Partner recruitment: How to avoid mistakes

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Mark Lee talks to Stephen Harvard Davis about best practice when accountancy firms recruit new partners and what to do if the appointment goes wrong.

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About Mark Lee

Mark Lee works almost exclusively with savvy sole practitioners who want more out of their practice.  More clients, more money, more time, more satisfaction - or everything!

An accountant by profession, Mark moved away from the provision of professional advice in 2006.   He is now a professional speaker, mentor, facilitator, author and debunker.

Mark Lee is a realist and regularly debunks myths and hype related to his areas of interest and expertise.  His keynote talk for audiences of accountants is How to STAND OUT and be more than 'just another accountant'.

Mark is passionate about helping accountants generally so is a keen blogger and commentator in the accounting and tax press. He is consultant practice editor of AccountingWEB and has written hudnreds of articles here that have been viewed over a million times.

Check out how he could help you here:

Mark stopped giving tax advice himself despite being a past Chairman of the Chartered Accountants’ Tax Faculty. He is however Chairman of the Tax Advice Network - the UK's highest ranked lead generation website for tax advisers and accountants. The network also publishes a weekly practical tax update for accountants in general practice and full tax support, on demand too.  You can also use it as a lead generation resource for local people seeking tax advice from an accountant.

Mark has extensive network reach through his blogs, talks, social media activity, articles and his regular newsletters that go to thousands of accountants every week.


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20th Nov 2012 12:09

i wonder....

If anyone reading this is a partner in a seems to me everyone on here is  a sole practitioner, like me...mind you I have got 20 staff, so I am quite a big sole practitioner!

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20th Nov 2012 12:51

Cheers Ian

I agree most of those who comment seem to be sole practitioners. But I suspect readership goes far wider than that. Indeed the vast majority do not comment at all so it is hard to draw definitive conclusions.


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20th Nov 2012 13:21


It's interesting that you have a team as large as 20 and I guess that a substantial amount of time is thus spent on "People issues".

In my experience any recruitment brings with it a ‘change stress’ and a 40% risk of failure. As mentioned the costs associated with a failed recruitment exercise will include management and staff time in addition to the lost opportunities, all of this can be quite crippling for a small firm particularly a sole trader.

Doubtless you probably don't deal with those people issues all yourself but the costs of having them managed by someone can be high. Tools used to manage the situation for a partner would be equally applicable for non-partner personnel.

Best wishes

Stephen Harvard Davis

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20th Nov 2012 13:59

2nd office

I am on the cusp of buying a second office ( when he finally decides hes retiring) and that would ( according to the top 100 list) make me about no94 and the only sole practitioner in it mwahahahaa


Managing peoples easy...Just hire qualified accountants ACA CA or ACCA ...job done right, on time, within budget, with minimum of fuss and hardly any input from me...

What you need is sledgehammers to crack they all get nicely cracked.


I just get to organise the xmas party in...... Monte Carlo...(and its £149.98/ head...and I think we know what that means)




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By blok
20th Nov 2012 19:14

Thanks Mark and Stephen.
An interesting read. As someone in my early thirties with partner discussions in progress for 2014 with a mid tier firm, it's a worthwhile read. I used to think I was the one gaining the most from becoming partner but I now understand that it's a two way deal. The firm needs me as much and perhaps more than I it.

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