Published: Mar 23, 2021
Increasing diversity for women and implementing benefits that help women build their careers has been a focus of the accounting industry for many years. Top accounting firms have long been leaders when it comes to generous maternity leave policies, flexible schedule policies, and work-from-home options. So, today, in honor of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting some of the top accounting firms for women, along with these firms’ initiatives that further the hiring, retaining, developing, and promoting of women.
This past winter, we asked more than 12,000 accounting professionals to rate and comment on their firms in a variety of workplace categories, including Diversity for Women. Recently, we caught up with some of these firms to learn more about their diversity initiatives for women. In the following videos, you’ll hear directly from women at these firms to learn about the advice they have for other women at the beginning of their career paths, and how their firms specifically support, retain, and promote women accounting professionals.
Katherine Zahner is a working mother and audit partner at Brown Smith Wallace. Below, she speaks about the advice she has for women starting out in accounting who might want to start families. Katherine speaks about the importance of finding a support system, working with positive people, working smarter (not harder), and more.
Judy Wright is a partner at Plante Moran and leader of the firm’s women in leadership initiative. Below, she highlights the firm’s many initiatives for women, including flexible schedules, reimbursements for unexpected child care and education expenses, firmwide extra days off, mentoring programs, a focus on career development, and a commitment to increasing the number of women partners.
Stacie Kwaiser is the chief operating officer at Rehmann. Below, Stacie speaks about the advice she has for women starting their careers in accounting, stressing the importance of joining a firm that has a culture that helps women achieve both their personal and professional goals, invests in the retention and development of women, and has an innovative approach to its policies and benefits. Stacie also speaks about Rehmann’s many initiatives for women such as its supervisory and development programs, women’s career advocacy program, and focus on increasing women representation at the partner level. Today, 35 percent of the firm’s principals are women.
Avani Desai is the president of Schellman. Below, she speaks about the importance of making sure women are represented at all levels where decisions are being made. She also introduces several women professionals at Schellman who speak about the strong commitment the firm has made—and continues to make—to support gender equality and develop the careers of women.
Kara Hamstra is a working mother and director at Sikich. Below, she speaks about the advice she has for women at the beginning of their careers, the importance of finding an employer that matches your values, and the extensive programs at Sikich geared toward women, such as mentorship programs, flexible work schedules, a 12-week paid maternity leave policy, and an active diversity council.
Val Thorpe is a working mother and manager at WilkinGuttenplan. She’s been working in accounting for more than 10 years. Below, she speaks about many of her firm’s initiatives for women, including formal networking and mentoring opportunities, support for going on and returning from maternity leave, flexible work arrangements, private in-office nursing rooms, and more.
Caila Gately is an audit associate with WilkinGuttenplan. Below, she speaks about the importance of women interviewers and how women mentors at WilkinGuttenplan have been essential to her career growth.
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