FEI teams with NABA to develop future Black finance execs

Financial Executives International has formed a strategic partnership with the National Association of Black Accountants to focus on professional development of future finance leaders.

Under the partnership, NABA members will initially receive a subscription to FEI Engage, a community and content hub for career development focused on finance and accounting. The goal is to increase NABA members’ ability to connect with an expanded finance network and tap into the wisdom of experienced financial professionals for learning, development and career advancement. This is the first step in a multiphase agreement.

The finance and accounting profession has long suffered from a shortage of Black senior executives, despite the efforts of groups like the American Institute of CPAs and the Institute of Management Accountants to improve the representation of diverse groups in the profession. A study released last year by the IMA and the California Society of CPAs found that only 1% of the partners in the accounting and finance functions of CPA firms in 2018 were Black or African-American, and only 1.6% of CFOs at Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies in 2019.

“This partnership provides NABA’s professional and student members with an opportunity to become both mentors and mentees,” said NABA president and CEO Guylaine Saint Juste in a statement Tuesday. “We see this as a unique value to both NABA and FEI members, an opportunity to ‘lift as they climb’ and engage in advancing both organizations’ goals. We are excited to pave a path together with FEI. This partnership is just the beginning in providing Black business leaders limitless opportunities.”

National Association of Black Accountants president and CEO Guylaine Saint Juste speaking at Financial Executives International’s online Current Financial Reporting Insights conference.

FEI Engage includes a mentor matching service that establishes one-on-one mentor relationships between students or professionals and FEI members. That can help young Black accountants build confidence, gain new skills and knowledge, and advance their personal development and career goals. Other features include live webinars and podcasts in which experienced finance professionals discuss their journeys and share insights on topics such as diversity, equity, and inclusion; career development and transitions; networking skills; and leadership development. Members also get access to FEIconnect, a private social network that allows peer-to-peer interaction and information sharing. FEI Engage also includes a “data dashboard” with access to timely industry-specific research to give users a competitive edge in their job search.

“We’re honored to partner with the National Association of Black Accountants to help fulfill their very important mission,” said Andrej Suskavcevic, president and CEO of FEI and the Financial Education & Research Foundation, in a statement Tuesday. “We believe that the future of the profession depends on a community effort to develop emerging talent. FEI’s membership comprises a wealth of knowledge from some of the most reputable and influential financial leaders in their fields. We hope that by extending access to those individuals through FEI Engage, NABA can continue to bridge the opportunity gap for Black professionals in the accounting, finance, and related business professions.”