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Professional Association Gains Cultural Knowledge Needed to Create a More Inclusive Member Experience

The North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants (NCACPA) is a member-based professional organization that offers continuing education and other resources to further the accounting profession and the careers of its members. Its primary focus is to enhance the accounting profession and the community it serves through advocacy, connections, education, and resources for its members.

Company size

The NCACPA has a professional staff of 30 people, a 15-member board of directors, and roughly 12,000 members.


A not-for-profit organization, the NCACPA reported total net assets of more than $8.4 million in 2022.


The organization is based in Morrisville, North Carolina, and serves CPAs and association members throughout the state.

The Work

In July 2022, we partnered with the NCACPA to assist the association in its efforts to create a comprehensive and actionable diversity, equity and inclusion strategy. We also worked with the association to further its goals, which affected its internal operations, its interactions with members, and its outreach efforts to potential students of accounting. 

Some of the association’s goals included:

  • Increasing the DEI fluency of the leadership team and improving workplace and staff interactions;
  • Ensuring that the association’s membership processes were as inclusive as possible in order to create a welcoming environment for members and attract a more diverse membership population;
  • Providing authoritative educational DEI resources for its members;
  • Prioritizing efforts to expand and diversify the professional accounting pipeline.  

We conducted an initial assessment that included listening sessions with the NCACPA Board, members, and staff. That engagement informed our collaboration on an updated DEI Commitment Statement and a DEI Strategic Action Plan. 

We facilitated a series of training sessions for the leadership team and quarterly staff workshops on topics including Microaggressions, Workplace Communications, Inclusive Language, and Disability Etiquette. The NCACPA also enrolled in DEI Navigator in order to support the continuing professional development of the entire staff, board, and DEI member resource group.

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DEI Navigator
Why The Diversity Movement?

The DEI journey for NCACPA has been just that – a journey. The Diversity Movement has been with us each step of the way. The DEI Action Plan that The Diversity Movement helped us create has helped us chart steps in that journey, and it also holds us accountable for each step along the way.

Sharon Bryson CEO of the North Carolina Association of CPAs

The Outcomes

Among our recommendations was a suggestion to update the NCACPA’s website to reflect its commitment to DEI and to communicate transparently with its members. The NCACPA was already planning on this and acted on that by launching its dedicated DEI microsite in early 2023. The microsite was created to show how the association is working to grow the talent pipeline, provide more volunteer service opportunities, contribute to member communities, offer professional and personal development programs, and maintain equitable practices and policies.

The NCACPA board and leadership team continue to take advantage of the learning materials and expert coaching that DEI Navigator provides to members. Our high-value content – which includes courses, podcasts, webinars, white papers, and articles – has enabled the NCACPA team to become more knowledgeable on DEI topics and implement those learnings in their personal and professional lives.  

Other wins by the NCACPA include enhancing accessibility of its physical and digital spaces, restructuring its resource groups, adding new groups that represent a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture, and expanding volunteer opportunities. The association has also provided, through the nonprofit NC CPA Foundation, financial assistance to historically marginalized students, and created a plan to make the selection process even more equitable.

Boost productivity, build partnerships, and become a diversity champion.

Contact The Diversity Movement to find out how our customized DEI action plans and tools help you create sustainable culture change and better business outcomes.

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