African American Perceptions of the Accounting Profession: Assessing the Lack of Representation from the Perspective of Two-Year College Students

Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Committee Chair

Sherry Abernathy

Committee Member

John A. Nadalin

Committee Member

Kenneth Knox


The accounting profession is one of the most under-represented industries in hiring, retaining, and promoting minorities (Ross et al., 2014). The lack of representation of African Americans in the accounting profession has been reported for decades (Harris et al., 2020). Using a quantitative approach, this research study’s data reflected how the African American population affiliated with and identified to the field of accounting. This research study investigated participant perspectives on influences that hinder African Americans from entering the accounting profession. This research analyzed African American student opinions and attitudes towards student success, retention, wrap-around services (i.e., mentoring, tutoring, counseling, transportation, and other non-instructional services), and degree completion at Columbus State Community College, Columbus, Ohio. Existing literature indicated that accounting is not an active choice for many African Americans due to college readiness, peer expectations (Harris et al., 2020), family values/influences, and a general lack of understanding of the accounting field (Green et al., 2017). This research answered why African Americans are under-represented in the accounting profession by gaining insight from the perspective of current African American students pursuing an accounting associate degree and entering the accounting profession. Results indicated that a student’s gender is associated with their persistence and progression towards a degree in accounting. Student interaction with faculty and with peers were also associated with a students’ persistence and progression. Family influence and interactions, and student family backgrounds and upbringings proved to influence students striving to earn an associate degree in accounting. Lastly, African Americans' geographical background characteristics were associated with student success, sense of retention, and degree completion.