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Chair's Perspective: Jennifer Knecht, CPA

Aug 27, 2019
INCPAS Board Chair shares her insights into diversity and inclusion in the CPA profession. 

How do you get "buy in" for a diversity and inclusion agenda across the whole firm?

First, it is the right thing to do. Second, it makes good business sense. Highlighting the business benefits is important to securing the “buy in.” Diverse leadership and teams drive diverse products and solutions. There is a growing body of evidence that diverse organizations often outperform their peers. Beyond putting words on paper, however, it is important for leaders to embody and live the strategy. Leadership support is mission critical.

Jennifer Knecht, CPAHow do you create an inclusive culture?

Creating an inclusive culture does take work, but it’s not rocket science. I believe some of the key components of creating an inclusive culture include: 1) making people feel cared about; 2) giving people a sense of belonging; and 3) making people feel comfortable being themselves. The way in which these components are demonstrated can vary, but all require being intentional. 

What workforce trends do you see emerging in the next three to five years when it comes to diversity and inclusion?

Emerging technologies are impacting many things today, and I anticipate we will see its ability to impact diversity and inclusion in the future too. One of the trends I believe we will see is the use of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data to remove unconscious bias in areas such as recruiting (think bots scanning resumes for the most qualified candidate) or to provide real-time insights to assess a particular diversity and inclusion initiative’s success.

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