Crossing Bridges: Inclusion in the accounting profession

Written on Jul 16, 2020

By Nicole Fracasso, OSCPA communications intern

Dr. Florence Holland, AICPA

Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance, but belonging is being asked to play your music, said Florence Holland, EdD. 

“We’re seeing that there’s representation,” she said. “Inclusion is you asking my opinion and asking for my voice to be heard at the table. That next step of belonging is that I believe that my opinion is valued.” 

Holland, the lead manager pipeline initiatives at AICPA, will kick off OSCPA’s upcoming Crossing Bridges Series along with Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, CPA, CGMA, CISA, on Aug. 13 to discuss what inclusion in the profession looks like today. 

Throughout the session, Holland will cover data and trends connected to the pipeline, retention and metrics as it relates to inclusion and belonging as well as discussing how the profession can get to where it needs to be in terms of D+I. 

One example is the number of women in leadership roles within the profession. 

“If you look at the numbers, we’re doing fairly well in terms of women related to entry into the profession and undergraduate degree obtainment,” she said. “But where you see the gap that can lead to issues of inclusion is their rise to higher levels.” 

To help women  advance within the profession, Holland emphasizes the importance of sponsorship roles. 

“We still have gaps there,” she said. “So, the big push is around what does mentorship look like for women?” 

Holland also says that when you break it down to any minority group, inclusion is ultimately making sure they belong. 

“You have brought us to the table in terms of diversity,” she said. “But is my voice being heard?” 

Moving forward, Holland wants to ensure the profession is making their D+I efforts strategic, she said. 

“I want the same amount of energy that we put into being strategic in our business line items and our business units,” she said. “The same way you bring in consultants to help you develop your overall profitability strategic plans. I want that same level of development intensity and process around diversity.” 

All in all, Holland said she’s most excited about everyone coming together to discuss D+I. 

“I’m always looking forward to talking with anyone that’s gathering around this topic,” Holland said. “It always provides for a passionate discussion because that means they have identified they want to be a part of the solution.” 

To learn more from Holland, register for OSCPA’s Crossing Bridges Series on Aug. 13. 

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