The new “career fluid” work culture presents deep currents for growth for women and firms in the accounting and advisory profession, according to results released today by the Accounting MOVE Project. In the MOVE cohort, women have solidified their presence at 31% of firm partners and principals, validating the innovations sparked at CPA firms by the COVID-19 pandemic.
More responsibility, earlier in their careers: that’s what younger women want. Accounting MOVE Project firms are meeting that ambition with new forms of career development, matched by new ways to pace career advancement for sustained success.
Along with this year’s report, the Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance released today its two lists of exemplary CPA firms, based on the Accounting MOVE Project results: the 2022 Best Firms for Women list and the 2022 Best Firms for Equity Leadership list. International firm SAPRO debuts in the MOVE Project on both the Best and Equity Leadership lists, with a blockbuster number: 44% of its partners and principals are women. In 2017, firm founders had the chance to build a better CPA firm from scratch… and they did. “Extreme wellness” programs like sabbaticals for all and holistic well-being benefits help professionals fully participate in the firm’s growth.
“This year’s study highlights how firms have shifted their approaches to developing and providing career opportunities. Firms are accelerating the advancement of women based on the success of the new strategies they implemented in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tricia Bencich, Inclusion & Social Responsibility Associate Director for Moss Adams.
Among the innovations showcased in this year's report are sabbaticals, now offered by 46% of MOVE Project firms, including by SAPRO, a national sponsor of the MOVE Project. "People need to take leave to spend time with family, travel, learn a language, take a course, care or volunteer. Most people have never taken a break in their working lives and yearned for space to travel and explore. A sabbatical allows women to reacquaint themselves with who they are and what they value. It provides a fresh perspective, allowing you to return to your career as a more innovative and creative person. Women need to give themselves the gift of time,” said Mary Maguire, Chief Operating Officer SAPRO.
“Now more than ever women need a third-party stamp of approval like the MOVE Project lists and the Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance to find firms where they can grow and thrive. Traditional career paths are changing so quickly that firms can hardly keep up. The 2022 Move Project shows fresh avenues of advancement,” said Cindy Stanley, Executive Director of the Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance.
At the conference, Accounting MOVE Project founder Joanne Cleaver handed the reins to Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk, president of bbr companies and incoming manager of MOVE, who will continue to collaborate with the AFWA and sponsors to celebrate and challenge the accounting and advisory profession as it seeks to advance women and diverse talent in new and sustainable ways.
“Bonnie has provided invaluable behind-the-scenes guidance that has helped the MOVE Project anticipate emerging trends and provide insight to participating firms,” Cleaver said. “The profession is fortunate to have her energy and insight to propel the MOVE Project to even greater relevance.”
About the Accounting MOVE Project
The Accounting MOVE Project is based on the MOVE methodology, developed by research partner Wilson-Taylor Associates, Inc., which investigates the factors proven to be essential to women’s career success:
M – Money: fair pay practices;
O – Opportunity: advancement and leadership development;
V – Vital supports: work-life programs that remove barriers;
E – Entrepreneurship: operating experience for managing or business ownership
Since 2010, the Accounting MOVE Project has measured and supported the advancement of women at accounting and consulting firms. MOVE is the only annual benchmarking project that both counts and advocates for women in the profession.
The MOVE Project advisory board includes leaders from association partners the Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance and founding sponsor Moss Adams.
MOVE is made possible by support from its sponsors and by administrative fees paid by participating firms. Firms receive benchmarking reports based on the MOVE Project.
See the archives of MOVE Project reports at