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September 12, 2019 1 min read
In most firms, there’s a “cliff” where women tend to drop off at the senior level and leave the accounting profession altogether. Plante Moran wants to combat this trend.

Image of a woman leading a meeting 

For the last 25 years, more than 50 percent of college graduates in accounting have been women. Yet, when you look at the percentage of female partners at accounting firms, it hovers around 20 percent. When looking at female representation at accounting firms on a graph, there’s a dramatic plunge, or cliff, at the senior manager level where women tend to drop off and leave the profession altogether. 

In 2012, Plante Moran launched its Women in Leadership (WIL) initiative to combat this trend. The long-term goal of the program is to have equal presence, impact, and influence from men and women at all levels of the firm, including partnership. 

The long-term goal of Women in Leadership is to have equal presence, impact, and influence from men and women at all levels of the firm, including partnership. 

We set out to increase the visibility of female leaders externally and internally, provide targeted developmental career opportunities to retain and advance women leaders, and develop customized career and life integration strategies that complemented the firm’s existing successful work-life programs. 

Plante Moran’s recent leadership transition is a great indicator that the program is beneficial. In addition to two women being named to the firm’s seven-person management team, five of the seven people promoted to the positions new management team members left open were women. 

“When we launched WIL, we set out to build a pipeline of talent that would result in an increase of women partners and leaders at the firm,” said WIL Leader Judy Wright. “Our female mentoring program has been one of our most successful initiatives in moving that needle. Conceived to be more intentional about developing female leaders, this 18-month program pairs high-potential female mentees with partner mentors (male and female). Many who’ve completed this program have gone on to become partners at the firm.” 

“Bottom line,” concludes Judy, “the future looks promising for our dedicated female staff — and, therefore, the firm — as we continue to invest in resources and programs that drive better opportunities for all.”