Celebrating 100 Years of Black CPAs

During Black History Month — and every day of the year — Weaver celebrates the accomplishments of our Black colleagues. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first Black American to become a Certified Public Accountant. John Cromwell, Jr., faced numerous barriers to achieving his dream, even after he had earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Dartmouth. He was barred from sitting for the CPA exam in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. States that would allow him to take the exam had an experience requirement that blocked his eligibility. Finally, in 1921 — 14 years after Cromwell had earned his master’s degree — New Hampshire changed its laws, and he was able to travel there to take the CPA exam.

After he became a CPA, Cromwell taught accounting and worked primarily within the Black community; he later became the comptroller of Howard University. (Thank you to the “Discover Audit” blog for sharing Cromwell’s story.)

We’ve made progress in the last 100 years, but there are still diversity gaps in the accounting profession. According to information shared by the National Association of Black Accountants, 13.6% of the U.S. population includes Blacks and African Americans, but less than 9% become auditors and accountants. Through the efforts of Inspire and the Impact Teams, Weaver is working toward a future when every individual has opportunities to succeed and work hard in this profession. We invite you to join us in celebrating John Cromwell, Jr. and his accomplishments.

To find out more about Weaver’s Inspire Impact Teams, visit our Inspire page.

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