Celebrating International Women’s Day: Inspiration for Women in the Profession
Today, the world celebrates International Women’s Day. Though the day’s theme was recognized as early as 1909, it wasn’t until 1977 that the United Nations General Assembly asked member countries to proclaim March 8 of every year as the official day to celebrate women around the world. This year the UN theme is, “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.”
That “50-50” is packed with advantages. In 2015, a McKinsey Global Institute report concluded that $12 trillion could be added to the global gross domestic product if countries work to bridge gaps between men and women in the work world—and that’s just if all countries were to perform as well in making strides as the most progressive countries in their regions. In a best-case scenario, in which women and men achieve true parity in the work place internationally, the potential rises to $28 trillion. With this kind of upside, it’s plain to see why leaders around the world have a keen interest in advancing women in the workplace, and driving for greater workplace equality.
This year’s theme is of particular interest in the accounting profession. Women have played a critical role in the changes occurring in the profession. With that in mind, we solicited comments from women in the profession. They are meant to inspire and motivate women to enter accounting; but even if you are already in the profession, you might take inspiration from some of these words of wisdom.
Elizabeth J. Moffett, CPA: “There are NO limits for women in public accounting. And this career is very suitable for women at all stages of their lives, giving them the ability to balance their life plans with professional careers. It is also appropriate for women who are late starters to this career.”
Annette Nellen, CPA, CGMA, Esq. and chair of the AICPA Tax Executive Committee: “Be bold for pursuing a career in tax accounting! The tax field is a great place for wise, critical thinkers, whom are attentive to detail, able to explain complex concepts, and willing to take leadership roles to help improve the tax system and help emerging accountants enter and succeed in the field.”
Annmarie Maynard CPA, CGMA: “Women need to support women. It's a tough world out there for women to get ahead, and clawing your way to the top over other women is only playing the short game. Find one woman who you can mentor and pay it forward. Because some day that woman... may be your daughter.”
Alana Best, Macc: “Go after your goal with everything you have, be tenacious and driven. Start the degree and keep at it until you are done. It took me 20 years to complete my MAcc because life got in the way, I finished it in September and that felt amazing!
Most of all, believe in your abilities and surround yourself with others who support your goals. I am finally a CPA Candidate and if that's what you want, you will get there too! Good luck! Just keep moving forward!”
Holly Kelley, CPA: “I have enjoyed amazing flexibility in my accounting career that has allowed me to be part time while my children were young and then reenter the work force full time at a position above where I left off.”
Cari Weston, CPA, CGMA and the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants Director, Tax Practice and Ethics-Public Accounting: “Accounting is a broad field filled with opportunity. It suits every personality, every talent set and every person who has the curiosity, intellect and drive required of today’s accountants. For women, the advantages are clear: innumerable opportunities for learning and advancement, excellent salary prospects, and the lure of a range of specializations that cater to your particular skillset. The time has never been better to be a woman in the accounting profession!”
Melody Thornton, CPA: “The great thing about being a CPA is that there isn't just one path. There are great benefits and opportunities for those who start with the Big 4. There are equal but different, incredible opportunities for those who don't go with the Big 4. You can go anywhere and do anything better when you start with a CPA. Plus, it allows flexibility because many of the career paths allow you to work odd hours.”
The AICPA heartily supports workplace diversity and inclusion. Women’s issues are addressed through our Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee (WIEC), whose mission is to promote and support the success of women for the broader purpose of sustaining the profession by creating an inclusive environment and increasing talent engagement and leadership opportunities for women.
Group of women image courtesy of Shutterstock.