Expectations have never been higher for women’s advancement in the workplace. The 2018 Accounting MOVE Project, showcases innovations that propel women to success and that inform firm leaders about related strategies for overall diversity initiatives. Approaches outlined in the report ensure that the profession’s much-needed emphasis on diversity and inclusion also furthers momentum for women.
The 2018 Accounting MOVE Project found that women comprise 25% of the management committees at participating firms—a huge advance from the 19% reported in the 2014 report. Still, progress is incremental overall, with women remaining at 24% of partners and principals at CPA firms.
Insights from the report include:
- A philosophy of aligning wins for women with wins for leaders and for firms overall creates common ground for shared wins.
- Firm aspirations are set by top leaders but middle managers actually convert to culture change
- Men add invaluable insight as women’s initiatives sharpen their focus on barriers unique to women.
- When men ask that programs designed for women be opened to them, too, firms have a chance to reinforce the unique value of women’s programs and to explore what the women’s programs are doing that overall training programs are not.
- Women’s initiatives inform umbrella diversity and inclusion initiatives with proven logistical models and by illustrating the lasting importance of personal stories that inspire and inform rising women.
The Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance has released the Best CPA Firms for Women list and the Best Firms for Equity Leadership List, based on the 2018 Accounting MOVE Project report.
2018 Best CPA Firms for Women
The Best CPA Firms for Women list is based on each year’s MOVE results. The 12 firms named to the Best Accounting Firms for Women list demonstrate three characteristics:
- Consistent, measurable progress in advancing women to leadership.
- Proven and continually evolving programs that retain and advance women.
- Clear and compelling integration of the business case for advancing women with business results.
BPM (San Francisco)
The firm’s diverse women partners realize and capitalize on their abilities to bring in new clients, which has resulted in a burst of revenue from its recently promoted women.
Brown Smith Wallace (St. Louis)
The firm assigns performance managers to work with younger employees to craft personalized career advancement strategies that provide guidance during early career decisions and their ramifications.
Clark Nuber PS (Bellevue, Wash.)
With 47.5% women shareholders as proof of its success, the firm’s monthly feedback meetings emphasize accomplishments in real time, not just annually, so employees see immediate results of and from their actions.
CohnReznick LLP (New York)
The established success of the firm’s WomenCAN efforts are being leveraged to mentor leaders of its new diversity and inclusion councils.
Kerkering, Barberio & Co. (Sarasota, Fla.)
Flexibility is a core part of the firm’s culture with 23% of employees on a flexible work arrangement, ranging from reduced hours, flexible hours or remote work.
Lurie LLP (Minneapolis)
Even as the firm builds on programs that help millennials envision themselves as firm owners, Lurie is continually examining drivers of success so it can define advancement in terms broader than titles.
MCM CPAs and Advisors (Louisville)
The firm’s upcoming all-firm women’s conference adds to its commitment to women’s growth within the firm by creating opportunities to network, learn, and spend time with one another; MCM is also focused on allying with other women’s business groups as part of its new-market strategy as it expands regionally.
Moss Adams (Seattle)
Detecting and resolving small barriers to women’s advancement adds up to accelerated retention and promotions, and delivers on this firm’s “long game” vision for advancing women internally and in its community.
Novogradac & Company LLP (San Francisco)
Success here is driven by metrics…and metrics are driven by experiments with career paths, flexibility, and business development; Novogradac doesn’t shy away from setting precedents with alternative career paths.
Plante Moran (Southfield, Mich.)
Persistence is paying off as the firm’s long-established Women In Leadership (WIL) program is raising its profile with major events as well as integrating learnings and concepts into the firm’s core training programs.
Rehmann (Troy, Mich.)
Business development is about more than golf and other traditionally male-focused activities, and the firm’s women’s initiative catalyzes conversations that directly drive new approaches by women for business development.
The Bonadio Group (Pittsford, NY)
With 38% female partners and principals and 50% of the new 2018 partners female, the firm continues to focus on a strong pipeline by including senior level employees in its leadership development training program.
2018 Best CPA Firms for Equity Leadership
The Best CPA Firms for Equity Leadership list is also based on MOVE survey results and recognizes firms with at least 50 employees, where women comprise at least 33% of partners and principals., as 33% is widely recognized as the tipping point for members of any identity group to have individual impact. The Equity Leadership list recognizes firms that have achieve that milestone through any combination of culture, programs or initiatives.
Raffa, P.C. (Washington D.C.) 63.2% women partners and principals
With over 70% of its entire staff comprised of diverse employees, Raffa stokes the momentum with integrated flexibility and development programs, including an option for staff to mentor rising women leaders in other countries.
Kerkering, Barberio & Co. (Sarasota, Fla.) *Also a Best CPA Firm for Women, 60% women partners and principals
KWC CPAs (Alexandria, VA) 60% women partners and principals
To continue helping support women in their careers, the firm’s newly formed women’s initiative plans to include many networking opportunities with local women owned business to help younger women in the firm learn business development skills while also bringing new clients to the firm.
HBE LLP (Lincoln, Neb.) 50% women partners and principals
Every Fall, employees prepare for the coming year by committing to planned hours and an ideal schedule for them, which means every employee has the opportunity for flexibility; This has helped lead HBE to a 50% female partner rate and new fathers and mothers setting up second workstations at home in preparation for busy season.
Johanson & Yau (San Jose, Calif.) 50% women partners and principals
The firm designs innovative HR practices to attract and embrace all of the diversity that’s found in Silicon Valley to create a unique culture that has resulted in 50% female partners.
Clark Nuber PS (Bellevue, Wash.) *Also a Best CPA Firm for Women, 47.5% women shareholders
Hood & Strong LLP (San Francisco) 40% women partners and principals
Hood & Strong crafts remote work arrangements, especially in its growing tech practice, to attract and retain employees, both on the accounting side as well as hard-to-find tech talent.
MCM CPAs and Advisors (Louisville) *Also a Best CPA Firm for Women, 39.7% women partners and principals
Frazier & Deeter (Atlanta) 38% women partners
By having lower charge hour expectations for professionals, Frazier & Deeter encourages our people to balance all aspects of their lives while still growing the firm.
The Bonadio Group (Pittsford, NY) *Also a Best CPA Firm for Women, 37.6% women partners and principals
Brown Smith Wallace (St. Louis) *Also a Best CPA Firm for Women, 36.2% women partners and principals
BeachFleischman (Tucson) 33.3% women partners and principals
Rising women can pursue career-enhancing community leadership at a wide range of regional nonprofits thanks to the firm’s sponsorship of women’s business groups.
Lurie LLP (Minneapolis) *Also a Best CPA Firm for Women, 33.3% women partners and principals
OUM (San Francisco) 33% women partners only
Formalizing the firms flexible work policy, adopting unlimited PTO and starting a women’s initiative keep OUM with a strong pipeline of women at all levels.
Registration for the 2019 Accounting MOVE Project will open in August. Additional details are at www.wilson-taylorassoc.com. Firms of all sizes are invited and encouraged to participate.