The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has called for more to be done to ensure the number of female accountants in leadership roles across the profession increases.

The ACCA made the comments ahead of International Women’s Day, which falls tomorrow, noting while the number of female accountants are growing steadily a gender gap still exists.

The institute said, according to data on the UK accountancy profession the number of qualified female accountants rose from 30% to 34% between 2006 and 2011 while the percentage of females studying for their accountancy qualifications fluctuated between 48% and 49%.

ACCA itself has a high percentage of both female students and members globally (44% of members and 50% of ACCA students are female). The institute said with its current student profile, women are set to overtake their male counterparts with 50.7% global membership.

"International Women’s Day is a day for celebrating progress, but also recognising what still needs to be done. While these figures are certainly promising, as an industry we must work together to ensure that female talent is nurtured and supported. Despite encouraging numbers of women entering the profession, they are still under-represented in high level positions in the industry. The profession must work together collectively to find ways of helping women reach the more senior positions," ACCA chief executive Helen Brand said.

A joint report, Women in finance; a springboard to corporate board positions?, by ACCA and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) issued in December 2012 found the type of financial qualification or a background which demonstrates substantial financial acumen are seen as catalysts for women getting onto the boards of FTSE companies.

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According to the institute, it was the world’s first professional accountancy body with a female member – Ethel Ayres Purdie joined the ACCA in 1909.

Related links

ACCA, ESRC report: Women in finance; a springboard to corporate board positions?