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The Accounting Industry Celebrates Women's History Month

The Accounting Industry Celebrates Women's History Month


by Hugh Duffy

women's history month accounting

Welcome to Women’s History Month - a time to celebrate the influential and courageous women in history that paved the way for future generations. Since the 1800s, women have pioneered their way into the accounting profession and continue to rise up through the ranks.

Here are two notable women that helped blaze the trail for women in the accounting industry:

Christine Ross - The First Female CPA

Born in Nova Scotia in 1873, Christine Ross relocated to New York and became the first female certified public accountant in the United States. In June 1898, a mere two years after New York administered its inaugural CPA exam, Ross not only passed the test but placed in the top three scores in her test group. Due to her gender, her certification was withheld for nearly 18 months. She finally received her certification in 1899.

Mary T. Washington - The First African American Female CPA

Mary T. Washington was born in 1906 and was the first African-American woman designated as a certified public accountant in the United States. Shortly after her mother passed away when she was 6, she moved from Mississippi to Chicago where she was raised by her grandparents. After graduating from college, she founded her own accounting firm in 1939 and dedicated herself to training a generation of younger African-American CPAs.

We’ve come a long way since the early days of women in the accounting field. In 1940, just 1% of CPAs were women, but the number of women in accounting continues to grow. According to Zippia, 53.5 percent of all Certified Public Accounts are women, and a recent survey by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants cites that women represent 23% of partners in CPA firms.

Today, women CPAs have a number of ways to identify, promote, and grow their business as owned, led, or founded by women. Here are just a few:

  • Google Business Profile Women-Led Designation - Google empowers women-led CPA firms by allowing them to add a “women-led” icon to their Google Business Profile, identifying their business as owned, led, or founded by women. This helps their business stand out on Google Maps and Search by displaying an identity attribute.
  • SBA Woman Owned Small Business Programs - The SBA assists women entrepreneurs to compete in the marketplace, connecting them with training and funding opportunities specifically for women. To learn more about these opportunities, visit the SBA website.
  • The National Women’s Business Council - Created under the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988, The National Women’s Business Council is a federal advisory committee serving as an independent source of advice and policy on issues of importance to women business owners and entrepreneurs. To get certified as a Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB), visit the NWBC website.
  • The Amercian Institute of CPAs -The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) provides numerous resources designed to help women in the accounting profession stay engaged, move ahead, and champion other women in their footsteps.

    Build Your Firm is grateful for all of the woman CPAs leading the way in shaping the future of the accounting profession.

    Hugh Duffy