Tax season turns many individuals into novice accountants this time of the year, but for many around Whitewater it’s a full-time career.
On the UW-W campus, the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) has a chapter that works with African American students who are going into accounting fields and related careers through a variety of learning opportunities. The group works with individuals to be prepared for the future in their careers, how to be professionals, and know what it is like to work in the field they are in. They go attend regional conferences each year to learn more about the field through the professionals’ perspective, and learn how to become better in the future. And they are growing and hoping to expand with more members.
The organization is national all over the country, while the organization on campus is a chapter, which is a small part of the organization that is local for many students to join in and participate. They have a purpose to what they do with students on campus – to help them learn how to be successful, prepare for the future, and be given new opportunities.
“The National Association of Black Accountants is dedicated to bridging the gap opportunity gap for Black accountants and accounting and finance professionals. It provides us with a lot of leadership and technical training, networking opportunities and also career opportunities that are brought to the group,” said campus adviser Jaquilla Ross.
They have goals in this chapter of the organization that will always impact many students and upcoming future Black accountants. They help by showing them strategies for being successful, representing them even when they don’t have the chance and paving the way for them to become professionals.
“The organization is to prepare underrepresented minority individual students. So they are better prepared for workplaces and workplace situations where they may still be the minority, but also grasping that idea of mentorship by someone who looks like them embodies the community they meet. And also moving forward to have someone to connect to them, not on the academic overview on a personal level as well. So, they can be an all around mentor all around them. And for that individual, they can really focus on the matter of preparing students to not only get through the get to college we get through college as well and then go on to gain a career,” said Akeia Ohikhurae.
The organization can have a lasting effect on the students whether related to culture or career.
“It gives students of color their own avenue to seek out job opportunities and scholarship opportunities,” said Ross. “It’s harder to get a job and things like that when you’re competing against everyone versus where this space is provided to you. And you feel comfortable in a sense of being around other people that look like you because the bigger issue is that one of the main reasons why it exists is because there’s not a lot of Black people who are accountants.”