“We need better representation and inclusion” say top female accountants

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7th March, 2024 No Comments

Ahead of International Women’s Day (Friday 8 March), leading tax and accounting platform TaxScouts has polled its top female accountants to get their views on how women are represented in the industry.

The results paint a positive picture for women in the sector, with 88% of female accountants from the TaxScouts database stating they feel it is an appealing career choice for women, with many attributing this to increasing flexibility in the industry (88%) and better hybrid or remote working policies (47%).

However, the data also reveals challenges do still exist for women in the space – with almost half (47%) of the respondents believing they have not received the same progression opportunities as their male counterparts over the course of their careers. And despite the fact that three quarters (71%) say they believe female representation and inclusion in accounting has increased somewhat in recent years, the same amount feel that this could still be improved. 

TaxScouts, one of the fastest growing accounting platforms in Europe, has an extensive network of qualified accountants who work flexibly for the business alongside their other accounting roles. The platform canvassed the opinions of 17 female accountants in its network in a bid to understand the opportunities and challenges facing women pursuing careers in the space. 

When asked about how the industry could increase its appeal to female talent, some of the top responses included greater visibility of other senior women in the industry (41%), as well as better pay transparency and financial support with childcare (29%). 

Commenting on the report’s findings, Malcolm Cowley, CEO at TaxScouts said: “It’s encouraging to hear that many of the female accounts from our network believe improvements have been made when it comes to gender inclusivity in the industry. Having seen firsthand the amazing work they achieve – I know they are a credit to the sector, and recruiting more female talent into the space should be a top priority. 

By embracing flexible working conditions, promoting transparent career progression, and elevating the visibility of female role models, we can begin to rectify the imbalance and pave the way for a more equitable and diverse industry.”

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), revealed that as of March 2023, women comprise 41% of finance professionals and 45% of chartered and certified accountants. 

To further understand how the industry can continue adding female talent to the space, two female accountants working for TaxScouts shared their thoughts.

Sadia Nadeem is a CIMA qualified accountant at The Sigma Company and TaxScouts, with more than 10 years experience in the sector. She says: I wholeheartedly agree that seeing more successful female accountants, particularly in senior roles, is a great way to motivate and inspire other women in the industry. Positive role models can be transformative in helping to level the playing field for women, and I think there is a critical role for female mentors to play in inspiring the next wave of women in accounting.

Svetlana Makusheva is an audit and accounts senior by day, and works for TaxScouts in her spare time. She added: “I agree that representation of women in the accounting industry has improved in recent years. When I first started out in the sector, it felt like a very male dominated space and I was lacking a strong community of women who were in similar roles to me that I could turn to for advice and guidance. This is changing though, and organisations like TaxScouts are helping create communities of like-minded professionals who can connect, share learnings and brainstorm new ideas, outside of traditional (and often restrictive) office environments.”

However, I also agree that even though improvements have been made, there are still things that can be done to enhance this even further. For me, a big part of the solution is ensuring clear advancement pathways are visible to women, and that leadership teams provide tailored support to their female employees so they can reach their goals.” 

Natalie Field runs a small remote accountancy firm, as well as regularly taking on work through TaxScouts. Commenting on her experiences working in the industry, she said: “I have two young children, so having a good degree of flexibility with my job is hugely important – and it’s not surprising to see that other women in the industry feel the same way. Throughout my career, particularly pre-Covid, I found a lot of the roles I took on were very rigid, with inflexible office hours and limited opportunities to work from home.”

“This is definitely starting to change and I think a lot of employers are realising that, if they want to attract and retain top talent, they have to offer benefits that genuinely support a good work-life balance. Running my own firm and working with TaxScouts has definitely helped me achieve the flexibility I need. I’m in total control of my workload, and if I need to work outside of traditional office hours I can. For me, and no doubt many other women, this is what the future of accounting needs to look like.”

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