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Diversity and the accounting profession

Edgley, Carla ORCID:, Sharma, Nina ORCID:, Anderson Gough, Fiona and Robson, Keith 2017. Diversity and the accounting profession. [Technical Report]. ICAEW.

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In accounting, like other professions in the UK, traditional beliefs about the ideal professional, such as the ability to work long hours and prioritise commercial relationship building, have long privileged the career progression of white males. Efforts to tackle exclusionary practices and improve representativeness, particularly among the senior elite within professions, are continuing. The rationales to do so are compelling. First, this is a legal imperative. The Equality Act 2010 and a raft of subsequent legislation prohibit workplace discrimination and unfair practices. Second, widening access to professions, and in turn enhancing social mobility, is seen as the ethical thing to do (Milburn Report 2009). Third, the business case for diversity suggests that creating a fair place to work has commercial benefits, too. While the accounting profession is responding to the diversity agenda, the overall picture we have seen regarding responses and outcomes is uneven, especially around change management at more senior levels. Our research aims to provide a view on how accounting firms are addressing diversity. It acts as a reference point for practitioners responding to this agenda, as well as a basis for further academic research. We interviewed 50 individuals from accounting firms of all sizes across the UK, all of whom were at different stages of their career or who had left practice, as well as professional bodies and NGOs. We also carried out a survey. We examined common responses to legal responsibilities and asked about how diversity is being understood and how diversity policies are enacted in the workplace. We also identified issues and pressure points/systemic barriers that limit the potential of diversity initiatives, and carried out a survey across UK accounting professional bodies.

Item Type: Monograph (Technical Report)
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: ICAEW
ISBN: 9781783638031
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 October 2019
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2022 07:48

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