The AICPA has found that women more often attain partnerships within the CPA profession at smaller firms - comprised of 20 accounting professionals or less - according to new research.

The AICPA found that the highest ratio of female partners (43 percent) falls within the firm category of 2-10 CPAs, while the lowest (20 percent) is associated with the largest firms of 100-plus CPAs, the AICPA CPA Firm Gender Survey found.

"We've made great progress this year with women filling the top leadership slots at two of the Big Four firms, but there's still work to do,” stated Melissa Hooley, chair of the AICPA Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee.

Women statistically comprise nearly half of all accounting grads entering the profession, yet are regularly underrepresented at the partnership level and other leadership positions. More recently, though, 24 percent of partners at firms are women, up from 19 percent in 2012, according to the 2015 Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits report.

The Gender Survey breaks down female partnership levels by firm size thusly:

Firm Size

Percentage of Female Partners

2-10 CPAs


11-20 CPAs


21-99 CPAs


100+ CPAs



The Gender Survey was conducted online by MKTG Incorporated for the AICPA’s Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee from Aug. 18 to Sept. 6, 2015. Approximately 955 qualified respondents, polled from firms of varying sizes and regions across the United States, participated. The survey has a margin of error of plus/minus 3.4 percentage points. 

The full AICPA CPA Firm Gender Survey results can be  found here.