In the pursuit of fostering diversity and representation in the accounting and finance professions, Dr. Adrian Mayse has emerged as a leading advocate. Addressing the stark reality that less than 1% of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are Black, Dr. Mayse endeavors to elevate Black representation in accounting through his latest creation, "When I Grow Up I Want To Be… An Accountant." In an exclusive interview with Vishal, Dr. Mayse sheds light on his motivations, aspirations, and the crucial role diversity plays in the accounting landscape.
Unveiling "When I Grow Up I Want To Be… An Accountant"
Vishal: Can you share more about your book, "When I Grow Up I Want To Be… An Accountant," and its objectives?
Dr. Mayse: "When I Grow Up I Want To Be… An Accountant" is a children’s picture book designed to introduce children, particularly those from minority backgrounds, to the world of accounting. My primary goal was to expose children to the accounting profession and enable minority children to see themselves represented in this field. I hope the book sparks an early interest in accounting as a potential career path.
Vishal: What inspired you to write this book, and why focus on children?
Dr. Mayse: The inspiration behind the book stems from the urgent need for greater diversity in the accounting profession. While existing diversity initiatives primarily target high school and college students, my aim was to shift the focus to younger children. Often, children express aspirations to become doctors, lawyers, or teachers, but accounting tends to be overlooked. I wanted to change that narrative and introduce accounting as an exciting and viable career option from an early age.
Vishal: As a college professor, why did you choose to write a book specifically for children?
Dr. Mayse: Personally, my introduction to accounting happened relatively late in high school, and it wasn't until my undergraduate and master's degree programs that I truly grasped the potential of the field. Reflecting on my own journey, I realized that early exposure to the accounting profession could have influenced my academic and career decisions positively. Children need to be aware of various career possibilities early on to make informed choices, and I believe my book can contribute to this awareness.
Charting Dr. Mayse's Path to Accounting
Vishal: Did you always know you wanted to be an accountant, and what led you to pursue this path?
Dr. Mayse: Surprisingly, I did not grow up with aspirations of becoming an accountant. In my early years, I envisioned a career in medicine. My introduction to accounting happened in high school, but my focus remained on the medical field. It wasn't until I shifted my major to Finance during my undergraduate studies that I seriously considered accounting as a career. During my Master of Professional Accountancy program at Jackson State University, exposure to Black professionals in the accounting field motivated me to explore this path further.
Navigating Challenges as a Black Accountant
Vishal: Can you share your experiences as a Black accountant and the challenges you've encountered?
Dr. Mayse: Being a Black accountant has presented unique challenges, often requiring me to study and work harder than my counterparts. Unfortunately, some individuals may undervalue students from historically Black colleges or universities (HBCUs) or dismiss minority students altogether. My experience at Jackson State University was transformative, offering a welcoming and nurturing environment, unlike my previous academic experience. However, I observed significant differences between working as a Black accountant and working alongside white counterparts.
The Imperative of Diversity in Accounting
Vishal: Why is diversity crucial in the accounting profession?
Dr. Mayse: The accounting profession, like any other, should ideally reflect the diversity of the world we live in. Currently, it is predominantly composed of white individuals. True progress in any profession involves embracing diversity and ensuring that all communities are well-represented. This inclusivity fosters innovation, creativity, and a broader perspective, making the profession stronger and more relevant.
Vishal: What advice do you have to inspire future accountants?
Dr. Mayse: I encourage all accountants to share their personal stories, employ creative methods to introduce accounting to young students, advocate for the inclusion of accounting in pre-K to high school curricula, increase funding to support the profession, and continue spotlighting the accounting profession. By collectively contributing to awareness and education, we can inspire future generations of accountants and promote diversity in the field.
Dr. Mayse's book serves as a beacon, illuminating the path to accounting for young minds and addressing the critical need for diversity in the profession. Through his endeavors, he continues to champion inclusivity and equity in both the academic and professional realms. "When I Grow Up I Want To Be… An Accountant" stands as a testament to the transformative power of early exposure and representation in shaping the future of accounting.