Is It Time for a Partner Compensation Checkup?

Green checks being made on checklist6 questions to ask, 9 standards to follow.

By August J. Aquila
What Makes a Great Partnership

Ever wonder what the most appropriate partner compensation system is for your firm and how to assess partner performance?

MORE ON GREAT PARTNERSHIPS: The 3 Types of Partners You Need | 6 Focuses for Managing Partners | 10 Steps to Transitioning to a New MP | What Managing Partners Should Be Doing | Do Your Partners Pay Their Own Way? | 7 Keys to Becoming an Equity Partner | How and Why to Achieve Partner Unity | How You Can Get Partners to Change | Why Expectations Must Be Defined | Are You Driving Your Best Partners Crazy? | 7 Warning Signs for Your Firm
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A firm’s compensation system is a reflection of its culture and external competitive factors. When was the last time you gave your partner compensation system a checkup?
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The 3 Types of Partners You Need

Two men shaking hands as woman stands with oneYes, you need new clients, and new business from old clients. But there's another key player.

By August J. Aquila
What Makes a Great Partnership

It seems like no matter what the topic is at partner meetings, it always reverts to compensation. There isn’t a partner out there who is not interested in his or her compensation, and maybe even more interested in what the other partners make.

MORE ON GREAT PARTNERSHIPS: 6 Focuses for Managing Partners | 13 Points of a Good Compensation Plan | 5 Ways to Keep Your Edge | The Toughest Job in the World: Managing an Accounting Practice | How to Become the Firm of Choice
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Compensation is also a topic on which all the partners can never agree. Each partner likes the compensation system that most favors his or her strengths. Hence, non-business developers favor production while business developers favor origination.
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6 Focuses for Managing Partners

Businessman giving instructions to his colleaguesPlus 37 specific traits for evaluation.

By August J. Aquila
What Makes a Great Partnership

According to Marc Rosenberg, managing partners should focus on the following six areas*:

MORE ON GREAT PARTNERSHIPS: 13 Points of a Good Compensation Plan | How MPs Can Make a Real Difference | 5 Reasons That Leaders Fail | 11 Things All Partners Must Do | Why Partners Need Written Goals | The 6-Step Plan for Transitioning Clients | Fighting Restraining Forces | Chemistry and Mutual Respect Matter | Great CPA Firm Partnerships Begin with Trust | The 4 Best Ways to Use Pre-Retirement Partners | Work Together Better in 11 Steps | Drop Politics, Be Accountable | What Makes a Successful Strategic Plan?
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  • Leadership
  • Profitability
  • Strategic planning
  • Team building
  • Learning/Training
  • Asset protection

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13 Points of a Good Compensation Plan

Man counting $100 bills into three pilesDoes your plan pit partners against each other?

By August J. Aquila
What Makes a Great Partnership

During the last 13 years I have focused a large part of my practice on helping firms develop compensation plans.

MORE ON GREAT PARTNERSHIPS: How MPs Can Make a Real Difference | 10 Steps to Transitioning to a New MP | What Managing Partners Should Be Doing | Do Your Partners Pay Their Own Way? | 7 Keys to Becoming an Equity Partner | How and Why to Achieve Partner Unity
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A critical element in keeping partners engaged is having a compensation system that rewards them for doing the right things. Here’s what I found to be some of the best practices.
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How MPs Can Make a Real Difference

Diagram of leadership model8 key activities.

By August J. Aquila
What Makes a Great Partnership

So, what do the truly successful managing partners do that differentiates them from their peers?

MORE ON GREAT PARTNERSHIPS: 10 Steps to Transitioning to a New MP | 5 Ways to Keep Your Edge | The Toughest Job in the World: Managing an Accounting Practice | How to Become the Firm of Choice | Five Factors for Measuring a Partner’s Value | Why Accountability Counts | Communication Goes Both Ways | Why Shared Values Are Important | Why ‘Walking Together’ Is So Important
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I will quickly summarize the results of our research, which entailed us interviewing 150 practicing and managing partners in a cross-section of consulting, accounting and law firms across Europe and the U.S., before focusing on the things great managing partners did to ensure they were always at the top of their game.
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10 Steps to Transitioning to a New MP

Senior businessman and another businessman talkingPlus 4 questions to answer if the MP is staying with the firm.

By August J. Aquila
What Makes a Great Partnership

One of the most difficult events that a firm faces is the transition of power from one managing partner to another, especially when it’s the first time.

MORE ON GREAT PARTNERSHIPS: 5 Ways to Keep Your Edge | 5 Reasons That Leaders Fail | 11 Things All Partners Must Do | Why Partners Need Written Goals | The 6-Step Plan for Transitioning Clients | Fighting Restraining Forces | Chemistry and Mutual Respect Matter | Great CPA Firm Partnerships Begin with Trust | The 4 Best Ways to Use Pre-Retirement Partners
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Knowing when to pass the baton and how to pass it are critical decisions every firm will have to make.
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5 Ways to Keep Your Edge

number 5 drawn in sandHow to climb back when you're stuck in a rut.

By August J. Aquila
What Makes a Great Partnership

Have you even wondered why in good times or in bad it seems that managing partners of professional service firms fail?

MORE ON GREAT PARTNERSHIPS: 5 Reasons That Leaders Fail | What Managing Partners Should Be Doing | Do Your Partners Pay Their Own Way? | 7 Keys to Becoming an Equity Partner | How and Why to Achieve Partner Unity | How You Can Get Partners to Change | Why Expectations Must Be Defined | Are You Driving Your Best Partners Crazy? | 7 Warning Signs for Your Firm | The Checks and Balances Your Firm Needs | Don’t Weed Out the Roses | Back to Basics: 25 Ways to Grow Your Practice
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What happens to them? Do they get stuck in a routine? Do they fail to see the next issue coming down the road? Do they stop thinking about what is critical for success? Or, do they spend too much time with clients, with dysfunctional partners, or with all the other noisy, but unimportant things that can pull them from their purpose?
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