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  • Writer's picturePGAA Tax

The End of the Lonely Only - DEI and Corporate Tax

Updated: Feb 10, 2023

We all know what it feels like to be left out. No matter who you are. To be "the only one" in a tax department (or any work environment) is challenging and exhausting and can make anyone experience varying degrees of anxiety and self-consciousness.

Suppose DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) is in your department's DNA. In that case, you are set up for attracting, retaining, and motivating everyone on your team because your thought process will always begin with, "am I considering them first?" It is about how you make decisions, which will make your staff feel safe to (on DAY ONE) show your team who they are. In turn, everyone will feel safe showing up as their best self because they are safe to talk, share a view, and challenge themselves and others to improve the existing systems. That is why DEI affects the bottom line!

Most people don't leave their job because of money. Most people quit because of a toxic culture or because they want to establish a healthy work culture. Invite your team to the table, and they will stick around and be engaged.

DEI statistics:

It is difficult to provide specific statistics on diversity within tax departments as companies do not consistently collect and report the information. However, studies and reports have shown that the tax profession, like many others in the corporate world, has historically faced challenges with diversity and inclusion. This is particularly true for underrepresented groups such as women and people of color.

Some studies have shown that tax departments in large corporations tend to have a higher percentage of male employees compared to female employees and that people of color are underrepresented compared to their representation in the overall workforce. Additionally, studies have shown that women and people of color in tax departments are less likely to be in leadership positions compared to their male and white counterparts.

It's worth noting that the situation has been changing in recent years (YAY), and many companies have consciously tried to improve diversity and inclusion in their tax departments. This includes implementing DEI initiatives and setting diversity targets for hiring and promotion. However, there is still a long way to go in achieving true diversity and inclusion in the tax profession.

We love the momentum around improving DEI in tax. Yet, one of the more awful truths around tough economic times is that professional development programs, like DEI training, often get cut. But this has tremendous long-term impacts on your staff and the bottom line. DEI is a growth driver, so as tax leaders, it is strategic to run your tax department in a way that makes everyone feel safe, seen, and understood.

According to a study by Dr. Stefani K. Johnson, teams that are more diverse in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and ability have been found to be six times more productive than those who are homogeneous. This statistic clearly demonstrates the power of having diverse teams.

Is your team ripe for a change? Most are...

With most boomers being retired by 2030---that gives tax and accounting departments a rare chance to re-brand their workplace culture. Reminder, if creating a diverse tax team isn't at the top of the list for your culture shift, you'll miss the next two to three generations of tax professionals (millennials and gen z and interns of generation alpha).

Our responsibility as recruiters

If your team is diverse, this makes our job WAY EASIER! It is a competitive differentiator and makes your office approachable to all walks of life.

We ask ourselves, "what makes this tax team look and feel attractive to our candidate who would be the minority in your office?" "What would make them at risk for turnover?"

Is every part of the recruiting and hiring process thought through with a DEI lens? No, we have our work to do too. For example, the first thing that a potential candidate sees is a job posting. Get this; the average job posting is 6.7 years old, and the average job description has a masculine bias! It is our responsibility to update and improve every search we engage!

Excuses to trash:

"There wasn't diverse talent in the pool."

"They aren't out there."

You know the saying, "Assuming makes an..."

Do not assume your staff feels seen and safe--especially if you don't have an active DEI system. If you don't have DEI transparency, prospective employees will fill in the blank, "this company doesn't care about _____."

Don't assume someone above you is in charge. Studies have shown that middle managers have the most significant impact on workplace culture. You've got this!

Making your team more diverse and inclusive TAKES WORK and TRAINING:

When you hire outside of the Big 4, or you hire on potential, we implore you to train and mentor these rising stars adequately. If you hire diverse talent on tokenism, this will result in a turnover and toxic work culture. Set your new hires up for success, and be ready for the work to do it right.

Finally, ensure that where your team goes to get help about tax team culture is a safe and effective system.


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