The effective firm leader is able to herd the firm toward a common vision and prioritize strategies to support the vision, while demonstrating optimism and positive energy each and every day.
The philosophy of CPAmerica International is that many can “manage” a firm, but conscientious firm management is not enough. The top performing firms in the country have a firm “leader” who has essentially mastered those special behavioral characteristics that contribute to effective leadership.
Although not an exhaustive list, key CPA firm “leadership” traits are:
- Demonstrating optimism and positive energy under all circumstances, thus motivating and inspiring others even when faced with adverse circumstances
- Establishing the firm vision and mission in a manner that achieves buy-in from others
- Setting strategy and priorities and accountability measures to drive performance and achievement
- Hiring and keeping great talent in a manner that supports firm succession
- Focusing on a culture of customer focus
- Building high performance teams, and reshaping low performance teams
- Delegating and empowering others, thus embracing trust in others
- Coaching and developing talent, including the talent of fellow owners who were once peers
- Managing complexity and ambiguity, thus being the one to decide how to decide
- Maintaining perspective, including humility and gratitude
On Sept. 18 in Denver, twenty relatively new Leading Partners of CPAmerica International member firms gathered to support their common mission to improve through sharing.
This select group had one thing in common – all had been firm leaders for less than three years. All had been preceded by a leading partner who had set a high bar before their game began.
The immediate challenge to each new Leading Partner is to find time to drive firm-wide success.
This requires a change in where time is spent to drive firm goals, and often requires careful planning for delegation to others.
The group of new leading partners agreed the view from the top can be lonely. When it comes to partner issues and certain firm issues, the firm leader often discovers there is no one in the firm to use as a sounding board for sensitive issues that impact fellow owners.
The Leading Partners of CPAmerica member firms soon discover a strong connection with each other to gather second opinions and guidance. A distinct advantage is that each member firm is distanced geographically to enable highly confidential sharing to help each other improve.
Although a first-time event in Denver, the CPAmerica New Leading Partners event, which took place the day prior to the annual Leading Partners Retreat, will become a recurring event to help the newest firm leaders aspire to greater accomplishments and to become and remain connected with each other.
Topics covered at the New Leading Partners event included:
- Role of the managing partner as “leader”
- The strategic approach to partner compensation and accountability
- Driving firm growth and momentum
- Staging sustainable succession to increase practice value
Kathy McDonald is the Director of Concierge Services at CPAmerica International. She guides firms through tough practice management questions with her 25 years of knowledge of the accounting profession or by partnering with the appropriate resources.
Does your firm have tough questions it needs answered? Contact Kathy McDonald to see how you can become a CPAmerica member.
- Harnessing the Power of Your Association (cpamerica.org)