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Sponsorship: Stepping Up Success - 2016 Accounting MOVE Project to Show how CPA Firms Accelerate Returns From Sponsorship and Mentoring

(Lexington, KY, September 22 , 2015) - Most CPA firms already have a strong culture and programs for executive sponsorship – in which leaders champion rising talent – and mentoring – in which staff provide coaching and career guidance, typically for those a step behind them.

But for women, significant gaps can undermine the power of sponsorship and mentoring – derailing firm leaders’ expectations for a robust leadership pipeline.

The 2015 Accounting MOVE Project found that while 78% of the participating firms offer leadership training programs (which typically include a sponsorship element), only 28% specifically address training for alternative tracks to partnership and only 38% purposefully rotate rising women through operational roles – typically a planned outcome of executive sponsorship.

That’s why the 2016 Accounting MOVE Project has adopted the theme of “Sponsorship: Stepping Up Success.” Through surveys and interviews, the MOVE Project will assess the state of female sponsorship at CPA firms and will amplify innovations that accelerate firms’ return for their investments in rising women.

“Many firms already have strong sponsorship culture and programs. Our goal is to help them widen the scope so that both women and firms get more for their mutual investment in sponsorship,” said Joanne Cleaver, President of Wilson-Taylor Associates, Inc., the content firm that manages the MOVE Project. “Mentoring is a prerequisite to sponsorship, so we’ll also outline the latest, smartest approaches in mentoring and career coaching.”

“We’re excited about this year’s MOVE theme of sponsorship,” ,” said Jennifer Wyne, director of human resources for Moss Adams LLP. Moss Adams is the founding sponsor of the Accounting MOVE Project. “Sponsorship is a crucial component to a firm’s culture. Once it becomes engrained, talent pipelines are strengthened, employee engagement increases and advancement for women is accelerated.”

“Strong mentorship and sponsorship programs not only help individuals with career development but have a very positive impact on firm culture overall,” said Risa Lavine, CohnReznick principal and chief of staff. “This is such an important topic for the future of our profession, and we are so proud to sponsor the Accounting MOVE Project as this subject is advanced.” Cohn Reznick is the national sponsor of the Accounting MOVE Project.

A summary of the 2016 Accounting MOVE Project will be published in the May 2016 issue of Public Accounting Report, with the full report available at the websites of MOVE association partners, the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance and the American Woman’s Society of Certified Public Accountants.

“AFWA is truly excited about the 2016 Accounting MOVE Project. Again and again women in the industry find themselves struggling through the leadership pipeline. With the MOVE project looking at sponsorship and mentoring, we will better understand what works and what doesn’t, and that will translate directly to our members’ development and advancement,” said Ericka Harney, executive director for the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance.

“I know my career would not be in the same place without sponsors who have championed me, and AWSCPA is proud to continue to be involved with the MOVE project. At AWSCPA, we want all woman CPAs to succeed in all aspects of their lives. Having sponsors and being able to facilitate sponsorship and mentorship is vital to our profession,” said Danielle Supkis Cheek, CPA and national administrator for the American Woman’s Society of CPAs.

Firms of all sizes are invited and encouraged to participate. Registration is open at The MOVE Project is supported by founding sponsor Moss Adams LLP; national sponsor CohnReznick; and administrative fees from participating firms.

About the Accounting MOVE Project

The Accounting MOVE Project is based on the MOVE methodology, developed by research partner Wilson-Taylor Associates, Inc., which investigates the factors proven to be essential to women’s career success:

M – Money: fair pay practices;
O – Opportunity: advancement and leadership development;
V – Vital supports: work-life programs that remove barriers; and
E – Entrepreneurship: operating experience for managing or business ownership

About the Accounting/MOVE Project Partners

Moss Adams is one of the largest accounting and consulting firms in the nation. Together with its affiliates, the firm provides insight and expertise integral to its clients’ success, serving public, private, and not-for-profit enterprises across the nation and in a wide range of industries.

  • Moss Adams LLP is a national leader in assurance, tax, consulting, risk management, transaction, and wealth services.
  • Moss Adams Wealth Advisors LLC provides investment management, personal financial planning, and insurance strategies to help clients build and preserve their wealth.
  • Moss Adams Capital LLC offers investment banking and strategic advisory services, helping clients create greater value in their business.
CohnReznick LLP is one of the top accounting, tax, and advisory firms in the United States, combining the resources and technical expertise of a national firm with the hands-on, entrepreneurial approach that today's dynamic business environment demands. Headquartered in New York, NY, and with offices nationwide, CohnReznick serves a large number of diverse industries and offers specialized services for middle market and Fortune 1000 companies, private equity and financial services firms, government contractors, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations. The Firm, with origins dating back to 1919, has more than 2,700 employees including nearly 300 partners and is a member of Nexia International, a global network of independent accountancy, tax, and business advisors. For more information, visit

The Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance promotes the professional growth of women in accounting and finance. Members of the association benefit from opportunities to connect with colleagues, advance their careers, and become industry leaders. For more than 75 years, the organization has proudly upheld its mission to enable women in all accounting and related fields to achieve their full personal, professional and economic potential and to contribute to the future development of their profession. Visit for more information.

AWSCPA is a national network connecting and supporting today’s woman CPAs through career and personal transitions by innovative training, customized mentorship, and focused relationships. Founded in 1933, AWSCPA is the only resource exclusively for women CPAs and those aspiring to become certified. The Society provides information as well as scholarships to those in the profession. AWSCPA members work in all segments of the accounting and financial profession, from individual practitioners to professionals in industry, academia, and government, as well as partners in all of the largest firms. Visit the AWSCPA website at or email them at

Strategic communication firm Wilson-Taylor Associates, Inc., has been designing and managing national research projects that measure the progress of women in the workplace since 1998. Its methodology pivots on factors proven to remove barriers so that women can fully participate in driving business results. Led by veteran business journalist Joanne Cleaver, its current and past clients include Women in Cable Telecommunications, the Women's Transportation Seminar, the Alliance for Workplace Excellence, SitterCity,, and many others. Please see Wilson-Taylor’s portfolio of work at



Ericka Harney, Executive Director
Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance 859.219.3590 M: 859.492.0677

Danielle Supkis Cheek, Executive Director
American Woman's Society of CPA's

Joanne Cleaver, President Wilson-Taylor Associates, Inc. 231.299.1275 M: 414.232.3181

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