Finding the perfect compensation system By Robert J. Lees and August J. Aquila Creating the Effective Partnership the right things. Every compensation plan should be constructed to help the firm enhance its ability to service clients, achieve its strategic goals and attract, reward and retain the right people. If a firm’s plan does not accomplish these objectives, it needs to be restructured.
Goals alone won’t won’t get you there. By Robert J. Lees and August J. Aquila Creating the Effective Partnership Many leaders believe that people remain focused and committed to their performance goals if the goals are clear and compelling. However, that’s not our experience with accounting firms. According to Franklin Covey’s “The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals,” team engagement and accountability are necessary to maintain commitment to goals and we are firmly in this camp.
Monthly meetings may be the solution. By Ed Mendlowitz “Tax Season Opportunity Guide“ Question: There seems to be disagreement among our partners on important issues in running our practice and we never seem to have time to discuss it or work things out. We are a three-partner firm with 15 employees and no one is designated as managing partner. Answer: A suggestion is to have monthly partner meetings out of the office and an annual retreat. Both of these have been covered previously but I will add some new ideas here.
Define measures of success and timesheets. By Robert J. Lees and August J. Aquila Creating the Effective Partnership Current thinking suggests that people who focus on a few key goals have a greater chance of achieving or surpassing their goals and all of our work confirms this is true. In our research into what truly successful managing partners do, one of the things the successful managing partners do that differentiates them from their peers is to focus their partners’ efforts on the firm’s key deliverables as a way of avoiding dissipation of energy and a loss of momentum.
Plus: Four more success drivers. By Robert J. Lees and August J. Aquila Creating the Effective Partnership So how do top accounting firms ensure their people operate cohesively and consistently in a highly networked organization? The answer, in addition to ensuring they are engaged with the firm’s vision and want to play an active part in its delivery, is through an all-pervading set of values. Every successful firm we know has a set of values that are part of the firm’s DNA. They drive people’s actions and help them to make the “right” decision should there ever be any doubt about which action to take. But there are at least four more elements that distinguish the world’s leading professional services […]
Which is greater: The firm or the individual? By Robert J. Lees and August J. Aquila Creating the Effective Partnership The lifeblood of any firm is its ability to bring in new, profitable clients or expand the work it does for its existing clients. So bringing in new business is an essential element of the successful firms we’ve studied. Of course, not all partners are effective operating in an environment where they have no pre-existing relationships, whereas some find it easy. The key for any firm is to use its resources where they will achieve the best return rather than expect everyone to be good at everything. Regardless of which environment they operate best in, every partner must bring in new […]
How to set and enforce standards of performance. By Robert J. Lees and August J. Aquila Creating the Effective Partnership Partners are the culture in a professional services firm – what they believe, what they reward, what they do and how they do it determines what and how things get done. But, one of the problems we consistently hear about is the lack of clarity in what being a partner means. And, in the absence of clarity the partners typically fill the gap by doing what they think it means, with all of the differences of thought and behavior that inevitably brings.
Responsibilities, abilities, and deliverables. Bringing in a new partners is part art and part science. Marc Rosenberg, after studying thousands of CPA firms, has a few suggestions on the science, with a series of checklists covering intangible, financial, legal, practice development, production, client management, technical, administration, and supervision-related benchmarks.
And why no exceptions are allowed – ever. By Robert J. Lees and August J. Aquila Creating the Effective Partnership As the owners of the firm, the partners need to embrace and constantly live the values. The partners are the culture in a professional services firm. What they believe, what they reward, what they do and how they do it determines what and how things get done. Core values are for everyone in the firm – with no exceptions! They are bound by four implacable laws: 1. Core values don’t bend to fit the circumstances. Values must not be compromised at any time. Although not a professional services firm example, a story included in what the U.S. Air Force calls […]