Archive for the ‘Women’ Category

Wednesday, July 8th, 2020

Women In Accounting

“If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.” – Margaret Thatcher

Here are some current stats about women in accounting from Catalyst research.

  • More than half of all accountants and auditors are women
  • Women are 61.7% of all accountants and auditors in the United States
  • Women are 50% of all full-time staff at CPA firms but make up just 27% of partners and principals.
  • The percentage of women on management committees is growing: 33% in 2019 compared to 19% in 2014.
  • Women make up nearly half of directors (41%) and senior managers (44%).

Read more here.

  • A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.
  • Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020

2020 Accounting MOVE Project

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand

Each year I look forward to the MOVE Project report.

2020 Accounting MOVE Project outlines new career paths for women opened by Firms’ expansions into new practices.

  • 48% of firms conduct internal pay equity surveys that include base pay and bonuses
  • 90% of firms, up from 71% in 2014, have partners and principals review the results of internal pay equity surveys
  • 59% of firms, up from 48% in 2019, prepare managers for pay equity discussions
  • 52% of firms rotate emerging women leaders into client-facing roles, an all-time high
  • 38% of firms offer rotations onto executive task forces, an all-time high
  • 34% of firms offer rotations into operating positions, an all-time high

Firms are growing in multiple directions. Women lead much of that growth with unexpected combinations of experience, skills and aptitude”

Here is a press release about the report and a link to where you can read it.

Women Propel Innovation & Growth in Surprising Ways at Accounting & Advisory Firms

2020 Accounting MOVE Project report reveals emerging momentum of women in driving new practice growth: AFWA releases 2020 Best CPA Firms for Women and 2020 Best CPA Firms for Equity Leadership lists

 Lexington, Ky., May 27 –

Women are leading accounting & advisory firms’ forays into new lines of business with unconventional perspectives and new approaches, according to the findings of the 2020 Accounting MOVE Project report. Among the most productive strategies driving new revenues and new career paths are:

• To seed new lines of business with first-time clients, firms need strong internal referrals, and internal referrals are a longstanding strength for women.

• Women who started boutique firms decades ago are rejoining large firms, bringing with them entrepreneurial leadership that fuels new lines of business.

• Firm women’s initiatives are invaluable sources of talent for fast-track advisory service launches that pivot on diverse perspectives and fresh approaches.

“Women are perfectly positioned to chart new ways to win new types of business, because they take encouragement and direction from incremental wins,” says Joanne Cleaver, President of Wilson-Taylor Associates, Inc., the content strategy firm that manages the Accounting MOVE Project. “In an unpredictable business environment, firms can rely on the deep loyalty that many women earn with ongoing clients, and that create footholds for new practices.”

“Collaboration, diverse perspectives, and a growth mindset are important ingredients to fueling new services and a firm’s growth. This year’s study shows many examples of how women leverage these leadership capabilities to create a competitive advantage for their firms,” says Jennifer Wyne, executive director of human resources for Moss Adams, Founding Sponsor of the Accounting MOVE Project.

“It is encouraging to see the data from firms of all sizes telling a story of women’s leadership advancement as growth creates new opportunities. At CohnReznick, we have seen this first-hand across our advisory, assurance and tax practices – both with new service lines as well as traditional practice areas. Even better: these women leaders are excelling with people development, attracting and advancing outstanding men and women in their teams,” said Risa Lavine, Principal and chief of staff at CohnReznick. CohnReznick is the National Sponsor of the Accounting MOVE Project.

The 2020 Accounting MOVE Project is available at the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance website. https://www.afwa.org/move-project/

“The findings of this year’s report solidifies that women are extending positive change into the financial workforce by creating new initiatives and client retention with creativity and leadership,” said Cindy Stanley, executive director for the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA), the association partner for the Accounting MOVE Project. “The unique perspectives and reliability of women in finance will continue to create new streams of opportunity and pave the way for progress.”

  • There is a special place in Hell for women who do not help other women.
  • Madeleine Albright

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

Why Women Leave CPA Firms

“What is not acceptable is watching talent walk out the door.” – Joey Havens 

I recently read a great article via the Journal of Accountancy by Joey Havens, Why Women Leave Firms – And What We Can Do About It. 

He tells us two troubling stories about real-life situations for female CPAs in public accounting.

Havens notes: “I’m making the decision to get up from this gut punch and work even harder to make sure we shine the light on a better path forward. I commit to help elevate our profession until we are known as a place where every individual has an equitable playing field and opportunities to pursue their full potential and dreams.”

Then he goes on to give us some steps to take to prevent women from walking out the door!

  • Many of us in this profession are clinging so tightly to working the way we always have.
  • Joey Havwens

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

Disappointed & Embarrassed

“She overcame everything that was meant to destroy her.” Sylvester McNutt III

Women have been slowly but surely gaining ground within the CPA profession. I have been very proud of associations and firms that have made the commitment to provide the leadership development assistance and other resources women need to advance in their careers. These organizations follow through on those commitments.

Then there are others. The news this week is very disheartening. I was disappointed and embarrassed for the CPA profession. I was not shocked that this happened at one of the “big” firms. But I was shocked at what was presented to a group of female executives.

It is my observation that women are a foundational piece in almost every public accounting firm. Here’s the Male/Female professional staff breakdown via the Rosenberg survey:

  • Firms over $20M: 48%/52%.
  • $10-20M firms: 45%/55%
  • $5-10M firms: 43%/57%
  • $2-5M firms: 41%/59%
  • Under $2M: 35%/65%

Here are two different news articles covering the fiasco.

Empowerment Seminar Tells women They Have Small, Pancake-Like Brains

Ernst & Young training seminar told women not to “flaunt” bodies

  • The most dangerous woman of all is the one who refuses to rely on your sword to save her because she carries her own.
  • R. H. Sin

Thursday, March 14th, 2019

Alpha Females

“In theory, Vera liked strong women, in practice, they often irritated her.” – Ann Cleaves, author of Vera series 

I read the above phrase and it stayed on my mind. I must admit that it hit home with me. I have known many very strong women over my long career. Some inspired me and some completely turned me off. Maybe you can identify with that.

As I think back, the reason that some strong women irritated me was not that they were strong. It was because they were irritating. I have known mild-manner females who have also irritated me. Such is life. There have certainly been many males, strong and mild, who have irritated me, too!

The passage and these thoughts inspired me to look a little deeper into the issue of strong females. I do believe that women in the profession of public accounting need to have strength and grit if they want to survive.

This is from the site Science of People: The term ‘alpha female’ is thrown around casually, but what does the science have to say? What is an alpha female? Here is the real definition of an alpha female, based on the latest research. The Alpha Female: 9 Ways You Can Tell Who is an Alpha Woman. 

The Nine Traits:

  1. Fearless Leadership
  2. High Emotional Intelligence
  3. Obsessive Learners
  4. Strong
  5. Are Sought Out
  6. Highly Ambitious
  7. Love Their Mommas (and Daddys)
  8. Cultivate Harmony
  9. Exceptional Confidence

Read the article and share it with other females in your firm.

  • She's proof that you can walk through hell and still be an angel.
  • R. H. Sin

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

Women in Accounting

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”
—Nora Ephron

More and more women are rising to the top in the CPA profession. They will continue to do so. How are you helping? IMG_1095

  • You had the power all along my dear.
  • Glinda the Good Witch (Wizard of Oz)

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

Top Firms For Women – 2018

“A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Each year I look forward to the release of the Accounting MOVE Report. In conjunction with the report, the names of the top accounting firms for women are also announced.

Here’s the 2018 list:

  • BPM (San Francisco)
  • Brown Smith Wallace (St. Louis)
  • Clark Nuber PS (Bellevue, Wash.)
  • CohnReznick LLP (New York)
  • Kerkering, Barberio & Co. (Sarasota, Fla.)
  • Lurie LLP (Minneapolis)
  • MCM CPAs and Advisors (Louisville, Ky.)
  • Moss Adams (Seattle)
  • Novogradac & Company LLP (San Francisco)
  • Plante Moran (Southfield, Mich.)
  • Rehmann (Troy, Mich.)
  • The Bonadio Group (Pittsford, NY)
  • When a woman is talking to you, Listen to what she says with her eyes.
  • Victor Hugo

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

Gender Study

“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.” – Malala Yousafzai

The AICPA Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee recently released the results of their 2nd annual CPA Firm Gender Study.

women-cpa-firms-gender-survey-768x493There has been little change. Women still make up less than one-quarter of partners in public accounting firms.

As usual, the smaller the firm, the more female partners.

Here’s some info from the Executive Summary but I urge you to review the entire report and share it among your partner group.

  • Partnership on average remains overwhelmingly male, with women representing only 22% of partners in CPA firms.
  • A growing percentage of women are serving as directors or non-equity partners.
  • Only 47% of firms have a formal succession planning process and only 2% include a formal gender component in their plans.
  • Flexible work hours are the most popular program, followed by reduced hours and telecommuting.

Women are key to succession for male partners. Make sure your firm is working on, or already has, a plan to help women (and men) to become future owners of your firm.

Here’s a link to the members of the AICPA Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee members. Maybe someone from your firm should volunteer for the committee.

  • Instead of looking at the past, I put myself ahead twenty years and try to look at what I need to do now in order to get there then.
  • Diana Ross

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

Programs to Advance Women to Leadership Roles in CPA Firms Seen as Bolstering Talent Acquisition, Survey Finds

“Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.” – Marilyn Monroe

Here’s a recent press release from the AICPA. Since “women in accounting” are very important to me, I wanted to be sure to share this with my readers. I have bolded some points that were important to me.

CHICAGO (Nov. 9, 2017) – U.S. CPA firms that use advancement programs for promoting women to leadership positions overwhelmingly view them as effective tools in recruiting and retaining talent, according to new research by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

Mentorship is by far the most popular advancement program, with 45 percent of firms using it, the 2017 CPA Firm Gender Survey found. Sponsorship, in which influential firm leaders take a more formal role in guiding promising employees to career opportunities, professional development and promotions, is used by 12 percent of firms.

“There are two important takeaways here: 1) firms that use these programs have seen a beneficial impact on attracting and retaining talent,” said Melissa K. Hooley, CPA, CGMA, chair of the AICPA Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee. “And 2) firms that are taking active steps to promote women and minorities likely will have a competitive advantage when it comes to securing talent.”

Advancement Program

Percentage of Firms Using It

Of That Group, Those Who Say It Has an Impact on Attracting or Retaining Talent

Mentoring

45%

87%

Sponsorship

12%

97%

Gender Initiative

11%

85%

Minority Initiative

2%

90%

Combined Diversity & Inclusion

6%

90%

Women comprise nearly half of all accounting graduates entering the profession, but remain underrepresented at the partnership level and other leadership positions. The survey shows little change in this area from studies done in years past, which have typically found less than one-quarter of the partnership ranks made up of women. As was the case two years ago – the last time the CPA Firm Gender Survey was conducted – the percentage of women partners was found to be highest at smaller firms.

Firm Size

Percentage of Women Partners

Two to 10 CPAs

42% (43%*)

11 to 20 CPAs

30% (39%)

21 to 99 CPAs

26% (27%)

100+ CPAs

21% (20%)

*Results in parentheses from 2015 CPA Firm Gender Survey

Among other findings of the survey:

  • An analysis of job titles found that women maintained parity or better with men in CPA firms through the senior manager level, after which the ratio declines
  • The larger the firm, the greater the gender gap in equity ownership
  • Only 47 percent of firms have a succession plan and only two percent have a formal gender component in those plans
  • Some 89 percent of firms say they have instituted some form of modified work arrangements, with flextime and reduced hours being the most prevalent

Survey methodology:  The CPA Firm Gender Survey was conducted online by MKTG Incorporated for the AICPA’s Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee from Aug. 3 to Sept. 11, 2017. Some 492 qualified respondents, drawn from CPA firms of varying sizes and regions within the United States, participated.

For more information about gender initiatives and other resources, visit aicpa.org/womenlead.

  • Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, “She doesn’t have what it takes.” They will say, “Women don’t have what it takes”
  • Clare Boothe Luce

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

Be a Proactive Advisor

“Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your project or service, and that bring friends with them.” – W. Edwards Deming

Thanks so much to SageWorks for sponsoring my webinar yesterday: Women in Accounting – Thriving now and into the future and thanks to the hundreds of people who joined in. You are probably using ProfitCents in your accounting practice, if not, check it out.

At the end of my presentation, Colin Tierney of SageWorks shared some interesting points. I wanted to share some of them with you:

  • 25-40% of new business generated by top CPA firms comes from cross-selling to existing clients
  • 75% have changed firms because their CPAs are providing reactive services rather than proactive advice
  • 80% of the accounting market sees an immediate demand for advisory

I hope these numbers inspire you. Profession leaders are urging CPAs to move toward more advisory services. You are “the most trusted advisor.” Capitalize on that fact. Don’t compete on the price of your compliance services. Be more proactive and help your clients become more profitable.

  • Many receive advice, only the wise profit from it.
  • Harper Lee