Only two percent of CPAs are Black, according to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. As a result, public accounting firms struggle to create racially diverse work environments.
But Aronson LLC, a national public accounting and consulting firm, recognized early on that including different perspectives leads to better business decisions.
Because they invested in and committed to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) over time, they have a documented history of diverse leadership. These leaders paved the way for younger accounting professionals like them to follow, inside and outside of the firm. And, that tradition continues today.
And, it was time to celebrate and share their progress and commitment with candidates, in a way that fit their brand and industry.
Aronson LLC partnered with Stories Inc. to mix facts with real employee experiences to bring to life their DEI progress and efforts. Stories interviewed both leaders and practitioners to understand Aronson’s unique DEI story. Along the way, we discovered their history of recruiting, developing and promoting underrepresented leaders, who in turn inspire and develop the next generation of leaders. Then, we created a video for Aronson to promote their efforts both internally and externally.
Seeing people like me: Today and yesterday
“Even in a CPA firm, you put tax and audit in the same room, tax goes in one side and audit goes to another… the same thing happens when you’re culturally different,” Kelli Lyde, Senior Manager, Assurance Services said. “You aren’t going to relate as well…I think that happens with mentorship, training, and professional development. That’s why I’m here. I want to support the change, so we can have more representation for our younger CPAs coming up.”
“This is the first time I had a Black woman as a senior manager,” said Kha-Lil Pearson, an associate. “It was a breath of fresh air. I hadn’t had that at all in my accounting experience. Even during our monthly roundtable talks, I see all the people in the gallery on Microsoft Teams, and seeing the different backgrounds and ethnicities.”
“We exceed the national average for female partners,” Lexy Kessler, Lead Partner at Aronson said. “And part of that is because we had a first female managing partner in a major firm many years ago, and she was a mentor to many of us in this firm, male and female.”
“Our commitment to DEI is important,” Lexy continued. “If you have everybody at the same mindset, you’re not going to be good at what you do. You’re not going to meet your best potential because it takes many idea, many backgrounds, many experiences that people can bring to the table that can make the right business decision.”
Watch the video with these stories, and more, below.