For first time, women head the two biggest U.S. accounting firms

On Tuesday, it was announced that Lynne Doughtie will become KPMG’s new U.S. chief executive and chairman, just a few months after the election of Cathy Engelbert as Deloitte’s U.S. CEO. This means that for the first time in history two women will be at the helm of the nation’s biggest accounting firms. Both women started their jobs in the mid 1980s and worked for three decades at their firms before reaching the top spot. Accounting firms used to be heavily male-dominated, but more recently have become among the top employers for women in the country. The Washington Post notes that this timing is no coincidence: partners who are considered as chief executive in such firms are at least 50 years old, and many of the prominent firms did not launch official initiatives for retaining and promoting their female employees until the 1990s and early 2000s. While more than 60 percent of U.S. accountants and auditors are women, according to a 2010 survey by Public Accounting Report, they still make up only about 18 percent of partners at large firms.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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