IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) and the California Society of Certified Public Accountants (CalCPA) last month announced a new collaboration focusing on advancing the accounting and finance profession through joint research, thought leadership education, and awareness building. IMA and CalCPA will initially focus on the profession’s talent pipeline through a multi-part research program that studies the role of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) in finance and accounting transformation.  

“Having a diverse, equitable, and inclusive talent management process is critical to the future of the accounting profession,” said Jeff Thomson, CMA, CSCA, CAE, IMA president and CEO. “Organizations need to attract and retain diverse talent for the long term. This should be a priority of CFOs and their teams beyond the need for technological upskilling. While upskilling has helped the profession transform and remain relevant, more needs to be done in the area of developing the talent pipeline in terms of diversity.” 

In a press release on the announcement, IMA noted that although the demographics of the U.S. population and accounting graduates are racially and ethnically diverse, there is a gap in diversity of the accounting workforce, especially at higher leadership levels. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 23% of accountants and auditors are nonwhite and according to the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), less than 1% of CPAs in the U.S. are Black.  

“The profession is facing a watershed moment and has the opportunity to drive change – to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion and the ability to attract and retain professionals from underrepresented communities,” said Anthony Pugliese, CPA, CGMA, CITP, CalCPA president and CEO. “The profession must come together to embrace best practices in diversity, equity and inclusion and collaborate on actionable programs that will help drive a cultural shift to ensure future sustainability of a diverse and inclusive profession.”  

For the first part of the research program, the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) and NABA, along with several state CPA societies, will join IMA and CalCPA in the research effort. 

The first research report in the multi-part series, “Race and Ethnicity in the U.S.,” is expected to be released later this year. This research project is the first part of a broader initiative to address many DE&I factors in the U.S. and on a global scale, including gender, LGBTQIA matters, diversity of thought, and others. 

CalCPA traces its heritage to 1903 when the California State Society of Certified Public Accountants was organized. In 1909, it merged with two other state CPA associations to form CalCPA. CalCPA serves more than 45,000 members in public practice, private industry, academia, and government, and has 14 chapters across California. CalCPA also offers more than 1,400 live courses, conferences, webcasts, and on-demand self-study courses annually. More information is available at