Part 3 of 10
In honor of Black History Month, NCACPA would like to celebrate the diverse individuals who contributed to the success of the accounting profession and the association. Please join us in recognizing these trailblazers through a 10-part series of posts being published throughout February.
By D. Scott Showalter, CPA, CGMA, CGFM, Immediate Past Chair, NCACPA Board
The individuals highlighted in this series of posts represent minorities and have all made significant contributions to the accounting profession during their careers despite the many challenges they faced.
I’ll introduce everyone by asking a question that describes their respective contribution. I apologize in advance for any factual inaccuracies in this article. While researching, I ran across conflicting dates and proofs, settling on the facts that seem best supported. Either way, I don’t think it distracts from their significant accomplishments.
Who was the first African American CPA in North Carolina? This individual was born in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1912. In 1933, he graduated from New York University. Due to the depression, entry-level positions in public accounting and industry were very scarce. However, he was offered an opportunity to return home to teach at Tuskegee Institute. Leaving Tuskegee, in 1937, he became the first person, of any race or gender, to receive an MBA from the University of Minnesota and was also the first African American inducted into the Beta Alpha Psi accounting fraternity. He initially planned to return to the teaching ranks; however, during the spring semester of his MBA program, the dean of Johnson C. Smith University, in Charlotte, North Carolina, offered him a job as the principal accountant (e.g., controller). Ultimately, becoming the first African American to obtain the CPA designation in North Carolina (12th in the country) in 1941.
After several other jobs, and earning his doctorate from the University of Illinois in 1951, he became the first African American male CPA/Ph.D. He worked in various capacities, including executive management, with the U.S. Government Accountability Office, where he is noted for his role in the conversion of the cost accounting system for federal government agencies, and extension of the practitioner-in-residence program, establishing teaching residencies in colleges and universities across the country. Throughout his career, he served on the faculty of over 20 universities and authored over 100 articles. He was inducted into the Accounting Hall of Fame in 2019. Who is this he? His name is William “Bill” Louis Campfield.