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Spark lasting confidence in a woman you know in the accounting and bookkeeping industry.

5 mins 09 Mar 2023 by Brooke Kayira
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I’m truly privileged to have the opportunity to once again bring you the Top 50 Women in Accounting Awards, supported by Ignition. Engaging with the stories and sharing the experiences of countless women in the industry is one of the most impactful endeavors I have worked on.

Over the past six years, we have received nominations for more than 1,500 women from all corners of the world. Each has their own unique tale of triumphs, challenges, passions, and dreams. It’s a constant reminder of the incredible talent and potential of women in this field, many of whom have to overcome issues of self-confidence to recognize their own value and share their stories of success.

This year, Women in Accounting Awards acknowledges the powerful role that ‘confidence’ and ‘community’ play in helping advance women into leadership roles, and empowering and elevating female voices in the accounting and bookkeeping industry – all of which accelerate the pace of change in the accounting industry.

To drive meaningful and transformative change around the themes of sparking lasting confidence and fostering a sense of community, we’re partnering with our judging panel of industry experts and Top 50 alumni to continue our rich tradition of sharing the stories of incredible women accountants and bookkeepers, and holding space for important discussions about gender, leadership, and confidence.

Charlene Rhinehart, Founder of Wealthy Women Daily and Personal Finance Editor at GoodRx, is a 2023 Women in Accounting judge: “I'm excited to serve as a judge for this year's Top 50 Women in Accounting to put a face to stories that aren't always broadcast in mainstream media,” Charlene says. “Women all over the world can read the stories of the Top 50 Women in Accounting, see themselves in between the words, and get a glimpse of what's possible for them.”

Among these remarkable stories is that of Rebecca Mihalic, Director of businessDEPOT and a previous award winner who has been open about her journey to confidence: “... the idea that I had been nominated by a peer was just astounding, but to have been accepted and named in the Top 50 blew me away. That was all about me. I’d achieved that. And there it was – my self confidence. Not fully restored, but absolutely on its way. I don't know that I would be doing what I am today if that had not happened,” she says.

Melanie Power, who leads a community of around 20,000 bookkeepers also understands the issue of confidence all too well. She says many bookkeepers struggle with self-assurance when it comes to pricing their services to make a profit, which ultimately undermines the value they bring to the table.

“I have found that a common theme is low self-worth and confidence in the bookkeeping profession. This flows through into the business with the bookkeeper not pricing for profit,” she says. “There is a bias in the market that ‘bookkeeping’ is low value, unskilled work, and it's not. We have unwittingly created this perception… It’s up to us to retrain how people view, treat and value us,” she adds.

One of the things that fills the Women in Accounting team with immense pride is the evolution of our Top 50 alumni and community. Melanie Power, Rebecca Mihalic and other remarkable past winners have gone on to become integral members of our judging panel in subsequent years.

In fact, this year, we are thrilled that nine out of our twelve judges were recognized in previous Top 50 lists. Having experienced the process firsthand, they possess a deep understanding of the obstacles, biases, and inequalities that women encounter in our industry, and the pivotal role we all must play in bringing about meaningful and lasting change for generations to come. This level of commitment and dedication is a testament to the enduring impact of our initiative and the unwavering determination of our community to pave the way for a brighter future.

Heather Townsend, award winning author, is a wonderful example of this. “Every time I have made it onto the Top 50 Women in Accounting list, it’s helped me and helped my career. If we can shine a light and make it okay for women to say ‘I am good at this’, then part of my work is done here with this initiative.”

“There’s a generation of women like me who have grown up being taught not to talk about where they're strong, not to talk about our accomplishments. For me, Women in Accounting is a chance to readdress that balance,” she says.

Few individuals have left a more indelible mark on our Top 50 lists than Nayo Carter-Gray. As the CEO of 1st Step Accounting and a two-time honoree on our Top 50 list, Nayo is a true visionary who is dedicated to fostering a community that is inclusive and equitable for all. She is a tireless advocate for diversity and representation, and her unwavering commitment to these values has been nothing short of inspiring. We’re honored to have Nayo as a member of our Top 50 community, and we look forward to her continued leadership in creating a better future for women in the accounting industry.

“I am a proud black woman who is also an accountant, and I’ve noticed in our industry people of color are underrepresented,” she says. “So, it brings me great pleasure and joy to make sure that our voices are heard, our faces are seen and our expertise is acknowledged.”

As we move forward with this year's Women in Accounting initiative, our goal is not only to recognize and celebrate the unique and diverse experiences of women in our industry, but also to empower them with the confidence to share their stories and chart their own paths to success. The Women in Accounting initiative launched in 2018, on the occasion of International Women's Day, and it’s been immensely fulfilling for us to provide a platform for women since then, to reflect on their own journeys and acknowledge the trailblazers who have influenced and inspired them.

By inspiring women to step forward with boldness and self-assurance, we hope to create a ripple effect that will extend far beyond the present moment, and empower the next generation of women to do the same. Through our collective efforts and shared commitment to building a better future, we can unlock new opportunities and pave the way for women to achieve their full potential.

“Confidence for a woman is the byproduct of her knowing her own worth and leaning into being unapologetically and authentically who she is. Breaking the bias starts and ends with us stepping into our own power.”

- Melanie Power

Meet the author

Brooke Kayira

Global Community and Referrals Manager  Ignition

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Published 09 Mar 2023 Last updated 21 Mar 2023