How to build diversity in your firm

Posted on Tuesday, March 3, 2020 by Nicole Fracasso

Diversity isn’t just a buzzword, it’s the key to success, writes Florence Holland, lead manager for pipeline initiatives at AICPA. In fact, firms in the “top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity on executive teams were 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability,” according to a study by McKinsey and Company.

Many firms still struggle when it comes to being diverse and inclusive, says Holland. In a recent article from Accounting Today, she offers three methods for accounting firms to increase diversity.

First, she says to “look at your hiring.” According to AICPA’s 2019 Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits survey, only 6% of accounting graduates were black during the 2017-2018 school year, and only 4% of graduates hired by CPA firms were black.

Next, she recommends holding difficult conversations. While some may feel uncomfortable having these discussions, any existing biases need to be addressed, even if it’s an unconscious one.

“Race and bias can be sensitive topics for many organizations, but it is impossible to address unconscious bias and racial concerns and challenges without first addressing them,” writes Holland.

Lastly, Holland says to “evaluate your current diversity efforts.” To help increase these efforts, organizations will need to track their progress. Holland suggests assessing your current diversity and inclusion efforts to identify ways you can improve.

For more advice on how to build diversity in your firm, click here to read the article in full.

And hear more from Holland at the OSCPA 2020 Crossing Bridges Summit in August, bringing great minds together to learn to navigate the complexities of diversity and inclusion. Register now

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