Is There a Best Practice Process for Becoming A Partner at an Accounting Firm?

Many accountants reach a point in their careers where they ask themselves this very question.  We have researched what it takes to become a partner in a firm, and the process that follows.

Our goal is to provide you with the best education and coaching possible on how to earn a position of partner.  After some rigorous analysis and a global search, we found the best coach to help us achieve this process.

The Problem

There’s a huge difference between ‘what it takes to become a partner’ versus ‘how to make partner.’  Often, firms will only teach you what it takes to become partner and may coach you around how your work rates, or even put you on a partnership track.  You will need to remember that the responsibility to advance in your career is up to you.

What can you do to stand out?  What processes can you follow to advance your career? What personal development process do you follow to make partner?

Our Search for The Best Practice for Making Partner Led Us To This Process:

1  Create the space, energy, time and desire to make it to partner. Becoming a partner is equivalent to taking on the responsibilities of a second job.  You’ll need to commit more time to your clients along with taking on management and leadership roles.  So how are you going to do this?

The first step is to work on building healthy habits and a supportive network.  This is a critical starting point for anyone who is serious about becoming successful in both life and career.

2  Do the research on yourself and the firm. Thorough research on yourself and on the firm is crucial!  What if becoming partner is not for you?  What if you become partner at a firm and realize this is not right one for you?  It would be insane to want to make partner if it’s not going to be a source of personal, interpersonal, and financial energy!

3  Become a member of the club. Partners are looking for someone who is already acting and thinking like a partner—they are looking for someone to join them as a peer.

4  Create a persuasive Business Case for partnership. Since partners are looking for someone who is already acting like a partner, this means you will need to start building habits to reflect behaviors of partners.  Where do you begin?  You’ll need to build your Business Case: become that ‘go-to expert,’ behave like a partner, and build your referral networks.  When it is time to pick a partner, these will help you become the person who is ‘the right fit’ to be a business partner.

5  Prepare for the final stages of partner track. You have reached a point where you are invited into partnership conversations and even a panel interview.  How do you pitch your business case in person and in writing?  This is where we will help you shine through the partnership admissions process.  In the end, you will need to be prepared to respond accordingly.

We were vigilant about finding the global best practice.  Our diligence was built around answering these key questions:

  • Does the process guide the participant to develop a clear personal and business roadmap to follow?
  • Following a roadmap takes time, energy and commitment. Based on insights into career satisfaction it is imperative that the process dedicate meaningful insight into how to focus and manage these efforts. Does the process do this?
  • The most successful professional organizations are synergistic – those that participate in these organizations add to the energy. Does the process recognize, articulate and make the recognition of synergy explicit?
  • On-the-job performance is a given requirement to qualify for partner admission – but understanding the leadership skills and being able to act accordingly is also essential. Does the process emphasize the development of actionable leadership (partner-like behavior)?
  • Is there an alumni base that could prove and attest to the value of the process – and rank it as the best process they’ve found?

Other considerations:

  • Because aspiring professionals are busy people efficient delivery and effectiveness (as measured by (1) how minimally disruptive is participation to job time and (2) how many participants achieve the desired outcome of partner) were a must.
  • World-wide recognition of the professional who developed and delivers the program weighed heavy in our decision.
  • The opportunity for graduates of the process to be connected globally to other like professionals for networking and personal growth – a global community for exchanging best practices was a high priority.

Next Steps

If you’re serious about becoming a partner, and you want the best process available for becoming a partner – then take the next step in your career progression and join us for one of our upcoming webinars.