One of the more interesting categories under the “Best Accounting Firms to Work For” portion of Vault’s accounting rankings each year is diversity. Pretty much all large-to-midsize accounting firms these days tout their diversity initiatives. But which firms actually walk the talk? Knocking KPMG out of the No. 1 spot in Vault’s 2021 overall diversity […]
We’ve given KPMG a lot of shit on this site recently, and rightly so. But we’re going to throw the House of Klynveld a bone today, as there’s some good news to report: KPMG nearly swept the diversity categories in Vault’s “Best Accounting Firms” rankings. Let’s not kid ourselves, though: The accounting profession is still […]
Maybe you heard, but the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that same-sex couples would be allowed to marry in all 50 states. It was an enormous victory for civil rights and serves as a reminder that America can still get something right. In their quest to be the diversitiest and inclusiviest, the Big 4 have […]
According to responses thus far on Vault's annual Accounting Survey (which you can take here if you haven't already), it appears as though the largest 100 accounting firms are pretty darn gay friendly: [W]ith respect to diversity, one question in the survey asks accountants to rate their firm’s initiatives with respect to lesbian, gay, bisexual, […]
Apologies to Chuck Norris, but Jimbo didn't mention anything about pressure from the White House when he discussed his decision to oppose the Boy Scouts of America's policy of excluding gay members and leaders from its organization at the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce conference. From the Windy City Times, in the order that […]
The Boy Scouts of America has a difference of opinion with Ernst & Young CEO and BSA board member Jim Turley who last month came out against the Scouts' policy of excluding gays from membership or leadership. In short, "Thanks for your opinion, Jimbo, but we got this." An 11-member special committee, formed discreetly by top […]
JT's already has a sky-high approval rating inside E&Y and with this announcement it seems he's going for wider appeal: "I support the meaningful work of the Boy Scouts in preparing young people for adventure, leadership, learning and service, however the membership policy is not one I would personally endorse," Turley said in a statement […]
It's New Year's Day in Deloitte Land and with that comes the announcement that the firm will "offset the imputed income charged to its professionals who cover same- and opposite-sex domestic partners on their medical and/or dental plans," effective June 3rd. New Chief Inclusion Officer Deb DeHaas got the honor of being quotably quotable: This […]
Tara Siegel Bernard of the New York Times has been keeping a progress report of gay employee health benefits and just tweeted a short time ago that PwC is the latest Big 4 accounting firm to equalize the cost for LGBT employees. — Tara Siegel Bernard (@tarasbernard) February 29, 2012 PwC's announcement follows KPMG and Ernst […]
Yesterday The Human Rights Campaign Foundation released their Corporate Equality Index for 2011. If you’re not familiar with the survey, it “assesses American workplaces on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.”
We’re happy to report that the Big 4 are perfectly gay friendly which probably surprises no one (or not?). The firms go to great lengths to be inclusive, especially in public eye and a ranking like the HRC’s is a perfect opportunity to call attention to their efforts.
This is the ninth year for the survey and its largest – with 844 companies being rated. Scores are determined based on the following criteria:
Criterion 1a Prohibits Discrimination Ba ation (15 points)
Criterion 1b Provides Diversity Training Covering Sexual Orientation (5 points)
Criterion 2a Prohibits Discrimination Based on Gender Identity or Expression (15 points)
Criterion 2b Provides Diversity Training Covering Gender Identity OR Has Supportive Gender Transition Guidelines (5 points)
Criterion 2c Offers Transgender-Inclusive Insurance Coverage for at Least One Type of Benefit (5 points)
Criterion 2c+ Offers Transgender-Inclusive Insurance Coverage, Including Surgical Procedures (4 )
Criterion 3a Offers Partner Health Insurance (15 points)
Criterion 3b Offers Partner Dental, Vision, COBRA and Dependent Coverage Benefits (5 points)
Criterion 3c Offers at Least Three Other “Soft” Benefits for Partners (5 points)
Criterion 4 Has Employer-Supported Employee Resource Group OR Firm-Wide Diversity Council (15 points) Would Support ERG if Employees Express Interest (half credit)
Criterion 5 Positively Engages the External LGBT Community (15 points)
Criterion 6 Responsible Citizenship Employers will have 15 points deducted from their score for a large-scale official or public anti-LGBT blemish on their recent records (-15 points)
Big 4 spin-off Accenture also scored a perfect 100 while Capgemini scored a 60, receiving no points for any of the #2 criteria or criterion 5. We took a quick glance through and didn’t notice any more accounting firms, although McGladrey parent H&R Block is on the list, scoring at 65, missing on criteria 2a, 2c and 5.
This seems like a pretty easy diversity win for most firms. Prohibiting discrimination is a piece of cake (enforcing it is another discussion) while providing training and benefits is simply good business. Likewise, if a company has an “employer-supported resource group” or “diversity council,” engaging the LGBT community should be a natural progression.
Where firms may get tripped up is the “Responsible Citizenship Employers” criterion. “[A] large-scale official or public anti-LGBT blemish” consists of the following:
Scores on this criterion are based on information that has come to HRC’s attention related to topics including but not limited to: undue influence by a significant shareholder calculated to undermine a business’s employment policies or practices related to its LGBT employees; directing corporate charitable contributions to organizations whose primary mission includes advocacy against LGBT equality; opposing shareholder resolutions reasonably aimed at encouraging the adoption of inclusive workplace policies; revoking inclusive LGBT policies or practices; or engaging in proven practices that are contrary to the business’s written LGBT employment policies.
While it isn’t likely that any firm would fall victim to this, law firm Foley & Lardner was dinged for representing clients that opposed gay marriage even though they provided many services to many LGBT causes.
As much as we don’t like it, bigoted, well-funded nonprofits need professional services and they pay accounting firms lots of money to provide them with services. As of now, the HRC doesn’t seem to be holding that against professional services firms but this is a divisive issue, not matter how you slice it. And until total equality is achieved, the HRC will likely keep a close eye on companies that assist groups it opposes.