• Here’s Another Lousy Stat on the Number of Women Partners in Accounting Firms

    By | November 16, 2015

    In case you needed another crummy datapoint to help illustrate the gender disparity at the partner level in the accounting profession, this finding from the AICPA's Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee CPA Firm Gender Survey should do the trick:

    Many firms have non-equity partner tracks that don’t include ownership in the practice. The WIEC survey found women were somewhat less likely to be equity owners as firm size grew, and that men were more likely to be equity owners across the board. Male equity ownership in firms is significantly higher at all firms with more than one equity owner.

    Here are numbers:

    The report doesn't go into the gap between equity and non-equity partners, but it does attempt to explain the overall gender difference:

    While the AICPA surveys and statistics have not investigated career trajectories or choices, they note that women make up 26% of sole practitioners and 43% of partners at firms with 2–10 professionals. That may indicate that women who don’t advance in larger firms may be deciding to set up their own shops or may be moving to smaller firms as an alternative.

    Wouldn't it be nice if AICPA surveys did investigate career trajectories and choices? That could finally shed some light on leave larger firms for small ones or to start their own firms. Until we get better information, we'll continue speculating, which you're welcome to do now.


    Yep, Almost All Accounting Firm Partners Are Still White Guys

    • Another exKPMGer

      There seems to be an assumption made out there that every career should mirror our demographics as a country. I don’t understand this logic (or lack thereof). And it’s not just accounting where these disparities are seen. I did a quick lookup on some other professions where one would assume one gender dominated, and they all proved true. 66% of lawyers are men. 67% of doctors are men. 91% of nurses are women. 76% of elementary and secondary school teachers are female. 64% of professors are male. So what is the big fucking deal for everyone? Certain jobs tend to follow certain genders. As the years go on, the opposite sex in each category has continued to make inroads and grow. But you have to start at the bottom in any job. So yes, in the current market there is a higher percentage of staff, seniors, and managers who are female vs. partners who are female. But you don’t just flip to equal distribution over night, or even over a decade or two. People are too concerned with making drastic changes to everything instantaneously, and that shit just doesn’t happen. I honestly believe there are simply more men out there who are willing to take on that role of being the breadwinner, doing whatever is necessary to provide the best life for their families. This produces absentee fathers who ultimately make a shit load of money so their kids can have nice things. And socially it’s more acceptable to be an absentee father due to work than it is to be an absentee mother due to work. And truthfully, not only is it more socially acceptable, but I think from a mindset perspective, men are much more willing to travel, work long hours, and be away from family more than women are, whether they like it or not. I hate traveling and being away from my family, but I did it when I had to, knowing my wife could take care of the kid. I’m sure many men out there hate it but do it anyway. And I honestly believe more men are willing to “do it anyway” than women are. Hence why you have women burning out quicker and at a higher percentage in accounting.

      • Smack That

        I think that there are many more women who say “Fuck no” to the partner track than men do. When I look around my own office, I see four female partners (out of 27 total), several more female managers and senior managers. Many of those mgr/sr mgrs are lifers who have expressed their contentment with their role. They aren’t required to put in as many rainmaking hours as the partners. It’s a fact of life that many women are happy doing the work and then going home to their families. Hell, I’m a dude, and that’s how I feel, too. I doubt I’ll pursue partner. So far, I am a supervisor (7 years total experience), and in no rush to try to climb the ladder any faster.

      • The Horniest Partner

        Pretty spot on imo. Partners are rewarded better but there’s demands with long hours and working/networking/schmoozing into the evenings as well as increased travel. IMO you can still make a good career out of being a client service sr. mgr/princ and not do all the other b.s. The only issue would be your comp is going to be limited over time and if your firm goes thru some rough times you might be the first on the chopping block due to high comp.

    • C2C

      Why isn’t this surprising?…Women should at least be presented the opportunity for senior partner status. Sure, many women may turn down the job; but, the accounting profession needs to become more equitable and fair. Do not assume that a woman prefers family time over her career.