Only 46 percent of corporate tax professionals consider diversity and inclusion to be important, according to a new survey.

The survey of more than 400 tax and accounting professionals by Bloomberg Tax surveyed people who work at both accounting firms and corporate tax and accounting departments. A 76 percent majority of corporate accounting department respondents consider diversity and inclusion as important to their departments, but only 46 percent of tax department respondents felt that way. The difference also showed up when it came to selecting an accounting firm as a vendor. Only 35 percent of corporate tax department respondents consider diversity and inclusion to be an important factor in the decision, compared to 67 percent of accounting department respondents.

At accounting firms, diversity and inclusion appeared to be more of priority when it came to hiring decisions among those in a position to hire others. While 86 percent of hiring managers in accounting firms rate overall diversity efforts highly, but only 46 percent of those not responsible for hiring feel similarly.

The survey results also indicated a far bigger focus on diversity and inclusion in hiring and recruiting than on retention and professional development. While 81 percent of corporate tax and accounting departments have diversity and inclusion initiatives pertaining to hiring, just 47 percent have similar efforts related to retention. For accounting firms, those numbers are 74 percent and 58 percent, respectively. Half the tax departments surveyed (51 percent) said their primary challenge in advancing diversity and inclusion is a limited pipeline of top talent, compared to 40 percent of accounting respondents.

“The survey revealed different perspectives on diversity and inclusion between high-level managers and lower-level managers and staff, which underscores the need and opportunity for organizations to engage with their employees and do as much as possible to retain their talent,” said Bloomberg Tax vice president and general manager Lisa Fitzpatrick in a statement. “And given the challenges associated with building a pipeline of diverse talent for the tax and accounting profession, we will be continuing to monitor and report on this issue through our news coverage and industry research.”

Diversity and inclusion in accounting and tax

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