LGBT+ History Month is for everyone

Why is an accountant blogging about LGBT+ History month?

The importance of diversity in the workplace is well known with lots of businesses having a dedicated resource leading diversity and inclusion. Everybody has the right to be themselves at work, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, race or religion.

According to a recent study, nearly one out of five accountants who identified as LGBTQIA left the accounting profession because of a lack of diversity, equitable treatment or inclusion (1).

No two employees are the same and each has different challenges that are unique and personal. With the COVID19 pandemic changing the working landscape with a push toward remote working, it risks eroding inclusion, diversity and culture in businesses that are key to success by isolating employees and reinforcing stereotypes and bias.

That’s another important thing too ‘inclusion’.

Different people bring different perspectives and if different people are recruited into the business then the foundations are strong for those perspectives to be included in the business leading to a competitive edge.

In a 2016 report, Stonewall identified that employers that promoted a diverse workplace were attracting new talent and clients. (2)

Kevin Drew, the founder of Ascentant, highlights why he’s open to bringing diversity into his accountancy practise. “In my early career working in the Accounts Department of Law firms, they were very stuffy, traditional and not very diverse. My colleagues all seemed to have traditional views on the world, go to football or rugby matches, be out with the lads and talk about “girls”. Diversity wasn’t a thing and there were no openly out colleagues. I didn’t feel comfortable being myself and wasn’t bringing my best self or authentic me to work each day.

I began to avoid questions about what I had done at the weekend or even make things up to fit in with conversation as I became ashamed of who I was and probably even took on another persona! As I moved through my career, it didn’t matter to me what people thought or how it may affect my chances of moving onwards or upwards.

Having set up my own business, I can be my authentic self, I can bring my best self to work and I don’t need to lie or pretend to people. And I want everybody who works in my practice to feel able to do the same. Promoting diversity and inclusion in our business enables people to be themselves and thrive.

Additionally, promoting our diversity, we have won tenders and new clients BECAUSE of who we are beginning to carve out a slight niche!”

Diversity leads to a solid business…

An Open for Business report in 2018 found that businesses that were more diverse tended to be more creative, financially successful, and innovative. At a time when accountancy firms are rethinking how they work, the push for LGBTQ+ inclusion within the industry could help to lead the post-pandemic workplace into a new era of innovation and success. (2)

Embracing diversity is more than just celebrating pride. Here are ways to make strides towards diversity and inclusion:  (3)

  • Carry with you an open mind — having an open mind to learn new perspectives is always the first step towards shared understanding. 
  • Learn about multiple perspectives and educate yourself on terminology, so you can engage in conversation confidently.  
  • Call out unacceptable behavior and negative or abusive language when you hear it. 
  • Engage in meaningful dialogue when you can. Actively listen to your LGBTQ colleagues, hold space in conversations and engage with respect.  

Ascentant are committed to ensuring any barriers of prejudice and stereotypes in the workplace are broken; diversity must cover EVERYTHING to ensure people feel they are part of an inclusive environment.

That’s why Ascentant are blogging about sexual orientation and why we’ll always celebrate LGBT+ history month.

  1. https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/lgbtqia-employees-leaving-accounting-profession
  2. https://www.accountingcpd.net/The_LGBTQ_experience_in_post-pandemic_accountancy
  3. https://www.cimaglobal.com/Members/Insights/2020-CIMA-Insights/Accounting-with-pride/

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