Past AICPA Chair on Culture
Richard Caturano discusses culture, diversity & inclusion
RSM’s Richard Caturano recently completed a year as Chairman of the Board for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), following a year as co-chair. Having recently been named as national leader – culture, diversity and inclusion for RSM, Caturano is now laser focused on leading the firm’s initiatives on those areas.
We caught up with Caturano recently to learn about his time with the AICPA and his thoughts on diversity and inclusion – in the profession and at RSM. The interview is below. Before reading that, though, watch this brief video from the AICPA, as it provides great context for the Q&A:
Q: What has been the biggest highlight of your time with the AICPA?
A: My year as vice chairman and the past year as chairman of the AICPA has been an incredible experience. I learned more than I could have ever imagined. The highlight for me has been the many places I have visited and the incredible people I have met along my journey. We are fortunate to have so many great people in our profession.
Q: What was your biggest learning from your time with the AICPA?
A: Definitely the importance of diversity and inclusion, and in particular, why an inclusive culture is so critical to achieving diversity. When you have people from different backgrounds coming together, you hear different perspectives and think about things in new and different ways. And that leads to innovation.
Q: What was your biggest accomplishment with the AICPA?
A: Bringing the subject of diversity and inclusion to the forefront of our profession, presenting the business case and inspiring so many of the leaders in our profession to make diversity and inclusion a strategic priority.
Q: How do you plan to use the knowledge gained while with the AICPA at RSM?
A: As RSM’s newly appointed leader of culture, diversity and inclusion I plan to bring both the business imperative and the strategy of creating a stronger, more inclusive culture to our firm. If others in our firm can see what I have seen, learn what I have learned and believe that we can achieve even greater heights through increased diversity, then we will be successful in executing against our strategy. Good things are going to happen – I just know it!
Q: How will what you learned during your time with the AICPA benefit RSM’s clients?
A: Much of what I and others at RSM have learned about the future of our profession and the trends in the global business world will be of great benefit to our middle market clients. Not only will they benefit from the enhanced innovation that results from diverse thinking, but the pace of change is accelerating every day. What used to take years to change, now takes days. We can help our clients successfully navigate that fast-paced change and develop long-term strategies to capitalize on the many opportunities which the change will certainly bring to them.
Q: How did you use what you learned at RSM –and throughout your career – to benefit the AICPA and its members?
A: Besides my knowledge of the business of public accounting, the leadership skills I have developed over my career allowed me to lead the AICPA board and senior management toward successful execution of its strategy over the past year – to deal with the many curves along the way – to capitalize on the opportunities which a rapidly changing world has brought us – and to create excitement and a positive outlook for our future.
Q: You were recently named the leader for culture, diversity and inclusion at RSM. What’s the significance of that? What do you hope to accomplish in that role?
A: I look at it as a five-year plan. There is no question that we need to look more like America, and America is becoming increasingly diverse. If we elevate our goal to becoming more diverse now, we will get there in five years. Inclusiveness will be key – we have to demonstrate that diversity is welcome and embraced. Over the next year, I will lead our firm to a culture of greater inclusiveness, and we’ll continue on that journey over the coming years.
Q: Why is diversity so important for RSM – and for the accounting profession as a whole? What about our clients?
A: There are two key reasons. First, diverse workforces produce better results, better thinking, more innovative ideas and better solutions to complex challenges. That is critical in our mission to be first choice provider of assurance, tax and consulting services to middle market clients. Second, sometime over the next couple of decades, the majority of Americans will be made up of today’s minorities. Buying power and entrepreneurial capital is shifting to women and minorities at a rapid pace. Today, women make up less than 20 percent of the leadership in our profession – and in on firm. Minority leadership in the profession and in our firm is in the single digits. To effectively serve America’s middle market leaders, who for sure are not only more diverse, but more focused on diversity as an imperative, we need to look more like America, and we will.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
A: I really appreciate RSM’s leadership team for elevating the strategy of culture, diversity and inclusion. The message is clear: We are committed to making this a priority. I am thrilled to be part of our national leadership team and am confident that our firm will continue to provide our clients with the best possible assurance, tax and consulting services.