Accounting for the Future Participants Share Experience

4.28.2022 Accounting, Article, News Release, School News

Representation matters, and for many students, it is an important factor in choosing a future career path.

Undergraduate students from around the country recently participated in the inaugural Accounting for the Future program (AFTF) at Wake Forest University. Presented by the School of Business and sponsored by Deloitte, the program is dedicated to increasing diversity in the accounting field.

Twenty-eight college sophomores, juniors and seniors traveled to Wake Forest and spent Friday, April 22 – Sunday, April 24 learning more about the School of Business and accounting career opportunities.

“The program allowed us to really experience what it feels like to sit in a classroom at Wake Forest and socialize with other students who may potentially go here,” said Tah’Jenae Merchant, a public relations major at the University of Texas at Austin. “I’m excited for everything that is to come because I feel like this is a catalyst for a lot that is about to happen in my life.”

Throughout the event, students networked with Deloitte professionals and Wake Forest accounting faculty. They heard firsthand accounts about career options, why accounting matters, the future of the profession and the importance of increasing diversity and equity.

“If there is no representation and diversity within the firm, there will never be any growth,” said Michael Sterling, an undergraduate accounting major at the University of Central Florida. When exploring firms for future career opportunities, he said, it is important that the company align with his personal values.

“Feeling confident in yourself and knowing where you are is where you’re supposed to be, is what resonated the most with me during the discussions. Having the confidence and reassurance that you belong is important and valuable.”

The sponsorship by Deloitte is part of Deloitte’s Making Accounting Diverse and Equitable (MADE), a $75 million commitment to fuel greater racial and ethnic diversity in accounting and tax. MADE represents a bold vision for the accounting profession, both in terms of increasing diversity and helping students see and realize their future in business through the prism and possibilities of accounting.

“I’m proud to support this important effort to help increase diversity in our profession,” said Thalia Smith, a partner at Deloitte and partner sponsor for Deloitte’s MADE program. “The Future of Accounting, in many ways, will be defined by students like these, and how we as Corporate America and universities engage with them and provide exposure to the great career options accounting offers. Over the course of the weekend, it was wonderful to watch the student’s reaction as they heard from professionals who looked like them, and who are doing different and exciting things within accounting. It was so rewarding to see their curiosity and interest grow and my hope is that they will take what they learned here and share it with others.”

Students participated in many collaborative team-building activities, including a multimedia ethics challenge where students served as investigators and used detective skills to identify red flags. Norma Montague, Associate Professor of Accountancy and Senior Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, guided students through the exercise with the use of the Fraud Triangle, an auditing framework that uses opportunity, pressure and rationalization as key components.

“It was awesome to see the students engaging with each other in such an interactive way,” said Mark Evans, Dale K. Cline Associate Dean for Accountancy and Associate Professor of Accountancy. “The team-building activities were also a great opportunity for students to get to know each other and learn more about what it takes to succeed in accounting.”

Travel and lodging expenses for the April event were covered for all eligible students. AFTF participants who later apply and are admitted to any Wake Forest School of Business Master of Science program are guaranteed a minimum $15,000 scholarship.

WFU Contact: Danyelle Gary,, 336.582.0622