While firms do recognize the value in diversity and inclusion (D&I), sometimes the implementation of it into the workplace can be challenging. If you’re asking yourself, where do I start, we can help. Every firm has different D&I challenges so specific needs can vary, but here are a few things that can help.
1. Start by signing up to complete our Accounting Inclusion Maturity Model. This is an assessment tool that organizations can use to measure their progress in diversity and inclusion. The assessment measures 13 competencies in four core areas: workplace, workforce, marketplace and supplier and community. It will help you determine which of the following areas you fit in and working with us, we can help you determine what next steps you can take to improve.
- You are Aspiring to create a solid foundation
The practice of diversity and inclusion is new to your organization. Your efforts are primarily driven by early adopters and focused on building diversity and inclusion awareness. This is good, and important first step. Continue to identify and adopt leading practices that can move your organization into the Emerging phase.
- You are Emerging into a fuller understanding
Your organization has established the fundamentals of diversity and inclusion awareness, You are now expanding beyond early adopters and starting to build upon leading practices. There are clear opportunities for improving your organization’s performance with more consistent commitment from your leaders and employees.
- You are Managing a diverse and inclusive environment
Diversity and inclusion is intentionally planned, performed and measured. You employ a majority of the leading practices and ensure they expand to all employees in the organizations as fabric of behavior and understanding. You are doing better than a majority of your peers. By implementing more of the leading practices, you will move to the optimizing category in no time.
- You are Optimizing the diversity around you
Diversity and inclusion is a key to the organization’s mission and client service. By employing many leading practices, your organization and clients benefits significantly from your inclusive culture. You are the top of your D&I game.
2. We hope that your firm will join us in our commitment to Diversity & Inclusion by having your CEO join Barry and 900+ other leaders in a CEO-driven business pledge to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. To date, 44 firms and 14 organizations in the accounting profession have signed the pledge and we are encouraging all the top 100 firms to do the same. Through signing the pledge you will get access to free resources to leverage and you’ll get their newsletter with other helpful information. They are even conducting a CHRO/CDO summit in November that looks quite interesting. I know the AICPA will be there!
3. The PCPS Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit is designed to offer suggestions to firms that are looking for a more diverse candidate pool and want to retain and develop talent that represent gender, racial/ethnic, generational/age and perspective differences. The toolkit is free for firms that are members of the Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS).
4. Sign up for our Inclusion Solutions, the AICPA’s Diversity and Inclusion newsletter. It has the latest articles on the best and leading practices in the profession as well as business and industry.
If you fall into the “Optimizing” category and don’t need resources, but maybe retention is a challenge for you, here are a few recommendations from the Howard University School of Business Center for Accounting Education CAE Retention and Upward Mobility Task Force for you to consider:
1. Create a diversity scorecard to include underrepresented professionals, like gender scorecard for (women). Metrics to include:
- Leadership roles at all levels, such as Board, Exco, Business Line & Service Line
- Promotion ratio for underrepresented professionals vs all professionals at each level including staff, manager, and partner
- Time in level for underrepresented professionals vs all professionals
- Percentage of underrepresented professionals at each career level AND percentage of underrepresented professionals delivering client services on key accounts
- Recruitment at partner/director level, experienced hire, graduate hire
- Inclusive leadership and unconscious bias training participation rate
2. Tie diversity goals, actions and outcomes to performance evaluations which:
- Requires CEO commitment, and
- Impacts performance goals/outcomes of partners, principals, directors, or equivalent leaders.
- Holds leaders accountable.
3. Develop programs to counter the perception of others that underrepresented professionals are not as prepared as everyone else.
4. Develop a process to make sure assignments are preparing underrepresented professionals in such a manner that they can successfully compete for the next level of increased responsibility.
Included below are ideas that firms can leverage to invest in employee performance and development.
5. Emphasize the need to actively sponsor underrepresented professionals.
- Created by WIEC: CPA Firm Sponsorship Success Toolkit In this toolkit, we walk through the benefits and subtleties involved in building a sponsorship program at your firm