The Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance and Accounting MOVE Project have released their Best Firms for Women list and while some names might prompt a hearty who?? from the audience, still others are familiar names known for their women-friendly culture.
What does it mean to be a best firm for women in the year 2023 anyway? From the list’s press release [PDF]:
In the 2023 Accounting MOVE Project report, released today, a talent-starved profession receives a fresh influx of strategies and inspiration for investing in the women it must attract and retain to achieve short goals and survive long-term. With nearly 75% of accounting firm leaders eligible for retirement, and accounting degree college enrollment continuing to drop, the profession is at a crossroads. It is more important than ever for firms to find ways to attract and retain employees to not only meet increasing client needs, but to simply survive. So, what are firms that are outpacing the industry doing differently?
Didn’t we just ask that?
The Accounting MOVE Project report finds firms embracing the new super skill of career sustainability are rising to the occasion. For women, career sustainability addresses the capacity to maintain motivation and energy at every step, while rebalancing the personal and professional with each engagement. For firms, it engenders a leadership culture, defining new capabilities, qualifications, and measurements for unmapped growth. And for both, this super skill is the ability to “skate to where the puck is” on slanted ice through upended physics. Through it all, mutual respect and collaboration remains paramount, the inescapable legacy of the workplace upheaval brought on by the pandemic.
“This super skill is the ability to ‘skate to where the puck is’ on slanted ice through upended physics” is both unreasonably dramatic yet such a beautiful way to describe a profession suffering under the weight of its self-induced talent shortage and increasing regulatory burden.
To get on the list a firm must have a proportionate number of women in leadership roles and score highly on MOVE’s qualitative scorecard. Those factors are:
M – Money: Pay equity programs, analysis and measurement. MOVE is not a salary survey but does examine how employers hold managers accountable for pay equity, and how employers address equity gaps.
O – Opportunity: Leadership, management and technical training and development, especially operating positions that involve profit and loss responsibility which are key for rising to top leadership.
V – Vital supports for work/life: Flexible work practices are only effective when they drive business results. MOVE examines not just the existence of programs such as telecommuting, wellness and dependent care benefits, but also how they directly support productivity and business results.
E – Entrepreneurship: Hands-on business development and supplier diversity demonstrate a company’s investment in the business-building skills of its women employees and partners.
Firms pay up to $5,800 for a MOVE scorecard which includes interviews with leadership and an independent review by MOVE. More on the methodology here.
And finally, the list in alphabetical order:
- Abbott, Stringham & Lynch
- Armanino [Armanino issued their own press release about this honor]
- BeachFleischman PLLC
- Bland & Associates, P.C.
- BPM LLP
- Clark Nuber
- Councilor, Buchanan & Mitchell, PC
- Eide Bailly
- James Moore & Co.
- Johanson & Yau
- Moss Adams
- Rehmann LLC
- RoseRyan, a ZRG Company [oh look, another press release]
- The Bonadio Group
Obligatory comments from the AFWA: “When options abound, women want to work for firms that appreciate their talents and give them opportunities to advance at a pace that fits with the rest of their lives. That’s why programs like the Accounting MOVE Project are so important to identify firms that have a
history of women in leadership and offer flexible career options,” said Cindy Stanley, Executive Director of the Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance.
“When the 2023 Nobel prize in economics is awarded to a historian for her work unmasking the ingrained imbalance in wages and opportunities between men and women, we are in good company,” said Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk, Accounting MOVE Project president. “We are committed to identifying and sharing best practices so the profession as a whole can become more equitable and attract a more diverse slate of leaders.”
For more, check out the 2023 Accounting MOVE Project report [PDF].