Knowledge Center

Women in Accounting

Women Accountants

  • Women are 49.4% of all auditors, accountants, and investment professionals in Canada.1
  • Women are 60.9% of all accountants and auditors in the United States.2
  • In a 2011 study, women were half of newly hired accounting graduates at CPA firms, and 40% of all CPAs.3
  • This study found that women are just 21% of all partners at firms, although they are 45% of all accounting employees at accounting firms.4
  • A 2010  study examined the number of women partners at the Big Four accounting and found that women were 18.1% of all equity partners.5
  • By firm, the percentage of partners that were women were:
    • 18.8% at Deloitte6
    • 18.8% at KPMG7
    • 17.9% at Ernst & Young8
    • 16.9% at PricewaterhouseCoopers9
  • The same study examined the overall number of women employees at the largest accounting firms. By firm, the percentage of employees that were women were:
    • 49.2% at Ernst & Young10
    • 48.6% at PricewaterhouseCoopers11
    • 48.3% at KPMG12
    • 44.0% at Deloitte.13


Women of Color and People of Color in Accounting

Women of Color

  • Women of color earned 15.8% of all bachelor’s degrees in accounting in 2011-2012 school year.14
  • Women of color are 15.8% of all of those employed in industries of accounting, tax prep, bookkeeping, and payroll services.15
  • In one study, women of color accountants cited various barriers to advancement, including lack of similar role models, stereotypes, exclusion to or lack of access to networks, and lack of access to high-visibility assignments.16

People of Color

  • Hiring by ethnicity is on the rise –  the total hiring of people of color for 2011 reached 25% of total hires.17
  • Approximately 21% of a firm’s employees were people of color.18
  • 50% of women and men of color do not feel obligated to stay within their current firms (though women of color are more likely than men of color to leave for the same money, to do similar tasks).19

Women Accountants in Management and in the Pipeline

  • In 2013, women were 11.4% of all CFOs in the Fortune 500.20
  • One study found Canadian women partners, principals, and associates all felt their managers were less likely to provide assignments that would help them develop new strengths and skills than men.21






% That Men Earn Over Women







South Africa


Sri Lanka


United Kingdom                 




Note: *CIMA fellows are members with considerable leadership experience


How to cite this product: Catalyst. Quick Take: Women in Accounting. New York: Catalyst, 2013.