The AWSCPA membership overwhelmingly approved an agreement to transfer its name and other intellectual property to the AICPA Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee (WIEC) under a plan to dissolve the organization. The work of developing communities and programming for women will now be continued by a task force made up of former AWSCPA members.
Activities of AWSCPA have varied over the years and continue to change with member needs, the profession and the focus of the organization. In the 1980's, the focus was on forming affiliate groups. As the 80's became the 90's, the focus became one of national image and visibility. Influencing the profession and emphasizing key issues of importance to members became the impetus behind the issues papers published. Beginning in 1988 with the Child Care paper, the organization has been a leader in addressing alternative work schedules, practice development, mentoring, and female management styles. These papers have brought significant recognition to the organization.
Since its inception, AWSCPA has tried various ways to meet member needs. Through regional seminars, various publications, promotional materials, scholarships and awards, publicity efforts, administrative support, the focus of the organization has remained on its members.
Today, the newly created task force will begin its work with the following initial priorities:
- Reinforcing a sense of community by building upon the newly renamed AWSCPA small firms groups, which will be managed by the AICPA Private Companies Practice Section. The task force will also explore creating new AWSCPA networking groups to serve the needs of women in medium and large firms, young CPAs and women in business and industry.
- Reviewing the AWSCPA awards and determining how to incorporate them into existing AICPA national offerings.
- Promoting and growing the AICPA Women to Watch awards at the state/regional level in collaboration with state societies.
How the Society was Organized
The American Woman's Society of Certified Public Accountants (AWSCPA) began in 1933 as a group of nine women CPAs united in facing the challenges affecting women in the profession at that time. Over the years, the organization has grown. Membership increased dramatically in 1982 when the membership amended the Society's bylaws to allow affiliated local groups.
The AWSCPA Expands
Since the concentration of women CPAs in any one local area was not high enough in AWSCPA's early years to support local groups, and because there were more than 17,000 women accountants in the United States, the American Society of Women Accountants (ASWA) was founded in 1938 by AWSCPA to foster member communications. The formation of ASWA was seen as a way to provide a local support network for both women CPAs and women accountants who might not be CPAs.
The AWSCPA and ASWA established a joint national office in New York City in 1947, allowing for shared office space and costs. In 1974, AWSCPA established its own national office in Columbus, Ohio, with a member as the office manager. When the office manager retired in 1980, and because the organization was incorporated in the state of Illinois, Chicago was selected as the site for the administrative office.
A bequest made by the first president of AWSCPA in 1966 was used to establish the AWSCPA Educational Foundation. In 1974, it was renamed the Educational Foundation of AWSCPA-ASWA to reflect the participation of both societies in Foundation activities. In 1996 the Foundation was renamed again to the Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting. The change was made to broaden the Foundation's focus and donation base. The primary purpose of the Foundation is for the advancement of women in the field of accounting.
The AWSCPA Awards recognize women and other professionals across the country who have demonstrated leadership, integrity, sacrifice and accomplishment in furthering the advancement of women in accounting and exemplifying the highest ideals of the accounting profession. The awards reach out to women in various segments of the accounting community, including public accounting, industry, government, non–profit and academia.
Educator of the Year Award – This award recognizes excellence in teaching and inspiration
in the accounting field by a faculty member of a two- or four-year college.
Innovation in Women’s Programming Award – This award recognizes businesses that are
continually developing new and innovative programs to promote and support women in the accounting
Firm Leadership - Lead by Example Award – This award recognizes those businesses that not only have a strong
women’s program in place, but also strong women in leadership positions to show others that it can be
Public Service Award – This award recognizes a member of AWSCPA who provides a significant
contribution of time and talent to public services outside of the accounting profession to improve the
quality of a community.
Woman CPA of the Year Award – This award recognizes an individual for outstanding
contributions to the accounting profession. Criteria for this award will be professional accomplishments,
demonstrated leadership, and contributions, which further the advancement of women in the
profession. Such contributions may include but are not limited to participating in successful monitoring
relationships, implementing flexible work schedules or other family-friendly arrangements, advocating
programs that promote women with a company, and supporting diversity programs.
Woman of Courage Award – This award recognizes an AWSCPA member’s achievement under
difficult conditions. Self-nominations are welcome.
As the AWSCPA membership overwhelmingly approved an agreement to transfer its name and other intellectual property to the AICPA under a plan to dissolve the organization, the work of developing communities and programming for women will now be continued by a task force as listed below:
- Kelly Welter - Chair & Past National Board Representative
- Belicia Cespedes - Past Representative for National Board
- Kim Chapman - Past Representative for Georgia
- Mary Cheaney - Past Representative for South Florida
- Danielle Supkis Cheek - Past Representative for National Board
- Cynthia Cox - Past Representative for National Board
- Teresa Danile - Past Representative for New Jersey
- Sarah Elliott - Past Representative for National Board
- Melody Fenicks - Past Representative for Member at Large
- Christina M Flynn - Past Representative for National Board
- Melissa Hooley - Past Representative of Member at Large
- Rolanda M. Jacobovitz - Past Representative of Member at Large
- Amy Knowles-Jones - Past Representative of National Board
- Wendy Lewis - Past Representative of National Board
- Bonnie Mackey - Past Representative of National Board
- Alison Painter - Past Representative of Tampa Bay
- Mary Riley - Past Representative of Member at Large
- Dawn Sabo - Past Representative of Houston
- Susan Speirs - Past Representative of Utah
- Kristine Caratan - Past Representative for Member at Large
- Meredith Widlaski - Past Representative of Austin