Firms cagey about dearth of female partners

It’s an irony that Christine Freshwater has decided to leave her post as managing partner for Chantrey Vellacott DFK just as we reveal for the first time the dearth of female partners in accountancy firms.

Of all the Top 50 firms to tell us their gender breakdown, fewer than one in 10 partners at the average firm is female.

The picture is likely to worsen if the firms who declined to reveal a simple piece of information like this one are taken into account. Instead of giving us a stark figure, a handful instead opted to tell us they recruit on merit, not gender. That may be true, but it’s an answer to a different question.

There’s no hiding from the truth: it’s a statistic that is simply not good enough and one that does accountancy no favours. It also looks worse when compared with accountancy’s favourite benchmark, the legal profession.

According to the Law Society, around 15% of partners in law firms are female. That’s not great either, but it’s a proportion that’s 50% better than accountancy’s.

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