusion

Dispelling 4 myths that shroud diversity and inclusion

Four stubborn myths have clouded some of the discussion of diversity and inclusion in accounting, Rich Caturano said Tuesday in a speech to the AICPA governing Council.

While progress has been made in recent years, those common misconceptions are keeping some firms stuck in neutral when it comes to diversity.

Caturano made diversity and inclusion his major strategic initiative during his 2012–2013 term as AICPA chairman. He is now the national leader of culture, diversity, and inclusion for McGladrey. He is also the incoming chairman of the AICPA’s National Commission on Diversity & Inclusion.

Speaking to Council from his own perspective, he sought to dispel the myths that he thinks are hindering progress.

Myth 1: The pipeline is not diverse

Some firm leaders say they would love to hire more minorities but can’t find them. “And what I found about that myth was there’s some truth to it. We need to do some work in the pipeline,” Caturano said. “But diversity does exist. We have a lot of diverse candidates.”

Caturano urged Council members to consider joining the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA), and Ascend, a Pan-Asian organization for business professionals.

“We could all be members,” said Caturano, who joined all three. “You don’t have to be black or Hispanic or Asian to be a member of the organizations. I would encourage you to look at that.”

He said each organization’s annual conference draws about 2,000 professionals, students, and others. “I attended the conferences, and I found out that there are a lot of candidates, great candidates,” he said. “Maybe we’re looking in the wrong place.” He also encouraged firms that are not doing so already to consider recruiting at colleges with diverse student bodies.

Myth 2: There is no real return on investment to D&I

“The reality is that inclusion and exclusion are key components of a company’s culture—the personality,” Caturano said. “Performance is directly related to diversity and inclusion. Clients are asking firms to demonstrate more on diversity and inclusion.”  Read more on Journal of Accountancy.