Diversity and inclusion were already on the radar for leaders in the accounting profession before the summer of 2020, when the death of George Floyd and the social unrest that followed brought it sharply to the forefront for companies everywhere. In the two years since, several industry leaders in accounting have expanded their recruiting nets and increased their focus on fostering workplaces of equitable opportunity, where everyone feels seen and heard.
Recently, we caught up with three accounting firms—which have all demonstrated a heightened commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion—to learn more about their initiatives to promote inclusiveness in their workplaces. In the following videos, you’ll hear directly from women in leadership at these firms about how their companies specifically are supporting and promoting diversity in recruiting and retaining accounting professionals from a broad mix of backgrounds. Plus, you'll hear about the advice these leaders have for women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals at the beginning of their career paths looking for careers and workplaces where they feel at home.
Avani Desai is CEO at Schellman, a Tampa-based CPA firm specializing in attestation and certification services, where new hires get extensive informal mentoring and “boot camp” training for certifications. Avani speaks with pride about how it feels for her firm to be recognized for the second year in a row as the No. 1 accounting firm for Overall Diversity in our latest Accounting Rankings. She explains that the overarching goal at her firm is for everyone to equitably receive resources for their jobs, and to be appreciated for their unique ideas, talents, and skills. She speaks of these efforts as a work in progress to establish Schellman as an employer of equitable opportunity.
Sejla Kulaglic is senior manager in the advisory and tax services group at Rehmann, one of the largest U.S. accounting firms and the largest tax practice in Michigan. Sejla speaks candidly to changes Rehmann has made to allow a flexible work schedule that suits each person’s lifestyle and the wider net the firm has thrown to attract diverse candidates. The flexible schedule, she notes, is especially attractive to women who want to balance their home lives and careers. In addition, Rehmann has made strides to achieve diversity in leadership. The firm is now 36 percent women owners and principals, and Sejla expects to see that number grow as the effects of Rehmann's NextGen advisory counsel come into play.
Maria Mauricio is an audit supervisor at Wilkin Guttenplan, a full-service accounting and advisory firm headquartered in East Brunswick, N.J. Maria has been with the firm since 2015, and she speaks about the growing efforts she has seen to expand diversity recruiting for underrepresented groups—for example, recruiting not just at the big New Jersey universities but at community colleges and HBCUs across the nation. Additionally, the firm is hiring across the U.S., which has naturally expanded the talent pool to hire from.
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