Yes, we all know that there’s no gender parity in business. We know that we need more women on boards. This is not news. We’ve been talking about this for many years.
Increasingly, however, businesses are starting to recognise that employing more women is a driver of positive economic change. For example, a recent study by McKinsey forecasts that eliminating the gender gap in its entirety could add USD 28 trillion, or a 26% boost to global GDP by 20251.
The growth in some sectors, while slow, is encouraging. According to Darina Barrett of KPMG U.K., “The gender balance in European national governments is continually improving with women currently in 29 percent of government roles.2” Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for our industry. Of the 176 global central banks, just 14, or 8%, had a woman as governor as of August 2015.3
Curious to know precisely what the breakdown of female directors is in UK accounting firms, we pulled together information from publicly available sources to create an arithmetic persona of the population of accountants across the finance-heavy counties in the UK. These were the findings:
Of the 24,870 accounting companies we assessed, there are 40,560 Directors
60% of these were male directors, with an average age 50. The remaining 40% was made up of female directors with an average age of 43.
Curious to know how this figure compares with financial technology – generally – and lending, specifically, we analysed the 235 individuals working for our 80+ institutions who are using Capitalise (as per June 2017). The result was: only 20 (8.5%) are female.
It is common knowledge that women and men have a different attitude towards risk tolerance. Men tend to take on more debt, use all of it, and not seek advice when they encounter difficulties. Women, however, take a lower amount of debt, try not to use it and, when they struggle, will seek advice.
Could this risk-aversion be biological? Columbia Threadneedle Investments say that, “Studies have shown that when it comes to assuming risks, men’s brains are more geared towards risk-taking. Male brains actually experience a bigger burst of endorphins when faced with a risky or challenging situation.”
Our data indicates that, for whatever reasons, while 40% of UK accounting firms directors are women, they are clearly not represented when it comes to their attitude towards lending.
This needs to change.
Capitalise data indicates that when our female accountants introduce a transaction to lenders they are extremely effective - despite only 9% of Capitalise’s introducers being female, 80% of their funding searches result in an offer empowering their clients to success.
Having access to funds can make the fundamental difference between a business remaining comfortable, but stagnant, and its explosive success. While lending may be perceived as risky, we are keen to manage this perception.
Business funding need not be unnecessarily risky.
At Capitalise, we are geared towards helping small businesses find the funding that they need – with the assistance of their most trusted advisor, their accountant. Our partnership with 80+ institutional lenders and 235+ individuals within those organisations throughout the UK, allows us to help businesses unlock their full potential by matching an appropriate lender to their finance needs.
Capitalise helps both genders get comfortable with risk – by knowing what options are available, which one are most suitable, and which ones are most affordable.
According to the Women’s Business Council, “Equalising women’s productivity and employment to that of men’s levels has the potential for increased gross domestic product of 35% in the UK. This could be equal to an additional (almost) £600 billion to our economy. This much money could clear a third of our national debt.”
We don’t just owe it to our clients, we owe it to our country.
1 Source: McKinsey Global Institute “The power of parity: How advancing women’s equality can add USD12 trillion to global growth”, September 2015
2 Source: KPMG, “The Time is now: Real change, real impact, seize the moment. Women in Alternative Investments”, December 2016
3 Source: Cambridge Judge Business School, “The rise of women in society: enablers and inhibitors. A global study.” Sucheta Nadkarni, Elaine Oon INITIAL FINDINGS RELEASED AT WOMENOMICS CONFERENCE / LONDON, 8 APRIL 2015.