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Route to the Top for Black Accountants: Herschel Frierson

Herschel Frierson from Crowe LLP, talks about what helping black accountants and other minority groups advance in accounting actually looks like.

Episode 118. In today’s interview, “Route to the Top for Black Accountants: Herschel Frierson.”

Herschel Frierson is the Strategic Networks Leader and a Principal at Crowe LLP with over 26 years of experience. He is responsible for expanding the firm’s influence with network partners, including associations and creating new opportunities and deepening existing relationships. He also serves on the firm’s leadership team with the Inclusion Excellence Council which focuses on Diversity and Inclusion for the Firm. Herschel is the 27th Chairman of the Board of Directors with the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) and is a lifetime member. In 2020, he was named by Accounting Today as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting. 

Key takeaways from this episode include:

➜ why there are many opportunities for the accounting profession at this point in time

➜ the mistakes accountancy has made as a profession over the years with diversity, recruitment and retention

➜ what helping black accountants and other minority groups advance in accounting actually looks like

➜ why diversity and social injustice have become so such critical issues in recent years (driving DEI – diversity, equity and inclusion – agendas)

➜ what a lack of role models does for under-represented groups in accounting

➜ whether racism and general marginalisation of minorities is a problem in the accounting profession

➜ initial steps for accounting firms wanting to embrace a more diverse culture and push DEI

➜ questions accounting leaders can ask to drive a better DEI culture in their firms

➜ the message for under-represented professionals in accounting to get involved and be a voice for change

➜ the importance for black accountants and other minority groups in accounting to reach out and get support

➜ shout out to Professor Anton Lewis and his work on black accountants, critical race theory and DEI in accountancy (episode links below)

➜ the differences and similarities in challenges for minority groups like women, blacks, LGBTQ+, lower classes and others in accounting

➜ how Crowe as a professional accounting firm has championed DEI, even though there is always more to be done

➜ what separates the good leaders from the great ones in accounting firms and how it starts with ‘self’

➜ the importance for accountants of role models, mentors, coaches and advocates, plus people who push back against you

➜ the need to re-ignite the fire of young professionals in accounting and make the profession sexy

➜ what makes accounting the language of business and thus the gateway for opportunity in young professionals

Herschel loves to explore and use the latest gadgets and technology. He is a big movie buff and loves to travel meeting new people.

Other useful episodes on this topic:

Critical Race Theory & Black Accountants with Anton Lewis

DEI, Racism & Prejudice in Accounting: Anton Lewis


The Accounting Influencers Podcast is a CPE-accredited daily radio-style show with four segments coming out every Monday which are repeated on the other 4 weekdays as standalone episodes, plus a bonus ‘from the client’s perspective’ episode on Saturdays. On Sundays, listeners get a short min trailer for the coming week’s episodes.

Every Tuesday the show gives you a relevant news topic from the accounting and fintech world with a direct application to accountants, CPAs and bookkeepers. Great to stay informed and build your commercial acumen.

Every Wednesday and Friday, we feature an uncut interview with top authors, leaders, thinkers and performers in the accounting and fintech world.

Every Thursday the show gives you a practical ‘here’s what works’ tips concerning a key challenge, need or strategy for accountants, CPAs and bookkeepers. Great to stay current and keep your skills topped up.

Finally, every Saturday gives listeners a bonus episode which focuses on the buyers of accounting services – the clients themselves. In particular how they feel, react to and experience their interactions with accountants. That includes why they buy or don’t buy, why they move or stay and why they think how they think about you, your firm, your prices and your offerings.

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Imogen Allen