International Journal of Business Performance Management (IJBPM)

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ijbpmMy colleagues, Dr. Orthodoxia Kyriacou, Dr. Angathevar Baskaran and myself have been  working since last 2 years on a research project investigating the experiences and realities faced by women accountants in India. Gladly, our research paper has been finally accepted by a reputed scholarly refereed journal ‘International Journal of Business Performance Management’ (IJBPM), Inderscience Publications (ISSN online: 1741-5039 ; ISSN print: 1368-4892). More details about this journal can be found here.

Our study offers exploratory insights into this area, against the backdrop of the internationalisation and globalisation of accounting. The study involved 17 women accountants from four major commercial cities in India: Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. The results indicate that several practitioners experienced difficulties in certain areas of practice, whereas others reported that they did not experience any barriers to advancement.

What comes to your mind when you think about women accountants? What do you think is the role of accounting profession bodies in your country in empowering women? You may click here to download the full research paper and share your comments in the below box. I look forward to your feedback and comments. Thanks.

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  • Dr. Arup Barman

    Dr. Pancholi,
    Thanks, I am fine. I have gone through your absolute pioneering work on Women Accountants in India. I appreciate your initiative to articulate the inner feeling of women accounting profession, their life challenges, Professional Challenges.
    But, have a complimentary view- that accounting can play role of social disciplines, brings evidences of actions in the form of accounts, and vouchure. Those women accountants how much do they satisfied by becooming a social disciplinarian? You may further examine, because the questions of corruption linked to women accountants also.
    Please comment

    • JP

      Thanks Dr. Arup for your feedback and comments. It is interesting to note that you are bringing a social context to accounting. In fact, the accounting processess are helping the society to grow and prosper. Personally, I have not looked into the corruption and women as variables, however, I have referred to researches which has argued with evidence that more number of women in an organization leads to less of corruption. Thanks once again for comments. – JP

      • Dr. Arup Barman

        Prof Panchuli,
        Thanks for response to my feedback. I also wanted to give this message that accounting bring social discipline. If women accountants are the factors of less corruption in society is an exception, under your leadership this theme will get a light in future through a collaborative research on accounting profession. Specially in India this aspect possess more importance. Hope we would also able to cooperate with your research in future.

        Arup Barman

        • JP

          Thanks Dr. Barman. I agree with you about the social discipline. In current research in Accounting, there are interesting conversations on Accounting connected with Accountability. We can certainly explore on collaborative research in future. Do email me privately what research you are looking at. Thanks. – JP

  • irawati T priyanti

    Dr. Pancholi, thank you for sharing your paper about women accountant, and for me this issue is very interesting and motivating women to perform better in the globalization era

    • JP

      Very true Dr. Irawati. These issues are become increasingly important in globalized era we are living in now. – JP

  • Murli Marrivada

    Women Accountants have done very well in India. ICAI and ICWAI, the 2 professional bodies that regulate the accounting profession in India, count many prominent women executives amongst their members. For instance; Naina Lal Kidwai, who is a CA and earned an MBA from HBS is the current CEO of HSBC India. Many women accountants have used their training in accounting to diversify into non-accounting areas such as Treasury, Marketing, IT etc and have achieved great success. Many women in India have chosen to drop out of the workforce for non-professional reasons. Many others have made a conscious decision to achieve stability in the middle management rather than compete aggressively for top management jobs, perhaps due to family commitments. A combination of these reasons have resulted in many women accountants being under-represented in top management jobs. That under-representation could and is often misconstrued as the existence of a glass ceiling that prevents qualified women accountants from achieving their true potential. Organizations have often faced criticism for not doing enough to remove artificial barriers erected by men, to prevent women from getting ahead of them. It could be argued that due to aforementioned reasons, the talent pool of women accountant managers has shrunk to such a level that this automatically reduces the statistical probability that some of them might make it to corner offices. This is a point often overlooked by those who allege gender discrimination and argue in favour of affirmative action. I would argue that fewer women in the executive suite in India is a direct outcome of self-selection rather than discrimination. Within many organizations, women constitute a large percentage of the base, but their workforce representation tapers off as you move up the ladder. And this is no different for women accountants as well. Indeed, in most Big 4 firms, you might find a similar trend. Rather than the dearth of opportunities, women in India appear to be afflicted with a “qualified but not working” syndrome, one that is contagious indeed. When younger women who are qualified see older women give up on their careers, this creates a role model effect that cascades and aggregates into a larger social trend.
    However, since last 2 decades, with the advent of economic liberalization, the Indian economy has seen an unprecedented expansion. This has resulted in a huge demand for skilled workers in many areas, including accounting. Both domestic firms and foreign companies who have set up shop in India have created enormous demand for accountants. This has resulted in huge spurt in wages across all sectors, notably in IT, Engineering, Accounting and few other specialized areas. Married and single women accountants alike who evaluate the opportunity costs of staying home, marrying early or even continuing in other forms of disguised employment such as participating in the family business find huge upside in the alternative – namely, employment in the formal sector that utilizes their specialized skills. Attractive wages combined with social acceptance (and even prestige in some cases) have resulted in women shedding their inhibitions and being motivated to join the formal workforce. Such an evaluation of opportunity costs has also resulted in their making important decisions such as postponing marriage, delay starting a family and opting for childcare services as opposed to giving up their career in favour of child rearing. During the last 2 decades, the overall workforce participation of women has gone up tremendously, and that larger macro-economic labour trend can be noted in the segment of women accountants as well. Indeed, as they say, a rising tide lifts all boats!
    Liberalization of the Indian economy has created huge changes in the socio-economic landscape, mindsets, capabilities and type of opportunities that are available. The import of this change is that the next generation of Indian women in urban and semi-urban settings are likely to be raised with values that are largely liberal as opposed to the conservative upbringing that most Indian women have had. This in turn will give a huge fillip to workforce participation of women, a trend that will undoubtedly impact women accountants as well. Rather than passively dropping out, self-selection will see women compete aggressively for CXO and board level positions. Given this situation, in the years to come, one can expect to see qualified women accountants reach the top echelons of corporate India.

    • JP

      Dear Murli, Very interesting dimensions you have brought here. I really appreciate and thank you for your minute observations and narrative. – JP

  • Siraj Bloch

    Thank you for sharing with us. Very much focused and specific issue selected for research. Nice work done, its a good read for all. Hope the insight will help organizations to understand and solve the problems pertaining to women accountants. Congratulations..

    • JP

      Yes Siraj, hopefully. Thanks.

  • edith

    I would like to ask you some questions with this email. What comes to your mind when you think about women accountants? for female accountants in general I think of powerful, intelligent women who are good in analysis, financial analysis, statistics; and the understandijng of the accounting cycle beginning with the trial balance and ending with the closing entries and financial statements such as balance sheet, inciome statement, etc. I am a statistician so I view from a quantitative perspective

    Especially Indian women accountants? For Indian women the same as above, but also they are a group of powerful, intelligent, strong, statistical, mathematical women that have broken many barriers. They have proven that they can be just as good, if not better than their male counterparts. Also Indian women are beautiful, and intelligent. They are technically minded and can be great in STEM careers as well as the financial world. I see them as the next powerful force on the Bombay Exchange. In India, is there a wage gap between males and females? Is there a gender gap between males and females in STEM or finance in India?

    What do you think is the role of accounting profession bodies in your country in empowering women? In my country of France, there are more and more female accountants in companies like sociètè générale, PNB Parabis, Crédit Lyonnais, etc that are showing their competitive talents. Ségolène ROYAL is advocating for more females in non-traditional fields such as STEM, automotive, construction, and finance ,and accounting. There is still a wage gap and that needs to be resolved.

    In the US, there is still a wage and gender gap in STEM and finances. Women still make 74 cents to a dollar to a male. In both US and France more females need role models and encouragement to enter STEM careers and obtain an interest in science, technology, and finance when they are little. Are they encouraged in India? I am conducting my dissertation on Long Island and I have sent you a copy of my chapter one in progress which deals with females and STEM careers

    With these and some other questions, my colleagues, Dr. Orthodoxia Kyriacou, Dr. Angathevar Baskaran and myself have been working since last 2 years on a research project investigating the experiences and realities faced by women accountants in India.

    I would really like to help you with your research and even collaborate if you like. Edith

  • Bhawana

    Nice work done, its a good read. This will help organizations to understand and solve the problems pertaining to women accountants. Best Wishes

  • Dear authors, congratulations for such an insightful research work. I am sure that this study will surely become a base for all upcoming studies in this field. If I am not wrong, Indian women are still not visible at the position of company secretaries across various organisations. Hence, in future, there is a scope for studying factors hindrances women to pursue CS course and role of The Institute of Company
    Secretaries of India (ICSI) to encourage women participation.

  • Shipra Maurya

    Its really a nice piece of work. If we see the statistics then in the last decade, the percentage of women accountants in India has sky
    rocketed from 8% to 21.1% of the total membership. This shows the increasing interest of females in accounting domain. It is indeed commendable that women accountants are consistently leaving their mark of excellence on corporate world while more and
    more young CA girl students are making it to merit list of CA examinations very frequently. For instance, Prema Jayakumar, the daughter of an auto-rickshaw driver topped the nationwide CA Examination. She had many offers from national and multinational companies. On the top of that, Indian bank directly offered
    her a manager’s position. Pallavi Sachdeva became the youngest person to complete CA, CS and CMA, all the three professional accounting courses at the age of 23 and received the job offer from Barclays Plc. We also do have Chanda Kocchar, CEO of ICICI Bank and Naina lal Kidwai, Group General Manager and Country head of HSBC India who successfully completed CMA and CA examination
    respectively. In India, the role of female chartered accountant is at nascent stage which will grow further with the upcoming female chartered accountants who are full of enthusiasm and are
    very clear cut in what they want to achieve. The only fallback in this can be the thinking and attitude of males for females in Indian organization which may demoralize the women at work. On the top of that, women have many personal responsibilities too which makes it difficult for them to create a balance between their personal and professional life. But to remove this hindrance,
    Women Members Empowerment Committee of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India has recently launched a “Flexi Working Portal for Women Member” which gives an opportunity to women to take part time jobs, jobs with flexi hours or jobs with work from home option. In upcoming years, we can expect a huge number
    of women accountants joining Indian corporate and leaving their mark.

  • Chandres Tejura

    Dear Jatin and Co. I read your article with interest, It is insightful and thought provoking in places. Not only with organisations benefit from your analysis but the professional in India need to read and take note.
    Well done again.

  • Chandres K Tejura

    Dear Jatin and team, thanks for this insightful and interesting article. The analysis and discussion are not only interesting to organisation but more so for the accounting profession in India. I hope they read and take note.
    There are many very good indian accountants in India and business leaders to, some in charge of very large organisations, which is great but they also but to be more vocal and get out there to motivate the next generation.
    Well done again.