8 Ways Comp Systems Get Partners to Do What the Firm Needs

Stylized industrial 3D number 8Is your firm's message clear or cloaked?

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

Years ago, a senior partner at a 12-partner firm retreat I was facilitating gave us all an “aha” moment: “A partner compensation system is just a way of allocating income among the partners. It’s not meant to be the primary way to manage a firm.”

MORE: 7 Points of a Well-Crafted Partner Buyout Agreement | Take Yoda’s Advice on Strategic Planning | Buyers Name 20 Big Merger Turnoffs | Smart Tech Tips from Top CPA Firms | 15 Amazing Organizational Tactics to Manage a CPA Firm | Why Governing by Partner Ownership Is Bound to Fail | 6 Ways to Retain NextGen Staff | How to Develop a Truly Progressive NextGen Culture | The Top 5 Concerns of Great Managing Partners | Partners: When To Speak Up and When To Shut Up
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There are two messages here, one obvious and one that is deeper.
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7 Points of a Well-Crafted Partner Buyout Agreement

Magnifying glass held over document with word "Agreement" highlightedSuccession planning is a daily partner duty.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

CPA firm partner retirement/buyout plans have always created angst among partners.

MORE: Take Yoda’s Advice on Strategic Planning | Buyers Name 20 Big Merger Turnoffs | Why Governing by Partner Ownership Is Bound to Fail | The Top 5 Concerns of Great Managing Partners
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Prospective and young partners often question the plans because they see themselves paying into some sort of Ponzi scheme, wondering if their payday will ever come. The departure of impactful retiring partners seems to jeopardize the future viability and hence, value of the firm.
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Take Yoda’s Advice on Strategic Planning

https://cpatrendlines.com/?p=66294Seven questions to determine whether you're ready.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

“Do or do not – there is no ‘try.’”

Those are the immortal words of one of my two favorite movie mentors, Yoda from Star Wars. (Mr. Miyagi from “Karate Kid” is a close second.)

MORE: Smart Tech Tips from Top CPA Firms | 15 Amazing Organizational Tactics to Manage a CPA Firm | Why Governing by Partner Ownership Is Bound to Fail | 6 Ways to Retain NextGen Staff | How to Develop a Truly Progressive NextGen Culture | The Top 5 Concerns of Great Managing Partners | Partners: When To Speak Up and When To Shut Up
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Yoda is giving young Luke Skywalker his Jedi training and asks if he is ready. Luke responds, “I’ll give it a try,” prompting our beloved Jedi Master to utter his famous quote. When I come across this line, it makes me think of managing a CPA firm (OK, I’m a little weird about these things!).

Over the years, many CPA firms have invited me to help them create a strategic plan. Most of the time, I decline. Why? Because they don’t have what it takes to be successful at it and I don’t want to be associated with a consulting project that fails. The partner group needs to be in a position to do the strategic plan, not try. To help me decide if they have the right stuff, I ask these questions: READ MORE →

Buyers Name 20 Big Merger Turnoffs

Trying to merge? Make sure your firm isn't guilty of any of these.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

Merger talks hitting a bump in the road? Is a potential buyer losing interest?

MORE: Smart Tech Tips from Top CPA Firms | 15 Amazing Organizational Tactics to Manage a CPA Firm | Why Governing by Partner Ownership Is Bound to Fail | 6 Ways to Retain NextGen Staff | How to Develop a Truly Progressive NextGen Culture | The Top 5 Concerns of Great Managing Partners | Partners: When To Speak Up and When To Shut Up
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Here’s a list of obstacles buyers have cited. Not every buyer will consider each one of these issues a turnoff. Think of this as a universal checklist.
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Smart Tech Tips from Top CPA Firms

Laughing businesswoman talking on the phone in office in front of four monitors5 key questions, including what to tell recruits.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

I have a keen interest and understanding of how managing partners perform their jobs. Their duties encompass a long list of critically important management functions. Certainly, one of these is to ensure that technology has an optimal impact on the firm’s success, profitability and efficiency.

MORE: 15 Amazing Organizational Tactics to Manage a CPA Firm | Why Governing by Partner Ownership Is Bound to Fail | 6 Ways to Retain NextGen Staff | How to Develop a Truly Progressive NextGen Culture | The Top 5 Concerns of Great Managing Partners | Partners: When To Speak Up and When To Shut Up
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This can be quite challenging because, unlike most MP duties, managing the technology function is a highly technical skill that most MPs don’t have.
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15 Awesome Tactics for Running a CPA Firm

Businessman writing to do listA checklist you can implement NOW.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

Haven’t we all learned the hard way that the best way to solve a problem is not to let it arise in the first place?

MORE: Why Governing by Partner Ownership Is Bound to Fail | 6 Ways to Retain NextGen Staff | How to Develop a Truly Progressive NextGen Culture | The Top 5 Concerns of Great Managing Partners | Partners: When To Speak Up and When To Shut Up
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Let's start with a great example: Hiring. READ MORE →

Why Governing by Partner Ownership Is Bound to Fail

5 major issues that firm agreements must address.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

Getting sick and tired of ownership percentage driving your partner decisions?

I sure am.

MORE: 6 Ways to Retain NextGen Staff | How to Develop a Truly Progressive NextGen Culture | The Top 5 Concerns of Great Managing Partners | Partners: When To Speak Up and When To Shut Up
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Why? Imagine you entered into an ownership position in a CPA firm in your mid-30s. Over the next 30 years or so, you’ll be paid your share of millions of dollars. Do you want your share to be based on judgments that are rational and logical, or unfair and lacking in common sense?
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Six Ways to Retain NextGen Staff

Wilson
Wilson

68% of young employees are job hunting in the next year. How about yours?

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

Our Chicago roundtable, consisting of the most prestigious and largest local CPA firms in the Windy City, convened a conference that brought the house down. Jennifer Wilson, who leads Convergence Coaching, was our speaker.

MORE: How to Develop a Truly Progressive NextGen Culture | The Top 5 Concerns of Great Managing Partners | Partners: When To Speak Up and When To Shut Up
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Having the right staff and using people in the right way – highest and best use – and keeping your best people is still the #1 challenge that firms face. Jen addressed this issue with magnum force.
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How to Develop a Truly Progressive NextGen Culture

Three businesspeople of different agesWhy following up is so important.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

Earlier this year our Chicago roundtable, consisting of the most prestigious and largest local CPA firms in the Windy City, convened a conference that brought the house down.  Our goal was (a) to address the #1 challenge to CPA firms today – managing all staff issues from recruiting to retention to developing NextGen leaders and (b) to bring in THE #1 authority on these issues to speak to us about state-of-the-art practices.

MORE: The Top 5 Concerns of Great Managing Partners | Partners: When To Speak Up and When To Shut Up
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Jennifer Wilson was our speaker and wow, did she hit it out of the park! Jen, who leads Convergence Coaching, is regularly recognized by "Accounting Today" as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting and by "INSIDE Public Accounting" as one of the Most Recommended Consultants To CPA Firms.
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The Top 5 Concerns of Great Managing Partners

Industrial metal number 5Growth and mergers didn't make the cut, so what did?

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

I recently updated my research on the role of the managing partner. How better to do this than to poll great MPs from across the country? So that’s what I did.

MORE: Partners: When To Speak Up and When To Shut Up
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I received responses from 17 MPs: three from firms with revenue exceeding $50 million; five firms were $20-50 million; six firms were $10-20 million; and three firms were $5-10 million. As I expected, I received very eloquent, powerful and somewhat diverse advice.
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Partners: When To Speak Up and When To Shut Up

Sometimes the team needs to come first.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

To paraphrase Shakespeare: When to speak up and when to shut up – that is the question. There are times partners should speak their minds and times they should remain silent.

MORE ON PARTNERSHIP: 15 Partner Agreement Weaknesses and Omissions | How Business Entity Type Affects Partner Income | What Partnership Gets You (and Doesn’t) | Partner Comp Pearls of Wisdom | Equity Vs. Non-Equity Partners | 5 Cautionary Tales in Partner Compensation | New Partner vs. Manager: What’s the Difference? | Partner Pay in Retirement Transition Period
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A great managing partner once told me, “If you’re not building the firm, then you’re not a partner.”  This post is about two ways (there are others) that partners build the firm. First, by speaking up when your partners need to hear what you think.
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2019: Staff Policies Improve, But Not Mentoring

And mergers are getting tougher. Ouch!

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Survey

Firms are stepping up their efforts to be more liberal and staff-friendly with their staff policies. More unlimited PTO polices including many variations of this, working remotely, staff setting their own hours, etc.

Unfortunately, I am not seeing any changes in the lip service most partners give to staff mentoring. Eighty percent of firms never make it to the second generation – many reasons for this but a big one is that the quality of partner mentoring sucks.
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Common Approaches to Partner Agreement Provisions

Woman winking and holding thumb upFrom retirees to part timers.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

Here are some best practices for partner agreement issues:

MORE: 15 Partner Agreement Weaknesses and Omissions | When Solos Bring in Partners | 10 Merger Hiccups for Partners | Mandatory Retirement: Pros and Cons (And Is It Legal?) | Deciding How to Allocate Partner Income
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