Academic journal article Journal of Small Business Strategy

A Comparative Profile of Male- and Female-Owned Small Accounting Practices

Academic journal article Journal of Small Business Strategy

A Comparative Profile of Male- and Female-Owned Small Accounting Practices

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

This study examines the similarities and differences in business, personal, and attitudinal characteristics reported by male- and female-owned small accounting firms. The overall objective of the study is to produce profiles based on gender for owners of small accounting firms. A survey was undertaken which included a national random sample of 1,000 female- and 1,000 male-owners of accounting practices, and a 30 percent response rate was obtained. While entrepreneurship has the potential for providing women in the accounting profession a viable avenue for escaping any limits in career progression working for others, female-owned accounting firms earn less, are smaller, report more discrimination, have on average been in existence a shorter time, are typically home-based and have a shorter work experience base than male-owned businesses.

INTRODUCTION

Female-owned businesses are the fasting growing sector of the small business community. According to the American Enterprise Institute, women are starting new businesses at two to three times the rate of men. The impact of this growth on the U.S. economy is increasingly the subject for research. The present study provides more detail and insight into research by Fasci and Valdez (1998) which inferred that female-owned small accounting firms face gender barriers that affect their productivity. The present study uses Chi Square tests to test and report on gender differences.

The focus of this study was to profile and compare male- and female-owned small accounting firms. Specifically, the study compared male- and female-owned accounting firms on four areas: characteristics of the business, comparison of gross revenue of male- and female-owned accounting firms based on number of professional staff, owner characteristics, and owner attitudes about various business issues.

The research addresses the following hypotheses:

1. Characteristics of small accounting firms will differ for male- and female-owned small accounting firms.

2. Gross revenue based on number of professional staff will differ for male- and female-owned small accounting firms.

3. Owner characteristics will differ for male- and female-owned small accounting firms.

4. Owner attitudes about various business issues will differ for male- and femaleowned small accounting firms.

The organization of this paper includes literature review, methodology, survey results, and discussion and conclusions.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Women in the accounting profession historically have had to face different and additional barriers than men to succeed. It is well documented that women employed as accountants earn less than equally qualified men. For example, a report entitled "IMA 2000 Salary Guide" prepared for the Institute of Management Accountants (Schroeder and Reichardt 2001), states that for each of the past twelve years in which a salary survey of accountants was conducted, a statistically significant "gender gap" exists. In the year 2000 according to the study, male professional accountants received an average salary of $80,595 versus $61,313 for female accountants. In November 1998, The Wall Street Journal reported a study completed by Catalyst, a women's research group in New York. Catalyst's analysis of the highest paid corporate officers of Fortune 500 companies concludes that women receive a median of 68 cents for every dollar earned by their men counterparts. It is widely held that the lower earnings of women are a result of labor market discrimination (Cooper, 1992; Lehman, 1992; Kirkman, 1992; Bell, et al., 1995.).

A Federal government task force in 1995 undertook a four-year review of women's career opportunities and positions in the American workforce. The task force concluded that a persistent denial of job assignments, limitation of career building experiences, and denial of professional power and status, prevents women from advancing to managerial and executive level positions (Glass Ceiling Commission, 1995). …

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