Accounting MOVE Project

The Accounting MOVE Project has a new home!

See the MOVE Project archives, insights, and keep up with the next cycle of the most authoritative, insightful annual research that catalyzes change for women and diverse talent in the accounting and advisory professions.

You can also find results for the  2022 Accounting MOVE Project at the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance

The Accounting MOVE Project is made possible by the generous support of Founding Sponsor Moss Adams and National Sponsor SAPRO.

Read about the unexpected rise of sabbaticals — one surprise result from the  2022 Accounting MOVE Project  — in Accounting Today.

Read all about the launch of the 2022 Accounting MOVE Project in Accounting Today.


From the October 12, 2021 issue of Accounting Today: More Women Becoming Partners & Principals at Firms

From the June 16, 2021 issue of Accounting Today: How Can CPA Firms Win Women Back?

Results of the 2021 Accounting MOVE Project research cycle were  announced on October 18, 2021, at the Accounting & Financial Women‘s annual conference.

Read about the launch of the 2021 Accounting MOVE Project in Accounting Today.

The 2020 Accounting MOVE Project results have been released!

Read the press release from the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance, including its lists of Best CPA Firms for Women and Best CPA Firms for Equity Leadership.

How DO they do it? Leading firms tell how they drive firm growth by making the most of women’s talent and unique qualifications to win and keep clients, in the 2020 Accounting MOVE Project report .

The Accounting MOVE Project delivers accounting and advisory firms the most comprehensive data and guidance on finding, retaining, developing and advancing diverse talent of all sorts, including women, ethnic minorities and identity groups.

MOVE insights framed this May 2019 article in Going Concern about how accounting professionals can figure out which firms actually are best for diverse talent:  How New Accounting Grads Can Tune Up Their Diversity BS Detectors

2019 Accounting MOVE Project results are now released by the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance!

2019 Report: Promotions, Plateaus and Possibilities: New Ways Forward

Download the report here: 2019 Accounting MOVE Project report  The 2019 Accounting MOVE Project parses the complicated, often conflicting, layers of career opportunities, barriers, expectations and assumptions at CPA firms to show women and firm leaders new ways to craft success for all.

Read the executive summary in the May issue of Public Accounting Report: Public Accounting Report May 2019 MOVE Executive Summary

The Accounting MOVE Project is the only annual benchmark that celebrates excellence for women at accounting and advisory firms. The Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance recognizes excellence for women through two lists, both based on MOVE data:  the Best CPA Firms for Women list and the Best CPA Firms for Leadership Equity list. Download the 2019 MOVE winners press release here: 2019 MOVE press release FINAL

The MOVE Project believes that there are many routes to achieving excellence in advancing women. To that end, the Project and its association partner, the Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance, compiles two lists that recognize excellence in two forms.

  • To earn a spot on the Best CPA Firms for Women list, an employer must have both a high proportion of women at most or all levels of management and proven success with the MOVE factors. An employer cannot win by having a rich array of programs but few women in leadership. We believe that if an employer’s MOVE factors are effective, it will have a healthy and growing proportion of women in its leadership pipeline.
  • To earn a spot on the Best Firms for Leadership Equity list, an employer must have at least 31% women partners & principals. This aligns with the widely acknowledged “tipping point” at which women are recognized for their own contributions and less as spokespeople for their gender or other identities. The Equity Leadership list is designed to recognize firms whose cultures organically result in high proportions of women leaders, regardless of programs or business model.

MOVE Project Archives

Congratulations to the 2018 Best CPA Firms for Women and 2018 Best CPA Firms for Equity Leadership! Read the Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance release and list!

Read all about how CPA firms are refreshing their perspectives on diversity in the process of advancing women with the latest strategies, in the 2018 Accounting MOVE Project Report .compressed .

Read the executive summary of the 2018 Accounting MOVE Project report, published in the May issue of Public Accounting Report:  PAR_05-18_Extra[1]

The 2018 CPA Firm Diversity Report, sponsored by Grant Thornton

The only comprehensive diversity benchmark for CPA firms  is based on ongoing MOVE Project results from 2010 on. Read all about it: MOVE Forward 2018 CPA DiversityReport

And read the executive summary of MOVE Forward in the January 2019 issue of Public Accounting Report: PAR_01-19_Extra

The 2017 CPA Firm Diversity Report, sponsored by Xero 

The first comprehensive diversity benchmark for CPA firms and based on eight years of Accounting MOVE Project results. Read the executive summary in the December 2017 issue of Public Accounting ReportExecutive Summary – CPA Firm Diversity Report 2017 Public Accounting Report  And the full report is here: CPA Firm Diversity Report, sponsored by Xero

Women’s initiatives led the way at many firms, opening discussions that are now expanding to include a wide range of considerations about inclusion, firm culture, and what it really means to be a ‘best place to work.’  The 2018 Accounting MOVE Project will explore how firms are digging deep to understand the underlying dynamics of lasting change for women, and the implications for defining and measuring success for all employees and the entire firm.

The Accounting MOVE Project and CPA Firm Diversity Report are featured in Growth Strategies, the magazine of the Association for Accounting Marketing — download the issue –  AAM Growth Strategies 2018  – and turn to page 12.

 2017 Accounting MOVE Project Results: Pipeline to Finish Line  

  • The 2017 Accounting MOVE Project Report
  • Best CPA Firms for Women 
  • Best CPA Firms for Equity Leadership 

First published in Public Accounting Report May 2017, read the executive summary in this special section: Public Accounting Report MOVE section May 2017.

Download the full 2017 Accounting MOVE Project Report.

Congratulations to the firms on the Best and Equity Leadership lists, based on Accounting MOVE Project results! Check out the press release: 2017 Best Public Accounting Firms for Women | Accounting MOVE Project

And read all about MOVE Project media coverage!

2016 Accounting MOVE Project Results

  • The 2016 Accounting MOVE Project Report
  •  Best CPA Firms for Women list
  • Best CPA Firms for Equity Leadership list.

Read all about it in the press release: Best Firms & MOVE 2016You Remind Me of Me

And use the 2016AccountingMOVEReport to use executive sponsorship to cultivate women leaders, partners, and as a ‘silver bullet’ for succession planning.

2016 Accounting MOVE Project theme, Sponsorship: Stepping Up Success, is the centerpiece of the May 2016 issue of Public Accounting Report: PAR_05-16 and an executive summary of the 2016 Accounting MOVE Project results: PAR-05-2016_Extra-Women’s Survey.

CPA firm culture is perpetuated when leaders clone themselves. The MOVE Project team detected this insidious dynamic and rescripted it in this infographic ‘Beyond ‘You Remind Me of Me’.”

2015 Accounting MOVE Project Results 

The 2015 Accounting MOVE Project continues to make waves in the CPA profession and with clients.

Customized Career Paths Keep Women on Partner Track | AccountingWEB:   this story features MOVE firms Yeo & Yeo; Mahoney Ulbrichson; and The Bonadio Group.

Women’s initiative? When do men get THEIR initiative? The Nov. 18, 2015  Accounting MOVE Project delivered the perfect response to that common ‘devil’s advocate’ objection to CPA firm women’s iniatiaves. Here’s the deck: MOVE webinar Slides, which highlights:

  • Moss Adams: How partner Darin Goehner helps other male leaders ‘seize the moment’ when they suddenly see why it’s important to advance women.
  • CohnReznick: How Chief of Staff Risa Lavine frames the advancement of women as a business challenge (not a female issue) to expand leaders’ investment in women
  • Yeo & Yeo: How director of marketing Kimberlee Kelley reaped 27,693 social media impressions by leveraging MOVE results as a spotlight.
  • How to make the most of the Lightbulb infographic in the  Accounting MOVE Report 2015

Through the Accounting MOVE Project, Baker Tilly sets the bar for pay equity at CPA firms. Read all about it in this AccountingWEB story. CPA Firms Use Pay Equity to Build Employee Trust – and Their Brand | AccountingWEB. And check out additional MOVE Project media coverage, too!

Read the business case for advancing women in public accounting: MOVE Business Case 10-14

Here are the slides that showcase three MOVE Best Practices your firm can use now! MOVE 2014 Best Practices Webinar 11/24/14

  • Moss Adams: Its empoWer networking model equips propels women partners to rapid business development success.
  • CohnReznick: Its WomenCAN initiative shaped the firm’s post-merger culture.
  • Lurie, Besikof, Lapidus: Its Emerging Leaders program helps millennials envision their future as firm leaders.

MOVE recognizes programs and firm cultures that actually work…like Forum W at Moss Adams, as showcased in this profile of Star Fischer that ran in the Nov. 20, 2014 edition of the Wall St. Journal.

2014 Accounting MOVE Project Results

The theme for the 2014 Accounting MOVE Project was ROI for Advancing Women: Return on Influence, Initiatives and Internships.

  • Deep dive MOVE details are in the full report: MOVE_Report_2014
  • Read the 2014 MOVE executive summary in Public Accounting Report: PAR_05-14-EXTRA[2]
  • Also in the May 2014 issue of Public Accounting Report: how MOVE National Sponsor Rothstein Kass captured $6.5 million in new revenue from its Rainmakers Roundtable women’s initiative…and comments from Melissa Hooley, a partner with ACM and chair of the AICPA’s Women’s Initiative committee: PAR_05-14[2]
  • There is no point in advancing women without incorporating them into business development and succession planning, as we point out in this  article in Institutional Investor Institutional Investor May 19 2014
  • Transparency is the new currency of trust, as Joanne Cleaver explained in this February 2014 commentary in Public Accounting Report: PAR_02-14
  • Read the 2014 MOVE Launch Media Release

2013 MOVE Project Results

Read about MOVE in Signature March ’13, the magazine for association communication executives.

Here’s what industry leaders have to say about the Accounting MOVE Project:

“Joanne led a session with my managing partner roundtable group on developing women partners at CPA firms. She may not have known it, but she entered a “lion’s den” because many of the 25 firms in the group are doing poorly in developing female staff into partners. She did a marvelous job of explaining the results of her research and addressing the obstacles thrown her way by some of the problem firms. Most importantly, she gave several “takeaways” that, if properly implemented, will help these firms finally achieve success at developing more women partners. Any firm looking to improve its performance in developing women partners would do themselves a huge favor by inviting Joanne Cleaver to work with them.”
– Marc Rosenberg of The Rosenberg Associates

2012 Accounting MOVE Project Results

2012 Accounting MOVE Project Report: How Strategic Community Service Builds Communities and Careers: It’s not just golf for women!

2012 Best CPA Firms for Women These are the innovators, finding new ways to advance women. MOVE Best firms 2012 

Best Firms Showcased in Accounting Today

2011 Accounting MOVE Project Results

Figuring Out Millennials They’re confident and assertive. They’re loyal — to technology and to their own ambitions. They’re smart. And in accounting, they’re women.

2010 Accounting MOVE Project Results

MOVE Report FINAL 3-31-10