Black History Month (Part 2):

An Inspirational Story of a Black Successful Accountant in the UK

Accountant in UK

“He was the first black man at the firm. Because he was black, they held a vote to ask all employees whether he should be allowed to work there. All the gentlemen – including some of the partners and senior staff at the time – said no, but all the ladies voted yes, so he was allowed in.” story of a Black chartered accountant in the UK – Source: ICAEW.


Black History Month: The first black chartered accountant in the UK

Donna E. Reynolds FCA, FCPA, Dip Tax was believed to be the first black chartered accountant in the UK. At the University of the West Indies, Donna is an Emeritus Professor and holds a PhD in taxation while also being a professional accountant. Reynolds has written extensively in the accountancy, taxation, and business field. The International Accounting Research Network chose her as its first-ever Black member (IARN). On the Cavehill Campus of the University of the West Indies, she was named chair and council member. She served as the Chair of the Caribbean Accounting Research Network, the President of the Caribbean Tax Institute, and the Past President of both the Caribbean Business Management Association and the Caribbean Financial Management Association.


Donna E Reynolds FCA, FCPA, Dip Tax

Donna was raised in a remote region in Central Jamaica where she was born. At the age of 11 she dropped out of school to work at her uncle’s general store, which was run by the local shopkeeper. She had a tremendous ambition to further her education, so at 16 she moved away from home and pursued an accounting profession in Kingston. When she was 19, she was hired as an accounting clerk at the West Indies Brewery Company after working as a kitchen assistant at the Sheraton Hotel.


Donald S Reynolds CA, FCPA, Dip Tax and his brother Lancelot F Reynolds

Donald S Reynolds CA, FCPA, Dip Tax, was an accountant and the Managing Director of the leading accountancy firm, Arthur Andersen (SA). In addition, he was a co-founder of the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants and was President of the Southern African Institute of Accountants. He was elected President of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) from 1974-1976. He was also elected President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) from 1979-1981.

ICAEW is a global professional body for chartered accountants which provides qualifications, knowledge and professional development into protecting the quality and integrity of the accountancy and finance profession.

He played a key role when establishing the Accounting and Finance syllabus at the University of the West Indies, where he was a Council member. He was also the Head of the Department of Accounting at the University.


Changing Attitudes in the UK Accounting World

The attitude toward accounting in the UK changed significantly over time. The accountancy profession was beginning to welcome individuals from different racial and ethnic backgrounds.


It is important to keep in mind that the first black accountant to work in the UK did so at a different time. Black individuals at that time had to put in a lot of effort to establish themselves in both their academic and professional fields as it was challenging for them to be employed in the accountancy field. There are still some individuals who think that accounting is a white man’s job and that times have not changed. However, a lot of people now believe that the accounting industry is more diverse and is open to everyone from different backgrounds.

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