Diversity, like a changing technology or a global economy, is a business reality. The trends, the changes in technology and global competition require adaptations and have implications for organizational effectiveness and competitiveness. Diversity is no different. It is just as important. From changing demographics to being a business imperative, there are a multitude of reasons why the accounting profession should focus on diversity and inclusion.
Once a largely homogeneous group, America has been transformed into an evolving mosaic of people comprised of various races, cultures and backgrounds. By 2042, “minorities” will be the majority.
Forward-looking accounting organizations that recognize and understand the implications of these demographic shifts are beginning to enhance their client focus, workforce and business practices to better engage their employees and exceedingly meeting the expectations of their clients.
If we disregard the data on changing demographics, we also disregard the substantial growth in buying power of diverse markets. The growth of minority populations may contribute 44%, or as much as 70%, of the total increase of purchasing power from 2000 to 2045. Not only are these minority populations increasing as a percentage of the U.S. population, but so too is the buying power they wield.
This economic clout is not limited to minorities. Gay and lesbian consumers will control a 6.4% market share, or $835 billion. The present and future monetary power of diverse markets is more apparent each year.
As national and international clients become steadily more diverse, significant portions the accounting profession’s growth must come from tapping into these diverse markets. If we are to form lasting business relationships with our clients, we must understand the diverse cultures and decision processes of our clients, not merely their languages.
To do so, we must begin with our profession being known for and comprised of diverse workplaces and inclusive workplaces.
It is well-proven that diverse, heterogeneous teams promote creativity and innovation. Only by fully embracing diversity and maximizing the well-being and contributions of everyone can we fully maximize the strength and relevance of the accounting profession. We must encourage everyone in the profession to reach their full potential, without anyone being advantaged or disadvantaged by their difference.
In order for our profession to remain relevant in an ever evolving global market and to remain competitive for talent and for clients, it is imperative that we attract and value diverse talent and enable that talent to attract and value diverse clients.