The National Association of Black Accountants, or NABA, Inc. is a professional accounting organization that aims to serve and represent Black accountants and CPAs and help Black professionals reach their career goals.
During Black History Month this February, Becker sat down with NABA’s Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors, Sherry Ann Mohan, CPA, to learn about NABA’s mission and how the organization is working towards increasing diversity in the accounting world.
Tell us about NABA’s mission!
The mission of NABA is to address the professional needs of its members and to build leaders that shape the future of the business through the accounting and finance professions with an unfaltering commitment to inspire the same in their successors.
A few goals of the association are to promote and develop the professional skills of our members, encourage and assist Black students entering the accounting profession, provide opportunities for members to fulfill their civic responsibilities and to promote public confidence in our members and the services they provide.
Why was NABA founded?
NABA was established to address the concerns of Blacks entering the accounting profession and to make a commitment to professional and academic excellence. Our founders understood the unique challenges and limited opportunities Blacks were facing specifically in the accounting profession where less than 1% of 100,000 of CPA in the United States were Black.
What is your role in NABA, and how does it contribute to the organization’s mission?
I am the Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors. Under the leadership of the Board Chair, I focus on strategy for NABA and serve as an advocate for the organization within my company and with other key stakeholders.
Where should Black accountants or aspiring Black accountants look for mentorship or inspiration in their careers?
Right here with NABA! At NABA, we offer many development opportunities for aspiring Black professionals in accounting, finance and other business-related fields starting very early on. Our programs cover all stages of careers and provide career exploration from high school through university to the workplace. This makes NABA a great place to network with other professionals in business and build meaningful connections. For example, our Accounting Career Awareness Program (ACAP) has a primary objective of increasing the understanding of accounting and business career opportunities among high school students.
What kinds of scholarships or opportunities does NABA offer to its members?
We offer a multitude of scholarships for our student members at the national, regional and local chapter levels. In fact, we just finished up our application process for the annual National Scholarship Program at the end of January, where we offered an average of 50 national scholarships ranging from $1,500 - $5,000 in collaboration with our corporate partners. This includes the Divine 9 organizations and others. It’s such a rewarding experience to see and hear all of the recipients’ testimonies and to see how NABA is supporting the next generation of leaders in accounting and finance.
Why should Black accounting and finance professionals join NABA?
NABA is 100% dedicated to uplifting our community and providing opportunities for Black students and professionals in accounting, finance and business-related fields. We truly lift as we climb, as our motto states! I personally have been a member of NABA for over 15 years and can truly say my involvement with NABA has provided me opportunities and connections I would not have had otherwise. As a young professional starting at a Big 4 firm, NABA provided me with a support network to successfully navigate the early stages of my career. Now, as a leader within my organization, I leverage my NABA network for topics ranging from technical guidance to mentorship.
In addition to the unparalleled network, NABA provides a steady stream of topical programming and content through venues like our Annual Convention, (which was virtual for the first time in 2020), our Spectrum Live series, and the high impact events at the local professional and student chapters.
How can students get involved with NABA? What benefits and resources are available?
I previously mentioned the ACAP program for high school students. Undergraduate and graduate students can join one of our 150 student chapters or start their own! These students get the benefit of connectivity with the local professional chapter, visits with corporate partners and participation in our annual student conferences. Our student-focused conferences are a big hit with students as they get to learn more about our corporate partners, interview for internships, and take part in training; we also let them throw in some fun activities!
Understanding that the transition from student to professional can be a challenging one, NABA offers one year of free professional membership for our graduating NABA students through our College Pipeline Initiative (CPI). We understand the importance of meaningful connections and the benefit that NABA can provide to professionals in the field, especially in those early career years.
Sherry Ann Mohan, CPA, has been a professional member of the National Association of Black Accountants, Inc. (NABA, Inc.) since 2004 and is currently serving as Vice-Chair. An active member of NABA through much of her time as a member, she has previously held leadership roles on the National Board, Eastern Region, and her local New York Chapter.
Sherry is also active in her local Long Island community into which she has extended in the NABA New York Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. She participates in outreach to local high school students interested in pursuing careers in accounting or finance-related fields via her alma mater and the NYSSCPA’s COAP program.
Sherry is a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs (“GS”) where she is the chief financial officer of the firm's Consumer business, including Marcus by Goldman Sachs and Apple Card. Before joining GS, Sherry Ann was a Senior Auditor in Ernst & Young’s NY Financial Services Office.
Sherry holds a BS degree in CPA Accounting and Finance from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business and an MBA with concentrations in Finance and Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in New York State and a member of the AICPA.