Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Article on Accountants with Disabilities Wins Praise

I recently wrote a column for the AICPA Career Insider entitled "Hiring People with Disabilities." The editor, Sukanya Mitra, forwarded quite a few positive e-mails that she has received from readers, including one from an HR executive at one of the big four accounting firms:

As a past board member of a not for profit that served the disabled – I can attest these people are quite capable and in my experience they have enriched my life far more than anything I ever thought I could do for them. Sure it’s a risk to hire people outside the “norm” – and that is where the real return on risk will pay off; it is in fact the road less traveled – and it will make all the difference.

Bravo! Thanks for the article! I have been a CPA for 30 years and CFO for 20 of those. If not for my parents and brother with disabilities I never would have been motivated to do my best. My blind father, paraplegic mother and blind brother were my inspirations. They never let their disabilities get them down. We could use more people like them in the workplace. It's all about attitude and perseverance. Thanks!

Your article is so timely!. I have recently hired a deaf/blind CPA that works remotely.We are still trying to fine tune the technology needed to accommodate her work style and will go to your resources that you mention in your article. I also would be happy to discuss the challenges that we face, and the challenges that we have been able to overcome. Thank you so much for publishing this article.

As leader of disabilities efforts at ... huge kudos to you for bringing this issue before the CPA community.  At ..., we have a deep commitment to creating an enabling (by which we mean the practical steps, such as accommodations and  accessibliity needed to give professionals of all abilities the same access to tools, information, and opportunities) and a disabilities inclusive culture. Accounting needs more leaders thinking like you!

Since you're someone who obviously "gets it" and a role model, I did want to point out, however, that referring to people with disabilities as "the disabled, deaf...." etc. is not considered wholly respectful in the disabilities community.   The admittedly awkward term "people with disabilities" is preferred, as it puts the individual before the disability, using what's generally called "people first language".   Below is a link to the page on which we've shared many of our firm's educational tools and resources in hopes of helping the business community become more knowledgeable around disabilities in the workplace.  You'll find quick guides on language, etiquette, things to say and not to say to people with serious illnesses, and inclusive work habits, as well as handbooks, quizzes, videos and posters.  

If you're interested in learning more about what we're doing at ..., I'd be happy to speak with you.  

Thank you for all you're doing to support a more inclusive profession!

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