Women take the lead in accounting

Women signing up to be part of Australia’s largest accounting body now outnumber men.

In 2007, 14,062 women enrolled to study CPA Australia’s entry program compared with 10,150 men, a 16 percent difference. These women have accredited degrees and are looking to expand their credentials by studying to become a CPA.

Women now account for 41 percent of CPA Australia’s 117,000 strong membership. Ten years ago, in 1998, women accounted for 29 percent of the overall membership (87,000). In NSW alone, women make up 54 percent of membership under 34 years of age.

CPA Australia President Alex Malley is delighted that more women are forging careers as finance professionals.

‘Accounting is a great career in great demand. Businesses the world over simply cannot get enough accountants. Our members have highly transferable qualifications that give them skills for a variety of roles that include working in management, environmental accounting, investment banking and running their own business. The opportunities are endless.

‘These days men and women are looking for a career that offers a work / life balance, so they find the flexibility that accounting offers very attractive. Women who want to have a family, work overseas or work part-time appreciate that. And then there’s the salary — many of those with a CPA qualification enjoy better wages than those who have just completed a degree.’

To further understand gender issues affecting the accounting profession, CPA Australia is supporting research to extend its 2001 study on Gender Issues in Accounting this year. The study will look at policies, practices and procedures that assist the retention of accountants, particularly women accountants, and promote the equitable treatment of women accountants.

The below graph shows a comparision between CPA Australia membership in 1998 and 2008.

CPA Australia membership

From CPA Australia

Female workers still face discrimination

More than half of Australians say female employees are still not treated equally in the workplace – mainly because of the perception they are less capable than males – according to a survey conducted by career networking site LinkMe.

Other reasons sited by the 2700 people surveyed for the enduring lack of equality included the:

  • perception that females will not be in the workplace for as long as men
  • belief that women focus more on family than their job
  • fact that employers don’t want to employ someone who might take maternity leave

Women at the top end of the corporate ladder noticed the lack of equality more than others.

In fact, 68 per cent of those earning over $100,000 said women are still struggling for equality at work, compared to 60 per cent of females earning less than $50,000.

Survey respondents expressed no preference for male or female managers, despite acknowledging that both genders approach the position differently.