When Managing Partners Can’t

Word "fail" written in red markerFour ways to make sure managing partners will fail.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

There is an intuitive notion that comes to partners that goes something like this: “Let’s all get together and form a firm that will make us all more successful than any of us could be individually. We’ll follow the principles of democracy by dividing up the management duties so that no one is overburdened. The partners will make decisions as a group, thereby avoiding vesting too much power in one person.”

MORE: Don’t Let Exiting Partners Double Dip | The 13 Signs You Have a Partner Problem | COVID-19, Adversity and Innovation | How Covid Impacts Partner Retirements |  Three Tough Questions in Partner Buyouts | Is Mandatory Retirement a Best Practice? | COVID-19: How Your Firm Can Respond
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Management by committee is doomed to fail. This list refutes the excuses partners often give for favoring management by committee.

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Don’t Let Exiting Partners Double Dip

Senior businesswoman in officeWhy pay if the firm doesn’t get the clients?

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

Here’s a question that frequently arises in my consulting engagements: What are your thoughts on partners wanting to work for the firm in a non-partner role after they retire, who continue to control “their” clients while receiving deferred compensation and a salary for their work?

MORE: The 13 Signs You Have a Partner Problem | COVID-19, Adversity and Innovation | Is Mandatory Retirement a Best Practice? | Merging in Sellers: What You Need to Know | Take Yoda’s Advice on Strategic Planning | 15 Amazing Organizational Tactics to Manage a CPA Firm | How to Develop a Truly Progressive NextGen Culture
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The answer is rooted in the maxim: “No transition … no goodwill.” This means that retired partners should not have the inalienable right to deferred comp without actively and effectively transitioning their clients. If they don’t transition, then the remaining partners, at their sole discretion, should be able to reduce the deferred comp payments.
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The 13 Signs You Have a Partner Problem

Businessman holding two papers with happy and angry face each on themAnd seven ways to fix it.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

In my experience, roughly 60 percent of all CPA firms (below the Top 100) have either major partner conflict or a pronounced lack of effective partner communication and/or relations.

MORE: COVID-19, Adversity and Innovation | How Covid Impacts Partner Retirements |  Three Tough Questions in Partner Buyouts | Is Mandatory Retirement a Best Practice? | COVID-19: How Your Firm Can Respond | Reward Partners for Performing Like Partners
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This is a huge problem because unless the partners of a firm work reasonably well together, it is very difficult for their firm to be truly successful. I’ve always been a believer of the adage “partners who play well together do well together.”
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COVID-19, Adversity and Innovation

Young businesswoman using smartphone and tablet at outdoor cafe3 things firms have learned so far.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

Our country has a long way to go before we fully adapt to a COVID-19 world and navigate compounding national issues. But CPA firms are resilient and have made major strides in adapting to a new and challenging environment.

MORE: How COVID-19 Impacts Partner Retirements |  Three Tough Questions in Partner Buyouts | Is Mandatory Retirement a Best Practice? | COVID-19: How Your Firm Can Respond | Reward Partners for Performing Like Partners
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I took some time to jot down a few high-impact observations. If you don’t see any mention of people working remotely and communicating via videoconferencing, the reason is obvious – everyone’s doing it.
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Networking for Fun and Profit

Young man riding hour hand of clockHow to make business development fun, and not a dreaded, anxiety-provoking activity.

BONUS CHECKLISTS with 57 ITEMS: From 15 simple conversation starters to top 5 mistakes.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

Networking is creating a group of acquaintances and professionals and keeping it active through regular communication for mutual benefit.

MORE: Why Consultative Selling Works | How Marketing Systems Produce Business Growth | 6 Keys to Developing New Client Prospects | Now Is the Time to Activate Your Referral Network | Does Your Firm Recognize All Its Skills? | Protect and Grow Existing Clients | The 4 Marketing Disciplines | 15 Powerful Niche Marketing Practices
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Truthfully, all professional service providers want to be held in high esteem by their clients and professional colleagues. Practicing true professionalism means becoming more than just a vendor who takes and fills orders from a client. It means transitioning into a trusted advisor whose expertise transcends your individual practice. Trusted advisors know the right questions to ask and where to find the right answers.
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Why Consultative Selling Works

Two women in office shake handsPLUS: How to get past your aversion to sales.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

As with just about anything, people can be taught business development skills if they study hard, apply themselves and, most of all, have a healthy, positive attitude toward bringing in business.

MORE: How Marketing Systems Produce Business Growth | 14 Marketing Activities Needed Now More than Ever | Now Is the Time to Activate Your Referral Network | The 4 Marketing Disciplines | Why You Have to Kill the Old Paradigms | Are You Ready for the Great Disruption?
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“Can people be taught practice development skills?” In 20 years of consulting to CPA firms, we have been asked this question hundreds of times. The answer, most certainly, is “YES.” Note, the question is not “Can people be taught to be rainmakers?” The answer to that question is mostly “no.” There is a big difference between being a rainmaker and learning business development skills.
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Eleven Ways to Jump-Start Your COVID Comeback

Because COVID-19 punishes the complacent.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

There are some products that are so iconic and popular that it doesn’t seem possible that their success could ever be in jeopardy. Oreos. The New England Patriots. Microsoft Office. It must be wonderful to own and manage businesses like these that seem to run themselves.

MORE: How Covid Impacts Partner Retirements |  Three Tough Questions in Partner Buyouts | Reward Partners for Performing Like Partners | 7 Points of a Well-Crafted Partner Buyout Agreement
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CPA firms enjoy no such advantaged status. But with the COVID-19 crisis, firms need to short-circuit the natural processes of maturity and stagnation and think about how to get re-set right now.
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CPA Firm Partner Agreement Essentials

ROSENBERG, CPA Rosenberg CPA Trendlines commentator Marc Rosenberg is a nationally known consultant, author, and speaker on CPA firm management, strategy and partner issues. President of his own Chicago-based consulting…

How Covid Impacts Partner Retirements

How long do you want your firm to last?

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

Two-thirds of partner agreements include a mandatory retirement provision. This provision usually requires partners to give up their equity but allows them to continue working in some fashion. A common stipulation is that if a “retired” partner wishes to continue working, either full- or part-time, this must be approved annually by the other partners. But with the Covid crisis, annually may come sooner than expected.

MORE: Three Tough Questions in Partner Buyouts | Is Mandatory Retirement a Best Practice? | Merging in Sellers: What You Need to Know | Take Yoda’s Advice on Strategic Planning
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Here are two opposing viewpoints on a mandatory retirement provision to consider the next time you review your partner agreement:
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