Six Reasons You Don’t Want to Be the Boss

Life changes when you move up the ranks.


After years of coaching partners and partners-in-waiting, Sam Allred of Upstream Academy knows a thing or two about what it takes to succeed as you climb the executive ladder at an accounting firm.

But rarely has he put it so succinctly. The skills you need in the new job are hardly like the skills that got you there. Executive-level leadership bears little resemblance to being a good partner or manager.

Allred offers Six Things Leaders Need to Do When You Become a Partner. Think twice about whether you really want the job.

  1. Give up The Right to Remain Silent - When you become a partner, you must speak up - not nod your head and then go door-to-door after the meeting talking to the other partners. Not speaking up, in the proper forum, creates artificial harmony.
  2. Keep an Open Mind - Learn how to listen and question before deciding and acting.
  3. You Give Up The Right to Make All Decisions - Sole-practitioners don't need to worry. But when you join a partnership, you give up that right.
  4. Learn to Make the Proper Commitment - Saying or thinking, "I will stay out of the way" is not making commitment. It's a case of "grudging compliance" vs. "spirited commitment."
  5. Willingness to Get Outside Your Comfort Zone - You cannot stand still. Becoming partner doesn't mean you "made it" and now you can coast. You must keep moving, maybe faster and bolder than ever.
  6. You Become a Leader for Change - They hired you to do things differently, or better. Change is the mandate. You must be in front of it.

via Rita Keller

Who’s that with Rita Keller?

Rita Keller With Elvis

Yesterday, in "The Three Ms of Success for CPA Firms," I wrote about business icon Herb Kelleher's reputation for chain-smoking, Wild Turkey whiskey and his "dressing up as Elvis."

And I added, "As for the Keller I know, she does none of those things. But she does know a thing or two about how a successful accounting firm works."

Well, here's something new about the Rita Keller I know. She gleefully sends along this picture and this note:

Here's a picture of me a few years back at a firm open house with a 50s theme.  I was a pink lady from Grease.

By the way, visit Rita online at and

Three Ms of Success for CPA Firms

What Rita Keller teaches us from Southwest Airlines' legendary founder.

by Rick Telberg

It's been a rollercoaster ride in the past few years, with firms at first drowning in work, followed by a crippling staff shortage, then a market crash and belt-tightening, then re-expansion with a broadly profitable busy season. So a few weeks of peace and quiet this summer could seem appealing to staff and management alike.

But management guru Rita Keller is here to tell you that you can't afford much rest. "There's work to do," she says about cleaning up rusty and outmoded CPA firm management practices. Keller has a message for firms to focus on marketing, mentoring and managing — the three Ms.


‘Next Gen’ CPA Firm? “Now We’re Talking…”

...says famed practice management consultant Rita Keller.

Talking about "New Rules for the Next Generation Accounting Firm," Rita writes in Comments:

Now we’re talking. I absolutely agree that in the next 10 to 15 years (probably even sooner) we will not recognize the CPA firm of today.

CPA firms have, and continue to, evolve – especially in the use of technology. However, it has been a fairly slow and methodical change. The progressive partners often have to drag the old timers along and that’s hard work. The least the slow-adapters could do would be to pick up their feet (not drag them in the dust to slow things down).

It will take better, smarter, more proactive management from all owners, not just the managing partner. While CPA leaders are indeed very smart and caring human beings and great advisors to business owners, most of them have never received advanced education or even CPE in advanced people skills (soft skills, like listening, coaching, motivating and mentoring). A big factor, just my opinion, is that they absolutely LOVE the numbers, the tax work and auditing. They do not LOVE dealing with “green” new hires.

As the Boomers retire, the next generation of leaders will create organizations that are more nimble and open to continual change and new ideas. They will not get new clients at a Chamber networking event, they’ll get them from Facebook and from blogging. They will keep in touch with referral sources on-line, not at lunch.

To play upon your comment about Blumer’s father, the evolution will occur naturally and rather slowly and the current model will become extinct when some current owners take a hike (no disrespect intended).

As you can tell, I feel strongly about this. I’m going to blog about it today.

And she does, read about the "Possibilities" here...