As part of our efforts to recognise PRIDE Month this June, Partner Lyle Irwin shares some thoughts on inclusion and diversity, and speaks to his role chairing a panel earlier in the year.
Recently I had the opportunity to chair a panel of experts, all of whom manage the role of diversity and inclusion within their organisations which are involved in the accounting sector.
It was clear that the meaning of PRIDE and how it fits with diversity and inclusion is far wider than simply a gender identity issue and it could safely be said that the events of the past two weeks (Black Lives Matter world-wide protests) have only cemented that sentiment and expanded the discussion.
It was made very clear that policy on diversity and inclusion is not just for what historically may have been called minority groups but rather applies to all, regardless of age, gender identification, religion, race or nationality and the feeling of belonging and been able to freely contribute is without boundary.
The accounting industry is in the early stages of recognising the importance of appointing people to lead the charge on what diversity and inclusion means and how it can be formalized through consultation and policy into the daily operations of accounting firms and related organisations such as those that provide educational services in this space.
It is clear that to maintain talent and to attract new talent into our organisations we need to have a clear policy on this for all, not only providing clear guidelines and expectations to those that work within but to also show case to those whom are aspiring that trust and respect form a sound basis in which they can feel comfortable to contribute and feel valued within their organisations whilst being themselves.
Of course the larger corporates have spent much time and money over the past five years developing this space.. In some cases establishing entire departments solely focused in this area.
They are leading the way for change in not only how we think about it but now how we formalise it and make it part of the way we do things.
Programs that recognise an organisations efforts and provide accreditation based on certain standards been met are becoming increasingly more common with business wanting to align with values these portray.
Here at RSM New Zealand we have always felt a strong sense of team but recognise the need now to move on having discussions on how we can walk the talk, learn from what others have done and put appropriate systems and processes in place to support diversity and inclusion.
As a Partner involved in the “PRIDE” space it is key for our firm to make sure that it does this with thought and consultation but also without delay. The future of our firm, in fact the profession as a whole, is at stake and inaction in the recognition of diversity and inclusion in firm management and operations is simply not an option.
The world is changing, that much is certain.
In the last couple of weeks we have seen not so much that racism exists but rather the way it has up until now not been widely discussed and openly addressed by governments and societies as a whole.
It is now evident that the time for equality among all is here and we all need to be ready for change and be seen to actively support it.
This is the right thing to do. This is what we must do.