Speaking to Accountants Daily, William Buck Victoria managing director Lindsay Holloway said it’s “never been a more important time” to focus on improving gender equality in the accounting profession.
“To date, the accounting profession has primarily been seen to be male dominated and very slow to put equality representations into action. We need to be far more active in my view,” Mr Holloway said.
“However, the profession and those that practice within it acknowledge that gender equality remains a priority and some are taking steps to develop strategies aimed at retaining and developing female professionals. Genuine progress is still slow in the profession as a whole in my view.”
Mr Holloway said firms must commit to making a difference to attract and retain more women in the profession.
“Accounting firms who are committed to supporting women careers at all stages should consider developing policies that innately support and promote women within the firm as individuals, rather than approaching it as a box ticking exercise,” he said.
“In particular, these should focus on supporting women during maternity leave and at any points of leave taken during their careers. This means including them in all aspects of the business during their time away from their roles so when they return they are already coming back on an equal platform.”
The accounting bodies also have a role to play and are currently under-delivering according to Mr Holloway.
“While the accounting bodies continue to be advocates for gender equality, overall they seem to have a small voice on equality matters,” he said.
“Appointment of females into leadership roles in the actual bodies themselves, together with greater influence as advocates would help to improve the balance of gender diversity across the board.”
At William Buck Victoria, females make up more than 31 per cent at the senior level, with the next level revealing an approximate 50:50 ratio.
William Buck Victoria recently announced a three-year sponsorship deal of the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA) women’s competition as part of its commitment to supporting women and gender equity within the workplace and local communities.
“The right gender balance is simply good for business and we want to support all of our employees in having a long-term career with the firm right up to director level,” Mr Holloway said.
“This sponsorship gives us a way of putting our money where our mouth is and demonstrate our firm’s strong support of this transformation across the professional services industry.”