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AICPA’s national commission on diversity and inclusion hosts first webinar

Press release by American Institute of CPAs

Press release by AICPA - The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is offering a free three-part webinar on how to address unconscious bias, a hidden bias that can significantly undermine good decision-making and can be a critical impediment to developing an inclusive workplace. The first webinar in the series will be held on Thursday, Feb. 18, from 1-2 p.m. ET.

The webinar series is intended to teach AICPA members how to define, identify and manage unconscious bias within their organizations and in their interactions with clients. In addition, the series is being made available to all professionals and the general public at no charge.

One hour of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) is available for each individual webinar in the series.

"Learning how to manage the impact of unconscious bias is a critical business skill," said Kim Drumgo, director, diversity initiatives at AICPA and vice chair of the AICPA's National Commission on Diversity and Inclusion.

"Successful leaders understand how unconscious bias influences their decisions and interactions with others. This can be particularly important in making decisions on hiring, mentoring, promoting, staffing, developing people, and engaging with clients."

The webinar series is the latest offering from the AICPA's National Commission on Diversity and Inclusion. The Commission is a profession-wide effort lead by the AICPA to encourage and promote diversity and inclusion within the accounting profession.

AICPA's diversity and inclusion program has the goal of creating workplaces in the accounting profession that are better reflective and inclusive of the communities in which they serve.

Current trends indicate the continued growth of minority populations in the U.S., and their increasing influence on the U.S. economy. For instance, the most recent U.S. Census found minority-owned businesses increased receipts to $1.4 trillion between 2007 and 2012, an increase of 34.7 percent.

This influence on the economy is only going to increase as the U.S. population continues to diversify. According to the U.S. Census, more than 50% of all Americans are projected to belong to a minority group by 2044.

"Changing demographics and a shift in entrepreneurial capital in the U.S. means that addressing diversity and inclusion has become a business-critical endeavor for the accounting profession. Helping to reduce unconscious bias will lead to workplaces that are more welcoming to all people, cultures, and perspectives and ultimately better position firms and organizations to solve the challenging and complex business issues they face," said Richard Caturano, CPA, CGMA, chair of the AICPA's National Commission on Diversity and Inclusion.

In addition to the webinar series, the AICPA provides tools and resources to promote diversity and inclusion, such as: The Recruitment and Retention Toolkit, which provides an outline of the process necessary to make diversity and inclusion initiatives an ongoing part of companies' cultures to help them fulfill their overall goals for recruitment and retention; and Inclusion Solutions, a free monthly newsletter that informs the accounting profession of best practices in diversity and inclusion.

What: Webinar Series, Unconscious Bias, consists of three parts:

"Help Me in the Heart - Understanding Unconscious Bias": This session will help participants understand the full scope of what unconscious bias entails, where it comes from, and the areas of business it impacts.

"Look Me in the Brain - Identifying Unconscious Bias": This session will help participants identify personal biases which might be holding us back from true inclusiveness.

"Fix Me in the Act - Managing Unconscious Bias": This session will help participants manage biases in a constructive manner to obtain the highest level of inclusiveness and performance.

Who: Manny Espinoza, President, The CTR Factor; Suri Surinder, CEO, The CTR Factor

When: Thursdays on February 18, March 17, and April 21, at 1-2 p.m. ET

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