Women Say Accounting & Finance Careers Offer Life-Work Balance: Study

Survey finds different challenges for women and men and strong need for mentors

Men and women say more needs to be done to get women interested in being accountants. Men and women say more needs to be done to get women interested in being accountants.

Women in accounting and finance believe they face different obstacles from their male counterparts, but still think the profession provides a good work/life balance, according to the latest Mergis Group Women in Finance survey.

The survey, released Monday, also reveals a definitive need for more mentors in the profession, Mergis said in a statement.

This year’s survey includes findings in several key areas.

A recommended profession with not enough mentors:

  • 28% of women and 31% of men reported that they had never had a mentor or role model to support their careers in the accounting and finance profession.
  • Approximately two-thirds of men and women said they believed role models are critical to a successful accounting and finance career.
  • 80% of women and 86% of men would recommend the profession to a family member.
  • 88% of men and 86% of women would absolutely recommend the profession to young women.

Best practices for encouraging young women to enter the field:

  • More than half of women and men believe there is a need for greater promotion of accounting and finance as a career choice for women.
  • Half of the women and men surveyed claimed more mentoring programs would help.
  • About one-third of women and 26% of men felt more educational programs about the field are necessary to pique interest.
  • A third of women but only 13% of men said greater availability of scholarship grants would incentivize people to join the profession.

Important factors leading to successful finance and accounting career:

  • 48% of men and 51% of women rate accounting and finance skills and expertise as the top factor to success.
  • 41% of women and 39% of men named relationship building and personal networking.
  • 41% of men said developing management skills was a priority compared with only 22% of women who did.
  • 37% of men and 34% of women claimed that gaining accounting and finance experience is critical to personal success.

Career satisfaction:

  • Women (48%) expressed less satisfaction with the progression of their accounting and finance careers than men (59%).
  • Women in accounting and finance ranked being challenged (35%), compensation (27%) and flexibility (12%) as the most important factors to satisfaction in their careers.
  • On the other hand, men ranked compensation (35%), being challenged (29%) and flexibility (12%) as the most important factors to satisfaction in their careers. 
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