How to Bring in New Partners

The Complete Guide for Structuring Equity, Compensation, and Accountability Systems

By Marc Rosenberg CPA

Based on more than 20 years of experience analyzing and implementing partner acquisition strategies, this monograph guides you through all of the issues, considerations, and details related to bringing in new partners for firms of all sizes – to ensure that adding partners is the right step for the firm, and that it’s done right.

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Succession planning has hit CPA firms with a vengeance. As baby boomer partners approach retirement age, they naturally are focusing on who can take their place and eventually write their retirement checks. This monograph answers the questions, What are best practices in bringing in new partners? How is the buy-in structured? How does all this work?

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  • What is a partner these days?
  • Should we have non-equity partners?
  • How do firms develop staff into partner?
  • What does one get for the buy-in?
  • When are they ready?
  • How do new partners get compensated?
  • What should their buy-in be?
  • 22 main provisions of a partner buyout plan
  • What should their ownership percentage be?
  • How should voting work?
  • How does capital get determined?
  • What about non-solicitation agreements?


  1. Key Concepts
  2. Structuring The Buy-In
  3. What Do New Partners “Get” For Their Buy-In?
  4. Ownership Percentage
  5. Partners’ Capital
  6. How Should New Partners Be Compensated?
  7. Partner Retirement/Buyout Partner
  8. Partner Retirement/Buyout Systems: 23 Main Provisions
  9. How Are the Duties And Responsibilities Of A New Partner Different From Those Of A Manager?
  10. What Vote Should New Partners Get?
  11. Non-Solicitation Agreements
  12. Equity vs. Non-Equity Partners
  13. Appendix of Exhibits
    Exhibit I – Bringing in a New Partner: Thresholds and Core Competencies
    Exhibit II – Complications with Compensation Formulas
    Exhibit III – Why Firms Retire Partners at 1x Fees or Less, WHY When Smaller Firms are Often Sold for Well Over 1x Fees
    Exhibit IV – What a Partner Is and Is Not Entitled To
    Exhibit V – What Is a Partner

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How to Bring in New Partners