As a CPA firm owner, you have to ensure that women see a path forward for themselves or various examples of other women who have made it to the top level in the firm. Learn about inclusion in BPO accounting services:
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Women in Boardroom:  What their inclusion brings to the Accounting Industry

Women in Boardroom: What their inclusion brings to the Accounting Industry

Posted by  on 31 January, 2020   5 minute read

Companies, irrespective of sector or size, are increasingly onboarding more women in the C-suite and into leadership positions than ever before.

Increased diversity augments an organization’s decision making, improves the bottom line, and embellishes the organization’s culture as a whole. A recent McKinsey report affirms that the percentage of women has risen to 44% in 2019, from 29% in 2015.

Despite all the advancements being made in various fields, women occupy only a tiny percentage of boardroom seats. In an attempt to bridge this wide gap of gender inclusivity, corporations and agencies in the USA have introduced various reforms.

 Let us have a quick look at the state-wise policies implemented:

 1. California

California became the first state in the USA to mandate a specific number of female directors on the boards of public companies. The bill, passed in September 2018, requires that public companies include at least one woman on its board by December 2019. Additionally, the law states that companies that fail to meet this requirement will face a financial penalty.

 2. Maryland

The General Assembly of Maryland requires every nonprofit, privately held, and publicly-traded company to include 30 percent of female directors by December 2021.

 3. Massachusetts

The state requires all public companies headquartered in Massachusetts to have a minimum of one female director on the board by 2021. And going further, by the year 2023, companies with six directors or more on the company board would be required to have at least three female directors.

4.New Jersey 

The state of New Jersey introduced a bill in January 2019, which requires all public companies headquartered in New Jersey to have a minimum of three women on the board by the year 2021.

5. Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s General Assembly proposed gender balance across organizations by passing a bill that required public, nonprofit, and private companies to appoint 30 percent female representation on boards by 2020.

 

Inclusion in the accounting industry: An overview

Speaking of the accounting world, inclusivity is a significant obstacle for women in the boardroom in the said domain. Women fill only 22% of partner slots, as per a 2017 AICPA reportabout gender dynamics. Smaller accounting firms are doing better when it comes to “women in the boardroom.”

To grow and succeed as a CPA firm, you need to recognize diversity and include it throughout the company. Here is how you can ensure that:

1. Know the numbers 

Ask yourself key questions such as:

 

  • “Is my CPA firm hiring equal numbers of men and women?”
  • “When do the women in my firm start dropping out of the career ladder?”

 

Once you know the answers, you will be in a better place to make a policy to include women in leadership roles.

In BPO accounting services, diversity in the workplace offers an opportunity to create a cultural fit between the clients and outsourced accountants.

2. Know the reason

If you are including women just for the optics, it won’t yield long-lasting results. Therefore, you need to know why it is crucial to make gender equality in the boardroom a priority before rolling out any formal schemes and policies.

The reasons for the same could be many. It could be needed to retain a satisfied workforce or to attract clients who expect accounting firms to move forward with time. Think about your reasons!

Diversity minimizes employee turnover and absenteeism in BPO accounting services, which means outsourced accountants are engaged with a client for a longer period of time.

3. Discuss succession planning

Thinking about who your firm’s future leaders is necessary. That will give you the time to consider each one of your top leaders - irrespective of their gender. Moreover, it can help you understand if your employees are getting the right exposure needed to climb the corporate ladder and succeed.

Diversity in the workplace improves performance in BPO accounting services. When there are equal opportunities for everyone, the outsourced accountants can work better.

4. Think beyond “work-life balance 

Many CPA firms think that if they have flexible work arrangements, they have done enough to support women. Of course, that is important, but it is nowhere enough. You have to ensure that women see a path forward for themselves or various examples of other women who have made it to the big in the firm.

Roll out active sponsorship programs to help both male and female CPAs to advance in their respective careers equally. That can help you bring the top employees, irrespective of gender, into the limelight.

Diversity drives innovation in the BPO accounting services, enabling outsourced accountants to come up with compelling ideas that can make the workflows better.

Three reasons why you should include women in leadership

1. They make great mentors 

Women leaders are better at guiding young employees than men. Here’s proof. By having more women in the boardroom, you are setting them up as brilliant mentors for the next generation of both young women and men.

2. They are brilliant negotiators

Do you know women in the Senate are better at working with people with different viewpoints to get things done? It is true. When it comes to negotiating in high-stakes situations, women are generally far more effective at closing deals than their male counterparts.

Studies prove that having women in decision making roles at the board level can produce progressive results for the company.

3. They help close the pay gap 

It is no secret that women make 77.9 cents per dollar that men earn. However, one of the reasons why this gap occurs is when men are offered more opportunities to advance with higher-paying leadership positions.

Therefore, when women are also recognized as partners, it is possible to close the pay gap. Moreover, according to a Pew Research survey, women in leadership roles are better at offering others fair pay and excellent benefits.

That’s beneficial for the entire organization!

Over to you

Globally speaking, the percentage of women in the workplace is less at every level. However, the disparity is more pronounced in the leadership roles. Therefore, to combat it, it is necessary to change the situation at the grass-roots level. And, the change can start with you.

Get more women CPAs onboard, train and empower them, and see what all you can achieve as diverse company.