Accounting MOVE Project spotlights female leadership at firms

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The Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance and its Accounting MOVE Project released their annual report Thursday on female leadership and gender equity at CPA firms.

The report, titled Expanded Vision, Rising Results: Experience and Evolving Expectations Propel Pipeline Progress, included the most recent findings on female leadership and diversity initiatives in accounting firms across the country. As part of the report, the MOVE Project also included both a 2018 Best CPA Firms for Women list and a 2018 Best Firms for Equity Leadership list.

MOVE (Money; Opportunity, Vital supports, and Entrepreneurship), sponsored by CohnReznick, Moss Adams, and other participating firms, focuses on the advancement of female leaders as a top issue this year. As the report noted, "[t]he problem isn't starting change. The problem is making change stick."

“This year’s MOVE theme highlights how complex it can be for women to advance to the highest levels within an organization,” said Jennifer Wyne, executive director of human resources for Moss Adams, in a statement. “Many factors influence the trajectory of a woman’s career. To be successful and to see continued progress, we need to be intentional and systematic on our approach to developing and advancing women.”

“As with anything in business, we must evaluate, adapt, and evolve to ensure continued success," stated Cindy Stanley, executive director of the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance. "This holds true for women’s initiatives. This year’s Accounting MOVE Project demonstrates how far women have come in the industry, but also expresses the need to keep pushing forward. "And while the report takes a look specifically inside accounting firms, the practices discussed are relevant for any organization who values the advancement of women, including AFWA.”

Notable figures from the report include:

  • 38 percent of participating firms review pay equity by race and gender;
  • 78 percent of firms offer formal performance coaching;
  • 38 percent of firms ensure rising women are assigned client-facing roles;
  • 44 percent of firms have formal succession plans in place.

The 2018 Accounting MOVE results were based on survey results from 45 participating firms, consisting of 31,533 employees in all, polled between November 2017 and March 2018.

Released alongside the report, the 2018 Best CPA Firms for Women list, sponsored by AFWA, used MOVE polling results. The dozen firms named to the list were all said to have, "consistent, measurable progress in advancing women to leadership; proven and continually evolving programs that retain and advance women; [and] clear and compelling integration of the business case for advancing women with business results." The firms, in alphabetical order, are:

  • 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)

Similarly, the report's 2018 Best CPA Firms for Equity Leadership highlighted firms with at least 50 staff members where women make up at least at least 33 percent of partners and principals. Top firms include:

  • Raffa, P.C. (Washington, D.C.) - 63 percent women partners and principals
  • Kerkering, Barberio & Co. (Sarasota, Fla.) - 60 percent women partners and principals
  • KWC CPAs (Alexandria, Va.) - 60 percent women partners and principals
  • HBE LLP (Lincoln, Neb.) - 50 percent women partners and principals
  • Johanson & Yau (San Jose, Calif.) 50 percent women partners and principals

For the full report, head to AFWA's site here.

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Gender issues Diversity and equality