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Moving Toward a More Diverse and Equitable Future

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At our brand-new conference earlier this month, we aimed to incorporate diverse voices on topics in accounting and finance to spark important conversations in the industry about addressing employees' needs. Now, firms and other employers must lead the way to expand diversity in accounting and finance and "future proof" the work we do to ensure a work culture that fosters equity. 

May 25th 2022
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At the AccountingWEB Live Summit in San Diego earlier this month, one of our main goals was to ensure the conversations professionals are having about accounting and finance in particular and “work” in general are forward thinking. It’s an overused statement at this point, but it bears repeating that the COVID-19 pandemic has indeed resulted in a lot of change, and people and businesses across the world are looking for new and better ways to move forward. 

One of the steps many companies took during the pandemic was creating a diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) initiative to make diversity a permanent part of their culture. Sift, the parent company of AccountingWEB, was one such company, and I look with pride at what our organization has accomplished, both in terms of the articles we publish and in our network and the principles and topics on which we based the Live Summit. We introduced many new voices to discussions in the industry; however, now it’s time to get more specific and lead the way.

In the coming months, I hope to see more detailed conversations about the needs of specific groups and how the profession can address those. For example, people who identify as women have long faced an uphill battle at work in comparison to their male counterparts. In a recent interview at the ADP Women @ Work digital event, Nela Richardson said that female employees have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Women have higher rates of burnout, delayed advancements in pay and equity and unequal pressures when it comes to childcare. Female employees were also over-represented in consumer-facing industries like education and health care, which were hit hardest by COVID-19. Richardson explained that they were the "social institutions that were compromised by the pandemic.”

Now, women are starting to rejoin the workforce, albeit at a slower rate than men, and we are seeing recovery in “office jobs,” which are typical of people working in finance and at firms offering professional business services. We must openly and actively work toward reducing inequity between male and female workers. This includes discussing and closing the persistent wage gap and offering more flexible work hours so employees can take care of themselves and their families to achieve a necessary and healthy work-life balance. 

We must also discuss “future-proofing,” which I predict will be a theme in business conversations in the months ahead. This means giving employees more autonomy at work, examining the components of “flexibility” in terms of schedule and location and ensuring employees have time to take care of their families and themselves. As a member of Sift’s DE&I group, I’m excited to help lead conversations about these topics and share critical information that accounting and finance professionals must discuss to make change possible.

The 2022 AccountingWEB Live Summit may be over, but you can join us in 2023! Pre-register today to be the first to know when tickets are on sale. You can find the form at www.accountingweblivesummit.com.

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