According to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor, 70 percent of women with children under the age of 18 are part of the work force. Just like many working parents, I struggled trying to balance the demands of work and home life. That’s why working on a reduced schedule for part of my career was so beneficial.
When I had my first child in 1986, I was a manager in the tax department at Deloitte Tax LLP in Detroit. Through the flexibility options available, I returned from maternity leave and began working a 60 percent schedule. I even rose to a leadership position doing so. The experience was so valuable. It allowed me to be the kind of mother I wanted to be, while also giving me the opportunity to build my career. Here are some tips for talking to your employer about a flexible schedule and maintaining professional success:
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Women’s History Month is a great time to take inspiration from the achievements of outstanding women, and a chance to check in on your own goals. Are you aiming for advancement and trying to decide the best ways to get there? These are some steps you can take to enhance your prospects for getting ahead.
- Set yourself apart. What does your organization need? Someone to spearhead cybersecurity efforts or to develop a strategy for addressing the impact of blockchain technology? A professional with expertise or a strong interest in a new and promising service area? Becoming the go-to expert in a hot topic area can raise your visibility and put you in a better position to be considered for new roles or leadership opportunities.
- Get on track with mentoring. Need an objective source for advice and career insights? Be sure to take advantage of any mentoring options inside and outside your company (these free mentoring and networking resources will give you some pointers). Once you have some experience under your belt, it’s also a good idea to offer to become a mentor to a less seasoned professional. It can be a satisfying and educational experience. It also helps you learn and demonstrate leadership skills that will benefit you as you move up the management ladder.
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While preparing to host a webcast on women and money for a client company recently, I was asked why I thought we needed to have a separate webcast just for women – doesn't money work the same way for everyone?
The fact is that yes, money is money. But the way we relate to money, combined with differing life expectancies and career factors, means that we need to approach the "why" behind exercising healthy financial behaviors a little differently.
While everyone has questions about money, here are 3 common questions that I hear from women clients, and how I typically advise them to approach those concerns. What better day to think about this than on International Women’s Day?
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For decades, women and men have been entering the accounting profession in equal numbers. As a result, you might reasonably assume that women are now at or near parity with men at the leadership level. However, that assumption would be wrong. Only 24% of CPA firm partners are women, according to AICPA statistics. Another recent study found that only 17% of audit partners are women. If these qualified professionals aren’t reaching the top levels, firms are clearly missing out on a lot of talent.
The AICPA Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee’s (WIEC) CPA Firm Gender Survey, first distributed in 2015, is designed to identify trends in women’s leadership over time. It informs practical solutions for firms that want to make the most of their talent and prevent the loss of leadership potential. The results provide a unique spotlight on trends related to diversity in leadership and suggest solutions on how best to address them. As we launch the second iteration of the survey this year, I’m reminded of a few of the many valuable insights that the last survey revealed, along with some of the questions firms might want to ask themselves in light of those findings. The lessons learned—and the value and perspective they can offer to CPA firms—underscore the benefits of participating in the survey. Outlined below are a few key takeaways from the inaugural CPA Firm Gender Survey.
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My first job out of college was the best and worst experience of my life, and it taught me a lot about leadership. I started my career at Target, and because I had studied business, they had me running an area with five people reporting to me. My staff ranged from workers with little apparent interest in their jobs, to team leaders who were reporting to me. The challenges of running such a varied team can be overwhelming, but the job also gave me a tremendous range of responsibilities and leadership experiences, forcing me to learn quickly and be decisive. In the end, it was a good first job that certainly stretched me and helped me see that I could be a successful leader.
Taking the reins of leadership can be daunting, but along the way I have learned a number of useful lessons for current and aspiring leaders.
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