So Then I Guess Accounting Is Mostly Influenced By Middle-Aged White Dudes?
I'm on a roll with offending people lately so let's just take this all the way and pull the diversity card, specifically when it comes to Accounting Today's recent list of 100 Most Influential in accounting.
OK so some faces were predictable and totally warranted; soon-to-be-former FASB Chairman Bob Herz (we're talking about influence in the profession, not sexiest), GASB Chairman Robert Attmore, PwC Chairman Dennis Nally, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman... you get the idea. No, I mean you really get the idea, as the rest of the list is comprised of middle-aged white guys too except for 13 women and 3 1/2 black men (Barack Obama counts as .5 if we're looking at this in a strictly statistical way). Yeah, we noticed.
Listen, I have nothing against middle-aged white guys (TLP can tell you) but something about this list just doesn't feel right given this nonsense about diversity initiatives sweeping the industry at the moment. It also doesn't feel right because there have to be more influential individuals than Tim Geithner to count among true accounting superstars like MACPA's Tom Hood and Bob Herz. Even though Bob sometimes tends to resemble a squeeze doll, we still find him cuddly and agree that he's had influence though we can't say we agree with the direction that influence took us.
Gail Crosley, Cindy Fornelli, Michelle Golden, Rita Keller, Janice Maiman, Krista McMasters, Judy O'Dell, Nina Olson, Mary Schapiro, Sue Swenson, Jennifer Warawa, Sandra Wiley and Jennifer Wilson make up 13% of the top 100 (someone please check my math). That's it. So the other 83% that aren't black or women (except for the one Indian guy) are middle-aged white guys. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, I'm merely pointing it out.
WebCPA did the same when they shared this paper:
Frank K. Ross, director of the Howard University Center for Accounting Education, called for increased efforts at recruitment, retention and leadership development, in a new position paper, “Staying the Course on Diversity: Making a Commitment to Build a Stronger Accounting Profession.” Ross noted that despite four decades of effort and significant progress, accounting still trails other professions, and many large businesses, in minority representation. According to the AICPA’s most recent study, minorities currently hold only 5 percent of partnership positions at the largest firms, and only one percent of partners are African-American.
Oh and the guy who wrote that paper? 1 of the 3.5.
The number of women in accounting went from 54 percent in 2003 to 48 percent in 2008 but those are still stronger numbers than a mere 13% of Accounting Today's Top 100. Barney Frank could have easily stayed home and Accounting Today could have just as easily bumped Francine McKenna up from honorable mention to the list itself but that still leaves us several influential women short. What was that prepackaged message about diversity again? Someone run it by me.