More than 40 years ago, the AICPA recognized the need to support people of color within the CPA profession. The AICPA launched the Minority Initiatives Committee and began a minority accounting scholarship program. Among the many accomplishments during this time are: scholarships for minority accounting students, fellowships for minority doctoral students and the Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop.
What are the consequences if organizations aren’t making the most of up to half of their potential talent? Unfortunately, that’s the case in many firms, according to recent AICPA trends data, which found that the percentage of women in leadership positions in the profession has actually dropped from 23% in 2010 to 19% today. As you can imagine, this trend was a hot topic of conversation at the AICPA Women’s Global Leadership Summit, which was held in Washington D.C. in October. Those who attended the Summit found those statistics particularly troubling because among those present were a number of very talented and vibrant women. If firms and companies are not working to create opportunities for talented women to live up to their full potential, then these organizations are missing out on a lot.
Continue reading "Women and Leadership: The Path Not Yet Taken" »
What opportunities and challenges does the head of the AICPA foresee for the CPA profession in 2014? What were the profession’s significant achievements in 2013? Barry C. Melancon, CPA, CGMA, AICPA president and CEO, answers these questions and offers insights on how the profession will continue to adapt to today’s changing environment, addressing clients’ and employer’s needs. Citing successes with regulation, legislation, recruitment and positioning the profession for the future, Barry strongly believes CPAs will build on a solid foundation.
1. What were the AICPA’s legislative or regulatory priorities this past year and what’s in store for 2014?
We continued to have success in the advocacy area in 2013. In one significant victory for the profession and the public, the Securities and Exchange Commission exempted CPAs from registration as municipal advisers when they are providing certain accounting or attest services. We urged the SEC to exempt CPAs from the definition of municipal advisers after it had indicated that anyone performing accounting services for governments would be defined as a “municipal adviser.” It was critical that our voices be heard on this issue because such a broad definition would have made it more difficult for CPAs to serve governments and potential investors without taking on unnecessary and duplicative costs or compliance burdens.
Continue reading "Q&A with Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, AICPA President & CEO" »
In my final live blog from the Women's Global Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., we look at the business of women’s initiatives and the importance of linking your efforts to strategic imperatives for alignment and buy-in. Panelists for this session, "Finding the Right Balance: A Business Case for Women in Your Organization," include:
- Michael Bach, CCDP/AP, founder and CEO, Canadian Institute of Diversity
and Inclusion, Canada
- Mary Bennett, MBA, CIA, CEC, chair of AICPA Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee,
founder, MLBennett Consulting LLC, Asheville, NC
- Todd R. Mitchell, CPA, CGMA, CEO Solutions LLC, Greer, SC
Mary Bennett is an expert in helping the
accounting industry build business-focused initiatives relative to retaining and developing
women. She has helped hundreds of firms in the U.S. and Canada to understand their
business reasons for investing in these efforts. Male and female partners and managers in
these firms come to understand the myths and misperceptions about “women’s initiatives.”
They begin to understand where the real business risks are and what their specific scenario
indicates in terms of strategy application. (Email subscribers can read the live blog on our website.)
Continue reading "A Business Case for Women in Your Organization" »
Kicking off day two of the Women's Global Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. is Edie Weiner, president of Weiner, Edrich, Brown Inc. The global economy is fundamentally changing and, with it, much of what we have learned
about the world we live in. It is difficult to escape from the mental anchors that hold us at
bay in yesterday’s world, yet as professionals, women and potential leaders, we have to
work on changing our perspectives and becoming engaged in the new opportunities and
challenges we face. Join me as I live blog today's keynote session as our resistance to change is exposed and we open up
to the world of change that is emerging. (Email subscribers can read the live blog on our website.)
Continue reading "Engage in New Opportunities and Challenges" »
Katty Kay, Lead Anchor, BBC World News America, and co-author of Womenomics: The Workplace Revolution That Will Change Your Life, is the keynote speaker for day one of the Women's Global Leadership Summit taking place Oct. 24 to 25 in Washington, D.C. I am live blogging from her keynote session, "Womenomics: A New Path to Business Success." (Email subscribers can read the live blog on our website.)
At the 2013 World Economic Forum in Davos, International Monetary Fund Chief Christine
Lagarde called the advancement of women the greatest economic opportunity of our time.
She is recognizing what Kay calls “womenomics” — the extraordinary value
of women in the workforce. Global studies show that companies that employ more senior
women make more money. They have more degrees and are ideally suited to the
demands of our talent-driven economy. But to keep them in the economy, the workplace
must adapt to their needs. Too many women in their mid-30s hit the brick wall of kids vs.
career. But we cannot afford to keep losing them. Kay marshals evidence from employers
large and small to show how possible it is to satisfy the demands of family and career.
Flexible work schedules prove to be a win-win; when companies take the clocks off the
wall and choose to measure output instead of input, they see productivity rise by an average
of 40%. What starts as talent retention becomes a profit bonus any company would be
happy to have. She gives an inspirational boost to women and a practical guide to
employers, drawing on her own juggles as the working mother of four children. This
presentation provides research- and experience-based advice to companies looking to
retain and recruit valuable female employees.
Continue reading "Katty Kay on Womenomics: Women in the Workplace" »