Mass. Society of CPAs Announces High School Program to Increase Diversity

The Massachusetts Society of CPAs (MSCPA) is launching a new early college academy focused on accounting at Haverhill High School in Haverill, Mass.

The program will allow high school students to earn up to 12 college credits through the University of Massachusetts, Lowell (UMass Lowell). The academy is the first accounting-focused, early college initiative in Massachusetts.

The MSCPA developed the academy to increase the number of first generation and diverse entrants into the accounting profession, working with the Haverill, Mass., high school, UMass Lowell and NAF, a national network of education, business and community leaders.

AICPA data shows that minorities represent only one in six professionals in accounting firms nationwide. Additionally, accounting is often a second-generation career – people with CPAs for parents frequently follow them into accounting.

The new academy at Haverhill High School is the latest initiative executed by the MSCPA to address these issues and help build a pipeline of diverse young people interested in accounting. The MSCPA hopes to scale this program to high school across the state in the coming years.

“The MSCPA believes increasing diversity in the accounting industry will strengthen the profession as a whole,” says Amy Pitter, president and CEO of the MSCPA. “The new academy in Haverhill will open doors for local students and is a testament to the profession’s commitment to diversity and inclusion at all levels.”

Participating students will gain exposure to the fundamentals of accounting, economics, statistics and information technology. They will also benefit from a mandatory internship program supported by area accounting firms and businesses. Community leaders will also provide mentorship opportunities and participate in work-based learning exercises. Upon completion of the academy, students will earn up to 12 college credits through UMass Lowell at no additional cost.

The academy is part of NAF’s Academy of Finance, which started in 1982 with 30 students and today serves 26,000 nationwide in over 200 academies. According to NAF, 98% of participating seniors graduate from high school and 89% go on to a college or university.

“The NAF Academy of Finance has stood the test of time and continues to make a difference in the lives of students. I am confident it will create a world of opportunities for students at Haverhill,” says J.D. Hoye, president of NAF.

Ten students are currently enrolled in the new academy at Haverhill High School; it is fully funded by the MSCPA’s Educational Foundation. The Educational Foundation also runs two summer programs for diverse young people interested in careers in business and accounting and supports future CPAs through a scholarship program.