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May 8, 2017 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 working. 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 the pipeline of female talent that would result in an increase of women partners and leaders at the firm,” said Sue Perlin, leader of the firm's Women in Leadership initiative. “Since then, a lot of effort has gone into ensuring that high-potential women get the development, training, and opportunities they need to prepare them for larger roles. Plante Moran has made WIL a priority and we’re already seeing strong result.”