Like many industries, the accounting profession reflects the longstanding American legacy of the “old boy network.” Most firms are still led by Caucasian men, and some have no women or people of color in leadership at all. But the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) movement is gaining steam in the accounting profession, aided by an increasing focus on mentoring.
The Case for Mentoring in Accounting Diversity
Why Diversity Programs Fail, by Harvard University’s Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev, found that mentoring had the largest impact on diversity and inclusion of more than half a dozen strategies.
Julie Kantor, founder, and CEO of Twomentor says that mentoring breaks down the walls between people and is critical for promoting DEI efforts. She explains, “Mentoring helps employees develop a sense of belonging, supports traditionally underrepresented groups, increases promotion rates, improves retention rates, and fosters understanding between cultural groups…Across the board, companies investing in formal workplace mentoring programs experience substantial returns on their investment.”
Lean In, a nonprofit founded by Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg, found last year that many men feel uncomfortable mentoring, working alone, socializing, or traveling with women co-workers because of how it might look. Yet men mentoring women is important to encourage diversity and inclusion, as without it, women are unlikely to have the same opportunities as their male counterparts in the accounting profession.
Research clearly shows mentoring is not just nice to have—it is a must-have for promoting diversity and inclusion, and overall business success at your accounting firm.
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About Elieen Monesson
Eileen Monesson, CPC, principal with PRCounts, is a strategic marketer and coach who creates market-dominating brands.