Pledge creates School of Accountancy fund to benefit students
Southern Illinois University Carbondale, like many institutions, has made diversity, equity, and inclusion a priority.
Beth Mueller, an SIU alumna and SIU Foundation board member, and the Deloitte Foundation, have made a financial commitment that reflects that mission.
Mueller, a Carterville native, recently made a pledge of $50,000 to the School of Accountancy, which the Deloitte Foundation will match dollar-for-dollar. Together, that $100,000 will establish the Deloitte Foundation Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Fund at the School of Accountancy.
“It’s something the Deloitte Foundation and I are enthusiastic about,” Mueller said.
The goal is to bring more diversity into the accounting profession, particularly by making it easier for students to meet the requirements to achieve CPA certification. As a tax partner at Deloitte Tax LLP, Mueller knows firsthand the importance of representation.
“Incorporating DEI into an organization’s strategy is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense,” Mueller said. “Teams made up of people with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and points of view perform better.”
Strengthening the university’s dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion is one of the five pillars of Chancellor Austin Lane’s Imagine 2030 strategic plan. The College of Business and Analytics has been a leader in this area, and this pledge embodies the necessary dedication to that goal.
“Through this fund, we want to amplify SIU’s programs,” Mueller said. “SIU is positioned to serve a diverse population of students. It’s a place that has historically given all people a chance.”
The contribution by Deloitte Foundation reflects Deloitte’s ongoing dedication to driving greater diversity in accounting. Through its $75 million MADE (Making Accounting Diverse and Equitable) commitment, Deloitte is working to fuel greater racial and ethnic diversity in accounting through a comprehensive strategy that aims to attract more diverse individuals into the field and support them as they chart their pathway from high school to business professional to leadership in the profession.
While becoming a CPA requires proven professional qualifications, such as rigorous educational, exam, and experience requirements, this fund can help students aspire to a CPA career and cultivate inclusive pipelines of CPA talent.
“Many major organizations are seeking more diversity as a way to better reflect society as a whole,” Mueller said. “The underlying challenge the profession is facing is the ability to both drive awareness and attract diverse candidates to the tax and accounting field.”
Mueller sees this fund as part of a full-circle tool that can boost existing programs, increase awareness among younger students who are interested in accountancy, and help bridge the gap for those who plan to become CPAs.
“We want to advance students of diverse backgrounds and increase their visibility across the profession,” she said. “Many groups are underrepresented in the world of accountancy, and we feel very passionately about changing that trajectory.”
For more information about the SIU Foundation and how to give, visit siuf.org.