Women Accountants in Practicing Accounting Firms: Their Status, Investments and Returns

  • Simeon Ogbulafor OkpechiEmail author
  • Rachid Belmasrour
Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)


This chapter examines the structure of accounting firms within which certified women accountants find work, expect to be completely assimilated, and hope to advance their careers to the point where they become managing or ordinary partners of their firms. Most well-known regional and national accounting firms were established by men whose founders’ names have become their corporate logos. This is a tradition that has been handed down from generation to generation. The domination by men has started to change very rapidly. In the last 20 years, the number of qualified women accountants in the U.S. has outstripped that of men according to American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; yet these women occupy few strategic positions in accounting firms. This chapter also reports the result of our study that explores how the perception of women accountants on their status, investments and returns therefrom, may or may not influence their decisions to remain as career accountants or to leave. Accordingly, a conceptual framework and structured self-administered questionnaire were developed. Questionnaires were mailed to 140 female accountants in five states. The result suggests that women favorably perceive their status, investments and returns they get from being practicing accountants. However, their matriculation into the strategic positions of partners and managing partners is severely constrained by the choice of firms they work for, family and gender issues, and also by long standing traditions. Equality of pay, sabbatical and being given special considerations in audit and consultancy assignments seem to be less important issues to them.


Status Investments Returns Diversity Retention 



Our heart-felt gratitude goes to Oxford University, London for organizing Round Table Conference in March 2010 in which this paper was first presented. Walking through Oxford University seemed like walking through a beautifully arrayed historical landscape of first-class educators, scientists and religious missionaries of the last 500 years. It was an awesome experience. That, we too, have been to the home where some of greatest minds had resided, worked and illuminated the world with their breath-taking acccomplishments is the greatest honor we enjoyed. We thank Southern University at New Orleans for its support and in making it possible for us to attend. We appreciate the role Society of Women Accountants and Finance, New Orleans Chapter played in linking us to women accountants in the states we surveyed. We are also grateful to Mrs. Camille Alexander, Administrative Assistant to the Dean who designed the Conceptual Frame Work. Finally, we thank Mrs. Paulina Okpechi and Mrs. Nancy Belmasrour for their support and encouragement during the long hours we spent in the libraries trying to complete this assignment.

We welcome any suggestions and comments that will improve the quality of our follow-up study. Kindly direct your suggestions to any of us.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Business AdministrationSouthern UniversityNew OrleansUSA
  2. 2.MathSouthern UniversityNew OrleansUSA

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