4 reasons why YOUR partnership may need a new partner

 

In the early years of your career, promotion tended to happen automatically based on whether you passed your exams or not. After qualification, this tends not to be the case - and never more so than being promoted to partner. You may have a highly profitably client portfolio and be highly regarded by everyone in your firm, but if your partnership doesn't have the space or inclination to admit a new partner, partnership for you at your firm isn't going to happen. In this article, I share with you the clues which you need to be looking for to understand what the partners will require from the future firm’s partners.

1. Partners getting near to retirement age

In most partnership agreements there is a clause for what age partners need to retire by. It’s not always set in stone, but not unusual for partnerships to force out their older members. (Most forward thinking practices realise that they need new blood into the partnership ever so often, and making partners retire at a certain age is one way of doing this.) Very often the retiring partner has a client portfolio which will need someone to take it over. That person could be you. Do you have a good connection with that partner? Do you have the right skills to take over his portfolio. Maybe more importantly, do you want to take over this partner’s client portfolio? It may not be in the best of health! (Our FREE guide to doing your due diligence on your firm may come in handy here, email required)

2. Technical areas or sectors becoming  very important to the firm

Look at your firm’s business plans – where do they see the growth coming for the firm? Growth in a practice area is always an opportunity for aspiring partners to grow a portfolio and stake a claim at the partnership table. As well as looking at the firm’s business plans, do your homework and spend time talking with partners in the firm. Where do they see the growth coming from in their firm? What are the technical areas which are being more important to the firm?

3. Areas of the practice which are ‘light’ on partners

Sometimes a part of the firm becomes very successful – and there is too much work for the existing partners to handle. Consequently, this may be an opportunity for you to make partner in that area (with the right technical skills). The partners in the department will need to be able to have an extra pair of hands to handle the client relationships – which is an opportunity for you. Sometimes a non-partner becomes very successful at winning work and builds up a partner-sized client portfolio. As the partnership can't afford to lose someone of this calibre, they will often make this person up to partner.

4. Departments where senior professionals have exited the firm and left a gap

There is always a pecking order and hierarchy within a firm. However, this can sometimes get disrupted by prospective partners leaving the firm before they get there. Not only does this create opportunities for you to get your hands on more responsibility earlier, but there are less people ahead of you to make partner before you.

In summary, there are no hard and fast rules where the next partner will come from in the firm. Do your homework and look around you – there maybe an opportunity begging for you to take an advantage of. Make sure your personal business case for partnership (Download our FREE guide to writing your personal business case for partnership here, email required) shows how you are THE person to strengthen the partnership.

 

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I help professionals, mostly accountants and lawyers become the Go-To-Expert. After joining BDO LLP in 2004, I have now almost clocked up ten years working predominantly with accountants helping them achieve their career and business goals. Unusually for someone with an Engineering Degree, I accidentally became a writer and used my knowledge on social media to write the current best-selling and award-winning book on networking, The FT Guide To Business Networking. (over 100 five star reviews on amazon) In 2012, the book I always wanted to write, 'How to make partner and still have a life' was published. In March 2014, my latest book, 'The Go-To-Expert: How to build your reputation, differentiate yourself from the competition and win business' was published. People frequently talk about me as someone who really knows her stuff – which may be the reason I have, over the last decade, worked with over 300 partners, coached and trained over 2000 professionals at every level of the UK’s most ambitious professional practices. 

I am honoured to have been asked to judge the British Accountancy Awards in 2011 and 2012. I am a member of the Accountant's Club Global Advisory Panel, and write regularly on practice management issues for CCH.

Myself, and Jon (my co-director) are approved Growth Accelerator Coaches. This means that we can if you are eligible, through the Growth Accelerator scheme, help you get some coaching funded by the scheme. Click here for more details to see whether you are eligible for the scheme.

Read how we have helped one of our accountancy clients access Growth Accelerator funding to grow their turnover by nearly 50% and profits by over 200%

The types of work I am currently helping my small professional practice clients with, includes:

1) Helping a £2m t/o practice grow to £4m by restructuring the firm and helping the management team step up 

2) Working with a £1m t/o practice to grow to £2m by generating more leads, and getting more work from existing clients

3) Enabling a £300k t/o practice grow to £1m by helping it sort out it's profitability by adding in efficient systems and processes, and increasing the quality of the  lead generation by marketing to a niche

4) Facilitating the growth of a one man band practice into a 3 person practice by helping increase the lead generation and conversion rate of leads, plus keeping the practice owner accountable to his goals.

The Excedia Group was founded by myself and Jon Baker to bring clarity, perspective and knowledge to help our clients achieve their business goals. We specialise in working with highly technical individuals, typically lawyers and accountants, helping them to get out of their comfort zone and build a profitable and sustainable client portfolio whilst handling the challenges of leading a business. 

My work splits into about 50% Executive & Business Coaching with Partners & potential partners, with the rest split between training, consultancy and writing.

My articles & quotes regularly appear in the press, e.g. FT, Guardian, Accountancy Age, Accounting Today, Economia, ACCA's publications. I regularly blog at Partnership Potentialventure-NowJoined up networking and How to make partner.

To book me for a speaking engagement please contact my PR Agency, Meerkat PR, on 020 8563 0182, and ask for David Stoch. For any other work related enquiries, please contact me directly.

My clients have included: Deloitte LLP, KPMG LLP, BDO LLP, Haines Watts, MSI Global Alliance, UK200 group, Macintyre Hudson LLP amongst others.