Top Public Accounting Firms for Women in 2016

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Deanna Arteaga
Columnist
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Executive sponsorship may be the single-most powerful factor in helping women navigate the last few steps to partnership, according to the 2016 Accounting MOVE Project report.

There are many factors that weaken or strengthen women’s commitment to pursue top leadership at public accounting firms, but research from the 2016 MOVE report, released in June, found “executive sponsorship is very nearly a silver bullet – a single strategy, already in play at most firms, that addresses many of the factors that shape women’s determination to stay or depart.”

Now in its seventh year, the Accounting MOVE Project, the profession’s only annual benchmark of the status of women in leadership roles, once again found a steady increase in the proportion of women partners and principals at the 49 firms participating in the 2016 project – an average of 23 percent, a marked increase from 17 percent in 2012 and slightly higher than the 22 percent reported in 2015.

“Progress is accelerating at MOVE firms,” said Joanne Cleaver, president of Wilson-Taylor Associates Inc., the firm that designed and manages the Accounting MOVE Project. “Leading MOVE firms have figured what works, and they are reinvesting in proven strategies, like executive sponsorship to increase the number of women in the leadership pipeline.”

In conjunction with the release of the MOVE Project report, the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA) and the American Woman’s Society of CPAs (AWSCPA) also announced its 2016 Best Public Accounting Firms for Women list. The annual list is based on results from Accounting MOVE Project research.

According to the AFWA, the 10 firms named to the 2016 Best Public Accounting Firms for Women list embrace the same three characteristics when it comes to the advancement of women:

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