Adamson Advisory

CPA Partners Have Many Roles

You are a CPA and a partner in a public accounting firm. In your mind, you have one important duty, to serve clients efficiently, effectively, and profitably. Yes, you do serve clients. However, there are other very important roles for you at your firm.

If you are the managing partner, you are the face and voice of the firm. The MP represents the firm in the business community and in the civic/charitable community. The MP speaks on behalf of the firm in media relations and as part of the Chamber of Commerce or other business-related organizations. The MP often serves on several outside Boards of Directors and may even be active, on behalf of the firm, on social media.

If you are a client service partner, you probably spend most of your time focused on what is going on inside the firm. You build relationships with clients, manage client engagements, and mentor/coach/train younger accountants.

I often observe that while some client service partners fill a prominent role inside the firm, they rarely venture outside to be visible in the business community or on social media. Yes, they do interact with clients but rarely generate new business themselves.

It is a partner’s responsibility to generate new business. If this is something you are not comfortable with, make it a goal for this year to be more involved in the business community. Take it a step at a time. Maybe you can begin by accompanying a rainmaker to an event or join your other partners and their spouses to support a local charity event or banquet.

Don’t forget your other important role – your personal life with friends and family. Too many partners work too many hours. I have often heard a partner confess, “Work is my life.” When partners show workaholic tendencies, it discourages younger accountants from ever wanting to be a partner in your firm.

Some of the roles of a CPA firm partner include:

  • A CPA building relationships with clients
  • A manager overseeing client engagements
  • A salesperson bringing new business to the firm
  • A mentor or coach to younger accountants

Leave firm administration and operations to a qualified firm administrator or practice manager.


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