Get a How-To on Starting or Maintaining Your Firm’s DEI Initiatives with AAM’s New Toolkit
Accounting firms broadly support the need for a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce, but making real progress takes an understanding of the complexities involved, a sustained commitment and the tools to get started and keep the momentum going.
The stakes are higher than ever. Staffing is always at the top of firm leaders’ concerns, but the Great Resignation has turned a competitive environment into an all-out war to hire talented recruits and keep them happy enough to stay. At the same time, accounting is woefully behind other learned professions, such as medicine and law, in reflecting the communities in which they work.
Marketers can play a pivotal role in starting a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) program or keeping efforts rolling if they’ve already begun. A new toolkit created by AAM’s DEI Committee is available for your accounting marketing materials as it offers numerous resources to guide marketers along the way.
The committee will present the DEI toolkit to AAM members in a training session set for 2 p.m. Eastern March 17, 2022. The webinar is part of a series of trainings that covered the language used in DEI work and tips for getting leadership buy-in.
Many firms find the work of creating a more diverse workforce a daunting prospect. While 63% of firms support DEI efforts, according to an AAM survey in late 2020, 37% of respondents noted that their firms have no activities or programs in place. The toolkit was created with the hope that marketers can collectively move the profession forward with passion, authenticity and commitment.
“It can be intimidating to start a DEI initiative, so it’s okay to not have all the answers right away,” said DEI Committee co-chair Siri Svay, practice growth senior specialist at PKF Texas. “What’s important to remember is there is not a one-size fits all solution, that every firm’s journey is unique, so take the steps you need to build towards change.”
Some firms have few resources, competing priorities or other barriers that hinder a DEI initiative. The toolkit addresses that scenario and suggests ways marketers can play a part in moving closer. The toolkit, in a “go/no go” section, addresses opportunities to influence and support DEI even though leadership isn’t yet on board. The “go” section relates to firms that are interested in moving forward and offers suggestions on how marketing can lead efforts to build a culture of belonging and inclusivity. Marketing can take on many roles – influencer, gatekeeper, writer, distributor and owner among them.
Additional toolkit resources include the business case for DEI, DEI program organizational structure, communications protocols and technology tools, when to seek outside help and how to measure impact are also covered.
“DEI programs require sustained focus so progress will always feel too slow and resources are never enough, but marketers can be a strong force for change,” said DEI Committee co-chair Carol Carlile, HCVT’s managing director of business and practice development. “An inclusive culture that celebrates diversity in all its forms attracts talented people who will likely find the firm a welcoming, respectful and rewarding place to work.”
The DEI toolkit will be a great addition to your accounting marketing materials, and there is an upcoming training session about it in March. Registration is now open to AAM members: https://aam.memberclicks.net/aam-dei-training-march-22#/
Note: this training is only available for AAM Members.
About Christina Camara
Christina Camara is the managing editor of INSIDE Public Accounting, which publishes two award-winning publications: the IPA newsletter and the annual IPA National Benchmarking Report, along with in-depth reports focused on IT, HR, and firm administration.
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