PracticeAccounting FirmsOn the money with Gavin Hinks

On the money with Gavin Hinks

Hats off to Creaseys and Scrutton Bland in this year’s Accountancy Age survey of firms. Congratulations, I mean that most sincerely

gavin hinks, editor accountancy age

It’s not for record-breaking revenues, not sky-high growth rates. It’s not
even for surviving the downturn (both have positive growth by the way this
year).

No, our hearty felicitations go out to these firms because they are the only
two businesses in the 100 that we survey in this week’s issue that have female
managing partners. Yes, that’s right, only 2% of the firms have women at the
top.

Emma Roberts, managing partner at Creaseys, has been in the business since
she qualified and has helped steer the firm to a modest, but healthy, 6.7%
pick-up on last year’s business. Sharon Gravenor, who runs Scrutton Bland,
scored more with 7.8%. Neither of the firms made our Top50.

If our statistics are anything to go on, at least 10 managing partners in the
hundred biggest firms should be female and five in the Top50.

Where on earth are they? The talent is there. The number of women who win
Accountancy Age awards is a clear sign that ability is not the issue.

The problem is somewhere else and it’s somewhere between individual choice
and the inherent conservatism of partnerships who are dominated by men.

From 70 executives on the boards of the Big Four, six are women. That’s
almost 10%, but it’s hardly encouraging and does not instill any confidence that
a woman may one day lead one of the biggest firms.

But it’s a sign that people are rising to very near the top.

What the profession needs, however, is a role model. A single large firm that
breaks with habit and chooses a woman as leader. Then we might see the others
follow suit. Sadly, it doesn’t look like it will happen any time soon.

Gavin Hinks is editor of Accountancy Age

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