Is Gay OKAY in Public Accounting?


From the mailbag:

Hi Andrew,
I’m a gay male and I’m looking to find a job in public accounting some time in my next two semesters. How receptive are accounting firms to hiring a gay person? What about once I start working? Are there any prejudices you have experienced?

This question is actually more complicated than you might think. My first reaction was “No, it’s not really a positive or a negative.”

But after further consideration, you may run into some challenging situations, let’s get into it.

Large CPA firms are very accepting of the LGBT community – even hosting LGBT groups within the firm and planning events to support the individuals and their families.
During the hiring process, be yourself. If everyone is talking about their significant others, you should feel comfortable mentioning your partner or significant other just as anyone else.

That being said, the area I am less sure of is with clients and smaller accounting firms.

Small Firms: Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying all small accounting firms aren’t accepting of diversity. However, they may have more say over company values. For example, I know of a small accounting firm where religion is a HUGE part of the culture – prayers often occur at company events and outings. If this religion is not supportive of the LGBT community, I can see where this may not be the best fit personally.

Clients: As with most jobs, we simply can’t control our clients’ personal beliefs or acceptance of diversity – therefore, I would say there’s always a risk factor with working with a client that is opposed to your inherent values and beliefs.

My one piece of advice: release information about yourself as you feel comfortable, and to whom you feel comfortable with. If you ever have a problem, bring it up with your coach and HR as soon as possible. You can also email me at

P.S. If you have a story that contradicts what I’ve said above, email me and I am happy to share it anonymously.