This letter is a call to action to the vendors of the accounting profession. We are asking them to start putting their money where their mouth is in 2020 by thinking critically about what conferences they choose to return to and sponsor. Our goal is to see these vendors push for more inclusive industry events that reflect & represent the diverse range of professionals that exist in the accounting space.
You can read the complete letter below:
Industry Vendors -
We are writing to you on behalf of those in the accounting profession that feel unseen & unheard by the industry at large. You are an integral part of our industry, and we believe you have the power to drive change in a truly formidable way. But we'll get to that in a moment.
We are writing to you to call your attention to a serious problem of representation. Studies show that 61% of the accounting profession in the United States identifies as female. The stats on ethnic identity vary depending on which industry journal is publishing the data, but up to 45% of practitioners identify as persons of color and/or non-white and we know that least 10% identify as LGBTQIA. However, we've never once seen a major networking event or panel in our space that is focused on highlighting these voices & experiences. Walking into any mainstage or breakout session at a major industry conference, the likelihood of seeing a presenter or panel discussion that actually reflects any of these statistics is slim to none.
But we're not here to talk to you about numbers, we're here to talk to you about actions. And by that, we mean the tangible things that you can be doing as a company to help us change the lineups at these events in a meaningful way. As individual attendees, we can vote with our feet. We can choose to forgo sessions or entire conferences that don't care about inclusion or represent our values. But what about your values? Your sponsor dollars are the engine that drives these events. Don't you want to spend your money on events & conferences that actually uphold and reflect your values?
We've seen many of you talk about how you care about diversity, inclusion, and #womenintech. Talk is cheap. Action, at this moment, will be much more impactful. And we are calling on you to act. As you look out into 2020 and make plans for which conferences & events you will return to and endorse with your dollars, we ask you to think closely about the impact you are making with your hard-won profits. Are these events truly representative of the industry at large? Do they truly care about & highlight a diverse array of voices from within the profession? Do they share your same values & actually demonstrate them through their actions?
We are asking these questions because you can make a tangible impact on the outcomes. If attendees & vendors refuse to participate in activities that don't reflect our values, change is inevitable. As sponsors of these events, you wield a unique amount of power to be able to question event organizers and push them towards actionable change.
Next time you think about sponsoring something, ask the organizers for specific details on steps they are taking to ensure their event is inclusive. Push them to provide data and ask them to prove progress from one year to the next. If they don't have answers, don't fork over your dollars to the people who aren't doing their part. If they do, make sure they're backing up their words with actions and putting speakers, panelists, and spokespeople in place that reflect the profession and also value inclusivity.
We are looking to you not just as vendors but as partners that we value deeply, to stand up together and demand that event organizers do more to include voices that reflect the whole of the profession, not the antiquated archetype of what a CPA looks like. If you truly aspire to support the future of this profession, do your part to bring it into being by removing support from events that look like a blast from the past.
We hope you will choose to be our allies in this important moment, and that together we can drive change & inclusion in the industry.
Madeline Pratt (Womxn Talk Money & Fearless In Training) & Megan Genest Tarnow (Mobius Group)
The Be The Solution: An Open Letter To Accounting Industry Vendors petition to Accounting Practitioners was written by Madeline Pratt and is in the category Gender Rights and Issues at GoPetition.