102. Building a more inclusive accounting and finance profession | with Avonette Blanding and Kimberly Ellison-Taylor
Inclusion remains a huge problem in our profession. As of 2016, just one percent of CPAs employed by public accounting firms were Black. And 0.3 percent of partners at those firms were black. Meanwhile, roughly 13 percent of our country’s population is Black. And the numbers for other people of color weren’t much better. We want our profession to look like the public it serves, but it isn’t close — and it isn’t making much progress, either.
Our guests this week, Avonette Blanding and Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, offer some poignant insights that might help us take the first step. Avonette is chief financial officer at Maritime Applied Physics in Baltimore, which designs and builds advanced technology systems and vessels for the Defense Department. She is also the incoming chair of the Maryland Association of CPAs. And Kimberly is executive director of finance thought leadership at Oracle. She is a past chair of both the MACPA and the American Institute of CPAs, and just the second chairperson of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. She’s also a fixture on Accounting Today’s list of the most influential people in accounting. They are both Black women and true leaders in our profession, and they have insights, life experiences, and mindsets that the vast majority of people in our profession do not — but that we desperately need.