Moss Adams’ Anti-Racist Work: Turning the Lens Inward

Moss Adams’ Anti-Racist Work: Turning the Lens Inward

Multi ethnic group of young people sitting at a table with laptops and papers, smiling and discussing financial activities.
Natasha Lane | Guest Contributor, Content Creator

Moss Adams has been in business for 109 years, providing accounting, wealth management and consulting services at more than 30 locations around the world. Founded by John G. McIntosh, the firm is “dedicated to assisting clients with growing, managing and protecting prosperity.” While providing standard services, the firm has also turned an anti-racist lens inward and outward, evaluating their own internal systems and bettering partnerships.

“Moss Adams has a long history of cultivating a culture that truly reflects our values, so we’ve taken notice for many years that there isn’t a lot of diversity in accounting. Because there are many issues related to inclusion and diversity, we decided to address these issues both internally and externally,” says Jennifer Price, partner at Moss Adams and board member on the Moss Adams Foundation. “Internally we have a number of active Business Resource Groups that are working to engage and build upon a diverse culture with more accountability for change. On an external basis, we’re really focused on strengthening a community of diverse talent and partnering with organizations to diversify business schools and accounting programs. This is where we really feel we can have an impact.”

Beginning as Moss Adams’ Chief Executive Officer in April 2022, Eric Miles outlined how the firm planned to commit itself to anti-racist work and summarized some of the key findings from their 2021 Inclusion & Diversity Report, including the progress they’ve made on their 5 Bold Actions: be more inclusive, enhance programming and training, host listening sessions, hold partners’ accountable and hold people accountable.

According to their 2021 Inclusion & Diversity Report, Moss Adams’ inclusive recruiting and retention efforts resulted in an increase in racially and ethnically diverse team members. This is a 4% increase since their first report in 2017.

Jennifer says, “We feel being transparent about our journey is important. This means showing where we are, our goals, our inner measures of progress and where we’re headed are key. These are a few ways we plan to hold ourselves accountable.”

“We feel being transparent about our journey is important. This means showing where we are, our goals, our inner measures of progress and where we’re headed are key. These are a few ways we plan to hold ourselves accountable.”

Because of Moss Adams’ long history in financial services and their previous work with gender equality, the firm was in an ideal position to cultivate young, aspiring accountants from marginalized identities. Much of this work is done through their Ignite Scholarship, and GPS Internship.

“We’re continuing to grow the number of our Ignite Scholarships. These are students from diverse backgrounds, many who are first-generation college students. I think continuing to offer these scholarships and connecting with these students early on is key to our success,” says Jennifer. “As I mentioned previously, we’re not getting the number of candidates in our pool in their senior year which means we have to reach out to them earlier. We’ve found that many of these underrepresented students don’t even have a vision of accounting as a profession or have that knowledge that it’s an option. So, we’re continuing to attract diverse candidates, and provide opportunities to show this as a viable career path.”

Moss Adams’ Business Resource Groups are for professionals working in their organization of various ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, as well as veterans. Business Resource Groups are formed at the local level to “create community, camaraderie and connection while contributing to the firm’s business objectives” and are overseen by Moss Adams’ Inclusion & Diversity Advisory Board.

Jennifer says, “Our Business Resource Groups are really grassroots. They are organized and managed by Moss Adams, but the groups very much belong to the community members and are primarily self-managed. We have them for all different diverse groups because they provide a sense of camaraderie and belonging. You don’t have to identify with a group to be a member. There’s a real sense of allyship and how you can contribute and be a part of the group, so they’re a place to come together, to look at programming and to offer support around inclusiveness. This is an area where we’ll continue growing and expanding.”

When asked what they would like people to know about Moss Adams, Jennifer says:

“As a commitment to our anti-racist work, we’ve re-strategized our foundation’s mission to align with our inclusive and diverse initiatives. The work we’re doing is both to lead our firm in the future and to make an impact in our profession.”