By Robert J. Lees, August J. Aquila and Derek Klyhn Creating the Effective Partnership Regardless of their ownership structure, most firms either operate as partnerships or would prefer to operate as partnerships. The tensions between being a business and the loss of the values and ethics of being a partnership feature strongly in our research. But accounting firms are different from their corporate counterparts in a number of ways, which impact their functioning and, therefore, their leadership.
As partners work longer, average partner incomes decline. The aging in the partner ranks of the CPA profession is by far most prominent at smaller firms, according to the most recent edition “The National MAP Survey of CPA Firm Statistics.” At firms with less than $2 million in fees, the percentage of partners over the age of 50 has risen to a startling 73.3 percent, up from 65.4 percent last year. And at firms with fees of $2 million to $10 million, the number has risen to 66 percent from 65.3 percent.
How to walk in with head start. By Ed Mendlowitz The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor QUESTION: How do you make a presentation to get a new client when you do not know everything you should about the client’s business? RESPONSE: No one can know everything about everything. Smaller firms have a harder time but they can reach out to others in their firm, or even partners in similar firms who have the knowledge to assist in the proposal, or friends in larger firms. Here are six simple steps to learn as much as you can about a prospect and their industry.
Getting specific with leadership duties and partner accountability. By Auqust Aquila Creating the Effective Partnership As leaders of a firm, partners need to do more than pay for themselves and contribute to overhead expenses. Their duties to the firm and to each other extend to bringing in new business, improving their own skills as well as developing skills in others, contributing to strategy and a passion for continuous improvement in all things. MORE PARTNER ISSUES: Are Bad Clients Driving You Crazy? | 6 Steps to Handle Staffing Problems in a Merger | New Times Call for New CPA Firm Metrics | Why CPA Firms Fail in Innovation | When the Deal is Done: A 24-Point Checklist for the Morning After | […]
The compensation trap that turns winners into losers. By August Aquila Creating the Effective Partnership The focus on most CPA firms is on billable hours. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this focus, it has become the overriding focus of firms. There is nothing wrong with making money today, but what about building for the future? With “today” being the dominant focus, what is the encouragement to CPAs to innovate? In most firms there is no alignment with innovation and compensation. You will never have innovation unless you allocate some time and reward to making it happen.
And 4 ways to put them to good use. By August J. Aquila Creating the Effective Partnership There may be some senior partners who want to spend their remaining years basking in the sun or playing golf. But, given the negative and low returns of the stock market the last few years, more senior partners will be concerned about their economic future and will want to stay involved in the profession. This can be a win-win situation for both parties or it can be a lose-lose. Senior partners have a wealth of knowledge that you don’t want to lose. For example, they possess:
Good service needs to be rewarded as much as business development. By August Aquila 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.
What successful managing partners do By Robert J. Lees and August J. Aquila How to Engage Partners in the Future The problem is that in the majority of CPA firms there is no clarity around what being a managing partner actually entails and, specifically, what managing partners should do to create and sustain their partners’ commitment to actively participating in delivering the firm’s future. Our research involving in-depth interviews with 150 managing partners at the world’s leading firms identified that the truly successful managing partners share three key activities:
The 9 essential elements for a successful partner comp plan. By Robert J. Lees and August J. Aquila Creating the Effective Partnership Every compensation plan should be constructed to help the firm achieve its strategic goals, including servicing its clients and attracting and retaining the right people.
Plus: 4 keys to tie pay to performance. By Robert J. Lees and August J. Aquila How to Engage Partners in the Future Partners are the culture in a professional service firm – what they believe, what they reward, what they do and how they do it determines what and how things get done. Partners are the owners – they, and they alone, are responsible for the firm’s vision and its implementation. Being a leader means each partner must:
Nine reasonable entitlements and 15 misconceptions, bad ideas and outright abuses. It’s a privilege to be a partner in a CPA firm. Not an entitlement. Too many partnerships seem to operate as if they had it the other way around. And, in most cases, those partnerships don’t usually make the best CPA firms. Marc Rosenberg has seen his share of dysfunctional firms. They are no better nor no worse than the people who run them. Get these 24 points of partner roles and responsibilities correct and your firm could find a renewal in spirit and in growth.
And the eight ways to give core values real business value. By Robert J. Lees and August J. Aquila How to Engage Partners in the Firm’s Future When we talk about having a compelling vision, we don’t just mean the simple, well-crafted statement you find in a lot of firms. For a vision to be compelling, for it to persuade the partners that they want to play an active part in making it a reality, a vision must have four elements:
And nine strategies to fix the “problem.” By Ed Mendlowitz 101 Questions and Answers QUESTION: My partner seems to always be out of sync with me, but my biggest pet peeve is that he never does what he says he will do. Do you have any suggestions? RESPONSE: Some people are not cut out to be partners. They could be control freaks, someone who skipped kindergarten and