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Executive Committee Q&A: Why Diversity & Inclusion Be a Priority for the CPA Profession

Aug 26, 2019
INCPAS Executive Committee members share their thoughts on why diversity and inclusion should be a priority for the CPA profession..

Jennifer Knecht, CPAJennifer A. Knecht, CPA
Crowe LLP

“Building a profession that incorporates different backgrounds, viewpoints and identities makes us stronger. A stronger profession drives our ability to innovate, and our ability to innovate ensures we are relevant in the future.”

Erland Porter, CPA
INCPAS Chair-Elect
Thrivent Financial

Erland Porter, CPA
“Employees today have more choices than ever when deciding where to work. This is especially true for accounting professionals. As demand for highly skilled talent continues to outstrip supply, employers have to prioritize creating environments where everyone feels valued and included. Companies with static and exclusionary cultures (whether intentionally or not) run the risk of losing the quest for talent and reaping diminishing returns from their homogeneous employee base. Remaining relevant requires adequate investment in recruiting, developing and retaining the best and brightest regardless of background. For most firms, this will require a complete restructuring of the HR process and company culture. Some organizations will continue to drudge along without prioritizing diversity and inclusion; but they’ll soon find themselves to be fragile relics of a bygone era.”

Angie Zirkelbach, CPA
Angie Zirkelbach, CPA
INCPAS Vice Chair
Blue & Co., LLC

"My initial reaction to this question was, why wouldn’t diversity and inclusion be a top priority for CPAs? I think we all would agree working with a diverse group of individuals creates more innovative solutions to our clients and employers’ needs. It also lends itself to a richer work experience. As we become a more inclusive profession, we are better suited to understand, connect with and truly support the needs of the business community."

Gregory A. Chester, CPA
Gregory Chester, CPAINCPAS Vice Chair

"As CPAs, we have certain responsibilities, in my view. A responsibility to maintain high ethical standards, a responsibility to be leaders in the business community, and a responsibility to embrace and encourage change. Embracing diversity and inclusion is another one of these responsibilities. We grow as individuals when we are surrounded by people with different backgrounds, life experiences, cultures and beliefs. The workplace is enriched, and as a profession, we will be stronger and poised to contribute even more to our clients with a more diverse and inclusive team of professionals."

Barry Hall, CPA, CGMABarry K. Hall, CPA, CGMA
INCPAS Vice Chair
Kruggel Lawton CPAs

“If our profession wants to truly be considered the Trusted Advisor for our clients, we need to mirror that diversity. Diverse organizations (or professions) attract more talented people and are more innovative — they have more than one or two perspectives. Our profession needs to proactively seek out diversity and not just wait for it or expect it to happen.”

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