Non-Equity Partners: Why Have Them?

10 sample provisions.

By Marc Rosenberg

In a CPA firm, the equity partners are the “drivers.” They bring in business, retain clients by providing great service, lead others and develop staff into leaders. They drive the firm’s revenues and profits. Their talent, leadership skills, personality and work ethic enable the organization to achieve excellence.

MORE: Making Partner: Today’s 15 Essential Skills and Traits | Why Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Covenants Matter | Handling Pay During the Disability of a Partner | Why Voting Isn’t Such a Big Deal | What’s in a (Firm) Name? | Protect Your Business with a Solid Partner Agreement
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All organizations need drivers to excel beyond the competition, to exceed being average. Sports teams, governments, charities, orchestras and yes, CPA firms all need drivers. An organization that lacks drivers will slide to average or worse, mediocrity.
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6 Questions for Planning Your Succession

August Aquila: "Holding on too long is the most serious sin you can commit."Make your planning spell SUCCESS.

By August J. Aquila

It’s no surprise to anyone thinking about retiring or selling a practice today that the number one issue they face is finding someone to take over the practice.

MORE ON GREAT PARTNERSHIPS: 7 Issues in Partner Retirement Planning | Solving Underperforming or Dysfunctional Partners | The 3 Types of Partners You Need | How MPs Can Make a Real Difference | 5 Reasons That Leaders Fail | 11 Things All Partners Must Do | Why Partners Need Written Goals
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There is a definite shortage of buyers and those who are buying are becoming more and more selective. Many firms will find that it has now turned into a buyers’ market.
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Are You Attracting the New Breed of Equity Partners?

Businesswoman shaking hands with someone out of view7 tactics to address the “new normal.”

By Domenick J. Esposito
8 Steps to Great

There’s no argument within the accounting profession that today’s economy is anemic, margins are squeezed and talent, particularly tax talent, is very scarce.

MORE ON STRATEGIC PLANNING: Stay Independent But Keep Looking Upward | 10 Ways to Link Compensation and Strategy | Develop Home-Grown Future Leaders | How to Capitalize on the Trusted Business Advisor Opportunity | Leadership Must Be Persistent and Consistent
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On top of that:

  • The philosophies of: (a) finders, minders, grinders and (b) an accounting firm model (principally low-margin compliance services) are no longer sufficient and probably are counterproductive to the perpetuation of a firm.
  • Clients have the upper hand in their accounting firm relationships.
  • Technology will continue to create a lesser demand on lower-level staff.
  • It is widely believed that Google and Microsoft will soon become fierce competitors for certain compliance services.

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Is It Time for a Partner Compensation Checkup?

Green checks being made on checklist6 questions to ask, 9 standards to follow.

By August J. Aquila
What Makes a Great Partnership

Ever wonder what the most appropriate partner compensation system is for your firm and how to assess partner performance?

MORE ON GREAT PARTNERSHIPS: The 3 Types of Partners You Need | 6 Focuses for Managing Partners | 10 Steps to Transitioning to a New MP | What Managing Partners Should Be Doing | Do Your Partners Pay Their Own Way? | 7 Keys to Becoming an Equity Partner | How and Why to Achieve Partner Unity | How You Can Get Partners to Change | Why Expectations Must Be Defined | Are You Driving Your Best Partners Crazy? | 7 Warning Signs for Your Firm
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A firm’s compensation system is a reflection of its culture and external competitive factors. When was the last time you gave your partner compensation system a checkup?
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6 Focuses for Managing Partners

Businessman giving instructions to his colleaguesPlus 37 specific traits for evaluation.

By August J. Aquila
What Makes a Great Partnership

According to Marc Rosenberg, managing partners should focus on the following six areas*:

MORE ON GREAT PARTNERSHIPS: 13 Points of a Good Compensation Plan | How MPs Can Make a Real Difference | 5 Reasons That Leaders Fail | 11 Things All Partners Must Do | Why Partners Need Written Goals | The 6-Step Plan for Transitioning Clients | Fighting Restraining Forces | Chemistry and Mutual Respect Matter | Great CPA Firm Partnerships Begin with Trust | The 4 Best Ways to Use Pre-Retirement Partners | Work Together Better in 11 Steps | Drop Politics, Be Accountable | What Makes a Successful Strategic Plan?
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  • Leadership
  • Profitability
  • Strategic planning
  • Team building
  • Learning/Training
  • Asset protection

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10 Steps to Transitioning to a New MP

Senior businessman and another businessman talkingPlus 4 questions to answer if the MP is staying with the firm.

By August J. Aquila
What Makes a Great Partnership

One of the most difficult events that a firm faces is the transition of power from one managing partner to another, especially when it’s the first time.

MORE ON GREAT PARTNERSHIPS: 5 Ways to Keep Your Edge | 5 Reasons That Leaders Fail | 11 Things All Partners Must Do | Why Partners Need Written Goals | The 6-Step Plan for Transitioning Clients | Fighting Restraining Forces | Chemistry and Mutual Respect Matter | Great CPA Firm Partnerships Begin with Trust | The 4 Best Ways to Use Pre-Retirement Partners
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Knowing when to pass the baton and how to pass it are critical decisions every firm will have to make.
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Structuring Partnership and Buy-Sell Agreements

Number 20 with target and arrows in center of zeroA 20-point checklist.

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

This service puts the accountant in the role of a mediator attempting to resolve conflicts and to serve as a facilitator to move things along to accomplish stated goals.

MORE ON MARKETING: How to Conduct Business Valuations and Forensic Investigations | Yes, Accountants Can Perform Conflict Resolution | How to Counsel on Retirement Planning | Investment Clubs and How to Counsel Them | Offering Second Marriage Assistance | What You Need to Start a Financial Planning Discussion | Tax Projections: How and Why | How to Raise Client Awareness of Services
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Who needs this service

Many businesses do not have shareholders’ or buy-sell agreements.
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10 Winning Traits of Accounting Firm Leaders

Businesswoman sitting in front of business meetingBONUS: 3 partners talk about what they learned on the way up.

By Marc Rosenberg
On Staffing

Let’s examine the look and feel of leadership at CPA firms.

MORE ON STAFFING: What Staff Mentoring Is and Isn’t | Staff Need Meaningful Recognition | The Importance of Great Bosses | Do Flexible Hours Help or Hurt Us? | Why Flexibility for Staff Works (and How) | The 12 Reasons Your Staff Hates Your Firm | 8 Keys to Keeping Staff Engaged | How to Create a Talent Management Strategy | What Happened to the Relevancy of the CPA Profession? | Staffing: What CPA Firms Are Learning the Hard Way
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I’m probably the millionth person to form a list of important leadership qualities, but I want to share what I have learned from working with CPA firms for over 20 years.
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Five Factors for Measuring a Partner’s Value

Word "goal" made up of four jigsaw puzzle piecesIf there aren’t goals, what do you measure?

By August J. Aquila
What Makes a Great Partnership

In an accounting firm, profitability is generally the result of the firm’s combined talents, business management skills, internal systems and value proposition to its core clients.

MORE ON GREAT PARTNERSHIPS: How and Why to Achieve Partner Unity  | How You Can Get Partners to Change | Why Expectations Must Be Defined | Are You Driving Your Best Partners Crazy? | 7 Warning Signs for Your Firm | The Checks and Balances Your Firm Needs | Don’t Weed Out the Roses | Back to Basics: 25 Ways to Grow Your Practice | 3 Ways to Halt a Poor Leader | 8 Questions That Staff Ask In a Merger | 8 Financial Ducks to Line Up Now
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Therefore, many factors must be considered when determining the value of a partner to the firm, for example:
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