订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

专栏 - 向Anne提问

女人如何在会计师事务所闯天下?

Anne Fisher 2016年02月17日

Anne Fisher为《财富》杂志《向Anne提问》的专栏作者,这个职场专栏始于1996年,帮助读者适应经济的兴衰起落、行业转换,以及工作中面临的各种困惑。
自2011年以来,会计事务所中女性合伙人的比例一直在下降。一位资深咨询师指出,怀抱晋升高层梦想的女会计师首先需要磨练沟通技巧,还需要找一位能够帮助自己成长的担保人。建立一个亲密的小圈子,偶尔与同事们喝两杯,也有助于女会计师展现自己的亲和力,从而提高获得晋升机会的几率。

亲爱的安妮:《财富》杂志介绍过在男性主导的传统行业,如工程类,女性如何取得成功。我一直在关注这方面的话题,不知道您能否对我的行业提供一些建议。我刚开始读大三,主修会计专业,辅修金融。我即将开始找第一份“正式的”工作,所以我接受了学校就业中心的建议,联系在“四大”会计事务所内工作的校友们。毫无例外,他们都是男性。所以,我想知道,这只是这所学校的特殊情况,还是说在这个职业的顶端,女性普遍非常稀少?如果是后者,我该如何增加晋升的机会?您有什么建议?——J.J.

亲爱的J.J.:很好的问题。一方面,你所选的领域有着巨大的市场需求。据就业数据分析机构Wanted Analytics统计,今年上半年,会计和审计类职位空缺增加了19%,金融类工作机会增加了21%。而且薪酬也在上涨。猎头公司罗致恒富公司最新发布的一份工资调查报告显示,2016年,雇主为新入职的会计和财务类员工提供的起薪将提高4.7%,远高于员工薪酬预算的总体增幅(3.3%)。

但在另一方面,会计领域缺少女性高管,这绝不只是你的校友中出现的个案。美国注册公共会计师协会最近的多元化调查发现,女性在注册会计师事务所中所占的比例接近一半(44%),但在合伙人和负责人中所占的比例仅有19%。这已经是巨大的进步,因为在1989年,会计事务所合伙人和负责人仅有1%为女性。但相比2011年的21%,这一比例出现了小幅下降。

那么,究竟是哪些障碍在阻止更多的女性进入会计事务所高层?克里斯汀•拉姆皮认为:“会计与传统上由男性主导的其他行业没有什么实质性区别。”拉姆皮目前经营自己的咨询公司,为会计事务所提供员工培训与发展,不过她之前的经历让她了解为什么许多女性在成为合伙人之前便选择辞职。

她回忆说,在一家“四大”事务所工作期间,“看着那些高层,他们的那种生活并不是我想要的。尤其是在审计高峰期,他们经常要无休止的加班,并且以此为荣,跟别人炫耀。有一位高层每天晚上都在办公室的沙发上过夜,一周没见过家人。”如果员工希望在工作之外还能有自己的生活,他们肯定不会选择成为合伙人,包括拉姆皮的一些男性同事。

这种全天候无休、不晋则退的文化可能正在发生变化。美国注册公共会计师协会的报告认为:“下一代注册会计师事务所的领导者,希望公司形成一种对家庭友好的环境,以实现健康的工作与生活平衡。事务所必须适应员工关切问题的变化。”

与此同时,能否进入高层也取决于你自己。拉姆皮提供了下面四条建议:

磨练沟通技能。拉姆皮说道:“大多数会计师和财务人员之所以进入这个行业,是因为他们擅长数学,并且愿意与数字打交道,但他们往往没有出色的‘与人打交道的能力’。你需要知道如何进行困难的谈话,尤其是如何明确表达为了完成自己的工作,你需要别人为你提供什么——越早掌握这种能力越好。”虽然你还在上学,但她建议你尽可能学一学谈判课程。她补充说:“以品牌建设为重点的营销课程也会有帮助。现在就考虑如何建立‘个人品牌’并不算早。”

找一位担保人。导师当然好,但在遇到更大的困难时,担保人会更有帮助。找到第一份“正式”工作之后,拉姆皮建议:“找一位让你敬佩并且你愿意为其工作的人。做好他们安排的工作,让他们知道你将他们视为榜样。”这个人可以是男性,也可以是女性,或者是你的某位大学校友,前提是你们在一家事务所工作。

她建议说:“询问你的担保人,怎样做才能取得长远的成功。事务所的目标是什么,你可以提供哪些帮助?”她补充说,打动担保人,让他或她成为你的粉丝,“甚至愿意出面帮你,这将是你职业成败的关键。”

在工作中建立一个亲密团体。拉姆皮说道,尤其是在没有女性高层的事务所,“你可以发起一个讨论组,比如‘向前一步’小圈子,帮助将多元化问题提到显著位置。邀请男性参与。”这很重要,因为“我真的认为,在许多事务所,男性,尤其是年轻男性,对女性没有偏见。他们愿意根据工作成绩来判断每个人。然而,即使在当下,一旦女性在高层获得一席之地,难免还是有人会觉得她就是来打酱油的,并不会带来实质影响。”

偶尔与同事们一起喝两杯。拉姆皮认为,认真对待自己的职业并不意味着使自己过于严肃。她建议:“利用任何机会,与同事们进行非正式的聚会,不谈工作,只为开心。与同事们一起谈论的与工作无关的话题越多,你与同事们的私人关系便越密切,就会有更多人认为你‘可爱’。”研究显示,在任何公司,“亲和力”都是一个人能否升职的关键要素(但自信的女强人往往被认为缺乏这种品质)。

还有一点:特别是在第一份(或者前两份)工作中,要对获得升职的机会进行实际评估。如果在几个月或一年之后,你发现你所在的公司不愿意提拔有才能的女性,你应该马上离开。

拉姆皮说道:“会计行业的好处在于,会计事务所多如牛毛,你的能力总会有用武之地。如果你发现自身的处境不佳,不必因为跳槽而感到羞愧。你需要尊重你的同事们,反之亦然。”祝你好运。(财富中文网)

译者:刘进龙/汪皓

审校:任文科

Dear Annie: I’ve been following Fortune’s coverage of women in traditionally male-dominated jobs likeengineering, and I wonder if you can shed some light on what’s going on in my field. I’m starting my senior year of college as an accounting major, minoring in finance. I’ll be looking for my first “real” job soon, so I’ve been taking my campus career center’s advice and contacting alumni who are high up in Big Four firms. Without a single exception, they are all men. So I’m wondering, does that just happen to be true of people who went to school here, or are women generally scarce at, or near, the top of this profession? If the latter, do you have any suggestions on how to improve my chances of eventually getting to the top? — Just Joanie

Dear J.J.: Good question. On the one hand, you’ve picked a field that’s showing strong demand, with job openings in accounting and auditing up 19%, and in finance up 21%, in the first six months of this year, according to workforce-data firm Wanted Analytics. Pay is climbing, too. Staffing company Robert Half International’s latest salary survey reports that employers will boost starting salaries for new hires in accounting and finance by 4.7% in 2016, well above the average 3.3% raise companies have budgeted for employees overall next year.

On the other hand, though, the lack of female senior executives in accounting is not unique to your school’s alumni association — far from it. Women make up almost half (44%) of employees at CPA firms, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) found in its most recent survey on diversity, but they’re just 19% of partners and principals. That’s a big improvement over the scant 1% of people at that level who were women in 1989. But it’s slightly fewer than the 21% of female partners and principals in 2011.

What’s keeping more women from rising to senior jobs? “Accounting isn’t really any different from many other historically male-dominated businesses,” notes Kristen Rampe. She now heads up her own consulting firm, providing training and development to accounting firms, but Rampe’s earlier experience provides a clue as to why so many women quit before making partner.

While working at a Big Four firm, she recalls, “I looked at the people above me and saw no one who had the life I wanted. It wasn’t unusual for people to put in endless hours, especially during audit season, and brag about it. One senior man slept on the couch in his office every night and didn’t see his family for a week.” Employees who wanted a life outside the office, including some of Rampe’s male peers, clearly weren’t going to make partner.

That kind of 24-7, up-or-out culture may be changing. “The next generation of CPA firm leaders is demanding that firms create a family-friendly environment conducive to a healthy work-life balance,” the AICPA report observes. “Firms have to adapt to changing worker concerns.”

In the meantime, getting ahead is going to depend on you. Rampe offers these four suggestions:

Work on your communication skills. “Most accountants and finance people go into it because they’re good at math and they like working with numbers, but they often haven’t got great ‘people skills’,” says Rampe. “You need to know how to have difficult conversations, especially how to articulate what you need from others in order to do your job — and the earlier the better.” While you’re still in school, she recommends taking a class in negotiating if you can. “A marketing class that focuses on branding would be good, too,” she adds. “It’s not too soon to think about building your ‘personal brand.’”

Find a sponsor. Mentors are great, but sponsors are even better, if somewhat harder to come by. Once you’re in your first “real” job, Rampe says, “Keep an eye out for someone higher up whom you admire and like working for. Do great work for them, and let them know you consider them a role model.” This person could be male or female — maybe even someone from your college alumni association, if you find yourself working at the same firm.

“Ask about the requirements for success long-term. What is the firm trying to achieve, and how can you help?,” she suggests. Impressing a sponsor, so that he or she becomes a fan and “may even be willing to stick his or her neck out for you,” Rampe adds, “is often what makes or breaks careers.”

Start an affinity group at work. Especially at a firm with no senior women, “you could initiate a discussion group, like a ‘Lean In circle,’ to help bring diversity issues to the fore,” says Rampe. “Invite men to participate.” That’s important because “I really think men, particularly younger men, at many firms aren’t biased against women. They’re willing to judge everyone’s work on the merits. But, once women get a seat at the table, there is often a sense that just having women there kind of checks that box.”

Grab a beer with coworkers once in a while. You can be serious about your career without taking yourself too seriously, Rampe notes. “Take advantage of any chances that come along to get together with your peers informally, just for fun,” she advises. “The more you talk about topics unrelated to work, and connect with colleagues as people, the more you’re perceived as ‘likable.’” Research has shown that “likeability” is essential to moving up in any business (and that competent, assertive women are often perceived as lacking in it).

One more thought: Especially while you’re in your first job (or two), do a realistic assessment of your chances of reaching a corner office. If you find after a few months or a year that you’ve landed at a firm that’s dragging its feet about promoting talented women, you can always leave.

“One great thing about accounting is that there are so many firms, and demand for your skills is everywhere,” says Rampe. “There is no shame in moving on if you find yourself in a bad situation. You have to respect the people you work with — and vice versa.” Good luck.

我来点评

最新文章:

中国煤业大迁徙

500强情报中心

财富专栏