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Accounting firms join list of family-friendly companies.

Three accounting firms--Coopers & Lybrand, Deloitte & Touche and KPMG Peat Marwick--have made it onto the list ofthe "100 Best Companies for Working Women," published by Working Mother magazine.

Companies are judged on four criteria: pay (compared with their competition), opportunities for women to advance, support for child care (financial help, referrals or actual care arrangements) and family-friendly policies (job-protected leave for childbirth, flextime, job sharing and care for elderly relatives, among others).

Kathy J. McKinless, a partner of KPMG Peat Marwick in Washington, D.C., knows how important such policies are in attracting CPAs--both women and men--with family obligations to a firm and keeping them. "I know we have kept some people who would otherwise have left, if not for some of our family-friendly policies," McKinless, who has four children, said. "We can tailor our own program. For example, I recently reduced my time at work, and my ownership percentage, in order to spend more time with my children. I'm out one day a week, but if there is a board of directors meeting or I have to see a client, I adjust my schedule."

Among the firm's programs for all of its employees are flexplace and flextime, which allow employees to work at home some of the time and to design their own work schedules; free child care facilities at some locations during the busy season; a reduced hours schedule that lets parents retain their positions, their ability to advance to partner level and their client relationships; and counseling available through an 800 number referral service.

The other two firms that made the Working Mother list have similar policies, also for all employees. Deloitte & Touche allows employees to choose later starting and finishing work schedules; and offers reduced total work hours (and compensation), which would not affect an employee's ability to advance or stay on the partner track; child care at some offices on weekends during the busy season; referrals for information about resources for elder care; and parental leave for both women and men. Coopers & Lybrand's policies include flexible work arrangements for parents; a referral and consulting service to help employees with child care, parenting, elder care and work-life issues; child care centers in the firm's New York and Boston offices; and Saturday child care services in many offices during the busy season.

In addition, the three firms have established educational programs and advisory groups that aim to enhance the career opportunities and workplace environment of their women employees.

The Working Mother list, which began in 1986 with only 30 companies, honors the U.S. companies with the most innovative and advanced programs for working parents. Many of the benefits that are standard among this year's 100 were nonexistent just a decade ago, the magazine noted.
COPYRIGHT 1995 American Institute of CPA's
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Copyright 1995, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Dec 1, 1995
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