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A Guide To Form 990 For Tax-Exempt Organizations

What is Form 990? Although many nonprofit organizations are exempt from paying federal taxes, the IRS requires tax-exempt organizations to file Form 990 for informational purposes. The IRS uses this informational return to determine whether you're still exempt from...

5 Critical Tax Tips For Nonprofits in 2019

No one enjoys filing taxes, but it can be especially problematic for nonprofits. Many nonprofits focus on their cause so much that they neglect proper organization. As a result, they deal with disorganized records and systems, and a lack of clarity around tax issues....

THE SMART BUSINESS OWNER’S LIST OF TAX DEDUCTIONS

For a business owner, taxes can be overwhelming and cumbersome. Tax deductions allow you to save thousands of dollars each year on your taxes and make tax filing a much more bearable experience. In this post, we'll list some of the tax deductions you can use to...

The Smart Business Owner’s List Of Tax Credits

One of the best ways to cut costs as a business owner is to take advantage of all the tax deductions and tax credits for which you're eligible. As a business owner, you're concerned with the bottom line--increasing your net profits. That probably means you spend most...

PRESS RELEASE: Cassidy Jakovickas, CPA of Fresno, CA Appointed to Intuit’s Accountant Council

Select Panel Advises on Products and Services that Accountants and Their Clients Want Most             FRESNO, CALIFORNIA – June 4, 2019 –Today, Intuit, Inc (Nasdaq: INTU) announced that Cassidy...

Beyond The Numbers: What We’ve Been Reading

Although our team loves using numbers and spreadsheets to help our clients make the best financial decisions, we also enjoy reading great books. Staying well read on both fiction and non-fiction books helps us hone our imagination and introduces us to new, sometimes...

Looking Back At April

It’s hard to believe that we’re at the end of April, but it’s true! This month, we helped our clients wrap up another great (and busy) tax season. There was, as always, a lot of paperwork, emails, and nail-biting involved in the days preceding April 15, but that’s all...

5 Last-Minute Tips For Filing Taxes in 2019

Well, April 15 is almost here, and the tax-related panic is thick. If you haven’t filed your 2018 tax paperwork and are rushing to get your taxes in by the deadline, we’ve decided to give you some last-minute tax advice that will hopefully help ease your stress....

An Introduction To Cybersecurity for Business Owners

Keeping your sensitive business and customer data secure has never been more critical. Whether you are a small business or a national corporation, you can't relax your defenses against those criminals seeking to take advantage of lazy cybersecurity policies. Virtually...

March News Roundup

Wow! It seems like we just started March and we’re already moving into April! As we move into the final stretch of tax season, we’re recapping this month’s news for you, just in case you missed it amid the tax-related hubbub. MBS Accountancy: November Review This...

Celebrating Mary T. Washington: America’s First Black Woman CPA

Reading Time: 3 minutes

When Americans celebrate black history month, we often remember great artists, singers, and musicians who created a brand new, uniquely American culture. However, let’s also remember those black Americans who paved the way for future black generations in the fields of law, medicine, business, and finance. Today, we remember Mary T. Washington, a woman who in spite of all obstacles became the country’s first black female certified public accountant.

Washington began her career way back in the 1920s, a decade that was a turning point in black American history. Black men who had sacrificed so much for their country returned from World War I only to be told to go back to the subservient life they had left behind. Instead of obediently complying, African Americans fought back by proudly embracing their heritage, forging their own culture, and fighting hard for equal rights.

The postwar years brought along the Harlem Renaissance, the birth of a new black American culture, but it was also a time when black men and women were first able to gain employment in white collar professions once only open to whites. During this time, Mary T. Washington began her career in finance as an assistant to the cashier and the vice president at Binga State Bank, a black-owned establishment in the city of Chicago.

The vice president at Binga State Bank was Arthur J. Wilson, who had the distinction of being the second black CPA in the United States. Wilson took Washington under his wing and encouraged her to pursue a career in accounting. Wilson not only faced prejudice because of her race, but also because of her sex. Women were not expected to go to college, and those who did went to women-only institutions where they pursued “suitable” careers like teaching and nursing. When Washington completed her education at Northwestern University’s School of Business in 1941, she was the only woman in her graduating class. In 1943, she passed the state of Illinois’ CPA exam and became the first black female CPA in the United States.

Mary T. Washington had a long and profitable career as a Chicago accountant. She operated her first business out of her basement, but over the years, it grew into a sizable firm. She gained prominent clients, serving many of the city’s large black businesses. Washington also had white clients, a rare occurrence for any black-owned business during that time. Even in modern northern cities like Chicago, segregation was the de facto status among residents and businesses.

In 1968, Washington partnered with a former protégé and began the firm of Washington & Pittman. In 1976, the firm took on another partner and became Washington, Pittman, and McKeever, LLC. The firm remains a widely regarded and influential institution in the city of Chicago today.

Mary T. Washington was savvy in business and generous in spirit. She paved the way for many black accountants over the years, hiring many aspiring black CPAs from across the country in order to give them the experience they needed to earn their accounting certificates. Washington demanded excellence from her mentees, inspiring them to become not only America’s first generations of black accountants, but the very best accountants in their field.

In Illinois today, the Mary T. Washington Wylie Internship Preparation program offers an all-expenses paid internship program for up to 25 African American and other underrepresented minority college students interested in accounting. Mary T. Washington lived a long life, passing away at the age of 99 in her beloved city of Chicago. She worked as an accountant until 1985. Her legacy lives on in the work she left behind and in the people who are working in accounting today because she gave them a chance when no one else would. Mary T. Washington was not only a successful businesswoman, but a leader who worked to make things better for future generations while building bridges between the white and black communities within her community.

As we remember Mary T. Washington, are there any community leaders from the past or present who have made a difference in your life or in the lives around you? Let’s remember to thank them for their incredible service not only this month, but all year long.

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