Bloomberg Tax last year released a survey of more than 400 tax and accounting professionals regarding the state of diversity and inclusion within accounting firms and corporate tax and accounting departments.

While most accounting firms and corporations report widespread support for diversity and inclusion, the survey uncovered varying perspectives on the implementation and success of diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Among the notable differences, corporate accounting departments reported greater emphasis on diversity and inclusion than corporate tax departments. While the vast majority (76 percent) of corporate accounting department respondents consider diversity and inclusion as important to their departments, only 46 percent of tax department respondents shared that sentiment.  That disparity also holds true when selecting an accounting firm as a vendor: only 35 percent of corporate tax department respondents deem diversity and inclusion an important factor in the decision as compared to 67 percent of accounting department respondents.

In accounting firms, the perception of the impact of diversity and inclusion initiatives skews higher among those making hiring decisions. While 86 percent of hiring managers in accounting firms rate overall diversity efforts highly, only 46 percent of those not responsible for hiring feel similarly.

The survey also uncovered a much a greater focus on diversity and inclusion in hiring and recruiting than retention and professional development. While 81 percent of corporate tax and accounting departments have diversity and inclusion initiatives related to hiring, only 47 percent have similar efforts focused on retention. Those figures are 74 percent and 58 percent, respectively, for accounting firms. And half of tax departments (51 percent) indicate that their main challenge in advancing diversity and inclusion is a limited pipeline of top talent (compared to 40 percent of accounting respondents).

“The survey revealed different perspectives on diversity and inclusion between high-level managers and lower-level managers and staff, which underscores the need and opportunity for organizations to engage with their employees and do as much as possible to retain their talent,” said Lisa Fitzpatrick, Vice President and General Manager, Bloomberg Tax. “And given the challenges associated with building a pipeline of diverse talent for the tax and accounting profession, we will be continuing to monitor and report on this issue through our news coverage and industry research.”

The survey was conducted online and was completed by 421 respondents—140 respondents from accounting firms and 281 respondents from corporations.

Bloomberg Tax provides comprehensive global research, news and technology services enabling tax professionals to get the timely, accurate, and in-depth information they need to plan and comply with confidence. For more information, visit bna.com/tax/. 

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