Why It’s Great to Work at a CPA Firm

People in office releasing balloonsFive ways to make staffers feel like stars.

By Marc Rosenberg
On Staffing

Partners have it great. They:

  1. Function as entrepreneurs
  2. Love the freedom and flexibility of being a business owner
  3. Have clients who love them and vice versa
  4. Do work that is challenging and interesting
  5. Have staff to delegate work to
  6. Mentor young people
  7. Have tenure, just like professors (well, not officially)
  8. They make great money, way more than they ever thought
  9. They have almost no accountability (pardon the sarcasm!)

MORE ON STAFFING: Why Job Descriptions Matter | Generational Differences: Truth and Fiction | MPs Chime In on Recruiting, Development, Retention | How to Set Your Firm Apart to Recruits | Why Staff Scheduling Should Be Centralized | Compensation: Money and Beyond | How to Make Mandatory Saturdays a Thing of the Past | What Staff Mentoring Is and Isn’t | Do Flexible Hours Help or Hurt Us? | 8 Keys to Keeping Staff Engaged | Staffing: What CPA Firms Are Learning the Hard Way
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The stress of partners’ jobs sometimes causes them to forget they have such a great gig. But when partners stand back and think of what they have going for them, they see how nice the big picture is.
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Why Job Descriptions Matter

Portrait of businessman standing outdoors on stairsIncludes criteria for promotion to the next level.

By Marc Rosenberg
On Staffing

Let's address the four most common positions at a CPA firm: staff, senior, manager and partner.

MORE ON STAFFING: Generational Differences: Truth and Fiction | The How and Why of Upward Surveys | Don’t Underestimate Communication with Staff | Why Firms Can’t Afford NOT to Develop Women Partners | 8 Recruiting Strategies: How Many Are You Using? | 6 Keys to Advancement Programs | Guidelines for Flexible Work Policies | Staff Need Meaningful Recognition | SURVEY: 97% of Leading Firms Now Offer Flexible Work Arrangements
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There is no such thing as a standard job description for these four positions. Each firm must define them in ways that make sense for its specific situation. If ever there were job descriptions that should have flexibility built into them, most certainly they would be CPA firm positions because the expectations vary as much by the type of assignments they are given as by their title.
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Generational Differences: Truth and Fiction

Young businessman working on laptopBONUS: Matrix of how partners see Millennials vs. how they see themselves.

By Marc Rosenberg
On Staffing

George Orwell said, “Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.”

MORE ON STAFFING: The How and Why of Upward Surveys | Survey to Find Out What Your Staff Think | 19 Questions for Your Next Hire | How to Set Your Firm Apart to Recruits | Why Firms Can’t Afford NOT to Develop Women Partners | Staff Performance Feedback Done Right | 8 Recruiting Strategies: How Many Are You Using? | 21 Staff Training Best Practices | Compensation: Money and Beyond | Making Flex Time Work in the Real World | How to Make Mandatory Saturdays a Thing of the Past | The Importance of Great Bosses | The 12 Reasons Your Staff Hates Your Firm | What Happened to the Relevancy of the CPA Profession? | Staffing: What CPA Firms Are Learning the Hard Way
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Before we delve into the differences between generations, let's go over some definitions.
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Staffing: The How and Why of Upward Surveys

Word "SURVEY" on computer screenIncludes 19 sample questions, industry norms and how to decide who evaluates whom.

By Marc Rosenberg
CPA Firm Staff: Managing Your #1 Asset

Why do firms conduct upward evaluations?

MORE ON STAFFING: Survey to Find Out What Your Staff Think | MPs Chime In on Recruiting, Development, Retention | How to Set Your Firm Apart to Recruits | Why Staff Scheduling Should Be Centralized | Compensation: Money and Beyond | How to Make Mandatory Saturdays a Thing of the Past | What Staff Mentoring Is and Isn’t | Do Flexible Hours Help or Hurt Us? | 8 Keys to Keeping Staff Engaged
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Many firms believe staff are just as important as clients. The No. 1 reason why staff stay with their firm is their relationship with the boss. In the case of a CPA firm, "the boss" is the firm's supervisory personnel, mostly partners and managers.
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Survey to Find Out What Your Staff Think

Blue pencil on survey formIncludes 28 sample questions plus industry norms for results.

By Marc Rosenberg
On Staffing

If you truly and honestly want to make your firm a great place to work, the first thing you need to do is ask the staff what they think.

MORE ON STAFFING: MPs Chime In on Recruiting, Development, Retention | Don’t Underestimate Communication with Staff | Why Firms Can’t Afford NOT to Develop Women Partners | 8 Recruiting Strategies: How Many Are You Using? | 6 Keys to Advancement Programs | Guidelines for Flexible Work Policies | Staff Need Meaningful Recognition | SURVEY: 97% of Leading Firms Now Offer Flexible Work Arrangements | How to Create a Talent Management Strategy
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

Two primary types of surveys:
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Managing Partners’ Favorite Staffing Strategies

Two coworkers playing ping pong in office as another looks on from deskWhat they do now and are considering for the future.

By Marc Rosenberg
On Staffing

I often poll a group of more than 100 managing partners across the country on various practice management issues.

MORE ON STAFFING: Don’t Underestimate Communication with Staff | 19 Questions for Your Next Hire | Staff Performance Feedback Done Right | 21 Staff Training Best Practices | Making Flex Time Work in the Real World | 10 Winning Traits of Accounting Firm Leaders | The Importance of Great Bosses | The 12 Reasons Your Staff Hates Your Firm | What Happened to the Relevancy of the CPA Profession?
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Recently, I polled them on leading-edge staff practices.
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Don’t Underestimate Communication with Staff

Businesswoman giving presentation at meeting14 best practices, plus 22 ideas just for fun.

By Marc Rosenberg
On Staffing

To paraphrase Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, communication is one of those things that are hard to define but you know it when you see it.

MORE ON STAFFING: 19 Questions for Your Next Hire | How to Set Your Firm Apart to Recruits | Why Staff Scheduling Should Be Centralized | Compensation: Money and Beyond | How to Make Mandatory Saturdays a Thing of the Past | What Staff Mentoring Is and Isn’t | Do Flexible Hours Help or Hurt Us? | 8 Keys to Keeping Staff Engaged | Staffing: What CPA Firms Are Learning the Hard Way
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

It’s always been my opinion that CPA firms operate much too secretly. Partners err on the side of NOT telling staff what’s going on, even in such innocuous areas as new clients, changes in health insurance, office changes, adoption of new software and the like.
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