Society commits to action on diversity + inclusion

Written on Jun 11, 2020

These past 30 days have been gut wrenching, as we have all witnessed the racial injustices in our country. The Ohio Society of CPAs recognizes our role as the leading voice in the business community representing the most trusted business advisors. Last week we spoke up about the need for societal change when it comes to racism, we convened our community for discussions, and we listened. Now we stand up and put action behind those words.

Advocating for change

Society President & CEO Scott Wiley, CAE, today announced a three-part commitment to end racism and help create a business environment that offers equal opportunity to all. The plan, which is published in its entirety below, consists of CEO leadership, organizational commitment – which includes a $100,000 pledge for initiatives – and advancing public policy.

“We hope this is a signal that business leaders truly ‘mean business’ about taking on the issues of racism and inequality,” Wiley said. “Our board and leadership care deeply about these problems, and they’re demonstrating that through this commitment of time, money and exerting our influence. We have laid the groundwork for action for years, and now it’s time to get results.”

Wiley said as the most trusted business advisers, CPAs have a vital role to play in protecting the public interest and making economic opportunity available to all.

“We hope other business leaders – in Ohio and beyond – take notice and join us in this effort.” 

OSCPA commitment to action statement

Ohio’s CPAs embrace the responsibility we have as America’s most trusted business advisors to not sit on the sidelines, but to be deliberate in our drive toward change. We recognize that social injustice and racism harm people and our ability to make economic opportunity accessible for all.

At The Ohio Society of CPAs, we are committed to acting beyond words to bring a strong message of anti-racism to CPAs and to the business community. OSCPA will build on our past efforts by committing to the following three elements:

1. Board & CEO leadership

OSCPA will demonstrate that now is the time for associations and association leaders to step up with meaningful action in support of societal change.

In 2016, the OSCPA Executive Board engaged leading minds in the profession to adopt a comprehensive diversity + inclusion strategy. Our Diversity + Inclusion Task Force conceived a multi-year framework to extend OSCPA’s D+I practices, design workforce development initiatives and support employers in developing solutions. That task force has been reconvened to chart a course for what next steps should be taken.

In 2018, The Ohio Society of CPAs became the first CPA professional association to sign the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity + inclusion within the workplace. OSCPA also joined with 750+ other Columbus-based business and organizations in supporting of a City Council resolution declaring racism as a public health crisis, becoming the only professional business association in the state’s capital to do so.

Today, we are convening leaders and peers from within our profession, the broader business community, and leaders from other industries and disciplines—people and organizations who share our commitments to build a guiding coalition that is committing to affecting social change.

2. Organizational commitment

OSCPA will commit resources, both human and financial, toward creating a solution to end racial injustice.

To that end OSCPA is today pledging $100,000 towards those efforts. Our D+I Task Force will identify how and where best to allocate these funds in our state and how we can best mobilize and engage the Ohio CPA community and our 27,000+ members as part of this commitment. Their recommendations will be made directly to OSCPA’s Board of Directors who is unanimous in their support and commitment that as America’s most trusted business advisors, CPAs have a leadership role to create solutions to end racial injustice.

OSCPA has invested in a Diversity + inclusion Strategist to lead our efforts. Margaret Finley, CPEC, has been working to implement our Crossing Bridges Series to help our profession move from conversation to action. She also facilitates our D+I service offerings, which include assessments and evaluations, sustainability planning, consulting, training and focus group facilitation. She is a valuable resource to our profession as we work to do more to express the message of anti-racism to CPAs and to the business community.

Internally, our staff D+I work group is identifying what next steps we will take within our team. In order to better understand the experiences of our black colleagues and the outrage and frustration that is sweeping our entire nation, our entire staff will observe and celebrate Juneteenth, the oldest recognition of the ending of slavery in the United States, on Friday, June 19th. On this day, our offices—physical and remote, will be closed as we take the time and space to remind ourselves of the continuing struggle and challenges that so many of our Black colleagues, members, friends and peers face each day.

In addition, this group is developing a plan for our employees to meaningfully engage in their Ohio communities, including paid leave to support efforts that work towards solutions that end racial and social injustice.

3. Advancing public policy

OSCPA will continue to work with key stakeholders advocating for solutions that address racial injustice in our state and nation.

OSCPA partners with the accounting profession to advance the state of business so Ohio can enjoy a healthy and sustainable economic environment. Addressing racial injustice is critical to economic opportunity and prosperity for all.

OSCPA will use its position to boldly create new opportunities for tolerance, understanding and action. That is our obligation to our profession, to our members, to the clients and companies we serve, and to the communities where we live and work.

And it is our promise to you.

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