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Carla McCall, CPA, CGMA – 2024 Most Powerful Women in Accounting

Carla McCall, CPA, CGMA

2024 Most Powerful Women in Accounting
Managing Partner


Please share how you use your power to create an inclusive and equitable workplace for women.

I’ve worked on women’s advancements since 2011 when I introduced AAFCPAs’ Women’s Opportunity Network (WON), which is essentially an Employee Resource Group (ERG) to give women connections, confidence, and capabilities to excel in their career. It has served as a safe space to discuss issues and experiences. In 2019, we established a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Council, which provides regular training and resources on topics like diversity, equity, and inclusion and supports our efforts to raise awareness and reduce unconscious biases. As MP, I make sure we call out bias, that we avoid assumptions, and that everyone has equal opportunities. In 2021, AAFCPAs launched a Work from Anywhere model, which allows our team the flexibility to customize how, when, and where they work as long as the individual’s plan accounts for excellence in client service. This helps accommodate the needs of team members who might also have caregiving responsibilities. (Unfortunately, women still shoulder most of the burden of domestic responsibilities.) We have built a strong HR team, one that helped establish, communicate, and enforce clear policies that promote equality while also ensuring we eliminate biases in hiring. We also conduct annual employee surveys and have anonymous, 360-degree feedback mechanisms to understand concerns.

AAFCPAs has done an amazing job ensuring both equal opportunities and promotions for women. Moving forward, we continue to have conversations about the power of women in leadership positions. We promote the value in diversity at the board table and strive to be an ally, encouraging women to find their confidence, use their voice, and remain authentic.

Beyond our organization, though, we need to see real numbers in leadership. Currently, 39 percent of women are in partner positions in firms. But if we drilled down on how many are shareholders, that would be a lot lower. Can we see women in half of managing partner roles? Can we increase the percentage of female owners and representation at the CFO level in Fortune 500 companies? When we get to the top, which is the boardroom, women still only represent between 15 and 20 percent of all CFOs at the largest public companies. We can do better.

What is your favorite part of being a member of the accounting profession?

The network I’ve built across the globe has been invaluable. Not only have I developed strong friendships and collegial relationships, but I’ve also had the opportunity to promote the profession on a global stage and to inspire leaders, including the youngest generation, to consider a career in accounting.

I love the accounting profession because it offers strength, resiliency, stature, financial freedom, and a broad diversity of work options that are much more visible today because we have leaders who are transparent and we’re talking about it and evolving. We are far better today in allowing people to find meaningful work and play to individual strengths.

I’ve been in the profession for a long time and have experienced the ups and downs of multiple economies. This has proven just how resilient the profession is and how many various types of career paths and leadership opportunities it provides. I would have been a more vocal champion earlier in my career had I known all of this. If we were all more vocal about the positives of this profession, perhaps we would not have a pipeline issue today.

How have you personally seen the roles of women evolve in the accounting profession?

Today, I see more women in leadership and in positions of influence than I have in the past. These are women who are leading in an authentic way. I’m also seeing more non-traditional routes to the board room. But we still have a long way to go. We’ve moved from around 14 to 18 percent in five years, which isn’t great. My hope is that one day we won’t need “Most Powerful Women” awards. We can just have awards for strong leaders regardless of gender, race, etc.—a truly inclusive society.  

What do you anticipate will be the biggest change in the accounting profession in the next 10 years?

Over the next 10 years, the biggest change will still be in technological transformation, especially as artificial intelligence and GenAI are now helping accountants automate routine tasks, improve data analysis, and increase accuracy and efficiency, fundamentally changing how we work. At AAFCPAs, we have an Automation Center of Excellence, an internal team that explores emerging technologies and helps introduce transformative solutions to the firm and our clients.

Blockchain may have taken a back seat to AI right now, but it is still evolving and will likely touch our industry at some point soon. The key is to have financial institutions relying on blockchain for things like verified ledgers. If that happens, it could affect our industry and we could get to the point where we are real-time auditing as opposed to the model now of auditing historical information.

What is your favorite professional mobile app, and why?

That would have to be LinkedIn. I’m a LinkedIn power user, and I like that it enables networking and industry engagement wherever I go. I can stay on top of trends, connect with peers, and share insights from my unique vantage point as incoming Chair of the AICPA.  It has been an invaluable tool to expand my professional network and foster meaningful connections in the finance space.

Outside of work, I love Splitwise, which helps you split costs with friends on vacation. (Girl’s trip!)

What books have you read recently that you would like to recommend?

Within the past 12 months, my two favorite reads have been Think Again by Adam Grant and Disrupt Disruption by Pascal Finette. Pascal has been a speaker for AICPA and is very good. He has worked for global technology giants and is an expert in spotting disruption. And he helps us understand it, so we and our businesses are prepared for the future. He brilliantly dissects the most well-known companies that were disrupted (think Kodak, Blockbuster) and gives us insightful reflections and tools, so we can decode the future and transform our businesses.

I love Adam Grant, as well. I follow him on socials. Think Again is about the importance of taking time to really listen and understand someone else’s viewpoint on a topic instead of becoming polarized in your view. When you listen to understand other viewpoints, you become a better thinker.


Read more about the Most Powerful Women in Accounting.