This year marks the 50th anniversary of Accounting Aid Society’s founding. The last half century has seen extraordinary growth within the organization as volunteers and staff have reached out to tens of thousands of individuals and small business owners to help them navigate taxes and the intricacies of entrepreneurial finance.

“We are delighted to celebrate 50 years of helping others by using taxes to promote self-sufficiency and financial strength within the communities we serve,” said Priscilla Perkins, AAS president. “We are grateful to our staff and our extraordinary volunteers for making all of this possible.”

In its first year, back in 1972, AAS volunteers helped 207 earn back $51,380 in tax refunds. Within four years, those numbers grew to nearly 2,800 people and more than $890,000 in refunds. During the 2021 tax season, Accounting Aid put over $24 million in refunds and credits back into the pockets of nearly 12,000 households in southeast Michigan – and those numbers are continuing to grow through the agency’s year-round tax program. 

The organization has been honored for its work, most recently earning Crain’s Detroit Business’s Best Managed Award in 2020 for working through the pandemic to ensure clients received the tax assistance they needed. “People were still able to get their refunds, which are critical in meeting so many household’s budgets,” said Perkins.


Accounting Aid Society founder Richard E. Schwartz, CPA (center), with treasurer James Sigouin, CPA (left), and Jack Martin (right) the agency’s first Board Chair.
Former Councilman Gil Hill, City of Detroit looks on as Marshall Hunt, former volunteer and staff member, demonstrates Accounting Aid Society’s custom software at the Butzel Family Center in 1995


The last 50 years also saw the establishment and growth of AAS’s Accounting Aid Academy, which educates, empowers and helps small business owners excel in sound financial practices. The Academy provides education in areas that support the sustainability and growth of small businesses, including record keeping and creating financial statements.

Accounting Aid Society has consistently been a thought leader in using taxes and accounting to build growth in communities. Volunteers have played an invaluable role in this growth and success and have helped build a model that is now sought out and emulated by other organizations and cities across the country.

“I am deeply proud of how this organization has continued to make a difference in the lives of people and in organizations that are the lifeblood of our communities,” says Perkins.