I want to begin this piece by saying it’s been encouraging to see more accountants recognizing that core changes in the very face of accounting need to happen and want to be allies for inclusiveness.
At the same time, I see many firm leaders having difficulty in getting started with their own efforts in their practices, mostly out of fear of appearing performative and “checking the box,” or simply saying or doing the “wrong” thing and offending rather than supporting. For these reasons, and many more, the Accounting Alchemy Network (AAN) has come into existence.
I have had the pleasure of working with with AAN over the past year, mostly as an independent voice and observer of the profession (which I’ve done for 20+ years now). But I also helped contribute to their mission and their Playbook, which I will unabashedly say every firm leader needs to read. So, what is AAN?
Drawing directly from their ‘About’ page: The Accounting Alchemy Network (AAN) is a group of like minded accounting professionals who have come together to discuss one core question: What can we do to make the accounting profession into a vehicle for positive change in our world?
And, according to their vision statement, it is a network established to “create a world where accounting professionals are a positive force in developing a sustainable and regenerative global ecosystem and culture.” When I first heard this, I was intrigued and I daresay hooked, when it was shared with me by AAN co-founder Ingrid Edstrom, whom I’ve known personally for many years as a bookkeeping professional and unique and strong-minded, caring individual.
As I myself have written and spoken about, this profession is a force for change and influence, but it needs a serious overhaul in how professionals work, are compensated, and better reflect the world around it. Diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords or “tick the box” items. They matter greatly if accounting professionals are to remain a force for change and support for individuals and businesses alike.
These beliefs and more are what Ingrid and the AAN stand for. Recently, she was interviewed in the Woodard Report about AAN, its principals and how accounting professionals across the land can, and need to, be involved.
Have a read and a listen for yourself. More importantly, take the time to think about your role not only in the DEI discussion, but in the world you live in and how it can be better with you taking a more active role in its evolution vs. it just “happening to you.”