Whether you’re interviewing by your own choice, or because you found that the music stopped…
John Borrowman CPC
Borrowman Baker LLC
Admit it. You’d like to sit down for a private chat with someone in HR, just to hear ‘how it really works’ when it comes to promotions, compensation, bonuses, benefits. Everything you’ve always wanted to know, but never had the chance to ask.
We’re going to ask them for you. In this issue, we talk to the Recruiting Director of a CPA firm in Texas. The confidentiality of the interviewee is important to the candor of the answers you will read. Send in your questions for our rotating panel of experts.
From time to time, we hear complaints from people we talk to that they’re not clear about exactly what it takes to rise to the partner level at their practice. Is that a fair criticism?
It depends on where you are. Our statement of what is required to rise to that level in our firm is fairly well articulated. And, I would think that is the case in most places. If you’re motivated, working hard, studying to be technically proficient and you’re a real go-getter, you will be successful. And if you are those things, it will show up in your performance reviews, salary increases and bonuses. If you’re not, unfortunately, it also tends to be pretty clear. At least it will be to the folks who have to decide who’s on the path to partner and who’s not.
So, when someone just can’t seem to break that barrier, there’s usually a pretty solid reason why?
That’s been my experience. I’ve never been surprised by any decision NOT to send someone further along the path to partner.
Is business development really all that important? Couldn’t someone also rise to partner level with some specialty skill, or technical prowess?
Sure, it’s possible to become a partner without being a particularly strong revenue generator, if your practice area has a constant stream of new or built-in business being generated by another source. It’s pretty uncommon, though. The firm’s management would have to be in agreement that technical expertise or skill specialization alone would be enough benefit to the firm. You generally do have to be more well-rounded in technical expertise and business development.
Is there a place for the entrepreneurial thinker in a large organization?
There are ways that someone who thinks like that could actually get ahead in a large organization. One of the roadblocks to success that people encounter early in their careers has to do with not taking on more accountability for serving the client, and growing the business. At its worst, the job becomes all about the hours. But, when you take an ‘ownership’ type attitude about what you produce and how you contribute to the practice, you really can progress faster.