Although great strides have been taken in recent years, accounting firms are not typically considered to be the most diverse places to work. Many maintain the belief that the finance industry is still dominated by older, heterosexual white men. Additionally, a study has shown that there’s still an average gender pay gap of £17,000 per year for women working in accountancy.
Clearly, there’s still quite a way to go.
Accounting firms may not realise that they’re also missing out on some great benefits by not ensuring their business is diverse and inclusive.
Therefore, this article will cover the following:
- What is Diversity & Inclusion?
- The benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce
- How you can enhance your accounting services with Countingup
What is Diversity & Inclusion?
It’s vital that you take Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) into consideration when hiring people to work at your accounting firm, but what do these terms mean?
- Diversity refers to the representation of various people within your organisation. This can include differences, such as age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender or disability.
- Inclusion is where people’s differences are valued and used to help everyone thrive in the workplace. It ensures that each person has an equal opportunity to contribute to, and feel like they are a part of, the team.
The benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce
While the term ‘Diversity & Inclusion’ has been thrown around a lot over the last few years, they’re more than just buzzwords. By considering how to make the workplace more diverse and inclusive, your accounting firm could reap the benefits. And there are a lot of them.
Here are some of the top reasons why you should consider making D&I a priority in your business:
- Better performance
Did you know that just a 1% increase in team diversity can improve overall performance by up to 9%? Increased racial and gender diversity are associated with boosted revenue, more customers and greater profits.
But why is this?
The more diverse your team is, the more backgrounds, experiences and approaches to problem-solving become available, which breeds an effective environment for collaboration. These advantages are only magnified further when leadership teams become more diverse since they can bring in their own unique perspectives at a higher level and implement positive changes.
- Attracting & retaining talent
If you want to continue attracting the next generation of accountants to your firm, you’ll need to ensure that the workplace is inclusive for everyone.
In a recent survey conducted by Monster, 83% of Gen Z candidates said that a company’s commitment to Diversity & Inclusion is important to them when choosing a potential employer. Therefore, this perspective is set to have a lot of influence over who will attract top talent, especially when you consider that Gen Z is set to make up 37% of the global workforce this year, outnumbering Millennials and Gen X.
However, attraction is just half the battle. Once you’ve found the right people, you must give them the right tools they need to be successful in their new roles; this is where the ‘inclusivity’ aspect comes in. By providing the ingredients for an inclusive working environment (for example, providing disabled employees with different equipment) you’ll find that they’ll want to keep working at your firm.
- Improved company reputation
Whilst this certainly shouldn’t be the only reason you maintain a diverse and inclusive workforce, it is one of the perks you will benefit from.
Accounting firms committed to promoting D&I in the workplace are seen as more socially responsible, forward-thinking and human, which ultimately improves the company’s reputation. As a result, this can open doors to new clients across various markets.
- Anticipating client needs
When you embrace diversity, your workforce is more likely to be able to anticipate client needs. Because everyone brings their various perspectives to work, they can challenge the status quo, seeking out new ways to improve your service and the experience your clients receive.
This gives you an opportunity to stand out from other accounting firms who are more set in their ways. And, as a result, you may find that you’re able to attract more clients that appreciate your collaborative approach.
- Better work culture
By improving D&I in your firm, there’s a good chance that you’ll see an enhanced work culture to boot. Employees feeling like they’re treated fairly are 9.8 times more likely to look forward to going to work and take greater pride in what they do.
Plus, they’ll be around 5.4 times more likely to want to stay a long time at your company, which creates further loyalty and trust amongst your team.
Save time on small business accounting with Countingup
Save your practice time on manual admin and help your clients keep organised records with Countingup’s free accounting software. Our software is MTD-compatible and full of features for accountants to review and manage client accounts efficiently, prepare journals and client taxes accurately with direct access to their real-time organised data. Find out more here.