How to Operate a Compensation Committee

The Complete Guide to Starting and Sustaining Compensation Committees for CPA Firms

By Marc Rosenberg CPA

This monograph guides you through all of the issues, considerations, and details related to determining if a compensation committee is the right step for your firm, and, if so, to creating and establishing guidelines for your firm’s committee.

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Marc Rosenberg CPA is a nationally recognized expert in analyzing and implement compensation systems for CPA firms. With this monographcan help you and your partners to understand all implications of operating a compensation committee.

CPA firms are increasingly realizing that the old compensation formulas no longer work, that performance “intangibles” need to be recognized, and that their compensation system needs to be performance-based. This is leading to the adoption of compensation committees by more firms across the United States.


  • What are Compensation Committees?
  • How do they work?
  • Why have they become so popular?


  • Structuring partner compensation
  • The link to strategic planning
  • Data reviewed by the CC
  • The role of partner evaluations
  • The role of the firm’s Core Values
  • Partner goal setting
  • Make-up of the committee
  • Examples of partner roles
  • Performance criteria for partners
  • Should the system be open or closed?
  • Decisions that the CC needs to make
  • Compensation Committee Timetable


1. Getting Started

Why Firms Use a Compensation Committee
Characteristics of a Good System
Make-Up of the Committee

2. Overall Performance Criteria for Partners

Partner Performance Criteria

3. Compensation Committee Decisions That Need To Be Made

4. Goal Setting: Quantitative vs. Qualitative Goals

Six Sources of Partner Goals
The Best Goals are SMART Goals

5. Examples of Partner Roles

6. Identifying Core Values

7. Compensation Committee Timetable



CPA Trendlines commentator Marc Rosenberg is a nationally known consultant, author, speaker on CPA firm management, strategy and partner issues.

President of his own Chicago-based consulting firm, The Rosenberg Associates, he is founder of the most authoritative annual survey of mid-sized CPA firm performance statistics in the country, The Rosenberg Survey, available here from the CPA Trendlines Store. He has consulted with more than 700 firms throughout his 20+ year consulting career.

Accounting Today magazine annually acknowledges Marc Rosenberg as one of the 100 most influential people in the CPA profession and INSIDE Public Accounting has repeatedly recognized him as one of the ten most recommended CPA firm consultants in the country.

Click here to see him on CPA Trendlines.

How to Operate a Compensation Committee