Historically, accounting firms have carried the stereotype of men's clubs - and predominantly white men's clubs, at that. There probably isn't a woman or minority CPA in public accounting who can't recall an instance of clients expressing concern over non-white, non-males being assigned to their engagement - or even asking that women or other minority members of the team be replaced.Janette Marx, senior vice president at Ajilon Finance, a financial staffing firm headquartered in Saddle Brook, N.J., recalled that when she started at Ajilon, "Companies that would call would be very discriminatory when they would give us [staffing] orders. We would have to let them know that we will always send them the best person for the job, or decide we don't want to work with that company because we're not going to discriminate."

Today, Marx said, staffing presents a different challenge. "Now we're getting companies who call and say, 'Due to my diversity requirements, I really need this ... .'" She has watched the shift over the years, "going from someone who's discriminating one way, to somebody who's really trying to make their group more diverse."

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