Magazine article The CPA Journal

American Woman's Society of CPAs and Accounting & Financial Women's Alliance

Magazine article The CPA Journal

American Woman's Society of CPAs and Accounting & Financial Women's Alliance

Article excerpt

The American Woman's Society of Certified Public Accountants (AWSCPA) was formed in 1933 by nine women CPAs as a national organization based in Chicago. The low concentration of women CPAs in any one geographic area made the creation of local groups difficult at the time. The American Society of Women Accountants (ASWA) was created in 1938 to allow for this generation of local networks, as well as for the participation of women who were not CPAs. The ASWA rebranded and expanded its outreach in 2012 to become the Accounting & Financial Women's Alliance (AFWA). Over the decades, these two organizations have developed distinct missions while working together on major projects.


The AWSCPA is a national network whose mission is to support women's professional development by addressing gender equity, the "glass ceiling," and work and family issues. Through its website at, the AWSCPA provides resources in the areas of public awareness, networking, professional growth, and advocacy for women CPAs. AWSCPA members have access to CPA exam preparation, continuing education, career development, and networking resources.

With an organizational focus on developing leaders, the AWSCPA offers an annual women's leadership conference. For 2015, the AWSCPA is partnering with the AICPA and CPA Canada global leadership summit. Two days of workshops cover leadership, business development, and strategic planning among other topics, and are targeted to accountants in all areas of practice: public and private, government and nonprofit, and academia. Prospective attendees can view a short video on the importance of women's roles in the leadership of the profession ( ? bckey=AQ-,AAAAAFiQaeO~,OKolxKKriBUfOAdi5yD2nmv Qb2uREs_g&bctid=4177235065001). Users can register for inperson or online attendance and download an iOS app with event information.

The AWSCPA website promotes access to a "Career Navigation: Toolkit for Women" prepared by CPA Canada's Women's Leadership Council ( ing-women-in-the-profession).

The document is presented in six chapters with exercises for applying chapter concepts to the individual, as well as personal reflection and planning. The three areas of greatest differences in professional experiences of men and women are career advocacy and navigation, visibility of role models, and quality of life integration, all of which must be present for career success. Chapter 1 discusses seven factors that are shared by most professionally successful women, including access to influential leaders and role models, work/life balance skills, and leadership and career development. Chapters 2 and 3 cover the importance of career advocate, mentor, and networking relationships, and how to develop them. Chapter 4 addresses critical business development skills that are often neglected for women, even though research shows female leaders can be more persuasive than males. Chapters 5 and 6 are devoted to quality of life issues, personal development, and career planning.

In recognition of its important anniversary, A WSCPA Histoiy: 75 Years, was published as an e-book in 2008 and is available at anniversary journal. The publication is worth reading for its general accounting history content, and makes interesting connections between the role of women accountants and U.S. social and economic changes. It also highlights important "firsts," such as Florence Crowley, the first woman to be listed as an accountant in a city directory (New York, 1797); Christine Ross, the first woman to become a CPA (New York, awarded 1899); and Mary T. Washington Wiley, the first black woman CPA (Chicago, circa 1939).


The AFWA was founded to increase opportunities and promote professional growth for women in all fields of accounting and finance. …

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