Gender representation among the partnership at large CPA firms: an examination of public filers and governmental entities

Almer, Elizabeth D.
Harris, M. Kathleen
Higgs, Julia L.
Rakestraw, Joseph R.
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This study examines whether there are systematic differences in the nature of work performed by female assurance partners at the seven largest U.S. public accounting firms in order to better understand whether female partners experience the same measures of success as their male counterparts. Using the new PCAOB Form A.P. data and the Single Audit Clearing House data we examine potential gender differences in client base among assurance partners and firms. Results indicate that female partners are more prevalent in certain lower prestige types of engagements such as single audits, investment funds and benefit plans, but that there are considerable differences among firms. Similarly certain industries that tend to be more male dominated are also less frequently assigned female audit partners. Within the most prestigious public filers, we find that the most experienced female partners actually manage a higher book of business than their similarly experienced male counterparts, which reflects favorably on the firms’ efforts to provide equal opportunities.
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