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Accounting MOVE Project highlights Plante Moran as a 2014 Best Public Accounting Firm for Women

Southfield, Mich. – June 26, 2014 – Plante Moran, one of the nation’s largest certified public accounting and business advisory firms, was recently named by the Accounting MOVE Project as a 2014 Best Public Accounting Firm for Women.

The MOVE project, now in its fifth year, surveyed 50 firms using benchmarks to evaluate the retention of women leaders in public accounting and their advancement to partnership.
Firms participating in the Accounting MOVE Project were ranked on the range, depth and success of programs and a workplace culture proven to remove barriers to women’s success, especially at midlevel and above.

The Accounting MOVE Project highlights Plante Moran for the firm’s nationally known work-life programs, strengthening the tracking of leadership-bound women and building out the firm’s network of champions for women in the firm’s 19 domestic offices. Specifically, the report applauds Plante Moran for its Women in Leadership program, or WIL, which is designed to accelerate the firm’s ability to both attract and retain women leaders. Introduced in 2013, the program’s long-term goal is to have equal presence, impact and influence from men and women at all levels of the firm, including partnership.

According to Plante Moran Managing Partner Gordon Krater, the firm has seen great success in the first year of the program.

“For more than 25 years, Plante Moran has been a leader in work-life programs and a pioneer in women’s career advancement issues,” Krater said. “The Women in Leadership initiative came into play because we needed to reassert our leadership position in attracting, retaining and advancing women to partnership and other positions of increasing responsibility.

“Since implementing the program last year, we have seen an increase in development opportunities for our staff, creating avenues for women to become partner and further advance their career during partnership. For example, Dianne Wells, who leads the firm’s retail dealer industry, one of the largest practices in the nation focused specifically on auto dealers, was appointed as office managing partner for the firm’s new Detroit office in November 2013. Recently, Dianne was named one of the winners of the Michigan Association of CPAs Women to Watch awards.”

The 2014 Accounting MOVE Project focused on a firm’s return on investment in women through internships, initiatives and influence. According to the report, internship experiences are the single most important factor in a student’s acceptance of a job offer. Eighty-one percent of MOVE firms offer paid internships and successful programs set high expectations and follow-through when those interns are hired as associates, increasing the chance of retention. As an example, the report introduces Michelle Goss, who started with Plante Moran as a winter intern in 1996 and is now a partner and mother of three.

To gain a return on initiatives, the report reveals that weaving succession planning with programs that equip women with key business development, leadership and confidence-building skills, such as Plante Moran does, are the most successful. When tracking a return on initiatives, key metrics are identified and tailored to the firm’s retention, growth and succession goals, as well as new business resulting from the initiative by individual, practice area, office and specific program.

In gaining a return on influence, the report notes that with male partners and principals outnumbering women four-to-one, these senior women have a higher profile with younger professionals, especially women. This increased exposure has resulted in many surveyed firms winning new business, developing brand ambassadors, increasing the firms’ credibility, and giving women the authority to advocate for diverse rising talent.

In responding to the report’s reminder that, “Business skills can be taught. Influence is caught,” Plante Moran partner Sue Perlin, who leads the firm’s WIL program, said her experience bears this out.

“Plante Moran recently elected 18 new partners, 11 of them were women,” Perlin said. “Our ability to have more women in senior leadership positions in the firm depends upon our ability to build a strong bench of women partners. It’s good to see the firm making strides in that direction.”

To read the full report, visit the Accounting MOVE Project website here.

About the 2014 Accounting MOVE Project
The Best Firms were among the 50 that participated in the 2014 Accounting MOVE Project. Through the project and its sponsoring associations, the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance and the American Woman’s Society of Certified Public Accountants, the profession can consistently measure the status of women and collaborate on proven and promising practices that advance and retain women. The Accounting MOVE Project research partner is Wilson-Taylor Associates, Inc., which has been measuring and supporting the advancement of women since 1998.

About Plante Moran
Celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2014, Plante Moran (www.plantemoran.com) is one of the country’s largest certified public accounting and business advisory firms, providing clients with tax, audit, risk management, financial, technology, business consulting and wealth management services. Plante Moran has 22 offices and a staff of more than 2,000 professionals throughout Michigan, Ohio and Illinois, with international offices in Shanghai; Monterrey, Mexico; and Mumbai, India. Plante Moran has been recognized by a number of organizations, including FORTUNE magazine, as one of the country’s best places to work.