Your homework BEFORE you write your business case for partnership | AccountingWEB

Your homework BEFORE you write your business case for partnership


We have previously considered what you need to put in your personal business case for partnership, and why you should not get fixated on your technical ability in your personal business case. In today's post we are going to focus on what you need to do BEFORE you actually start writing your business case for partnership.

Regardless of whether your business case is a simple one pager or a war and peace style document, the actual writing of your personal business case for partnership is the last part of the process. Ideally you want to be starting to build your business case at least 18-24 month before you are formally asked to produce it. Don't worry if you haven't given yourself this amount of breathing space, with focus and a good plan you can still make up the time.

Let's consider when you need to be thinking about your business case.

Your firm is likely to have its own process for admitting partners to the partnership. Ask your HR director, HR business partner for your business unit, head of department, mentor or partner to find out what the process is. When you know the process you can formally plan who you will speak to and what you will do. (Essential if you don't want to waste time) You may be lucky and find that your partnership either has a very informal process without the need for a business case, or a very clear process which is well documented, with a transparent timeframe.

"The starting point is to understand the process and what the business case looks like and how the business case fits into the process.

Darryn Hedges, Global Finance Director Marks and Clerk LLP"

The next stage is to take a step back and do your homework on the business. Imagine you are an external consultant advising your firm, what would you recommend to help them:

  1. Strengthen the weaknesses in the partnership - be that technically, leadership, financially or commercially
  2. Transition (whether forcible or otherwise) partners who are likely to retire in the near future
  3. Help the partnership achieve it's long term business goals and strategic objectives

To help you complete this work, take some time to speak to partners across your firm - in particular the movers and shakers within the partnership. This actually has a three-fold benefit to you. Firstly, you get to understand from the horse's mouth what the partnership will be looking for in its new partners. Secondly, you alert them to your career intentions. Finally, you can elicit their views as to where you would best fit into the partnership and the skills (technical or otherwise) you will need to develop to be in with a good chance of making the step up. If you would like a free guide to writing your personal business case for partnership, click here (email required). In summary...

You have 2 things to do before starting to write your personal business case for partnership:

  1. Find out the process that your firm uses to admit new partners to the partnership
  2. Do your homework and find out what the firm needs from it's new partners
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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.