How Can the Accountancy Industry Address Diversity?19 May, 20231-2 minutes
In this blog, you will learn:
- What diversity within the workplace is
- Why diversity within the accountancy industry is important
- The different ways the accountancy industry can address diversity
The accountancy industry is an essential part of the business world, helping companies to manage their finances, comply with regulations, and make informed decisions.
However, the industry's diversity has been a subject of debate for a while, with concerns raised about its lack of representation of certain groups.
In our latest blog post, we explore the diversity of the accountancy industry and consider strategies on how it can be improved.
What is diversity within the workplace?
Diversity in the workplace refers to the variety of differences between people in an organisation, including differences in race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, education, socioeconomic background, and more.
A diverse workforce is one where people with different backgrounds and experiences work together to achieve common goals. This includes promoting inclusion, equity, and fairness for all employees, regardless of their differences.
It’s vital that all workplaces, including practices within the accountancy industry, strive for diversity. According to research from Druthers Search the employment rate for ethnic minorities within the UK is only 62.8%, so it’s clear that there is room for improvement.
The same research has also discovered that nearly 68% of LGBTQ+ employees have reported hearing negative slurs, jokes or comments about LGBTQ+ people.
Why is diversity within the accountancy industry important?
Diversity within the accountancy industry is important because it fosters a more inclusive and welcoming environment, promotes innovation and creativity, helps a business better understand and cater to a diverse customer base, promotes social justice, and ensures legal compliance.
When people from different backgrounds work together, they bring different perspectives and ideas, which can lead to better decision-making and more innovative solutions.
Additionally, promoting diversity and inclusion helps to redress imbalances and create more opportunities for underrepresented groups within the accountancy industry.
Prioritising diversity is not just a moral imperative; it is also a legal requirement in many countries.
The different ways the accountancy industry can address diversity
Gender diversity in the accountancy industry
Historically, accountancy has been a male-dominated profession, with women facing significant barriers to entry and progression.
However, in recent years, there has been progress in addressing gender imbalances, with more women entering the industry at all levels.
To address any continuing imbalances, the accountancy industry must continue to promote gender diversity in recruitment, training, and career development, while also tackling unconscious bias and discrimination.
Ethnic diversity in the accountancy industry
Another area of concern is the lack of ethnic diversity in the accountancy industry.
Research by the IMA found that just 11% of Management Accountants globally identify as non-white, with the majority being Asian or South Asian.
This lack of diversity is a significant issue, not just from a social justice perspective but also from a business perspective.
Studies have shown that diverse teams are more innovative, creative, and better equipped to understand and meet the needs of a diverse customer base.
To address this issue, the accountancy industry must take steps to promote diversity in recruitment, training, and career development and continue to improve the opportunities for black and ethnic minority talent in accountancy.
This may include actively seeking out and supporting candidates from underrepresented groups, providing training and mentoring programs, and implementing policies that promote inclusivity and equality.
LGBTQ+ diversity in the accountancy industry
There is still a need to address the underrepresentation of the LGBTQ+ community within the accountancy industry.
Fostering a workplace culture that is inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender identities requires a concerted effort from leadership and staff alike and we've compiled 7 ways to create a LGBTQ+ inclusive workplace.
To start, the accountancy industry should introduce policies that explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and provide diversity training for all employees.
They can also create affinity groups or employee resource groups for LGBTQ+ staff to offer support and foster a sense of community.
Ultimately, embracing LGBTQ+ diversity in the workplace will benefit not only employees, but also the industry as a whole.
Disability diversity in accountancy
However, a growing number of organisations are implementing policies and programs to support individuals with disabilities, such as flexible working arrangements, assistive technology, and disability awareness training.
To further improve disability diversity in the accountancy industry, organisations and accountancy practices must continue to provide support and resources for individuals with disabilities, as well as tackling the stigma and discrimination that often surrounds disability.
In conclusion, addressing diversity in the UK accountancy industry is crucial for creating an inclusive and welcoming workplace.
By implementing policies and practices that promote equality, diversity, and inclusion, companies can attract and retain top talent, enhance productivity, and improve their reputation.
It’s important for leaders and employees to actively challenge discrimination and stereotyping, and celebrate diversity in all its forms.
Ultimately, the UK accountancy industry must continue to work towards creating an environment where everyone feels valued and respected, regardless of their ethnicity, physical ability, sexual orientation or gender identity.
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