CPA Practice Advisor

OCT 2018

Today's Technology for Tomorrow's Firm.

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42 OCTOBER 2018 ■ THE ACCOUNTING & AUDITING CHANNEL 3 Steps to Narrow the Gender Gap in Finance By Eman Goubran, CPA The focus on male hiring has taken a shift. In recent years we’ve witnessed heightened attention to gender-based issues, with movements across almost every industry imaginable to make the workplace a fair and equal environment for all individuals. The finance industry is no different – women, joined by their male colleagues, are advocating to close the gender gap and bring diversity to the finance function. According to the World Economic Forum’s global gender gap report, “Female talent remains one of the most under-utilized business resources.” It may take another 217 years to close the economic gender gap globally if we remain at the current pace of equality. Nearly a century since International Women’s Day was first observed, we still find that some of the top companies are paying their women half as much as men. A major contributing factor to this disparity is that there is a much higher contingent of men than women in senior roles. In some industries, like finance, this is especially clear. General Motors recently announced its new female CFO and now occupies a rare place boasting a female CFO and CEO. Only 23 companies in the Fortune 500 have a female CEO and Hershey is the only other company on that list that has women in both CEO and CFO slots. Perhaps if more women rise to hold senior roles, we’ll start to see a reduction in pay disparity. The role of finance is already in a period of dense transformation. CFOs are evolving from traditional number crunching to serving as strategic partners to their CEOs and boards, while also adopting advanced technologies as part of the increasingly intelligent enterprise. It’s important to take advantage of this transformative time and ensure that while we’re focused on upskilling the profession, we bring women along for the ride. Inspiring Young Women Through Education Gender diversity is good for the bottom line. Credit Suisse found that companies where women make up at least 15 percent of senior managers had more than 50 percent higher profitability than those where female representation was less than 10 percent. So how do we entice more women to enter the profession and eventually penetrate the upper echelon of finance? It all starts with education. The PEW Research Center found that the academic achievement of U.S. students still lag behind their peers in many other counties. This is especially true in math, where the United States ranks 38th out of 71 countries. It’s critical that youth have a solid understanding of math, as well as the financial literacy to promote fiscal responsibility of their own wealth. Without a strong foundation to build upon, the battle to encourage young women to pursue careers in finance is lost before it’s begun. The earlier we can help students feel proficient in finance, the wider their career opportunities will be down the road. In fact, it was my own high school accounting class that ignited my passion for finance and set me on the path to become a CFO. Cultivating an Unbiased Corporate Culture There is peer-reviewed evidence that, when women do have the relevant academic and technology skills, unconscious biases can influence their peers’ recognition of their capabilities. While gender bias is most often thought of as scenarios where women are assumed to be weak, emotional or unqualified, there are many forms of unconscious bias. For example, the very way financial job descriptions are written, key words may resonate more with men than with women because they are being written by/for a male audience. This small inflection in tone could be the difference between a woman being excited or uncomfortable about pursuing a job opening in finance. Continue reading at LATEST A & A NEWS Outsourced CFO Engagements: A Risk/Reward Perspective. Outsourced CFO work can be a lucrative practice area. Certify Grows International Presence with Captio Acquisition. Certify’s decision to purchase Captio is the latest move in a concerted effort by the company to grow its presence outside North America. Now Offers International Business Payments. U.S. firms and their clients in can now pay vendors in nearly 40 countries. New Bloomberg Tax Leased Assets Solution. The system classifies and tracks operating and finance leases across multiple years, computes complex right-of-use liability amounts, automates workflow, and integrates with ERP systems. Workiva and KPMG Partner for Risk Management. Wdesk can improve internal controls over financial reporting, risk assessments, regulatory compliance and financial reporting. Public Company Auditors Earn Solid Confidence Ratings. 81 percent of investors confident that public company auditors are effective in investor protection role. THIS MONTH'S TOP ACCOUNTING & AUDITING SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS ■ 3 Ways an Outsourced CFOCan Help Businesses Grow. CMP Blog. ■ Inspiring the Next Generation of CPAs. AICPA Insights Blog. ■ 5 Myths that May Prevent CFOs from Benefiting from the Cloud. CFOThoughtLeader Blog. ■ Big Data and Machine Learning Won't Save Us From Another Financial Crisis. Harvard Business Review Blog. ■ Confidence in Auditors Tapers in 2018. Compliance Week.

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